Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 43.djvu/263

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Parker
Parker
257

to Corpus Christi College. Of the genuineness of this document there can be no question, and among the details which it establishes the following are especially noteworthy: (1) That the royal mandate for the consecration was produced at the consecration and read; (2) that Parker took the required oaths; (3) that the presiding bishop proceeded with the litany, and that the remaining service which he used was according to the form of the book prescribed by parliament (i.e. the second prayer-book of Edward VI); (4) that the archbishop received the imposition of the hands of all the four officiating bishops; (5) that, together with certain others, he afterwards received the holy sacrament; (6) that the ceremony was not privately performed, but that among the witnesses were Grindal, bishop-elect of London, and two other bishops, the archbishop's registrary, the registrary of the prerogative court of Canterbury, and two notaries public (see Goodwin, Account of the Mites and Ceremonies at the Consecration of Archbishop Parker, Cambr. 1841). This evidence alone suffices, consequently, to disprove the scandalous story, first circulated more than forty years later by unscrupulous Romanists, to the effect that Parker and others were admitted bishops by Scory in an inn in Cheapside called the Nag's Head, and that the method of their admission was irregular and the manner irreverent (Strype, ii. 117-8). These misrepresentations became, however, long and widely current, and, though completely exposed by Archbishop Bramhall [q. v.], were still so freely circulated that Thomas Morton [q. v.], the eminent bishop of Durham, deemed it desirable to append a declaration to his will (15 April 1658), denouncing them as an 'abominable fiction,' which he believed to have proceeded from 'the Father of Lyes' (Barwick, Life, pp. 48, 111, 113) [see Barlow, Thomas].

In the following February Parker made his declaration, acknowledging the royal supremacy, and taking the oaths of homage and allegiance (State Papers, Dom. Eliz. xi. No. 23), and in the course of the ensuing March he received from Nicholas Heath [q. v.], the deprived archbishop of York, and the other deprived bishops, a letter denouncing the theory of the new episcopate as subversive of the papal authority. The reply which he drew up (26 March 1560), and submitted to the approval of the queen and council, defines in the main the position of the great majority of the divines of the church of England since his time, as grounded on the Reformation of Edward VI, and definitively repudiating the jurisdiction and doctrinal decisions of the Roman pontiff (Corresp. pp. 109-13).

From this time Parker's personal history becomes to a great extent merged in the history of the church over which he presided, and he stands identified with the formation and direction of that great party afterwards known as the Anglican party, which sought to establish a media via between Romanism and puritanism. The difficulties attendant upon such a policy were, however, considerable. The Lutheran party would not accept the institution of bishops or the theory of episcopal succession. The reformers demurred at much that the prayer-book contained, as savouring of mediæval superstition. The Roman catholic party, after the refusal of Elizabeth to receive the papal nuncio and to send representatives to the council of Trent, felt that the breach with Rome hardly admitted of being repaired. Elizabeth herself openly supported Parker, and on 29 July 1560 dined with him at Lambeth; but a few weeks later he was under the necessity of remonstrating with her on the manner in which the appointments to the northern sees were delayed in order that their revenues might be appropriated by the crown; while the queen at one time threatened to carry into practical effect her dislike of clerical marriages. The temper and sound judgment with which, amid all these difficulties, Parker continued resolutely to pursue the policy which he had marked out, entitle him to high praise. That policy, as described in his own words, was one, not of innovation, but of restoration; it was his aim 'that that most holy and godly form of discipline which was commonly used in the primitive church might be called home again.' In pursuance of this aim, he revived the powers of convocation, and defined his own authority in relation to that body under the new conditions resulting from the repudiation of the authority of the Roman pontiff. With the assent of that body he revised the articles, which in 1562 were reduced from forty-two to thirty-nine, and substantially assumed the form finally agreed upon in 1571. He also instructed Walter Haddon [q. v.] to prepare a new edition of the Latin prayer-book for use in collegiate churches, and the extent to which the saints' days of the Roman calendar were retained in this compilation shows that he was desirous of conciliating, as far as possible, the considerable Roman catholic element which still existed at the two universities. His most distinguished service to the theological studies of his day was, however, the publication of the 'Bishops' Bible,' an undertaking