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JANUARY 1, 1849.
VISITATION ARTICLES AND INJUNCTIONS. In pursuing this inquiry in a field which has not hitherto been cultivated to any considerable extent, it will be my chief object to notice only such matters as appear to reflect light either on the customs of our ancestors, or on the events recorded in history. Such an inquiry will not be deemed useless at a time when so many are engaged in the labour of collecting and perpetuating the memorials of former ages. In the previous papers I have confined myself to the period extending from the Reformation to the Act of Uniformity in 1662; nor shall I, at all events for the present, go beyond the same limits.
The readers of our history are aware of the loose and unsettled opinions which prevailed among some of the clergy during many years subsequent to the Reformation ; laymen even being, in certain cases, permitted to preach, and men with only Presbyterian orders being allowed to hold preferments in the church. It was natural that many things should be in a state of confusion after so great a change as that which was effected by the Reformation, especially as the foreign reformers were anxious to plant their own system on the English soil. Nor can it be denied that many of the clergy, and even some of the bishops, were considerably influenced in favour of the novel opinions in matters of discipline and government of the reformed churches on the Continent. Still Parker, and various other prelates, saw the evil at an early period; nor were they slow in applying a remedy.
In the Metropolitical Visitation of the diocese of Winchester in the year 1575, Parker asks, “ Whether any have intruded
VOL. XXXV.-January, 1849.