Foxe's Book of Martyrs
Containing the Acts and Things Done in the Reign of King Edward the Sixth.
Edward was the only son of Henry the Eighth, by his wife Jane Seymour, who died the second day after his birth. He was born on the twelfth of October 1537, and came to the throne in 1547, being but ten years old. At six years of age, he was placed under Dr. Coxe and Mr.Cheek: the one was to form his mind, and teach him philosophy and divinity; the other to teach him languages and mathematics. Masters were also appointed for the other parts of his education. He discovered very early a good disposition to religion and virtue, and a particular reverence for the scriptures. As a striking proof of the latter, he was once greatly offended with a person, who in order to reach something hastily, laid a Bible on the floor to stand upon. He made great progress in learning, and at the age of eight years wrote Latin letters frequently to the king, to queen Katherine Parr, to the archbishop of Canterbury, and his uncle the earl of Hertford. On his father's decease, the latter nobleman and Sir Anthony Brown were sent to bring him to the Tower of London: and when Henry's death was published, Edward was proclaimed king.
On his coming to the Tower, his father's will was opened, by which it was found that he had named sixteen to be the governors of the kingdom, and of his son's person till he should be eighteen years of age. These were the archbishop of Canterbury, the lord Wriothesly, lord chancellor, the lord St. John, great master, the lord Russel, lord privy seal, the earl of Hertford, lord great chamberlain, viscount Lisle, lord admiral, Tonstal bishop of Durham, Sir Anthony Brown, master of the horse, Sir William Paget, secretary of state, Sir Edward North, chancellor of the augmentations, Sir Edward Montague, lord chief justice of the common pleas, judge Bromley, Sir Anthony Denny, and Sir William Herbert, chief gentlemen of the privy chamber, Sir Edward Wotton, treasurer of Calais, and Dr. Wotton, dean of Canterbury and York. They were also to give the king's sisters in marriage; who, if they married without their consent, were to forfeit their right of succession: for the king was empowered by act of parliament to leave the crown to them with what limitations he should think fit to appoint. There was also a privy council named to be their assistants in the government; if any of the sixteen died, the survivors were to continue in the administration, without a power to substitute others in their room.
It was also proposed that one should be chosen out of the sixteen to whom ambassadors should address themselves, and who should have the chief direction of affairs; but should be restrained to do every thing by consent of the greater part of the other co-executors. The chancellor, who thought the precedence fell to him by his office, since the archbishop did not meddle much in secular affairs, opposed this, and said, "It is a change of the king's will; who has made us all equal in power and dignity; and if any are raised above the rest in title, it will not be possible to keep him within due bounds, since great titles make way for high power." Notwithstanding this, the earl of Hertford was declared governor of the king's person, and protector of the kingdom; with this restriction, that he should do nothing but by advice and consent of the rest. Upon this advancement and the opposition made to it, two parties were formed, the one headed by the protector, and the other by the chancellor: the favourers of the reformation were of the former, and those that opposed it of the latter. The chancellor was ordered to renew the commissions of the judges and justices of peace, and king Henry's great seal was to be made use of till a new one should be made. The day after this, all the executors took oaths to execute their trust faithfully; the privy counsellors were also brought into the king's presence, who all expressed their satisfaction in the choice of the protector: and it was ordered that all dispatches to foreign princes should be signed only by him. All that held offices were required to come and renew their commissions, and to swear allegiance to the king.
Among the rest came the bishops, and took out such commissions as were granted in the former reign, by which they became subaltern to the king's vicegerent: but there being no one now in that office, they were immediately subaltern to the king. By these commissions they were to hold their bishoprics only during the king's pleasure, and were empowered in the king's name, as his delegates, to perform all parts of the episcopal function. Cranmer set an example to the rest in taking out such a commission. This check upon the bishops was judged expedient in case they should become refractory in point of religion; but the ill-consequences of such an unlimited power being well foreseen, the bishops, who were afterwards promoted, were not so fettered, but were permitted to hold their bishoprics during life. The grant of so many ecclesiastical dignities to the earl of Hertford, was no extraordinary thing at that time, for as Cromwell had been dean of Wells, so divers other laymen were promoted to them; which was thus excused, because there was no cure of souls belonging to them; and during vacancies, even in times of popery, the king had by his own authority, by the right of the Regale, given institution to them, so that they seemed to be no spiritual employments, and the ecclesiastics that enjoyed them, were generally a lazy and sensual sort of men.
An accident soon fell out, that made way for great changes in the church. The curate and churchwardens of St. Martin's in London were brought before the council for removing the crucifix and other images, and putting some texts of Scripture on the walls of their church. They answered, that they going to repair their church, had removed the images, which being rotten, they did not renew, but put words of Scripture in their room: they had also removed others, which they found had been abused to idolatry. Great pains was taken by the popish party to punish them severely, in order to strike a terror into others; but Cranmer was for removing all images set up in churches, as expressly contrary both to the second commandment, and the practice of Christians in the earliest and purest ages: and though in compliance with the gross abuses of paganism, there was very early much of the pomp of their worship brought into the Christian church, yet it was long before any images were introduced. At first all were condemned by the fathers: then they allowed the use, but condemned the worship of them; and afterwards in the eighth and ninth centuries, the worship of them was, after a long contest both in the East and West, both approved and condemned. Finally they were however approved, and generally adopted. Some, in particular, were believed to be most wonderfully enchanted, and this was much improved by the cheats of the monks, who enriched themselves by such means. It was grown to such a height, that heathenism itself had not been guilty of greater absurdities towards its idols; and the singular virtues in some images shewed they were not worshipped only as representations, for then all should have equal degrees of veneration paid to them. Since these abuses had risen merely out of the use of them, and setting them up being contrary to the command of God, and the nature of the Christian religion, which is simple and spiritual, it seemed most reasonable to cure the disease in its root, and to clear the churches of them all, that the people might be preserved from idolatry.
These reasons prevailed so far, that the curate and wardens were dismissed with a reprimand; they were required to beware of such rashness for the future, and to provide a crucifix, and till that could be had, were ordered to cause one to be painted on the wall. Upon this, Dr. Ridley, in a sermon preached before the king, inveighed against the superstition towards images and holy water, and spread over the whole nation a general disposition to pull them down; which soon after commenced in Portsmouth. Upon this, Gardiner made great complaints, and said the Lutherans themselves went not so far, for he had seen images in their churches. He distinguished between image and idol, as if the one, which he said was only condemned, was the representation of a false God, and the other of the true; and he thought, that as words conveyed through the ear begat devotion, so images, by conveyance through the eye, might have the same effect on the mind. He also thought a virtue might be both in them and in holy water, as well as there was in Christ's garments, Peter's shadow, or Elijah's staff: and there might be a virtue in holy water as in the water of baptism. But to these arguments which Gardiner wrote in several letters, the protector answered, that the bishops had formerly argued in another strain, namely, that because the scriptures were abused by the vulgar readers, therefore they were not to be trusted to them; and so made a pretended abuse the ground of taking away, that which by God's special appointment, was to be delivered to all Christians. This held much stronger against images forbidden by God. The brazen serpent set up by Moses, by God's own directions was broken when abused to idolatry; for that was the greatest corruption of religion possible. Yet the protector acknowledged he had reason to complain of the forwardness of the people, who broke down images without authority: to prevent which, in future, orders were sent to the justices to look well to the peace and government of the nation, to meet often, and every six weeks to advertise the protector of the state of the country to which they belonged.
The funeral of the deceased king was performed with the ordinary ceremonies at Windsor. He had left six hundred pounds a year to the church of Windsor, for priests to say mass for his soul every day, and for four obiits a year, and sermons, and the distributions of alms at every one of them, and for a sermon every Sunday, and a maintenance for thirteen poor knights, which was settled upon that church by his executors in due form of law. Obiit was the anniversary of a person's death, and to observe such a day with prayers, alms, or other commemoration, was termed keeping of the obiit. The chantries mentioned in this work were little churches, chapels, or particular altars, endowed with lands, or other revenues for the maintenance of one or more priests, to sing mass daily, and to perform divine service for the souls of the founders and such others as they appointed.
The pomps of these endowments in a more inquisitive age, led people to examine the usefulness of soul-masses and obiits. Christ appointed the sacrament for a commemoration of his death among the living, but it was not easy to conceive how that was to be applied to departed souls. For all the good that they could receive, seemed only applicable to the prayers for them; but bare prayers would not have wrought so much on the people, nor would they have paid so dear for them. It was a clear project for drawing the wealth of the world into the hands of the priests. In the primitive church there was a commemoration of the death, or an honourable remembrance, made in the daily offices; and for some very small faults names were not mentioned, which would not have been done if they had looked upon that as a thing that was really a relief to them in another state. But even this custom grew into abuse, and some inferred from it, that departed souls, unless they were signally pure, passed through a purgation in the next life, before they were admitted to Heaven; of which St. Austin, in whose time the opinion began to be received, says, that it was taken up without any sure ground in scripture. But what was wanting in scripture-proof was supplied by visions, dreams, and fables, till it was generally received. King Henry had acted like one who did not believe it, for he could expect no good usage in purgatory from those innumerable souls whom he had deprived of the masses that were to be said for them in monasteries, by destroying those foundations.
Yet it seems even he intended to make sure work for himself, so that if masses could avail departed souls, he resolved to be secure; and as he gratified the priests by this part of his endowment, so he pleased the people by appointing sermons and alms to be given on such days. Thus he died as he had lived, wavering between the two persuasions: and it occasioned no small debate, when men sought to find out what his opinions were in the controverted points of religion. But now the diversions of the coronation took them off from more serious thoughts. The protector was made duke of Somerset, the earl of Essex marquis of Northampton, the lords Lisle and Wriothesley earls of Warwick and Southampton; while Seymour, Rich, Willoughby, and Sheffield, were made barons. In order to the king's coronation, the office for that ceremony was reviewed, and much shortened: one remarkable alteration was, that whereas formerly the king used to be presented to the people at the corners of the scaffold, and they were asked if they would have him to be their king, now their assent and good will were taken for granted. The former looked like a rite of an election, rather than a ceremony of investing one that was already king. This was therefore changed, and the people were desired only to give the duty of allegiance they were bound to do. On the twentieth of February, Edward was crowned, and general pardon was proclaimed, out of which the duke of Norfolk, cardinal Pole, and some others were shamefully excepted. The lord chancellor, who was looked on as the head of the popish party, now lost his place by granting a commission to the master of the rolls and three masters of chancery, of these two were civilians, to execute his office in the court of chancery as if he were present, only their decrees were to be brought to him to be signed before they could be enrolled.
The first business of consequence that required great consideration, was the Smalcaldic war, then begun between the emperor and the princes of that league; the effects of which, if the emperor prevailed, were likely to be, not only the abolition of Lutheranism, but his being the absolute master of Germany; which the emperor ambitiously sought after, in order to a universal monarchy, but disguised it to other princes. To the pope he pretended that his design was only to extirpate heresy; to other princes he pretended it was only to repress some rebels, while he denied all design of suppressing their new doctrines; which he managed so artfully, that he even divided Germany itself, and got some Lutheran princes to declare for him, and others to be neutrals. Having obtained a liberal supply for his wars with France and the Turks, for which he granted an edict for liberty of religion, he made peace with both these powers, and resolved to employ that treasure which the Germans had given him against themselves. That he might deprive them of their chief allies, he had used means to engage king Henry and Francis the First in a war; but that was now in a measure composed; for as Henry died in January, so Francis followed him into another world in March following. Many of their confederates began to capitulate; and the divided command of the duke of Saxe, and the landgrave of Hesse, lost them great advantages the former year; in which it had been easy to have driven the emperor out of Germany; but often it happened that when the one was for engaging, the other was against it; which made many very doubtful of their success.
The pope had a mind to engage the emperor in a war in Germany, that so Italy might be at quiet: and in order to that, and to embroil him with all the Lutherans, he published his treaty so that it might appear that the design of the war was to extirpate heresy; though the emperor was making great protestations to the contrary at home. He also opened the council at Trent, which the emperor had long desired in vain; but it was now brought upon him when he least wished for it; for the protestants all declared, that they could not look upon it as a free general council, since it was so entirely at the pope's command that not so much as a reformation of some of the grossest abuses that could not be justified, was like to be obtained, unless clogged with such clauses as made it ineffectual. Nor could the emperor prevail with the council not to proceed to condemn heresy: but the more he obstructed that by delays, the more did the pope drive it on to open the eyes of the Germans, and engage them vigorously against the emperor: yet he gave them such secret assurances of tolerating the Augsburgh confession, that the marquis of Brandenburgh declared for him. This event, joined with the hopes of the electorate, drew in Maurice of Saxe. The count Palatine was old and feeble; the archbishop of Cologne would not make resistance, but retired, being condemned both by pope and emperor; while many of the cities submitted. And Maurice, by falling into Saxe, forced the elector to separate from the landgrave, and return to the defence of his own dominions. This was the state of the affairs in Germany: so that it was a hard point to resolve on what answer the protector should give the duke of Saxe's chancellor, whom he sent over to obtain an aid in money for carrying on the war. It was, on the one hand, of great importance to the safety of England to preserve the German princes, and yet it was very dangerous to begin a war of such consequence, under an infant king. At present they promised, within three months, to send by the merchants 50,000 crowns to Hamburgh, and resolved to do no more till new emergencies should lead them to new councils.
The nation was in an ill condition for a war with such a mighty prince, labouring under great distractions at home: moreover the people generally cried out for a reformation, despised the clergy, and loved the new preachers. The priests were, for the most part, both very ignorant and immoral: many of them had been monks, and those who had to pay them the pensions which were reserved to them at the destruction of the monasteries, till they should be provided, took care to get them into some small benefice. The greatest part of the parsonages were impropriated, for they belonged to the monasteries, and the abbots had only granted the incumbents either the vicarage, or some small donative, and left them the perquisites raised by masses and other offices. At the suppression of those houses there was no care taken to provide the incumbents better; so that they chiefly subsisted by trentals and other devices, which brought them in some small relief, though the price of them was very low, for masses went often at half a groat, and a groat was a great bounty.
Now these persons saw that a reformation of abuses took the bread out of their mouths; therefore their interests prevailing more than any thing else, they were zealous against all changes: yet that same principle made them comply with every change which was made, rather than lose their benefices. Their poverty made them run into another abuse, that of holding more benefices than one at a time, a corruption of so crying and scandalous a nature, that wherever it is practised it is sufficient to posses the people with great prejudices against the church which is guilty of it: there being nothing more contrary to the plainest impressions of reason than that every man who undertakes a cure of souls, whom at his ordination he has vowed to instruct, feed, and govern, ought to discharge that trust himself as the greatest and most important of all others. The clergy were encouraged in their opposition to all changes, by the protection they expected from Gardiner, Bonner, and Tonstal men of great reputation and in power: above all, the lady Mary openly declared against all changes till the king should be of age. On the other hand, Cranmer resolved to proceed more vigorously: the protector was firmly united to him, as were the young king's tutors. Edward himself was as much engaged as could be expected from so young a person; for both his knowledge and zeal for true religion were above his age. Several of the bishops also declared for a reformation, but Dr. Ridley, now bishop of Rochester, was the person on whom he most depended. Latimer remained with him at Lambeth, and did great service by his sermons, which were very popular; but he would not return to his bishopric, choosing rather to serve the church in a more disengaged manner. Many of the bishops were very ignorant and poor spirited men, raised merely by court favour, and little concerned for any thing but their revenues. Cranmer resolved to proceed by degrees, and to state the reasons of every advance so fully, that he hoped, by the blessing of God, to possess the nation of the fitness of what they should do, and thereby prevent any dangerous opposition that might otherwise be apprehended.
The power of the privy council had been much exalted in Henry's time, by act of parliament; and one proviso in it was, that the king's council should have the same authority when he was under age that he himself had at full age: it was, therefore, resolved to begin with a general visitation of all England, which was divided into six precincts: and two gentlemen, a civilian, a divine, and a register, were appointed for each visit. But before they were sent out, a letter was written to all the bishops, giving them notice of it, suspending their jurisdiction while it lasted, and requiring them to preach no where but in their cathedrals; and the other clergy should not preach but in their own churches, without licence: by this it was intended to restrain such as were not acceptable to their own parishes, and to grant others the licences to preach in any church of England. The greatest difficulty the reformers found, was in the want of able and prudent men, most of whom were too hot and indiscreet; while the few who were eminent, were required in London and the universities. These they intended to make as useful as possible, and appointed them to preach as itinerants and visitors. The only thing by which the people could be universally instructed, was a book of homilies: therefore, the twelve first homilies in the book, still known by that name, were compiled, in framing which the chief design was to acquaint the people aright with the nature of the gospel-covenant. The people were taught to depend on the sufferings of Christ, and to lead their lives according to the rules of the gospel.
Orders were also given, that a Bible should be in every church, which though it had been commanded by Henry, yet had not been generally obeyed; and for understanding the New Testament, Erasmus's paraphrase was translated into English, and appointed to be set up in every church. His great reputation and learning, and his dying in the communion of the Roman church, made this book to be preferable to any other, since there lay no prejudice to Erasmus, which would have been objected to in any other author. They renewed also all the injunctions made by Cromwell in the former reign, which, after his fall, were but little looked after, as those for instructing the people, for removing images, and putting down all other customs abused to superstition; for reading the scriptures, saying the litany in English, frequent sermons and catechising, the exemplary lives of the clergy, their labours in visiting the sick, and other parts of their function, such as reconciling differences, and exhorting the people to charity. All who gave livings by simoniacal bargains, were declared to have forfeited their right of patronage to the king. A great charge was also given for the strict observation of the Lord's day, which was appointed to be spent wholly in the service of God, it not being enough to hear mass in the morning, and spend the rest of the day in drunkenness and revelling, as was commonly practised; but it ought to be all employed, either in the duties of religion, or in acts of charity. Direction was also given for the bidding of prayers, in which the king as supreme head, the queen and the king's sisters, the protector and council, and all orders of the kingdom were to be mentioned. There were also injunctions given for the bishops to preach four times a year in all their dioceses, once in their cathedral, and thrice in any other church, unless they had a good excuse to the contrary: that their chaplains should preach often: and that they should ordain none but such as were duly qualified.
These excellent rules were variously censured. The clergy were only empowered to remove the abused images, and the people were restrained from doing it; but this authority being put in their hands, it was thought they would be slow and backward in it. The corruptions of lay-patrons and simoniacal priests had been often complained of, but no laws nor provisions were ever able to preserve the church from this great mischief: which can never be removed till patrons look on their right to nominate a man to the charge of souls, as a trust for which they are to render a severe account to God; and till priests are cured of aspiring to that charge, and look on it with dread and great caution. The prayer for departed souls was now moderated, to be a prayer only for the consummation of their happiness at the last day; whereas in king Henry's time they prayed that God would grant them release from all sin, which implied a purgatory.
The visitors at length ended the visitation, and had been every where submitted to. In London, and every part of England, the images, for refusing to bow down to which many a saint had been burnt, were now committed to the flames. Bonner at first protested that he would obey the injunctions, if they were not contrary to the laws of God and the ordinances of the church: but being called before the council, he retracted that, and asked pardon; yet, for giving terror to others, he was for some time put in prison. Gardiner wrote to one of the visitors, before they came to Winchester, that he could not receive the homilies; and if he must either quit his bishopric, or sin against his conscience, he resolved to chose the former. Upon this he was called before the council, and required to receive the book of homilies: but he objected to one of them which taught that charity did not justify, contrary to the book set out by the late king and confirmed in parliament. He also complained of many things in Erasmus's paraphrase; and being pressed to declare whether he would obey the injunctions or not, he refused to promise it, and was in consequence sent to the Fleet. Cranmer treated in private with him, and they argued much about justification. Gardiner thought the sacraments justified, and that charity justified as well as faith. Cranmer urged, that nothing but the merits of Christ justified, as they were applied by faith, which could not exist without charity. Nothing could be more correct than this: for what is faith but the love of God shed abroad in the heart--filling the believer with benevolence, and the desire of imparting the happiness he feels to all around him?
Gardiner lay in prison till the act of general pardon, passed in parliament, set him at liberty. Many blamed the severity of these proceedings, as contrary both to law and equity, and said, that all people, even those who complained most of arbitrary power, were apt to usurp it when in authority. Lady Mary was so alarmed at these proceedings, that she wrote to the protector, that such changes were contrary to the honour due to her father's memory, and it was against their duty to the king to enter upon such points, and endanger the public peace before he was of age. To which he answered, that her father had died before he could finish the good things he had intended concerning religion; and had expressed his regret both before himself and many others, that he left things in so unsettled a state: moreover he assured her, that nothing should be done but what would turn to the glory of God, and the king's honour and happiness.
Parliament was opened the 4th of November, and the protector was by patent authorized to sit under the cloth of state, on the right hand of the throne; and to have all the honours and privileges that any uncle of the crown ever had. Rich was made lord chancellor. The first act that passed, five bishops only dissenting, was, "A repeal of all statutes that had made any thing treason or felony in the late reign, which was not so before, and of the six articles, and the authority given to the king's proclamations, as also of the acts against Lollards. All who denied the king's supremacy, or asserted the pope's, for the first offence are to forfeit their goods, for the second are to be in a premunire, and to be attainted of treason for the third. But if any intend to deprive the king of his estate or title, that is made treason: none are to be accused of words but within a month after they were spoken." Parliament also repealed the power that the king had of annulling all laws made, till he was twenty-four years of age, and restrained it only to annulling them for the time to come, but that it should not be of force for the declaring them null from the beginning. Another act passed, with the same dissent, for the laity receiving the sacrament in both kinds and that the people should always communicate with the priest; and by it irreverence to the sacrament was condemned under severe penalties. Christ had clearly instituted the sacrament in both kinds, and St. Paul mentions both. In the primitive church that custom was universally observed, but upon the belief of transubstantiation, the reserving and carrying about the sacrament were brought in: this made them first endeavour to persuade the world, that the cup was not necessary, for wine could neither keep, nor be carried about conveniently. It was done away by degrees, the bread was for some time given dipped in the wine, as it is yet in the Greek church: but it being believed that Christ was entire under either kind, the council of Constance entirely took the cup from the laity; while the Bohemians could not be brought to submit to the loss. The abuse being now clearly seen, the use of the cup was, in every part, one of the first things insisted on by those who demanded a reformation. At first all who were present communicated, and censures were passed on such as did it not: none were denied the sacrament but penitents, who were made to withdraw during the action. But as the devotion of the world slackened, the people were still exhorted to continue their oblations, and come to the sacrament, though they did not receive it; and were made to believe, that the priests received it in their stead. The name sacrifice given to it, as being a holy oblation, was so farpa improved, that the world came to look on the priests officiating, as a sacrifice for the dead and living: hence followed an infinite variety of masses for all the accidents of human life; and that was the chief part of the priests' trade, and occasioned many unseemly jests concerning it, which were now restrained by the act that stopped the cause.
Another act passed without any dissent, that the conge d' elire, and the election pursuant to it, being but a shadow, since the person was named by the king, should cease for the future, and that bishops should be named by the king's letters patent, and thereupon be consecrated; and should hold their courts in the king's name, and not in their own, excepting only the archbishop of Canterbury's court: and they were to use the king's seal in all their writings, except in presentations, collations, and letters of orders, in which they might use their own seals. The apostles chose bishops and pastors, by an extraordinary gift of discerning spirits, and proposed them to the approbation of the people; yet they left no rules to make that necessary in future. In times of persecution, the clergy being maintained by the oblations of the people, they were chosen by them. But when the emperors became Christian, the town-councils and eminent men took the elections out of the hands of the rabble: and the tumults in popular elections were such, that it was necessary to regulate them. In some places the clergy, and in others the bishops of the province made the choice. The emperors reserved the confirmation of the elections in the great sees to themselves. But when Charles the Great annexed vast territories and regalities to bishoprics, a change followed. Churchmen were so corrupted by this undue greatness, and came to depend on the humours of those princes to whom they owed their increase of wealth. Princes named them, and invested them in their sees: but the popes intended to separate the ecclesiastical state from all subjection to secular princes, and to make themselves the heads of that state. At first they pretended to restore the freedom of elections, but these were now engrossed in a few hands, for only the chapters chose.
Another act was made against idle vagabonds, that they should be made slaves for two years, by any who should seize on them; this was chiefly designed against some vagrant monks, as appears by the provisions of the act. These men went about the country infusing into the people a dislike of the government. The severity of this act excited in the nation, ever averse to slavery, a dislike so that it was but little attended to; and this was the reason that the other provisions for supplying those who were truly indigent, and willing to be employed, had no effect. After this followed the act for giving the king all those chantries which his father had not seized on by virtue of the grant made to him of them. Cranmer much opposed this; for the poverty of the clergy was such that the state of learning and religion was like to suffer greatly if it should not be relieved; and yet he saw no probable fund for that, but the preserving these till the king should come to age, and allow the selling them, for buying in of at least such a share of the impropriations as might afford them some more comfortable subsistence: yet notwithstanding he and seven other bishops dissented, it was passed. Last of all a general pardon, but clogged with some exceptions, was passed.
The convocation sat at the same time; and moved, that a commission begun in the late reign of thirty-two persons for reforming the ecclesiastical laws might be revived, and that the inferior clergy might be admitted to sit in the house of commons, for which they alleged a clause in the bishop's writ and ancient custom. Since some prelates had, under the former reign, begun to alter the form of the service of the church, they desired this might be brought to perfection; and that some care might be had of supplying the poor clergy, and relieving them from the taxes that lay so heavily on them. The question of the inferior clergy sitting in the house of commons, was the subject of some debate, and was again set on foot, both under queen Elizabeth and king James, but to no effect. It was, however, resolved that some bishops and divines should be sent to Windsor, to finish some reformations in the public offices; for the whole lower house of convocation, without a contradictory vote, agreed to the bill about the sacrament, while it is not known what opposition it met with in the upper house. A proposition being also set on foot concerning the lawfulness of the marriage of the clergy, thirty-five subscribed to the affirmative, and only fourteen dissented. Gardiner being included in the act of pardon was set at liberty: he promised to receive and obey the injunctions, objecting only to the homily of justification; yet he complied in that likewise; but it was visible that in his heart he abhorred all their proceedings, though he outwardly conformed.
Candlemas and Lent were now approaching, and the clergy and people were much divided with respect to the ceremonies usual at those times. By some injunctions in king Henry's reign it had been declared that fasting in Lent was only binding by a positive law. Wakes and games were also suppressed, and hints were given that other customs, which were much abused, should be shortly done away. The gross rabble loved these things, as matters of diversion, and thought divine worship without them would be but a dull business. But others looked on them as relics of heathenism, and thought they did not become the gravity and simplicity of the Christian religion. Cranmer, upon this, procured an order of council against carrying candles on Candlemas-day, ashes on Ash-Wednesday, and palms on Palm-sunday; which was directed to Bonner to be intimated to the bishops of the province of Canterbury. A proclamation followed against all who should make changes without authority. Creeping to the cross and taking holy bread and water were put down, and power was given to the archbishop of Canterbury to certify, in the king's name, what ceremonies should be afterwards laid aside; and none were to preach out of their own parishes without license from the king or the visitors, the archbishop, or the bishop of the diocese. Soon after this, when the general order followed for a removal of all images out of churches, there were every where great contests whether the images had been abused to superstition or not. Some thought the consecration of them was an abuse common to them all. Those also which represented the Trinity as a man with three faces in one head; or as an old man with a young man before him, and a dove over his head; gave so great scandal, that it was no wonder for the people as they grew more enlightened, not longer to endure them. The only occasion given to censure in this order was, that all shrines, and the plate belonging to them, were appointed to be brought into the king's use.
Eighteen bishops, and other divines, were now employed to examine the offices of the church, to see which of them needed amendment. They began with the eucharist, and proceeded in the same manner as in the former reign. Every one gave his opinion in writing, in answer to the question put to him. It was clearly found that the plain institution of the sacrament was much vitiated, with a mixture of many heathenish rites and pomps, to raise the credit of the priests, in whose hands that great performance was lodged. This was at first done to draw over the heathens by those splendid rites to Christianity; but superstition once begun had no bounds nor measures; and ignorance and barbarity increasing in the darker ages, there was no regard paid to any thing in religion, but as it was set off with pageantry; and the belief of the corporeal presence raised this to a still greater height. The office was in an unknown tongue; all the vessels and garments belonging to it were consecrated with much devotion; great part of the service was secret, to make it look like a wonderful charm; the consecration itself was to be said very softly, for words that were not to be heard agreed best with a change that was not to be seen: many gesticulations, and magnificent processions, all tended to raise this pageantry higher. Masses were also said for all the turns and affairs of human life. Trentals, a custom of having thirty masses a year on the chief festivities for redeeming souls out of purgatory, was that which brought the priests most money, for these were thought God's best days, in which access was easier to him. On saints' days it was prayed, that by their intercession the sacrifice might become the more acceptable, and procure a larger indulgence; which could not be easily explained, if the sacrifice was the death of Christ. The first step that was now made was a new office for the communion, this is, the distribution of the sacrament, for the office of consecration was not at this time touched. In the exhortation, auricular confession to a priest is left free to be done or omitted, and all are required not to judge one another in that matter. There was also a denunciation made, requiring impenitent sinners to withdraw. The bread was to be still the same as that formerly used. In the distribution it was said, "The body of our Lord preserve thy body;" and "the blood of our Lord preserve thy soul." This was printed with a proclamation, requiring all to receive it with such reverence and uniformity as might encourage the king to proceed further, and not to run to other things before the king gave direction, assuring the people of his earnest zeal to set forth godly orders; and therefore it was hoped they would wait for it: the books were sent all over England, and the clergy were appointed to give the communion next Easter according to them.
Many were offended to find confession left indifferent, so this matter was examined. Christ gave his apostles a power of binding and loosing; and St. James commanded all to confess their faults to one another. In the primitive church, all that denied the faith, or otherwise gave scandal, were separated from the communion, and not admitted to it till they made public confession: and according to the degrees of their sin, the time and degree of public penitence and their separation were proportioned: which was the chief subject of the consultations of the councils in the fourth and fifth centuries. Secret sins the people lay under no obligation to confess, but they went often to the priests for direction, even for these. Near the end of the fifth century they began to have secret penances and confessions, as well as public; and in the seventh century this became the general practice. In the eighth century the commutation of penance for money, or other services done the church, was brought in. Then the holy wars and pilgrimages came to be magnified. Crusades against heretics, or princes deposed by the pope, were set up instead of all other penances: priests managed confession and absolution, so as to enter into people's secrets, and to govern their consciences by them; but they becoming very ignorant, and not so associated as to be governed by orders that might be sent them from Rome, friars were mostly employed to hear confessions, and many reserved cases were made, in which the pope only gave absolution. Such cases were trusted to monks, who had the trade of indulgences put in their hands, which they managed with as much confidence as mountebanks used in selling their medicines, with this advantage, that the inefficiency of their devices was not so easily discovered, for the people believed all that was told them. In this they grew to such a pitch of confidence, that for saying some collects, indulgences for years, and for hundreds and thousands of years were granted; so cheap a thing was heaven made. This trade was now thrown out of the church, and private confession was declared indifferent.
Gardiner was again brought into trouble; many complaints were made of him, that he disparaged the preachers sent with the king's licence into his diocese, and that he secretly opposed all reformation. On being brought before the council, he denied most of the things objected to him, and offered to explain himself openly in a sermon before the king. This being granted, he justified many of the changes that had been made; but when he came to the sacrament, he contended so strongly for the corporeal presence, that a great disturbance took place in the church. This conduct of his being deemed seditious, he was sent to the Tower, where, however, he was treated with the greatest lenity, which he returned by sullen obstinacy and resentment. Now a more general reformation of the whole liturgy was under consideration, that all the nation might have an uniformity in the worship of God. Anciently the liturgies were short, and had few ceremonies in them: every bishop had one for his diocese; but in the African churches they began first to put them into a more regular form. Gregory the great laboured much in this; yet he left Austin the monk to his liberty, either to use the Roman or French forms in England, as he found they were like to tend most to edification. Great additions were made in every age; for the private devotions of some who were reputed saints, were added to the public offices; and mysterious significations were invented for every new rite, which was the chief study of some ages: this swelled them up to a vast bulk. It was not then thought of, that praying consisted in the inventing new words, and uttering them with warmth; and it seemed too great a subjection of the people to their priests, that they should be compelled to join with them in all their hearts in prayer. It was then resolved to make a liturgy, and to bring the worship to a fit medium between the pomp of superstition and naked simplicity. It was resolved to change nothing merely in opposition to received practices, but rather in imitation of what Christ did in the institution of the two sacraments of the gospel, which consisted of rites used among the Jews, but blessed by him to higher purposes; to comply with what had been formerly in use as much as was possible, and thereby to gain the people. The consecrations of water, salt, and other things, in the church of Rome, looked like the remainder of heathenism, and were laid aside: these had been like the spirits, which being abjured, and a divine virtue supposed to be in them, the people came to think that by such observances they might be sure of Heaven. The absolutions by which, on account of the merits of the blessed virgin and the saints, the sprinklings of water, fastings, and pilgrimages, with many other observances, sins were pardoned, as well as on the account of the passion of Christ; these and the absolution given to the dead bodies looked like gross impostures, tending to make the world think, that besides the painful way to Heaven in a course of true holiness, the priests had secrets in their hands of carrying people thither by another method, and on easier terms. This drew them to purchase their favour, especially when they were dying: so that, as their fears were then heightened, there was no other way left them, in the conclusion of an ill life, to die with any good hopes, but as they bargained with their priests: therefore all this was now rejected.
It was resolved to have the whole worship in the vulgar tongue; upon which St. Paul has copiously enlarged; and all nations, as they were converted to Christianity, had their offices translated into their own language. But of late it had been pretended, that it was part of the communion of saints, that the worship should be every where in the original tongue, though the people were hardly used, when for the sake of some vagrant priests that might come from foreign parts, they were kept from knowing what was said in the worship of God. It was pretended that Pilate having ordered the inscription of the cross in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, these three languages were sanctified; but it is not easy to understand what authority the Jewish king had for conferring such a privilege on them. But keeping all in an unknown tongue preserved in dark ages the esteem of their offices; in which there were such prayers and hymns, and such lessons, that if the people had understood them they must have given great scandal. In many prayers the pardon of sins and the grace of God were asked in such a style of the saints, as if they had been wholly at their disposal, and as if they had been more merciful than God or Christ. In former times, all who officiated were peculiarly habited, and all their garments were blessed, and these were considered as a part of the train of the priests' vestments under the mosaical law, and had early been brought into the Christian churches: it was a proper expression of innocence, and it being fit that the worship of God should be in a decent habit, it was continued. Since the sacrifices offered to idols were not thereby, according to St. Paul, of their own nature polluted, and every creature of God was good, it was thought, notwithstanding the former abuse, most reasonable to use these garments still.
The morning and evening prayers were put almost in the same form as that in which they now stand, only there was no confession nor absolution. In the office for the communion there was a commemoration of thanksgiving for the Blessed Virgin and all departed saints, and they were commended to God's mercy and peace. In the consecration the use of crossing the elements was retained; but there was no elevation of the host, which was at first used as an historical rite, to show Christ's being lifted up on the cross, and was afterwards done to excite the people to adore it. No stamp was to be on the bread, and it was to be thicker than ordinary. It was to be put in the people's mouths by the priests, though it had been anciently put in their hands. Some in the Greek church began to take it in spoons of gold, others in linen cloth, called their dominical: but after the corporeal presence was received, the people were not suffered to touch it, and the priests' hands were peculiarly anointed to qualify them for the mystic contact. In baptism the child's head and breast were crossed, and abjuration was made of the devil to depart from it: children were to be thrice dipped, or in case of weakness, water was to be sprinkled on their faces, and then they were to be anointed. The sick might also be anointed if they desired it. At funerals, the departed soul was recommended to God's mercy.
The sacraments were formerly believed of such virtue, that they conferred grace by the very receiving them; what was called the opus operatum was deemed sufficient, though both faith and repentance were absent. The ancients used to send portions of the eucharist to the sick, but without any pomp: which came in when the corporeal presence was believed. But it was now appointed that the sacraments should be ministered to the sick, and therefore, in case of weakness, children were allowed to be baptised in houses; though it was more suitable to the design of baptism, which was the admission of a new member to the church, to do it before the whole congregation. This, which was then aprovision for weakness, is now a mark of vanity, and a piece of affected state. It was also appointed, that the Lord's supper should be given to the sick; not to be sent from the church, but consecrated by their bedsides: since Christ had said, that where two or three were assembled in his name he would be in the midst of them. But it is a gross relique of the worst part of popery for any to imagine, that after an ill life, some sudden sorrow for sin, with a hasty absolution, and the sacrament, will be a passport to Heaven; since the mercies of God in Christ are offered in the gospel only to those who truly believe, sincerely repent, and change the course of their lives.
The liturgy thus compiled was published with a preface concerning ceremonies. Of course it was narrowly scanned in every part. When the book came into all men's hands several things were censured: as particularly the frequent use of the cross, and anointing. The former began to be used as the badge of a crucified Saviour: but the superstition of it was so much advanced that latria-the highest kind of worship-was given to the crosier. The using of it was also believed to have virtue for driving away evil spirits, and preserving from dangers; so that a sacramental efficacy was ascribed to it; which could not be maintained, since there is no institution for it in scripture. But the using it was made a ceremony, expressing the belief and worship of a crucified Saviour, which could import no superstition, nor involve idolatry. These several regulations were of great importance, because the protestant religion now appeared almost ruined in Germany, which made the divines of that country turn their eyes to England. Calvin wrote to the protector, and pressed him to go on to a more complete reformation; and that prayers for the dead, chrism, and extreme unction, might be laid aside. He desired him to trust in God, and advance, and wished there was more preaching, and in a more lively way than he heard was then in the land: but above all things he prayed him to suppress that impiety and profanity that, he heard, abounded in the nation.
In February 1549, an act passed granting the clergy to marry. It was declared, that it were better for priests to live unmarried, free from all worldly cares; yet, since the laws compelling it had occasioned great debauchery, they were repealed. The pretence of chastity in the Romish priests had possessed the world with a high opinion of them, and had been a great reflection on the reformers, if the world had not clearly seen through it, and been made sensible of the ill effects of it, by the defilement it brought into their own houses and families. Nor was there any point in which the reformers had studied more to remove the prejudice that lay against them. In the Old Testament the priests were not only married, but the office descended by inheritance. In the New Testament, marriage was declared honourable in all: among the qualifications of bishops and deacons, each being the husband of one wife is reckoned up. Many of the apostles were married, and carried their wives about with them, as also Aquilla did Priscilla. Forbidding to marry is reckoned a mark of the apostacy of the latter days, and called a doctrine of devils.
All the canons made against the married clergy, were only positive laws which might be repealed. The priests in the Greek church still lived in a conjugal state. In the west the clergy generally married; and in Edgar's time they were for the most part married in England. In the ninth century, the doctrine of celibacy, though urged by pope Nicholas, was resisted by a large majority of both priests and people. In the eleventh century, Gregory VII. intended to set up a new ecclesiastical empire, found that the unmarried clergy would be his best servants, since the married clergy gave pledges to the state; therefore he proceeded furiously to celibate the church, and called all the married priests Nicolaitans: while in England, Lanfrac only imposed celibacy on the prebendaries, and the clergy that lived in towns. Anseim imposed it on all without exception; but both he, Bernard, and Peter Damiani, complained that lust abounded much, even among the bishops. Not only Panormitan, but Pius II., wished that the law of celibacy was taken away. It was therefore clear, that it was not founded on the law of God; and it was a sin to force churchmen to vow that which sometimes was not in their power. It was found by examining the forms of ordination, that the priests in England had made no such vows; and even the vow in the Roman pontifical to live chastely, did not import a tie not to marry, since a man might live chaste in a married state. Many lewd stories were published of the clergy, but none seemed more remarkable, than that of the pope's legate in the time of Henry II. who the very same night after he had put all the married clergy from their benefices, himself was chargeable with flagrant impurity.
Another act passed confirming the liturgy which was now finished; eight bishops and three temporal lords only protesting against it. There was a long preamble, setting forth the inconvenience of the former offices, and the pains that had been taken to reform them; and that divers bishops and divines had, by the aid of the Holy Ghost, with an uniform agreement concluded on the new book: therefore they enacted that by Whitsunday next, all divine offices should be performed according to it; and if any used other offices, for the first offence they should be imprisoned six months, lose their benefices for a second, and be imprisoned during life for the third.
Another act also passed respecting fasting. It declared that notwithstanding all days and meats were in themselves alike, yet fasting, being a great help to virtue, and to subduing the body to the mind, and a distinction of meats conducing to the advancement of the fishing-trade, it was enacted, that Lent, and all Fridays, Saturdays, and Emberdays, should be fish-days, under several penalties, excepting the weak, or those that had the king's licence. Christ had told his disciples, that when he was taken from them they should fast: so in the primitive church christians fasted before Easter; but the same number of days was not observed in all places: afterwards other rules and days were established; but St. Austin complained, that many in his time placed all their religion in observing them. Fast-days were turned to a mockery in the church of Rome, in which clergy as well as laity sumptuously dined, and eat fish exquisitely dressed, and drank wine, and other choice beverage.
Both the laity and clergy granted the king subsidies, upon which the parliament was prorogued. The first thing taken into care was the receiving the act of uniformity. Some complaints were made of the priests' manner of officiating; who did it with such a tone of voice that the people could not understand what was said any more than when the prayers were said in Latin. Prayers were, therefore, ordered to be said in parish churches in a plain voice; while in cathedrals the old way was still kept up, as agreeing better with the music used in them. Though this seemed not very decent in the confession of sins, nor in the litany, where a simple voice, gravely uttered, agreed better with those devotions than cadences and quavering notes, it was yet retained. Others continued to use all the gesticulations, crossings, and kneelings, to which they had been formerly accustomed. The people also continued the use of their beads, which had been brought in by Peter the Hermit, in the eleventh century, by which repeating the angels salutation to the virgin was made a great part of their devotions, and was ten times said for one Pater Noster. Instructions were given to the visitors to put all these down in a new visitation, and to enquire if any priests continued their trentals, their thirty masses for departed souls. Orders were also given, that there should be no private masses at altars in the corners of churches; also that there should be but one communion in a day, unless in great churches, and at high festivals, in which they were allowed to have two, one in the morning, and another at noon.
The visitors made their report, that they found the book of common-prayer received universally over the kingdom, except that lady Mary continued to have mass said according to the abrogated forms. Upon this the council wrote to her to conform to the laws; pleading with her that being so near to the king in blood, she was the more obliged to give example to the rest of the subjects. She refused to comply, and sent to the emperor for his protection; upon which he pressed the English ambassador, who promised that for some time she should be dispensed. The emperor pretended afterwards that they had made him an absolute promise that she should never more be troubled about it; but the ambassador said it was only a temporary one. She refused to acknowledge the laws made when the king was under age, and carried herself very haughtily. She well knew that the protector was then fearful of a war with France, which made the emperor's alliance more necessary to England: yet the council sent for the officers of her household, and required them to let her know that the king's authority was the same while he was a child as at full age; and that it was now lodged in them; and though as single persons, they were all inferior to her, yet as they were the king's council, she was bound to obey them, especially when they executed the law; which all subjects, of whatever rank, were bound to obey. She obstinately refused to hear any of the bishops speak before her in favour of the reformation. Upon this the council returned an answer to her, that her objections were more the result of will than of reason, and therefore her grace must be admonished neither to trust her own opinion without ground, nor to mislike all others having ground. If hers were good, it were no hurt if she heard the worst. If it were ill, she might do well to hear the better.
The reformation of the greatest errors in divine worship being thus established, Cranmer proceeded next to establish a form of doctrine. The chief point hitherto untouched, was the presence of Christ in the sacrament, which the priests magnified as the greatest mystery of the Christian religion, and the chief privilege of Christians; with which the simple and credulous vulgar were mightily affected. The Lutherans received that which had been for some ages the doctrine of the Greek church, that in the sacraments there was both bread and wine, and also the substance of the body and blood of Christ. The Helvetians looked on it only as a commemoration of the death of Christ. The princes of Germany were at great pains to have these reconciled, in which Bucer had laboured with great industry. Some took a middle way, and asserted a real presence, while it was not easy to understand what was meant by that expression, unless it was a real application of Christ's death; so that the meaning of really was effectually. Though Bucer followed this method, Peter Martyr in his lectures declared plainly for the Helvetians. Dr. Smith and some others intended publicly to oppose and affront him; and challenged him to a dispute about it, which he readily accepted on condition that the king's council should first approve of it, and that it should be managed in scripture terms: for the strength of those doctors lay in a nimble managing of those barbarous and unintelligible terms of the schools, which, though they sounded high, yet really had no meaning: so that the protestants resolved to dispute in scripture terms, which were certainly more proper in matters of divinity than the metaphysical language of schoolmen.
The council having appointed Dr. Cox and some others to preside in the dispute, Dr. Smith went out of the way, and a little after fled out of England: but before he went he wrote a very mean submission to Cranmer. Other doctors disputed with Peter Martyr concerning transubstantiation, but it had the common fate of all public disputes, for both sides contended that they were victors. At this time there were also disputes at Cambridge, which were moderated by Ridley, who had been sent down by the council. He had fallen on Bertram's book of the sacrament, and wondered much to find so celebrated a writer in the ninth century engage so plainly against the corporeal presence. This disposed him to think that at the time it was not the received belief of the church: he communicated the opinion to Cranmer, and they together made great collections out of the fathers upon it, and both of them wrote concerning it.
The substance of their arguments was, that as Christ called the cup "the fruit of the vine," so St. Paul called the other element bread, after the consecration; which shews that their nature was not changed. When Christ substituted the eucharist in the room of the paschal lamb, he used such expressions as had been customary among the Jews on that occasion; who called the lamb the Lord's passover; which could not be meant literally, since the passover was the angels' passing over their houses, when the first-born of the Egyptians were killed. Being a commemoration of what was called the Lord's passover, in the same sense did Christ call the bread his body: figurative expressions being ordinary in scripture, and not improper in sacraments, which may be called figurative actions. The Lord's supper was also appointed for a remembrance of Christ, and that supposes absence. The elements were also called by Christ his body broken, and his blood shed; so it is plain they were his body, not as it is glorified in Heaven, but as it suffered on the cross: and since the scriptures speak of Christ's continuance in Heaven till the last day, from thence they inferred that he was not corporeally present. It was moreover shewed, that eating Christ's flesh, mentioned by St. John, was not to be understood of the sacrament, since of every partaker it is said that he has eternal life. It must therefore be understood only of receiving Christ's doctrine as he himself explained, when he said, "The flesh profiteth nothing; but my words, they are spirit and they are life."
There were some anabaptists at this time in England, who came from Germany. Of these there were two sorts; the first only objected to baptising children, and to the manner of it by sprinkling instead of dipping. The other held many opinions, anciently condemned as heresies: they had raised a cruel war in Germany, and had set up a new king as Munster: but all these bore the name of anabaptists from their rejection of infant baptism, though that was one of the mildest opinions they held. When they came over to England, a commission was granted to some bishops, and others, to search them out, and to proceed against them. Several of these persons on being taken up and brought before the council, abjured their errors, which were, that there was not a Trinity of persons; that Christ was not God, and took not flesh of the Virgin; and that a regenerate man could not sin.
Among the most zealous and enthusiastic holders of the opinion that Christ was not the same flesh as his virgin mother, was Joan Bocher, generally called Joan of Kent. She was resolute in her opinions, and rejected all the instruction offered her with scorn: she was, therefore, condemned as an obstinate heretic, and delivered to the secular arm. It was with the most extreme reluctance that the king signed the warrant for her execution; he thought it was an instance of the same spirit of cruelty for which the reformers condemned the papists; and, notwithstanding all the arguments that were used with him, he was rather silenced than satisfied. He signed the warrant with tears in his eyes, and said to Cranmer, that since he resigned up himself to his judgment, if he sinned in it the sin should lie at his door. This struck the archbishop; and both he and Ridley took Joan into their houses, and tried what reason joined with gentleness could do. But she became more and more resolute in her profession, and at last was burnt. She was sustained in her last moments by the peculiar fervor of her soul in the resistance of what she called, and justly called, a most cruel and unrighteous tyranny. Unprejudiced spirits, under full christian controul, would have mercifully provided this poor victim of lunacy with some appropriate asylum, rather than indulge the thought of leading her to the stake and kindling the flames around her. Gracious God! that this should have been done by Christians and Protestants! and that, while they were reforming the church, and attempting to establish on the ruins of a barbarous policy the gospel of peace and love! Joan was not the only victim of protestant misrule. George Van Parre, a Dutchman, was also condemned and burnt for denying the divinity of Christ, and saying, that the Father only was God. He had led a very exemplary life, both for fasting, devotion, and a good conversation; and he suffered with extraordinary composedness of mind. Against the other sort of anabaptists no severities were used; but several books were written to justify infant baptism; and the practice of the church so clearly begun, and so universally spread, was thought a good plea, especially being grounded on such arguments in scripture as demonstrated at least its lawfulness and propriety.
About this time a rebellion broke out in many parts of England partly arising from a jealousy in the commons against the nobility and gentry, who finding more advantage by the trade of wool than corn, generally inclosed their grounds, and turned them to pasture, by which a great number of persons were thrown out of employment, and a general consternation prevailed. The other cause was the unquenched enmity of the priests to the reformation, who endeavoured to revive in the minds of the blinded multitude their former errors. In Devonshire, the insurrection was very formidable; the superstition of the priests joining with the rage of the commons, they became quickly ten thousand strong. The lord Russel was sent against them with a small force, and ordered to try if the matter could be composed without blood: but Arundel, a man of quality, commanding the rebels, they were not a loose body of people so easily dispersed. They sent their demand to court-that the old service and ceremonies might be set up again; might be again in force: that the bible in English should be called in; that preachers should pray for the souls in purgatory; that Cardinal Pole should be restored; that the half of the abbey lands should be restored, to found two abbeys in every country; and that gentlemen of 100 marks a year might have but one servant. They desired besides, a safe conduct for their chief leaders, in order to the redress of their particular grievances.
Cranmer wrote an answer, shewing the impropriety and superstition of those rites and ceremonies, and of that whole way of worship of which they were so fond: and that the amendments and changes had been made according to the scriptures, and the customs of the primitive church: that their being fond of a worship which they understood not, and being desirous to be kept still in ignorance, without the scriptures, proved that their priests had greater power over them than the common reason of all mankind had. "As for the six articles," he added "that act had never passed if the king had not gone in person to the parliament, and argued for it: yet he soon saw his error, and was slack in executing it." After this a threatening answer was sent them in the king's name, charging them with their rebellion that blind obedience to their priests. In it the king's authority, though he was under age, was largely set forth; for by the pretence of his minority the people generally were taught to believe that their rising in arms was not rebellion. In conclusion, they were earnestly invited to submit to the royal mercy, as others had done, whom the king had not only pardoned, but whose just grievances he had fully redressed. A fast was proclaimed at court, when Cranmer preached with great freedom and vehemence: he laid before them their vicious lives, particularly of those who pretended a love to the gospel; and declared the judgments of God which they might look for; enlarging on the fresh example of the calamities of Germany, and intimating the sad apprehensions he had of some terrible stroke, if they did not repent and amend. The rebels continuing in arms, troops were sent against them; and after some resistance, they were at length every where routed, their leaders punished, and tranquillity restored.
A visitation of Cambridge followed soon after. Ridley was the chief visitor. When he found that a design was laid to suppress some colleges, under pretence of uniting them to others, and to convert some fellowships that were provided for divines to the study of the civil law, he refused his assent. He said the church was already too much robbed, and yet some men's craving was not to be satisfied. It seems the design was laid to drive both religion and learning out of the land; and therefore he desired leave to be gone. The visitors complained of him to the protector, who wrote him a chiding letter: but he answered it with the freedom that became a bishop, who was resolved to suffer all things rather than sin against his conscience; and the protector was so well satisfied with him, that for his sake the college of Clare-hall, the suppression of which he had strongly objected to, was preserved.
Bonner was now brought into trouble. It was not easy to know how to deal with him, for he obeyed every order that was sent to him; and yet it was known that he secretly hated and condemned the whole reforming system, and as often as he could declare that safely, he was not wanting by such ways to preserve his interest with the papists: thus though he obeyed the orders of council, he did it in so remiss a manner that it was visible it went against him. He was therefore called before it, and charged with several particulars, that whereas he used to officiate himself on the great festivals, he had not done it since the new service was set out; that he took no care to repress adultery, and that he never preached. In the end, proving very refractory and violent, he was deprived of his bishopric, and committed to prison during the king's pleasure.
The English affairs this year upon the continent were extremely unsuccessful, and the protector being charged with the result, complaints went loud against him; and his enemies, who were very numerous and powerful, took off the mask and openly declared hostility to his government. The earls of Southampton and Warwick were the chief; the one hated him for dismissing him from office, and the other hoped to be the chief man in the realm if he should fall. Nor was this all the protector's peril; the privy counsellors complained, that he was become so arbitrary in his proceedings, that he disregarded the opposition that was made by the majority of the council to any of his designs. All these things concurred to beget him many enemies: and except Cranmer, Paget, and Smith, all turned against him. The council violently complained of his conduct in foreign affairs, and enlarged upon the evils that had resulted from it.
The protector carried the king to Hampton-court, and put many of his own people about him, which increased the jealousy against him: upon which, nine of the privy council met at Ely-house, and assumed to themselves the authority of the council; and secretary Petre being sent by the king, to ask the account of their meeting, instead of returning joined himself to them. They made a large declaration of the protector's ill-government; and they resolved themselves to see to the safety of the king and kingdom. Both the city of London, and the lieutenant of the Tower declared for them: they also sent letters through England, desiring the assistance of the nobility and gentry. Seven more privy counsellors came and joined them. The protector had removed the king from Hampton-court to Windsor, which had some defence about it; and had armed some of his own servants, and set them about the king's person; yet seeing himself abandoned by all but a few friends, and finding the party against him was of such a strength that it would be in vain to struggle any longer, he offered to submit himself to the council. A proposition of treaty was set on foot, and the lords in London were desired to send two of their number with their proposals, and a passport was sent them for their safety. Cranmer and two others wrote to the council, to dispose them to an agreement, and not to follow cruel suggestions. Many false reports were abroad of the protector, that he had threatened, if they intended to put him to death, the king should die first, which served to increase the prejudices against him. The council wrote to Cranmer and Paget, charging them to look well to the king's person, that he should not be removed from Windsor; and that the protector's dependants might be put from him, and his own sworn servants admitted. They also protested that they would proceed with all the moderation and favour towards the duke that was possible. Understanding that all things were prepared as they had desired, they sent first three of their number, to see that the duke and some of his friends, namely, Smith, Stanhope, Thynne, Wolf, and Cecil, should be confined to their lodgings; and on the 12th of October, the whole council went to Windsor, and made great protestations of their duty to the king, which he received favourably, and assured them he took all that they had done in good part.
On this the protector, with the rest of his friends except Cecil, who was presently enlarged, were sent to the Tower, and many articles were objected to him, that he had treated with ambassadors apart, had made bishops and lord-lieutenants of his own will, had held a court of requests in his house, had embased the coin and neglected the places the king had in France, had encouraged the commons in their late insurrections, had given out commissions, and proclaimed a pardon without consent of the council; that he had animated the king against them, had proclaimed them traitors, and had put his own servants armed about the king's person. Hence it appears, that the crimes alleged against him were the effects of his sudden exaltation, which had made him too much forget that he was a subject: although in fact he had carried his greatness with much innocence, since in all the studied charges brought against him by his numerous enemies, no acts of cruelty, rapine, or bribery, were objected to him. His faults were rather errors and weaknesses, than crimes. His embasing the coin was done upon a common mistake of weak governments, who fly to that as their last refuge in the necessity of their affairs. In his imprisonment, he set himself to the study of moral philosophy and divinity, and wrote a preface to a book of patience, which had made great impressions on him. His fall was a great affliction to all who loved the reformation, and this was increased because they had no reason to trust much to the two chief men of the party against him. Southampton was a known papist, and Warwick was looked on as a man of no religion: and both at the emperor's court, and in France, it was expected that upon this revolution, religion would again drop into the posture in which king Henry had left it. The duke of Norfolk and bishop Gardiner hoped to be discharged, Bonner looked to be re-established in his bishopric, and all people began to neglect the new service: this would no doubt immediately have been the case had not the earl of Warwick, finding the king zealously affected to the reformation, quickly forsook the popish party, and become a mighty promoter of that cause. A court of civilians was appointed to examine Bonner's appeal, and upon their report the council rejected it, and confirmed the sentence that had been upon him.
In November the parliament met, when an act was passed declaring it treason to call any to the number of twelve together about matter of state, if on being required they did not disperse. The bishops made a heavy complaint of the growth of vice and impiety, and that their power was so much abridged, they could not repress them. Accordingly a bill was read, enlarging their authority; but it was thought to give them too much power, and it was so moderated that the lords passed it; but the commons rejected it, and sent up a bill that empowered thirty-two who were to be named by the king, one half of the temporality, and the other of the spirituality, to compile a body of ecclesiastical laws within three years; and that these, not being contrary to the common or statute law, and approved of by the king, should have ecclesiastical authority in the land. Of this thirty-two, four were to be bishops, and as many to be common lawyers. Twelve divines were also empowered to prepare a new form of ordination; which being confirmed under the great seal, should take place after April. Articles were then put in against the duke of Somerset, with a confession signed by him. He protested that his errors had flowed rather from indiscretion than malice, and denied all treasonable designs against the king or the realm: he was fined in 2000l. a year in land, and the loss of all his goods and offices. He complained of the heaviness of this censure, and desired earnestly to be restored to the king's favour, trusting that he should make amends for his past follies. He was discharged in the beginning of February, soon after which he was pardoned, and was again brought both to the court and council.
The reformation now proceeded with fresh vigour. The council sent orders over England to require all to conform themselves to the new service, and to call in all the books of the old offices. An act passed in parliament to the same effect. All the old books and images were appointed to be defaced, and all prayers to saints were to be struck out of the primmers published by the late king. A remarkable privilege was this session granted to the eldest sons of peers, who were allowed as such to sit in the commons' house. The committee appointed to prepare the book of ordinations, finished their work with common consent. It was found that in the ancient church, there was nothing used in ordinations, but prayer and imposition of hands: the additions of anointing and giving consecrated vestments were afterwards brought in. In the council of Florence, it was declared that the rite of ordaining a priest, the delivering vessels for the eucharist, with a power to offer sacrifices to God for the dead and living, were novelties invented to support the belief of transubstantiation. All these additions were now cut off, and ordination was restored to a greater simplicity; and the form was almost the same as that still in use, only then in ordaining a priest, the bishop was to lay one hand on his head, and with the other to give him a Bible, and a chalice with bread in it. In the consecration of a bishop, the form was the same that we retain, only then the custom was retained of giving the bishop a staff, saying these words, "Be to the flock of Christ a shepherd."
In the middle of the sixth century, the anointing the priests' hands was begun in France, but was not used in the Roman church for two ages after. In the eighth century, the vestments were given with a special blessing, empowering priests to offer expiatory sacrifices; then their heads were anointed: and in the tenth century, the belief of transubstantiation being received, the vessels for the sacrament were delivered. It is evident from the several forms of ordination, that the church did not believe itself tied to one manner; and that the prayer, which in some ages was the prayer of consecration, was in other ages esteemed only a prayer preparatory to it. There were some sponsions promised, as a covenant, to which the ordination was a seal: the first of these was that the persons who came to receive orders professed that they were inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost. If this were well considered, it would no doubt put many that thirst after sacred offices to a stand; who, if they examine themselves well, dare not pretend to a gift concerning which they know nothing, but that they have it not.
At this time pope Paul the third died. In the conclave that followed, cardinal Farnese set up cardinal Pole, whose wise behaviour in the council of Trent had greatly raised his esteem. It also appeared, that though he was of the emperor's faction, yet he did not serve him blindly. Some loaded him with the imputations of Lutheranism, and incontinence: the last would not have hindered his advancement, though true, yet he fully cleared himself from it: but the former lay heavier, for in his retirement at Viterbo, where he was legate, he had given himself to the study of controversies; and Tranellius, Flaminio, and others suspected of Lutheranism, had lived in his house; and in the council of Trent he seemed favourable to some of their opinions. But the great sufferings both of himself and family in England, seemed to set him above all suspicions. When his friends had almost gained a sufficient number of suffrages, he seemed little concerned at it, and rather declined than aspired to the dignity. When a full number had agreed, and came to adore him, according to the ordinary ceremony, he received it with his usual coldness; and it being done in the night, he said, "God loves light," advising them to delay it till day. The Italians, among whom ambition passes for the character of a great mind, looked on this as an insufferable piece of dulness; so that the cardinals shrunk from him before day, and chose de Monte pope, who reigned by the name of Julius the Third. His first promotion is very extraordinary, for he gave his cardinal's hat to a servant who kept his monkey; and being asked the reason of it, he said, he saw as much in his servant to recommend him to be a cardinal, as the conclave saw in him to induce them to choose him pope.
In February, Ridley was made bishop of London and Westminster; 1000l. a year of the rents of the see where assigned him, with licence to hold two prebends. Repse, bishop of Norwich resigned, upon which Therleby, bishop of Westminster, was removed to Norwich; and it was resolved to re-unite London and Westminster, and to place them under one man's care. Ridley's patent was not during pleasure but during life-a strong proof of the king's favour. About this time there was a discourse on foot of a marriage between the king and a French princess, which grieved the reformers, who rather wished him to marry Maximilian's daughter, who was believed to favour the reformation, and was esteemed one of the best men of the age. Dr. Latimer preached at court, and warned the king of the ill effects of bad marriages, which were made up only as political bargains, without affection between the parties; and that they occasioned so much iniquity, and so many divorces: he also complained of the luxury and vanity of the age, and pressed the setting up a primitive discipline in the church. He preached this as his last sermon, and therefore used great freedom.
The see of Gloucester fell vacant, and Hooper was named to it. He had some scruples about the episcopal vestments, and thought all those garments having been consecrated with much superstition were to be reckoned among the elements condemned by St. Paul: but Ridley justified the use of them, and said the elements condemned by St. Paul, were only the Jewish ceremonies; which the apostles condemned when they were imposed as essential, as though the Mosaical law was not abrogated, and the Messiah was not come. Cranmer desired Bucer's opinion concerning the lawfulness of those habits, and the obligation lying on subjects to obey the laws about them. His opinion was that every creature of God was good, and that no former abuse could make a thing indifferent in itself become unlawful. Yet since those garments had been abused to superstition, and were likely to become a subject of contention, he wished they might be taken away by law; and that ecclesiastical discipline, and a more complete reformation might be pursued, and a stop put to the robbing of churches; otherwise they might see, in the present state of Germany, a dreadful prospect of that which England ought to look for. He wished that all good men would unite against the greater corruptions, and then lesser abuses would easily be redressed. Peter Martyr also delivered his opinion to the same purpose. Hooper was suspended from preaching; but the earl of Warwick wrote to Cranmer to dispense with him in the matter: he answered, that while the law continued in force, he could not do it without incurring a Praemunire. Upon this the king wrote to him, allowing him to do it, and dispensing with the law: yet this matter was not settled till a year after. John a Lasco, with some Germans of the Helvetian confession, came this year into England, being driven out of Germany by persecution: they were erected by letters patent into a corporation, and a Lasco was their superintendent. He wrote both against the habits, and against kneeling in the sacrament. Polydore Virgil was this year suffered to go out of England, and still to hold the preferments he had in it. Pomet was made bishop of Rochester, and Coverdale co-adjutor to Veysey in Exeter, the bishop of which he soon became.
A design was now set on foot for a review of the common-prayer book, in order to which Bucer's opinion was asked. He approved the main parts of the former book, and wished there might not only be a denunciation against scandalous persons who came to the sacrament, but a discipline to exclude them: that the habits might be laid aside; that no part of the communion office might be used, except when there was a sacrament; that communion might be more frequent; that the prayers might be said in a plain voice; the sacrament put in the people's hands; and that there might be no prayers for the dead. He advised a change of some phrases in the office of the communion which seemed to favour transubstantiation; and that baptism might be only in churches. He thought the hallowing water, the chrism, and the white garment, were too scenical: nor did he approve of adjuring the devil, nor of the god-father's answering in the child's name: he thought confirmation should be delayed till the person was of age, and came sincerely to renew the baptismal covenant. He advised catechising every holy day, both of children and adults; he disliked private marriages, extreme unction, and offerings at the churching of women: and thought there ought to be greater strictness used in the examination of those who came to receive orders.
At the same time he understood that the king expected a new-year's gift from him, of a book written particularly for his own use: he, therefore, prepared a work for him concerning the kingdom of Christ: he pressed much the setting up a strict discipline, the sanctification of the Lord's day, appointed days of fasting, and that pluralities and nonresidence might be effectually condemned; that children might be catechised; that the reverence due to churches might be preserved; that bishops should throw off secular affairs, take care of their dioceses, and govern them by the advice of their presbysters; that there might be rural bishops over twenty or thirty parishes; that provincial councils might meet twice a year; that church-lands should be restored, and a fourth part be assigned to the poor; that marriage without consent of parents should be annulled; that a second marriage might be declared lawful, after divorce for adultery, and some other reasons; that care should be taken of the education of youth, and for repressing luxury; that the law might be reformed; that no office might be sold, but given to the most deserving; that none should be put in prison upon slight offences; and that the severity of some laws, as that which made theft capital, might be mitigated.
Edward was much pleased with these advices; and upon them began himself to form a scheme for amending many things that were amiss in the government. This he writ with his own hand, and in a style and manner which had much of a child in it, though the thoughts were manly. It appears that he intended to set up a church discipline, and settle a method of bringing up youth; but the discourse was not finished. He also wrote a journal of every thing that passed at home, and of the news from beyond sea. It had clear marks of his own composing, as well as it is written with his own hand. He wrote another discourse in French, being a collection of all the places of scripture against idolatry, with a preface before it, dedicated to the protector.
At this time Ridley made his first visitation to his diocese; the articles upon which he proceeded chiefly related to the service and ceremonies that were abolished. He also carried some injunctions with him against certain remainders of the former superstition, and for exhorting the people to alms, and to come oft to the sacrament; and that altars might be removed, and tables put in their room, in the most convenient place of the chancel. In the ancient church the tables were of wood; but the sacrament being called a sacrifice in the mass, and therefore it was thought fit to take away both the name and form of altars. Ridley only advised the curates to do this; but upon some contests arising concerning it, the council interposed, and required it to be done; and sent with their order a list of reasons justifying it. The following among others were most excellent reasons assigned in this official paper of the council for the substitution of simple tables for carved and adorned altars. "The form of a table shall more move the simple from the superstitious opinions of the popish mass, unto the right use of the Lord's supper.--For the use of an altar is to make sacrifice upon it; the use of the table is to serve for men to eat upon. Now when we come unto the Lord's board, what do we come for? To sacrifice Christ again, and to crucify him again, or to feed upon him that was once only crucified and offered up for us? If we come to feed upon him, spiritually to eat his body, and spiritually to drink his blood, which is the use of the Lord's supper, then no man can deny but the form of a table is more meet for the Lord's board than the form of an altar." Then, moreover, "Jesus Christ did institute the sacrament of his body and blood at his last supper at a table, and not at an altar, as it appeareth manifestly by the three Evangelists. And St. Paul calleth the coming to the holy communion the coming unto the Lord's supper. And also it is not read that any of the apostles or the primitive church did ever use any altar in ministration of the holy communion. Wherefore seeing the form of a table is more agreeable to Christ's institution, and with the usage of the apostles, and of the primitive church, than the form of an altar, therefore the form of a table is rather to be used than the form of an altar in the administration of the holy communion."
The government was now free of all disturbance: the coin was reformed, and commerce was encouraged. The faction in the court seemed also to be extinguished by a marriage between the earl of Warwick's son and the duke of Somerset's daughter. The duke of Lunenburgh made a proposition of marriage with lady Mary, but the treaty with the infant of Portugal did still depend, so it was not entertained. In addition the church promised well: even the popish clergy conformed to every change that was made. Oglethorpe, afterwards bishop of Carlisle, being informed against as favouring the old superstition, under his hand declared, that he thought the order of religion then settled was nearer the use of the primitive church and that which was formerly received, and that he condemned transubstantiation as a late invention, and approved the communion in both kinds, also the people's receiving it always with the priest. Smith, who had written against the marriage of the clergy, and was upon some complaints put in prison, but discharged by Cranmer's intercession, wrote a submission to him, acknowledging the mistakes he had committed in his book, and the archbishop's gentleness towards him; and wished he might perish if he was not sincere, and called God a witness against his soul if he lied. Day, bishop of Chichester, also preached at court against transubstantiation. The principle by which most of that party governed themselves was this-they concluded they ought to oppose all the changes before they were established by law; yet that being done, that they might afterwards comply with them.
Martin Bucer died in the beginning of this year. He had entertained great apprehensions of a fatal revolution in England, by reason of the ill lives of the people, the want of ecclesiastical discipline, and the neglect of the pastoral charge. Orders were sent from the court to Cambridge, to bury him with all the public honour to his memory that could be devised. Speeches and sermons were made both by Haddon, the university orator, and Parker, then Regius professor, and afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury. He was one of the most extraordinary men both for learning and a true judgment of things in that time: he had differed in some points from Bucer, and yet he acknowledged, that there was none alive of whom he hoped to learn so much as he had done by his conversation with him. Bucer was inferior to none of all the reformers in learning, and had a great zeal for preserving the unity of the church: he had not that fluency in disputing for which Peter Martyr was admired, and the popish doctors took advantage from that to carry themselves more insolently towards him.
Soon after this, Gardiner's process was put to an end: a commission was issued out to Cranmer, three bishops, and some civilians, to proceed against him, for his contempt in refusing to sign the articles that had been offered to him. The things objected to him were, that he refused to advocate in his sermon the king's power when he was under age, and had affronted the preachers whom the king had sent to his diocese; that he had been negligent in executing the king's injunctions, and refused to confess his fault and ask the king's pardon. It was said that the rebellions raised in England might have been prevented, if he had in time set forth the king's authority: to which he answered, that he was not required to do it by any order of council, but only in a private discourse; yet witnesses being examined upon these particulars, the delegates proceeded to sentence of deprivation against his notwithstanding his appeal to the king in person; and he was appointed to lie still in the tower, where he continued till queen Mary discharged him.
By this time the greater number of the bishops were such men as heartily received the reformation: it was, therefore, resolved to proceed to a settlement of the doctrine of the church. Many thought that should have been done in the first place; but Cranmer judged it was better to proceed slowly in such a matter: he thought corruptions in the worship were to be first begun with, since while they remained the addresses to God were so defiled that all people were involved in unlawful compliances. He thought that speculative opinions might come last, since errors in them were not of such ill-consequence: and he judged it necessary to lay these open, in many treatises and disputes, before the council should proceed to make alterations, in order that all people might be fully satisfied with what was done. Accordingly they framed a body of articles which contained the doctrine of the church of England: they divided them into forty-two, and afterwards some few alterations being made in the beginning of queen Elizabeth's reign, they were reduced to their present number, thirty nine.
The greatest care was taken to frame these articles in the most comprehensive words, and the greatest simplicity united with strength. When this was settled, commenced the review of the common prayer book. In the daily service they added the confession and absolution, that so the worship of God might begin in a grave and humble manner: after which a solemn declaration of the mercy of God, according to the terms of the gospel, was to be pronounced by the priest. This was thought much better than giving absolution in such formal words, as, "I absolve thee:" which begat in the superficial worshipper an opinion, that the priest had authority to pardon sin, and which made them think of nothing so much as how to purchase it at his hands. In the communion service they ordered a recital of the commandments, with a short devotion between every one of them. The holy oil, the use of the cross in consecrating the eucharist, prayers for the dead, and some expressions that favoured transubstantiation, were rejected, and the book was put in the same order as that in which it continues to this day, excepting only some inconsiderable variations. A rubrick was added to the office of the communion, explaining the reason of kneeling in it, that it was only an expression of reverence and gratitude upon receiving so particular a mark of the favour of God: but that no adoration was intended by it, and no intimation that Christ was corporeally present in it. In queen Elizabeth's time this was omitted, that such as conformed in other things, but still retained the belief of the corporeal presence, might not be offended at such a declaration; but it was again inserted on the restoration of Charles II., for removing the scruples of those who excepted to that posture. Christ at first instituted this sacrament in the ordinary table gesture. Moses appointed the pascal lamb to be eaten by the people standing, with staves in their hands, they being then to begin their march; yet that was afterwards changed by the Jews, who ate it in the posture common at meals, which our Saviour's practice justifies.
At this time six of the most eminent preachers were appointed to wait on the court by turns, two at a time, and the other four were sent as itinerant preachers into all the counties of England, in a circuit, for supplying the defects of the clergy, who were generally very weak and faulty. This was no new practice among reformers of the church. Wickliffe and his disciples went from town to town, and from county to county, to preach the gospel; which they proclaimed in church yards as well as churches, and even in markets and fairs, and whatever public places would allow of the greatest numbers to hear them. The protestants of France early adopted the same custom. Even the catholics have been examples of this zeal in defence of corruption and error, which the reformed have found so remarkably efficient in propagating the true faith.
The mass, which was still continued in lady Mary's chapel, was now again challenged. The court was less afraid of the emperor's displeasure than formerly, and therefore would no longer bear with so public a breach of law: and the promise they had made being but temporary, and never given in writing, they thought they were not bound by it. But the emperor assured her that he had an absolute promise for that privilege in her behalf: this encouraged her so much, that when the council wrote, she said she would follow the catholic church, and adhere to her father's religion. Answer was written in the king's name, requiring her to obey the law, and not to pretend that the king was under age, since the late rebels had justified themselves by that. The way of worship then established, was also vindicated, as most consonant to the word of God. But she refused to engage in any disputes, and said she would continue in her former courses. She once was thinking of going out of England, insomuch that the emperor ordered a ship to lie near the coast for her transportation, and espoused he quarrel so warmly, that he threatened to make war, if she should be severely used. Dr. Wotton was sent over to the emperor, to convince him that no absolute promise was ever made: but he pretended, that he had promised to her mother at her death to protect her, and was therefore bound in honour to take care of her; but now when the council were not in such fear of the emperor's displeasure, they sent to seize on two of her chaplains, who had said mass her house, when she was absent: they kept out of the way, and she wrote to the council to stop the prosecution, and continued to stand upon the promise made to the emperor. A long answer was returned to her by the council, in which after the matter of the promise was cleared, they urged the absurdity of prayers in an unknown tongue, offering the sacrament for the dead, and worshipping images: the ancients appealed upon all occasions to the scriptures, by which she might easily discover the errors and cheats of the old superstition, that were supported only by false miracles and lying stories. They pleaded that being trusted with the execution of the laws, they were obliged to proceed equally.
Mallet, one of the chaplains, was taken, and upon her earnestly desiring that he might be set at liberty, it was denied her. The council sent for the chief officers of her house, and required them to let her know the king's pleasure, that she must have the new service in her family; and to give the like charge to her chaplains and servants. This vexed her much, and almost cast her into sickness. She said, she would obey the king in every thing in which her conscience was not touched; but charged them not to deliver the council's message to her servants. Upon that, the lord chancellor, the lord Petre, and one other, were sent with the same orders to her: they carried to her a letter from the king, which she received on her knees; but when she read it, she cast the blame of it on Cecil, then secretary of state. The chancellor told her, the whole council were of one mind, that they could not suffer her to use a form of worship against law, and had ordered them to intimate this both to herself and her family. She made great protestations of duty to the king; but said, she would die rather than use any form of worship but that which was left by her father, only she was afraid she was not worthy to suffer on so good an account. If her chaplains refused to say mass, she could have none, for the new service she was resolved against, and if it was forced on her, she would leave her house. She insisted on the promise made to the emperor, and she believed him more than them all: she gave them a token to be carried to the king, and so dismissed them. Upon this her resolution, the council went no further, only after this her mass was said so secretly as to give no public offence. From Copthall, where this was done, she removed and lived at Hunsden, where Ridley went to see her. There is something so curious in this visit and dialogue between the bishop and Mary, that we shall give it in Mr. Fox's own words.
About the eighth of September Dr. Ridley, then bishop of London, being at his house at Hadham, in Hertfordshire, went to visit the lady Mary then living at Hunsden, two miles off; and was gently entertained by Sir Thomas Wharton and other of her officers till it was almost eleven o'clock, about which time the lady Mary came forth into her chamber of presence, and then the bishop saluted her grace, and said, that he was come to do his duty to her grace. She thanked him for his pains, and for a quarter of an hour talked with him very pleasantly, saying that she knew him in the court when he was chaplain to her father, and could well remember a sermon that he made before king Henry her father, at the marriage of my lady Clinton that now is, to Sir Anthony Brown. So she dismissed him to dine with her officers. After dinner was done the bishop being called for by the lady Mary, restored again to her grace, between whom this communication was. First the bishop began in manner as followeth:-"Madam, I came not only to do my duty to see your grace, but also to offer myself to preach before you on Sunday next, if it will please you to hear me." At this her countenance changed, and after silence for a space, she answered thus-"My Lord, as for this last matter I pray you make the answer to it yourself." The dialogue then proceeded thus:--
Bishop. Madam, considering mine office and calling, I am bound in duty to make to your grace this offer, to preach before you.
Mary. Well, I pray you make the answer to this matter yourself: for you know the answer well enough. But if there be no remedy but I must make you answer, this shall be your answer; the door of the parish-church adjoining shall be open for you if you come, and ye may preach if you list; but neither I nor any of mine shall hear you.
Bishop. Madam, I trust you will not refuse God's word.
Mary. I cannot tell what ye call God's word; that is not God's word now, that was God's word in my father's days.
Bishop. God's word is all one in all times, but hath been better understood and practised in some ages than in other.
Mary. You durst not for your ears have avouched that for God's word in my father's days, that now you do. And as for your new books, I thank God I never read any of them; I never did, nor ever will do.
After many bitter words against the form of religion then established, and against the government of the realm, and the laws made in the young years of her brother, which she said she was not bound to obey till her brother came to perfect age, and then she affirmed she would obey them; she asked the bishop whether he were one of the council: he answered, "No." "You might well enough," said she, "as the council goeth now a days." Then she concluded with these words: "My lord, for your gentleness to come and see me, I thank you; but for your offering to preach before me, I thank you never a whit," The bishop was dismissed, and brought by Sir Thomas Wharton to the place where they dined, and was desired to drink. After he had drunk, he paused awhile, looking very sadly, and suddenly brake out into these words: "Surely, I have done amiss!" "Why so?" quoth Sir Thomas Wharton. "I have drunk," said he, "in that place where God's word offered hath been refused: whereas if I had remembered my duty, I ought to have departed immediately, and to have shaken off the dust of my shoes for a testimony against this house." These words were by the bishop spoken with such a vehemency, that some of the hearers afterward confessed their hair to stand upright on their heads. This done, the bishop departed, and so returned to his house.
At this time a great creation of peers took place. Warwick was made duke of Northumberland, the Percies being then under an attainder: Paulet was made Marquis of Winchester; Herbert, earl of Pembroke; and a little before this, Russel had been created earl of Bedford; and Darcy was made a lord. There was none so likely to take the king out of Northumberland's hands, as the duke of Somerset, who was beginning to form a new party. Therefore, upon some informations, the duke of Somerset and his duchess, Sir Ralph Vane, Sir Thomas Palmer, Sir Thomas Arundel, and several others, of whom some were gentlemen of quality, and others the duke's servants, were all committed to the Tower. Committing Palmer was a mere delusion, for he had betrayed the duke, and was seized as an accomplice, after which, he pretended to discover a plot: he said, the duke intended to have raised the people, and that Northumberland, Northampton, and Pembroke, having been invited to dine at the lord Paget's, he intended to have set on them by the way, or have killed them at dinner; that Vane was to have 2000 men ready; Arundel was to have seized on the Tower, and all the gendarmarie were to have been killed. These things were told the young king with such specious circumstances, that he was deluded by them, and unhappily became alienated from his uncle, judging him guilty of so foul a conspiracy. It was added by others, that the duke intended to have raised the city of London; one Crane confirmed Palmer's testimony, and both the earl of Arundel and Paget were committed as accomplices.
On the first of December the duke was brought to his trial: the marquis of Winchester, lord steward presided; and twenty-seven peers sat in judgment, among whom were the dukes of Suffolk and Northumberland, and the earl of Pembroke. The particular charges were, a design to seize on the king's person, to imprison Norhtumberland, and to raise the city of London. It seemed a gross dereliction of justice for Northumberland to sit as judge, when one crime alleged was a design against his life: for though by the law of England no peer can be challenged, yet by the law of nature no man can judge where he is a party. The chancellor, though a peer, was left out, upon suspicion of a reconciliation which he was making with the duke. The protector was not deeply skilled in law, and neither objected to the indictment, nor desired counsel to plead for him, but only answered to matters of fact: he denied all design to raise the people, or to kill Northumberland; or if he had talked thus it was in passion, without any intention: and it was ridiculous to think, that he with a small troop could destroy nine hundred gendarmarie. The armed men he had about him were for his own defence; he had done no mischief to his enemies, though it was once in his power to have done it; and he had surrendered himself without any resistance: he desired the witnesses might be brought face to face, and objected many things to them, chiefly to Palmer; but this common act of justice was denied him, and their depositions were only read. He carried himself during the trial with great temper, and all the sharpness which the king's counsel expressed in pleading against him did not provoke him to any indecent passion.
When sentence was given his courage sank a little, and he asked the three lords, who were his enemies, pardon for his ill designs against them, and made suit for his life, and for his wife and children. It was generally thought that nothing being found against him but an intention to imprison a privy counsellor, which had never taken effect, one so nearly related to the king, would not have been put to death on that account: it was therefore necessary to raise in the king a great aversion to him. Accordingly, a story was brought to him, as if in the Tower the protector had confessed a design to employ means to assassinate these lords; and the persons said to have been named for that wicked service were all persuaded to affirm it. This being believed by the king, he took no care to preserve him, assassination being a crime of so barbarous a nature, that it possessed him with a horror, even of his uncle, when he thought him guilty of it: and thus was he given up to his enemies. Stanhope, Partridge, Arundel, and Vane, were next tried: the two first were not much pitied, for they had made an ill use of their interest in the duke during his greatness: the last two were much lamented. Arundel's jury was shut up a whole day and night, and those who were for the acquittal yielded to the fury of the rest, only that they might save their own lives, and not be starved. Vane had done great service in the wars, and carried himself with considerable magnanimity. They were all condemned: Partridge and he were hanged, the other two were beheaded.
The lord chancellor had become a secret friend to the duke of Somerset, which was thus discovered: he went aside once at council and wrote a note giving the duke notice of what was then in agitation against him, and, endorsing it only for the duke, sent it to the Tower: but his servant, not having particular directions, fancied it was to the duke of Norfolk, and carried it to him. He, to make Northumberland his friend, forwarded it to him: upon Rich understanding the mistake into which his servant had fallen, to prevent the discovery, went immediately to the king, and pretending some indisposition desired to be discharged; upon which the great seal was taken from him, and put in the hands of the bishop of Ely. This was much censured, for all the reformers had inveighed severely against the secular employments and high places which bishops had held in the church of Rome. Christ said, "Who made me a judge?" St. Paul left it as a rule, that "No man that warreth, entangleth himself with the affairs of this life." This Saint Cyprian and the other fathers understood as a perpetual prohibition of churchmen's meddling with secular matters, and condemned it severely. Many canons were made against this in provincial councils, and a very full one was decreed at Chalcedon. But as the bishops of Rome and Alexandria grew rich and powerful, they established a sort of secular principality in the church: and other sees, as they increased in wealth affected to imitate them. Charles the Great raised this much every where, and gave great territories and privileges to the church; upon which bishops and abbots were not only admitted to a share in the public counsels, by virtue of their lands, but all the chief offices of the state were open to them; and then ecclesiastical preferments were given to courtiers as rewards for their services. By these means the clergy became very corrupt, merit and learning being no longer the standards by which men were esteemed or promoted: and bishops were only considered as a sort of great men, who went in a peculiar habit, and on great festivities were obliged to say mass, or perform some other solemnities. They wholly abandoned the souls committed to their care, and left the spiritual part of their callings to their vicars and archdeacons, who made no other use of it, but to oppress the inferior clergy and the people.
We now proceed to relate the death of the Protector, as furnished by a certain nobleman, who was present at the deed-doing, and wrote the same. In the year of our Lord 1552, and the month of January, he was brought out of the Tower of London, delivered to the sheriffs of the city, and compassed about with a great number of armed men both of the guard and others. He was conducted to the scaffold on Tower-hill, where changing neither voice nor countenance, but in a manner and with the same gesture which he commonly used at home, kneeling upon both his knees and lifting up his hands, commended himself unto God. After he had ended a few short prayers, standing up again, and turning himself toward the east side of the scaffold, nothing at all abashed either with the sight of the axe, nor yet of the executioner, nor of present death; but with the same alacrity and cheerfulness of mind and countenance as he was accustomed to shew when he heard the causes and supplication of others, and especially the poor, he uttered these words to the people:--
"Dearly beloved friends, I am brought hither to suffer death, albeit that I never offended against the king either by word or deed, and have been always as faithful and true unto this realm as any man. But forsomuch as I am by law condemned to die, I do acknowledge myself as well as others to be subject thereunto. Wherefore to testify my obedience which I owe unto the laws, I am come hither to suffer death; whereunto I willingly offer myself, with most hearty thanks unto God, who hath given me this time of repentance, who might through sudden death have taken away my life, that neither I should have acknowledged him nor myself. Moreover, dearly beloved friends, there is yet somewhat that I must put you in mind of, as touching the Christian religion; which so long as I was in authority, I always diligently set forth and furthered to my utmost power. Neither do I repent me of my doings, but rejoice therein, seeing that now the state of Christian religion cometh most near unto the form and order of the primitive church. Which thing I esteem as a great benefit given of God both unto you and me; most heartily exhorting you all, that this which is most purely set forth unto you, you will with like thankfulness accept and embrace, and set out the same in your living. Which thing if you do not, without doubt greater mischief and calamity will follow."
When he had spoken these words, there was suddenly a terrible noise heard: whereupon there came a great fear upon all men. This noise was as it had been the noise of some great storm or tempest, which to some seemed to be from above; as if a great deal of gunpowder being inclosed in an armory, and having caught fire, had violently broken out. But unto some it seemed as though it had been a great multitude of horsemen running together or coming upon them. Such a noise then was in the ears of all, although they saw nothing. Whereby it happened that all the people being amazed without any evident cause, they ran away, some into the ditches and puddles, and some into the houses thereabouts; others fell down grovelling unto the ground, with their poleaxes and halberts; and most of them cried out, "Jesus save us, Jesus save us!" Those who remained in their places, for fear knew not where they were; and I myself who was there among the rest, being also afraid in this hurly-burly, stood still amazed. It happened here, as the evangelist wrote of Christ, when as the officers of the high priests and pharisees, coming with weapons to take him, being astonished ran backwards and fell to the ground.
In the meantime, whilst these things were thus in doing, the people by chance espied one Sir Anthony Brown riding under the scaffold; which was the occasion of a new noise. For when they saw him coming they conjectured that which was not true, but which they all sincerely wished for, that the king by that messenger had sent his uncle pardon; and therefore with great rejoicing and casting up their caps, they cried out, "Pardon, pardon is come, God save the king." Thus this good duke, although he was destitute of all man's help, yet saw before his departure, in how great love and favour he was with all men. And truly I do not think that in so great slaughter of dukes as hath been in England within these few years there were so many weeping eyes at one time; and not without cause. For all men saw in his fall the public ruin of England, except such as indeed did perceive nothing. Meantime standing in the same place, the duke modestly and with a grave countenance made a sign to the people with his hand, that they would keep themselves quiet. Which done, and silence obtained, he spake unto them in this manner.
"Dearly beloved friends, there is no such matter here in hand as you vainly hope or believe. It seemeth thus good unto Almighty God, whose ordinance it is meet and necessary that we all be obedient unto. Wherefore I pray you all to be quiet, and to be contented with my death, which I am most willing to suffer; and let us now join in prayer unto the Lord for the preservation of the king's majesty, unto whom hitherto I have always shewed myself a most faithful and true subject. I have always been most diligent about his majesty in his affairs both at home and abroad, and no less diligent in seeking the common good of the whole realm." At which words all the people cried out, "It is most true." The duke on their silence proceeding, said, "Unto whose majesty I wish continual health, with all felicity and all prosperous success." Whereunto the people again cried out, "Amen." The duke then added also, "I do wish unto all his counsellors the grace and favour of God, whereby they may rule in all things uprightly with justice. Unto whom I exhort you all in the Lord to shew yourselves obedient, as it is your bounden duty, under the pain of condemnation, and also most profitable for the preservation and safeguard of the king's majesty.
"Moreover, as heretofore I have had oftentimes affairs with divers men, and hard it is to please every man, therefore if there be any who hath been offended and injured by me, I most humbly require and ask him forgiveness; but especially Almighty God, whom throughout all my life I have most grievously offended; and all others whosoever they be that have offended me, I do with my whole heart forgive them. Now I once again require you, dearly beloved in the Lord, that you will keep yourselves quiet and still, lest through your tumult you might trouble me. For albeit the spirit be willing and ready, the flesh is frail and wavering, and through your quietness I shall be much more composed. Above all I desire you to bear me witness that I die here in the faith of Jesus Christ; desiring you to help me with your prayers, that I may persevere constant in the same unto my end."
After this, turning himself again, he kneeled down. Then Dr. Cox, who was present to counsel and advise him, delivered a certain scroll into his hand, wherein was contained a brief confession unto God. This being read the duke stood up again without any trouble of mind, and first bade the sheriffs farewell, then the lieutenant of the Tower, and others, taking them all by the hand which were upon the scaffold with him. Then he gave money to the executioner; which done, he put off his gown, and kneeling down again in the straw, untied his shirt strings. After that, the executioner coming to him turned down his collar about his neck and all other things which hindered him. Then lifting up his eyes to heaven and covering his face with his own handkerchief, he laid himself down along, shewing no trouble or fear, neither did his countenance change. But because his doublet covered his neck, he was commanded to rise up and put it off; and then laying himself down again upon the block, and calling thrice upon the name of Jesus, saying, "Lord Jesus, save me," as he was the third time repeating the same, even as the name of Jesus was in uttering, in a moment he was bereft both of head and life, and slept in the Lord; being taken away from all dangers and evils of this life, and resting in the peace of God: in the preferment of whose truth and gospel he always shewed himself an excellent instrument and member, and therefore hath received the reward of his labour.
He was a man of extraordinary virtues, of great candour, and eminent piety: he was always a promoter of justice, and a patron of the oppressed. He was a better soldier than statesman, being too easy and open-hearted to be so cautious as such times and such employments required. The people saw that all this conspiracy, for which he and the other four suffered, was only a forgery: the other accomplices were quickly discharged, and Palmer, the chief witness, became Northumberland's particular confident: and even those indiscreet words which the duke had spoken in his warmth, and his gathering armed men about him, was imputed to Palmer's artifices, who had put him in fear of his life, and thus made him do and say those things for which he lost it. His four friends all ended their lives, with the most solemn protestations of innocence; and the whole matter was looked on as a contrivance of Northumberland's, by which he entirely lost the affections of the people. The chief objection to the duke was, his having raised much of his estate out of the spoils of bishops' lands, and his palace out of the ruins of some churches; and to this was added a remark, that he did not claim the benefit of the clergy, which would have saved him. Since he had so spoiled the church, they imputed it to a particular judgment on him that he forgot it; but in this they were mistaken, for in the act by which he was condemned, it was provided that no clergy should purge that felony--another proof, if it were wanting, that he was the innocent victim of a cruel conspiracy.
The day after the duke of Somerset's execution, a session of parliament was assembled. The first act which passed established the common prayer-book, as it was now amended. The bishops were required to proceed by the censures of the church against such as used it not: they also authorized the book of ordinations, and enacted the same penalties against offenders, that were in the act for the former book three years before. The papists took occasion of the changes now made to say, that the new doctrines and ways of worship changed as fast as the fashions. It was answered, that if was no wonder if corruptions, which had been creeping in for a thousand years, were not all discovered and thrown out at once; and since they had been every age making additions of new ceremonies, it might be excused if the purging them out was done by such easy degrees. The book was not to be received till All-hallows, because it was hoped that in the interval the reformation of the ecclesiastical laws would have been finished. The following law passed for holy-days and fasts--"No days are to be esteemed holy in their own nature, but by reason of those holy duties which ought to be done in them, for which they were dedicated to the service of God. Days are esteemed to be dedicated only to the honour of God, even those in which the saints were commemorated. Sundays, and the other holy-days, are to be religiously observed, and the bishops are to proceed to censures against offenders. The eves before them are to be fasts, and abstinence from flesh are enacted both in Lent and on Fridays and Saturdays." The liberty to tradesmen to work on these days, was abused to a public profanation of them, and the stricter clauses in the act were little regarded. An act also passed empowering churchwardens to gather collections for the poor, and the bishops to proceed against such as refused to contribute; which, though it was a bill that taxed the people, yet had its rise in the house of lords. An act likewise passed for the marriage of the clergy. Whereas the former act about it was thought only a permission of it, as some other unlawful things were connived at; upon which the wives and children of the clergy were reproachfully used, and the word of God was not heard with due reverence; therefore their marriages were declared good and valid. The bishopric of Westminster was reunited to London, only the collegiate church was still continued.
The convocation now confirmed the articles of religion which had been prepared in the former year, and thus was the reformation of worship and doctrine brought to such a degree, that since that time there has been very little alteration made. One branch of it was still unfinished, and was now under consultation, touching the government of the church, and the rules of the ecclesiastical courts. Two acts had passed in the former reign, and one in this, empowering a commission to revise all the laws of the church, and digest them into a body. King Henry had issued the commission, and the persons were name who made some progress in it, as appears by some of Cranmer's letters to him. In this reign it had been begun several times; but the changes in the government had caused it to be laid aside. Thirty-two were found to be too many for preparing the first draught, so that eight were appointed to make it ready for them: these were Cranmer, Ridley, Petre, Martyr, Trahern, Taylor, Lucas, and Gosnold, two bishops, two divines, two civilians, and two common lawyers; but it was generally believed that Cranmer drew it entirely by himself, while the rest only corrected what he designed. Haddon and Cheek were employed to put it in Latin; in which they succeeded so well, and arrived at so true a purity in the Roman style that it is equal to a work of the best ages. The work was cast into fifty-one title; perhaps it was designed to bring it near the number of the books into which Justinian digested the Roman law. The eight finished it, and offered it to the thirty-two; who divided themselves into four classes, every one of which was to offer his corrections, and when it had passed through them all, it was to be presented to the king for his confirmation; but he died before it was quite finished.
The principal objects of this bill are well worthy of being known. The first title was concerning the catholic faith: it was made capital to deny the christian religion. The books of scripture were reckoned up, and the apocrypha left out. The four first general councils were received; but both councils and fathers were to be submitted to only as they agreed with the scriptures. The second enumerates and condemns many heresies, extracted out of the opinions of the church of Rome, and the tenets of the anabaptists. The judgment of heresy was to lie in the bishop's court, except in exempted places. Persons suspected might be required to purge themselves, and those who were convicted, were to abjure and do penance; but such as were obstinate were declared infamous, and not to have the benefit of the law, or of making testaments, and so all capital proceedings for heresies were laid aside. Blasphemy against God was to be punished as obstinate heresy. Bishops were appointed once a year to call all their clergy together to examine them concerning their flocks: and itinerant preachers were to be often employed for visiting such precincts as might be put under their care. All marriages were to be after bans, and to be annulled if not done according to the book of common prayer. Corrupters of virgins were to marry them; or if that could not be done, to give them the third part of their goods, and suffer punishment. Marriages made by force, or without consent of parents, were declared null. Polygamy was forbid. A clergyman guilty of adultery was to forfeit the half, and be banished or imprisoned during life; wives who were guilty were to be punished in the same manner. The innocent party might marry again after a divorce. Desertion, or mortal enmity, or the constant perverseness of a husband might induce a divorce. Patrons were charged to give presentations without making bargains; to choose the fittest persons, and not to make promises till the livings were vacant. The bishops were required to use great strictness in the trial of those whom they ordained; all pluralities and non-residence were condemned, and all who were presented were to pledge themselves of simony by oath. All superstitious purgations were condemned. The communion was to be every Sunday in cathedrals, and a sermon to be in the afternoon: such as received the sacrament were to give notice to the minister the day before, that he might examine them. The catechism was appointed to be explained an hour in the afternoon on holy-days. After the evening prayer the poor were to be taken care of. Penances were to be enjoined to scandalous persons; and the minister was to confer with some of the ancients of the people concerning the state of the parish, that admonitions might be applied as there was occasion. A rural dean was to be in every precinct to watch over the clergy according to the bishop's direction: archdeacons were to be over them, and the bishop over all; who was to have yearly synods, and visit every third year. His family was to consist of clergymen, in imitation of St. Austin, and other ancient bishops; these he was to train up for the service of the church. When bishops became infirm they were to have co-adjutors; archbishops were to do the episcopal duties in their diocese, and to visit their province. Every synod was to begin with a communion, and after that, the ministers were to give an account of their parishes, and follow such directions as the bishop should give them. A scheme was drawn of excommunication, which was entrusted to churchmen for keeping the church pure, and was not to be inflicted but for obstinacy in some gross fault. Such as had the king's pardon for capital offences were yet liable to church-censures. Then followed the office of absolving penitents: they were to come to the church-door and crave admittance, and the minister having brought them in, was to read a long discourse concerning sin, repentance, and the mercies of God. Then the party was to confess his sin, and to ask God and the congregation pardon; upon which the minister was to lay his hands on his head, and to pronounce the absolution. Then a thanksgiving was to be offered to God at the communion-table for the reclaiming that sinner. The other heads of this work relate to the other parts of the law of those courts.
There were at this time remedies under consideration for the great misery and poverty of the clergy: but the laity were so much concerned to oppose them, that there was no hope of bringing them to any good effect, till the king should come to be of age, and endeavour to recover again a competent maintenance for them out of the hands of those who had devoured their revenues. Heath and Day, the bishops of Worcester and Chichester, were this year deprived of their bishoprics, by a court of delegates composed all of laymen: but it does not appear for what offences they were suspended. The bishoprics of Gloucester and Worcester were united, and put under Hooper's care; but soon after, the former was made an exempted archdeaconry, and he was declared bishop only of Worcester. In every see, as it became vacant, the best manors were seized by such hungry courtiers as had the interest to procure the grant of them. It was thought, that the bishops' sees were so enriched, that they could never be made poor enough: and such haste was made in spoiling them, that they were reduced to a condition hardly possible for a bishop to subsist in them. If what had been thus taken from them had been converted to good uses, such as supplying the inferior clergy, it had been some mitigation of the robbery: but their lands were taken up by laymen, who thought of making no compensation for the spoils.
This year the reformation had gained more ground in Ireland than formerly. Henry VIII. had assumed to himself, by consent of the parliament of that kingdom, the title of king of Ireland: the former kings of England having only been called lords of it. The popes and emperors pretended that such titles could be given only by them: the former said, all power in heaven and earth was given to Christ, and by consequence to his vicar. The latter, as carrying the title of Roman emperor, pretended that as the imperial power anciently bestowed those titles, so it devolved on him who retained only the name and shadow of that great authority. But princes and states have thought they may bring themselves under what titles they please. Though the kings of England were well obeyed within the English pale, yet the Irish continued barbarous and uncivilized, and were guided entirely by the heads of their names or tribes, and were obedient or rebellious as they directed them. In Ulster they had a great dependance on Scotland, and there were some risings there, during the war with that country, which were quieted by giving the leading men pensions, and getting them to come and live within the English pale. Monluc, bishop of Valence, being then in Scotland, went over thither to raise new commotions; but his efforts had no effect. While he was there his lasciviousness came to be discovered by an odd accident: a woman of the town, brought to him by some English friars, and secretly kept by him, searching among his clothes, fell on a small bottle of something very odoriferous, and drank it off; which being discovered by the bishop, put him in a most violent passion, for it had been given him as a present by Solyman the magnificent, when he was ambassador at his court. It was called the richest balm of Egypt, and valued at 2000 crowns. His rage grew so boisterous that all about him discovered both his passion and lewdness at once. The reformation was set up in the English pale, but had made small progress among the Irish. This year Basle was sent over to labour among them. He was an eager writer, and a learned zealous man. Goodaker was sent to be primate of Armagh, and Basle was to be bishop of Ossory. Two Irishmen were also promoted with them; who undertook to advance the reformation there. The archbishop of Dublin intended to have ordained them by the old pontifical, and all except Basle were willing it should be so; but he prevailed that it should be done according to the new book of ordinations: after that he went into his diocese, but found all there in dark popery, and before he could make any progress the king's death put an end to his designs.
The world had long been anxiously looking for the result of the council of Trent, trusting that it might lead to the establishment of order throughout the European countries; which appeared no less to have been desired both by princes and bishops in hopes that differences of religion would have been composed, and the corruptions of the court of Rome reformed by it. This had made the pope very apprehensive of it: but such was the cunning of the legates, the number of Italian bishops, and the dissensions of the princes, that it had an effect quite contrary to what all sides expected. The breach in religion became past reconciling by the positive decisions they made: the abuses of the court of Rome were confirmed by the provisos made in favour of the privileges of the apostolic see: and the world was at length so cured of their longings for a general council, that none has been since that time desired. The history of that council was written with great exactness and judgment by father Paul, of Venice, while it was yet fresh in all men's memories; and though it discovered the whole secret of the transactions there, yet none set himself to write against it for forty years; then Pallavicini at last undertook it, and upon the credit of many memorials. In many things he contradicts father Paul; but in the main of the history they both agree, so far that it is manifest things were not fairly carried, and that matters were managed by intrigue rather than fair and open discussion.
Prince Maurice declared for the liberty of Germany, and took Augsburgh, and several other towns. The kings of France fell upon the empire with a great force, and by surprise made himself master of Metz and Verdun, and thought to have got Strasburgh. Maurice sent his demands to the emperor for the landgrave's liberty, and for restoring the freedom of the empire: but the emperor being slow in making answer, he marched on to Inspruck, where he surprised a post, and was within two miles of him before he was aware of it, so that the emperor was forced to flee, nor stopped till he was safe in Italy. Thus the very army and prince which had been chiefly instrumental in the ruin of the empire, now again asserted its freedom; and the emperor's great design on Germany was so blasted, that he could never after put any life in it. He was forced to discharge his prisoners, and to call in the proscriptions; and after some treaty, the edict of Passa was made by which the free exercise of the protestant religion was granted to the princes and towns: and thus did that storm which had almost overwhelmed the princes of that persuasion end, without any other considerable effect beyond the translation of the electorial dignity from John to Maurice. The emperor's misfortunes increased on him, for against all reason he besieged Metz in December, and after he had ruined his army in it he was forced to raise the siege. He retired into Flanders in such discontent that for some time he would not admit any to approach him. There it was believed he first formed that design, which some years after he put in execution, of forsaking the world, and exchanging the pomp of a court for the retirement of a monastery. This strange turn in his affairs gave a great demonstration of an over-ruling Providence governing all human affairs, and of that particular care that God had of the reformation, in recovering it when it seemed to be lost, and hopeless of recovery in the German states.
In the year 1553, another visitation took place in England. Visitors were sent to examine what plate was in every church, and to leave in each only one or two chalices of silver, with linen for the communion-table and for surplices; to bring all other things of value to the treasurer of the king's household, and to sell the rest and give it to the poor. But from these and numerous other changes, the public attention soon became diverted by a rumour of the young king's alarming affliction. His wisdom and virtue were appreciated in all parts of the land, and for his own sake as well as on account of the reformation, the rumour excited deep and general lamentation.
He had contracted cold by violent exercises, which in January settled into so obstinate a cough that all the skill of physicians and the aid of medicine proved ineffectual. There was a suspicion taken up and spread over all Europe that he was poisoned: but no certain grounds appear for justifying it. During this sickness, Ridley preached before him, and among other things spoke much on charity, and the duty of men of high condition to be eminent in good works. The king was much touched with this; and, after sermon, he sent for the bishop, and treated him with such respect that he made him sit down covered: he then told him what impression his exhortation had made on him, and desired to be directed by him how to do his duty in that matter. Ridley took a little time to consider of it, and after some consultation with the lord mayor and aldermen of London, he brought the king a scheme of several foundations: one for the sick and wounded; another for such as were wilfully idle: and a third for orphans. Without delay Edward endowed St. Bartholomew's hospital for the first, Bridewell for the second, and Christ church, near Newgate, for the third; enlarging the grant he made the former year for St. Thomas's hospital in Southwark. The statutes and warrants relating to these were not finished before the 26th of June, though he gave order to make all the haste that was possible: and when he set his hand to them he blessed God for prolonging his life till he finished his designs concerning them. These houses have, by the good government and great charities of the city of London, continued to be so useful, and grown to be so well endowed, that they may be reckoned among the noblest in Europe.
The king bore his sickness with great submission to the will of God, and seemed concerned in nothing so much as the state that religion and the church would be in after his death. The duke of Suffolk had three daughters: the eldest was married to the lord Guildford Dudley, son to the duke of Northumberland; the second to the earl of Pembroke's eldest son; and the third to one Keys. The duke of Northumberland married also his two daughters; one to sir Henry Sydney, and the other to the earl of Huntingdon's eldest son. He grew to be so much hated by the people, that the jealousy of the king's being poisoned was fastened on him. But he regarded these things little, and resolved to improve the fears the king was in concerning religion to the advantage of lady Jane Grey. Edward was easily persuaded to order the judges to put some articles, which he had signed for the succession of the crown, in the common form of law. They answered that the succession being settled by act of parliament, could not be taken away except by the same authority; yet the king required them to do what he commanded them. But the next time they came to the council they declared, that it had been made treason to change the succession by an act passed in this reign, so that they could not meddle with it. Montague was chief justice, and spoke in the name of the rest. On this Northumberland fell into a great passion against him, calling him traitor for refusing to obey the king's commands. The judges were not shaken by his threatenings; and they were again brought before the king, who sharply rebuked them for their delays: but they said that all they could do would be of no force without a parliament, yet they were required to perform it in the best manner they could.
At last Montague desired they might first receive pardon for what they were to do, which being granted, all the judges, except Gosnold and Hale, agreed to the patent, and delivered their opinion that the lord chancellor might put the seal to it, and that then it would be good in law. The former of these was at last wrought on; so that Hale was the only man who stood out to the last: he was a zealous protestant, and would not give his opinion against his conscience upon any consideration whatsoever. The privy counsellors were next required to set their hands to it: Cecil, in a relation he wrote of this transaction, says that hearing some of the judges declare so positively that it was against law, he refused to set his hand to it as a privy counsellor, but signed it only as a witness to the king's subscription. Cranmer stood out long, he came not to the council when it was passed, and refused to consent to it when he was pressed to it; for he said he would never have a hand in disinheriting his late master's daughters. The dying king was at last set on him, and by his importunity prevailed with him to do it; upon which the seal was put to the patents. The distemper continued to increase, so that the physicians despaired of the king's recovery. A confident woman undertook his cure, and he was put into her hands; but she left him worse than she found him; and this heightened the jealousy against the duke of Northumberland, who had introduced her, and put the physicians away. At last, to crown his designs, he got the king to write to his sisters Mary and Elizabeth, to come and divert him in his sickness: and the matter of the exclusion had been carried so secretly, that they apprehending no danger had begun their journey.
On the 6th of July the king felt death approaching, and prepared himself for it in the most devout manner. He was often heard offering up prayers and ejaculations to God. A few moments before he died he prayed earnestly that God would take him out of this wretched life, and committed his spirit to him; interceding very fervently for his subjects, that God would preserve England from popery, and maintain his true religion among them. Then turning his face, and seeing who was by him, he said unto them, "Are ye so nigh? I thought ye had been further off." Dr. Owen said, "We heard you speak to yourself, but what you said we know not." He then smiling said, "I was praying to God." The last words of his life were these, "I am faint, Lord have mercy upon me, and take my spirit." Soon after that he breathed out his pious soul to God, his emaciated body resting in Sir Henry Sydney's arms. Endeavours were used to conceal his death for some days, with design to draw his sisters into the snare before they should be aware of it, but that could not be done.
Thus died Edward VI. in the sixteenth year of his age. He was counted the wonder of that time; he was not only learned in the tongues, and the liberal sciences, but knew well the state of his kingdom. He kept a book in which he had written the characters of all the eminent men of the nation; he studied fortification, and understood the mint well: he knew the harbours in all his dominions, with the depth of water, and way of coming into them. He understood foreign affairs so well, that the ambassadors who were sent into England published very extraordinary things of him in the several courts of Europe. He had great quickness of apprehension; but being distrustful of his memory, he took notes of every thing he heard that was considerable, in Greek characters, that those about him might not understand what he wrote.
The following anecdote related of him may serve to shew, that the playfulness of youth would sometimes break out amidst the dignity of the monarch. He resided much at Greenwich, and being there on St. George's day, in the fourth year of his reign, when he was come from the sermon into the presence-chamber, there being his uncle the duke of Somerset, the duke of Northumberland, with other lords and knights of that order, called, "The Order of the Garter," he said to them, "My lords, I pray you, what Saint is St. George, that we here so honour him?" At which question the lords being all astonished, the lord treasurer gave answer and said, "If it please your majesty, I never read in any history of St. George, but only Legenda aurea, where it is thus set down: 'St. George out with his sword, and run the dragon through with his spear.'" The king could not a great while speak for laughing, and at length said, "I pray you, my lord, and what did he with his sword the while?"
His virtues were wonderful: when he was made to believe, that his uncle was guilty of conspiring the death of the other counsellors, he upon that abandoned him. Barnaby Fitzpatrick was his favourite, and when he sent him to travel he often wrote to him, to keep good company, to avoid excess and luxury, and to improve himself in those things that might render him capable of employment on his return. He was afterwards made lord of Upper Ossory in Ireland, by queen Elizabeth, and well answered the hopes which this excellent king had of him. Edward was very merciful in his nature, which appeared in his unwillingness to sign the warrant for burning the Maid of Kent. He took great care to have his debts well paid, reckoning that a prince who breaks his faith and loses his credit, has thrown up that which he can never recover, and made himself liable to perpetual distrust and extreme contempt. He took special care of the petitions that were given him by poor and oppressed people. But his great zeal for religion crowned all the rest. It was not a temporary heat about it that excited him, but it was a true tenderness of conscience, founded on the love of God and his neighbours.
These extraordinary qualities, set off with great sweetness and affability, made him universally beloved by his people. Some called him their Josiah, others Edward the Saint, and others the Phoenix that rose out of his mother's ashes. All people concluded, that the sins of England must have been very great, since they provoked God to deprive the nation of so signal a blessing, as the rest of his reign would, to all appearance, have proved. Bishop Ridley, and the other good men of that time, made great lamentations of the vices, which were grown then so common, that men had passed all shame in them. Luxury, oppression, and a hatred of religion had over-run the higher ranks of people, who gave a countenance to the reformation, merely to rob the church; but by that, and their other practices, were become a great scandal to so good a work. The inferior classes were so much in the power of the priests, who were still, notwithstanding their outward compliance, papists in heart, and were so much offended at the spoil they saw made of all good endowments, without putting other and more useful ones in their room, that they who understood little of religion, laboured under great prejudices against every thing that was done in such a manner. And these things, as they provoked God highly, so they disposed the people much to that sad catastrophe which was experienced in the following reign.
--Footnote marker a--BT 4 words "the sacrament but penitents"
This sounds strange to modern Christian ears: but by penitents are here evidently meant persons suspended for a time for certain offences from the communion of the church, and are supposed to bewail what they have done.
--Footnote marker b--BT 4 words "and they are life"
It is remarkable that in the ninth century, many of the greatest men wrote against the real presence, and none of them were condemned as heretics. The contrary opinion was then received in England, as appeared by the Saxon homily, which was read on Easter day, in which are several of Bertram's words. It was generally received in the eleventh century, and fully established in the fourth council in the Lateran. At first it was believed that the whole loaf was turned into one entire body, so that in the distribution every one had a small part given him; and according to that conceit it was pretended, that it often bled, and was turned into flesh. But this seemed an indecent way of handling Christ's glorified body, so that the schoolmen invented a more seemly notion--that such a body might be in a place after the manner of a spirit, so that in every crumb there was an entire Christ. This, though it appeared hard to be conceived, yet generally prevailed, after which the miracles fitted for the former opinion were more heard of, but new ones agreeing to this hypothesis were imposes in their stead. So dexterously did the priests deceive the world, until the time arrived for the great standing deception of the host!
--Footnote marker c--BT 4 words "present number, thirty nine"
In the ancient church there was at first a great simplicity in their creeds; but afterwards, upon the breaking out of heresies concerning the person of Christ, equivocal senses being put on the terms formerly used, new ones, which could not be so easily eluded, were invented. A humour of explaining mysteries by similes and niceties, and of passing anathemas on all who did not receive these, was very common in the church: and though the council of Ephesus decreed that no new additions should be made to the creed, yet that did not restrain those who loved to make their own conceits be received as parts of the faith.
--Footnote marker d--BT 4 words "lands, and his palace"
That beautiful building and ornament of the country, Somerset-house, in the Strand, London.
--Footnote marker e--BT 4 words "wonder of that time"
The preceding year, Cardan the great philosopher of that age passed through England on his return from Scotland to the Continent. He waited on the youthful king, and was so charmed with his great knowledge and rare qualities, that he always spoke of him as the most excellent character of his age he had ever seen: and after his death, he wrote the following account of him.
"All the graces were in him: he understood many tongues when he was yet but a child; together with the English, he knew both Latin and French; he also understood Greek, Italian, and Spanish. Nor was he ignorant of logic, of the principles of natural philosophy, or of music. The sweetness of his temper was admirable. His gravity became the majesty of a king, and his disposition was suitable to his high degree. These things are not spoken rhetorically, and beyond the truth, but are indeed short of it. When I was with him, he was in his fifteenth year, in which he spake Latin politely and promptly. He asked me what was the subject of my book, De rerum veritate, which I dedicated to him? I answered, that in the first chapter I gave the true cause of comets, which had been long enquired into, but was never found out before. On his asking the cause, I said it was the concourse of the light of wandering stars. He asked how that could be, since the stars move in different motions? How came it that the comets were not dissipated, or did not move after them according to their motions? To this I answered, 'They do move after them, but much quicker than they, by reason of the different aspect; as we see in crystal, or when a rainbow rebounds from a wall: for a little change makes a great difference of place.' The king said, 'How can that be, where there is no subject to receive that light as the wall is the subject for the rainbow?' To this I answered, That this was as in the milky-way, or where many candles were lighted; the middle place where their shining met was white and clear." From this sample it may be imagined what he was. The ingenuity and sweetness of his disposition had raised in all
good and learned men, the greatest expectation of him possible. He began to love the liberal arts before he knew them, and to know them that he might use them: and in him there was such an attempt of nature, that not only England, but the world hath reason to lament his being so early snatched away. How truly was it said of such extraordinary persons, that their lives are short, and seldom do they come to be old! He gave us an essay of virtue, though he did not live long to give a pattern of it. When the gravity of a king was needful, he carried himself like an old man, and yet he was always affable and gentle, as became his age. These extraordinary blossoms gave but too good reason of fear, that a fruit which ripened so fast could not last long.