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Wiclif," if he could have put forth or countenanced an opinion which has such manifest tendency to subvert all legal authority.
It can hardly fail to strike a well-informed reader that it is intentionally to misrepresent Burnett to make him refer to the reign of King Edgar for the settlement of the monks in England; whereas Burnett only refers to this period for the commencement of the increase of that order. "From the days of King Edgar," says he, "the state of monkery had been still growing in England." The time when the monks became a scandal to religion, and an outrage to decency, from the dissoluteness of their morals, and from their expensive and joyous mode of living, is specifically applied by Burnett to the period when they were settled in most of the cathedrals of England, and were possessed of the best church benefices; a period which any one conversant in our ecclesiastical annals well knows was long after the days of King Edgar.
When Collier tells us that "the bishop's remark won't hold, of suffragans being put down by degrees from the ninth century," we have another proof of his wilful perversion of Burnett's meaning; for to imagine the historian of the Reformation, who pored over so many quartos and folios upon episcopal government in the different ages of the church, ignorant of that of which any one who has acquired the slightest tincture of ecclesiastical history must be aware, is alike inconsistent with truth and probability, It were, indeed, to divest Burnett of all acquaintance even with what may be called the elements of theological learning, to suspect him not to have known that in England, down to the era of the Reformation, our bishops had deputies, whom they denominated their suffragans,* and who had been consecrated bishops of sees in partibus infidelium. These, however, differ materially from the Choroepiscopi spoken of by Burnett, whose order was abolished, both in the east and west, before the end of the tenth century.
The pretext assigned for consecrating six and twenty suffragans in the reign of Henry was, the frequent employment of bishops in foreign embassies, or in offices of the court. To these spiritual functionaries was delegated the power, in the absence of the diocesan, of consecrating churches and churchyards, conferring orders, confirming children, and other episcopal functions. But as, in these enlightened times, learning and intelligence are not confined to ecclesiastics, so the startling anomaly of clerical statesmen no longer exists to offend alike the eye of religion and reason. It is a mistake to imagine, as some writers have, that their functions ceased in our church at the period of 1688.—See Edin. Miscell. 1692, p. 12. For Dr. Brett tells us, in a letter of his, in Drake's History of Yorkshire, that the last of these bishops died in 1776.
The bishop is railed at by his captious adversary for misrepresenting "the universities, clergy, and religious," because he charges them with hostility to the Reformation. But we are at a loss to discover much difference between his own sentiments and those of Collier on this point; since the latter admits that "the leading churchmen thought all innovations dangerous, and that the fundamentals of religion suffer this way."
It would surprise those who have been accustomed to contemplate Bonner as the willing instrument of Mary's cruelties to her protestant subjects, to find that he was friendly* to the Reformation when he took out the king's commission for his bishopric. Collier, however, would have us believe that Burnett disparages this passionate and unprincipled prelate in the following passage:-" Now Bonner began to show his nature. Hitherto he had acted another part. For being most extremely desirous of preferment he had complied with Cromwell and Cranmer, so that they had great confidence in him." The name alone of Bonner is apt to call forth such revolting ideas of cruelty and bloodshed, if the united testimony of our historians in the sixteenth century have not marvellously misrepresented him, that Collier's notion of his ever being, in reality and in truth, well affected to the Reformation, is like stepping in quicksand, and as devoid of all foundation as another statement, which he maintained in opposition to Burnett, that Cromwell died a Roman catholic. That this opinion is not the result of careful investigation, but is taken up without sufficient evidence, we think, may be fully attested from the expressions in the prayer which, as quoted by Fox, he uttered at the hour of death. "I see, and know, that there is in myself no hope of salvation, but all my confidence, hope, and trust, is in thy merciful goodness. I have no merits, nor good works, which I may allege before thee; of sins and evil works, alas! I see a great heap. But yet, through thy mercy, I trust to be in the number of them, to whom thou wilt not impute their sins; but wilt take, and accept, me for
He had been raised to the archdeaconry of Leicester by the former, and appointed the master of the faculties by the latter. And had, even during his residence at Paris, where he was sent to supersede Gardiner as ambassador to the French Court, made a great show of zeal about an impression of an English Bible and Testament which was then preparing there. See Wordsworth, Eccles. Biog. vol. ii, p. 361-364. But during this year (1539) "he hateth," says an old writer, "the new light."-Lansdowne MSS. "He there began to speak of the Reformation as the Lancashire parson did of the English communion, that it was the most devilish work that ever was devised."-Strype's Eccles. Mem. vol. ii, chap. 2.
righteous and just; and to be the inheritor of everlasting life. Thou, merciful Lord, was born for my sake; thou didst suffer both hunger and thirst for my sake; thou didst teach, pray, and fast for my sake; all thy holy actions and works thou wroughtest for my sake; thou sufferedst most grievous pains and torments for my sake; finally, thou gavest thy most precious body, and thy blood to be shed on the cross, for my sake. Now, most merciful Saviour, let all these things profit me, that thou freely hast done for me; which hast given thyself also for me. Let thy blood cleanse, and wash away, the spots and foulness of my sins. Let thy righteousness hide and cover my unrighteousness. Let the merits of thy passion and bloodshedding be satisfaction for my sins. Give me, Lord, thy grace, that the faith of my salvation in thy blood waver not in me, but may ever be firm and constant." These words demonstrate no Pelagian confidence of human merit, no clinging to the tenet, held by every individual of the church of Rome, that fallen man is both capable of preparing himself for the reception of grace, and of deserving it by his own virtue; but a recognition of the grand doctrine of justification by faith, asserted by our church, that "we are accounted righteous before God for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own works and deserving;" and therefore assuredly the seeds of protestantism† were sown in Cromwell's heart.
Every age has its generation of hypercritics, who, in any casual observations, fancy themselves able to discover some refinements hidden from common eyes, esoteric doctrines, concealed meanings,
• Hall says" then made he his prayer, which was long, but not so long as both godly and learned.”—Edit. 1548. p. And in another place this chroni cler remarks, "he was a man that, in all his doings, seemed not to favor any kynde of popery." It is not very likely, then, that he should have closed his eventful life in the character of a papist.
+ It is a sufficient answer, to those who have fallen into such absurdity and paradox as to deny the vicegerent's attachment "to the new learning," to observe that, when the impression of the whole Bible in English was completed, under the patronage of Cranmer, known by the title of " Matthew's Bible"-though this name was unquestionably fictitious, the translation being partly executed by Tyndale and partly by Coverdale, Cromwell took upon himself to present a copy of this bible to Henry, and to obtain the king's leave for its sale and diffusion; upon which the archbishop thus writes to the minister:-"Your lordships shall have a perpetual laud and memory of all them that be now, or hereafter shall be, God's faithful people, and favourers of his word. And this deed you shall hear of at the great day, when all things shall be opened and made manifest."-Strype's Cranmer, b. i, chap. 15.
accessible only to the initiated; and that Collier belonged to this class is an inference which may be fairly deduced from the passage which we shall now quote. Burnett affirmed that "the authority of the privy council had been raised so high by the celebrated statute of the 31st of Henry VIII, cap. 8, that they were empowered sufficiently for displacing the lord chancellor, or putting him out of office;" to which the erudite nonjuror replies that "if the privy council had no other warrant to support their proceedings than this act, 'tis pretty plain they exceeded their authority, as the statute relates only to proclamations, and it is expressly provided, that the words, meaning, and intent of this act be not misunderstood, and that by virtue of it any of the king's liege people, so should have any of his or her inheritances, lawful possessions, offices, privileges, franchises, goods or chattels, taken from them;" which word office, Collier says, "brings the lord chancellor's case fully within the saving of the statute." As if, after the statute was framed, the king by his councils (for the king and his council are to be regarded in the same relation to each other as the king and the two houses of parliament stand at present, the supreme legislative authority having been lodged, from the time of the conquest, not in the king alone, but in the king and the great council conjointly) could not deprive a lord chancellor of his office, to which no colour of right was ever set up, to justify the charge that it was hereditary.
Now the office of high constable was hereditary; and Collier may be considered to have as much put aside the weight of argument and authority in his anomalous novelty respecting the office of chancellor, as if he had asserted that the king, by the advice of his council, committed an illegal act when he ordered the head of Edward, Duke of Buckingham, the then high constable, to be cut off, on the charge of high treason. Collier, too, seems quite to have forgotten, in his eagerness to convict Burnett of inaccuracy in his facts and reasoning, that this memorable statute or ordinance* of Henry gave the king's proclamation, to a certain extent, the force of an act of parliament, though long before it had been a settled point that no proclamation
* Some of our lawyers maintain, that broad lines of distinction are to be found between these two terms. Whitelocke, whose legal acquirements were qualified, not only to discuss, but to settle, this knotty point, has observed, "If there be any difference between an ordinance and a statute, as some have collected, it is but only this, that an ordinance is but temporary, till confirmed and made perpetual, and so have some ordinances also been. "-See Parliamentary Writ. vol ii, p. 297.
was valid against them. At what period the jurisdiction of the council or star chamber* fell into disuetude, is a circumstance encumbered with some doubt. So early as the reign of Edward III. the parliament denounced its jurisdiction as contrary to Magna Charta and the known laws, and often directed to serve the most criminal views of ambition and avarice, sometimes in the clergy, and sometimes in the monarch, to whose iniquitous views it was made accessary. From all this being done, we are not surprised that under Richard II. it became the policy of the Commons to check and modify the extraordinary powers of the council, which at last, under the Lancastrian kings, was in some degree accomplished; and about that period, perhaps, the concilium ordinarium, the king's ordinary council, began to assume the forms of the concilium secretum, or privy council of state. But to suppose, with Collier, that the latter body, which, under the Tudors, so often potently interfered to deprive the subject, to his grievous discontent, of that most precious of rights, the trial by peers, could not remove a lord chancellor from his office, on the ground of its being hereditary, is plainly to form a very erroneous judgment on this question.
Those who are conversant with our early parliamentary constitution, and who recollect by what slow degrees the fabric of English liberty was reared, and for how long a period parliaments were used for no other purposes than as efficient and willing instruments in car
• Blackstone, in alluding to the origin of the star chamber, specifies those abuses and oppressions connected with it, which so justly made it the object of hatred to the subject. "The star chamber was a court of very ancient original, but new modelled by statutes 3° Hen. vii, ch.i, and 21° Hen. viii, ch. 20, consisting of divers lords, spiritual and temporal, being privy councillors, together with two judges of the courts of common law, without the intervention of any jury. Their jurisdiction extended legally over riots, perjury, misbehaviour of sheriffs, and other notorious misdemeanors, contrary to the laws of the land. Yet this was afterwards, as Lord Clarendon informs us, stretched to the asserting of all proclamations and orders of state; to the vindicating of illegal commissions, and grants of monopolies; holding for honourable that which pleased, and for just that which profited, and becoming both a court of law to determine civil rights, and a court of revenue to enrich the treasury: the (privy) council table, by proclamations, enjoining to the people that which was not enjoined by the laws, and prohibiting that which was not prohibited; and the star chamber, which consisted of the same persons in different rooms, censuring the breach and disobedience to those proclamations by very great fines, imprisonments, and corporal severities; so that any disrespect to any acts of state, or to the persons of statesmen, was in no time more penal, and the foundations of right never more in danger to be destroyed."-Commentaries, vol. iv, chap. 19.