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malignant, which of late were rightfully plucked up. I would to God that the distribution of the same lands and goods had been as godly distributed as the act of the rooting up was; which distribution of the same I dare say all Christian hearts lament. For the fat swine only were greased, but the poor sheep to whom that thing belonged had least or nothing at all. The fault will be laid to those of the Parliament House, especially to those who bear the greatest swing. Well, I touch this matter here, to exhort all that love God's word unfeignedly to be diligent in prayer only to God to endue the Lords, Knights, and Burgesses of the next Parliament with His spirit, that the lands and goods of these bishops may be put to a better use, as to God's glory, the wealth of the commonalty and provision for the poor."1
The above lengthy extracts will show what the advanced spirits among the English followers of Luther hoped for from the religious revolution which had already, when the tract was written, been begun. It will also serve to show that even in London, which may be supposed to have been in the forefront of the movement, the religious changes were by no means popular; but the civic authorities and people clung to the old faith and traditions, which the author well and tersely describes as " the Romish religion."
The readers of the foregoing pages will see that no attempt has been made to draw a definite conclusion from the facts set down, or expound the causes of the ultimate triumph of the Reformation principles in England. It has already been pointed out that the time for a satisfactory synthesis is not yet come; but it may not be unnecessary to deprecate impatience to reach an ultimate judgment.
The necessary assumption which underlies the inherited Protestant history of the Reformation in the sixteenth century is the general corruption of manners and morals no less than of doctrine, and the ignorance of religious truths no less than the neglect of religious precepts on the part of both clergy and people. On such a basis nothing can be easier and simpler than to account for the issue of the English religious changes. The revival of historical studies and the alienation of the minds of many historians from traditional Christianity, whether in its Catholic or Protestant form, has, however, thrown doubt on this great fundamental assumption—a doubt that will be strengthened the more the actual conditions of the case are impartially and thoroughly investigated. Many of the genuine sources of history have only within this generation become really accessible; what was previously known has been more carefully examined and sifted, whilst men have begun to see that if the truth is to be ascertained inquiries must be pursued in detail within local limits, and that it does not suffice to speak in general terms of "the corrupt state of the Church."
1 Ibid., sig. D viii.
If we are to know the real factors of the problem to be solved, separate investigations have to be pursued which lead to very varying conclusions as to the state of the Church, the ecclesiastical life and the religious practices of the people in different countries. It is already evident that the corruptions or the virtues prevailing in one quarter must not straightway be credited to the account of another; that the reason why one country has become Protestant, or another remained Catholic, has to be sought for in each case, and that it may be safely asserted that the maintenance of Catholicity or the adoption of Protestantism in different regions had comparatively little to do with prevalence or absence of abuses, or as little depended on the question whether these were more or less grievous.
Unquestionably those who desire to have a ready explanation of great historical movements or revolutions find themselves increasingly baulked in the particular case of the Reformation by the new turn which modern historical research has given to the consideration of the question. Recent attempts to piece up the new results with the old views afford a warning against precipitation, and have but shown that the explanation of the successful issue of the Reformation in England is a problem less simple or obvious than many popular writers have hitherto assumed. The factors are clearly seen now to be many— sometimes accidental, sometimes strongly personal—whilst aspirations after worldly commodities, though destined not to be realised for the many, were often and in the most influential quarters a stronger determinant to acquiescence or active co-operation in the movement than thirst after pure doctrine, love of the open Bible, or desire for a vernacular liturgy. The first condition for the understanding of the problem at all is the most careful and detailed examination possible of the state of popular religion during the whole of the century which witnessed the change, quite apart from the particular political methods employed to effect the transition from the public teaching of the old faith, as it was professed in the closing years of the reign of Henry VIII., and the new as it was officially practised a dozen years after Elizabeth had held the reins of power. The interest of the questions discussed in the present volume is by no means exclusively, perhaps to some persons is even by no means predominantly, a religious one. It has been insisted upon in the preceding pages that religion on the eve of the Reformation was intimately bound up with the whole social life of the people, animating it and penetrating it at every point. No one who is acquainted with the history of later centuries in England can doubt for a moment that the religion then professed presented in this respect a contrast to the older faith; or as some writers may put it, religion became restricted to what belongs to the technically " religious" sphere. But this was not confined to England, or even to Protestant countries. Everywhere, it may be said, in the centuries subsequent to the religious revolution of the sixteenth century, religion became less directly social in its action; and if the action and interference of what is now called the State in every department of social life is continually extending, this may not inaptly be said to be due to the fact that it has largely taken up the direct social work and direction from which the Church found herself perhaps compelled to recede, in order to concentrate her efforts more intensely on the promotion of more purely and strictly religious influences. It is impossible to study the available sources of information about the period immediately preceding the change without recognising that, so far from the Church being a merely effete or corrupt agency in the commonwealth, it was an active power for popular good in a very wide sense. At any rate, whatever view we may take of the results of the Reformation, to understand rightly the conditions of religious thought and life on the eve of the religious revolution is a condition of being able really to read aright our own time and to gauge the extent to which present tendencies find their root or their justification in the past.
iBBOTs, display in elections of, 114
.braham, religious play, 281
ulrian VI., Pope, 139
iggeus, Augustine, 272
ildine press, at Venice, 141
ildus, printer, 142, 147
dezander VI„ Pope, 91
Alton, foundation for obits at, 355-
Lmberbach, printer, 146
Lmyas Chantry, 354
ingels, devotion to, 270
Lnti-clerical spirit, 101, 105
Lntoninus, St., Archbishop of Flor-
'Apology " of Sir Thomas More, 64,
Architecture, pre-Reformation activity
Art, great activity of, prior to Re-
Badsworth, chantry foundation at,
iarbarus, Hermolaus, 27, 29, note
Basle, printing-press at, 146 Baynard's Castle, meeting at, 62 Beccles, foundation at, 359 Becket, Thomas, 388 Bede-roll, 295, 299 Benedict XII., 92
Benedictine Order, average of gra-
Benefices, 50, 94, 96, note, 311
Benefit of clergy, 50
Bequests, mediaeval, 343 et seq.
Bere, Abbot, of Glastonbury, 36, and
Berthelet, publisher, 65, note, 66,
Bible, the Bishops', 218
Bible, Erasmus' translation, 148 et
Bible, English, hostility to, 208;
Bishops, and ordination, 131; and
Blackfriars, meetings at, 61
Bombasius, Paul, 31, and note
Bond, William, 74, 268
Boniface VIII., Pope, 88
Books, heretical, prohibited, 189-191;