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PREFACE OF THE EDITOR.
THIS Volume contains the two Books of Common
learning; and though he was too headstrong to yield implicit obedience to the court of Rome, and too sensible to tolerate its most flagrant corruptions, he cherished to the last its religious and moral system, and felt neither respect nor sympathy for the genuine principles of the Reformation. But though he seems to have been desirous of enforcing on his own anthority the same" confession of faith and order of discipline which had previously been exacted by the court of Rome, he had undesignedly been encouraging among his subjects a spirit of inquiry, and a capacity and taste for religious controversy, to such an extent, that, whatever might be the evils attendant on them, they could not fail to be productive of great benefit, in the opposition they created to his despotic measures. From the time also when he found it convenient to appeal to Universities, and to learned foreigners, for their judgment on the subject of his divorce, he opened a communication" with the reformers of the continent, and indirectly gave them a general influence on his counsels and on public opinion, so favourable for the propagation of their own sentiments, that they did not neglect to employ it. Besides the sanction which he sought to obtain from them in favour of particular measures, he was desirous that several of them should visit England as a legation from the German protestants, and should assist in drawing up a joint confession of faith, a hope being held out to them that the English reformers would accede to all the important views of their continental brethren. The issue of these negociations throws farther light on Henry's motives in desiring that the council of protestants should be held in England, and on the extent to which he was at that time prepared to go in renouncing Romish errors. A legation from the protestant princes of Germany" arrived in England in the
* Hooper writes to Bullinger, Jan. 26. 1546, Papam trucidavit rex non Papatum. Hess, Catal. of letters at Zurich, a MS. in the possession of the Delegates of the Oxford Press.
b The earnestness with which Henry sought for the assistance of the German divines may be shewn from the following notices contained in Melancthon's letters to Camerarius. Epp. l. 4. ep. 119. anno 1531. Melancthon consulted on Henry's marriage. Ep. 154. an. 1534. jam alteris litteris in Angliam vocor. Ep. 166. an. 1535. de Anglicis rebus coram tecum malim loqui, quam per litteras. Ab Anglis bis vocatus sum, sed expecto tertias litteras, et ut dicam quod sentio, poenitet me meae 8paëvrijros. Ep. 170. an. 1535. these words inserted by way of privacy in a Latin letter, WX&e 8: Toos juás £évos rus
nepiopôeis ék ris 8peravias, Plávov 8ta\eyópevos trepi rod 8evrépov ydpov rod BagiXéos' rov & ris ékkAmorias trpayuárov of HéAet, & pman, ré BagiNet" Ep. 179. an. 1535. ego rursus Anglicis, non solum litteris, sed etiam legationibus, et vocor et exerceor. Ep. 182. an. 1536. Angli ostendunt se genus doctrinae purioris nostrorum exemplo recepturos esse.
sic me Angli exercent, vix ut respirare liceat. Ep. 187. an. 1536. released from all care about going to England, on account of the changes arising from the execution of Anne Boleyn. Ep. 227. an. 1540, scelera Anglica atrocissima nunciantur.
Melancthon was probably prevented from going to England by the impression he had formed of the real views and character of Henry; but Calvin gives another reason in a letter to Farel, an. 1539, where he says that the king of England wished for Melancthon “ut haberet cujus consilio uti posset ad ecclesiam melius constituendam;” but that the German protestants did not send him “quod mollitiem animi ejus suspectam habeant.”
c Seckendorf, Hist. Luther. 66,8. Melchior Adam. Vit. Myconii, p. 179. Strype, Mem. vol. I. App. No. 95. Cranmer's Works, vol. I. pp. 261,263, and pref. p. xxii.
year 1538; conferences were opened with Cranmer and other divines of the English church; several principal articles of faith were adopted in conformity with the confession of Augsburg; but when the questions of immediate interest began to be considered, such as the denial of the cup to the laity, the use of private propitiatory masses, and the celibacy of the clergy, Henry refused his consent to any deviation from the ancient practice, and with the view of making an impression in his own favour, signified his intention of taking part in the discussion in person. Under such circumstances no agreement could be obtained, and the council was dissolved. Edward VI. then on succeeding to the throne found the cause of the Reformation advanced to the following extent. The church of England was a distinct body, acknowledging no allegiance whatever to the church of Rome: the Bible had been translated into English, and though close limits had been placed on the circulation of it, had been publicly declared" to be “the only touchstone of true learning:” the Litany and other portions of the public services had also been translated, and published, together with many forms of private prayer, in order that all “such" as are ignorant of any strange or foreign speech may have what to pray in their own acquainted and familiar language with fruit and understanding:” several' superstitious ceremonies and flagrant abuses had been removed, having also been exposed to public contempt: and commissionerss had been appointed to alter the service of the church, to draw up a new code of ecclesiastical
d Cranmer's Works, pref. p. xliii.
e Injunction prefixed to the Primer of 1545.
f Strype, Cran. vol. I. p. 195.
& Strype, Cran. vol. I. pp. 190, seqq. Cranmer's Works, vol. I. p. 242, note.
law, and to correct other superstitious practices still
* Strype, Cran. vol. I. p. 221. i Strype, Cran. vol. I. p. 224.