Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

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

Ep. 183, an. 1536. He commends Nicholas Hethe, but says of other Englishmen, oi & #NAot tróvv Bokočow dyevarot ris juerépas pi\ogopias rai y\vkörnros' 8tó kai row ovvopuixtav pewyo. Ep. 185. an. 1536. Trepl rod rijs yúvauxos droarraortov non sumus eis assensi 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.

a 4

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 law, and to correct other superstitious practices still remaining. As these concessions had been obtained at different periods, had some of them been partially retracted, and were all to be held in subordination to portions of the ancient system, which were essentially opposed to them, they express, when taken together and without limitation, a greater amount of change than had ever been carried into practice at any one time in the reign of Henry. Public opinion however had not only adopted them, but had silently been urging them on to their natural consequences; and when the impediments presented by the character of Henry had been removed by his death, it seemed as if a new impulse had suddenly risen up within the nation, displaying at once the maturity of its strength, and rejoicing as a giant to run its course. The service of the mass, for instance, had hitherto been strictly retained; it had been enjoined afresh by the law of the Six Articles; it had been maintained as indispensable in the conference with the German legates; and had been the occasion from which persons had suffered death for dissenting from the ancient faith. But in the first year of the reign of Edward, the convocation" having unanimously approved of the measure, an act of parliament was passed converting the mass into a communion, and requiring that the sacrament of the Lord's supper should be delivered to the people, and under both kinds. Within four months afterwards, on the 8th of March 1548, appeared the Order of the communion, accompanied by a proclamation, in which a promise was given of “other such godly orders as might be most to God's glory, the 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.

g Strype, Cran. vol. I. pp. 190, seqq. Cranmer's Works, vol. I. p. 242, note.

* Strype, Cran. vol. I. p. 221. i Strype, Cran, vol. I. p. 224.

[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

law, and to correct other superstitious practices still
remaining.
As these concessions had been obtained at different
periods, had some of them been partially retracted, and
were all to be held in subordination to portions of the
ancient system, which were essentially opposed to them,
they express, when taken together and without limitation,
a greater amount of change than had ever been carried
into practice at any one time in the reign of Henry.
Public opinion however had not only adopted them, but
had silently been urging them on to their natural conse-
quences; and when the impediments presented by the
character of Henry had been removed by his death, it
seemed as if a new impulse had suddenly risen up within
the nation, displaying at once the maturity of its strength,
and rejoicing as a giant to run its course. The service of
the mass, for instance, had hitherto been strictly retained;
it had been enjoined afresh by the law of the Six Ar-
ticles; it had been maintained as indispensable in the
conference with the German legates; and had been the
occasion from which persons had suffered death for dis-
senting from the ancient faith. But in the first year of
the reign of Edward, the convocation" having unani-
mously approved of the measure, an act of parliament
was passed converting the mass into a communion, and
requiring that the sacrament of the Lord's supper should
be delivered to the people, and under both kinds. Within
four months afterwards, on the 8th of March 1548, ap-
peared the Order of the communion, accompanied by a
proclamation, in which a promise was given of “other
such godly orders as might be most to God's glory, the

* Strype, Cran. vo" 221. c. Cran. vol. I. p. ‘’’

[graphic]
« EdellinenJatka »