Page images

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


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

edifying of the people, and for the advancement of true religion;" but the reformers were also admonished "to stay and quiet themselves, as men content to follow authority, and not enterprising to run before, and so by their rashness become the greatest hinderers."

In the meantime were issued threek several proclamations, the first concerning "the irreverent talkers of the sacrament," the second" for the abstaining from flesh in the Lent time," the third" against such as innovate any ceremony, or preach without license," all of them calculated to restrain the impetuosity of the reformers, but none of them preventing the gradual removal of ancient errors, and the first of them tending, as was probably designed, to prepare the way for more just conceptions of the doctrine of the real presence. The order of the communion itself, though it introduced no new principle into the service of the church, was so constructed' as to bring in a more correct practice in the matter of confession, and to lead to improved opinions respecting the nature of the sacramental elements.

But though the more prominent acts of the government were designed to allay the alarms of the Romanists, other measures were taken to advance the cause of the reformation, by promoting more spiritual views of faith and practice. Besides the visitation appointed to inquire into and amend the state of religion throughout the kingdom, Erasmus' Paraphrase of the New Testament was translated into English, and being directed by authority to be placed openly in the churches, together with the English

k Cranmer's Works, App. vol. IV. pp. 342, &c. Wilkins' Conc. vol. IV. pp. 18, 20, 21.

Burnet, Hist. Ref. vol. II. p. 138.

m Wilkins' Conc. vol. IV. p. 4.

Bible, laid a foundation for the general exercise of private judgment, which was opposed in its principles, and fatal in its consequences, to the ancient system. The spirit of inquiry thus powerfully excited was encouraged by the publication of a Book of Homilies, in which the great points of faith and justification were interpreted according to the new learning, and by the circulation of Tracts translated from the principal works of the foreign reformers.

The communication with those eminent men, which had been opened in the first instance at the desire and for the private purposes of Henry, and had been discontinued, from a mutual feeling of distrust, during the latter portion of his reign, was resumed" at the death of that prince, and soon carried to the greatest possible extent. Hooper, Horne, Cox, Traheron, and others, who became conspicuous in the history of the English church, were frequent correspondents, and some of them intimate friends, of Bullinger and the reformers of Zurich; Bucer wrote a

For instance; Melancthon writes to Camerarius, Ep. 771. an. 1549, scripsi de Hispano nostro ad regem Anglicum et ad Cantuariensem. Ep. 780. an. 1550, ego rursus in Angliam vocor. Ep. 783. an. 1550, Alesii litteras scriptas ad regem Anglicumet ad Cantuariensem hodie trado nuncio, una cum meis perferendas. Ep. 813. an. 1553. regiis litteris vocor in Angliam, quæ scriptæ sunt mense Maio. Postea secuta est mors nobilissimi adolescentis.

In the letters of the reformers preserved at Zurich is frequent mention of the accordance of the English with Bullinger in matters of doctrine. Traheron writes to him in Aug. 1548, de consensu Anglorum præcipuorum cum Tigurinis per omnia etiam in cœnæ causa. Hooper in Dec. 1549, de cœna omnes Angli recte sentiunt. Burcher in April 1550 says, salva erit Anglia ex obitu Fagii et Buceri: and again in Nov., rex avide Bullingeri litteras et librum sibi inscriptum recepit. Hooper says in Feb. 1550, Coxus Bullingerum magni facit. Micronius in May 1550, Cranmero Bullingeri nomen gratum, Cox

gratulatory letter to the churchp of England, in praise of its Homilies, and with the view of recommending further alterations; Calvin dedicated a part of his Commentary to the protector Somerset, and urged him to carry on the great work in which he was engaged; Cranmer repeated his earnest invitations to Melancthon, Hardenberg, and other distinguished reformers; and John a Lasco, John ab Ulmis, Dryander, Utenhovius, Peter Alexander, Bernardin Ochin, Micronius, Valerandus Pollanus, the younger Justus Jonas, and others, together with Bucer, Peter Martyr, Fagius, and Tremellius, were received in England in the most favourable manner, and many of them placed in situations of trust and influence.

The spirit promoted by these zealous foreigners was already in full activity in the minds of the English reformers, although, in their case, it was united with a clearer perception of the difficulties in their way. In the first year of Edward's reign the convocations inquired into the progress which had been made, at their desire, in examining, reforming, and publishing the divine service; and in the following year the king "appointed the archbishop of Canterburyt, with other learned and discreet bishops and divines, to draw an order of divine worship, having respect to the pure religion of Christ taught in the scripture, and to the practice of the

himself in May 1551 writes, de consensu in Eucharistiæ negotio Compare Strype, Mem. vol. II. part i. p. 534. and Burnet, Hist. Ref. vol. III. p. 386.

P Strype, Mem. vol. II. part i. p. 50.

q Dedication of the Ep. to Timothy.

r Cranmer's Works, vol. I. p. 331. Hess, Catal. vol. II. p. 12.

s Strype, Cran. vol. I. p. 220. Wilkins' Conc. vol. IV. P. 15. t Stat. at large, vol. II. p. 393. Burn. Hist. Ref. vol. II.

p. 192.

primitive church."

This "commission met at Windsor in

* May 1548, and drew up a Book of Common Prayer, which was approved by 'convocation, and finally ratified by act of parliament in the ensuing January. It was en

u “The archbishop of Canterbury is mentioned in the act of parliament, but none else. But the rest of them (if we may give credit to Fuller's Church History, and what is commonly taken up and reported in our histories) were Day bishop of Chichester, Goodrich bishop of Ely, Skyp of Hereford, Holbeach of Lincoln, Ridley of Rochester, Thirlby of Westminster, May dean of St. Paul's, Taylor dean of Lincoln, Haines dean of Exeter, Robertson archdeacon of Leicester and prebendary of Sarum, Redman master of Trinity College Cambridge and prebendary of Westminster, and Cox almoner to the king and dean of Westminster and Christ Church, Oxon. Though I conjecture the main of the work went through some few of these men's hands. For three of those bishops, Thirlby, Skyp, and Day, protested against the bill for this liturgy when it passed their house; and I believe Robertson and Redman liked it as little." Strype, Mem. vol. I. part i. p. 134. To this list Burnet (Hist. Ref. vol. II. pp. 126 and 147.) adds the archbishop of York, and the bishops of London, Durham, Worcester, Norwich, St. Asaph, Salisbury, Coventry and Lichfield, Carlisle, Bristol, and St. David's, and this larger number is approved by Collier (Hist. vol. ii. p. 243.) on the authority of some papers belonging to bishop Stillingfleet. It is not improbable that the larger number was appointed in the first instance, in the year 1547, when the Order of the communion was to be drawn up, and was afterwards reduced to the commission mentioned by Strype, when the object was to compose a Book of Common Prayer.


* Strype, Mem. vol. II. part i. p. 133.

y Strype, Mem. vol. II. part i. p. 137. Wilkins' Conc. vol. IV. p. 35. z Burnet says, (Hist. Ref. vol. II. p. 192.) "The next act that passed in this parliament was about the public service, which was put into the House of Commons on the 9th of December, and the next day was also put into the House of Lords: it lay long before them, and was not agreed on till the 15th of January; the earl of Derby, the bishops of London, Durham, Norwich, Carlisle, Hereford, Worcester, Westminster, and Chichester, and the lords Dacres and Windsor protesting." From the journals of the two houses it appears that the act in question was read the third time in the House of Lords on the 15th of January, and the third time in the House of Commons on the 21st of January, 1549.

« PreviousContinue »