Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

objection to that city. Ferdinand and the could all the entreaties and remonstrances of the princes who adhered to the cause of the pope emperor prevail upon the pope to reassemble it gave their consent to this proposal ; but it was without delay. vehemently opposed by the protestants, both be In the year 1549 Paul III. died, and was cause the council was summoned by the autho- succeeded by Julius III., who, at the repeated rity of the pope only, and also because the place solicitations of the emperor, consented to the rewas within his jurisdiction, while they desired a assembling of a council at Trent. A diet was free council, which should not be biassed by the again held at Augsburg under the cannon of an dictates nor awed by the proximity of the pontiff

. imperial army, and Charles laid the ecclesiasBut this protestation produced no effect. Paul tical affairs before the princes of the empire. III. persisted in his purpose, and issued out his On the dissolution of this meeting, in 1551, the circular letters for the convocation of the council emperor Charles V., being defeated at Inspruck, with the approbation of the emperor.

concluded a treaty with Maurice, elector of The emperor labored to persuade the protes- Saxony.at Passau, which is considered by the tants to consent to the meeting of the council of protestants as the basis of their religious liberty. Trent; but, when he found them fixed in their By this treaty it was provided that another diet opposition to this measure, he began to listen to should be called with a view to an amicable adthe sanguinary measures of the pope, and re- justment of all matters in dispute, and that until solved to terminate the disputes by force of such adjustment the contending parties should arms. The elector of Saxony and Landgrave enjoy the free and undisturbed exercise of their of Hesse, who were the chief supporters of the religion. Various circumstances delayed the protestant cause, upon this took proper mea. promised meeting of the diet; at length, howsures to prevent their being surprised and over- ever, it met at Augsburg, where it was opened by whelmed by a superior force. But, before the Ferdinand in the name of the emperor, and terhorrors of war commenced, the great reformer minated those deplorable calamities which had Luther died in peace at Eisleben, his native so long desolated the empire. After various de-' place, February 14th, 1546. He had travelled bates the following resolutions were agreed to to Eisleben from Wittemburg in the midst of on the 25th of September 1555; that the prowinter, to endeavour to effect a reconciliation testants who followed the confession of Augsbetween the counts of Mansfield. Soon after burg should be, for the future, considered as enentering Eisleben, he suffered an access of ex- tirely free from the jurisdiction of the Roman treme debility, a circumstance not unusual with pontiff, and from the authority and superintendhim in engaging in a matter of deep interest. ance of the bishops ; that they were left at perBut this attack was more serious than on former fect liberty to enact laws for themselves relating occasions. He recovered, however, and seemed to their religious sentiments, discipline, and to enjoy the hospitality which his friends were worship; that all the inhabitants of the German anxious to show him. His time was passed in empire should be allowed to judge for themattention to his customary hours of daily prayer; selves in religious matters, and to join themselves in the transaction of the business which had to that church whose doctrine and worship they called him to Eisleben; and in cheerful and good thought the most pure and consonant to the true humored conversation. He partook twice of spirit of Christianity; and that all those who the Lord's Supper, and preached three or four should injure or persecute any person under retimes before the progressive advance of his ligious pretences, and on account of their opimalady led to the exhaustion of his frame ; after nions, should be declared and proceeded against passing nearly three weeks at Eisleben, his illness as public enemies of the empire, invaders of its was productive of a fatal termination, Luther liberty, and disturbers of its peace. Thus was expired, surrounded by friends, and placing the the Reformation established in several of the fullest trust in Him to the promotion of whose states of the German empire, where it continues cause he had zealously and constantly devoted his to this day; nor have the efforts of the papacy powers. To the eternal honor of Luther we may been since able to suppress it, or even to prevent add, that after having refused the offers of the its growth. court of Rome; after having been so many VII. Progress of the Reformation in Engyears the father and almost the founder of a new land.-Turning from Germany the cradle of the church; after having been the friend, the ad- Reformation, and from those holy men to whom viser, the spiritual father of so many princes, under God we owe the first revival of truth and who, through the Reformation, had been enriched science on the continent, the pious and Chriswith all the possessions of the clergy, of which tian mind will delight to contemplate the various he might if desirous have obtained a rich share, causes which were preparing the way in Enghe lived and died in a state bordering on po- land for a religious revolution not less remarkverty, and left to his wife and children only the able nor less beneficial than that effected by esteem due to his name. In the diet of Augs- Luther. The growing cruelty, oppression, and burg, which was soon after called, the emperor ignorance of the clergy had already excited the required the protestants to leave the decisions of just hatred of the people to no small extent ; these religious disputes to the wisdom of the but the enemies whom the wealth of the church council which now met at Trent. See TRENT. tempted to assail it were far more dangerous

A plague which broke out, or was said to do than those who opposed its corrupt doctrines so, in the city of Trent, caused the greater part and superstitious practices. When, however, its of the bishops to retire to Bologna; by which wealth had once become an object of cupidity to means the council was in effect dissolved, nor the government, the enemies whom its corruption

had provoked, and its cruelties incensed, were the hull of the former pope illicit, for this would
ready to league with any allies against it, and be entirely destroying the papal infallibility.
reform and spoliation went hand in hand. The On the nther hand, Henry was his protector
accession of Henry VIII. to the throne of Eng- and friend, the dominions of England were the
land promised to the world a reign of splendor, chief source of his finances; and the king of
popularity, and peace. With every advantage France, some time before, had got a bill of di-
of person, he united a high degree of bodily and vorce in somewhat similar circumstances. In
mental accomplishment; his understanding was this exigence he thought the best method was to
quick and vigorous; and his learning such as spin out the affair by negociation; whilst it
might have raised him to distinction, had he depended, he was sure of two great friends, but,
been born in humble life. Among the passions when it should be decided, of one great foe:
of Henry must be reckoned that which he had and thus he argued, temporised, promised, re-
for the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. His canted, and disputed, hoping that the king's pas-
veneration for this vigorous champion .of the sion would never hold out during the tedious
Roman orthodoxy was carried so far that, Luther course of an ecclesiastical controversy, or that
having contradicted St. Thomas with acumen, the not improbable death of the queen, or some
Henry thought himself bound to enter the lists other of those accidents to which human affairs
and defend his master. He, therefore, wrote a are subject, might extricate him from his embar-
Treatise, or Assertion of the Seven Sacraments, rassment. During the negociations, on which
against Luther, who admitted with all the re- Henry's happiness seemed to depend, he ex-
formed churches of no more than two. The pected, in his favorite Wolsey, a warm defender,
latter treated his new adversary as his equal, and and a steady adherent; but Wolsey seemed to
ridiculed him; but the pope, who perhaps be in almost as great a dilemma as the pope
really laughed at the book as much as Luther himself. On the one hand he was to please
did, appeared so much delighted with his literary his master, the king, from whom he had received
efforts in his favor, that he bestowed on Henry a thousand marks of favor; on the other hand
the title of defender of the faith.' Little did he could not disoblige the pope, whose servant
the world imagine that Henry was so soon to he more immediately was, and who had power
become one of the most potent enemies of the to punish his disobedience. The king's resent-
papacy; and that the Reformation under his aus. ment was consequently excited against the car.
pices would be introduced into England. A dinal, who died soon after, in all the pangs of
speech of the court fool upon that occasion has repentance and remorse.
been preserved : ‘0, good llarry, let thou and I Henry, by the advice of Cranmer, had the
defend one another, and let the faith alone to legality of his present marriage canvassed in the
defend itself.' Henry had now been married different universities of Europe. Almost all
eighteen years to Catherine of Arragon, who had the colleges of Italy and France declared his
been brought over from Spain to marry his present marriage against all law, divine and
eldest brother, prince Arthur, who died some human; and that, therefore, it was not, at first,
months after his cohabitation with her. Henry in the power of the pope to grant a dispensation.
had three children by this lady, one of whom Among the places where it was most warmly
was still living, while she herself was esteemed opposed were Cambridge and Oxford ; but, at
for her virtue and the gentleness of her dispo- last, they also concurred in the same opinion.
sition. It happened at length, that among the Thus fortified, the king was resolved to oppose
maids of honor that then waited on the queen, even the pope himself, for his passion could by
his attention was attracted by Anna Bullen, the no means brook the delays and subterfuges of
daughter of a gentleman of distinction, though the holy see; being therefore supported by his
not of the nobility. The king, who never re- clergy, and authorised by the universities; having
strained one passion which he desired to gratify, seen the pope formerly degraded by a lay mon-
saw and loved her; but, after several efforts to arch, and Luther's doctrine followed by thou-
induce her to comply with his criminal 'passion, sands; and yet still further instigated by the
he found that without marriage he could have no king of France, he, without further dispensation,
hopes of succeeding. This obstacle, therefore, annulled his marriage with queen Catherine;
he undertook to remove; his own queen was and Cranmer, now become an archbishop, pro-
now become hateful to him, and, in order to nounced the decree.
procure a divorce, he pretended his conscience The pope now thought himself obliged to
rebuked him for having so longed lived in hold no measures with the king; and, therefore,
incest with his present queen, formerly his bro- published a sentence declaring queen Catherine
ther's wife. In this perplexity, therefore, he alone to be Henry's lawful wife, and requiring
applied to Clement VII., who owed him obli- him to take her again, with a denunciation of
gations, and from whom he expected a ready censures in case of refusal. Henry, enraged
compliance, to dissolve the bull of the former that the pope should dare to thwart his pas-
pope, who had given him permission to marry sion, declared himself at once head of the
Catherine, and to declare it was contrary to all church of England, and prohibited all inter-
laws both divine and human. Clement was course with Rome; the tribute of Peter-pence,
now in the utmost perplexity. Queen Cathe- and the interference of the pope in the collation
rine was aunt to the emperor, who had lately to benefices. The people came into the king's
made him a prisoner, and whose resentment he proposal with joy, and took an oath, called the
dreaded to rekindle, by thus injuring so near a oath of supremacy; all the credit of the pope,
relation; besides he could not, in honor, declare that had subsisted for ages, was now at once over.

[ocr errors]

thrown, and few, except those who held to the or that vows of chastity could innocently be religious houses, seemed dissatisfied. In this broken, or that private masses were unprofitable, manner began the Reformation of England, and or that auricular confession was unnecessary, by such surprising methods providence brought should be burnt or hanged as the court should deabout its designs.

termine. The kingdom, at that time, was in some Henry was very sensible that the parliament measure divided between the followers of Luwas, even from motives of interest, entirely de- ther and the adherents to the pope; this statute, voted to him, and therefore he was resolved to with Henry's former decrees, in some measure make use of the opportunity, and render hiinself excluded both, and therefore opened a wide field absolute. Being empowered to act as he thought for persecution. Children were now compelled proper, he went vigorously to work in the sup- to accuse their parents and parents their chilpression of monasteries, colleges, and religious dren, wives their husbands and husbands their houses. To reconcile the people to these pro- wives, unless they would share the same fate. ceedings, Henry took care to have the counter- The poor wretches, who saved their lives by feit reliques exposed, the scandalous lives of the abjuration, were, under the name of perpetual friars and nuns made public, and all their de- penance, condemned to perpetual bondage, being baucheries detected. Whatever had served to distributed to monasteries beyond the precincts engage the people in superstition, was publicly of which they were never to pass, and where by burnt; but what grieved the people most to see, their labor they were to indemnify the convent were the bones of Thomas Becket, the saint of for their share of such food as was regularly Canterbury, burnt in public, and his rich shrine, bestowed as charity at the gate. The mark of in which there was a diamond of great value, the branding iron they were never to conceal ; confiscated among the common plunder. But, they were to bear a faggot at stated periods, and though the king had entirely separated himself once at the burning of a heretic; for which every from Rome, yet he was by no means willing to one who contributed a faggot was rewarded with be a follower of Luther. The invocation of forty days indulgence. saints was not yet abolished by him, but only Among the martyrs of those days, Thomas restrained; he ordered the Bible to be trans- Bilney is one whose name will ever be held in lated into the vulgar tongue, but not put into the deserved reverence. He had been brought up hands of the laity. The publication of Tindal's from a child at Cambridge, where, laying aside Translation of the Bible was at this time, in its the profession of both laws, he entered upon effects upon this nation, the most important what was then the dangerous study of divinity; volume that ever issued from the press. Under and being troubled in mind repaired to priests, the patronage of Humphrey Monmouth, a who enjoined him masses, fasting, watching, and wealthy and benevolent citizen, Tindal travelled the purchase of indulgences, till his scanty into Germany, where he conferred with Luther purse and feeble constitution were both well and others of the great protestant divines, and nigh exhausted. At this time hearing the New then settling at Antwerp, as the best place for Testament, which Erasmus had just published, printing his book and securing its transmission praised for its Latinity, he bought it for that to England, completed the New Testament. inducement only; and opened it upon a text, Tindal had perceived, he said, that it was im- which finding his heart open, rooted itself there : possible to establish the people in any truth, ex • This is a faithful saying and worthy of all accept the Scriptures were plainly laid before them ceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world in their mother tongue, that they might see the to save sinners, of whom I am chief.' The comprocess, order, and meaning of the text. The fort which these words conveyed was confirmed Romanists understood perfectly well how little by the frequent perusal of a book which now the practice of their church was supported by became sweeter than honey, or the honeycomb; Scripture; and that, if the ark of the covenant and he began to preach, as he had learnt, that was admitted, Dagon must fall. No sooner men should seek for righteousness by faith. It therefore was it discovered that copies of this was not long before he was accused before translation were industriously dispersed in Eng- Cuthbert Tonstal, then bishop of London, a land than it was prohibited, as being corrupted man of integrity and moderation, though comwith articles of heretical pravity, and opinions pelled to bear a part in proceedings which were erroneous, pernicious, pestilent, and scanda- utterly abhorrent to his natural disposition. lous; tending to seduce persons of simple and The main accusations against him were, that he unwary dispositions; but a spirit had now been asserted Christ was our only mediator, not the roused which no persecution could suppress; Virgin Mary, nor the saints; that pilgrimages the book was therefore eagerly sought for and were useless; and that offerings to images were widely dispersed.

idolatry, Of these doctrines he was found It was a capital crime to believe in the pope's guilty; the sheriff

, to whose custody he was delisupremacy, and yet equally heinous to be of the vered, happened to be one of his friends, and reformed religion, as practised in Germany. therefore treated him with every kindness which Henry's opinions in religion were delivered in a could be afforded during his imprisonment. law, which, from its horrid consequences, was The night before he was to suffer some friends termed the bloody statute, by which it was or- who visited him found him at supper eating dained that whoever, by word or writing, de- heartily, and with a cheerful countenance; and nied transubstantiation, that whoever maintained one of them saying he was glad to see him rethat the communion in both kinds was neces fresh himself thus so shortly before he was to sary, or that it was lawful for priests to marry, undergo so painful a death, he replied, • I follow

the example of those, who, having a ruinous nions should increase and go forward; and all house to dwell in, hold it up by props as long as occasion of dissent and discord, touching the they may:' another observed that his pains same, be repressed and utterly extinguished.' would be short, and the spirit of God would The articles were such as could satisfy neither support him in them, and reward him afterwards party, both having struggled to introduce their with everlasting rest. Bilney, upon this, put own opinions, and each with considerable suchis finger into the candle, which was burning cess, though on the whole to the manifest advanbefore him more than once. " I feel,' said he, tage of the reformers. The Bible and the three

by experience, and have long known by philo- creeds were made the standards of faith, no sophy, that fire is naturally hot; yet I am per- mention being made of tradition, nor of the suaded by God's holy word, and by the expe- decrees of the church. Three sacramentsrience of some saints of God there n recorded, those of baptism, penance, and the altar-were that in the flames they may feel no heat, and in said to be necessary to salvation-four being the fire no consumption. And I constantly be- thus pretermitted; but the corporal presence lieve that, however the stubble of this my body was declared, and the necessity of auricular shall be wasted by it, yet my soul and spirit confession. Images were allowed as useful, but shall be purged thereby-a pain for the time, they were not to be worshipped; and saints whereon followeth joy unspeakable;' and then might laudably be addressed as intercessors, he repeated the words of Scripture : Fear'not, though it was asserted that Christ is our only for I have redeemed thee, and called thee by thy sufficient mediator. The existing rites and cerename; thou art mine own; when thou goest monies were to be retained as good and laudable ; through the water, I will be with thee, and the not as having power to remit sin, but as useful strong floods shall not overflow thee. When in stirring and lifting up our minds unto God, thou walkest in the fire, thou shall not be con- by whom only our sins can be forgiven. Lastly, sumed, and the flame shall not burn thee; for I prayers for the dead were advised as good and am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, charitable; though the question of purgatory thy Saviour.' This text he applied to himself was said to be uncertain by Scripture, and the and those who were present, some of whom, re- abuses which under that belief had arisen were ceiving the words as a legacy of a blessed mar to be put away. Thomas Cromwell, raised by tyr, had them fairly written on tables, or in the king's caprice from a blacksmith's son to be books, and derived comfort from them till their a royal favorite, and Cranmer, now become archdying day. On the following morning he was bishop of Canterbury, with all their might asled to execution, one of his friends exhorting sisted the Reformation. The pope had long him at the prison door, with few and secret threatened to issue a bull of deposition, but had words, to take his death patiently and con- hitherto delayed it because of the displeasure stantly. Bilney answered, “When the mariner which he knew it would occasion to other soveis tossed upon the troubled sea, he beareth his reign princes. The manner in which Becket perils better, in hope that he shall yet reach his had been uncanonised put an end to this sus harbour; so, whatever storms I shall feel, my pension; and the bull was now fulminated, reship will soon be in its quiet haven; thereof, I quiring the king and his accomplices to appear doubt not, by the grace of God,-and I entreat at Rome, and there give an account of their you, help me with your prayers, to the same actions on pain of excommunication and rebeleffect.' The place of execution was a low lion, otherwise the pope deprived him of his valley, surrounded with rising ground, without crown, and them of their estates, and both of the bishop's gate. Having put off the layman's Christian burial. He interdicted the kingdom; gown, in which after his degradation he had been absolved his subjects and their vassals from all clad, he knelt upon the sledge, and prayed with oaths and obligations to them; and offered his deep and quiet devotion, ending with the 143d dominions to the king of Scotland, if he would Psalm, in which he thrice repeated the verse, go and take them. But the throne of England • Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O was no longer to be shaken by such thunders. Lord, for in thy sight shall no man living be Even the Romish bishops joined in the declarajustified.' He then put off his jacket and doub- tion which Henry set forth, that Christ had forlet, and remained in his hose and shirt, and sọ bidden his apostles or their successors to take to was chained to the stake. The dry reeds were themselves the power of the sword, or the aukindled ; and in a few minutes Bilney, triumph- thority of kings; and if the bishop of Rome, or ing over death, rendered up his soul, in the any other bishop, assumed any such power, he fulness of faith, and entered into his reward. was a tyrant and usurper of other men's rights,

Those who adhered to the pope, or those who and a subverter of the kingdom of Christ. followed Luther, were now equally the objects At length so many hundred persons were of royal vengeance and ecclesiastical perse- thrown into prison upon the six articles, that cution. In the houses of parliament, parties Henry himself thought it bewer to grant a gewere nearly equally divided; there were on both neral pardon, than to proceed against them all; sides men of great learning, ability, and address. and this bloody act slept till Iris determination After long consultation and debate certain arti- to put away Anne of Cleves, and marry Cathecles were at length set forth in the king's name rine Howard, drew on the fall of Cromwell, as head of the church of England; it being in whom the duke of Norfolk, uncle to the bride the preamble stated, among the chief cares elect, mortally hated. Now the six articles were , appertaining to his princely office, diligently to en with extreme severity; and Henry as provide that unity and concord in religious opi- if to show his impartiality while he executed as

heretics those reformers who went, beyond the way daunted at the preparation, but cried out, limits which he had laid down, put to death as I resign my life with joy, in testimony of the traitors those Romanists who refused to acknow- doctrine of Jesus ;' and washing his hands in the ledge his supremacy.

flames, as they blazed around him, took his death The alterations in the reign of Henry were with so calm and resolute a patience, that many rather separations from the pope than a refor- who were present blessed God for the support mation of religious abuses : in the reign of his which had been vouchsafed him. Hooper had successor, Edward VI., the errors of Rome, in his pardon offered him upon the same terms, but reality, began to be reformed. It was left to he refused it with equal indignation. This old people's choice to go to confession, which had martyr, who was executed at Gloucester, was hitherto been deemed an indispensable duty, or three-quarters of an hour in torment; the fire to neglect that practice. It was ordered that all either from malice or neglect had not been suffiimages should be taken out of churches; priests ciently kindled, so that his legs and thighs were were allowed to marry ; the old mass was abo- first burnt, and one of his hands dropped off lished; and a new liturgy drawn up, which re- before he expired; yet the voice with which he trenched several abuses in the service of the called upon his Redeemer was not that of one church, and which is the same with that now impatient, or overcome with pain; he remained used, excepting a few alterations. Gardiner and still and calm, we are told, to the last; and at Bonner, refusing their consent to these momen- length, in the words of Fox, “ died as quietly as a tous changes, were deprived of their sees and child in his bed.' No father in his household, imprisoned; but no rigor was nsed towards no gardener in his garden, no husbandman in them, nor did the protestants in any instance his vineyard, was ever more employed than abuse their triumph by retaliating upon the Hooper had been in his diocese among his flock, papists for the persecution which they had en- going about the towns and villages teaching and dured. Immediately upon the death of the preaching to the people there. young king, two competitors put up for the Saunders and Taylor, two other clergymen, crown; Mary relying upon the justness of her whose zeal had been distinguished in carrying on pretensions, and the lady Jane Grey supported the Reformation, were the next that suffered. by the duke of Northumberland, her father-in- And now Ridley bishop of London, and the law. Mary was strongly bigoted to the popish venerable Latimer bishop of Worcester, were to superstitions. Her zeal had rendered her cruel, receive the martyr's crown. Ridley was one of and she was not only blindly attached to her re- the ablest champions of the Reformation : his ligious opinions, but even to the popish clergy piety, learning, and solidity of judgment, were who maintained them. On the other hand, Jane admired by his friends and dreaded by his eneGrey was attached to the reformers; though yet mies. The night before his execution he invited but sixteen, her judgment had obtained such a the mayor of Oxford and his wife to see him degree of perfection as few enjoy in their more die; and when he saw them melted into tears advanced age. Queen Mary, however, obtained he himself appeared quite unmoved. When he possession of her rightful throne without the came to the stake where he was to be burnt, he loss of a single life; so completely did the found his old friend Latimer there before him, nation acknowledge her claim, whilst an after and began to comfort him in his sufferings, insurrection rashly planned, and worse conduct- while Latimer was as ready to return the kind ed, served only to hasten the destruction of the office. Ridley distributed such trifles as he had lady Jane and her husband. Mary began by about him to those who were near him; and giving orders for the suppression of all married many pressed about him to obtain something as bishops and priests; the mass was directed to a relic. They then undressed for the stake ; be restored; the pope's authority was re-esta- and Latimer, when he had put off his prison blished with some restrictions; the laws against dress, remained in a shroud which he had put heretics were renewed; and the church and its on, instead of a shirt, for that day's office. When privileges put on the same foundation in which the fire was brought Latimer said, “ Be of good they were before the alteration of Henry VIII. comfort, master Ridley, and play the man we This was kindling up the fires of persecution shall this day light such a candle, by God's anew; at the head of these measures were Gar- grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put diner bishop of Winchester, and Bonner bishop out! The venerable old man received the flame of London. Gardiner began this bloody scene as if embracing it; and having, as it were, bathed with Hooper and Rogers. Hooper had been his hands in the fire, and stroked his face with bishop of Gloucester; Rogers was a clergyman them, died apparently without pain. Ridley who had shone among the most distinguished of endured a long martyrdom, and fell at Latimer's the protestants.

He was prebendary of St. feet. As the bodies were consumed the quantity Pauls, and refused all submission to the church of blood which gushed from Latimer's heart asof Rome, which he looked upon as antichristian. tonished the beholders. They were both condemned by the commis As soon as Cranmer perceived what course sioners appointed by the queen, with the chan- events were likely to take, after king Edward's cellor at the head of them. Rogers suffered in death, he gave orders that all his debts should Smithfield. When he was brought to the stake he be paid to the uttermost farthing, and cancelled had it in his power to save himself, by recanting the bills which were due to him from persons his opinions ; but neither hopes nor fears could who were not in a condition to discharge them. prevail on him to desert his religion. When the This being done, he said he was his own man, faggots were placed around him he seemed no and, with God's help, able to answer all the world

« PoprzedniaDalej »