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supplied at all, and not rather abandoned to whatever wolf might feel disposed to make the fold his prey, the laity themselves actually left to bury their own dead.* The deep lasting wound which such a clergy inflicted upon the character and credit of the church is scarcely to be described. It had not recovered itself in the days of Herbert, who was thought by his wordly-minded friends "to have lost himself in an humble way" when he took orders; and who himself (which is more to the purpose), unambitious of distinction as he was become, casually speaks of his profession in his "Country Parson" as one of general ignominy. It required the Augustan age of our divines-the age of a Hall an Andrews, a Hammond, a Sanderson, a Taylor, a Barrow a South-to interpose itself, in order that public opinion, viewing the Church of England through such a medium, might be compelled to do it tardy justice, and at length to reverence an establishment which had given birth to so much 'piety, so much learning, so much genius, so much wisdom, and so much wit.
Nor was it merely the ignorance of churchmen that gave the rising sectaries such advantage; there was treachery in the camp. Many of the old clergy, conforming to the innovations that had been made, (indeed, during Henry's reign, those in doctrine were not very considerable,) still occupied the pulpits, but without any love for their present position. On the contrary, it was naturally not unpleasant to them to see the elements of discord let loose, and like the " anarch old," to watch the strife in silence, by which they might themselves hope in the end again to reign. Homilies were provided, that sound, and at any rate harmless, doctrine
* See Bishop Jewel's Sermon on Haggai, i. 2, near the end. + Eccles. Biography, iv. 508. Country Parson, p. 95. 12mo. ch. xxviii.
DEPRESSION OF THE CLERGY.
might be propounded to the people. They were, however, often but "homely handled," to speak in Latimer's vein;* for if "the priest were naught, he would so hack and chop them, that it was as good for his hearers to be without them for any word that should be understood." Neither were these conformists the most intelligent of the Roman Catholic teachers; on the contrary, they were in general of the mendicant orders, their recommendation being that they would work cheap, and spare the pocket of the patron. Neither were they the most reputable; for, as a further proof of the honest motives which had actuated many in their spoliation of the church, the very men who had been denounced as unfit to live whilst they were monks, were now inducted into benefices and stalls by the parties to whom the spiritual welfare of the people, forsooth, had been so dear an object, in order that they might be thus relieved from the payment of the pitiful pension with which their property was charged for their support.t
These are miserable and disgusting details; but if they are so to write and read, what must they have been to Cranmer and his colleagues to witness! How must their righteous souls have been vexed! Those persons who give to our reformers credit for the courage which they displayed in the flames, and regard their sufferings as confined to their martyrdom, do them poor justice. To jostle with so many offensive obstacles for so many loug years; to persevere unto the end in the midst of so much to thwart, to disappoint, to irritate; to feel themselves earnest, sincere, and single-hearted, and to have to encounter so much hypocrisy, double-dealing, and pretence; to work their weary way through a sordid and mercenary generation, who had a zeal for God's
*Latimer's Sermons, i. 105.
+ Burnet, Pref. ii. 14. Strype's Cranmer, p. 36.
service on their tongues, but who in their hearts admired nothing of heaven save the riches of its pavement; to see the goodly fruits of all their labours likely to perish through sectarian divisions, which might very probably have been healed by timely precaution, and the adoption (at some cost to be sure) of measures which they were the first to recommend; these were trials by that slow fire of temptation which it requires a stout heart and a high principle to sustain, and though there might be many (as Milton ungenerously and ungratefully puts it) who would give their bodies to be burned, if the occasion demanded it, yet there would be few, who, so tried, would find themselves so unweary in well-doing.
They, however, have their reward; and it was a noble prize for which they struggled. They are themselves gone to heaven in their chariot of fire, and to their country they have bequeathed as a mantle, a free use of the Bible, a reasonable faith, a pure ritual, principles of toleration, liberty of conscience, and that virtue which goeth out of all these things, whereby a nation is made to put forth its otherwise dormant strength in the prosecution of commerce of manufactures, of agriculture, of science, and of whatever else belongs to inextinguishable enterprise.
CROMWELL.-GARDINER.-BONNER. THE ACT OF THE SIX ARTICLES.-SERMONS OF THOSE DAYS.-PROPOSED DISPOSAL OF ECCLESIASTICAL PROPERTY.-ARTICLES OF 1536. —THE BIBLE IN CHURCHES.-BISHOPS' BOOK.-KING'S BOOK.
THE two great measures of the supremacy, and the suppression of the abbeys had been carried, but with haste and no small violence; and now came the recoil. It pertained to the king's prerogative that the pope should be deposed, and to his exchequer that the monasteries should be despoiled; so far, therefore, Henry was a cordial reformer. Churchwork is said in general to go up on crutches, and to come down post; and the present case furnishes no exception to the proverb: for now the king well nigh deserted the cause in which he had been so actively engaged; and having undone so much of the old religion, was disposed to do nothing for the new; but, betaking himself to catholic advisers, surrendered himself for the most part into their hands during the remainder of his reign. For though we
shall have occasion to notice some acts of grace towards the reformed faith, they are few and feeble, suggested by a passing wish to preserve something of consistency, by momentary caprice, or by the force of conflicting parties, which, causing him to fall into a place where two seas met, constrained him at least to be still.
The abbeys had scarcely been disposed of, when Cromwell, the political agent of the reformation, and the individual who had succeeded to the greatest share of Wolsey's
After the un
influence over the king, fell into disgrace. timely death of Jane Seymour, he had ventured (a measure requiring as much personal courage as the suppression of the monasteries) to negotiate a match for his capricious master; a match which, it was thought, would bind Henry still more closely with the Protestant cause, by connecting him with the Lutheran princes of Germany. But Cromwell's good genius had here forsaken him; Anne of Cleves was not found to answer to the agreeable portrait which Holbein had painted of her; on the contrary, she was illfavoured; moreover she spoke Dutch, a language of which the king was ignorant; and had never learned music, of which he was passionately fond. Henry became disgusted, and Cromwell's position became precarious. Other ostensible causes were of course put forward to justify the ruin of this minister; treason and heresy were the stalking-horses, but the marriage was the snare "The weight that pulled him down was there." That Henry gave him an earldom after this period, is true enough; it might be to throw dust in the eyes of the suspicious; it certainly proved but a garland to deck the victim for the altar. And now Gardiner, bishop of Winchester," that fox" who had been long upon the watch to supplant him, saw that his opportunity was come, and profited by it. Gardiner and Cromwell had known each other from early years, having been brought up together, and of nearly the same standing in the household of cardinal Wolsey; but there was not room upon the stage for both of them at a time; and Cromwell having soon on his part declared for the Reformation, had the king with him; and whilst this was the case, the churchman lay by. Cromwell seems to have owed him no good-will, and to have taken no pains to disguise his sentiments. Having the king's ear, he sent Bonner to supersede him as ambassador in France; and from the letters of that monster (as