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papists, and prohibited by the bishops as infected with heresy; and Tonstel, bishop of London, had the edition privately purchased and publicly burnt at Cheapside. This event was far from being unfavorable; for with the money for which Tyndall sold his books, he was enabled to print, in 1534, a more correct version; and the very act of conflagration, excited great displeasure and a spirit for reading the scriptures, which nothing could suppress. Many who dispersed this hated book, and many who preached and avowed its doctrines, were brought before the bishop's courts and condemned to the flames. Tyndall himself was villanously betrayed at Brussels; and first strangled at the stake and then burnt. He expired, praying, “Lord, open the king of England's eyes.”
Cranmer assisted by the new queen, Ann Boleyn, endeavored to stop the persecutions in England; but the king had written in defence of the Romish faith, and had too much pride to renounce his opinions, and was violently pressed to what he still believed to be duty, by the Duke of Norfolk, Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, and the greater part of the clergy.
Convinced that there could be no reformation without the scriptures, Cranmer prevailed upon the king, in 1534, to order a translation of the Bible by some learned men, which should be printed and put into the hands of the people. It was a great point gained. The work was committed to nine eminent scholars; and, when finished, was sent to Paris to be printed. The next year Miles Coverdale, an associate of Tyndall, printed at Zurich the whole Bible in English; which immediately received the royal sanction, and was placed, by the king's order, in every parish Church in the kingdom. Cranmer's Bible was no sooner printed, than it was seized by the inquisitors and committed to the flames. The printers fled to London with the presses and a few copies that were saved, where it was re-printed and offered by royal decree for sale to all the king's subjects. But so small was the number of the people that could read, that the edition of only 600 copies was not wholly sold off in three years.
The royal decree exceedingly grieved the papal clergy; but the people received the Bible with great joy. Multitudes continually flocked to the Churches to hear portions of the scriptures from those who could read.* Cranmer's
* From one William Maldon, we have this lively picture of the times. He mentions that when the king had allowed the Bible to be set forth to
heart was filled with gladness at this day of reformation, which he concluded was now risen in England since the light of God's word did shine over it, without a cloud.
The next thing to which Cranmer directed his attention, was the suppression of the monasteries. These gave law to the learning and religion of the nation; and while they remained, ignorance and superstition would brood over the land. Henry at once coincided with the views of Cranmer, as the monks were all his enemies, and would not acknowl. edge his supremacy, and he could fill his empty coffers from their vast funds. In 1535, commenced their visitation; the object of which was, to expose their iniquities. They were required to acknowledge the king's supremacy, and to pursue a holy course. In both they were condemned. Indeed their vices are not to be named. 375 of the lesser convents were dissolved. Henry acquired 10,0001. in plate and moveables, and a clear yearly revenue of 30,0001.; above 10,000 persons were cast upon the world. Pleased with the result, the profligate monarch proceeded to lay hands on the large religious houses; the people being quieted with the declaration, that they would never again be burdened with taxes, for the revenue obtained would support 40 earls, 60' barons, 8000 knights, and 40,000 soldiers; make provision for the poor, and support the preachers of the gospel. All this might have been done, so immensely rich had the monks become, but Henry squandered the money among his favor
In the suppression of the monasteries, their relics were all brought forth, and made the objects of ridicule and scorn. Abominable frauds were exposed. A vial which was said to contain our Savior's blood, which could be seen only by the righteous, and which had long been venerated, was ex
be read in the Churches, immediately several poor men in the town of Chlemsford, in Essex, where his father lived, bought the New Testament; and on Sundays sat reading it in the lower end of the Church. Many would flock about them to hear their reading; and he, among the rest, being then but fifteen years old, came every Sunday to hear the glad and sweet tidings of the Gospel. But his father, observing it once, angrily fetched him away, and would have him say the Latin matins with him which grieved him much. And as he returned at other times to hear the scriptures read, his father still would fetch him away. This put him upon the thought of learning to read English, that he might read the New Testament himself, which, when he had by diligence effected, he and his father's apprentice bought a New Testament, joined their stocks together, and to conceal it, laid it under the bed of straw, and read it at convenient times.”- Toronley. hibited and found to be thick and opaque on the side held to sinners, and transparent on the opposite. An image which had been a favorite object of pilgrimage, because it moved its head and feet, was taken to pieces, and its mechanism was exposed to the people in Church, by the bishop of Rochester. The shrine of Becket was the most profitable in England. It received annually over 10001. An immense sum at that age. Henry unsainted and unshrined him, and ordered his name to be struck from the calender and his bones to be burnt.
The pope could not now restrain his anger. Henry was excommunicated, and his kingdom laid under an interdict; but the days of John were passed away. Henry regarded it as the idle wind.
A rebellion broke out among the Papists in England. A hundred thousand collected in Yorkshire, under one Aske, and called their march the Pilgrimage of grace. This encouraged risings in other parts of the country. But they were suppressed by the royal armies.
The King had filled his coffers by exterminating monasteries, relics, and images,—but he adhered rigorously to transubstantiation, and committed to the flames such as denied it. In this, Cranmer, who had not as yet gained light, coincided with him. But in 1539, to his great grief, six popish articles, establishing transubstantiation, purgatory, the celibacy of priests and auricular confession, were enacted in parliament, and the papal cause gained a temporary triumph. Five hundred persons were committed to prison, and numbers to the flames. Cranmer came near falling a sacrifice. The king suffered him to be summoned before the council to be tried for his life, but he had a secret affection for him, and he gave him his sealed ring to present to them, should they go to extremities. This alone saved him.
At this critical moment, Henry died, A. D. 1547, cursed by the Papists and abhorred by the Protestants. He was succeeded by Edward VI.; a prince only nine years of age, but remarkably mature and eminently devoted to the service of God, and the cause of the reformation. He lived but six years from this time; but he did every thing that he was able to do in so short a period, for the deliverance of his dominions from the corruptions of Popery, and to bring his subjects to the knowledge of the truth. His religious principles were Calvinistic. Geneva was acknowledged as a sister Church; but he adhered to the Episcopal form which had been established. He had a liturgy prepared for the people, that prayers to the saints, and lying legends, might cease; articles of religion framed, corresponding to those of Calvin; all laws and canons requiring celibacy in the clergy, repealed; auricular confession abol. ished; and he invited eminent reformers from the continent, particularly Martyr, Bucer, Fagius and Ochinus, to reside in his dominions, that they might aid in enlightening his people. Farther he would have proceeded if he could. In his diary, he laments " that he could not restore the primitive discipline according to his heart's desire, because several of the bishops were unwilling to it."
In his reign, the doctrine of transubstantiation was fully discussed, and renounced, by Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, the three principal reformers. But Cranmer still thought it right to burn for heretical opinions, and had Joan of Kent, a fanatical anabaptist, brought to the flames, though Edward signed the commission with tears, saying that the archbishop must answer for it. Van Paris, a Dutchman, was afterwards burnt for being an Arian.
The reformers made merciless destruction of the wealth of Churches and Monasteries, and in many cases exceedingly enriched themselves. The Catholics rose in many parts of the country, and threatened the entire subversion of the government, but were subdued. They had a warm friend in Mary, the sister of the king, who contrived to have mass in her house, and was a rallying point to all who were friendly to the old religion.
This violent Catholic succeeded her brother. It was a mysterious providence. Edward had willed the crown to the lady Jane Grey, a Protestant; but Mary, the lawful heir, was immediately received by the people. Her mind was superstitious and melancholy. She had always hated the reformed religion, and she was resolved to bring the nation back to the Church of Rome.
On the 8th of August, 1553, king Edward was buried. Cranmer read the protestant service; but he felt it to be the burial of the reformation. The Catholics throughout the kingdom, set up their forms of worship without waiting for a repeal of the laws of king Edward. Bonner, Gardiner and others, who had formerly been removed from the bishoprics, were restored. All preaching was prohibited, except such as received the Queen's license. The reformers were driven with great insolence from their pulpits. All
the marriages of the clergy were declared null, and their children were pronounced illegitimate. Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, a man who would have held the first rank among the Spanish inquisitors, was made lord chancellor. All the laws of king Edward, relating to religion, were repealed; and the ancient service was re-established. The queen expressed her desire to the pope, that England might again be received as a faithful daughter of the Church, and that Cardinal Pool might be sent from Rome with legantine power.
These various proceedings taught the reformers that they had nothing to expect but death, in its most horrid forms. Many of them fled into Scotland, Switzerland and Germany. Cranmer was advised to escape, as it was supposed that he would be the first victim; but he refused, saying it ill became him to quit the station in which providence had placed him. At an early period, he and Latimer were sent to the tower. He was greatly beloved, and it was feared by many, that violence toward him would arouse the people. But the queen and his relentless enemies were bent on his destruction. Gardiner, however, fearing that Pool would succeed him in office, protracted that event as long as possible.
To strengthen herself, Mary united in marriage with Philip, son of the emperor Charles V., sent Elizabeth, her sister, afterwards Queen, to prison, and brought the lady Jane Grey to the block. Jane was an eminently pious woman, of whom the world was not worthy. She rejoiced, she said, at her "approaching end, since nothing could be to her more welcome, than to be delivered from that valley of misery, into that heavenly throne to which she was to be advanced.” She repeated the fifty-first psalm, laid her head upon the block, and said, “ Lord Jesus, into thy hand I commend my spirit.” : To give the papal cause the appearance of justice and moderation, a public disputation was held at Oxford, in the spring of 1554, between the leading divines on both sides. Three questions were discussed, viz. whether the natural body of Christ was really in the sacrament? Whether any other substance remained, besides the body and blood of Christ? Whether, in the mass, there was a propitiatory sacrifice for the dead and living? Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, spoke for the reformed, with great boldness and power. But they were declared vanquished, required to