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THE REFORMATION IN ENGLAND.
English nation from the Roman see, contained no CHAP. clause, favorable to religious liberty. The king of England was now the pope in his own dominions; 1534. and heresy was still accounted the greatest of all crimes. The right of correcting errors of religious faith became, by the suffrage of parliament, a branch of the royal prerogative; and, as the active minds of the people were continually proposing new schemes of doctrine, a law, alike arrogant in its pretensions and vindictive in its menaces, was, after great opposition in parliament, enacted “for abolishing diver- 1539. sity of opinions." All the Roman Catholic doctrines were asserted except the supremacy of Rome. The pope could praise Henry VIII. for his orthodoxy, while he excommunicated him for his disobedience. He commended to the wavering emperor the English sovereign as a model for the soundness of his belief, and anathematized him only for his contumacy. It was Henry's pride, to defy the authority of the Roman bishop, and yet to enforce the doctrines of the Roman church. He was as tenacious of his reputation for catholic orthodoxy, as of his claim to spiritual dominion. He disdained submission, and detested heresy.
Nor was Henry VIII. slow to sustain his new prerogatives. He rejected the advice of the commons,
Lingard, v. iv. p. 266—270, and 331. Henry VIII., c. xiv. Statv. vi. p. 281–283.
utes, v. iii. p. 739—743; Lingard, 1 Henry's Great Britain, v. xii. v. vi. p. 380—386, Bossuet, Hist. p. 53; Turner's England, v. ii. p. des Variation 1. vij. c. xxiv.349–353; Mackintosh's England, xl.; Henry's Great Britain, v. xii. v. ii. p. 147—150. 2 Strype's Memorials, v. i.p.352. 4 Fra Paolo, l. i. v. i. p. 82. VOL. I.
CHAP. as of “brutes and inexpert folks,” of men, as unfit
to advise him, as “blind men are to judge of colors.!” According to ancient usage, no sentence of death, awarded by the ecclesiastical courts, could be carried into effect, until a writ had been obtained from the king. The regulation had been adopted in a spirit of mercy, securing to the temporal authorities the power of restraining persecution. The heretic might appeal from the atrocity of the priest to the mercy of the sovereign. But now what hope could remain, when the two authorities were united ; and the law, which had been enacted as a protection of the subject, was become the powerful instrument of tyranny! The establishment of the English church under the king, was sustained by inexorable persecutions. No virtue, no eminence, conferred security. Not the forms of worship merely, but the minds of men were declared subordinate to the government; faith, not less than ceremony, was to vary with the acts of parliament. Death was denounced against the catholic, who denied the king's supremacy, and the Lutheran, who doubted his creed. Had Luther been an Englishman, he himself would probably have perished by fire. Henry always adhered to his old religion ;' he believed its most extravagant doctrines to the last, and died in the Roman, rather than in the protestant faith. But the awakening intelligence of a great nation could not be terrified into a passive lethargy.
i Lord Herbert's Henry VIII. 4 Turner's England, v. ii. p. 352. p. 418, 419.
5 Bossuet, Hist. des Variations, 2 Neal's Puritans, v. i. p. 55. 1. viii. c. iii. iv. and xxiv.-; 3 Turner's England, v. iii. p. 140. Henry's Gt. Britain, v. xii. p. 107.
THE REFORMATION IN ENGLAND.
The environs of the court displayed no resistance to CHAP. the capricious monarch; a subservient parliament yielded him absolute authority in religion ;' but the public mind was roused to independence.
The accession of Edward VI. led the way to the 1547. establishment of protestantism in England, and, at the same time, gave life to the germs of the difference, which was eventually to divide the English. A change in the reformation had already been effected among the Swiss, and especially at Geneva. Luther had based his reform upon the sublime but simple truth, which lies at the basis of morals; the paramount value of character and purity of conscience; the superiority of right dispositions over ceremonial exactness; or, as he expressed it, justification by faith alone. But he hesitated to deny the real presence, and was indifferent to the observance of external ceremonies. Calvin, with sterner dialectics, sanctioned by the influence of the purest life, and by his power as the ablest writer of his age, attacked the Roman doctrines respecting the communion, and esteemed as a commemoration the rite, which the catholics reverenced as a sacrifice. Luther acknowledged princes as his protectors, and, in the ceremonies of worship, favored magnificence as an aid to devotion; Calvin was the guide of Swiss republics, and avoided, in their churches, all appeals to the senses as a crime against religion. Luther resisted the Roman church for its immorality; Calvin for its idolatry. Luther exposed the folly of
1 37. Henry VIII. c. xvii. Statutes, v. iii. p. 1009.
CHAP. superstition ; Calvin shrunk from its criminality with
impatient horror. Luther permitted the cross and the taper, pictures and images, as things of indifference; Calvin demanded a spiritual worship in its utmost purity.
The reign of Edward, giving safety to protestants, soon brought to light, that both sects of the reformed church existed in England. The one party, sustained by Cranmer, desired moderate reforms; the other, countenanced by the protector, were the im
placable adversaries of the ceremonies of the Roman 1549, church. It was still attempted to enforceuniformity
by menaces of persecution; but the most offensive of the Roman doctrines were expunged from the liturgy. The tendency of the public mind favored a greater simplicity in the forms of devotion; the spirit of inquiry was active; not a rite of established worship, not a point in church government, escaped unexamined; not a vestment nor a ceremony remained, of which the propriety had not been denied. A more complete reform was demanded; and the friends of the established liturgy expressed in the prayer-book itself a wish for its furtherance. The party, strongest in numbers, pleaded expediency for retaining much that had been sanctioned by ancient usage; while abhorrence of superstition excited the other party to demand the boldest innovations. The austere principle was now announced, that not even a
1 Lingard, v. vii. p. 286, 287; 2 2 Neal's Puritans, v. i. p. 121; and 3 Edward VI. c. i. Statutes, v. Neal's History of New-England, iv. 36–39; Rymer, v. xv. 181— v. i. p. 51. 183, and 250_252.
ORIGIN OF PURITANISM.
ceremony should be tolerated, unless it was enjoined chap. by the word of God. And this was puritanism. The church of England, at least, in its ceremonial part, was established by an act of parliament, or a royal ordinance; puritanism, zealous for independence, admitted no voucher but the bible; a fixed rule, which they would allow neither parliament, nor hierarchy, nor king to interpret. The puritans adhered to the established church as far as their interpretations of the bible seemed to warrant; but no farther, not even in things of indifference. They would yield nothing in religion to the temporal sovereign; they would retain nothing, that seemed a relic of the religion, which they had renounced. In these views they were sustained by the reformers of the continent. Bucer and Peter Martyr? both complained of the backwardness of the reformation in England; Calvin wrote in the same strain. When Hooper, who had gone into exile in the latter
years of Henry VIII., was appointed bishop of Gloucester, 1550.
July. he, for a time, refused" to be consecrated in the vestments, which the law required; and his refusal marks the era, when the puritans first existed as a separate party. They demanded a thorough reform; the established church desired to check the propensity to
1 So Cartwright, a few years la- Strype's Memo. v. ii. c. xxviii. ter, in his Reply to Whitgift, p. 27: 3 Hallam's England, v. i. p. 140. “En matters of the church, there 4 Strype's Memorials, v. ii. p. may be nothing done but by the 226, and Repository, v. ii. p. 118 word of God."
-132; Hallam's England, v. i. p. In his Sec. Reply, 1675, p. 81: 141; Neal's Puritans, v. i. p. 108– * *t is not enough, that the Scrip: 113; Prince, p. 282—307. Prince ture speaketh not against them, has written with great diligence unless it speak for them."