Изображения страниц




CHAP. respecting the communion, and esteemed as a com

memoration 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 superstition, ridiculed the hair-shirt and the scourge, the purchased indulgence, and the dearly-bought masses for the dead; Calvin shrunk from their 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 implacable

adversaries of the ceremonies of the Roman church 1549 It was still attempted to enforce' uniformity by men



aces 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 the 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. The spirit of inquiry rebelled against prescription. A more complete

1 2 and 3 Edward VI., c. i. Statutes, iv. 36–39. Rymer, xv. 181– 183, and 250–252.



reform was demanded; and the friends of the estab- chap. lished 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 ceremony should be tolerated, unless it was enjoined 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 it 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 further, 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. They asserted the equality of the plebeian clergy, and directed their fiercest attacks against the divine right of bishops, as the only remaining strong-hold of superstition. In most of these views they were sustained by the reformers of the continent. Bucer and Peter Martyr3 both complained of the backwardness of the reformation in England; Calvin wrote in the same strain. When Hooper, who had gone into exile in


1 Neal's Puritans, i. 121. Neal's In his Sec. Reply, 1575, p. 81: New England, i. 51.

“Xt is not enough, that the Scrip2 So Cartwright, a few years ture speaketh not against them, later, in his Reply to Whitgift, 27: unless it speak for them." " In matters of the church. ibere 3 Strype's Memorials, 11. C. may be nething done but by the xxviii. word of God."

4 Hallam's England, i. 140.






CHAP. the latter years of Henry VIII., was appointed bishop

o of Gloucester, he, for a time, refused to be consecrated 1550. in the vestments which the law required; and his re

fusal 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 change. The strict party repelled all union with the Catholics; the politic party aimed at conciliating their compliance. The Churchmen, with, perhaps, a wise moderation, differed from the ancient forms as little as possible, and readily adopted the use of things indifferent; the Puritans could not sever themselves too widely from the Roman usages, and sought glaring occasions to display their antipathy. The surplice and the square cap, for several generations, remained things of importance; for they became the badges of a party. They were rejected as the livery of superstition—the outward sign, that prescription was to prevail over reason, and authority to control inquiry. The unwilling use of them was evidence of religious

servitude. 1553 The reign of Mary involved both parties in danger; 1558. but they whose principles wholly refused communion

with Rome, were placed in the greatest peril. Rogers and Hooper, the first martyrs of Protestant England, were Puritans; and it may be remarked, that, while Cranmer, the head and founder of the English church, desired, almost to the last, by delays, recantations, and entreaties, to save himself from the horrid death to which he was doomed, the Puritan martyrs never sought, by concessions, to escape the flames. For


1 Strype's Memorials, i. 226, and 113. Prince, 282_307. Prince Repository, ii. 118–132. Hallam, has written with great diligence i. 141. Neal's Puritans, i. 108– and distinctness.





them, compromise was itself apostasy. The offer of CHAP. pardon could not induce Hooper to waver, nor the pains of a lingering death impair his fortitude. He suffered by a very slow fire, and at length died as quietly as a child in his bed.

A large part of the English clergy returned to their submission to the see of Rome ; others firmly adhered to the reformation, which they had adopted from conviction; and very many, who had taken advantage of the laws of Edward, sanctioning the marriage of the clergy, had, in their wives and children, given hostages for their fidelity to the Protestant cause. Multitudes, therefore, hurried into exile to escape the grasp of vindictive bigotry; but even in foreign lands, two parties among the emigrants were visible; and the sympathies of a common exile could not immediately eradicate the rancor of religious divisions. The one party? aimed at renewing abroad the forms of discipline which had been sanctioned by the English parliaments in the reign of Edward; the Puritans, on the contrary, endeavored to sweeten exile by a complete emancipation from ceremonies which they had reluctantly observed. The sojourning in Frankfort was imbittered by the anger of consequent divisions ; but Time, the great calmer of the human passions, softened the asperities of controversy; and a reconciliation of the two parties was prepared by concessions 3 to the Puritans. For the circumstances of their abode on the continent were well adapted to strengthen the influence of the

1 2 and 3 Edward VI., c. xxi., 5 161, 162, 163. “We will joyne and 6 Edward VI., c. xii., in Stat- with you to be suitors for the reforutes, iv. 67, and 146, 147. Strype's mation and abolishing of all offenMemorials, iii. 108.

sive ceremonies.” Prince, 287, 288. 2 Discourse of the Troubles in The documents refute the contrary Frankfort.

opinion expressed by Hallam, Const. 3 Ibid., edition of 1642, p. 160, Hist. i. 233.

vol. I. 36





CHAP. stricter sect. While the companions of their exile a had, with the most bitter intolerance, been rejected

by Denmark and Northern Germany, the English emigrants received in Switzerland the kindest welcome; their love for the rigorous austerity of a spiritual worship was confirmed by the stern simplicity of the republic; and some of them had enjoyed in Geneva the instructions and the friendship of Calvin. . On the death of Mary, the Puritans returned to

England, with still stronger antipathies to the forms of worship and the vestures, which they now repelled as associated with the cruelties of Roman intolerance at home, and which they had seen so successfully rejected by the churches of Switzerland. The pledges which had been given at Frankfort and Geneva, to promote further reforms, were redeemed.? But the controversy did not remain a dispute about ceremonies; it was modified by the personal character of the English sovereign, and became identified with the political parties in the state. The first act of parliament in the reign of Elizabeth declared the supremacy 3 of the crown in the state ecclesiastical; and the uniformity of common prayer was soon established under the severest penalties. In these enactments, the common zeal to assert the Protestant ascendency left out of sight the scruples of the Puritans.

The early associations of the younger daughter of Henry VIII. led her to respect the faith of the Catholics, and to love the magnificence of their worship. She publicly thanked one of her chaplains, who had

1 Planck's Geschichte des Pro- 350–355. Hallam, i. 152. Macktestantischen Lehrbegriffs, b. v. t. intosh, iii. 45, 46. ii. p. 35–45, and 69.

4 1 Elizabeth, c. ii. Hallam, i 2 Prince, 288.

153. Mackintosh, iii. 46, 47. 3 1 Elizabeth, c. i. Statutes, iv.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »