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him. The preface itself invited men tc independent study, saying that "the Bishop of Rome has studied long to keep the Bible from the people, and specially from princes, lest they should find out his tricks and his falsehoods;
clear sun of God's word came over the heat of the day, it would drive away the foul mist of his devilish doctrines."* Even on the admission, then, of official voices, they had there the pure and the whole truth, not merely speculative but moral truth, without which we cannot live worthily or be saved. Tyndale,
teach the way of salvation. Wycliff's | longer, and his father n a rage bea: Wicket Gate, The Obedience of a Chris- him severely, and was eady to hang tian, or sometimes Luther's Revelation of Antichrist, but above all some portion of the word of God, which Tyndale had just translated. One man hid his books in a hollow tree; another learned by heart an epistle or a gospel, so as to be able to ponder it to himself even in... knowing well enough, that if the the presence of his accusers. When sure of his neighbor, he speaks with him in private; and peasant talking to peasant, laborer to laborer-you know what the effect will be. It was the yeomen's sons, as Latimer said, who more than all others maintained the faith of Christ in England; and it was with the yeomen's sons that Crom-the translator, says: well afterwards reaped his Puritan victories. When such words are whispered understand the Scripture unto salvation, is that "The right waye (yea and the onely waye) to through a nation, all official voices we ernestlye and above all thynge serche for clamor in vain: the nation has found the profession of our baptisme or covenauntes its poem, it stops its ears to the trouble-made betwene God and us. As for an example. Christe sayth, Mat. v., Happy are the mercy. some would-be distractors, and present- full, for they shall obtayne mercye. Lo, here ly sings it out with a full voice and God hath made a covenaunt wyth us, to be from a full heart. mercyfull unto us, yf we wyll be mercyfull one to another."
But the contagion had even reached the men in office, and Henry VIII. at last permitted the English Bible to be published. † England had her book. Every one, says Strype, who could buy this book either read it assiduously, or had it read to him by others, and many well advanced in years learned to read with the same object. On Sunday the poor folk gathered at the bottom of the churches to hear it read. Maldon, a young man, afterwards related that he had clubbed his savings with an apprentice to buy a New Testament, and that for fear of his father, they had hidden it in their straw mattress. In vain the king in his proclamation had ordered people not to rest too much upon their own sense, ideas, or opinions; not to reason publicly about it in the public taverns and alehouses, but to have recourse to Learned and authorized men; the seed sprouted, and they chose rather to take God's word in the matter than men's. Maldon declared to his mother that he would not kneel to the crucifix any
Froude, ii. 33: "The bishops said in 1529, In the crime of heresy thanked be God, there hath no notable person fallen in our time.""
In 1536. Strype's Memorials, appendix. Froude, iii. ch. 1a.
What an expression! and with what ardor men pricked by the ceaseless reproaches of a scrupulous conscience, and the presentiment of the dark future, will devote on these pages the whole attention of eyes and heart!
I have before me one of these grea old folios,† in black letter, in which the pages, worn by horny fingers have been patched together, in which an old engraving figures forth to the poor folk the deeds and menaces of the God of Israel, in which the preface and table of contents point out to simple people the moral which is to be drawn from each tragic history, and the application which is to be made of each venerable precept. Hence have sprung much of the English language, and half of the English manners; to this day the country is biblical; it was these big books which had transformed Shakspeare's England. To understand this great change, try to picture these yeomen these shopkeepers, who in the evening placed this Bible on their table, and bareheaded, with veneration, heard or * Coverdale. Froude, iii. 81. † 1549. Tyndale's translation.
An expression of Stendhal's; it was his general impression.
read one of its chapters. Think that | trated entirely in the one Being of they have no other books, that theirs whom they are the work and the pup. was a virgin mind, that every impres- pets. Earth is the footstool of this great sion would make a furrow, that the God, heaven is His garment. He is in monotony of mechanical existence ren- the world, amongst His creatures, as dered them entirely open to new emo- an Orientaking in his tent, amidst his tions, that they opened this book not arms and his carpets. If you enter for amusement, but to discover in it this tent, all vanishes before the ab their doom of life and death; in brief, sorbing idea of the master; you see that the sombre and impassioned im- but him; nothing has an individua agination of the race raised them to and independent existence: these arms the level of the grandeurs and terrors are out made for his hands these car which were to pass before their eyes. pets for his foot; you imagine them Tyndale, the translator, wrote with only as spread for him and trodden by such sentiments, condemned, hunted, him. The awe-inspiring face and the in concealment, his mind full of the menacing voice of the irresistible lord idea of a speedy death, and of the great appear behind his instruments. And God for whom at last he mounted the in a similar manner, for the Jew, nafuneral pyre; and the spectators who ture and men are nothing of themhad seen the remorse of Macbeth* and selves; they are for the service of the murders of Shakspeare can listen God; they have no other reason for to the despair of David, and the mas- existence; no other use; they vanish sacres accumulated in the books of before the vast and solitary Being who Judges and Kings. The short Hebrew extended and set high as a mountain verse-style took hold upon them by its before human thought, occupies and uncultivated austerity. They have no covers in Himself the whole horizon. need, like the French, to have the Vainly we attempt, we seed of the ideas developed, explained in fine clear Aryan race, to represent to ourselves anguage, to be modified and connect- this devouring God; we always leave ed. The serious and pulsating tone some beauty, some interest, some part shakes them at once; they understand of free existence to nature; we but it with the imagination and the heart; half attain to the Creator, with diffithey are not, like Frenchmen, enslaved culty, after a chain of reasoning, like to logical regularity; and the old text, Voltaire and Kant; more readily we so free, so lofty and terrible, can re- make Him into an architect; we nattain in their language its wildness and urally believe in natural laws; we its majesty. More than any people in know that the order of the world is Europe, by their inner concentration fixed; we do not crush things and their and rigidity, they realize the Semitic relations under the burden of an ar conception of the solitary and almighty bitrary sovereignty; we do not grasp God; a strange conception, which we, the sublime sentiment of Job, who sees with all our critical methods, have the world trembling and swallowed up hardly reconstructed within ourselves at the touch of the strong hand; we at the present day. For the Jew, for cannot endure the intense emotion or the powerful minds who wrote the repeat the marvellous accent of the Pentateuch, for the prophets and au- psalms, in which, amid the silence of thors of the Psalms, life as we con- beings reduced to atoms, nothing re ceive it, was secluded from living mains but the heart of man speaking things, plants, animals, firmament, sen- to the eternal Lord. These English sible objects, to be carried and concen- men, in the anguish of a troubled con science, and the oblivion of sensible nature, renew it in part. If the strong and harsh cheer of the Arab, which breaks forth like the blast of a trun pet at the sight of the rising sun and of the bare solitudes,* if the menta.
The time of which M. Taine speaks, and the translation of Tyndale precede by at least fifty years the appearance of Macbeth (1606). Shakspeare's audience read the present authorized translation.-TR.
† See Lemaistre de Sacy's French translation of the Bible, so slightly biblical.
See Ewald, Geschichte des Volks Israel, his apostrophe to the third writer of the Pentatouch, Erhabener Geist, etc.
*See Ps. civ. in Luther's admirable transla tion and in the English translation
trances, the short visions of a lumin-
It is not enough to hear this King, they must answer Him; and religion is not complete until the prayer of the people is added to the revelation of God. In 1548, at last, England received her prayer-book from the hands of Cranmer, Peter Martyr, Bernard Ochin, Melanchthon; the chief and most ardent reformers of Europe were invited to compose a body of doctrines conformable to Scripture, and to express a body of sentiments conformable to the true Christian faith This prayer-book is an admirable book, in which the full spirit of the Reformation breathes out, where, beside the moving tenderness of the gospel, and the manly accents of the Bible, throb the profound emotion, the grave eloquence, the noble-mindedness, the restrained enthusiasm of the heroic and poetic souls who had re-discovered Christianity, and had passed near the fire of martyrdom.
"Almighty and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from Thy ways like
The first Primer of note was in 1545; Froude, v. 141. The Prayer-book underwent several changes in 1552, others under Elizabeth, and a few, lastly, at the Restoration.
lce sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. W have left undone those things which we ought have offended against Thy holy laws. We to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there
is no health in us. But Thou, O Lord, have Thou them, O God, which confess their faults mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare Restore Thou them that are penitent; Accord ing to Thy promises declared into mankind ir merciful Father, for His sake; That we may Christ Jesu our Lord. And grant, O most hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life."
nothing that Thou hast made, and dost forgive Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest the sins of all them that are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrie hearts, that we worthily lamenting our sins, and acknowledg ing our wretchedness, may obtain o. Thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness."
The same idea of sin, repentance and moral renovation continually recurs; the master-thought is always that of the heart humbled before invisible justice, and only imploring His grace in order to obtain His relief. state of mind ennobles man, and introduces a sort of impassioned gravity in all the important actions of his life. Listen to the liturgy of the deathbed, of baptism, of marriage; the latter first:
"Wilt thou have this woman to be thy wedded wife, to live together after God's ordinance, in the holy state of Matrimony? Wilt thou love her, comfort her, honour, and keep her in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all other, keep thee only unto her, so long as ye both shall live?"
These are genuine, honest, and con. scientious words. No mystic languor, made for women who dream, yearn, here or elsewhere. This religion is not and sigh, but for men who examine themselves, act and have confidence, confidence in some one more just than themselves. When a man is sick, and his flesh is weak, the priest comes to him, and says:
"Dearly beloved, know this, that Almighty God is the Lord of life and death, and of all things to them pertaining, as youth, strength, health, age, weakness, and sickness. Where fore, whatsoever your sickness is, know you certainly, that it is God's visitation. And for what cause soever this sickness is sent unto you; whether it be to try your patience for the example of others,... or else it be sent unto you to correct and amend in you whatsoever doth offend the eyes of your heavenly Father; know you certainly, that if you truly repent you of your sins, and bear your sickness patiently trusting in God's mercy, submitting your
se'f wholly unto His will, it shall turn to your profit, and help you forward in the right way that leadeth unto everlasting life."
the seats are fuli, the powerful He braic verses knock like the strokes o a battering-ram at the door of every soul; then the liturgy unfolds its im posing supplications; and at intervals the song of the congregation, combined with the organ, sustains the people's de votion. There is nothing graver and more simple than this singing by the people; no scales, no elaborate melody it is not calculated for the gratification of the ear, and yet it is free from the sickly sadness, from the gloomy monotony which the middle age has left in the chanting in Roman Catholic churches; neither monkish nor pagan, it rolls like a manly yet sweet melody, neither con trasting with nor obscuring the words which accompany it; these words are psalms translated into verse, yet lofty; diluted, but not embellished. Every thing harmonizes-place, music, text, ceremony-to place every man, personally and without a mediator, in presence of a just God, and to form a moral poetry which shall sustain and develop the moral sense.*
A great mysterious sentiment, a sort of sublime epic, void of images, shows darkly amid these probings of the conscience; I mean a glimpse of the divine government and of the invisible world, the only existences, the only realities, in spite of bodily appearances and of tae brute chance, which seems to jumble all things together. Man sees this beyond at distant intervals, and raises himself out of his mire, as though he had suddenly breathed a pure and strengthening atmosphere. Such are the effects of public prayer restored to the people; for this had been taken from the Latin and rendered into the vulgar tongue: there is a revolution in this very word. Doubtless routine, here as with the ancient missal, will gradually do its sad work; by repeating the same words, man will often do nothing but repeat words; his lips will nove whilst his heart remains inert. But in great anguish, in the confused gitations of a restless and hollow mind, at the funerals of his relatives, the strong words of the book will find him in a mood to feel; for they are living,* and do not stay in the ears like those of a dead language; they enter the soul; and as soon as the soul is beit she were not bound yet those days that "As for fastynge, for age, and feebleness, alstirred and worked upon, they take root by the Church were appointed, she kept them there. If you go and hear these words diligently and seriously, and in especial the holy in England itself, and if you listen to tite till one meal of fish on the day; besides her Lent, throughout that she restrained her appethe deep and pulsating accent with other peculiar fasts of devotion, as St. Anthony, which they are pronounced, you will St. Mary Magdalene, St. Catherine, with other; see that they constitute there a national and throughout all the year the Friday and poem, always understood and always clothes wearing, she had her shirts and girdles Saturday she full truly observed. As to hard efficacious. On Sunday, when all busi- of hair, which, when she was in health, every ness and pleasure is suspended, be-week she failed not certain days to wear, sometween the bare walls of the village church, where no image, no ex-voto, no accessory worship distracts the eyes,
"To make use of words in a foreign lanuage, merely with a sentiment of devotion, the mind taking no fruit, could be neither pleasing to God, nor beneficial to man. The party that understood not the pith or effectualness of the talk that he made with God, might be as a harp or pipe, having a sound, but not understanding the noise that itself had made; a Christian man was more than an instrument; and he had therefore provided a determinate form of supplication in the English tongue, that his subjects might be able to pray like reasonable beings in their own language."-Letter of Henry VIII. to Cranmer. Froude, iv. 486.
Bishop John Fisher's Funeral Oration of the Countess of Richmond (ed. 1711) shows to Countess was the mother of Henry VII., and what practices this religion succeeded. The translated the Myrroure of Golde, and The Forthe Boke of the Followinge Jesus Chryst:
time the one, sometime the other, that full often her skin, as I heard say, was pierced therewith. "In prayer, every day at her uprising, which commonly was not long after five of the clock, she began certain devotions, and so after their, with one of her gentlewomen, the matins of ou Lady; which kept her to then, she came int her closet, where then with her chaplain she said also matins of the day; and after that, daily heard four or five masses upon her knees; so continuing in her prayers and devotions unto the hour of dinner, which of the eating day was ten of the clocks, and upon the fasting day eleven. After dinner full truly she would go her stations to three altars daily; daily her dirges and commendations she would say, and her even songs before supper, both of the day and of our Lady, beside many other prayers and psalters of David throughout the year; and a
One detail is still needed to complete | ing often heard Bilney the martyr, and this manly religion-human reason. having, moreover, studied the world and The minister ascends the pulpit and thought for himself, he, as he tells us, speaks: he speaks coldly, I admit, "began from tha: ime forward to smel with literary comments and over-long the word of God, and to forsooke the demonstrations; but solidly, seriously, Schoole Doctours, and such fooleries;" like a man who desires to convince, and presently preach, and forthwith to that by honest means, who addresses pass for a seditious man, very troubleonly the reason, and discourses only of some to those men in authority who justice. With Latimer and his con- did not act with justice. For this was temporaries, preaching, like religion, in the first place the salient feature of changes its object and character; like his eloquence: he spoke to people of religion, it becomes popular and moral, their duties, in exact terms. One day, and appropriate to those who hear it, when he preached before the university, to recall them to their duties. Few the Bishop of Ely came, curious to hear men have deserved better of their fel- him. Immediately he changed his sublows, in life and word, than he. He ject, and drew the portrait of a perfect was a genuine Englishman, conscien- prelate, a portrait which did not tally tious, courageous, a man of common well with the bishop's character; and sense and practical, sprung from the he was denounced for the act. When laboring and independent class, the he was made chaplain of Henry VIII., very heart and sinews of the nation. awe-inspiring as the king was, little as His father, a brave yeoman, had a farm he was himself, he dared to write to of about four pounds a year, on which him freely to bid him stop the persecuhe employed half a dozen men, with tion which was set or foot, and to prethirty cows which his wife milked, a vent the interdiction of the Bible; vergood soldier of the king, keeping equip-ily he risked his life. He had done it ment for himself and his horse so as to join the army if need were, training his son to use the bow, making him buckle on his breastplate, and finding a few nobles at the bottom of his purse wherewith to send him to school, and thence to the university.* Little Latimer studied eagerly, took his degrees, and continued long a good Catholic, or, as he says, "in darckense and in the shadow of death." At about thirty, hav
night before she went to bed, she failed not to resort unto her chapel, and there a large quarter of an hour to occupy her devotions. No marvel, though all this long time her kneeling was to her painful, and so painful that many times it caused in her back pain and disease. And yet nevertheless, daily, when she was in health, she failed not to say the crown of our lady, which, after the manner of Rome, containeth sixty and three aves, and at every ave, to make a kneeling. As for meditation, she had divers books in French, wherewith she would occupy herself when she was weary prayer. Wherefore divers she did translate out of the French into English. Her marvellous weeping they can bear witness of, which here before have heard her confession, which be divers
and rany, and at many seasons in the year, lightly every third day. Can also record the same those that were present at any time when she was houshylde, which was full nigh a dozen times every year, what floods of tears there issued forth of her eyes!"
* See Ante, p. 81, note 1.
before, he did it again; like Tyndale, Knox, all the leaders of the Reforma. tion, he lived in almost ceasless expec tation of death, and in contemplation of the stake. Sick, liable to racking headaches, stomach aches, pleurisy, stone, he wrought a vast work, travelling writing, preaching, delivering at the age of sixty-seven two sermons every Sunday, and generally rising at two in the morning, winter and summer, to study. Nothing can be simpler or more effective than his eloquence; and the reason is, that he never speaks for the sake of speaking, but of doing work. His sermons, amongst others those which he preached before the young king Edward VI., are not, like those of Massillon before the youthful Louis XV., hung in the air, in the calm region of philosophical amplifi. cations: Latimer wishes to correct, and he attacks actual vices, vices which he has seen, which every one can point at with the finger; he too points them out, calls things by their name, and people too, giving facts and details, bravely; and sparing nobody, sets him self without hesitation to denounce and reform iniquity. Universal as his mo rality is, ancient as is his text, he ap