Imatges de pÓgina

worship) it was what the most ra- the truth before a sinful genera. tional of this class of Dissenters tion, of such will he be ashamed," approved and would be glad to see and such will he consequently re used in their assemblies:-Upon ject, when with ineffable terror and the whole, Sir, I could not be per- solemnity he shall come to judge suaded, but that such conviction the world in righteousness. laid me under an obligation pub- I have now finished my tedious licly to confess and profess the and unexpected epistle, which, I truth with them, though in doing confess, I find much more difficult it I freely own I was obliged to to excuse than to dictate. How. encounter with some considerable ever, if my own conduct stood in obstacles, with greater obstacles need of an apology, that must be althan can easily be imagined, or than lowed to be sufficient. If not, your it is necessary now to particular- approved candour will necessarily ize. Yet on the utmost enquiry, incline you to put a favourable for I am still as fond of enquiry as construction on what was certainever, I have not found the least ly well intended, and to believe me shadow of a reason for retracting to be, with great esteem and afa tittle in this respect, but rather fection, the contrary; especially when I reflect on this express declaration of the Son of God, that "whosoever shall be ashamed to confess


Sketch of English Protestant ing every allowance for what may Persecution. Letter 11, be called the licentia aulica, or the SIR, April 4, 1812. extravagance of courtly panegyI closed my last letter (p. 42.) ric. No person can read the acat a very interesting period of the count of this prince, when in his English History. Henry the 15th year, as he then appeared to Eighth, under whom, as Buchan. the learned Cardan, without bean remarks, from his own obser- lieving that Edward had been envation, “the very same day, and dowed with an uncommon capaci almost with one and the same ty, and that Sir John Cheke, his fire, Protestants and Papists were celebrated preceptor, had bestowed burnt," had just come to his grave, upon his pupil, attentions, far be happily for his contemporaries, in yond those which now constitute the prime of life, though, awfully, a princely education, as we are for himself, in a full age of guilt compelled, according to the apand cruelty. His son Edward proved maxim, by their fruits ye the Sixth, succeeded, Jan. 28, shall know them, to appreciate the 1547, at the age of nine years and term. Burnet, in his History of three months, a child to whom ex- the Reformation (ii. 2.) has transtraordinary mental accomplish- lated Cardan's character of Ed. ments must be ascribed, after mak. ward, and preserved the original


Your most obliged, humble Sert. [The two remaining Letters in our next. ED.]

in the same volume. (Records, p. 81.)

From an unhappy assimilation of Christianity to Judaism, a king dom not of this world to a Theocracy guarded by temporal sanc. tions, there was a common opinion, still, I fear, far from obsolete, which Edward could scarcely have failed to imbibe, that it became the bounden duty of a Christian prince to prohibit the exercise of a religion, which he deemed idola. trous. On this principle he re fused to his sister Mary the rites of her worship, against the opinion of his courtiers, who would have permitted them, on the score of policy. In the British Museum is preserved a journal of Edward's reign, written by himself, and as has been observed by the learned Judge Barrington "On the Ancient Statutes," possessing peculiar authenticity by discovering the gradual improvement of a child's hand-writing. In this journal, published by Burnet in his 2nd volume, is the following entry, under the year 1549, 50.

that her example might breed too much inconvenience." (Rec. p. 21.)

Thus sensibly, and to the disgrace of Protestants, now argued this popish princess for Christian liberty. Fox, in his 2d volume, has preserved a long and rather tedious correspondence between Mary and the council. It is now of small value, except to shew what justice papal depression may expect from Protestant ascendancy, and how much both parties were concerned, could they have possibly seen their true interest, to confine the magis trate to his proper duty in spirituals, the choice of a religion for himself. Policy, however, procured for Mary, at least for a time, what was denied to justice. Her relation, Charles the Fifth, brought into the discussion a threat of his powerful sword, an unanswerable argument, the ratio ultima regum.


The council, having many goods belonging to the public at Antwerp, thought it not adviscable to provoke the Emperor while such effects were in his ports; nor were "March 18. The Lady Mary, they willing to draw a new war on my sister, came to me at West. their heads, especially from so vic. minster, where, after salutations, torious a prince. They therefore she was called, with my council, advised the king to leave his sister into a chamber; where was de to her own discretion at present ; clared how long I had suffered her but the king could not be induced mass, in hope of her reconcilia. to give way to it; he judged the tion, and how, now being no hope, popish mass to be sinful, and would which I perceived by her letters, not consent to the continuance of except I saw some short amend. it. Upon this, the council ordered ment I could not bear it. She Cranmer, Ridley, and Ponet to answered, that her soul was God's discourse about it with the king. and her faith she would not change They told him that it was always a nor dissemble her opinion with sin in a prince to give licence to contrary doings. It was said I sin; but not always so to forbear constrained not her faith, but or remit the punishment for a time willed her, not as a king to rule, in hopes of amendment; and that but as a subject to obey; and sometimes a less evil connived at

The formidable insurrections, discou
raged the attempt.

might prevent a greater.
king was prevailed upon with diffi.
cuity; and, bursting into tears, la- I have, before me, the "Life
mented his sister's obstinacy, and and martyrdom of Rowland Tay-
that he must suffer her to continue lor," published in 1682, and writ-
in so abominable a way of worship ten by one who appears to have
as he esicemed the mass." Ridley's justly admired the pious Rector of
Life. p. 331.
Hadleigh. Dr. T. is described
Though Edward was thus warm. as accosting in the following terms
ly intent on inflicting the persecu- a Romish Priest, whom soon after
tion of restraint, yet, as I shall the accession of Mary, he found
have occasion to snew, he was officiating in his church: Thou
very hardly persuaded to shed devil incarnate, who made thee so
blood on account of religious opi- audacious as to enter this church,
nions. His council had no such to defile and profane it with thy
scruples. Whatever they had re- abominable idolatry? I command
formed in doctrine, they fully thee, thou popish wolf, in the name
retained the spirit of the Anti- of God, to depart hence, and not
christian church. Cranmer, who to presume thus to poison the flock
bore a principal part among them, of Christ. The Priest appears to
in ecclesiastical affairs, seems to advantage in his reply to this
have possessed a natural disposi- harsh greeting, on the principle
tion peculiarly forbearing and to common to both, the magistrate's
have exercised a Christian spirit right of controul in religion. He
on every subject; but religion. said to Dr. Taylor," Thou trai-
Shakespeare makes his Henry the tor, what makes you come hither
Eighth, say of him, as the com- to lett and disturb the Queen's pro-
ceedings? In an when
age perse-
cution, to death, was in vogue
could Dr. T. want any thing but
power, to burn the "popish wolf,"
which had intruded into his fold?



mon voice,"

Do my Lord of Canterbury
A shrewd turn, and he is your friend

for ever.


Yet Cranmer was as staunch
persecutor, under the gentle Ed- This is a fair conjecture, but
ward, as when he had approved there is on record a damning proof
under his imperious master Henry, of the sanguinary spirit which now
the burning of Lambert and Anne possessed the English Reformers.
Ascue. Mr. Gilpin, in his Life of Fox, in his Latin Book of Martyrs
the Archbishop, (p. 59) says, far which I have not had an opportunity
too mildly, "that the spirit of po. of consulting but as translated, no
pery was not yet wholly repressed." doubt faithfully, in Peirce's Vin-
The Reformers would have ab- dication of the Dissenters, (2d ed.
horred the impiety of repressing p. 30), charges the Reformers with
that spirit. Nor is there any good a design against the life of Hooper,
reason to doubt that they would if he had not submitted to the ha-
have anticipated a Marian perse- bits, and adds "which unless he
cution and burned the worshippers had done there are those who think
with their images, had not the the bishops would have endea
power of the papists, instanced in voured to take away his life; for

[ocr errors]

The effect of this persecution appears in Brandt's History of the Reformation in the Low Coun tries, where it is said that "in 1539, there were put to death at Delft, one and thirty Anabaptists that had fled from England, the men beheaded and the women drowned." Brandt, i. 77.

his servant told me the Duke of tists, and were on the 3d of May, Suffolk sent such word to Hooper, brent on the high-way beyond who was not himself ignorant what Southwark towards Newington. they were doing." This passage P. 579. and others which I shall quote are omitted by Fox with more tender. ness to the Reformers, as Mr. Peirce has hinted, than fidelity as an historian, in his English work. That work was certainly designed by its horrid details, assisted by the engraver's art, to excite a popular and unqualified odium against papists, who must not be suffered to On the death of Henry, the Andivide with Protestants even in any abaptists appear to have again proportion the guilt of persecution. visited this country, where, whatYet these bishops, who would have ever commotions some under that killed Hooper and thought they name had raised in Germany, they did God service, would not surely proved themselves a pacific, sufferhave voluntarily contented them- ing people. Burnet (ii. 105.) says selves with imprisoning Bonner that "they were generally Gerand Gardiner because they refused mans, whom the revolutions there to act the farce of a Protestant pro- had forced to change their seats." fession. Their lives could have Those called "the gentle or mod. been spared only, because, as soon erate Anabaptists, only thought appeared on the accession of Mary, that baptism ought not to be given the majority of the nation were but to those who were of an age their adherents and might have be. capable of instruction. This opicome their avengers. nion they grounded on the silence of the New Testament about the baptism of children, and they said

There were, however, a power. less people against whom Protes


tant persecution might be exercised the great decay of Christianity without reserve. These were the flowed from this way of making Anabaptists, who had appeared children Christians, before they and suffered in the former reign, understood what they did. as I find by the following pas- others who carried that name, sages in Stowe's Annals, ed. 1631, denied almost all the princi. ples of the Christian doctrine." Burnet was writing his history by command of the parliament, and had the 39 articles of a parliamentary religion to support. He had just before stated, that this most heretical class of Anabaptists agreeing with Luther, "that the scripture was to be the only rule of Christians, argued that the mys teries of the trinity, and Christ's incarnation and sufferings, of the

1538. The 24th November, four Anabaptists, three men and one woman, all Dutch, bare faggots at Paul's Cross. And on the 27th of November, a man and a woman, Dutch Anabaptists, were brent in Smithfield. P. 576.

1540. The 29th of April, one named Mandeveld, another named Colens, and one other were examined in St. Margaret's Church, and were condemned for Anabap


fall of man and the aids of grace, were indeed philosophical subtle ties, and only pretended to be deduced from scripture, and there- The poor affrighted John Ashefore they rejected them; among ton is then brought in detesting these the baptism of infants was, and abhorring" such "damned one." opinions," and "willingly and Strype, in his Memorials of with all his power affecting hereArchbishop Cranmer, (p. 179.) after firmly, to believe in the true describes as the "heresies now and perfect faith of Christ and his vented abroad, the denial of the holy church." That faith is de-. trinity, and of the deity of the scribed according to the tenor of Holy Ghost, and the assertion, modern orthodoxy, and the scene. that Jesus, Christ was a mere man thus concludes. John Asheton and not true God, because he had " lifting up his hand, beseeched the accidents of human nature, his Grace to deal mercifully and such as hungering and thirsting graciously with him; and touchand being visible; and that the ing the gospel gave his faith, that benefit men receive by Jesus Christ he would faithfully and humbly was the bringing them to the true obey the commands of the Holy knowledge of God." A clergy-, Mother Church, and whatsoever man of the name of Asheton, penance the said most reverend "preached these doctrines," for Father should lay upon him," which he " was summoned, 28th Mr. Lindey, in his Historical Dec. 1548, to Lambeth." Two. View, (p. 65.) has quoted at large. of the archbishop's chaplains soon this passage from Strype. Nor formed out of them, the following can I forbear to add my late ven"schedule of diverse heresies, erable friend's remarks on the and damned opinions," which transaction. (P.69.) Asheton was now tempted to re-,

to bring us to the acknowledging of his holy power by the Testament."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



"Thus, by promises of life, and fears of the most dreadful fuf"1. That the trinity of persons ferings, were unhappy men dealt was established by the confession of with and prevailed upon to make Athanasius, declared by a psalm, abjuration of their heresies, i, e. to Quicunque, vult, &c, and that the dissemble and speak contrary to Holy Ghost is not God, but only their inward persuasion. a certain power of the Father. 2. hardly any one, who, on such That Jesus Christ, that was.con- good grounds, as this Asheton, ceived of the Virgin Mary, was believed Jesus Christ to be truly a holy prophet, and especially one of the human race; or who beloved of God the Father; but believed the Holy Ghost, or Holy that he was not the true and living Spirit, to be only the power of the God: forasmuch as he was seen, Father; could soon, or, indeed, and lived, hungered and thirsted. at all, be brought to believe these 3. That this only is the fruit of two to be, each of them, the most Jesus Christ's passion, that where high God, and equal to the Father as we were strangers from God and of all." had no knowledge of his Testament, it pleased God by Christ,

Cranmer, however, having thus begun in the flesh was not likely

« AnteriorContinua »