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part of the clergy.
The king had opposed
the pope solely for political purposes, not for religious opinions, and therefore he also still continued to maintain all the leading articles of the Roman church. Having made himself conspicuous by his writings against Luther, he was loth after so short an interval to become his advocate, and we may very easily suppose that the freedom of opinion, and the tendency to call in question ancient ordinances, which seemed the necessary fruits of the reformation, was anything but acceptable to so tyrannical a monarch as Henry. This was so much the case that had it not been for Cranmer, who became a great favourite with the king in consequence of his successful advice in the matter of the divorce, and had it not also been for Anne Boleyn, the new queen, both of whom were zealously in favour of the Protestants, it is very questionable whether the reformers would have made any head against the superstition and tyrannical cruelty with which they were beset by the Romish clergy. And even as it was, the progress which Protestantism made was very faint and very gradual. We have
one man (the first who dared to broach the doctrine in England) a martyr at the stake, for denying the bodily presence of Christ in the Eucharist. This was in the year 1534. Two years subsequently, the bishops, with
Cranmer, met together to consult on religious subjects, and drew up certain articles of faith, and as this was the first attempt at composing any articles of faith, distinctively of the church of England, it is worth while to notice the opinion of the church on the controverted question of the Eucharist. The fourth article was as follows: "As touching the sacrament of the altar, people were to be instructed, that under the forms of bread and wine, there was truly and substantially given the very same body of Christ that was born of the virgin Mary, and therefore it was to be received with all reverence, every one duly examining himself according to the words of St. Paul." This article was signed by Cromwell, Cranmer, seventeen other bishops, forty abbots and priors, and fifty archdeacons and proctors. Thus we see, as far as the year 1536, very little advance had been made.
In 1539, we find an act of parliament, in which are contained the following propositions, decreed as the law of the church: First, that in the sacrament of the altar, after the consecration, there remained no substance of bread and wine, but under these forms, the natural body and blood of Christ were preSecondly, that communion in both kinds was not necessary to salvation, but that both the flesh and blood of Christ were
together in each of the kinds: Fifthly, that the use of private masses ought to be continued, which, as it was agreeable to God's law, so men received great benefit by them." -Still not much advance.
The next year, 1540, another commission was appointed, in which Cranmer proposed that the sacraments should be considered as
two. But the popish party being as yet too strong, the former number, seven, was retained; and in the explanation of the Eucharist, transubstantiation was again fully asserted, as also "the concomitancy of the blood with the flesh, so that communion in both kinds was not necessary; and the use of hearing mass, though one did not communicate, was also asserted."*-Still not much advance.
In 1546, we find persecution still raging against the Protestants. Shaxton, who was bishop of Salisbury, had asserted that Christ's body and blood were not in the sacrament, but that they were a sign and memorial of his body that was crucified for us. Upon this he was indicted and condemned to be burnt. This opinion, it is true, he afterwards recanted, and at the instance of the king, and bishops of London and Worcester, signed articles of faith, directly contradicting
his former assertion. Still, the indictment and prosecution displays the spirit of the time. In the same year, a woman of the name of Anne Askew, of good birth, and considerable education, suffered martyrdom. Information was given that she had spoken against the corporeal presence; she was cited before the bishop of London, and compelled to sign a recantation according to the bishop's dictation, stating, that "the natural body of Christ was present in the sacrament after the consecration, whether the priest were a good or ill man, and that whether it was presently consumed or reserved in the Pix, it was the true body of Christ." But even this was not sufficient, she was carried to the tower, and laid upon the rack, for it appeared that she qualified her recantation, by subscribing to it the following words: "that as to the Lord's Supper she believed so much as Christ had said in it, and as much as from him the Catholic church did teach." For this, after suffering the torments of the rack under the very eyes, and some say the hands of the king's chancellor, (for it is asserted that he himself stretched the cords in order to extract the desired confession,) she was carried to the stake at Smithfield, and there, to
*The Pix was a little box or chest, in which the consecrated host was preserved.
gether with three men, John Belenian, John Adams, and John Lassels, she was burned to death; their crime being, the denial of the corporeal presence of Christ in the sacrament. Further, there is a curious letter of the king, in Latin, to the German ambassador upon the point of denying the cup to the laity. "Nor can "Nor can we persuade we persuade ourselves that you do not believe, together with us, that under the likeness of bread there is substantially and really, the true and living body of Christ, and together with his body, his true blood; otherwise we must confess that his body would be without blood, which it would be wicked to say, since that the flesh of Christ is not only living but the cause of life, and that under the likeness of wine, not only is there the true and living blood of Christ, but also together with the true blood, the living and true flesh of his body; and since this is the case, it necessarily follows that those who communicate in one kind, and only receive the body of Christ under the likeness of bread, are not deprived of the communion of the blood of Christ; and that they who communicate in the likeness of wine, are not deprived of the communion of the blood of Christ.* And then he proceeds at considerable length to
*Cott. libr. cleop. E. 5 Burnett's addenda.