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EDWARD VI. MARY.
markable mature, and eminently devoted to the service of God, and the cause of the reformation. He lived but six years from this time; but he did every thing that he was able to do in so short a period, for the deliverance of his dominions from the corruptions of popery, and to bring his subjects to the knowledge of the truth. His religious principles were Calvinistic. Geneva was acknowledged as a sister church; but he adhered to the Episcopal form which had been established. He had a liturgy prepared for the people, that prayers to the saints, and lying legends, might cease; articles of religion framed, corresponding to those of Calvin; all laws and canons requiring celebaey in the clergy, repealed ; auricular confession abolished; and he invited eminent reformers from the continent, particularly Martyr, Bucer, Fagius and Ochinus, to reside in his dominions, that they might aid in enlightning his people. Farther he would have proceeded if he could. In his diary, he laments “ that he could not restore the primitive discipline according to his heart's desire, because several of the bishops were unwilling to it."
In his reign, the doctrine of transubstantiation was fully discussed, and renounced, by Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, the three principal reformers. But Cranmer still thought it right to burn for heretical opinions, and had Joan of Kent, a fanatical anabaptist, brought to the flames, though Edward signed the commission with tears, saying that the archbishop must answer for it. Van Paris, a Dutchman, was afterwards burnt for being an Arian.
The reformers made merciless destruction of the wealth of churches and monasteries, and in many cases, exceedingly enriched themselves. The Catholics rose in many parts of the country, and threatened the entire subversion of the government, but were subdued. They had a warm friend in Mary, the sister of the king, who contrived to have mass in her house, and was a rallying point to all who were friendly to the old religion.
This violent Catholic succeeded her brother. It was a mysterious providence. Edward had willed the crown to the lad Jane Grey, a protestant; but Mary, the lawful heir, was immediately received by the people. Her mind was superstitious and melancholy. She had always hated the reformed religion, and she was resolved to bring the nation back to the church of Rome.
On the 8th of August, 1553, King Edward was buried. Cranmer read the Protestant service; but he felt it to be the burial of the reformation. The Catholics throughout the kingdom,
set up their forms of worship, without waiting for a repeal of the laws of king Edward. Bonner, Gardiner and others, who had formerly been removed from the bishoprics, were restored. All preaching was prohibited, except such as received the Queen's license. The reformers were driven with great insolence from their pulpits. All the marriages of the clergy were declared null, and their children were pronounced illegitimate. Gardnier, bishop of Winchester, a man who would have held the first rank among the Spanish inquisitors, who was made lord chancellor. All the laws of king Edward, relating to religion, were repealed ; and the ancient service was re-established. The queen expressed her desire to the Pope, that England might again be received as a faithful daughter of the church, and that Cardinal Pool might be sent from Rome with legantine power.
These various proceedings taught the reformers that they had nothing to expect but death, in its most horrid forms. Many of them fled into Scotland, Switzerland and Germany. Cranmer was advised to escape, as it was supposed that he would: be the first victim ; but he refused, saying it ill became him to quit the station in which providence had placed him. At an early period, he and Latimer were sent to the tower.
He was greatly beloved, and it was feared by many, that violence toward bim would arouse the people. But the queen and his relentless enemies were bent on his destruction. Gardiner, however, fearing that Pool would succeed him in office, protracted that event as long as possible.
To strengthen herself, Mary united in marriage with Philip, son of the emperor Charles V., sent Elizabeth, her sister, afterwards Queen, to prison, and brought the lady Jane Grey to the block. Jane was an eminently pious woman, of whom the world was not worthy. She rejoiced, she said, at her “ approaching end, since nothing could be to her more welcome, than to be delivered from that valley of misery, into that heav. enly throne to which she was to be advanced.” she repeated the fifty-tirst psalm, laid her head upon the block, and said, 6 Lord Jesus, into thy hand I commend my spirit.”
To give the Papal cause the appearance of justice and moderation, id public disputation was held at Oxford, in the spring of 1554, between the leading divines, on both sides. Three quesa tions were discussed, viz , whether the natural body of Christ was really in the sacrament? whether any other substance remained, besides the body and blood of Christ? whether, in the mass, there was a propitiatory sacrifice for the dead and living ?
QUEEN MARY'S PERSECUTION.
Cranmer, Ridley, and latimer, spoke for the reformed, with great boldness and power. But they were declared vanquished, required to subscribe the popish faith, and on refusal, were pronounced obstinate heretics and excluded from the church.
In the succeeding summer, the bishops performed their visitations, and saw that the catholic religion was fully established. Such priests as conformed, were anointed and clothed with priestly vestments. Above twelve thousand who refused, were ejected, and the most eminent were imprisoned. In November, sanguinary laws were passed in parliament, and persecution began.
The tirst martyr was John Rodgers. He had been a fellow labourer of Tyndall and Coverdale, in translating the Bible, and was now prebendary of St. Paul. He had a wife and ten chil. dren with whom he wished to speak, but was not permitted. He was burned at Smithfield, Feb. 4, 1555. His wife, with her ten children, one hanging at the breast, was a spectator of the
The next was Lawrence Saunders. He was burnt at Coventry. He embraced the stake, exclaiming, "welcome, cross of Christ! welcome, everlasting life !" The third was Hooper, bishop of Gloucester, the most laborious and popular preacher of the day. He had once fled from the persecution of Henry to Zurich, but returned on the accession of Edward. He had there imbibed some presbyterian principles, and refused to be consecrated in the episcopal vestments; but tinally conformed. When he left Zurich, be anticipated martyrdom. “ The last news of all,” said he to his friends, “ I shall not be able to write, for there where I shall take most pains, there you shall hear of me burned to ashes." He was again advised to flee, but refused. When he and Rodgers were brought out of prison for examination, the sheriff found it difficult to conduct them through the streets, so great was the press to see them. They were men greatly beloved and respected. That the effect might be the greater, he was sent to his own diocess to be burnt there. On the 9th of February, he was bound to the stake. The tire consumed him but slowly. One hand was seen to drop off before he expired. His last words were,“ Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” An immense crowd of people were witnesses of the horrid scene He was the great father of the puritans.
The same day, Dr. Rowland Taylor was burnt at Hadley ; and in the month of March, a number of others were burnt at Smithfield. The effect of these dreadful scenes was very different from what the papists expected. Gardiner supposed that
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two or three burnings would extirpate Protestantism from England. But the blood of the martyrs was again the seed of the church. The reformers stood firm to their cause, and gloried in their sufferings for Christ. The nation became exasperated. Philip openly disavowed them, and they were stopped for a time.
The prisons were crowded with the ablest and best men of England, and were, in fact, the best Christian schools and churches. There religious instruction was constantly imparted, and prayer and praise were offered.
In the month of June the business of burning recommenced. The dead body of a robber, who had on the scaffold uttered something true, was condemned and burnt. John Bradford, a preacher in London, was a distinguished victim. When in prison a recantation was sent to him; and when he had heard it, he asked for his condemnation, pricked his hand and sprinkled upon the bill his blood, bidding them carry it to the bishop, and tell him he had already sealed it with his blood. dured the flame as a fresh gale of wind in a hot summer's day," and exclaimed in the fire, straight is the way, and narrow is the gate that leadeth to salvation, and few there be that find it." Through the month of July, August, and September, numbers were burnt at several places. Six were burnt in one fire at Canterbury. On the 16th of October, two distinguished victims were sacrificed at Oxford-Ridley and Latimer. The former was one of the most able and learned of English reformers; the latter was a man of great simplicity of character, of wit and boldness, who by his preaching had done more than almost any man to expose the follies of popery, and sustain the truth. When he was burnt, he was nearly seventy years of age. He had suffered much from the cold damps of his prison, and hard treatment, and had a very decrepid appearance. He came before the council, “ hat in hand, with a handkerchief bound round his bead, and over it a night cap or two, with a great cap, such as townsmen used in those days, with two broad flaps to button under the chin. His dress was a gown of Bristol frieze. old and threadbare, fastened round the body with a penny leathern girdle ; his Testament was suspended from his girdle by a leathern string, and his spectacles without a case, were hang. ing from his neck upon his breast.” Ridley wrote several valuable epistles to his friends and countrymen during his imprisonment which still remain. After his condemnation he was publicly degraded from his office. They were led out together to the place of death, which was near Baliol College. They embraced each other, and knelt and prayed. A short sermon
was preached to mock them. And when the fire was brought, the venerable old man said, “ Be of good courage, master Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.” Bags of gunpowder were tied about their bodies to hasten their death. Latimer soon yielded to the flames, but Ridley suffered a tedious martyrdom.
No sooner was the vengeance of the odious Gardiner glutted with the death of these excellent men, than he was called to give up his account. His last words were, “ I have sinned with Peter, but I have not wept with Peter.” Bonner had already been active in the bloody work, and was ready to continue it Three were burnt at one stake in Canterbury, in November, and on the 18th of December, Philpot, archdeacon of Westminister, suffered at Smithfield. 56 I will pay my vows" said this excellent man, " in thee, O Smithfield.” Sixty-seven had this year been burnt for their attachment to the Protestant
But the great object of the Queen's vengeance still remained. This was Cranmer. No sooner had this great and good man discerned the course which was to be taken, than he settled all his private affairs, that he might be prepared for the worst. His confinement was long, and no means were spared to convert him to the Roman faith. On September 12th, 1555, coma missioners were sent by the queen to Oxford to try him. Cranmer defended himself with meekness and learning. He was commanded to appear before the pope at Rome in 80 days. This, he said, he would do if the queen would send him. But it was done in mockery; and before the term expired he was degraded from his office. Clothed with vestments of rags and canvass, with a mock mitre and pall, he was publicly exhibited. The utmost efforts were again made to induce him to recant; and alas ! Peter like, he finally yielded, and set his hand to a paper, renouncing the principles of the reformation, and acknowledging the authority of the papal church. The Catholics triumphed in his fall. But they had no idea of sparing his life. The queen could not forgive the man who advised to Henry's divorce from her mother. A writ was issued for burning, and he was brought to St. Marie's church, and placed on a platform. Cole, provost of Eaton, preached a sermon in which he announced that Cranmer was to die, and magnified his conversion as the work of God, and assured him of the salvation of his soul. Cranmer discovered great confusion, and frequently shed foods of tears. When Cole had finished, he