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Church, rendering it necessarily impossible for the Church to reform itself beyond what he or his state advisers might choose to permit.
[1553.] The truth of this was immediately made apparent on the accession of Queen Mary, in the year 1553. An early act of her sovereignty was the issuing of a proclamation, in which she declared her adherence to the religion that she had professed from her infancy, disclaiming the intention of compelling her subjects, till public order should be taken in the matter by common consent ; and, in the meantime, straitly charging that none should preach, or expound Scripture, or print any books or plays, without her special license. The deprived popish bishops were speedily restored to their sees, and the reformed bishops, some sent to prison at once, and others thrust out of the House of Lords, because they refused to reverence the mass at its opening. The laws passed by King Edward concerning religion were repealed; and a negotiation commenced for procuring a reconciliation with the pope. The mass
was everywhere resumed—the laws against heresy revived--and every step taken for bringing the nation once more under the degrading thraldom of Popery, with all possible expedition. All this was done directly by the auihority of the queen, as Supreme Head of the Church of England ; for this title she took care to retain and enforce at the commencement of her reign, though it was afterwards disused. Indeed, she could not so readily have accomplished her purpose without the power which this title was admitted to confer; so fatally was it productive of evil, so soon had it ceased to be avail. able for good, even when held by the pious Edward.
But it is quite unnecessary to relate the events that successively followed, and to sketch even the outlines of the fierce persecution which characterized the reign of a queen so well known by the fearfully emphatic title of “The Bloody Mary.” Life alone was wanting to her to have completely overthrown the Reformation in England, and to have placed again the kingdom beneath the Romish yoke. And it deserves to be carefully remarked, that this dread consummation was so nearly accomplished almost entirely by two conjunct influences—by the queen's ecclesiastical supremacy, and by the wealth and consequent
power of the prelates. The tendency of the latter element had been foreseen by some, as appears from a letter written to the Protector Somerset by Sir Philip Hobby; in which, after suggesting the wisdom of appointing the godly bishops an honest and competent living, and taking from them the rest of those worldly possessions and dignities which tend to prevent the right discharge of their office, he adds, “ The papists say, They doubt not but my lords the bishops, being a great number of stout and well learned men, will well enough weigh against their adversaries, and maintain still their whole estate ; which coming to pass, they have good hope that in time these princely pillars will well enough resist this fury, and bring all things again into the old order."* This shrewd prediction was wellnigh fulfilled in “Bloody Mary's” days; an approximation was made towards it again under the management of Laud; and it is possible that a similar peril may once more arise.
Reference has been already made to the opposition which Hooper offered to the episcopal vestments, and other unimportant and superstitious ceremonies, as probably exhibiting the very origin of what afterwards became the great Puritan party in England. Another event must also be mentioned, which certainly very much increased, and has by many been thought to have first caused that unpropitious schism. During the persecution in the reign of Mary, many Protestants, both lay and clerical, sought safety by flight to the continent. Of these a considerable body took up their residence at Frankfort, while others went to Strasburgh, Zurich, and Basle. The Frankfort exiles at first entered into communion with a congregation of French Protestants, on the agreement that they should subscribe the French Confession of Faith, and not insist upon retaining the forms and ceremonies of the English Liturgy.
For a time all went on in peace and harmony, under three pastors, chosen by the congregation, of whom John Knox was one; but the English having invited some of their countrymen at Strasburgh and Zurich to come and join them, they replied that they could not do so, unless they would conform strictly and entirely to the religious service appointed by King Edward. The Frankfort con
* Burnet's Hist. Ref., vol. iii. p. 280
gregation refused to do so; stating, that if the Strasburgh divines had no other views but to reduce the congregation to King Edward's form, and to establish popish ceremonies, they had better stay away. The Frankfort brethren consulted Calvin, and other leading continental reformers, who all censured the English Liturgy, thought it more becoming godly ininisters of Christ to aim at something bet. ter and purer, and expressed surprise that they were so fond of " Popish dregs.” The controversy might probably have gone no further, but for the inopportune arrival at Frankfort of Dr. Cox, who had been tutor to King Edward, and possessed great influence among his countrymen. He at once broke through the whole previous agreement, interrupted the usual service, by answering aloud after the minister, and, by private intriguing, got the majority to consent to his aggressive innovations. The injured party applied to the magistrates, who gave order that the original agreement should be observed, threatening to shut up the place of worship if this command were disobeyed. With a baseness which has few equals, Cox and his party went privately to the magistrates, and accused Knox of treason against the Emperor of Germany, his son Phi. lip, and Queen Mary of England; founding this charge on some expressions in his small treatise, entitled, “Admonition to England." The magistrates were in great perplexity; for though they utterly disapproved of the conduct of Cox and the informers, they were afraid to offend the emperor's council. In this dilemma they advised John Knox to withdraw from Frankfort, for his own safety, and for the sake of peace. He consented, and withdrew, amidst the complaints and tears of his attached friends. Following up
his disgraceful victory, Cox falsely represented to the magistrates that the English Liturgy was now uni versally acceptable to the congregation, and procured an order for its unlimited use. He then abrogated the code of discipline, procured the appointment of a bishop, and rejoiced in having now “the face of an English Church.” Thus, by intolerance, treachery, and despotism, they succeeded in overthrowing a Church whose scriptural simplicity and purity they might have rejoiced to imitate, and in setting up human inventions, in which pride and selfish. ness might glory; giving, likewise, an ominous intimation
of the spirit likely to prevail in such a Church as theirs, should it regain the ascendency, and become established in England. For in this instance they had not to plead, as in the case of Hooper, respect for the civil authority by which vestment and ceremonies were enjoined, the Frankfort magistrates having actually discountenanced them; but it was with them as it ever is when man mingles his own devices with God's appointments—to his own vain fancies he clings with desperate and fierce tenacity, while he lays hold weakly and loosely on the unchanging laws and principles of divine revelation.*
[1558.] Elizabeth, upon her accession to the throne found herself in a situation of considerable difficultythreatened with foreign wars, and her subjects divided anxious, and alarmed, on the all-important subject of re ligion. Her wisest counsellors advised her first to settl the relations of the country with foreign states, and thei to proceed with what religious reformation might be ne cessary There was also another reason for this course Elizabeth, on her accession to the throne, sent intimatio! of that event to the pope, and waited an answer fron Rome before declaring her purposes with regard to reli gion. That answer declared her illegitimate and com manded her to abandon the throne, and submit to the wil of the Roman pontiff. This insolence determined her t the support
of the Protestant cause. To prevent dispute in the meantime, a proclamation was issued, prohibiting al preaching, and requiring that nothing should be done i public worship, but the reading of the Gospel and Epist] for the day, the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and the Te Commandments, till proper arrangements should be mad and further instructions given. Parliament met in January 1559, and proceeded with alacrity to the discharge of it duties. The Act of Supremacy, which had fallen into abeyance during the later period of Mary's reign, was re enacted, restoring to the Crown complete supremacy ir all causes, civil and ecclesiastical, as it had been in the times of Henry VIII. and Edward VI.t To this bill seve.
M'Crie's Life of Knox, pp. 86–97 ; Neale’s History of the Puritans, vol. i. pp. 76–82.
In the queen's injunctions, subsequently issued, an explanation was given of the oath of supremacy; in which her majesty declared that she ral others were annexed, reviving various acts in the reign of Henry, and repealing those of Mary; so that, by this one enactment, the external policy of the Church was restored to almost the very same condition in which it had been at the death of King Edward. One proviso in this act, added for the purpose of enabling the queen to execute her supremacy, empowered such persons as should be commissioned by her majesty to reform and order ecclesiastical matters. This gave rise to the Court of High Commission, by which afterwards so many acts of cruelty and despotism were perpetrated, both in England and in Scotland; especially in the latter country, when Prelacy was forced upon it by the treacherous tyranny of King James.
Some of the reformed divines were next appointed to revise King Edward's Liturgy, and to see whether any such changes could made in it as would tend to render it more likely to include some whose opinions were yet short of a thorough reformation. In particular, it was proposed to have the language of the communion service so modified that it might not necessarily exclude the belief of the corporeal presence. After several alterations, all leaning rather to Popery than to Protestantism, had been made, the revised Book of Common Prayer was ratified by act of Parliament, and uniformity in worship according to it enjoined. The Popish bishops refused to take the oath of supremacy, and were, in consequence, deprived of their offices and powers. This
enabled the queen to supply their places with men better affected to reformation, which was accordingly done, though not without difficulty, the very best men being reluctant to undertake situations of such responsibility, and many being decidedly opposed to the ceremonies, rites, and vestments which were required, and which they regarded as remnants of superstition, and inconsistent with Christian simplicity. did not pretend to any authority for the ministering of divine service in the Church, and that all that she claimed was that which had at all times belonged to the imperial crown of England;—that she had the sovereignty and rule over all manner of persons, under God, so that no foreign power had rule over them. If the oath of supremacy had implied no more than the plain meaning of these words, it would scarcely have been disputed by any; but it would have been ineffectual for the purpose for which it was intended, and it would not have sanctioned much that was done under its authority.