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The reforming divines soon became aware that in these points they had to encounter her majesty's opposition. The queen was naturally vain, and therefore fond of pomp and magnificence in everything ; nor did her reverence for religion teach her to abstain from presuming to seek the gratification of her personal tastes and prejudices in matters too sacred for mortal creature to tamper with. It was with great difficulty that they prevailed with her to insert in her injunctions a command for the removal of all images out of churches; but they could not induce her to abandon the use of a crucifix in her own chapel.
The controversy concerning vestments, and rites, and ceremonies, continued, with increased asperity, on both sides. All the Court divines, as they may be termed, headed by Archbishop Parker, supported the queen's desire for retaining as much show and pomp in religious matters as might be possible; while Jewell, Grindal, Sampson, Fox the martyrologist, and all the most distinguished for piety and liberal-mindedness, did their utmost to procure a more complete reformation; and for this purpose maintained a close correspondence with the most eminent of the continental reformers. * Jewell, in particular, exerted himself to the utmost against these vain frivolities. “Some,” said he, were so much set on the matter of the habits, as if the Christian religion consisted in garments; but we,” added he, are not called to the consultations concerning that scenical apparel; he could set no value on these fopperies. Some were crying up a golden mediocrity; he was afraid it would prove a leaden one.”+ In short, it is not too much to say, that all the best, wisest, and most pious and learned divines of the Church of England-all the true reformers—longed and strove for a more complete reformation, lamented that it continued but a halfreformed Church, and were the real forefathers of the Puritans. I
* The leading men of the first race of Puritans were, Bishops Jewell, Grindal, Horn, Sandys, Pilkington, Parkhurst, and Guest; also, Miles Coverdale, Fox, Dr. Humphreys, Mr. Sampson, and many others of scarcely inferior reputation. Even Parker at first opposed the episcopal vestments, and was consecrated without them.
Burnet's Hist. Ref., vol. iii. p. 424.
In the beginning of the year 1562, a meeting of the Convocation was held, in which the subject of further reformation was vigorously discussed on both sides. Some alterations were made in the articles of religion, originally drawn up in King Edward's reign. These were at first 42 in number; but by omitting some and combining others, they were reduced to the 39, which have ever since formed the standard of faith in the Church of England. It cannot be said that they were in all respects improved by these alterations, as any one may see by comparing them. But when it was proposed that there should be some alterations in the Prayer-book, a very warm debate ensued. Six alterations were proposed, to the following purport :- The abrogation of all holidays, except Sabbaths, and those relating to Christ,—that in prayer the minister should turn his face to the people, so that they might hear and be edified, that the ceremony of the cross in baptism might be omitted —that the sick and aged might not be compelled to kneel at the communion--that the partial use of the surplice might be sufficient, and that the use of organs be laid aside.* The main argument used against these proposed improvements was, that they were contrary to the Book of Common Prayer, which was ratified by act of Parliament, so that no alteration of anything contained in that book could be permitted. When the vote came to be taken on these propositions, forty-three voted for them, and thirty-five against; but when the proxies were counted, the balance was turned; the final state of the vote being fifty-eight for, and fifty-nine against. Thus it was determined, by the majority of a single vote, and that the proxy of an absent person who did not hear the reasoning, that the PrayerBook should remain unimproved, that there should be no further reformation, that there should be no relief granted to those whose consciences felt aggrieved by the admixture of human inventions in the worship of God, so that the Church of England was thenceforth to remain, like one of her own grand cathedrals, a stately mass of petrified relipion.
A Book of Discipline was also prepared by the same Convocation. Whether it was the reformation of the ecclesiastical laws proposed formerly by Cranmer, does not appear; but it did not receive the approbation of the House of Lords, and sunk into complete oblivion. Perhaps the reason why it received so little countenance in high quarters, is explained in a letter from Cox, now bishop of Ely, to Gualter of Zurich:- “ When I consider the sins that do everywhere abound, and the neglect and contempt of the Word of God, I am struck with horror, and tremble to think what God will do with us. We have some discipline among us with relation to men's lives, such as it is; but if any man would go about to persuade our nobility to submit their necks to that yoke, he may as well venture to pull the hair out of a lion's beard."* Several other points tending towards reformation were also proposed, but in vain ; nothing more could be accomplished ; so that it may be fairly said, that with the Convocation of 1562 ended the reformation of the Church of England, before much more than half its work had been done. And it will be admitted by all who are sufficiently acquainted with the condition of the people throughout the country districts of the kingdom, that the reformation of the English nation is yet to begin.
* Burnet, vol. üi. p. 443.
From the time of the Convocation in 1562, the disagreement between the court divines and those who wished for further reformation, became gradually more and more decided. It may be expedient briefly to examine the views entertained by these two great opposing parties. The main question on which they were divided may be thus stated, Whether it were lawful and expedient to retain in the external aspect of religion a close resemblance to what had prevailed in the times of Popery, or not? The court divines argued, that this process would lead the people more easily to the reception of the real doctrinal changes, when they saw outward appearances so little altered, so that this method seemed to be recommended by expediency. The reformers replied, that this tended to perpetuate in the people their inclination to their former superstitions, led them to think there was, after all, little difference between the reformed and the papal Churches, and consequently, that if it made them quit Popery the more readily at present, it would leave them at least equally ready to return to it should an opportunity offer; and for this reason they thought it best to leave as few traces of Popery remaining as possible. It was urged by the Court party, that every sovereign had authority to correct all abuses of doctrine and worship within his own dominions: this, they asserted, was the true meaning of the Act of Supremacy, and consequently the source of the reformation in England. The true reformers admitted the Act of Supremacy, in the sense of the queen's explanation given in the injunctions; but could not admit that the conscience and the religion of the whole nation was subject to the arbitrary disposal of the sovereign. The Court party recognized the Church of Rome as a true Church, though corrupt in some points of doctrine and government; and this view it was thought necessary to maintain, for without this the English bishops could not trace their succession from the apostles. But the decided reformers affirmed the pope to be antichrist, and the Church of Rome to be no true Church; nor would they risk the validity of their ordinations on the idea of a succession through such a channel. Neither party denied that the Bible was a perfect rule of faith ; but the Court party did not admit it to be a standard of Church government and discipline, asserting that it had been left to the judgment of the civil magistrate in Christian countries, to accommodate the government of the Church to the policy of the State. The reformers maintained the Scriptures to be the standard of Church government and discipline, as well as doctrine; to the extent, at the very least, that nothing shonld be imposed as necessary which was not expressly contained in, or derived from them by necessary consequence ; adding, that if any discretionary power in minor matters were necessary, it must be vested, not in the civil magistrate, but in the spiritual office-bearers of the Church itself. The Court reformers held that the practice of the primitive Church for the four or five earliest centuries was a proper standard of Church government and discipline, en better suited to the dignity of a national establishment than the times of the apostles; and that, therefore, nothing more was needed than merely to remove the more modern innovations of Popery. The true reformers wished to keep close to the Scripture model, and to admit neither office-bearers, ceremonies, nor ordinances, but such as were therein appointed or sanctioned. The Court party affirmed, that things in their own nature indifferent, such as rites, ceremonies, and vestments, might be appointed and made necessary by the command of the civil magistrates; and that then it was the bounden dụty of all subjects to obey. But the reformers maintained, that what Christ had left indifferent, no human laws ought to make necessary; and besides, that such rites and ceremonies as had been abused to idolatry, and tended to lead men back to Popery and superstition, were no longer indifferent, but were to be rejected as unlawful. Finally, the Court party held that there must be a standard of uniformity, which standard was the queen's supremacy, and the laws of the land. The reformers regarded the Bible as the only standard, but thought compliance was due to the decrees of provincial and national synods, which might be approved and enforced by civil authority. In this point, the view entertained by the reformers might have been carried to the extent of oppression; but it never could have been so direct and immediate, and was subject to so many checks, that it amounted to little more than a remote possibility. At the same time, it is perfectly evident that the true principles of religious liberty and toleration were not understood by either party; and it may be fairly questioned, whether, even in the present day, these principles are rightly understood.
* Burnet's Hist. Ref., vol. iii. p. 464.
Such is a brief outline of the direct cause of the conflict between the Court party of the English reformers, and their brethren who desired a more complete reformation, and of the leading arguments used on both sides. It cannot fail to strike every attentive reader, that precisely the same conflict is again renewed, both in England and Scotland, and in all its leading principles. So close indeed is the resemblance, that it is difficult to peruse the writings of those times without insensibly beginning to think we are reading some of the controversial works of the present day. And, perhaps, in order to arrive at a full understanding of the real nature and bearing of the present controversies, no better plan could be devised than to prosecute a careful study of the writings of the Court divines, and the Puritans of the Elizabethan age.
But to resume. It seems to have been expected by the