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Rebellions excited by the Romanists. indefensible; but let us observe, that its authors did not consider that the punishment was inflicted for difference in religion, but for opposition to what they considered the fundamental principles of Christianity; and with this idea, although it appears to have been mistaken, they deceived themselves into a belief that the deed was lawful. Especially let us not forget what was the school in which Cranmer and the Council had been brought up! They had been educated in the school of POPERY, which has always condemned as heresy every opinion that has not received its sanction; some dregs of its corrupting dogmas still remained in their minds; and this is another proof of the persecuting principles of Romanism, not an evidence of the tenets of Protestants.
One other individual, and one only, experienced the same fate; but let it be clearly understood, that not a Romanist suffered from the hands of Protestants. Even Gardiner and Bonner, who, from the beginning of the reign, opposed every attempt at Reformation, and openly maintained all the errors of Popery, (except the supremacy of the Pope,) were not required to drink the bitter cup they had ministered to others. After various scenes of evasion, pretended submissions, and secret manoeuvres; after abusing their judges, and the rulers of the land, while examining the accusations against them; after the most scurrilous and seditious language, particularly from Bonner, they were merely deprived of their Bishoprics, the duties of which they refused to fulfil; and as their political conduct was too dangerous to allow them to continue at liberty, they were committed to the Tower.*
By the dissolution of the monasteries, a large proportion of the property of the nation had changed hands; and its present owners, in their eagerness to increase their lately acquired wealth, often acted so as to excite discontent
*Bonner's committal did not take place till after the rebellions. The following is an extract from a letter written to a friend by this Romish Prelate while in confinement: "I intend, by God's grace, to send down to you your frail (or basket) again, to have either more pears, or else puddings. If amongst you I have no puddings, then must I say, as Messer, our Priest of the Hospital, said to his mad horse, in our last journey to Hostin,' To the devil with you, to the devil, to all the devils!" Contrast this epistle with the letters of the Martyrs when in confinement !
1550.] Northumberland appointed Protector.
among the former tenants. The Monks, many of whom roamed about the country, inflamed these feelings; and as the decided manner in which the Reformation now advanced, left them little hope of a change in their favour, if it once became fully settled, they excited disturbances in several places, availing themselves of the evil principles already mentioned. In Devonshire, and the West of England, the rebels were so strong, that it was necessary to send troops against them. They presented a list of demands, in which they required the renewal of the Act of the Six Articlesthat the Mass should be in Latin-that the Sacrament should be hanged up and worshipped-that images should be set up again--and the Bible called in; with other similar requisitions for the restoration of Popery. Such articles sufficiently shew who were their authors! Cranmer was ordered to reply to these demands, which he did in an able manner, so that the rebels somewhat lowered their tone, but they still required what could not be complied with. At length, this rebellion, and similar commotions in Norfolk and Yorkshire, were suppressed, but not without bloodshed. The leaders, among whom were several Romish Priests, were executed, but their misguided followers received a free pardon.
These events were speedily followed by the disgrace of the Protector. He fell a sacrifice to the intrigues of the Earl of Warwick, afterwards Duke of Northumberland, who now assumed the government, and was a bold, unprincipled man. This change alarmed the Reformers; while Gardiner and his party rejoiced. They were, however, in some measure disappointed. The new Protector found it to be his interest to countenance the Reformation, and accordingly he did so; although, at the same time, he encouraged his followers to scoff at religion. Cranmer and Ridley remonstrated with him faithfully, yet mildly; while Latimer, Bradford, and others, spoke their sentiments more strongly.
* These insurrections weakened the power of the Duke of Somerset. He had also given much offence, by destroying several religious buildings and churches, to use the materials for his building at Somerset House. Dr. Haddon relates, that when the graves were opened, to remove the bodies, he saw many caskets full of the Pope's pardons and indulgences, which had been pur chased at a heavy expense, and buried with the dead!
The Princess Mary.
Only a few particulars respecting the Reformation now remain to be mentioned. A new form of ordination was agreed upon, from which the Popish ceremonies were excluded. All images, which had stood in any church or chapel, were ordered to be destroyed; and the prayers to saints were directed to be erased from the primers.
On the death of Pope Paul the Third, Cardinal Pole was chosen for his successor: but not accepting the office so eagerly as usual, the Italian Cardinals changed their minds, and elected Julius the Third in his stead; whose first proceeding was to appoint a mean servant, who had the charge of a favourite monkey, to the dignity of Cardinal !
Ridley was now appointed Bishop of London, instead of Bonner; and Hooper was made Bishop of Gloucester. The latter was unwilling to wear the Romish vestments then used by the Bishops; and differences arose on this question, which, for a time, appeared likely to go to serious lengths; but Cranmer and Hooper were too firmly united in the truths of the Gospel, to proceed to extremities upon subjects of minor importance; and this unhappy difference was healed with the assistance of Bucer and other foreign Pro
In visiting his diocese, Ridley endeavoured further to do away superstitious practices: with this view he ordered the altars to be removed, and communion tables to be substituted in their stead. With these, and similar regulations, the Romish clergy in general complied, though unwillingly. They objected to the measures of the Reformers; but when ordered by authority, they obeyed outwardly, rather than lose their preferments. Cranmer was contented with this degree of obedience, and left their consciences to be settled between God and themselves. Had he been actuated by that spirit which the Romanists affirm, he would have proceeded in a very different manner.
In the year 1551, the articles of religion were set forth by authority; they did not differ essentially from those subsequently promulgated by Queen Elizabeth. Some further improvements were also made in the Liturgy.
The Princess Mary had hitherto been permitted to continue the celebration of the mass in her chapel. The King was willing to allow her to retain her own opinions privately, but could not conscientiously allow the continuance in public,
Ambition of Northumberland.
of a ceremony which he considered to be idolatrous. The Ambassador from the Emperor of Germany interposed in her behalf, and the Council were fearful of displeasing him, particularly as the Emperor interfered with a design to excite new disturbances. Cranmer and others, therefore, waited upon the King, and endeavoured to persuade him, that conniving at an evil was not always wrong. Edward's mind was too enlightened to adopt this sophistry, which savoured rather of the Romish than the Protestant Church. He was, at length, obliged to give way to the representations of the Council; but his arguments were so forcible, that Cranmer, in leaving his presence, having met Sir John Cheke, the King's Preceptor, took him by the hand, saying, he had reason to rejoice, that God had honoured him to educate such a scholar; adding, that "the King had more divinity in his little finger, than they had in their whole bodies."
The Princess Mary having shewn a most bigoted attachment to the doctrines and ceremonies of Popery, the King was very uneasy; and as his health was now declining, the Duke of Northumberland devised a plan for securing the crown to Lady Jane Grey, a distant branch of the royal family, and settled a marriage between her and one of his sons. To further these ambitious projects, he resolved on the destruction of the Duke of Somerset, who for some time had lived contentedly in a private station. He was arrested on a charge of high treason; and although acquitted of that crime, was found guilty upon a charge of having conspired the death of Northumberland, which does not appear to have been founded in truth. He was beheaded on the 22nd of January, 1552, and died much lamented by the people.
In Fox, and other historians, the reader will find full particulars of the last moments of the Duke of Somerset ; he appears to have been supported by those principles which he had always encouraged in others, although he himself too much neglected them in the day of prosperity. The Lord sometimes calls back his wandering children by the pains of adversity; and we may hope that he was pleased to do so in the case of this nobleman.
During the remainder of the year 1552, various measures were promoted for still further putting away superstitious
22 Illness of the King. His Charitable Endowments. ceremonies; but it is not necessary to detail them in these pages.*
For some months, the King's health had evidently been in a declining state. At the commencement of this sickness, Bishop Ridley preached before him, and said much upon the duty of all persons to be charitable according to their ability, especially those that were of high rank. After this sermon, the King sent for the Bishop, and commanded him to sit down, and be covered. He then went over the principal arguments mentioned in the sermon, and desired Ridley, that as he had shewn what was his duty, he would now shew in what manner he should perform it. Ridley was affected, even to tears, at this pleasing conduct of the King, and asked leave to consult with the Mayor and Aldermen of London upon the subject. Edward approved of this, and desired that they would consider the best manner of relieving the poor. They did so; and Ridley returned in a few days with a plan, dividing the poor into three classes; those who were not in their right minds; those who were sick and destitute; and the wilfully idle and depraved. Upon this, the King ordered the Grey Friars' monastery, and the lands belonging to it, to be endowed as a school, (now Christ's Hospital;) St. Bartholomew's for sick and maimed persons; Bridewell and Bethlehem, for idle dissolute characters, and the insane; a provision was also to be made for the relief of poor housekeepers. He hastened the appropriation of these endowments to the laudable purposes just mentioned; and on signing the charters, on the 26th of June, 1553, when he was so weak as scarcely to be able to hold his pen, he thanked God for sparing his life till he had executed this design. The reader will recollect that these noble foundations have all continued to the present time.
As the King felt his end approaching, he was very anxious for the future welfare of his subjects. He knew that if his sister Mary succeeded to the crown, she would destroy all that had been done for the reformation of religion.
* Cranmer, and his associates, prepared a form of discipline for the government of the Church; and although, in many respects it carries ecclesiastical authority too high, yet we may observe, that heresy was not to be punished with death. The King's illness and death prevented the final arrangement of this plan.