« AnteriorContinuar »
little troubled him,-he could defy their calumnies. But no sooner did Mary accede to the throne, than he was ejected from his bishopric and cast into prison. After two years' confinement, he was released at the solicitation of the king of Denmark. This auspicious interposition was brought about in a very remarkable manner. It appears that Dr Machabæus, the chaplain of the king of Denmark, and Coverdale, had married sisters. On Coverdale's imprisonment, Dr M. informed his royal master of the perilous circumstances in which his relative was placed. It was not, however, until the king had written two or three times, that Mary yielded to his solicitation. Coverdale has sometimes been charged with having taken a part in an insurrection against the queen; and this has been sometimes represented as the cause of his imprisonment. As the queen, however, did not urge this in her reply to his Danish majesty, we may conclude it to be utterly false. It seems to have been more likely owing to his non-payment of the tenths; as the first-fruits had been already remitted by the royal permission. The plea which Coverdale set up when charged with this, was, that he had not enjoyed the bishopric long enough to meet their claims. No sooner was he set at liberty—which was on the hard condition of expatriating himself—than he repaired to the court of Denmark. The monarch who had procured his pardon was anxious to detain him. But the conscientious reformer not being able to preach in Danish, preferred those places where his lips would not be sealed on the most important themes, and was contented to be a wanderer, and homeless, so that he might glorify his Master. He repaired, therefore, to Wesel, then to Bergzabern, and lastly to Geneva, where he joined many of the English exiles, and assisted in the translation of the Geneva Bible. This translation had notes, which brought it into very general use,—so much so, that between the years 1560 and 1616, there were not less than thirty editions printed, in folio, 4to, and 8vo.
When Elizabeth ascended the throne, Coverdale returned to his native land, but with much altered views on the subjects of church discipline and the ceremonies, in which he pleaded for the severe simplicity of the Geneva school. At the consecration of Archbishop Parker, at which Coverdale assisted, he refused to wear any thing more than a long black cloth gown. Such conduct, in such times, of course, completely blocked up the way to preferment. Many of his friends were, it is true, extremely anxious for his advancement, and none more so than Grindall. That amiable prelate was known to say on this subject_“I cannot excuse us bishops ;” he even applied to the secretary of state, telling him that it was unjust “that father Coverdale, who was in Christ before us all, should now be without support.” He then proceeded to recommend him to the bishopric of Llandaff, which was effected; but the increasing infirmities of our reformer caused him to decline so important a charge. The bishop then collated him to the rectory of St Magnus, near old London bridge. Here, again, he had to complain that his abject poverty—of which he makes affecting mention in some of his letters--would not permit him to pay his firstfruits, which were again remitted. He exercised his ministry here no more than two years; when he either resigned, or was compelled to abandon his charge. This was in 1566, only a little before his death. While he did preach, he was, as may readily be supposed, the favourite preacher of the puritans. He died, as some say, in 1565, or as others, in 1567; the parish-register, however, proves that he was buried, Feb. 19, 1568, in the church of St Bartholomew, Exchange.
Of the numerous tracts which Coverdale put forth, most of which were in defence of the principles or doctrines of the Reformation, it is impossible to give a correct list. They are very rarely to be met with. By far the greater part of them are translations from the German. No manuscripts of Bishop Coverdale remain, except a short letter in the Harleian collection.
BORN CIRC. A, D. 1500.-DIED A. D. 1569.
The character of this ecclesiastic is written in letters of blood on the page of English history. “Nature seems to have designed him for an executioner,” says Grainger, and the remark is not too severe. born of humble parentage at Hanley in Worcestershire. Finding a generous patron in his boyhood, he was sent to school, and afterwards entered of Broadgate hall, Oxford. He entered into orders about the year 1519, and shortly afterwards received an appointment from Cardinal Wolsey, who continued to patronise him until his own sudden fall
The cardinal's death, however, did not block up Bonner's road to preferment, for soon after we find him in high favour both with Henry VIII. and his new minister Cromwell. He began his career as a courtier by favouring the Lutherans and promoting the king's divorce from Catharine of Spain. In 1532, he was sent to Rome to apologise to the holy father for Henry's non-compliance with his solemn citation. The next year he again appeared at Rome, to deliver his master's appeal from the decision of the pope to the first general council. Bonner seems to have been selected for these services on account of his bold and fearless character; and he betrayed so much effrontery and virulence on the occasion of his second appearance at Rome, that the holy father talked of punishing his audacity by throwing him into a cauldron of melted lead, on which he very wisely withdrew himself by secret Aight from the papal dominions. In 1538, while discharging the duties of
ambassador at the French court, he was nominated to the bishopric of Hereford; but was translated before consecration to that of London.
At the time of Henry's death, Bonner filled the situation of ambassador at the court of Charles V. He had gone along with Henry in a variety of acts hostile to the Catholic religion, but he now changed his line of policy, and declined to renounce his allegiance to the pope, when called upon to do so by Edward's council. His obstinacy was punished by imprisonment in the Fleet prison, but having given in his submission, he was soon afterwards released from confinement. His remissness in the execution of the orders in court, particularly those relating to the use of the common prayer-book, drew upon him a severe reprimand from the privy-council. For subsequent acts of contempt, he was at last committed to the Marshalsea, and deprived of his bishopric.
On the accession of Mary, he was restored to his see, and made presi. dent of the convocation in room of Cranmer. The same year, he visited
his diocese and exerted himself with great zeal in rooting out all traces of the Reformation and in re-establishing the sacrament of the mass. Within three years thereafter, this merciless prelate had committed upwards of two hundred persons to the flames on account of their refusing to conform to the tenets and worship of the Roman church.' Among his more distinguished victims, was Anne Askew, John Rogers, Bishop Hooper, and John Bradford.
On the death of Mary, Bonner affected to congratulate her successor, and for this purpose went to meet Elizabeth at Highgate, but that princess shrunk from the blood-stained priest, and declined to show him any mark of favour. On being required to take the oath of allegiance and supremacy to Elizabeth, he was deprived a second time of his bishopric and committed to the Marshalsea, where he died after some years confinement, on the 5th of September, 1569.
The Roman catholic historian, Dodd, has attempted to excuse Bonner's cruelties by weakly arguing, that “seeing he proceeded accord. ing to the statutes then in force, and by the directions of the legislative power, he stands in no need of apology on that score.” As if Bonner himself had had no hand in re-enacting those persecuting statutes, and as if his putting them in force was not as much an act of free choice on his part as his declining to take the oath of allegiance to Elizabeth. Besides, Bonner repeatedly gave evidence of the cruelty and malignity of his disposition, by anticipating or aggravating the sentence of the law; sometimes he would snatch the whip from the hands of the executioner, and apply it with his own hands to his unfortunate prisoners ; and on one occasion he first tore out the beard of a poor man, in a transport of wrath at his inflexible adherence to the reformed faith, and then held his hand to a candle till the sinews and veins burst. Mr John Harrington tells us, that when Bonner was shown a wooden print of himself in the first edition of Fox's • Acts and Monuments,' wherein he is represented scourging Thomas Henshawe with his own hands, the unabashed prelate only laughed aloud at the sketch, and exclaimed, “A vengeance on the fool! How could he get my picture drawn so accurately?”
BORN A. D. 1522.-DIED A. D. 1571.
John Jewel was born at Buden, in the parish of Barry-Narber, in the county of Devon, 24th May, 1522. His parents were highly respectable in their circumstances, and truly estimable in their dispositions and characters. The early years of our author were passed under the wise and careful superintendence of his parents, who cherished those talents in their son, the dawn of which was manifest in his youth, and assiduously watched the tender buds of genius and piety which were destined hereafter to shed so rich a fragrance. He was sent to school first in Barnstaple, where his master became exceedingly attached to him, in consequence of the loveliness of his disposition, the quickness of his parts, and the diligence of his application to study.
· Collier's Eccles. Hist ii. p. 396.
Nor was the attachment of the scholar to his teacher less ardent, sincere, or permanent, but was displayed in after life by condescending regard when he became a bishop, as well as by the reward of his esteemed instructions, At the age of thirteen he was removed to Oxford, and committed to the care of Mr Burrey of Merton college, a man but meanly learned, and strenuous for popery. Soon after his removal to Oxford, he was taken notice of by Mr Parkhurst, who employed him as his amanuensis, and was desirous not only of imparting to him all wholesome learning, but to season his mind with pure religion. Mr Parkhurst received him under his own tuition, and bestowed upon him the place which he had in his gift, and often took occasion in his presence to dispute with Mr Burrey about controverted points. Intending to collate the translations of Tyndale and Coverdale, he gave Burrey Tyndale's translation to read, while he overlooked Co. verdale's. During this collation Jewel often smiled, which Mr Parkhurst observing, and marvelling that one so young should mark the barbarisms in the vulgar translation, he exclaimed, “ Surely Paul's cross will one day ring of this boy !". These words seemed prophetic of that noble sermon, which many years after he preached on that spot, by which he dealt so heavy a blow at the superstitions of the popish mass as all its advocates have never been able to counteract.
He removed from Merton college to Corpus Christi, where he was placed on the senior logic form, and wherein he took his degree before the senior. He excelled in his early years in poetry and eloquence, for which his talents were greatly admired. Not long after he took his degree, he was unanimously chosen in preference to many masters and bachelors, his seniors, to read the Humanity lecture, in which he acquitted himself with such diligence and acceptance, that many came from other colleges to hear him, drawn by the report of his ability, and even by the beauties of his rhetoric, and the pungency and brilliance of his wit. His habits of study were intense, and even his recreations from study were studious, being spent either in instructing his scholars, in disputing with others, or in ruminating over those subjects on which he had been reading. His conversation and deportment were highly exemplary, and in those years of life in which the passions are strongest, and the world has the most powerful influence to draw the heart and feet aside, even an enemy was obliged to testify," I should love thee, Jewel, if thou wert not a Zuinglian; in thy faith I hold thee a heretic, but in thy life thou art an angel l” Thus he grew in learning, religion and fame, during the reign of Henry the Eighth, towards the end of which he became master of arts. In the short reign of Edward the Sixth, his reputation and influence rose rapidly, and to the highest pitch. Jewel hearing of the fame of Peter Martyr, the new professor of divinity at Oxford, repaired to him for instruction, copied out his lectures, and was his notary in the disputation in the divinity schools, with Chedsey, Tresham, Morgan and others, about the real presence, and afterwards became intimate with him. While these days of peace and liberty continued, he read a lecture in the hall, and privately to his scholars. He preached also at Sunningwell. On the accession of Queen Mary, he was ordered to leave his college ; and his farewell address on this occasion breathed a spirit of deep-toned feeling and glowing eloquence. After taking leave of the university, he was in imminent danger of falling into the hands of the execrable Bonner. In his flight from Oxford, he went on foot in a snowy winter's night towards London, and would probably have perished from the inclemency of the weather, had he not been found by Bishop Latimer's servant, who discovered him on the ground, panting and labouring for life. Soon afterwards, he followed the example of many of his pious countrymen, and escaped beyond the sea. Previously to his departure for the continent, it appears he was by the craft of some of the popish prelates entrapped to sign a book, whereby he seemed to countenance some of the popish errors This subscription wounded his conscience, beclouded his character, and grieved his persecuted brethren, but did not mitigate the persecuting spirit of his enemies, nor promote his own safety. His biographers, while they faithfully record this blot on his reputation, deplore it, and our author himself, immediately after his arrival at Frankfort, preached an excellent sermon; at the close of which, with a flood of tears, he said, “ It was my ab. ject, and cowardly mind, and faint heart, that made my weak heart to commit this wickedness;" then with deep groans and sighs, he made humble supplication for pardon, first to Almighty God, whom he had offended, and afterwards to his church which he had scandalized. The large congregation was deeply affected, and after the sermon, embraced him as a brother. At Frankfort, he met with many eminent men, his countrymen, and being invited by several kind letters from Peter Martyr, he went to Argentine, where he met with Bishop Peynet, Archbishop Grindall, and many gentlemen who had left their native soil and all their estates, with friends and kindred, for the testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. When Peter Martyr was sent for by the senate of the Tigurines to succeed Rebian in the Hebrew lecture and exposition of holy scripture, he took Jewel with him, accompanied also with many other English exiles, who were supported by the liberal contribution of London Christians, until Bishop Gardiner, obtaining information of it, stopped the current of this Christian liberality, by imprisoning and impoverishing their benefactors. But the God whom they served was graciously pleased to raise up a friend for the exiles in Christopher, prince of Wirtenberg, who invited many of them to him, and afforded them bountiful supplies, as did also the Tigurine senators towards the rest. The great ornament of the reformed church, Calvin, Zuinglius, Melancthon, and others, manifested the tenderest sympathy towards their suffering English brethren, and afforded them constant encouragement and comfort by their letters. Jewel resided for a considerable time at the house of Peter Martyr, endeavouring, by every means in his power, to allay the contentions which arose about ceremonies and forms of religion among his countrymen in exile.
The death of Queen Mary afforded Jewel an opportunity of returning to his native land, and very soon after his return he was sent for to a disputation at Westminster. His next important commission was to visit the Western circuit, in order to investigate the state of religion, and to preach the gospel. On his return from this visitation, he was consecrated bishop of Salisbury, which preferment he accepted with great reluctance, after repeating the apostle's words, “ He that desireth a bishopric desireth a good work.” The liberality of Bishop Jewel was remarkable, and his labour in study, preaching, and writing, almost