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the Baptist, that the poor received the Gospel ? ” And they tell the king, that even when Bibles were ordered to be placed in every church, "many of this wicked generation, as well priests as others their faithful adherents, would pluck it, other into the quire, other else into some pew, where poor men durst not presume to come; yea, there is no small number of churches that hath no Bible at all."

There is much matter of this same character in the “ Supplication," showing that there was great uneasiness, among the lower orders particularly, at the oppressive and abusive conduct of the clergy, and especially at their determined efforts to prevent the free circulation of the Scriptures.*

I must not, however, continue these illustrations of the rottenness of the English church during the century immediately preceding the Reformation. These details, which nothing but the importance of the subject could justify a repetition of, more than warrant the complaints and resistance of the Lollards against the hierarchy; and they give a conclusive answer to the denial of the papists and their sympathizers in the episcopal church, of the necessity of the English Reformation. They show us, that, previous to the Reformation, the great English branch of the papal hierarchy was hopelessly, irremediably impure and corrupt; that there was no chance or hope of a radical reformation, from within; and that nothing remained for the friends of reform, but the adoption of some of the leading opinions and practices of the old, hated, hunted, persecuted, and tormented Lollards: -- in a word, that the only way to reform papal corruptions was to overthrow and utterly destroy the papal power. This we shall see, by a subsequent chapter, was finally done; and how it was done.

* Strype's Mems., vol. 1. pt. I. ch. 53, pp. 608–21.



The English Reformation was an event of the deepest interest to the Lollards. The night had been long and dreary to them ; but the day, at length, dawned. They had sown in tears; but were now to reap in joy. The Reformation was, in fact, a triumph of Lollardism. The doctrines for which Wickliffe was hated and persecuted, and which brought Sautre and Badby, Oldcastle, and a host of others to the stake, came, at length, to be the very faith of the church of England, so far as acts of parliament and clerical conventions could make it such; and the highest dignitaries of that church busied themselves in sowing, broadcast through the land, the identical truths which their predecessors of a previous century had denounced as cockle in the Lord's field”; which the pope of Rome declared to be “utterly subversive of the church"; and for preaching of which the Lollards were called the 5 diabolical sons of antichrist.” And, what is still more noticeable and wonderful, the very champion of popery, a bitter enemy of the Lollards, and the son of a persecutor of these


same people, became the moving spirit of these great changes! Thus times change; thus men alter; while the truth of God abideth forever.

When, on the 22d of April, 1509, Henry VIII. ascended the throne of England, amidst the rejoicings of a loyal and united people, in the freshness and beauty of early manhood, tall and commanding in person, of easy and pleasing address, accomplished in all the manly exercises of the times, learned for his age, uniting in himself the conflicting claims of the York and Lancaster factions, with a government consolidated by his father's vigorous administration, with overflowing coffers, - what more reasonable, than to anticipate for him a memorable reign! and Henry's reign was memorable; one of the most so in English history. But it was memorable in a way which no one could have anticipated.

Henry's first step in the direction of the Reformation was taken very soon after he came to the throne, by marrying Catharine of Aragon, the widow of his deceased brother, Arthur. That Henry should have taken this step is unaccountable on any other supposition than that a special Providence overruled him. Though Catharine's connections were of the highest order - being the youngest daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, and aunt of the Emperor Charles V. of Spain; though she brought to the kingdom a very large dowry; and though the alliance with Spain was much desired: yet, there were very strong counterbalancing objections. The lady was six years older than Henry, and not particularly attractive in person; he had entertained a strong repugnance to the match, and had openly and solemnly protested against the connection; it was contrary to the canon-law, so that the Archbishop of Canterbury and “very many, both cardinals and divines, did oppose it," and a dispensation from the pope became necessary to sanction it; and above all, the old king on his death-bed is said to have become convinced of the illegality of the match, and to have charged his son not to consummate the marriage : yet, so important in a political view was this marriage considered in England, that, in spite of all these objections - any one of which might have been deemed sufficient to prevent it - this marriage between Henry VIII. and Catharine of Aragon took place."

* Herbert's Hen. VIII., pp. 7,8. Lond. 1672. Burnet's History of the Reformation, vol. 1. pt. 1. bk. II., Oxford, 1829; and pt. II. Records, bk. 11. Nos. 1 and 2.

Catharine was married to Prince Arthur, Henry's elder brother, Nov. 14th, 1501; and Arthur died April 20, 1502. Her dower was the largest that had been given “for many ages with any princess," amounting to 200,000 ducats; which, if silver, was more than equal to as many American dollars; and if gold, to more than twice as many dollars, or to about $480,000. Such a portion was an overwhelming argument with a miser like Henry VII.; and probably not without weight in the mind of one so profuse in his expenditures as was Henry VIII. The pope's bull for the marriage of Henry and Catharine bears date, January, 1503; and Henry's protest, June 27th, 1505. Froude says, that a dispensation for this marriage was reluctantly granted by the pope and reluctantly accepted by the English ministry. It was for some time delayed ;

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