« ZurückWeiter »
During these intestine troubles, the French exerted themselves for the recovery of Boulogne : so that altogether the English government was exceedingly harassed. A fast, accordingly, was proclaimed, in the hope, that penitence and humiliation might be found effectual to avert some portion of that Divine anger which appeared to be suspended over the land. Upon this occasion, Archbishop Cranmer preached before the court. The greatest part of his sermon is still extant. It is a plain, practical discourse, only aiming at touching the hearts of the hearers. The preacher severely taxes the vices of the times, and plainly shews by references to Scripture, that until men shall abandon their adulteries, blasphemies, animosities, and other crying sins, they have no encouragement to hope for the favour of God. This doctrine he enforces by adverting to the unhappy state of Germany, in which country, although the Gospel had shed its glorious light, yet a large proportion of such as were within reach of its beams had refused to reform their lives according to its direction. Hence, it is said, have these unrepenting converts been delivered over to imperial and papal oppression. From this example of God's judgments upon the ungodly, the hearers were earnestly exhorted to forsake their own evil habits, and to commence that course of true repentance, through which alone the Almighty is reconciled to sinful mano.
9 Burnet, Hist. Ref. II. 189.
The Archbishop was also charged, about this time, with answering the fifteen articles transmitted by the western insurgents. He did not complete this reply until after the rout near Exeter, and the caption of those unhappy gentlemen, who had acted as leaders of their humbler neighbours'. He thus introduces his observations, “ When I first read your requests, O ignorant men of Devonshire and Cornwall, straitways came to my mind a request which James and John made unto Christ, to whom the Lord answered, Ye ask, ye wot not what. Even so thought I of you, as soon as ever I heard your articles, that you were deceived by some crafty Papist, which devised those articles for you, to make you ask ye wist not what. Your first demand is, “We will have all general councils, and holy decrees of our forefathers observed, kept, and performed ; and whosoever shall gainsay them, we hold them as heretics.' How many of what are called general councils, or the nature of those decrees observed by your forefathers, and termed holy by you'? As for these decrees, indeed, they are nothing but enactments made by the Bishops of Rome, for their own private advan
Strype, Mem. Cranm. 265. • " They would follow their forefathers, as our Papísts are wont to say. When they cannot defend themselves with Scripture, then they will defend themselves with the ignorance of their forefathers; much like unto the Jews which could not away with the doctrine of our Saviour, because it was disagreeing from the customs and traditions of their forefathers." Latimer's Sermon's, II. 261.
tage, and for that of their clerical partizans. One of these decrees is this, "Whosoever doth not acknowledge himself to be under obedience to the Bishop of Rome, is an heretic 'Do ye then acknowledge yourselves to be under this foreign bishop? If ye do, ye set yourselves up against your country's laws, and are traitors. Your second demand is to have the act of Six Articles restored. Now this act is such as never was law in any country but England, and here only thirteen months. Indeed it never would have passed, had not our late sovereign come personally into the Parliament-house. Nor is this act reconcilable with your former demand, for it is at variance with ancient canons, and the decrees of councils in several particulars. The Apostolical canons enjoin, that no priest, under pretence of holiness, shall put away his wife, and they pronounce every priest so acting excommunicated. The first council of Nice, the most illustrious of all the councils, declaring clerical marriages holy and godly, refused to dissolve them; the council of Gangra accursed those who declined attendance upon a clergyman's ministry, because he was a married man. But the Six Articles enact, that
· The Romish canons cited by the Archbishop in his answer, as it stands at length to this absurd demand, are much the same as those which he pointed out to the late King. (Hist. Ref. under King Henry VIII, II. 588.) Cranmer concludes his extracts from this mass of scandalous pretensions in the following language of indignant irony. “These, with an infinite number of like sort, be the godly and holy decrees, which you long so sore for, and so much desire."
priests who will not put away their wives shall be treated as felons. In
In many other respects the decrees of general councils, and the Six Articles are at variance with each other ; so that ye must be cunning men if ye can make the two agree. You next desire to have the mass in Latin, as it used to be, and that no one should communicate with the priest. As the mass, therefore, proceeds all along upon the supposition, that the congregation is joining in the service, ye would wish to share in that which ye do not understand. The priest is your agent, and pleads for you your cause with God, but ye are anxious to be excused from knowing the particulars of his suit. Is it then possible, that ye would rather be like parrots or magpies, taught to repeat words of which ye understand not the meaning, than like true Christians, pray in heart and faith? St. Paul speaks expressly, and at considerable length against using such a language in public worship as will not edify the people". This evil, accordingly, has been generally avoided. The Greeks have the mass in their own tongue, the Armenians in theirs, and the same usage obtains with the Syrian, as well as other Christians. Will you then shew yourselves such enemies to your own country, that you will not use your mother-tongue in praying to God, praising him, or receiving his Sacraments; but insist upon employing the language of the old Romans for these purposes, in defiance of both Scripture and reason ?
• 1 Cor. xiv. 2, et sequ.
your desire to have none communicating with the priest, it shews your ignorance, and how you are imposed upon by Papists. You said before, that you would have all general councils and decrees observed. Hear, then, some of these councils and decrees. One of them says, When the consecration is done, let all the people receive the Communion, except they will be put out of the church. In the Apostolical canons it is enjoined, Whenever there is any mass or Communion, if any bishop, priest, or deacon or any other of the clergy, being there present, do not communicate, except he can shew some reasonable cause to the contrary, he shall be put out of the Communion, as one that giveth occasion to the people to think evil of the ministers. In another chapter of the same Apostolical canons, and in those of a council holden at Antioch, it is thus written, Let all Christian people, that come into the church, and hear the holy Scriptures read, and after will not tarry to pray, and to receive the holy Communion, with the rest of the people, but for some misordering of themselves, will abstain therefrom: let them be put out of the Church, until by humble acknowledging of their fault, and by the fruits of penance, and prayers, they obtain pardon and forgiveness. Not only is your desire to have priests receive the communion alone thus condemned by the canons, of which
clamour for the observance : it is also condemned by the practice of all Christ's Church, both in the East and in the West, for some hundreds of years after the time of our Lord and his