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was a Sacramentary. He then asserted, that although many states have subsisted without the Roman Bishop's jurisdiction, yet none, since our Saviour's coming, have subsisted in the maintenance of such opinions as the Germans had adopted. From these premises it was inferred, that the polity of Protestant Germany would enjoy no long duration. As for the satires upon Lent, they are declared to portend ruin to the fishmongers, and denounced as likely to encourage gluttony; which being already a national vice, would not know, it was asserted, where to stop, if farther indulged. The Bishop, however, appears not to have feared the shafts of ridicule levelled against Lent, and an indulgence of English appetites, which political events might withdraw, so much as the pains taken by certain preachers to inform the public mind correctly as to the difference between Christ's miraculous abstinence, and the fast of Lent. Accordingly, he mentions, as preferable to these attacks from the pulpit, an anecdote told of a priest, sequestered among the Italian mountains, who, unconscious of the lapse of time, unexpectedly found himself arrived at Palm-Sunday, “ You must be satisfied, this Lent,” then said the secluded pastor to his congregation, “with the fast of a single week, for at the end of that period, it appears, Easter will be here, and I cannot put off its festivities *.”
On the 15th of May, Dr. Richard Smyth, master of Whittington College, in London, and reader
* Ibid. 1221.
of divinity, at Oxford, publicly retracted, at St. Paul's Cross, some Romish opinions which he had recently exerted himself to maintain. In a treatise upon Tradition published by him, it was asserted, that Christ and his Apostles confided to the care of the Church, many precepts, and doctrines which, though not written, are obligatory upon men, under pain of damnation. This assertion he now denounced as false and tyrannical, unjust, unlawful, and untrue, a needless burthen upon the conscience, founded in fiction, forgery, and superstition, and invented for the purpose of giving power to the Bishop of Rome, and his accomplices. In another tract which he had published, treating of the mass, it was alleged, that Christ offered a sacrifice to the Father not upon the cross, but before his passion in the form of bread and wine, and that the mass-priest offers not only the Lord's real body, but also offers it to the same effect as that to which it was offered by Christ himself. These opinions Dr. Smyth now denounced as contrary to Scripture, leading to intolerable blasphemies, and introduced into the world by men who rely upon their own inventions, but who neglect God's infallible Word'. Within a few days after Smyth had made this recantation, or retractation, as he called it, in London, he delivered something very similar to it at Oxford; his conduct, however, there appearing rather ambiguous, he found himself unable to obtain credit
Dr. Smyth's recantation. Strype, Mem. Cranm. Appendix, 795. VOL. III.
with the reforming party unless he would consent to do in the University, exactly the same that he had done in the metropolis. Accordingly, on the 24th of July, he repeated in Oxford verbatim what he had delivered at St. Paul's Cross, acknowledging that his distinction between recantation, and retractation, was frivolous ?. The reason probably why Dr. Smyth was so backward in recanting before the University, must be sought in the dislike of reform entertained by the leading men there. This feeling had been lately manifested in the case of Dr. John Harley, of Magdalen College, who venturing in the last Lent to preach with extraordinary freedom against the Pope, and some doctrines of the Roman Church, was sent up prisoner to London, in order to take his trial for heresy. His friends, however, had soon the satisfaction to see him return to his college, without having undergone any trial. This incident encouraged the scriptural party in the University to such a degree, that they no longer assumed any reserve as to their opinions, but took such liberties in the churches and chapels as gave great offence to those who were riveted in the prejudices of their youth“. Such persons, indeed, were now continually receiving new mortifications, for divines of note came forward, one after another, to abjure opinions which they had been used to maintain”. In one case, this change of sentiment
2 Strype, Eccl, Mem. II. 62. Collier, II. 222.
“ About this time Chadsey, Standish, Yong, Oglethorp and divers others recanted.” Strype, Mem. Cranm. 244.
was shewn with a haste somewhat suspicious. In the church of St. Andrew Undershaft, in London, Dr. Perrin, afterwards master of Peter-House in Cambridge, said in a sermon, on St. George's day', that the figures of Christ, and the saints were entitled to worship, according to the doctrines of the Catholic Church. On the 17th of the following June, this preacher declared in the pulpit of the same church, that he had been deceived in what he said about image-worship, and that he was sorry to have been the means of encouraging an opinion so erroneous d. Perrin, however, like Smyth, and several others, afterwards relapsed into Popery", thus rendering his decisions upon any subject of little worth, and affording reason for believing, that in attacking inveterate abuses, he had merely acted with a view to his own advancement.
It was indeed sufficiently evident that no clergyman, could calculate upon the patronage of the crown, unless he was prepared to turn his back upon the corrupt innovations of Popery. Still, however, those who were at the head of affairs proceeded with exemplary prudence, precipitating nothing, but gradually unfolding their welldigested plans in such a manner as to afford them a reasonable hope of satisfying their own consciences, and the just expectations of posterity. As a preliminary measure, these virtuous men to whom England is so much indebted, resolved in
• Heylin, Hist. Ref. 39. e Strype, Eccl, Mem. II. 61.
April upon holding a royal visitation throughout the kingdom, following the precedent set in the late reign'. Accordingly, in the beginning of May, mandates were issued suspending the ordinaries from the customary exercise of their respective jurisdictions, and arrangements were made for exhibiting to the government a complete view of the actual state of the Church, as well as for acquainting the nation thoroughly with the recorded truths of its holy faith. For the purpose of effecting these important objects, the whole kingdom was divided into six circuits, to each of which was assigned a registrar and a preacher, together with certain gentlemen, civilians, or divines. It was, however, found expedient to postpone the intended visitation for a time, and on the 16th of May was removed until farther notice, the restraint imposed upon the exercise of episcopal authority". The order upon which the visitors eventually proceeded in the
f Strype, Mem. Cranm. 207.
8 The following are these circuits. 1. York, Durham, Carlisle, and Chester. To this were assigned, besides the registrar, and preacher, (Dr. Nicholas Ridley) one divine, and one knight. 2. Westminster, London, Norwich, and Ely. Two knights and two civilians. 3. Rochester, Canterbury, Chichester, and Winchester. Three knights, and one civilian. 4. Salisbury, Exeter, Bath and Wells, Bristol, and Gloucester. Two divines, and one knight. 5. Peterborough, Lincoln, Oxford, and Lichfield and Coventry. One divine and one civilian. 6. Worcester, Hereford, and the four Welsh dioceses. Two gentlemen, and a preacher extraordinary for the Welsh tongue. Ibid. 209.
h Burnet, Hist. Ref. II. 41,