n thei  d gives to every people and to ever live separation from the papacy. NotwiBRADLEY
SEPTEMBER 6th, 2013
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both sides; but there was a sensible difference between this spiritual war and the wars of nations. Those who bit the dust did not fall under the weapons of a hostile army; there was a third power, the king-pope, who took his station between the two lines, and dealt his blows now to the right, now to the left. Leaders of the pontifical army were to be smitten in the struggle in which so many evangelicals had already fallen. =MORE'S WRETCHED CONDITION.= Sir Thomas More, while in prison, strove to banish afflicting thoughts by writing a history of Christ's passion. One day when he came to these words of the Gospel: Then came they and laid hands on Jesus, and took Him, the door opened, and Kingston, the governor of the Tower, accompanied by Rich, the attorney-general, appeared. 'Sir Thomas,' said Rich, 'if an act of parliament ordered all Englishmen to acknowledge me as their king, would you acknowledge me?'—'Yes, sir.'[104]— 'And if an act of parliament ordered all Englishmen to recognize me as pope?'—'Parliament has no authority to do it,' answered More. Sir Thomas he


ld that an act of parliament was sufficient to dethrone a king of England: it is to a great grandson of More's that we are indebted for this opinion, which a grand-nephew of Cromwell put in practice a hundred years later. Was Henry VIII. exasperated because More disposed so freely of his crown? It is possible, but be that as it may, the harshness of his imprisonment was increased. Suffering preceded martyrdom. The illustrious scholar was forced to pick up little scraps of paper on which to write a few scattered thoughts with a coal.[105] This was not the worst. 'I have neither shirt nor sute,'[106] he wrote to the chief secretary of state, 'nor yet other clothes that are necessary for me to wear, but that be {53} ragged and rent too shamefully. Notwithstanding, I might easily suffer that if that would keep my body warm. And now in my age my stomach may not away but with a few kind of meats; which, if I want, I decay forthwith, and fall into crases and diseases of my body, and cannot keep myself in health.... I beseech you be a go


od master unto me in my necessity, and let me have such things as are necessary for me in mine age. Restore me to my liberty out of this cold and painful imprisonment. Let me have some priest to hear my confession against this holy time, and some books to say my devotions more effectually. The Lord send you a merry Christmas. 'At the Tower, 23rd December.' It is a relief to hope that this scandalous neglect proceeded from heedlessness and not from cruelty. His requests were granted. While these sad scenes were enacted in the Tower, there was great confusion in all England, where the most opposite parties were in commotion. When the traditional yoke was broken, every man raised up his own banner. The friends of More and Fisher wished to restore the papacy of the Roman bishop; Henry VIII., Cromwell, and the court thought how to establish the supre


macy of the king; finally, Cranmer and a few men of the same stamp, endeavored to steer between these quicksands, and aspired to introduce the reign of Holy Scripture under the banner of royalty. This contest between forces so different, complicated too by the passions of the sovereign, was a terrible drama destined to wind up not in a single catastrophe, but in many. Illustrious victims, taken indiscriminately from all parties, were to fall beneath the oft-repeated blows and be buried in one common grave. The prudent Cranmer lived in painful anxiety. Surrounded by enemies who watched every step, he feared to destroy the cause of truth, by undertaking reforms {54} as extensive as those on the continent. The natural timidity of his character, the compromises he thought it his duty to make with regard to the hierarchy, his fear



of Henry VIII., his moderation, gentleness, and plasticity of character and in some respects of principle, prevented his applying to the work with the decision of a Luther, a Calvin, or a Knox. Tyndale, if he had possessed the influence that was his due, would have accomplished a reform similar to that of those great leaders. To have had him for a reformer would, in Wickliffe's native land, have been the source of great prosperity; but such a thing was impossible: his country gave him—not a pro


fessor's chair but exile. Cranmer moved forward slowly: he modified an evangelical movement by a clerical concession. When he had taken a step forward, he stopped suddenly, and apparently drew back; not from cowardice, but because his extreme prudence so urged him. The boldness of a Farel or a Knox is in our opinion far more noble; and yet this extreme moderation saved Cranmer and protestantism with him. Near a throne like that of Henry's, it was only a man of extreme precaution who could have retained his position in the see of Canterbury. If Cranmer sh



ould come into collision with the Tudor's sceptre, he will find that it is a sword. Go


ry epoch the man necessary to it. Cranmer was this man for England, at the time of her



thstanding his compromises, he never abandoned the great principles of the Reformation; notwithstanding his concessions, he took advantage of every opportunity to encourage those who shared his faith to march towards a better future. The primate of England held a torch in his hand which had not the brilliancy of that borne by Luther and Calvin, but the tempest that blew upon it for fifteen or twenty years could not extinguish it. Sometimes he was seized with terror: as he heard {55} the lion roar, he bent his head, kept in the background, and concealed the truth in his bosom; but again he rose and again held out to the Church the light he had saved from the fury of the tyrant. He was a reed and not an oak—a reed that bent too easily, but through this very weakness he was able to do what an oak with all its strength would never have accomplished. The truth triumphed. =TRANSLATION OF THE SCRIPTURES.= At this time Cranmer thought himself in a position to take a step—the most important step of all: he undertook to give the Bible to the laity. When the convocation of clergy and parliament had assembled, he made a proposition that the Holy Scriptures should be translated into English by certain honorable and learned men, and be c


irculated among the people.[107] To present Holy Scripture as the supreme rule instead of the pope, was a bold act that decided the evangelical reformation. Stokesley, Gardiner, and the other bishops of the catholic party cried out against such a monstrous design: 'The teaching of the Church is sufficient,' they said; 'we must prohibit Tyndale's Testament and the heretical books which come to us from beyond the sea.' The archbishop saw that he could only carry his point by giving up something: he consented to a compromise. Convocation resolved on the 19th of December, 1534, to lay Cranmer's proposal before the king, but with the addition that the Scriptures translated into the vulgar tongue should only be circulated among the king's subjects in proportion to their knowledge, and that all who possessed suspected books should be bound to give them up to the royal commissioners: others might have called this resolution a defeat, Cranmer looked upon it as a victory. The Scriptures would no longer be admitted stealthily into the kingdom, like contraband goods: they would appear in broad day



light with the royal sanction. This was something. {56} Henry granted the petition of Convocation, but hastened to profit by it. His great fixed idea was to destroy the Roman papacy in England, not because of its errors, but because he felt that it robbed princes of the affection and often of the obedience of their subjects. 'If I grant my bishops what they ask for,' he said, 'in my turn I ask them to make oath never to permit any jurisdiction to be restored to the Roman bishop in my kingdom; never to call him pope, universal bis


hop, or most holy lord, but only bishop of Rome, colleague and brother, according to the ancient custom of the oldest bishops.'[108] All the prelates were eager to obey the king; but the archbishop of York, secretly devoted to the Roman Church, added, to acquit his conscience, 'that he took the oath in order to preserve the unity of the faith and of the Catholic Church.'[109] Cranmer was filled with joy by the victory he had won. 'If we possess the Holy Scriptures,' he said, 'we have at hand a remedy for every disease. Beset as we are with tribulations and temptations, where can we find arms to overcome them? In Scripture. It is the balm that will heal our wounds, and will be a more preci

ous jewel in our houses than either gold or silver.'[110] He therefore turned his mind at once to the realization of the plan he had so much at heart. Taking for groundwork an existing translation (doubtless that by Tyndale), he divided the New Testament into ten portions, had each transcribed separately, and transmitted them to the most learned of the bishops, praying that they might be returned to him with their remarks. He even thought it his duty not to omit such decided catholics as Stokesley a

nd Gardiner. =SEDITIOUS PRIESTS AND PREACHERS.= The day appointed for the return and examination of {57} these various portions having arrived (June 1553), Cranmer set to work, and found that the Acts of the Apostles were wanting: they had fallen to the lot of the bishop of London. When the primate's secretary went to ask for the manuscript, Stokesley replied in a very bad humor: 'I do not un

derstand my lord of Canterbury. By giving the people the Holy Scriptures, he will plunge them into heresy. I certainly will not give an hour to such a task. Here, take the book back to my lord.' When the secretary delivered his message, Thomas Lawness, one of Cranmer's friends, said with a smile: 'My lord of London will not take the trouble to examine the Scriptures, persuaded that there is nothing for him in the Testament of Jesus Christ.' Many of the portions returned by the other bishops were pitiable. The archbishop saw that he must find colleagues better disposed. Cranmer had soon to discharge another function. As popery and rebellion were openly preached in t


he dioceses of Winchester and London,[111] the metropolitan announced his intention to visit them. The two bishops cried out vehemently, and Gardiner hurried to the king: 'Your Grace,' he said, 'here is a new pope!' All who had anything to fear began to reproach the primate with aspiring

to honors and dominion. 'God forgive me,' he said with simplicity, 'if there is any title in the world I care for more than the paring of an apple.[112] Neither paper, parchment, lead, nor wax, but the very Christian conversation of the people, ar