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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

The most learned of the Protestant bishops


Among

the determining causes of a movement which is part of the history of the world must be specially reckoned the personal disposition of this prince, young as he was even at the close of his reign. Somerset had kept him rather close: the Duke of Northumberland gave him greater freedom, allowed him to manage his own money, and was pleased when he made presents and showed himself as King; he was careful to see that immediate obedience was paid him.[150] Whilst Edward had been hitherto almost exclusively busied with his studies, he now turned to knightly exercises for which he also showed aptitude: he sat well on horseback, drew his bow and broke his lance as well as any other young man of his age. But with all this his learning was not neglected.[151] Edward VI not merely possessed for his years extraordinary and manifold attainments; the written remains which are extant from his hand display a rare mental growth. What he has written for instance on his connexion with the two Seymours, his uncles, indicates a clear and almost a judicial conception of existing relations, which is very uncommon. On his tutor's advice, to prevent his passing thoughts from getting confused, he regularly noted them down, and composed a diary which has the same characteristics and may be regarded as a valuable historical monument. But studies and religion coincide in him: he is Protestant to the core; his chief ambition is by means of his rank and power to place himself at the head of the Protestant world.
The duke could not have ventured to oppose the progress of the Reformation.

In the days of distress, after the defeat in the Schmalkaldic war, England was regarded as the refuge of the gospel: men welcomed the scholars who fled thither, whose co-operation in the conflict with Catholicism, still so powerful, was very desirable. In Cranmer's palace at Lambeth were assembled Italians, French, Poles, Swiss, South Germans and North Germans; the Secretary of State, William Cecil, who had been trained in the service of the Protector, but had kept his place after his fall, obtained them the King's support. Martin Bucer and Paulus Fagius received promotion at Cambridge, Peter Martyr at Oxford: he there maintained the Calvinistic views on the communion in a great disputation. There were Walloon and French churches in the old centres of Catholic worship, Canterbury and Glastonbury; John a Lasco preached in the church of the Augustines in London. With no less vigour than these foreigners did natives, sometimes returned exiles, maintain the views then prevailing on the Continent. Under these influences it was impossible, in conformity with the view taken up in 1536, to abide by the dogmas, which had been put forth by the school of Wittenberg, now completely overthrown. The difference comes out very remarkably when we compare the Common Prayer-book of 1549 with the revised edition of 1552. Originally men had held fast to the real presence in England also: Cranmer in his catechism expressly declared for it: in the formula of the first book, which was compiled out of Ambrose and Gregory, this view was retained:[152] but men in England had since convinced themselves that this doctrine had not prevailed so exclusively in Christian antiquity as had been hitherto thought: following the example of Ridley, the most learned of the Protestant bishops, the majority had given up the real presence: in the new Common Prayer-book a controversial passage was even inserted against it. First on their own impulse, and then with the help of the Privy Council, the zealous Protestant-minded bishops removed the high altars from the churches and had wooden tables for the communion put in their place: since with the word Altar was associated the idea of Sacrifice.


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