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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

For doing away the Papal jurisdiction


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the beginning the dispute as to jurisdiction was based on the historical point of view, on which Luther too laid much stress. Standish, who has been already mentioned, derived the right to limit the ecclesiastical prerogatives, from this among other grounds, that there were Christian churches in which they were altogether rejected, for instance the rule as to the celibacy of the clergy was not accepted by the Greeks. He inferred too, that, as no one disputed the claim of the Greek Church to be Christian, the conception of the universal Church must be different from that which Romanism asserts. Both countries also found the groundwork of the true church-community in Scripture. In the chief instance before them, that of the divorce, the German theologians were not of the same mind as the English; but both sides agreed in this, that there was a revealed will of God, which the ecclesiastical power might not contravene: the conviction took root that the Papacy did not represent the highest communion of men with divine things, but that this rested on the divine record alone. The use of Scripture had at last influenced various questions in England also. For abolishing the Annates it was argued that such an impost contradicts a maxim of the Apostle Paul; for doing away the Papal jurisdiction, that no place of Scripture justifies it. This is what was meant when the assertion that the Papacy is of divine right was denied. This becomes quite clear when Henry VIII instead of the previous
prohibitions against distributing the Bible in the vernacular gave his licence for it. As he once declared with great animation, the advancement of God's word and of his own authority were one and the same thing.[125] The engraved title-page of the translation which appeared with his _privilegium_ puts into his mouth the expression 'Thy word is a light to my feet.' The order soon followed to place a copy of the Book of books in every church: there every man might look into the disputed places, and convince himself, by this highest of codes, as to the rightfulness of the procedure that had been chosen.

But then it was impossible to stop at mere divergences of jurisdiction. The German interpretation of Scripture gained ground in every direction: a theological school grew up, though only here and there, which adhered to it more or less openly.

It must needs have had the greatest effect, that the followers of this view obtained a great number of bishoprics. The archbishopric of Canterbury had already fallen to the lot of a man who had completed his theological training in Germany: this very man, Thomas Cranmer, had carried through the divorce; his was one of those natures which must have the support of the supreme power to help them to follow out their own views; as they then appear enterprising and courageous, so do they become pliant and yielding when this favour fails them; they do not shine through moral greatness, but they are well suited to preserve, under difficult circumstances, what they have once embraced, for better times. Hugh Latimer was cast in a sterner mould; he actually dared, in the midst of the persecutions, to admonish the King, whose chaplain he was, of the welfare of his soul and his duty as King. However little this act effected for the moment, yet he may have thus contributed to enlighten the King (who now and then showed him personal goodwill) as to his title of 'Defender


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