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A History of the Reformation (Vol. 2 of 2)

And was published in 1543 May 19th


The

revival of mediaeval doctrine did not mean any difference in the strong anti-papal policy of the English King. It rather became more emphatic, and Henry spoke of the Pope in terms of the greatest disrespect. "That most persistent idol, enemy of all truth, and usurpator of Princes, the Bishop of Rome," "that cankered and venomous serpent, Paul, Bishop of Rome," are two of his phrases.[474]

_The Act of the Six Statutes_ made Lutherans, as previous Acts had made Papists, liable to capital punishment; but while Cromwell remained in power he evidently was able to hinder its practical execution. Cromwell, however, was soon to fall. He seemed to be higher in favour than ever. He had almost forced his policy on his master, and the marriage of Henry with Anne of Cleves (Jan. 6th, 1540) seemed to be his triumph. Then Henry struck suddenly and remorselessly as usual. The Minister was impeached, and condemned without trial. He was executed (July 28th); and Anne of Cleves was got rid of on the plea of pre-contract to the son of the Duke of Lorraine (July 9th). It was not the fault of Gardiner, the sleuth-hound of the reaction, that Cranmer did not share the fate of the Minister. Immediately after the execution of Cromwell (July 30th), the King gave a brutal exhibition of his position. Three clergymen of Lutheran views, Barnes, Garret, and Jerome, were burnt at Smithfield; and three Romanists were beheaded and tortured for denying the King's spiritual supremacy.

style="text-align: justify;">Henry had kept himself ostentatiously free from responsibility for the manual of doctrine entitled _Institution of a Christian Man_. Perhaps he believed it too advanced for his people; it was at all events too advanced for the theology of the _Six Articles_; another manual was needed, and was published in 1543 (May 19th). It was entitled _A Necessary Doctrine and Erudition for any Christian Man; set forth by the King's Majesty of England_.

It was essentially a revision of the former manual, and may have been of composite authorship. Cranmer was believed to have written the chapter on faith, and it was revised by Convocation. The King, who issued it himself with a preface commending it, declared it to be "a true and perfect doctrine for all people." It contains an exposition of the Creed, the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, and of some selected passages of Scripture. Its chief difference from the former manual is that it teaches unmistakably the doctrines of _Transubstantiation_, the _Invocation of Saints_, and the _Celibacy of the Clergy_. It may be said that it very accurately represented the theology of the majority of Englishmen in the year 1543. For King and people were not very far apart. They both clung to mediaeval theology; and they both detested the Papacy, and wished the clergy to be kept in due subordination. There was a widespread and silent movement towards an Evangelical Reformation always making itself apparent when least expected; but probably three-fourths of the people had not felt it during the reign of Henry. It needed Mary's burnings in Smithfield and the fears of a Spanish overlord, before the leaven could leaven the whole lump.


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