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

Hooper allowed himself to be persuaded


"The King, as you know, has appointed him (Hooper) to the bishopric of Gloucester, which, however, he refused to accept unless he cd. be altogether relieved from all appearance of popish superstition. Here then a question immediately arises as to the form of oath which the Bishops have ordered to be taken in the name of God, the saints, and the Gospels; which impious oath Hooper positively refused to take. So, when he appeared before the King in the presence of the Council, Hooper convinced the King by many arguments that the oath should be taken in the name of God alone, who knoweth the heart. This took place on the 20th of July. It was so agreeable to the godly King, that with his own pen he erased the clause of the oath which sanctioned swearing by any creatures. Nothing could be more godly than this act, or more worthy of a Christian king. When this was done there remained the form of episcopal consecration, wh., as lately prescribed by the Bishops in Parliament, differs but little from the popish one. Hooper therefore obtained a letter from the King to the Archbishop of Canterbury (Cranmer), that he might be consecrated without superstition. But he gained nothing by this, as he was referred from the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Bishop of London (Ridley), who refused to use any other form of consecration than that which had been subscribed by Parliament. Thus the
Bishops mutually endeavour that none of their glory shall depart. A few days after, on the 30th of July, Hooper obtained leave from the King and the Council to be consecrated by the Bishop of London without any superstition. He replied that he would shortly send an answer either to the Council or to Hooper. While, therefore, Hooper was expecting the Bishop's answer, the latter went to court and alienated the minds of the Council from Hooper, making light of the use of the vestments and the like in the church, and calling them mere matters of indifference. Many were so convinced by him that they would hardly listen to Hooper's defence when he came into court shortly afterwards. He therefore requested them, that if they would not hear him speak, they would at least think it proper to hear and read his written apology. His request was granted: wherefore he delivered to the King's councillors, in writing, his opinion respecting the discontinuance of the use of vestments and the like puerilities. And if the Bishop cannot satisfy the King with other reasons, Hooper will gain the victory. We are daily expecting the termination of this controversy, which is only conducted between individuals, either by conference or by letter, for fear of any tumult being excited among the ignorant. You see in what a state of affairs the Church would be if they were left to the Bishops, even to the best of them."

In the end, Hooper allowed himself to be persuaded, and was consecrated in the usual way.

The advanced Reformers in England were probably incited to demand more freedom than the law permitted by the sight of the liberty enjoyed by men who were not Englishmen. French and German Protestants had come to England for refuge, and had been welcomed. The King had permitted them to use the Augustines' church in London, that they might "have the pure ministry of the Word and Sacraments according to the apostolic form," and they enjoyed their privileges.


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