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ceived his surname (as was customary in those times) from the place of his birth (Wickliffe in Yorkshire) which took place A. D. 1324. Oxford claims the honour of his education, and afterwards of feating him in one of her professors' chairs. Nor did the marks of her respect cease with this honourable proof of it; for on his death in 1384 the gave this additional testimonial of Wickliffe's worth, and of the sense which the university entertained of it: “ that from his youth to the time of his death, his conversation was fo praise-worthy, that there was never any spot or suspicion noised of him; that in his reading and preaching he behaved like a stout and valiant champion of the faith; and that he had written in logic, philosophy, divinity, morality, and the speculative arts, without an equal.” Disgusted with the superstitions and corruptions of the Church of Rome, and indig. nant at the Navery and ignorance in which her wicked policy kept the mass of mankind, he boldly ridiculed the one, and inveighed against the other; and both by his preaching, which was afsiduous and energetic, and by his writings, which amounted to nearly two hundred volumes, he first laid the foundation of religious knowledge amongst “a people that had hitherto fat in darkness, and in the shadow of spiritual death." His principal artillery was levelled against the do&rine of transubstantiation; the infallibility of the Pope; and the supremacy of the Romish church. He contended also, that the New Testament or Gospel is a perfect rule of life and manners, and ought to be read by the people; that wise men should leave that as impertinent, which is not plainly expressed in scripture; that those are fools and presumptuous, who affirm such infants not to be faved, who die without baptism; that baptism doth not confer, but only Signify grace; that it is unfcriptural to assert that all sin is abolished in baptilm; and that the baptism of water profiteth not, without the baptism of the Spirit.* But although the seeds of the Reformation were thus sown by that great and good man, they notwithstanding did not ripen into fruit till a century and half after his death; when the designs of Providence in this respect were completed, and the basis of that evangelical system of faith and church discipline, with which we are at present blessed, was folidly laidot Henry VIIIth was the instrument appointed by the unfathomable decrees of Divine Providence for effecting, in a principal measure, this memorable event. It is evident, however, that this monarch was not impelled to the work by any motives either of piety or philanthropy. In the early part of life he had been a bigotted devotee of the Romih doc
* Lewis's Life of Wickliffe. Fuller's Church Hist. b. iv. p. 130. In addition to his preaching and writings in behaif of religious truth, Wickliffe adopted another method of diffufing Tuiritual knowiedge amongit the people, by tranflating into English and publishing the New Testament, about the year 1381. *This tranllation he made from the Latia Bibles then in common use, or which were usually at that time read the church. The reiton of which seems to have been, not that he thought the Latin the original, or of the Jame authority with the Hebrew and Greek text, but because he did not understand those languages well enough to translate them. He likewile chose to translate word for word; as had been done before in the Anglo-Saxonic tranflation, without always observing the idioms or proprieties of the several languages; by which means this tranfátios in such · places is not very intelligible to those who do not understand Latin,” Lewis's Hift. Translat. Bible, 4, 5.
• So far were the principles of religious reformation from making any progress in England between the death of Wickliffe and the reign of Henry VIIIth, that the most severe perfecutions followed the profetlion of sentiments adverse to the Catholic faith; and acts of the most danguinary kind were pafled against the followers of Wickliffe. By an act of Fleury Vth, in the early part of his reign, it is enacted, "that whatsoever they were who thould read the scriptures in the mother tongue, (which was then called 'Wickleve's - Parning) they should forfeit land, cattle, life, and goods from their heirs for ever; and to be condemned for heretics to God, enemies to the crown, and mort errant traitors to the Tind."---- Emlyn's Collect. of State Trials, p. 48.
trine, * and it is probable that the same attachment to it continued till the conclusion of his reign; so that he could not be actuated by “conscience towards God," in the measures which he took for the fubversion of papacy in his kingdom; whilst the natural pride and cruelty of his difpofition, and the general tenor of his conduct, adverse on all occafions to the fanctions of humanity, forbid us to imagine, that he entered upon the great and glorious work of reformation from “ good-will towards men.” So far, indeed, was the important event from ori ninating in principles honourable to the memory of Henry, that it is probable his fubje£ts would have continued during the whole of his reign the flaves of popish fuperftition, had not the desire of revenge induced him to adopt a measure, which opposed the prejudicus of his education, and the convictions of his mind. It is well known that after Henry had lived nearly twenty years with his wife Catherine, his natural inconitancy (made itill more criminal by the pretended fcruples of confcience under which it was veiled) induced him to more the Court of Rome for a divorce from this exemplary woman, that he might be enabled to espoule the unfortunate Ann Bulleyn, for whom he had conceived an unconquerable pallion. The Pope, however, fearful of offending the Emperor, Catherine's nephew, by a formal fanction of this iniquitous fepiration, refuted, or at least delayed, complying with the king's request: which so exalperated Henry, that he disclaimed the fupremacy of the Roman Pontifi; folemnly separated himself and his dominions from the apoftolical fee; and affumed to himfelf the title of Sole and Supreme Head of the Church of England, next and immediately under Christ. Happily for the interests of true religion, Henry was, at the time of this quarrel, furrounded by wife and good men, who had long ardently wilhed for a reformation of the national faith. Of thele, the venerable Cranmer, and the active Cromwell, were the leading characters; who wisely availed themselves of Henry's indignation, and of the intluence they at that time poflefled in his esteem and opinion, to confirm his resolution of throwing off the Papal yoke, and to render this freedom from superftitious thraldom the means of diffuting a purer religion over their own country. With the king's fan&tion, therefore, and (it should teem) alliitance also, thefe able friends of the Reformation compiled without delay, both in Engli:h and Latin,t published and circulated, a small volume of devotional tracts, entitled the King's Primer; calculated to do away many of the erroneous notions, and to foften many of the superstitious prejudices, with which Popery had lilled the minds of the people; as well as to infuse into them a knowledge of the simple truths and spiritual doctrines of the gospel, and of the duties and obligations necessarily resulting therefrom. Su ardent and general was the desire for religious information, that the first impression of the King's Primer was speedily dilpoled of; and in the year 1535 another edition, on a larger size, and enriched with many
* In the beginning of his reign he was a moft obedient fon of papucy, and employed his talents in writing seina Luther, in defence of the leven facraments of the church. This bark was magnified by the clergy, as the most learned performance of the age ; and upon Prelenting it to the Pope, his Holiness conterred upon the King of England, and his suce ceffors, the glorious title of Defender of the Faith. It was voted in full consistory, and fered by twenty-seven cardinals in the year 1521. -Neale's Hitt. Puritans, vol. i. p. 8; Warner's Eccl. Hist. vol. ii. p. 228.
+ The Latin Primers were intended for the use of those who were killed in that tougue; and the English ones for those who were ignorant of it. In the king's injunctia cas, prefixed to the later Primers, all schoolmatters are directed to teach “ this Primer or book of ordinary prayers unto their scholars in English, and the youth customably and ordinarily use the fame until they be of competent underttanding and knowledge to perceive it in Latin. At what (which) time they may at their liberty either ute this Primer in English, or that which is by our authority likéwife made in the Latin tongue, in all points correspondent unto this in Englith."
valuable additions, was put forth to gratify the public impatience for this popular manual. Of this second edition the contents are as follow: 2 godly preface; an exposition of the commandments, and of the creed ; a confeflion; directions concerning prayer; an exposition of the Lord's prayer; a prayer to our Creator; prayers for various states of men; an office for all itates; a dissertation on good works; an exhortation to expect the cross, and to bear it patiently; matins, or morning service; lauds, or acts of praise; eventong; the seven penitential pfalms; the litany; a contemplation on pfalm li.; a prayer to our Saviour; the history of Christ's paflion; a practical discourse on the pallion; instructions for children; a catechetical dialogue; prayers against blindness and hardness of heart ; various prayers and thanksgivings; the Dirige, or office for the fouls of the dead; commendations; and the collects, epiftles, and gospels, throughout the year, with expositions of them. This volume may be considered as the parent of our present Book of Common-Prayer; for although, during the times of Popery in this country the forms of the Liturgy had always been in the hands of the laity, under the names of breviaries, e milals, and rituals; yet these being written in Latin, (an unknown tongue to the bulk of the community) and being full of idolatrous prayers, and superstitious services, were neither intelligible to the laity, nor could have furnished them with found doctrine, nor led them to right practice, had they been generally understood. The royal authority enjoined either the public or private use of the volume of services called “the King's Primer.” But this fanction was perhaps unnecessary for ensuring its free and general circulation, as the people themselves were sufficiently prepared for its favourable reception; a fact that was clearly evinced by its rapid fale; very many editions being called for in the course of a few years.
The zeal, however, of our pious reformers was not satisfied with these first fruits of their labours. In the same year 1535, the whole Bible uranslated into English was given to the public, through the influence of
* Breviaries contained matins, or morning service; louds, or acts of praise; and 2clpers, or evenfong. Millals, or mass-books, contained the communion service, with the collects, epiftles, and gospels, to be used throughout the year. The Rituals contained the occasional lervices; baptism, matrimony, vilitation of the fick, form of burial, &c. Thele books of liturgical services differed frequently from each other in the forms and as. rangement of their contents, in different places. Those chiefly in ute in this kingdom, were the Breviaries, Miffals, and Rituals of Sarum, York, Lincoln, Hereford, and Bangor. “ The Trident Council (as is observed in the notes at the end of Sparrow's Rationale) irit endeavoured to bring the divers models into one shape, yet that order was not obeyed till anno 1568, under Pope Pius Vth, yet is not obferved to this day; the Spaniards in some places keeping the Mozarabique form, the Premonflraten les another, and fundry besides. Nay, that church hath altered the breviaries of Pius Vili, and new corrections have come forth under Clement VIIIth, 1598; and what hath been done since I know not. But why the use of those tive churches? Perhaps that was accidental, that the diversities of them were more fignal than others; (some historians mention Olmundus, the bishop of Salifbury, and chancellor, for the compiler of the use of Sarum, about anno 1070, or after) yet fince we read of no use of Canterbury, Winton, or Ely, perhaps those places observed the true Roman Breviaries, and the other five above-mentioned were discrepant dialects from the original Breviary. However they are called uses and customs; not appointments from provincial synods."
+ In the king's injunctions prefixed to the Primer, reasons of this nature are mens tioned, as having occafioned the publication of that book. “ As the youth (it observes) by divers persons are taught the Pater nofter, the Ave Maria, Creed, and Ten Commandments, all in Latin, and not in English, by means whereof the fame are not brought up in the knowledge of their faith, duty, and obedience, wherein no christian perfon ought to be ignorant and for the avoiding of the adversity (difference) of primer books that are now abroad, whereof are almost innumerable foris, which minister occa. lion of contentions and vain difputations rather than edily, and to have one uniform order of all such books throughout all our dominions, both to be taught unto children, and also to be used for ordinary prayers of all our people not learned in ihe Latin tongue ;': Lut therefore his Majesty has set forth this Primer, &c.
Cranmer and his friends.* The royal authority had previously been obtained to fanction and give currency to this impresfion of the holy fcriptures; and injunctions were published by Cromwell, in the name of the King; which ordained, amongit other things, that “ every parfon or proprietary of any parish church within the realm, before August ist, should provide a book of the whole Bible, both in Latin and also in English, and lay it in the choir, for every man that would, to look and read therein: and thould discourage no man from reading any part of the Bible either in Latin or English, but rather comfort, exhort, and admonish every man to read it, as the Word of God, and the spiritual food of man's foul.”;
This glorious effort in behalf of religion was followed up in the ensuing year (1536) by the settlement of “ Certain Articles of Religion, to prevent diversity of opinion both in matters of faith and worship, and to establish unity in the Church of England;" which being agreed upon in convocation, were approved, confirmed, and ordered to be published by the royal authority. These articles constitute the holy fcriptures, and the ancient creeds, the standard of faith and doctrine. They state and explain the foundations of belief, and the terms of covenant and grace. The three facraments, Baptism, Penance, and the Eucharift, are alone enjoined, inttead of the feven impoted by the Romith church. The honouring or worshipping of angels is condemned; and the notions respecting purgatory are corrected. Auricular confellion and the corporal prelence are
The fanction for this translation had been obtained two years before, though the Bible was not completed till early in the year 1535, nor out of the press till the 4th of October in that year. 'Miles Coverdale, afterwards b thop of Exeter, was the translator; a man of extraordinary piety, Jeep knowledge of the Scriptures, and great activity in his protel. tion. On the igih di December 1533, the two Houles of Parliament depuied Archbishop Cranmer to attend Henry with a petition “that the scriptures should be trantlared into the vulgar tongue, by lome honest and learned men, to be nominated by the king, and that they should be delivered to the people according to their learning.”—Johnton's Hitt. English Translations of the Bible. Gardiner and all his party made a Itrenuous oppofition to the measure ; but the weight of the arguments urged in its favour, and Queen Anne Balleyn's fupport of the petition, inclined Henry to comply with it -Burnet. In the year 1537 another edition of the English Bible was printed by Gratton and Whitchurch (either at Hamburgh or Marburg) under the licence of Henry, which bore the fictitious name of Thomas Mathewe; but was really edited by the learned John Rogers, employed for that purpose by Acrhbishop Cranmer. He seems to have made ule both of Tyndail's translation (a partial but unau horiled one of the Bib.e, made in the early part of Henry's reign, which was condemned to be burnt at Smithfield) and of Coverdale's translation, and to have added a jew emendations of his own. In the year 1538 an injunction was published by the vicar-general, ordering the clergy to provide before a certain testival one book of the whole Bible, of the largeit voiome, in Englih, and to set it up in fome convenient place in their churches, where their parishioners might most commodiously refort to read it.-Lewis's Hist. Translations of the Binle. Oher editions of the Bible allo were published in Henry's reign ; Cranmer's, or the great Bible, printed by Grafion and Whitchurch, in large folio, April 1539, cum privilegio ad imprimendum folum ; with a beautitul frontispiece prefixed, defigned by Hans Holbein. Taverner's Bible, printed by John Byddell in the same year. Two privileged editions of Cranmer's Bible, 1540, printed by Edward Whitchurch; and one by Petyt and Redman, with a pious and tensible prologue or preface by Archbishop Cranmer, in which he observes, that "every man that cometh io the reading of this holy book, ought to bring with him first the fear of Almighty God, and next a pious and ftable purpole to reform his own feli according thereunto; and to to continue, proceed, and proper irom time to time, ihewing hinnfelt to be a sober and fruitful hearer and learner ; which ii ne do, he thali prove at length well able to reach, though not with his mouth, yet with his living and good example, which is sure the most lively and effectuous way of teaching.". Another editio.) on Cranmer's Bible, printed by Grafton in May 1544. An edition of the Bible, luperintended by Tonttal bithop of Durham, and Heath bishop of Rocheiter ; printed by Gratton, in November of the fame year. And lastly, an ediuon of the Pentateuch only, after the copy of the first authorized edition, printed by John Day and William Serres, in 1514.
+ Neale's Hist, Puritans, vol. i. p. 35. Our present Articles of Religion were settled by convocation in 1562; ratified anew in 1571; and finally contirmed in 1662.
beft untoucher; and justification is declared to fignify the remission of sins, and a perfect renovation of nature in Chrift. In the same year alio, with the publication of the Articles," appeared a series of Injunctions, (framed, as is supposed, by Archbishop Cranmer) the object of which was to correct the abuses and corruptions of the clerical character, and to extinguiih certain superstitious notions, rites, and practices, that still infected both clergy and laity.
The entuing year, 1537, was marked by fresh endeavours of the reformers to accomplish their great and tiilutary work. Cranmer, Latimer, and other prelates, (nominated as a committee for that and other purposes, by the convocation held in 15.36) drew up and published a compendium of religious instruction called “the godly and pious Inititution of a Christian Man.” This treatise, consisting of rules of faith and practice, revised, corrected, and augmented by the King, and ratified by the Parliament; continued to be in general requeft and use till the year 1543; when it was superseded by an enlarged and improved edition of the fame work, altered, however, in matter and arrangement, and bearing the new title of “ A neceffary Doctrine and Erudition for any Chriftian Man, set forth by the King's Majesty of England, * &c.” It was called the “King's Book," and designed for a standard of Christian belief, and contained thc following articles or treatises:-" The declaration of faith. The articles of our belief, called the Creed. The feven facraments. The ten commandments of Almighty God. Our Lord's Prayer, called the Pater Nofter. The salutätion of the Angel, called the Ave Maria. An article of free-will
. An 'article of justification. An article of good works. Of prayer for fouls departed.” In the year that followed the publication of this book, another step was made in the progress of reformation, as well as a small advance to the introduction of a national liturgy; namely, the printing and circulation of a form of procellion, drawn up in the Englilh tongue, entitled “ An exhortation to prayer, thought meet by his Majesty and his Clergy to be read to the people; alío a litany with suffrages, to be laid or fung in time of the procellions.”'t
Flattering, however, as this and other circumstances of Henry's conduct might be to the prospects of the reformers, yet the cruel caprice and childith inconsistency of his disposition were perpetually interrupting the progress of the work; and dictated such proceedings towards the close of his reign, as threatened the most ferious injury to the interests of religion. Indeed, after he had effccted his first and principal objects, a separation from the church of Rome, and the assumption of the supremacy into his own hands, which he seems to have pursued with the utmost consistency and zeal; it appcars that his services towards a reformation of religion were rather accide:ital and capricious, than steady and uniform, and resulted more from humour than from principle. Advances towards a purer faith, or retrogreslions into the corrupti ns of Popery, fluctuated with the ebbs and flo - 5 of royal favour; and according as Cranmer and Cromwell, Latimer and Slaxton, and other friends of the Reformation, were more or less in the confidence of the king, in the fame degree was his fupremacy exerted
* In the preface to this book (which was written by the king) mention is made of the 'rettriction that at this time was iad upon certain defcriptions of his lubjects, with relyect to redding the holy feriptures. Contonant whereunio, fays he) the politic law of our ream huih now restrained it from a great many, esteeming it fufficient for those fo reItrained to hear and cruiy bear away the doctrine of fcripture taught by the preachers," &c. The prohibition to which this alludes forbade the public reading of the Bible to women, artificers, and apprentices entirely; and enjoined that none thould have that privilege, unleis they had previoully obtained the royal licence for that purpose.
+ Neale's Hirt. Purit. vol. i. p. 35. Burnet's Hift. Ref. vol. i. p. 331.