Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

SECTION II.
TO MR. THOMAS JAMES, OF BUNTINGFORD, IN

HERTFORDSHIRE. Corner stones (two walls meeting in them) are polished with the more curiosity, and placed with more carefulness. So also corner bones (as I may say) which do double duty, and attend the service of two joints, (in the elbow and knee,) are rarely fixed by the providence of nature.

This Section being in the turning of religions, (the going out of the old, and coming in of the new, *) ought to have been done with most industry, difficulty meeting therein with dark instructions. However, I have endeavoured my utmost, (though falling short of the merits of the matter,) and doubt not but you will be as candid in the perusing, as I have desired to be careful in the writing, thereof.

1-5. Wolsey accused in Parliament, and well defended by Mr.

Cromwell his Servant ; prosecuted by his Enemies, and removed to York. Large Means allowed him. He states it at

York. Arrested of Treason, and dieth. A D. 1530. Know now in the next year, the lords in parliament put in a bill of forty-four particulars against Wolsey. The most material was his exercising of power-legative, without leave, to the prejudice of the king's crown and dignity. The bill is brought down into the house of commons, where Mr. Cromwell, then servant to the cardinal, chanced to be a burgess. Here he defended his master with such wit and eloquence, that even those who hated the client, yet praised the advocate who pleaded in his behalf. This was the first time that public notice was taken of Cromwell's eminent parts ; and advantageous starting is more than half the way in the race to preferment, as afterwards in him it came to pass. As for Wolsey, though at this time he escaped with life and liberty, yet were all his goods, of inestimable value, confiscated to the king, and he outed of most of his ecclesiastical promotions.

Court-favourites, when it is once past noon, it is presently night with them; as here it fared with Wolsey. His enemies, of whom no want, follow the blow given unto him. For they beheld him

• So rugarly miscalled for “ renewed."

rather in a swoon, than as yet dead in the king's favour ; and feared if his submission should meet with the king's remembrance of his former services, they might produce his full restitution to power and dignity; the rather because the cardinal was cunning to improve all to his own advantage, and the king (as yet) not cruel, though too perfect in that lesson afterwards. His enemies would not trust the cardinal to live at London, nor at Winchester within fifty miles thereof; but got the king to command him away to York, sending him thither whither his conscience long since should have sent him ; namely, to visit his diocess, so large in extent, and reside therein.

Indifferent men thought that he had enough, his foes that too much, only himself that too little was left unto him. Pride accounts the greatest plenty, if without pomp, no better than penury. Yet he had the whole revenues of York archbishopric, (worth then little less than four thousand pounds yearly,) besides a large pension paid him out of the bishopric of Winchester. Was not here fuel enough, had there not been too much fire within, such bis covetousness and ambition ?

Earthly kings may make men humbled, God alone (can] humble. Wolsey began to state it at York as high as ever before, in proportion to his contracted revenues. Preparation is made in a princely equipage for his installation, attracting envy from such as beheld it. All is told unto the king, and all made worse by telling it, complaining Wolsey would never leave his pride, till life first left him. His old faults are revived and aggravated, and the king incensed afresh against him.

The earl of Northumberland, by the commission from the king, arrested him of high treason, in his own chamber at Cawood. By slow and short journeys he setteth forward to London, November 27th, meeting by the way with contrary messages from the king. Sometimes he was tickled with hopes of pardon and preferment, sometimes pinched with fears of a disgraceful death ; so that he knew not how to dispose his mind, to mirth or mourning. Age and anguish brought his disease of the dysentery, the pain lying much in his guts, more in his heart ; especially after Sir William Kingston was sent unto him, who, being lieutenant of the Tower, seemed to carry a restraint in his looks. Coming to Leicester, he died, November 30th ; being buried almost as obscurely as he was born.

6. Wolsey's Credulity befooled with a dubious Prophecy. I know not whether or no it be worth the mentioning here, (however we will put it on the adventure,) that cardinal Wolsey in his life-time was informed by some fortune-tellers, that he should have his end at Kingston. This liis credulity interpreted of Kingston

on-Thames, which made him always to avoid the riding through that town, though the nearest way from his house to the court. Afterwards understanding that he was to be committed by the king's express order to the charge of Sir Anthony Kingston, it struck to his heart, too late perceiving himself deluded by that father of lies in his homonymous prediction.*

7. The King deluded with Delays at Rome.

Anna Bullen did every day look fairer and fairer in the king's eyes, whilst the hopes of his marriage with her seemed every day farther and farther from him. For, the court at Rome meddled not with the merits of the cause, but fell upon by-points therein of lesser concernment. Yea, they divided his case into three and twenty particulars; † whereof the first was, "whether prince Arthur had carnal knowledge with the lady Catherine?" This bare about a year's debate; so that, according to this proportion, king Henry would be, not only past marrying, but past living, before his cause should be decided. This news put him into a passionate pensiveness; the rather, because meeting with sadness here, many populous places in England, and Cambridge particularly, being at the present visited with the sickness.

8, 9. Doctor Cranmer comes to Waltham; is employed by the King to the Pope.

But it is an evil plague which brings nobody profit. On this occasion Dr. Cranmer retired to Waltham, with two of his pupils, the sons of Mr. Cressy, (a name utterly extinct in that town where God hath fixed my present habitation,) long before the memory of any alive. But, consulting WEAVER'S "Funeral Monuments" of Waltham church,+ (more truly than neatly by him composed,) I find therein this epitaph :

:

"Here lieth Jon and Jone Cressy,

On whose soulys Jesu hav mercy! Amen."

It seems, paper sometimes is more lasting than brass; all the ancient epitaphs in that church being defaced by some barbarous hands, who, perchance, one day may want a grave for themselves.

The king coming to Waltham, Dr. Fox, his chaplain and almoner, (afterwards bishop of Hereford,) is lodged in Mr. Cressy's house. Discoursing about the king's divorce, Cranmer conceived that the speediest course was to prove the unlawfulness of his match by Scripture; whence it would follow, that the pope at first had no

Henry Lord Howard in his book against prophecies, chap. xxviii. fol. 130. "History of the Council of Trent," page 69. In Essex, page 645. But see the former part of CRANMER'S Life until this time, in our "History of Cambridge."

power to dispense therewith, and that the universities of Christendom would sooner and truer decide the case than the court of Rome. This passage Fox reports to the king ; who, well pleased thereat, professes that this man had the sow by the right ear ; * an ear which the king never left worrying till he had got it off, and effected his will therein. Cranmer, being sent for, comes to the king, who very lovingly entertains him. Indeed, he was a most comely person, having an amiable eye, (and as the soul sees much by the eye, so is it much seen in them,) and pleasing countenance, as by his lively picture doth appear.t Glad was the king to see, more to hear, him enlarge himself on the former subject, that it was above the pope's power to dispense with God's work in the king's case. And now what fitter nurse for the child, than the own mother ? What person more proper to manage this matter than Cranmer himself, who first moved it? The king resolves, and Cranmer consents, he should be sent to the pope, there to make good his position. Leave we Cranmer for a time, preparing himself for his long journey ; and come briefly to state the king's controversy out of God's word, and several authors who have written thereof.

10. Marriage with Brothers' Wives twice forbidden in

Scripture. It plainly appears that a marriage with a brother's wife is unlawful, because expressly forbidden : “ Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife: it is thy brother's nakedness," Lev. xviii. 16. Wherein we have, 1. A PROHIBITION.-" Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife.” See, all these laws are made to men ; it being presumed, that the weaker sex (whose part it is to take not tender, accept not offer, love) would be so modest, as not to adventure of themselves on any incestuous act, except first solicited by men thereunto. 2. THE REASON THEREOF.-" It is thy brother's nakedness.” according to his dominion, peremptorily have forbidden the same, without rendering a reason of his prohibition ; but, that men might pay the more willing obedience to his law, he maketh those who were to keep it, in some sort, judges of the justness thereof, endeavouring to convince their consciences, and make their souls sensible of the natural uncleanness of such an act : “ It is thy brother's nakedness.”

Such marriages are again forbidden in another text. Nor can I render other reason of this duplicate, whereas others are but once,

• Fox's “ Acts and Monuments,” page 1861. + Which I have seen at Cheshunt, in the house of Sir Thomas Dacres, done, as I take it, by Hans Holbein.

God could,

a

that this should be twice prohibited, save that God, foreseeing in his providence men's corrupt inclinations, prone here to climb over, did therefore think fit to make a double fence. ** And if a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother's nakedness: they shall be childless," Lev. xx. 21. Here we have the prohibition backed with a commination of being childless ; which is variously interpreted ;-either that they shall never have children ; or, if having them, they shall not survive their parents ; or, if surviving, they shall not be counted children, but bastards, illegitimate in the court of heaven. This commination of being childless, as applied ad hominem, fell heavy on king Henry VIII. who, sensible that his quecn, though happy often to conceive, was unhappy almost as often to miscarry. Henry, his only Christian son by her, died before a full year old ; a second was nameless, as never living to the honour of baptism ; and of many blasted in the bud, Mary only survived to woman's estate.

:

11. This proved to be a Law of Nature. Such as inquire into the nature of this law find it founded in nature itself, being only declaratory of what true reason doth dictate to man. God in making this law did not imprint a new writing in men's hearts, but only rub off some old rust from the same; wherefore it is added : “For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled ; that the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you,” Lev. xviii. 27, 28. Surely the land would never have vomited out the Heathen for not observing a positive precept never immediately delivered unto them; which plainly shows it was imprinted in nature, though partly obliterated by their corrupt customs to the contrary, and their consciences in their lucid intervals were apprehensive thereof. This would make one the more to admire, that any should maintain, that this law, the breach whereof made the country to avoid her Pagan inhabitants, should be only lex imposititia et ecclesiastica,* "an imposed and church-law.” To hear of a church-law amongst the Canaanites, is a strange paradox !

12, 13. The Objection to the Contrary answered. It is objected, “ This could not be a law of nature, because, almost at the beginning of nature, men brake them by the consent and permission of the God of heaven. For Cain and Seth, with the elder sons of Adam, must be allowed to have married their own sisters, far nearer in nature than their brother's wife."

SANDERS De Schismale Anglic. page

[ocr errors]

3.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »