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tions of it on his subjects to the violation of all liberty of conscience, that he retained doctrines and practices a, which could not stand the test that he had himself set up,—it may be admitted in short, that though he began, he did not perfect the Reformation: yet the value of his services may still be incalculable. For it was precisely one of those cases, where the beginning was at least half of the work; where it was not less laborious to clear the ground and lay a firm foundation, than to raise a goodly building thereon. It may indeed be doubted, whether the feeble efforts of a minor could ever have removed those formidable obstacles, which were not swept away without difficulty even by the mature and vigorous arm of Henry VIII.
But however this may be, it will not be disputed, that his energy in freeing the kingdom from papal usurpation, materially lightened the task devolved on his successor. Yet Cranmer felt it to be still too heavy for the strength of a youthful sovereign. It is evident from the remarkable conversation already referred to, that he considered the exchange from the long established and absolute sway of Henry, to the new and unsettled authority of Edward, as a loss rather than a gain to the cause of reformation b. He may perhaps have been mistaken in this view: the flexibility of the son may in truth have been no less favourable
sionally wavered, for which some gross abuses may have given sufficient cause, Nic. Udal's statement is probably correct, that he was really anxious for "his people to be reduced to the sincerity of Christ's re"ligion by knowing of God's word." See Strype, Cranmer, pp. 84, 85. 99; Stat. 34 and 35 Hen. VIII. c. 1; Wilkins, Concilia, vol. iii. pp. 811. 856, vol. iv. p. 1; Lewis, Hist. of Translations, &c.; Foxe, Acts and Monuments, vol. ii. p. 872; Preface to the Necessary Doctrine.
a It must not be forgotten, in estimating the progress which had been made, that the English Church under Hen. VIII, was more reformed in reality than in appearance; many doctrines and ceremonies being so interpreted and explained away, as to be given up in fact, though retained in name. See Preface to Formularies of Faith, Oxford,
b"It was better," said Cranmer to his secretary in 1547," to at
to the construction of a new system, than the obstinacy of the father to the demolition of the old one. But the inference is almost unavoidable, that the difficulties of his situation under Henry were less, and under Edward greater, than is usually supposed. And if we reflect on the youth of the King, on the struggles of ambitious nobles for power, and on the unremitting exertions of an able and active religious party to baffle him, it may well be imagined, that the position in which Cranmer stood was most embarrassing. To his wisdom and moderation under these critical circumstances, we are mainly indebted, as is well known, for our present Church establishment. In spite of all impediments, he succeeded in founding it on so firm a basis as to be proof against the persecutions of the following reign. He received, it is true, in this great undertaking, valuable assistance both from his own countrymen and from foreigners: but his was the presiding judgment which directed the whole; he was the master builder, to whom the symmetry and beauty of the structure are chiefly due. He may therefore to a certain extent be held responsible for whatever was done at this period for the reformation of the English Church. But of course it is not intended to enter into an examination of all the documents composed for this purpose under his superintendence. An inquiry so extensive would lead to little less than a complete ecclesiastical history of Edw. VI.'s reign. Such writings only will be noticed, as can be connected with his name by some positive evidence.
The first of this class which demands attention is his Speech at Speech at the Coronation c. Instead of the sermon usual on that occasion, the Archbishop is said to have delivered a short address to the young King, explaining concisely yet
“ tempt such reformation in King Henry the Eight his days than at "this time, the King being in his infancy. For if the King's father had "set forth any thing for the reformation of abuses, who was he that "durst gainsay it ?" &c. Vol. i. p. 320.
c Vol. ii. p. 118.
Notes on Justification.
clearly, the uses of the ceremony, and the duties incumbent on the sovereign; but at the same time declaring that though these might be neglected, neither he nor the Bishop of Rome had any commission to call him to account and to pronounce his deprivation. This Speech was first published in 1682, by Robert Ware, son of Sir James Ware, in the second part of Foxes and Firebrands, and has been copied from thence into the present Collection. With a view to authenticate it, inquiries have been made for the original manuscript, but unfortunately without success.
The next production which comes under the above description is the first Book of Homilies. The whole of this work may undoubtedly be attributed to the counsels of Cranmer: but there are good grounds for believing, that he was himself the author of the three doctrinal discourses, on Salvation, Faith, and Works. These grounds being stated in a note to Vol. ii. p. 138, it may be sufficient to remark here, that some additional evidence in confirmation of the uniform tradition on the subject, is furnished by the Notes and Authorities on Justification d, now first printed from a manuscript at Lambeth. That these were collected by Cranmer may be inferred from their being in his handwriting, and that they were the materials from which the above-named Homilies, or at least that Of Salvation, was composed, will hardly be doubted by any one who will take the pains to compare them. The Notes consist of several brief propositions, each supported by numerous authorities from the Scriptures, the Fathers, and the Schoolmen. The propositions are exactly those which are most insisted on in the Homilies, and they are sometimes expressed nearly in the very same terms. Many also of the authorities appear in the finished work; but, as might be expected from its popular character, some that are cited at length in the manuscript, are there merely referred to, and others are omitted altogether.
d Vol. ii. p. 121.
This plan of publishing practical discourses for the in- Homilies. struction of the people, had been already brought forward in the late reign. Gardyner, in one of his letters to Protector Somerset against the new book, admits that "the "Bishops in the Convocation holden A. D. 1542f agreed to "make certain Homilies for stay of such errors as were then
by ignorant preachers sparkeled among the people ;" and it appears from the minutes of that assembly, that some Homilies were actually composed by certain prelates, and presented to the House &. But they were probably superseded by the Necessary Doctrine; and thus the matter, as Gardyner says, "took none effect then," and for "five years "rested without any business, and the people well done "their duties, I trust to God in heaven, and I know well "to their Sovereign in earth i." Notwithstanding this flattering account of the public morals, Cranmer thought them susceptible of still farther improvement, and revived the scheme of setting forth a book of Homilies. He may possibly in preparing it, have availed himself of those already written. If however this was the case, he also admitted additions, for he requested Gardyner to contribute to it. But here he met with a refusal. Nor was this all: that prelate also attacked the book with the utmost vehemence, and, as must be allowed, with great acuteness k. He
e Foxe, Acts and Monuments, vol. ii. p. i. Several of Gardyner's letters, which were inserted in the first edition of Foxe, were omitted in the subsequent ones. They were however again printed, though not in their proper place, in the edition of 1641. See Acts and Monuments, 1641. vol. ii. p. 1.
f Gardyner perhaps gives the date according to the old style. If so, the vote for the composition of Homilies, and their presentation to the House, took place in the same Convocation: for they were presented on the 16th of Feb. 1543. Wilkins, Concilia.
i Letter from Gardyner to Cranmer in Strype, Cranm. App. No. 35. k Gardyner's Letters in Foxe, Acts and Monuments, vol. ii. p. 1; and Strype, Cranm. App. Nos. 35 and 36.
complained of its being at variance both with the Paraphrase of Erasmus, by which it was accompanied, and with the Necessary Doctrine, which had received the Archbishop's sanction in 1543. It is to be regretted that the answer to this attack has perished. As Strype observes1, "if "the Archbishop's own arguments and replies to these "barkings of Winchester could have been retrieved, they "would have left to the world a full vindication of Cranmer "and his doctrine." Some surmises however respecting them may be formed from the letters of Gardyner. From them it may be inferred, that Cranmer admitted on some points the contradiction between the Necessary Doctrine and the Homilies. He for instance could not but confess, that the hallowed bread, the palms, and the candles, which in the latter work are classed among papistical superstitions TM, had, in the earlier Formulary, been declared to be 66 things good and laudable, and very expedient to excite " and stir up men's devotion n." Nor does he seem to have rested his defence on a change of opinion in the interval. He appears rather to have reminded his adversary, that he had endeavoured in 1543 to procure the King's consent to a purer worship, but had been baffled by the intrigues of more influential advisers".
But there were other parts of Gardyner's attack, which Cranmer may be presumed to have met in a different manner. When accused of teaching now, in contradiction to his
1 Strype, Cranmer, p. 151.
Homily of Good Works, (vol. ii. p. 176.) Strype, Cranm. App.
n Necessary Doctrine. Exposition of the fourth commandment.
"It grieveth me much to read written from your Grace in the be"ginning of your letters, how the King, our late sovereign, was seduced, "and in that he knew by whom he was compassed in that I call the "King's Majesty's Book."" Gardyner to Cranmer, in Strype, Cranmer, App. p. 74. See also Gardyner to the Protector. Somerset, in Foxe, Acts, &c. vol. ii. pp. 9. and 720.