« ElőzőTovább »
But, in order to form a correct estimate of the conduct of Cranmer, we must remember, (1) that even if he entertained any religious scruples at this period as to the Pope's authority, with regard to the former of these oaths, they were at least such as were not incompatible with his recent acceptance from him of the office of“ Penitentiary of England;" (2), that, so far from being guilty of an unprecedented act of perjury, he only trod in the footsteps of Warham and of his predecessors, from the 12th century downwards, by whom both these oaths had been taken, as far as appears, without hesitation; and (3), that whatever might have been the motives by which Cranmer was actuated, he seems to have been the first to start a difficulty on the subject; and that having, by the King's direction, consulted the lawyers upon it, he acted in accordance with their advice, entered a formal and public protestation as to the extent to which he admitted the Pope's authority, and does not appear, at the close of his life, when freely acknowledging his guilt in other respects, to have reproached himself for his conduct on this occasion.
With regard to the final trial, and the bitterly bewailed recantations extorted from this illustrious man, however great the measure of his guilt, we cannot express too strongly our indignation at the terms in which that guilt has been portrayed, or at the exultation with which professed wembers of the English Church have reproached the memory of one of the most distinguished of her champions.
It is easy for men who have never been exposed to the force of a like temptation, to sit in judgment on a fallen brother, and to denounce, in terms of Pharisaic condemnation, the heinousness of the guilt of one who, with a view to the preservation of his life, was betrayed into the dissimulation of his faith. It might not be an altogether unfair retaliation on some of those who have been loudest in their censure of Cranmer, if we were to enquire how far, under the influence of much lighter temptation they have themselves been guilty of the attempt to effect a similar compromise between their conscience and their creed. It were surely more in accordance with the principles of our holy religion to draw the veil of Christian charity over the fall of one who, though nurtured in a system which has ever been indulgent to fraud and dissimulation, so clearly discerned his error, than to seek to aggravate the measure of his guilt, or to exaggerate the greatness of his fall. For ourselves, we prefer to cherish the memory of the venerable primate as “ with good will he openly expressed the true and undoubted profession of his faith in the Church of St. Mary Oxford, rather than when, in the solitude of the Bocardo, he yielded to the influence of
expressed the true primate as * with to cherish the
and, in dress and of"Waltar of Jerob apostrophis enabashed by the
cunning falsehood, and fell a prey to the stratagems of his bloodthirsty betrayers. We choose rather to dwell upon the picture of the man of God from Judah, as, unabashed by the presence of the apostate king, he apostrophised, in his Master's words, the idolatrous altar of Jeroboam, than when, in a moment of weariness and of weakness, he listened to the lie of his seducer, and, in defiance of the charge which he had received, sat down to eat and to drink at the table of the old prophet in Bethel, We would seek for grace to learn our own weakness—to consider ourselves, lest we also be tempted—when we muse upon the fall of one who, in reply to the enquiry of a maid, denied the knowledge of his Lord ; but we choose rather to cherish in the inmost shrine of our hearts the portrait of that same Apostle, as he wept in the porch, in bitter anguish for his sin, or as he listened to that message of the angel which conveyed to him by name the joyful tidings of the resurrection. “Had he been spared," writes the learned author of the “ Sketch of the Reformation in England,” “ Cranmer was not the man to have borne for any long time the upbraidings of his own conscience, and, like Bilney, he would have been soon driven to find relief from sufferings worse than death, by a voluntary surrender of himself to the flames. As it was, the wisdom of the serpent, for which the Church of Rome was so famous, forsook his persecutors, and, by drawing their bow once too much, they snapped it in their hands."*
But although Mr. J. H. Blunt's so-called “History of the Reformation of the Church of England” does not extend to the period of the Marian persecution, we have, in the brief notices which occur in this book of those whom Mr. Blunt is pleased to describe as the “ Anti-Church party,' sufficiently clear indications of the light in which this professed member and minister of a Reformed Church regards those who, from the time of Wycliffe downwards, maintained a resolute and continuous protest against the continually increasing corruptions of the Church of Rome. We are fully aware that the persecutions of the reign of Henry VIII. were as much political as religious; and although we have no lurking affection for the “ superiority, pre-eminence, or authority” of any foreign“ Prelate, State, or Potentate,” we entertain an equal abhorrence with Mr. Blunt of the “reckless tyranny” which was exhibited in the sacrifice of the lives of men so illustrious as Cardinal Fisher and Sir
* P. 296. Ed. 1832. Dean Hook says of Cranmer, while still in his Manor House at Lambeth, “His reso. lution was taken to die, if need be, a martyr's death. He was preparing his mind for the coming events by his
favourite study of Scripture and by prayer.” (ii. p. 314.) See also p. 319, as to the strength of Cranmer's resolu. tion to maintain his post at the risk of his life.
Thomas More. It is not, however, without mingled emotions of pity and indignation, that we find & clergyman of the English Church describing as “the so-called martyrs of this reign,” and as persons “in whom there is little to love or to respect," men and women who voluntarily endured death, in its most appalling form, rather than declare their adherence to that doctrine which he has himself condemned as “repugnant to the plain words of Scripture," and as “overthrowing the nature of a Sacrament."*
One of the cases to which Mr. Blunt refers under this category, with the special object of illustrating the character of the “anti-Church” party, is that of John Lambert, who was burnt at Smithfield in the year 1538.
The opinions of Lambert are represented by Mr. Blunt as being those held by the “modern Anti-Sacramentarians," meaning thereby, as we presume, those of the party commonly described as Sacramentarians. We are at a loss to discover Mr. Blunt's authority for the occupation in which he represents Lambert as being engaged, unless, indeed, as we are inclined to surmise, he regards the expression, “he turned grocer," as a faithful translation into the vernacular of Dean Hook's statement, that Lambert“had taken up his freedom in the Grocers' Company with a view of supporting himself by trade.”+ The “odium theologicum,” revived in the breastof Lambert, according to Mr.Blunt, by hearing a sermon of Dr. Taylor, resolves itself into a desire, not altogether unbecoming, as we have been taught to believe, on the part of those whose office requires them to be ready “to banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrines contrary to God's Word,” to refute, by the evidence of Scripture, the Popish dogma of Transubstantiation. Mr. Blunt's statement, that a book was written by Lambert, “which he sent to the King,” and which “ led to the public trial before Henry in person," appears to rest, as far as we can ascertain, upon the two distinct facts, (1) that a treatise was written by Lambert, after his private interview with Dr. Taylor, which was afterwards read by Cranmer and Latimer; and (2) that when Lambert's life was endangered by the proceedings taken against him in the Archbishop's Court, he appealed from that Court to the King. Lambert's refusal to yield to the arguments of Cranmer, gives occasion to Mr. Blunt to endeavour to stigmatize his conduct by the assertion that “the young priest was far too self-opinionated to yield to argument."
Again, Lambert's courteous and resolutedemeanour at the final trial, to which Dean Hook has done impartial justice, is, as our readers will be prepared to find, altogether ignored by Mr. Blunt.
* Article XXVIII.
+ Lives of the Archbishops, N.S., ii. p. 57.
His refusal to give a triumph to the King (who himself took part in the controversy), which, as Dean Hook observes, would have “gained for Lambert not life only, but honour,” is, in like manner, passed over in silence, and the brief mention which is made of the life and sufferings of this unflinching antagonist of Romish error, whose heroic constancy under protracted and excruciating sufferings has justly entitled him to a conspicuous place in the noble army of the martyrs, is introduced by Mr. Blunt simply by way of illustration of the unamiable character of that party, of the best of whom the utmost praise which he can afford is “ that, wrong headed as they were, nothing which we should now call criminal was alleged against them.” (p. 541.)
(To be continued.)
INDIAN RECOLLECTIONS : GOVERNMENT EDUCATION. Many grave questions intimately affecting the well-being of India deserve the serious consideration of thoughtful men. One of these we propose discussing-the character of the education which ought to be given to the population of that vast Empire. We may, indeed, safely affirm that such a trust has never been confided to any nation as that which now places in the hands of Great Britain the training of the youth of the two hundred millions who constitute the population of Hindostan and its dependencies.
The importance of this question is enhanced by the circumstance, that the system of Government education, which is purely secular, is no longer practically limited, as it has hitherto been, to the higher and middle classes of society; but is being so developed as to embrace the whole mass of the people.
By the support given to Vernacular Schools, it has now partially reached the lower strata of society, the rural population; and another step has just been taken in advance, by grants from the Treasury for female education. It is impossible, we believe, to over-estimate the influence of this action of the Indian Government for good or for evil upon the national mind of India.
Are we, then, justified in upholding in India a purely secular education, and applying it to a people wholly without moral light, and sunk in the darkness of heathenism?
Under this system the youthful mind of India is trained to a high standard of secular learning; but there the Government education stops. The young intellect is quickened into new Vol. 68.- No. 377.
life; but the moral being is left untouched, for no real moral instruction is ever given. The knowledge of the One true and living God and of His laws, is not permitted to be taught. The Hindoo or Mohammedan youth is left in complete ignorance of the true character of God, and of all the responsibilities and duties thence accruing. He may be well instructed in all the great laws of nature, his mind may be enlarged by the facts which astronomy reveals of the wondrous ordering of the universe ; chemistry may open up truths of which previously he had not the most remote idea; and he may learn to recognize and appreciate the marvels of Creative power and wisdom. But he is not allowed to receive one ray of higher light or truth. Surely, as Bacon asserts, it is a strange and irrational thing that we should imbue the young mind with the knowledge of God's marvellous works, and never lead it up for one moment to that All-wise and Almighty Supreme Creator, from whom all proceed, and by whom man lives and moves and has his being.
Those who advocate the system now in force in India, do not seem to perceive the issue to which it inevitably leads, when carried out universally. The result can only be that which was so well expressed in the address lately presented to the Primate of all England by the Church Missionary Society,—the raising and educating India into a vast infidel power. The impulse in this direction already given to the native mind among the higher educated classes is manifest to all acquainted with the men brought up in government colleges or schools. And the all-important question is now arising, Are we to pursue the same course towards all classes? Are we, under the same system of purely secular instruction, to introduce into vernacular schools, into every village and hamlet, the leaven of a demoralizing infidelity ? Are we to spread it over the whole population, unchecked and unopposed by any counter influences ? for, let it be remembered, none such exist in native society. Are we, then, when giving light to the native mind, which enables it to cast off the bondage of old superstitions, justified in leaving it in utter moral darkness, and in flinging over the whole land, the women as well as the men, the dark cloud of a blighting infidelity! For this, we maintain, is the certain issue of the system now carried out.
Those who uphold it in all its integrity, and propose its extension to the whole population, must, we think, have overlooked the marked distinction which exists between a purely secular education in our own or in any other Christian country, as contrasted with India and all heathen lands. In the one case, there is an atmosphere of pure moral light diffused throughout society, reaching in some measure all classes, which