Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

It was a crucifix that sometimes moved the head, the eyes, and did bend the whole body to express the receiving of prayers; and other gestures were at other times made to signify the rejecting them : great offerings were made to so wonderful an image. One Partridge suspected the fraud, and, removing the image, he saw the whole imposture evidently. There were several springs within it, by which all these motions were made. This was brought to Maidstone, and exposed to all the people there ; from thence it was

ed to London, and was showed to the king and all his court, and in their sight all the motions were performed. The king's council ordered a sermon to be preached at Paul's, by the bishop of Rochester, where this imposture was fully discovered ; and after sermon it was burned.

Upon the birth of Prince Edward, matters had a better face here was an undoubted heir born to the crown : it is true, the death of his mother did abate much of the joy, that such a birih would have gived otherwise : for as she was of all the king's wives much the best beloved by him, so she was a person of that humble and sweet temper, that she was universally beloved on that account: she had no occasion given her to appear much in business, so she had no share of the hatred raised by the king's proceedings cast on her. I fell into a mistake from a letter of Queen Elizabeth's, directed to a big-bellied queen, which I thought belonged to her ; but I am now convinced of my error, for it was no doubt written to Queen Katherine, when, after king Henry's deaih, she was with child by the Lord Seymour. Upon Queen Jane's death, Tonstall, being then at York, wrote a consolatory letter to the king, which will be found in the Collecticn (No. lvi). It runs upon the common topics of affliction, with many good applications of passages of scripture, and seems chiefly meant to calm and cheer up the king's spirit. But the truth is, King Henry had so m gross faults about him, that it had been more for Tonstall's honour, and better suited to his character, if he had given hints to awaken the king's conscience, and to call upon him to examine his ways, while he had that load upon his mind : either Tonstall did not think him so faulty as certainly he was, or he was very faulty himself, in being so wanting to his duty upon so great an occasion.

But I go on to more public concerns. The king had by the Lord Cromwell sent injunctions to his clergy in the year 1536, as he did afterwards in the year 1538 *, which I have printed in my former work. There was also a circular letter written to the bishops; that to the

[ocr errors]

the

bishop of Hereford is dated on the 20th of July, 1536, requiring them to execute an order abrogating some holy-days : the numbers of them were so excessively great, and by the people's devotion, or rather superstition, were like to increase more and more, which occasioned much sloth and idleness, and great loss to the public in time of harvest. It sets forth that the king, with the advice of the convocation, had settled rules in this matter. The feast of the dedication of churches was to be held every year, on the first Sunday in October ; but the feast of the patron of the church was to be no more observed. All the feasts from the 1st of July to the 29th of September, and all feasts in term-time, were not to be observed any more as holy-days, except the feasts of

apostles, of the blessed Virgin Mary, and of St. George, and those days in which the judges did not use to sit ; but the four quarter-days were still to be offering days. These are all the public injunctions set out about this time. But after the first of these, I find the bishops sent likewise injunctions to their clergy round their dioceses, of which a copy printed at that time was given me by my worthy friend Mr. Tate, minister of Burnham. The first was by Lee, archbishop of York, which will be found in the Collection (No. Ivii).

“ He begins with the abolishing of the bishop of Rome's authority, and the declariug the king to be supreme head of the church of England, as well spiritual as temporal. He requires his clergy to provide a New Testament, in English or Latin, within forty days, and to read daily in it two chapters before noon, and two in the afternoon, and to study to understand it: he requires them also to study the book to be set forth by the king, of the Institution of a Christian Man, They were to procure it as soon as it should be published. that they might read two chapters a day in it, and be able to explain it to their people. All curates and heads of religious houses were required to repeat tlie Lord's Prayer and the Ave Maria in English, and at other parts of the service the Creed and the Ten Commandments, also in English, and to make the people repeat these after them : and none were to be admitted to the sacrament at Easter that could not repeat them. All parishes were required within forty days to provide a great Bible in English, to be chained to some open place in the church, that so all persons might resort to it, and read it for their instruction. Priests were forbidden to haunt taverns or ale-houses, except on necessary occasions. The clergy that did belong to any one church were required to eat together, if they might, and not to play at prohibited games, as cards and dice. They must discourage none from reading the Scriptures, exhorting them

to do it in the spirit of meekness, to be editied by it: they were required to read to their people the Gospel and Epistle in English. Rules are set for the frequent u e of sermons, proportioned to the value of their livings: generally four sermons were to be preached every year, one in a quarter. Nene were to preach but such as had licence from the king or the archbishop ; nor were they to worship any image, or kneel or offer any lights or gifts to it: but they might have lights in the rood-loft, and before the sacrament, and at the sepulchre at Easter. They were to teach the people that images are only as books to stir them up to follow the saints ; and though they see God the Father represented as an old man, they were not to think that he has a body, or is like a man. All images to which any resort is used are to be taken away. They are to teach the people, that God is not pleased with the works done for the traditions of men, when works commanded by God are left undone : that we are only saved

the mercy of God and the merits of Christ; that our good works have their virtue only from thence. They were to teach the midwives the form of baptism. They were to teach the people to make no private contracts of marriage, nor to force their children to marry against their wills; and to open to their people often the two great commandments of Christ, To love God and our neighbour, and to live in love with all people, avoiding dissension.”

Therest relate to the matters set out in the king's injunctions.

There were about the same time injunctions given by Sampson, bishop of Coventry and Litchfield, for his diocess, which will be found in the Collection (No. Iviii). He begins with a charge to his clergy, "to instruct the peop

concerning the king's being the supreme head of the church of England, by the word of God; and that the authority used by the bishop of Rome was an usurpation : then he charges them to procure by the next Whitsuntide a whole Bible in Latin, and also one in English ; and to lay it in the church, that every man may read in it. Then, with relation to the reading the Scriptures, and the having sermons every quarter, he gives the same charge that Lee gave. As to their sermons, he charges them that they be preached purely, sincerely, and according to the true Scriptures of God. He next requires them in the king's name, and as his minister, to teach the people to say the Lord's Prayer, and the Ave, and the Creed, in English: and that four times in every quarter they declare the seven deadly sins, and the Ten Commandments. And because some out of neglect of their curates, and to hide their lewd living, used in Lent to go to confession to friars, or other religious houses ; he orders

that no testimonial from them shall be sufficient to admit one to the sacrament, called by him God's board, till they confess to their own curates, unless, upon some urgent considerations of conscience, that he or his deputies should grant a special licence for it: that on holy-days, and in time of Divine service, none should go to ale-houses or taverns, nor be received in them: and that the clergy should go in such decent apparel, that it might be known that they were of the clergy."

The last of the injunctions in that book was given by Shaxton, bishop of Salisbury, for his diocess, which will be found in the Collection (No.lix); they are said to be given out from the authority given him by God and the king.

“He begins with provision about non-residents and their curates; in particular, that no French or Irish priest that could not perfectly speak the English longue should serve ascurates. They were at high mass to read ihe Gospel and Epistle in the English tongue, and to set out the king's supremacy and the usurpations of the bishop of Rome : the same rules are given about sermons as in the former, with this addition, that no friar, nor any person in a religious habit, be suffered to perform any service in the church : as for reading the New Testament, the clergy are only required to read one chapter every day, and that every person having a cure of souls should be able to repeat without book the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. John, with the Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, and Galatians, and the Acts of the Apostles. and the Canonical Epistles: so that every fortnight they should learn one chapter without book, and keep it still in their memory: and that the twenty-eighth chapter of Deuteronomy should be read every quarter instead of the general sentence. He gave the same orders that the others gave about in

images, pilgrimages, and other superstitious observances, and for teaching the people the elements of religion in English ; only he does not join the Ave-Maria with the Lord's Prayer, as the others did : be requires the curates to exhort the people to beware of swearing and blaspheming the name of God, or of Christ's precious body and blood, and of many other sins then commonly practised : he dis. pensed with all lights before images, and requires that every church should be furnished with a Bible: he complains of the practice of putting false relics on the people, naming stinking boots, mucky combs, ragged rockets, rotten girdles, locks of hair, gobbets of wood as parcels of the holy cross, of which he had perfect knowledge ; besides the shameful abuse of such as were perhaps true relics : he prays and commands them, by the authority he had under God and the king, to bring all these to him, with the writinys relating to them, that he might examine them, promising to restore such as were found to be true relics, with an instruction how they ought to be used: he also orders, that the Ave and pardon-bell, that was wont to be tolled three times a day, should be no more tolled.”

(1538.) These are all the injunctions set out by bishops that have fallen into my hands. I find nothing to add with relation to the dissolution both of the smaller and the greater monasteries, nor of the several risings that were in different parts of the kingdom ; only I find a letter of Gresham, then lord mayor of London ; I suppose he was the father of him who was the famed benefactor to the city ; but by the letter, which will be found in the Collection (No.lx), his father was the occasion of procuring them a much greater benefaction. He begun his letter with a high commendation of the king, who, as he writes, “ seemed to be the chosen vessel of God, by whom the true word of God was to be set fo and who was to reform all enormities. This encouraged him, being then the mayor of the city of London, to inform him, for the comfort of the sick, aged, and impotent persons, that there were three hospitals near or within the city, that of St. George, St. Bartholomew, and St. Thomas, and the new abbey on Tower Hill, founded and endowed with great possessions, only for the helping the poor and impotent, who were not able to help themselves; and not for the maintenance of canons, priests, and monks to live in pleasure, not regarding the poor who were lying in every street, offending all that passed by them : he therefore prayed the king, for the relief of Christ's true images, to give order that the mayor of London and the aldermen may from thenceforth have the disposition and rule, both of the lands belonging to those hospitals, and of the governors and ministers which shall be in any of them. And then the king would perceive, that whereas now there was a small number of canons, priests, and monks in them, for their own profit only; that then a great number of poor and indigent persons should be maintained in them, and also freely healed of their infirmities : and there should be physicians, surgeons, and apothecaries, with salaries, to attend upon them: and those who were not able to labour should be relieved, and sturdy beggars, not willing to labour, should be punished. In doing this, the king would be more charitable to the poor than his progenitor Edgar, the founder of so many monasteries, or Henry the Third, the renewer of Westminster, or Edward the Third, the founder of the new abbey; or than Henry the Fifth, the founder of Sion and Shene : and he would carry the name of the protector and defender of the poor.”

« ZurückWeiter »