The design and scope of these Lectures--The controversy with Rome in the sixteenth century--Theological learning of the first reformers--The three most eminent of the anti-Roman controversialists of the sixteenth century: Cranmer, Jewel, Bilson; their principal writings--Hooker's attitude towards Rome--Controversies on the versions of the Scriptures.
DURING the three centuries and a half that separate us from the Anglican Reformation of the sixteenth century the scholars and divines of the Church of England have bequeathed to us what has come to be a large and varied literature. This literature ranges over divers fields of thought, theological and ecclesiastical. It is rich in works marked by scholarship, by wide learning, by acuteness of intellectual perception, by close and sustained argument, by breadth of speculative power, by practical sagacity, by the spirit of fervent devotion. Indeed, if due allowances be made, it may be fairly questioned whether the learning and piety of any Christian Church has, during a like period, produced a larger number of monumental works of human genius in its search for, and in its defence of, sacred truth.
It is only fair to remember that for a long period of her history the English Church was in numbers a very small community. And the proportion of men in any community endowed with exceptional aptitude for research, or with exceptional powers of reasoning, or of exposition, is, in truth, a matter of averages.
Again, it must not be forgotten that the conditions of life in the Church of England have in some important respects been less favourable to the cultivation of sacred learning than those existent elsewhere. The Universities and the Cathedral establishments made but a limited and partial exception to the truth that opportunities for learned leisure have been few in England. The retirement and freedom from secular distractions afforded to individual scholars by some of the monastic orders on the Continent were no longer to be enjoyed in the reformed Church. Nor did she possess any of those religious communities where fellowship in labour and continuity of corporate life made possible such vast undertakings in the fields of historical and patristic research, as we find in the labours of the Bollandists and of the Benedictines of St. Maur. In the reformed Church of England, with rare exceptions, each man stood alone: his learning died with him, and there was no one, trained at his side, to take up and carry on his special labours.
In certain departments of sacred learning one must frankly acknowledge the limitations, nay, the great void spaces in Anglican literature. Yet any Church in the world might be proud to claim among her sons such scholars and thinkers as Jewel, Hooker, Andrewes, Ussher, Hammond, Cudworth, Taylor, Pearson, Barrow, Bull, Waterland, Beveridge, and Butler--not to enumerate here other great, though lesser, names.
In the present course of lectures little more can be attempted than to trace the outlines and main highways in a wide-spread region of the world of letters, to indicate the road which the student may best follow, and to call attention to the objects along his route that seem more especially deserving of attention.
Notwithstanding all the evils attendant upon religious controversy--and they are many--it is impossible not to recognize the fact that it has been under the pressure of controversy that most of the great achievements of theological literature have had their origin. It was so in the age of the early Christian Apologists. It was so in the age of the great Councils. Even in mediaeval times--the so-called "ages of faith"--not only was theology, in its philosophic aspects, the actual battle-ground of contending schools, but the chief examples of the systematizing of dogma were built up in the controversial form, and grew out of the controversial method. Thus the Summa of Aquinas exhibits each Article with its thesis followed by a Sed contra (detailing objections few or many), followed in turn by the author's Respondeo, in which each objection is successively answered. It was through controversy thought was given clearness of definition, and precision was effected. And, similarly, in the modern epoch it has been the keen stimulant of controversy that has impelled the greatest theologians to their labours of research, of critical examination, of reasoned argument.
The shelves of great libraries give a resting-place to a vast quantity of printed matter in the form of popular expositions of doctrine, devotional treatises, treatises on practical religion, sermons and homiletical discourses, which have issued from the press from the Reformation to our own day. These, it need scarcely be said, are of varied character and very much varied merit. We possess, for example, sermons such as those of Andrewes, of Sanderson, of Thomas Jackson, of Bull, and of Barrow, which are of real theological importance, and marked by learning, exact thought, and speculative power. Occasionally, too, men of genius have made discourses from the pulpit a vehicle for the expression of thought, so clothed with grace and beauty of style, so illuminated with the play of imagination, so fired and coloured by the glow of emotion, that their utterances have been given a permanent place in the general literature of our country. Bossuet and Massillon have scarcely a more honoured position in the literaure of France than Donne and Taylor in the literature of England. To be ignorant of these is scarcely less discreditable than to be ignorant of Bacon and Addison. But for our present purpose it is only so far as it has made a contribution to theological science that literature of this kind can claim our attention: pulpit oratory, as such, will not occupy us.
Those branches of sacred learning which are concerned with pure biblical criticism and exegesis, and with the independent investigation of the history and antiquities of the Church, must doubtless be assigned a place--a very important place--in any adequate estimate of the labours of Anglican Churchmen. But though they are well deserving of a full treatment, in the present course of lectures it is impossible to do more than bestow upon them a hurried glance. We shall here be mainly engaged in considering what more properly belongs to dogmatic theology and the defence of the Anglican position.
The main lines along which our leading theologians moved and laboured were three in number; and into each of them they were directed and compelled by the exigencies of the hostile attacks against the doctrine and constitution of the Church. First, in order of time, and chief, if we consider the long-continued persistence of the assault, was the controversy forced upon the Church of England by Rome. Next, in succession and historical importance, came the large body of literature that was issued in defence of the Church's constitution against the attacks of the Puritan party. Lastly, the Church was called upon to defend the primary and essential fundamentals of the faith against assaults from the side of unbelief. These last-named assaults were put forward in definite shape in the seventeenth century. In the eighteenth century they became more general and more daring. In our own time unbelief has pushed its attack further, and assailed not only Revelation, but even the belief in a Personal God. Each line of attack and defence has its own separate history, and its own varying fortunes.
The controversy with Rome began in its literary form from the moment that the Church of England was called upon to justify her position as now separated from the organization of the most powerful religious community of Christendom. It touched the centre of English politics; it occupied almost the whole field of religious thought in England during the reigns of Edward and Mary, and the greater part of that of Elizabeth. It continued to be active and animated in the years of James I. and Charles I., when every theologian of distinction was more or less engaged in the struggle. It again occupied all thoughts when in the days of James II. Englishmen were roused by the aggressive Romeward movement of the King and his adherents. There was a change in the eighteenth century. When the Revolution of 1688 had freed England from the dangers that loomed large and threatening in the past, the country gradually settled down to an easy, contented, and yet most dangerous, because unintelligent, Protestantism. Men ceased to thoroughly understand the questions at issue; and Rome was contemptuously regarded as intellectually bankrupt. The eighteenth century and the earlier years of the present century added nothing of significance to anti-Roman polemics. But by the middle of the present century England was awakened out of her dream; and since then the old controversy, under somewhat altered conditions, has again come to the front, and is, beyond question, destined to occupy much thought for many years to come.
In the sixteenth century the English Reformers had been led by different routes first to question, and then to repudiate the claims of the Papacy to ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the realm of England. This movement of thought, which was largely coloured by political considerations, was soon followed by a growing conviction that much of the doctrinal teaching of Rome was no part of the faith once delivered to the saints. Many of the most cherished of the authoritative dogmas of the Church of Rome were deliberately rejected; and English theologians were called upon to justify their action in the face of the Christian world.
Among the ecclesiastical leaders of the time were some well qualified for their task. They had received in full measure the best training that the Universities of the day could supply. Several of them had early attained eminence by their abilities and learning. They had been sedulously trained in the system and methods of the Schoolmen, which, however defective in other respects, supplied an admirable discipline for quickening the perception of intellectual distinctions and for exercising the powers of dialectical discussion. They had been made thoroughly familiar with the nice intricacies of scholastic theology, and with the methods of argument on which they were supported. Some of them had, in addition, felt the animating breath of the "New Learning"; but they were men who from their youth had been versed in the "Old." It is a mistake begotten of ignorance to suppose that in their theological pronouncements they dealt merely, or even chiefly, with popular misconceptions and popular superstitions. They had full in view the authoritative teaching of the recognized doctors of the then prevailing mediaeval theology. Latimer, whom we are wont to remember chiefly for the vigorous and homely English of his popular sermons, had been a Fellow of Clare Hall, noted more especially for his intimate acquaintance with the system of Duns Scotus, the "Doctor subtilis" of the Schools. His Latin discourses ad clerum were thronged by scholars, even as his English sermons were afterwards thronged by the general public. Ridley, who in 1524 had to make choice between a Fellowship at University College, Oxford, and a Fellowship at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, was so eager in the pursuit of learning that he, soon after, crossed the Channel, and devoted some two or three years to study in Paris at the renowned school of the Sorbonne. Before the breach with Rome his position as a man of learning in the University of Cambridge was well established. Cranmer was from the outset of his career a student of a very thorough kind, "seldom reading without pen in hand," and leaving us note-books which to this day testify to his extensive research and careful observation. He was a student of Hebrew as well as of Greek. When Wolsey desired to plant in his new and splendid foundation at Oxford "the ripest and solidest sort of scholars," Cranmer, a Cambridge man, who had been a Fellow of Jesus College in that University as early as 1510, was pressed to accept at "Cardinal College" a lucrative and honourable place. At a later time "his library was the storehouse of ecclesiastical writers of all ages"; as, indeed, is testified by the large number of volumes that can still be traced. [See Mr. Burbidge's careful attempt to construct a catalogue of the remaining volumes, in his work on the Liturgies and Offices of the Church.] These men and others among the leaders of the Reformation movement were, beyond question, men of no ordinary attainments, and exceptionally well versed in the learning of their day. [Compare on this subject the words of the late Archbishop (Benson) of Canterbury in his Fishers of Men (p. 125), where, after expressing his high estimate of the learning of the Reformers, he adds, with a touch of very legitimate scorn,--"yet dabbling books, with less taint of learning about them than have ever issued from writers of the English Church, daily assume that the least in the pre-Reformation days were greater than they."]
Setting aside the question as to the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, which had already received in England a practical solution, no inquiries so largely occupied the minds of English theologians as those which bore upon the doctrine of the Eucharist. This question was made from time to time the subject of public conferences and disputations. It was not merely a matter of scholastic interest; it touched the religious life of the nation. And to the defence of the Church of England's change of teaching on this subject the most important of Cranmer's writings are devoted.
The gradual modifications in the Archbishop's views of the Eucharist are a matter of history. We shall concern ourselves here only with those published works which set forth his matured judgment, and which, as a matter of fact, represent substantially the prevailing doctrine of Anglican theologians down to our own day.
In 1550 Cranmer printed a quarto volume, entitled "A defence of the true Catholic doctrine of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ; with a confutation of sundry errors concerning the same; grounded and established upon God's Holy Word, and approved by the consent of the most ancient doctors of the Church." [This will be found embodied (in detached paragraphs) in Cranmer's Answer to Gardiner, and in a continuous form in the Latin translation (1557) generally attributed to Sir John Cheke. Both are given in Cranmer's Works (P. S. edit.)] The very title-page of the book, it will be observed, gave expression to the great principle of the English Reformation, that it is to Holy Scripture we must look for the ground of doctrine, while the testimony of the early Church is given a valued place in confirmation of the inferences drawn from Scripture. Worthy, too, of observation is the distinct challenge of the title that the doctrine maintained is the Catholic doctrine. From the outset the reformed Church declined to concede that term to mediaeval superstitions. ["So eager was the demand for the work that in the same year (1550) three impressions of it appeared."--Todd's Life of Archbishop Cranmer, ii. 237.]
The principle of the supreme authority of Holy Scripture had already been maintained in a treatise, commonly, though, perhaps, incorrectly, attributed to Cranmer, and entitled A Confutation of "Unwritten Verities" i.e. a confutation of Smith's work, "De veritatibus non scriptis." [The question as to the authorship will be found discussed in Cranmer's Remains (P. S. edit.). The translation by "E. P.," through which the work is best known, did not appear till Queen Mary's time.] But, whether the work be Cranmer's or not, the principle is clearly set forth in the fifth of the Articles of Religion of 1553 (which corresponds, with some slight modifications, with the sixth of our XXXIX. Articles), not improbably written by Cranmer's pen. It is scarcely possible to overrate the importance of the great principle of the ultimate authority and sufficiency of Holy Scripture. In the past it lifted from men's minds a heavy burden of folly and superstition. It was, and is, an emancipating energy. So long as this principle is not lost sight of, so long as men turn reverently and studiously to examine the teaching of the New Testament, there is little fear of any wide doctrinal aberrations in this direction or in that. The scholarly study of the Scriptures is the source of a potent vis medica that cannot fail to disintegrate and scatter those morbid growths in belief which have a tendency to recur from time to time, and which are not unknown among ourselves.
Cranmer's "Defence of the true Catholic doctrine of the Sacrament" immediately called forth replies from the Roman party, and notably one from Stephen Gardiner. [An explication and assertion of the true Catholic faith touching the blessed Sacrament of the Altar, with the confutation of a book written against the same. This work was printed in France. Gardiner was a prisoner at the time of its appearance.] As the work of a man of learning and ability, who had occupied a high station, as Bishop of Winchester, this treatise more especially called for an answer; and in 1551 appeared Cranmer's elaborate rejoinder--"An answer unto a crafty and sophistical cavillation devised by Stephen Gardiner, Doctor of Law, late Bishop of Winchester." [Another edition appeared in 1552.] This was the most considerable work that had yet come from the pen of any of the English Reformers. It is written in a clear and forcible English style, singularly free from the Latinisms that sometimes disfigured the prose of the period. Cranmer's method is first to print a section of his earlier work, the Defence, then to give in full in Gardiner's own language his comments on that section, and, lastly, his own reply to those comments; and so throughout, section after section. This method, though manifestly fair to his opponent, may be felt somewhat wearisome by modern readers. Yet on those who have the patience to read the whole the impression made is deep and lasting. The ability with which Gardiner had conducted his case cannot be questioned. His reputation, it is true, was greater as a canonist than as a theologian; but in this work he had the advantage of assistance from others, and his own skill is manifest throughout. Indeed, in some of the side issues and details of the controversy, Gardiner seems to me to have the best of the argument. But Cranmer is triumphant in disposing of the attempt to identify the teaching of the English Reformers with the views that were then spoken of as those of the "Sacramentaries," and have since, whether rightly or wrongly, been commonly referred to as "Zwinglian." What seems to me of most importance to observe is that what has been, with few exceptions, the Eucharistic doctrine of the great body of the best Anglican divines is found clearly formulated and fully expounded in the writings of Archbishop Cranmer. There has been, indeed, but little added to the treatment of the controversy with Rome upon the Eucharist since the discussion conducted by Gardiner and Cranmer. The sense of the same passages of Scripture, the sense of the same quotations from the Fathers, are still in dispute. The argument took into account all the nice distinctions with which technical theologians delight to adorn their pages. It was a contest between experts. The phraseology, of which much has been made of late, as to a body being "present not locally," as to a body being "present in a spiritual manner," and such like, were all well known to, and discussed by, the disputants of the sixteenth century. Similarly, with regard to the "sacrifice of the mass," Cranmer expressly notices the contention of the Romanists that they never claim to make a new sacrifice or any other than Christ made. Gardiner declared that it was "a mere blasphemy" to presuppose that the sacrifice of Christ "once consummate in perfection" should be reiterated. These points are noticed here to disabuse the minds of any who may have been led to fancy that the English Reformers were dealing only with the crude, popular, and unauthorized notions of the vulgar of their day. On the contrary, they were thoroughly-familiar with, and thoroughly versed in, the minute and subtle distinctions of the accomplished theologians of the time.
It has been sometimes alleged that Ridley differed from Cranmer's views--I mean his later views--on the Eucharist. After a careful examination of the writings of both, I am unable to discover any appreciable difference. And it may be advantageous to exhibit here, from an historical view-point, a summary of the doctrine of these two theologians--the master spirits of the Reformation theology. For our purpose the following seven propositions may suffice--
1. The substance of the bread and wine remain after consecration.
2. The consecrated bread and wine are called the Body and Blood of Christ because they are the appointed signs, or sacraments, of that Body and Blood.
3. They are not "bare signs"; they are "effectual signs" (efficacia signa); for, through the almighty power of God, on their due reception the worthy receiver is verily and indeed made partaker of the Body and Blood of Christ.
4. The Body and Blood of Christ is to be sought not in the bread and wine, but in the worthy receiver of them. Christ is no more in the bread and wine than the Holy Spirit is in the water of baptism. [The often cited words of Hooker (E. P. V. lxvii. 6, Keble's edit.) will be found substantially anticipated in Cranmer's Answer (P. S. p. 52).]
5. When it is said that the Body and Blood of Christ are in the worthy receiver, what is meant is that "the force, the grace, the virtue and benefit of Christ's Body that was crucified for us, and His Blood that was shed for us, be really and effectually present" in him.
6. The wicked do not eat and drink the Body and Blood of Christ in any other sense than that they eat and drink the signs, or sacraments, which are called by their names.
7. The sacrament of the Eucharist is called a sacrifice, primarily because it is a representation, commemoration, memorial of the sacrifice of Calvary; and, also, in a secondary sense, as being an offering of our praise and thanksgiving, including the offering unto God of ourselves and all that we have.
Having thus briefly exhibited the doctrine of Cranmer and Ridley, I would call attention to the emphasis with which Cranmer asserts that the worthy receiver "truly" and "indeed" cats and drinks Christ's Body and Blood. [See Answer, p. 87 (P. S.).]
Ridley, with no less emphasis, employs the phrase vere et realiter of the presence of Christ's Body and Blood to the worthy receiver. [Works, p. 274 (P. S.).]
Similarly Bishop Hooper, one of the most extreme and determined of the opponents of the Roman dogma, declared--"We do verily and indeed receive His Body and Blood." [Later Writings, p. 49 (P. S.).] I do not trouble you to inquire in what sense these terms were used; I would only point out that language to be found in that part of the Church Catechism which was added in 1604 was used by the first Reformers; and that therefore it is impossible to infer from the use of such language that the Catechism teaches any doctrine incompatible with the views held by Cranmer, Ridley, and Hooper. Here we may perceive one of the subsidiary gains to be derived from the study of the early writers of the Reformed Church: we are by it saved from putting a construction, not necessarily intended, upon the language of our Church's formularies.
The literary history of the controversy between Cranmer and Gardiner does not end with the Answer of the former. Gardiner rejoined in 1552) under the assumed name of Marcus Antonius Constantius, in a Latin treatise which bore the truculent title Confutatio cavillationum quibus Sacrosanctum Eucharistiæ Sacramentum ab impiis Capharnaitis impeti solet. In 1554, when a second edition appeared, the altered circumstances of the realm led Gardiner to discard the pseudonym, and add "Authore Stephano, Winton Episcopo, Angliae Cancellario." It is said that Cranmer had made preparations for a further reply when he was at once and for ever effectively silenced by a cruel death.
Beside his controversial treatises we owe to Cranmer's pen certainly one, and not improbably three, of the discourses which appeared in the First Book of Homilies (1547). In the homily which is universally acknowledged to be his, that entitled "Of the Salvation of Man by only Christ our Saviour," we have an able attempt to expound the doctrine of justification by faith, and to save it from the imputation of antinomian consequences. [This homily must be identified with the homily referred to in the Articles of Religion (Article xi.) as "the homily of Justification"; and thus carries not only the general commendation expressed in Article xxxv., but a special commendation of its own.]
The other homilies commonly assigned to the authorship of the Archbishop are those entitled "Of a true, lively, and Christian faith," and "Of good works annexed unto faith." They are certainly written in much the same style as his undoubted discourse, and carry on the same line of thought. [Though it does not come within the strict scope of these Lectures, it may be permitted to ask for recognition of the services rendered to religion by Cranmer's promotion of the study of the Scriptures (see his Preface to the English Bible of 1540), and, still more, by his wisdom and literary skill in rendering and adapting the Latin service-books to the use of the Reformed Church. Except as regards the Litany, we may be unable to assign his exact personal share in the work, but his superintending eye was over all. Here and there (as, for example, in the cases of the Collect for the Sunday after Ascension Day and the Collect for the Fourth Sunday in Advent) an important point has been missed or perverted; but, taken as a whole, the English Prayer-book is indeed a priceless heritage. The late Dean Burgon scarcely exaggerated the truth when he wrote that "in countless instances they [the Reformers] have transfused the curtest, baldest, and darkest of the Latin collects into truly harmonious and transparent English." See my article on "Literary Aspects of Prayer-book Revision" in the Contemporary Review, vol. xviii. pp. 267-283.]
The persecution in which Cranmer, Latimer, and Ridley suffered death, drove many of their followers from their native land. Among the exiles was John Jewel (1522-1571), sometime Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford.
From his youth Jewel had been an indefatigable student. It is recorded of him that in his Oxford days his practice was to rise at four of the clock, and to continue his studies with but little intermission till ten at night. His culture was wide in its extent. The Greek and Latin classics, philosophy, and mathematics had each occupied his attention. But at an early period of his life he began a study of St. Augustine, which was in after years followed by an acquaintance with the whole range of patristic literature.
On his escape from England Jewel is found at Frankfort, where he took the side of Dr. Cox and the other defenders of the use of the English Prayer-book. From Frankfort he proceeded to Strassburg, and, later on to Zurich, being in both places the guest of Peter Martyr. In these days of banishment it was his practice every afternoon to read aloud to his host the works of the ancient Fathers. During the time of exile he was thus quietly laying up the stores of learning which he afterwards employed with such effect.
At the close of 1558 Queen Mary died, and Jewel at once returned to his native land, a strong man well equipped. It was not long before he made his presence felt. On November 26, 1559, he preached his famous "Challenge Sermon" at Paul's Cross. [After Jewel's consecration as Bishop of Salisbury, this sermon, with the "Challenge" amplified, was repeated before the Court (March 17, 1560), and a fortnight later once again before a general auditory at Paul's Cross.] The contention of this remarkable discourse was that the Church of England, in the points on which she differed from the Church of Rome, had Christian antiquity on her side. It avoided theological speculations. Its method was historical. In its amplified form the "Challenge" laid clown twenty-seven propositions, relating mostly to the Eucharist and Roman usages in the celebration of the mass; and then the preacher declared--"If any learned man of all our adversaries, or if all the learned men that be alive, be able to bring one sufficient sentence out of any old catholic Doctor, or Father, or out of any old General Council, or out of the Holy Scriptures of God," whereby any one of these twenty-seven propositions "may be clearly and plainly proved," then "I am content to yield unto him and subscribe." [The twenty-seven propositions may be found in Jewel's Works (P. S.), vol. i. pp. 20, 21 (see also p. 103); in Collier's Ecclesiastical History, vi. 293; Cardwell's Documentary Annals, i. 254.] It is unnecessary here to recount the propositions laid down as incapable of support from the testimonies of the ancient Church. It will suffice, if as specimens the two following are given--"That the accidents, or forms, or shews of bread and wine be the sacraments of Christ's Body and Blood, and not rather the very bread and wine itself;" and again, "that the sacrament is a sign or token of the Body of Christ that lieth hidden underneath it."
The gauntlet flung down by Jewel was taken up first by Henry Cole (who had been Dean of St. Paul's in Queen Mary's time), and afterwards by Thomas Harding, a man of considerable learning and much ability, who had formerly been a Fellow of New College, and Professor of Hebrew, in the University of Oxford, and was now at Louvain, where he had the assistance of many capable Roman Catholic theologians. Jewel replied to both antagonists; and the exhaustive examination of Harding's Answer (1564) occupies a considerable part of two large volumes of the Parker Society's edition of Jewel's Works. [In the reign of Edward VI. Harding had been violent on the side of the Reformers. More particularly he assailed "the paper walls and painted fires of purgatory," and "wished his voice had been equal to the great bell of Osney that he might ring in the dull ears of the deaf Papists." See Overall's "Dedication," prefixed to the folio editions (1609 and 1611) of Jewel's Works.] The title-page of the "Challenge Sermon" bears upon it two mottoes which set forth the central thought--the appeal to antiquity. First stands the sentence from Tertullian, "Praejudicatum est adversus omnes haereses: id est verum quodcunque primum; id est adulterum quodcunque posterius;" and then follows the familiar clause of the Nicene canon, eqh arcaia krateito. And, whatever may now be thought of the success of Jewel's challenge as regards every particular of his series of propositions, the general principle of the appeal to antiquity, and (to be consistent with Tertullian's dictum) to the earliest antiquity, has been commonly adopted and urged by the greatest Anglican divines. In the days of Jewel the so-called "theory of development" had not been devised, and Rome was then as eager as England to claim the testimony of antiquity on her behalf. But neither in this nor in his subsequent discussions does Jewel ever swerve from the position that the Holy Scriptures are the ultimate standard of doctrine. The Fathers may help in guiding us to the sense of Scripture, but it is in that light we must regard them. Non sunt domini sed duces nostri.
The "Challenge Sermon" was followed in 1562 by the work of Jewel with which his name and fame are most commonly associated, and which has taken the place of a classic in the literature of English theology--the Apologia Ecclesiae Anglicanae. This small treatise, which the author describes as "a little book in the Latin tongue, . . . containing the whole substance of the catholic faith, now professed and freely preached in England," immediately attracted general attention. It was translated into English, Italian, Spanish, French, German, Greek, and Welsh, and in its original Latin form it was republished on the Continent. [By Lady Anne Bacon, wife of the Lord Keeper, and mother of Lord Chancellor Bacon. This learned lady sent a copy of her translation to Jewel, accompanied with a letter in Greek. According to Strype (Life and Acts of Matthew Parker, i. 357) an English version had appeared as early as 1562. The translation of Lady Bacon appeared in 1564, with a commendatory letter from the pen of Archbishop Parker.] It was the first clear and full statement of the faith of the reformed Church of England; and the English Church did not hesitate to submit it to the judgment of the world. But no testimony to the importance attached at the time to this work can be so impressive as this, that the Council of Trent is said to have appointed two learned prelates to furnish a reply to it--a reply, it may be added, which never saw the light.
The first part "of the Apology claims that the Church of England "has returned to the Apostles and the old catholic Fathers," in opposition to the Roman contention that she had lapsed into heresy. The second part sets forth the essential faith of the Church of England, following the lines of the Nicene Creed on the subjects of the Trinity and the Incarnation. He goes on to assert the independence of the national Church, denying that the Bishop of Rome hath any more jurisdiction over the Church at large than the Patriarch of Antioch, or the Patriarch of Alexandria. We receive all the canonical Scriptures. They are "the very sure and infallible rule whereby may be tried whether the Church doth stagger or err, and whereunto all ecclesiastical doctrines ought to be called to account." It is unnecessary to follow in detail Jewel's further statement of the Anglican position, and his telling replies to Roman objections. It must suffice here to cite his answer to those who were then urging--even as certain persons have ever since been wont to urge--the evils of religious strife. "To have peace with man we will not be at war with God. 'Sweet indeed is the name of peace,' saith Hilary, 'but peace,' saith he, 'is one thing, bondage is another.'" And entirely appropriate to some schemes for reunion with Rome, which have been ventilated in our own day, are the words of Jewel, where he declares that the Bishop of Rome will make no other league with us than such as, of old time, Nahash, king of the Ammonites, would make with the men of Jabesh. "On this condition will I make a covenant with you, that I may thrust out all your right eyes."
As it had been in the case of the "Challenge Sermon," so now in the case of the "Apology," among several inferior antagonists the able and zealous Harding stands out pre-eminent in his Confutation (1565). Jewel found in Harding a foeman worthy of his steel; and in the elaborate Defence of the Apology we find Jewel at his best. It is a work which displays great powers of argument and an extraordinary wealth of patristic learning. [The rather perplexing bibliography of the various stages of the controversy is discussed in the Preface to Dr. Jelf's edition of Jewel, and in the Parker Society's edition, iv., p. xxvii.] The struggle between the two combatants was carried on with a keenness and persistence to which there is no parallel in recent times. Point after point is fought with a vigour and determination that may well excite wonder. Harding's violent and ferocious invective, touched as it would seem with something of personal animosity, is not in his case a sign of weakness; but it contrasts unfavourably with the prevailing self-possession and dignity of Jewel, who is but seldom betrayed into returning railing for railing, contenting himself with exhibiting, with sarcastic humour, in the forefront of his book, long lists of the choicest specimens of his antagonist's scurrility, which he entitles "Principal Flowers of M. Harding's Modest Speech." [Such as "thieves," "liars," "apostates," "limbs of Antichrist," "Satan's brood," "Bark until your bellies break, ye hell-hounds of Zuinglius, and Luther's litter," "Rail until your tongues burn in your heads in hell fire," etc., etc.]
It may be frankly admitted that in this prolonged debate, Jewel, as well as his opponent, misses at times the sense of the authors whom he cites, and at times alleges authorities that will not sustain the weight of argument he constructs upon them. Both combatants, again, were exposed to the danger of quoting as genuine, writings which, in the light of more information and a keener criticism, have since been questioned, discredited, or set aside as spurious. Other errors incident to the scholarship of the period can hardly be reckoned as discreditable. Thus, when Jewel rightly refuses to acknowledge the Apostolical Constitutions to be the work of St. Clement of Rome (as Harding had alleged), he puts forward among his reasons for so doing, one that must now be abandoned. "The reader, be he never so simple," writes Jewel, "cannot believe that a Bishop of Rome wrote his books in Greek and not in Latin." [Works (P. S.), i. pp. 108 and 111.] Jewel, again, fights hard for the truth of the mediaeval story of "Pope Joan." But whatever may now be thought of this curious legend (and the last word has not yet been said), it was certainly no Protestant invention, but had obtained general credence for many years before the Reformation; indeed, it would seem that it had never been seriously questioned till the time of Luther. With much less excuse, for the forgery had been amply exposed, Harding accepts as genuine the "Donation of Constantine," and makes much of it in his argument.
It was all but inevitable at the time, but it is, nevertheless, a sad feature of these early debates, that both parties sought to widen rather than diminish the breach between them. Every difference is amplified and insisted on. Even on questions where a little mutual explanation would have shown that there was no irreconcilable contrariety, the desire seems to have been to emphasize every smallest divergence of expression. A better spirit in this respect showed itself, as we shall see, in many of the controversialists of the next century; indeed, before the close of the sixteenth century it is apparent in Hooker.
But whatever may be the deficiencies or occasional errors of Jewel in detail, his Defence of the Apology is indeed a great work, and, taken as a whole, is a masterly and triumphant vindication of the Anglican position. [As late as 1610, Archbishop Bancroft directed that every parish should procure a copy of Jewel's collected Works--the folio printed by Norton (1609). See Cardwell's Documentary Annals, ii. 127.]
Jewel was certainly the most learned theologian who had yet appeared in the reformed Church of England; and from his copious stores later controversialists have freely drawn. It would be wearisome to quote the numerous testimonies to his commanding powers. It may suffice if we recite two--first, the words of a great contemporary, and then those of a capable and judicious critic of recent times. "Jewel," wrote Hooker, "was the worthiest divine that Christendom hath bred for some hundreds of years." Not England only, but Christendom; it is a bold utterance, but he would be presumptuous who would lightly declare it to be extravagant. From our own century we draw the second testimony. "Jewel," wrote a competent judge, "was a man of matchless learning, which he nevertheless wields, ponderous as it is, like a plaything; of a most polished wit; a style, whether Latin or English, the most pure and expressive, such as argues a precision in the character of his ideas, and a lucid order in the arrangement of them, quite his own." [J. J. Blunt (afterwards Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity at Cambridge) in his Sketch of the Reformation in England, p. 305.] Certainly, the writings of no private doctor of the Church of England have so nearly attained the authoritative position of symbolical books. [The esteem in which Jewel was held by a long succession of our great divines, of all schools, is exhibited in the Quarterly Review, vol. lxix. 476-7.]
Jewel died in 1571, before he had attained the age of fifty. Shortly before his death, the battle between England and Rome, which had previously extended along the whole line of controversy, became suddenly concentrated to a single point, around which the struggle lasted for some years, and which continued to be a frequent topic of discussion till well on into the next century. In the year 1570, Pope Pius V. published the Bull, Regnans in excelsis, in which he excommunicated Queen Elizabeth, and pronounced her deprived of any pretended right to the kingdom of England, and every other dominion, dignity, and privilege whatsoever. By the same Bull, her subjects were absolved from their allegiance, and commanded, under penalty of anathema, not to presume to yield obedience to any of her laws or commands. The civil consequences of this act of the Pope do not here concern us; but there was brought immediately into prominence a question for the theologians--"Does the Pope possess the right to depose civil rulers?"
One of the last, if not the very last, of Jewel's writings, was a careful examination of the text of the papal pronouncement. After his manner, he examines it clause by clause, and considers not only the reasons alleged for the condemnation of the Queen, but, what is much more important, the value of the claim to authority for pronouncing it.
The reign of Elizabeth was marked by a series of political intrigues, designed and promoted by the Romanists. It was, indeed, only natural that Romanists should look with grief upon the alienation of England; and it was not to be wondered at that they made desperate efforts for the recovery of the country to papal subjection. In 1568 William Allen, afterwards Cardinal, a man of learning and untiring energy, founded at Douai a college designed for the education of Englishmen for the priesthood. The students were pledged to return, if required, to England for the conversion of the heretics. The college at Douai (subsequently removed to Rheims) became a centre of literary activity, vehemently hostile to the Anglican Church. Controversial books were there printed and secretly transmitted to England. By and by Jesuits, and "seminary priests," as they were called, who had been trained at Douai or Rheims, made their way across the Channel, and, at the risk of their lives and liberties, aided in dispersing the literature of the Roman party. Replies to this literature occupied the attention of several of the English divines. The stringent laws against "popish recusants," and against the seminarists and Jesuits, needed to be supplemented by a reasoned defence of the English Church. The deliberate design to assassinate the Queen, promoted, as it appears, by Parsons and Allen (afterwards rewarded for his zeal on behalf of his faith with a cardinal's hat) only established more firmly the detestation of Rome in the hearts of the English people. But these things set men thinking on the justice of the Pope's claim to the right of deposing princes. Further, any disposition there may have been to show some measure of indulgence to Roman Catholics was enormously embarrassed by the currency of the belief that the Pope would absolve from the obligations of the most solemn oath of allegiance. The questions thus raised were investigated with much care and great ability by a theologian to whom the Church of England is indebted, as we shall afterwards see, for more than one important contribution to sacred learning. This was Thomas Bilson, then Warden of Winchester, and afterwards Bishop, successively, of Worcester and of Winchester, who in 1585 published the volume entitled The True Difference between Christian Subjection and un-Christian Rebellion. [Oxford, 4to. A second edition appeared in 1586, London, 8vo, to which the references are here made.] This work discusses at length the religious basis of the mutual relations of civil rulers and their subjects, and deals more particularly (Part III.) with the reasons alleged by Allen (in his Defence of English Catholics) in support of the Pope's right and power to deprive princes. The Pope's claim to this power has never, it is true, been repudiated or formally withdrawn; but the comparative insignificance of the Papacy of recent times, as a factor in the politics of nations, gives the controversy in our eyes a somewhat remote and old-world air. Yet, we must remember, the controversy was in the highest sense vital and practical in the England of Elizabeth.
The papal claim to the right of deposing princes is based upon the alleged supremacy of the Bishop of Rome over all Christians; and it may be observed, by the way, that it is only Christian princes who theoretically possess the privilege of being capable of deposition by the Pope. This alleged power of the Pope is thus based ultimately on our Lord's promises to St. Peter. One is only too familiar in theological writings with amusing processes of (so-called) reasoning which figure as legitimate logical deductions; yet none of them perhaps are more deserving of ridicule than the argument from Scripture for the Pope's power to deprive princes.
Bilson's treatise has, however, another claim on the attention of students of the history of religious opinion in England. It is much occupied with an inquiry into the difficult practical problem as to when resistance to a legitimate ruler is morally lawful. Bilson's general conclusion, insisted on with much elaboration, is that subjects are morally bound to obey their hereditary princes, or, if conscience forbids this in any particular case, to suffer patiently for conscience' sake. In fact we have already in Bilson, in a fairly well-developed form, the doctrines of "the divine right of kings" and of "passive obedience," which came to figure so largely in later controversies. But exceptions and qualifications of these doctrines were allowed by Bilson, which, whether rightly or wrongly understood, were afterwards made much of by the Puritan party in the days of the great rebellion. [An extract from Bilson's work was printed off in 1641, and may be found in Lord Somers' Collection of Scarce and Valuable Tracts. It contains the following passage: "Neither will I rashly pronounce all that resist to be rebels: cases may fall out even in Christian kingdoms where the people may plead their rights against the prince and not be charged with rebellion. ... If a prince should go about to subject his kingdom to a foreign realm, or change the form of the commonwealth from impery to tyranny, or neglect the laws established by common consent of prince and people to execute his own pleasure; in these and other cases which might be named, if the nobles and commons join together to defend their ancient and accustomed liberty, regiment and laws, they may not well be counted rebels." Perhaps not very consistently Bilson adds that even in such cases an hereditary prince, though he maybe "reformed," must not be "deposed." Anthony Wood considers that "There is not any book that the Presbyterians have made more dangerous use of against their prince than that which his predecessor [Elizabeth] commanded to be written to justify her against the King of Spain." (Athen. Oxon.) In the eighteenth century Jeremy Collier, representing the sentiments of the nonjurors, considers that even this moderate statement "gives a dangerous latitude to subjects." (Eccl. Hist., vii. 387.)]
It was not till the next century that we find the patriarchal theory of the origin of government, with its doctrine of the absolute and divine authority of hereditary princes, grown to its full development, and receiving the general assent of Anglican divines. [See Canon II. in the volume known as Bishop Overall's Convocation Book, and more particularly Canon I. of the Canons of 1640. It is to be lamented that so many of our divines associated themselves with a political theory which at best is merely conjectural, and which alienated from the Church a large number of able and right-thinking men. To most English Churchmen of our own time the doctrines on this subject of Aquinas and Suarez will probably seem much more reasonable than those of our Jacobean and Caroline theologians.]
The Fourth Part of Bilson's work is devoted to showing that the English Reformation was "warranted by the word of God and the ancient faith of Christ's Church." He traverses much the same ground as Jewel, but presents his authorities and arguments in a briefer and more popular form. The pages dealing with the Roman doctrines of "the real presence" and "the sacrifice" in the mass are specially worthy of study. Bilson sees, more correctly than Jewel, that the language of the ancient canon of the mass, so far from supporting the modern Roman doctrine of the sacrifice, is in reality suggestive that that doctrine was unknown when the canon was composed. And he observes in a pregnant sentence that in the Eucharist Christ is crucified in the selfsame sort that He is sacrificed, "that is, both in mystery [i.e. symbol], neither in substance." The student of the Eucharistic controversy knows that a crucial and test question for determining the position of any writer on this subject is this--"Are the true Body and Blood of Christ received by the mouth?" Bilson's position may be seen from this reply--"The signs, which are called after consecration by the names of Christ's Body and Blood, do enter our mouths and pass our throats: the true Flesh and Blood of Christ do not." (p. 762.)
This work of Bilson is cast in the form of a dialogue between Philander (a Romanist) and Theophilus (an English Churchman). It is not infrequent to find in controversies presented by way of dialogue very weak arguments put into the mouth of the opponent, and men of straw set up to be easily knocked down. But in the present case Philander's authorities and arguments are drawn for the most part from the best Romish controversialists of the day, and generally in their very words.
It remains to be added that Bilson's style is clear, animated, and vigorous, and that, excepting Jewel, none of the sixteenth-century writers on the Roman controversy is more deserving than Bilson of careful study.
The great work of Hooker (to be noticed more fully in the next Lecture) was primarily designed to meet attacks upon the Church of England from another quarter. But it was impossible for him to deal with the assaults of the Puritan party without occasionally touching upon questions in the dispute with Rome. In respect to several points of doctrine it was attempted by the Puritans to discredit the Anglican position by identifying the teaching of the English Church with that of Rome. Hooker therefore was compelled to reply to these charges. And here, as elsewhere, we look with ever-growing wonder and admiration at the calm, broad, self-possessed sanity of his judgment at a time when the prevailing animosity against Rome was keenly accentuated and extravagance of statement was only too common.
In our day it may be easy, in Hooker's day it was not easy, to make such an equitable and dignified statement as we find in the Ecclesiastical Polity (V. xxviii. i):--"To say that in nothing they may be followed which are of the Church of Rome were violent and extreme. Some things they do in that they are men, in that they are wise and Christian men some things, some things in that they are men misled and blinded with error. As far as they follow reason and truth, we fear not to tread the selfsame steps wherein they have gone, and to be their followers. Where Rome keepeth that which is ancienter and better, others whom we more affect leaving it for newer and changing it for worse; we had rather follow the perfections of them whom we like not, than in defects resemble them whom we love."
To the question, "Is the Roman communion part of the visible Church of Christ?" Hooker answers in the affirmative, because Rome retains "those things which supernaturally appertain to the very essence of Christianity." "Touching those main parts of Christian truth wherein they constantly persist, we gladly acknowledge them to be of the family of Christ; and our hearty prayer unto Almighty God is, that being conjoined so far forth with them, they may at length (if it be His will) so yield to frame and reform themselves that no distraction remain in anything, but that we 'all may with one heart and one mouth glorify God the Father of our Lord and Saviour' whose Church we are." (E. P. III. i. 11). In the meanwhile "sundry her gross and grievous abominations" forbid our approach to Rome.
Hooker's view of the sacraments is too well known to require any lengthened exposition here. It may suffice to recall to mind a few characteristic sentences. "The substance of the Body of Christ hath no presence, neither can have, but only local." Christ's Body "being a part of that human nature which is presently joined unto Deity, wheresoever Deity is, it followeth that His bodily substance hath everywhere a presence of true conjunction with Deity." It has thus "a presence of force and efficacy through all generations." But, "if on all sides it is confessed that the grace of baptism is poured into the soul of man,--that by water we receive it, though it be neither seated in the water, nor the water changed into it,--what should induce men to think that the grace of the Eucharist must needs be in the Eucharist before it can be in us that receive it?" "As Christ is called our life because through Him we obtain life, so the parts of this sacrament are His Body and Blood for that they are so to us, who receiving them receive that by them which they are termed." "The real presence of Christ's most blessed Body and Blood is not to be sought for in the sacrament, but in the worthy receiver of the Sacrament." [See E. P. V. lv. and lxvii.]
As bearing on the sacrificial aspects of the Eucharist, it may be noted that Hooker declares that "sacrifice is now no part of the Church ministry." In reply to the question, "How should the name of priesthood be thereunto rightly applied?" he tells us that the name is applied only by way of analogy, "in regard of that which the Gospel hath proportionable, to ancient sacrifices, namely the Communion of the blessed Body and Blood of Christ, although it have properly now no sacrifice.... In truth the word Presbyter doth seem more fit, and in propriety of speech more agreeable than Priest with the drift of the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ.... The Holy Ghost, throughout the body of the New Testament, making so much mention of them, doth not anywhere call them Priests." But as to the name Hooker is indifferent. "Let them use what dialect they will; whether we call it a Priesthood, a Presbytership, or a Ministry, it skilleth not." [See E. P. V. lxxviii. Waterland (Works, V. p. 140, edit. 1843) conjectures that the meaning of Hooker is that the Gospel has now no sacrifice, understood in the sense of the Council of Trent. "But," he adds, "I commend not the use of such new language, be the meaning never so right; the Fathers never used it.")
Lastly, we may observe that Hooker discusses at length the Roman doctrine of sacramental absolution, and concludes, in direct opposition to it, that the absolution pronounced by the priest is as regards sin solely declaratory. It does not take away sin, but only pronounces that God has taken it away. As regards ecclesiastical censures, however, it "looseth the chains wherewith we were tied." [See E. P. VI. vi.]
However little we may agree with the views here expressed in a history of theological opinion, the great reputation attached to Hooker's name may be thought sufficient to justify these references to his judgments on these points.
In the later part of the reign of Elizabeth a minor controversy of much interest occupied much attention among scholars. It is with regret that it is found necessary to deal with it here in mere outline. The indisposition of Romanists to give the people the Holy Scriptures in the mother tongue was practically overcome by the necessities of circumstance. The Bible in English was already wide-spread throughout the country. To counteract the evil it was supposed to do, it was resolved by the Seminarist leaders to put out a version of their own, made, however, not from the originals but from "the authentical Latin" of the Vulgate. This version was accompanied, as the title sets forth, by "annotations and other necessary helps for the better understanding of the text." The New Testament, printed at Rheims, appeared in 1582. Both the version itself and the notes (many of them of a highly controversial character) are subjects of frequent comment and discussion in the writings of Anglican divines of the period. In the same year in which the Rhemish Testament saw the light, Gregory Martin, formerly a Fellow of St. John's College, Oxford, a man of considerable attainments in Greek and Hebrew, who had joined the Roman Church and was now a lecturer in the Seminary abroad, published an attack on the accuracy of the earlier English authorized translations. This, besides serving other purposes, was meant to further the interests of the new Romish version.
The Anglican theologians were not slow in replying. In the following year (1583) Dr. William Fulke (+1589) Master of Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, issued his Defence of the Translations of the Holy Scriptures into the English tongue. Martin had contended that the English heretics had falsely translated the Scriptures "of purpose." He accused them of deliberate bad faith, and in support of the charge alleged a large number of instances. Fulke answered in detail; and some years later (1589) he carried the war into the enemy's camp by attacking the Rhemish version both in its text and its controversial notes. Setting aside the imputation of mala fides, there can be no question that Martin pointed out several errors, many of which were afterwards corrected in the "Authorised Version" of 1611. [Thomas Cartwright, the "T. C." of Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity, also wrote at this time in reply to Martin; but his work was not published till 1618.] Much use was in the next century made of Martin's book by Thomas Ward, who in the reign of James II. produced his Errata of the Protestant Bible, a work which has been frequently reprinted. [Ward is also known to the curious by his scurrilous verses on the English Reformation, written in the style of Hudibras.] Historical students of the English versions of the Scriptures will find much that is valuable and entertaining in these controversies; but they now possess for us only a literary interest. It may be left to all candid students to judge whether the desire of the Anglican communion in our own clay is not to offer to the English reader in his mother tongue the full and true meaning of the original text of the Scriptures, as presented by the best lights of modern scholarship.