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constructions of which human nature will permit are affixed to all their actions, we must feel it a sacred duty to guard every reader, of whatever creed, against the fallacy of the appeal to prejudice. We protest, once for all, against the insinuation of a test by which no profession can be fairly tried, so long as its agents and teachers are subject to the laws of humanity. To give the slightest weight to the inference, the conduct which is to be condemned must be traced to the creed. If flagrant vice can be traced to a flagitious article of faith, we have done with the argument; our answer fails, and not till then. Otherwise, objections of more or less cogency must arise from the life of every man of every creed that ever has been taught or professed, save the one man, who alone was without sin. If, indeed, the articles of our creed were to be accredited from humari authority, it might be fair enough to grope among the roots of error, among the failings of their inventors and promoters. But in all things appealing directly to a common admitted source, of which none (here concerned) deny the authority, we disclaim all reliance on the goodness or wisdom of any human being, and affirm that God himself governs his Church, and guides its changes according to his own purpose by the methods of his providence, and without any regard to the characters of the various agents he uses, who are moved to act, or whose acts are overruled according to circumstances. The case actually to come before us does not require extreme instances; we are not called on for illustration to exhibit the crimes of millions fearfully visited by the vices of one monster; we are not called on to execute that always nice and delicate task of exhibiting the course of examples by which the moral Governor of the universe often visibly elicits good from evil: we are to exhibit, with a faithful hand, that usual compound of human virtue and weakness, which, when truth is preserved, will ever appear in the proudest niches of biographical history, affording ample material for partial eulogy, or party misrepresentation.
We have thus far written to exonerate ourselves from the ungracious and disagreeable task of noticing remarks among our authorities, which have excited our sense of opposition, and against which we felt in fairness bound to protest.
On the shocking and barbarous murder of Allen, George Browne was appointed in his room, to the metropolitan see. He had been a friar of the order of St Augustin, in London, and provincial of the order. He had distinguished himself for some time, by the boldness of his preaching, in which he maintained the doctrines of the Reformation, which were then rapidly spreading in the English church. Fortunately for him, the tyrant, Henry VIII., who had commenced by the vain effort to put down the growth of opinions then by no means confined to a few in England, was led by many motives to adopt its views; and the doctrines, for which he might a little before have been led to the stake, were under providence, the means of opening to him the path to promotion and extended usefulness. Having been recommended to the fickle tyrant as a preacher of the doctrines he now meant to impose on his subjects, by the same force that he had previously exerted for the opposite doctrines; George Browne was consecrated by Cranmer, and other bishops on the 19th March, 1535: and on the 23d the lordchancellor of Ireland was directed by writ to have the revenues of the see restored to the new bishop
On his arrival in Ireland, his religious tenets were openly avowed. And not long after he had the satisfaction to receive a letter from Cromwell, containing the welcome information, that the king had renounced the authority of the see of Rome, “in spiritual affairs within his dominion of England: that it was his will that his Irish subjects should follow his commands as in England: and that he was appointed by the king as one of the commissioners for carrying his purpose into effect.” Browne's answer is preserved by all his biographers, and is as follows:
“ MY MOST HONORED LORD,– Your most humble servant receiving your mandate, as one of his highness's commissioners, hath endeavoured almost to the danger and hazard of this temporal life, to procure the nobility and gentry of this nation to due obedience, in owning of his highness their supreme head, as well spiritual as temporal, and do find much oppugning therein, especially by my brother Ardmagh, who hath been the main oppugner, and so hath withdrawn most of his suffragans and clergy within his see and jurisdiction; he made a speech to them, laying a curse on the people whosoever should own his highness's supremacy; saying that this isle, as it is in their Irish chronicles, Insula sacra, belongs to none but the bishop of Rome, and that it was the bishop of Rome's predecessors gave it to the king's ancestors. There be two messengers by the priests of Ardmagh, and by that archbishop now lately sent to the bishop of Rome. Your lordship may inform his highness, that it is convenient to call a parliament in this nation to pass the supremacy by act; for they do not much matter his highness's commission which your lordship sent us over. This island hath been for a long time held in ignorance by the Romish orders, and as for their secular orders they be in a manner as ignorant as the people, being not able to say mass, or pronounce the words, they not knowing what they themselves say in the Roman tongue; the common people in this isle are more zealous in their blindness than the saints and martyrs were in the truth at the beginning of the gospel. I send you my very good lord these things, that your lordship and his highness may consult what is to be done. It is feared O'Neal will be ordered by the bishop of Rome to oppose your lordship's order from the king's highness, for the natives are much in number within his powers. I do pray the Lord Christ to defend your lordship from your enemies. Dublin, 4 Kalend Septembris, 1535."
In the following year a parliament was called in Dublin, by lord Grey, in whichếamong many important enactments, providing chiefly for the inheritance of the crown, in conformity with the similar provisions in the English statutes passed at the same time on the king's marriage with Anne Boleyn—it was further passed into a law, 28 Henry VIII., that the king was supreme head of the church of Ireland: appeals to Rome were declared illegal, and the first-fruits vested in the king. By a separate act he was also invested with the first-fruits of the bishopricks and other ecclesiastical temporalities of every denomination. The authority of the Roman see was abrogated, and its acknowledgment prohibited under the penalties of premunire. The oath of supremacy was imposed on every official person, and whoever should refuse to take it declared guilty of high treason. An English statute which prohibited all applications for faculties and dispensations, and the payment of pensions and other dues and impositions to the Roman see, was adapted to Ireland, and declared to be law. Another enactment suppressed twelve religious houses and vested their lands in the crown.
These important changes though they were fully accommodated to the progress of the public mind, in England, which had long been ripening for the reformation, cannot be denied to have been abrupt, arbitrary, and tyrannical, in Ireland, where no free breathing of opinion, no advance in social organization, had given birth to progress, and where after a long and fierce contest, favoured by the state of the country for the last four previous centuries, the church of Rome had at length cast its deep and widely spreading roots. It was therefore to be anticipated that a spirited opposition must have been roused by these propositions. In the house of Parliament, accordingly, the abolition of the pope's supremacy, did call forth considerable excitement and opposition. On the occasion, Browne delivered a short speech which expressed his view of the argument in a few words, which, though far from conveying the real force of the argument, as it might now be stated, seems to have carried much weight: it affords some notion of the theological method of reasoning at the time.
“ My lords and gentry of his majesty's realm of Ireland, behold your obedience to your king, is the observing of your God and your Saviour Christ, for he that high priest of our souls paid tribute to Cesar (though no Christian), greater honour then is surely due to your prince, his highness the king, and a Christian one. Rome and her bishops in the fathers' days, acknowledged emperors, kings, and princes, to be supreme over their own dominions, nay Christ's own vicars; and it is much to the bishop of Rome's shame, to deny what their precedent bishops owned; therefore his highness claims but what he can justify. The bishop Elutherius gave to Lucius, the first Christian king of the Britains, so that I shall without scrupuling vote king Henry supreme over ecclesiastical matters, as well as temporal, and head thereof, even of both isles, England and Ireland, and without guilt of conscience or sin to God; and he who will not pass this act, as I do, is no true subject to his highness.”
The act was passed, but the effect was not equal to the expectations of the peremptory despot who sat on the British throne. Henry made no account of the convictions or the conscience of others, but with the ferocious and irrespective decision of a selfish and arrogant man, presumed that the mind of a nation was to veer with the changes of his own. He could only attribute the recusancy of the Irish, to the slackness of his ministers: and when he soon ascertained that, with its natural effect, oppression raised a fiercer zeal among the people in behalf of their church; his rage vented itself in threats on archbishop Browne, whose zeal was more sincere, and founded on purer motives
than his own. He wrote an angry letter, in which the archbishop was reproached with the benefits which had been conferred on him on the consideration of his known principles, and charged with a blameable slackness : with threats of removing him if his conduct should not become more satisfactory.
The archbishop was naturally alarmed; he well knew the nature of the tyrant, and the dangers with which he was himself environed on either side, so that in fact no course was safe. While the course which it was his most bounden duty to pursue, was such as to make him the mark of general aversion, and demanded the exercise of much moderation and caution, he was at the same time surrounded by the rivalry and secret hostility of the party from which he should receive the surest support, and urged on into the extremest steps, by the blindfold tyranny at his back. The archbishop was fully sensible of these dangers, and also of the necessity there was of conciliating and soothing the royal breast, on the determinations of which both his personal security and the difficult concerns committed to his agency must entirely depend. He returned a submissive answer to the king, and wrote another letter to Cromwell, in which he strongly states the oppositions which he experienced, with the general contempt of his authority; as an instance of which, he states, that he could not prevail so far as to have the bishop of Rome's name cancelled from the church books. He strongly and judiciously pressed for the appointment of an ecclesiastical jurisdiction, in such authorities as might be competent to the exigencies of church regulation and government under the circumstances.
It is observed by Mr Dalton, in his useful and able work on the archbishops of Dublin, that this letter, which he has cited at length, shows how slight was the progress in Ireland of the attempted reformation. The same intelligent author observes, that this attempt appears to have been very much limited to the assertion of the king's supremacy in Ireland. In point of fact, Henry's own views went nothing farther, and it would be unsafe in the most thorough reformer to go a hair's-breadth beyond the theology of the king. Henry, while with arbitrary decision he put down the authority of the pope, with equal determination maintained all the doctrinal tenets of the Roman church. For a moment, in the first ardour of opposition, he lent an indulgent ear to those whose views though substantially different from his own, yet were such as to favour his main object. But as this appeared to be no longer a matter of dispute, he assumed the position of an ecclesiastical despot, and maintained it with a fierce and peremptory authority, to which all opposition was alike useless and perilous. Cranmer and Cromwell on the one side, and on the other the duke of Norfolk and Gardiner, with the other peers and prelates who adhered to the pope, felt themselves under the necessity of compromise. And while the reformers were compelled to give a seeming acquiescence to the doctrines of the Roman church, their opponents were, with equal reluctance, forced to renounce the pope. Each party acted with dexterous pliability, for the furtherance of its objects, suppressing whatever articles of faith on the one side, or discipline on the other, they respectively held in opposition to the royal will: while
the king with more boldness, and not less vigilance, used the compli. ance of both for the confirmation of his own power. Had it not indeed been for the irritation caused by the violent resistance of the church of Rome, the reformers might soon have found Henry a rougher antagonist than the pope; but decidedly as the king was bent on checking the progress of Protestant tenets, he was fully aware how much his power against this external pressure, lay in the reforming spirit of the bulk of the people. And hence it was, that he was forced to afford a doubtful countenance to a party whom he disliked. Such is the explanation of the conduct of Browne—himself decided, zealous, and disinterested, he was necessarily compelled to adopt the expedient language of subserviency, and to yield where conscientious conviction would have gone further than discretion. The English reformers though awed by the king, were supported by the people ; notwithstanding which, their zeal was tempered by a due share of caution : Browne was on the other hand alike circumscribed, by the zealous opposition of the national spirit, and the limitary dictation of Henry, Under these circumstances, the conduct of the archbishop, was in all respects such as the exigencies of the situation demanded, he could not be more decided without endangering his object, or less active without betraying his trust. The instructions which he sent round to the incumbents and curates of his diocese, present the doctrines of the church of Rome in the form least inconsistent with the views of the reformation; and contain some clauses not quite reconcileable with Romanism, as it existed until very recently within our own times, when under the pressure of external circumstances it has been undergoing a silent and partial reformation. We give the « form of beads," from the State Papers. “You shall pray for the universal catholic church, both quick and dead, and especially for the church of England and Ireland. First for our sovereign Lord the king, supreme head on earth, immediate under God, of the said church of England and Ireland. And for the declaration of the truth thereof, you shall understand, that the unlawful jurisdiction, power, and authority, of long time usurped by the bishop of Rome in England and Ireland, who then was called pope, is now by God's law, justly, lawfully, and upon good grounds, reasons, and causes, by authority of parliament, and by and with the whole consent and agreement of all the bishops, prelates, and both the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and also the whole clergy both of England and Ireland, extinct and ceased, and ceased for ever, as of no strength, value, or effect in the church of England or Ireland. In the which church the said whole clergy, bishops, and prelates, with the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, have, according to God's law, and upon good and lawful reasons and grounds, acknowledged the king's highness to be supreme head on earth, immediately under God, of this church of England and Ireland, which their knowledge confessed, being now by parliament established, and by God's laws justifiable, to be justly executed; so ought every true christian subject of this land, not only to acknowledge and obediently recognise the king's highness to be supreme head on earth of the church of England and Ireland, but also to speak, publish, and teach their children and servants the