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constant in his private devotions, and as successfull as fervent therein, witnesse this particular: Sir John Cheke, his schoolmaster, fell desperately sick, of whose condition the king carefully inquired every day: At last his physitians told him, That there was no hope of his life, being given over by them for a dead man. No, saith King Edward, he will not die at this time, for this morning I begg’d his life from God in my prayers, and obtained it: which accordingly came to passe, and he soon after, against all expectation, wonderfully recovered."66
The hopes which had been entertained of the progress of the Reformation under this youthful and amiable monarch, were, to the great grief of the nation, disappointed by his premature death on the 6th of July, 1553. During his last sickness, he settled the crown on Lady Jane Grey, his cousin, married to Lord Guildford Dudley. On his death, this lovely and learned female, who was then about 18 years of age, and versed in the Hebrew, Chaldee, Arabic, Greek, Latin, French, and Italian languages, was, in opposition to her own wishes, proclaimed queen. Her regal spendour was sustained only for a few days. Mary obtained the throne, and Lady Jane Grey and her husband were beheaded on Tower-bill, February 12th, 1554. The evening before she suffered, she sent her sister, Lady Katherine, a letter, written on the blank leaf of a Greek Testament; and which is so excellent in its sentiments, and so clearly exhibits the piety of its author, that it well deserves to be inserted:
“I have here sent you (good sister Katherine) a book, which although it be not outwardly trimmed with gold, yet inwardly it is worth more than precious stones. It is the booke (deare sister) of the Law of the Lord. It is his testament and last will which hee bequeathed unto us wretches: which shall leade you to the path of
(65) Chalmers' Gen. Biog. Dict. XIII. p. 32.
Fuller's Church History, pp. 424, 425.
eternall joy, and if you with a good mind read it, and with an earnest mind doe purpose to follow it, it shall bring you to an immortall and everlasting life. It shall teach you to live, and learne you to dye. It shall winne you more than you should have gained by the possession of your wofull father's lands. For, as if God had
prospered him, you should have inherited his lands, so if you ply diligently this book, seeking to direct your life after it, you shall be an inheritor of such riches, as neither the covetous shall withdraw from you, neither thiefe shall steale, neither yet the mothes corrupt. Desire with David, good sister, to understand the Law of the Lord God. Live still to die, that you by death may purchase eternall Life. And trust not that the tendernesse of your age shall lengthen your life; for as soone (if God call) goeth the young as the old and labour alwaies to learn to dye. Defie the world, deny the divell, and despise the flesh, and delight yourself only in the Lord. Be penitent for your sinnes, and yet despaire not; bee strong in faith, and yet presume not; and desire with St. Paul to be dissolved and to bee with Christ with whom even in death there is life. Be like the good servant, and even at midnight be waking, lest when death commeth and stealeth upon you as a thiefe in the night, you bee with the evill servant found sleeping; and lest for lacke of vile, you be found like the five foolish women; and like him that had not on the wedding garment, and then ye be cast out from the marriage. Rejoyce in Christ, as I doe. Follow the steps of your master Christ, and take up your crosse: lay your sinnes on his backe, and alwaies embrace him. And as touching my death, rejoyce as I doe (good sister) that I shall be delivered of this corruption, and put on incorruption. For I am assured, that I shall for loosing of a mortall life, winne an immortall life, the which I pray God grant you, and send you of his grace to live in his feare, and to dye in the true
Christian faith, from the which (in God's name) I exhort you that you never swarve, neither for hope of life, nor for feare of death. For if you will deny his truth for to lengthen your life, God will deny you, and yet shorten your dayes. And if you will cleave unto him, he will prolong your daies to your comfort and bis glory: to the which glory God bring me now, and you hereafter when it pleaseth him to call you. Fare you well, good sister, and put your only trust in God, who only must help you.
The accession of Mary to the throne was immediately succeeded by the most vigorous measures for the re-establishment of Popery, and the suppression of the Reformation. In August, a proclamation was issued, forbidding public preaching, or reading the Word of God, restricting the liberty of the press, and condemning all plays and interludes intended to satyrize the practices of the Roman Catholic church.67
On the 25th of July, 1554, Queen Mary was married to Prince Philip of Spain, afterwards King Philip II. a prince, haughty, ambitious, and zealously attached to the church of Rome. In the grand marriage procession, which took place in the city of London, they passed the conduit in Gracechurch-street, which was finely painted, and on which were represented the nine worthies, of which King Henry VIII. was one. He was painted “in harness," having in one hand a sword, and in the other a book, on which was written VERBUM DEI, (the Word of God,) which he was delivering to his son Edward. This representation occasioned the painter considerable trouble, for the bishop of Winchester, highly displeased at it, sent for him, and calling himn villain and traitor, angrily told him, that he had summoned him by order of her Majesty, and that he should rather have put the book (66) Fox's Acts and Monuments, III. 35. (67) Ibid. p. 17.
into the queen's hand, for she had reformed the church and religion, with other things, according to the pure and sincere Word of God. After making an apology, the painter was ordered to efface the book, and its title, and then dismissed. This order the painter executed so completely, that Fox remarks, that “fearing lest he should leave some part of the book, or Verbum Dei, in King Henry's hand, he wiped away a piece of his fingers withall."68
On the 25th of October of the same year, (1554,) Bishop Bonner, by a mandate directed to the parsons, vicars, &c. of the diocese of London, required all churchwardens, and parishioners, “ to abolish and extinguish, so that they might not be read, or seen," all Texts of Scripture, painted on the church-walls, on pain of excommunication, or other punishment.
Towards the close of the year 1554, a convocation of the clergy was held, in which an address was drawn up, from the lower house to the upper, wherein they petitioned, “That all books, both Latin and English, concerning any heretical, erroneous, or slanderous doctrines, might be destroyed and burnt throughout the realm ;" among which they particularly placed Archbishop Cranmer's book on the Sacrament, and the Communion Book ; to which they subjoined the book of Ordering Ecclesiastical Ministers, all suspected Translations of the Old and New TESTAMENTS, and all other books of a like nature: that such as had these books should bring the same to the ordinary by a certain day, or be reputed favourers of these doctrines : that it might be lawful for all bishops to make inquiry from time to time, for such books, and to take them from the owners : that for the repressing of such pestilent books, order should be taken with all speed, that none such should be printed or sold within the (68) Fox, III. p. 103. (69) Ibid. p. 107,
realm, nor brought from beyond sea, upon grievous penalties : and that the statutes made in the fifth of Richard II., and in the second of Henry IV., and in the second of Henry V. against heresy, Lollards, and false preachers, might be revived, and put in force."
In 1555, two royal proclamations were issued against printing, vending, or possessing heretical, seditious, or treasonable books. The first, which bore date June 6th, recounts that, “Whereas dyvers books, filled both with heresye, sedition, and treason, have of late, and be dayly brought into this realme, out of forreigne countrys, and places beyond the seas, and some also covertly printed within this realme, and caste abroad in sundry partes thereof, the king's and queen's majesties, doth by this thyr present proclaymation declare and publysh to all theyr subjects, that whosoever shall, after the proclaymation hereof, be found to have any of the sayd wicked and seditious bookes, or fynding them, do not forthwith burne the same, without shewing or readyng the same to any other person, shall in that case bee reputed and taken for a rebell, and shall without delave be executed for that offence, according to thorder of martiall law.” The latter proclamation, which was dated June 13th of the same year, (1555,) after reciting the substance of the statute of the second of Henry IV. enjoins ; " That no person or persons of what estate, degree, or condytion soever he or they be, from henceforthe presume to bringe, or convey, or cause to be broughte and conveyed, into this realme anye bookes, wrytinges, or workes hereafter mentyoned ; that ys to saye, any booke, or bookes, wrytinges, or workes, made or sett fourthe by, or in the name of Martyn Luther ; or any booke, or bookes, wrytinges, or works, made or sette forthe by, or in the name of Oecolampadyus, Sivinglius, John Calvyn, Pomerane, John Alasco, Bullyn(70) Strype's Memorials of Abp. Craomer, I. pp. 499–500.