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creed, and the ten commandments, in the vulgar tongue.
"On the 14th of November, 1532, Henry was secretly united to Ann Boleyn. On the second of May, 1534, the sentence of divorce was formally pronounced by Cranmer, between the king and Catherine of Arragon; and, on the twenty-eighth of the same month, his marriage with Ann Boleyn (who afterwards became the mother of our celebrated queen Elizabeth) was publicly confirmed. The pope's excommunication followed this step immediately; and Henry was so enraged, that he resolved to break entirely with the see of Rome, and to abolish the papal authority for ever.
"The parliament confirmed his proceedings, and thus were our forefathers delivered from the tyranny of Rome.
"But, strange as it may appear to you, persecution still raged, and many sufferers might be named, who, about this period, underwent martyrdom; for Henry, though he had indignantly renounced the temporal authority of the pope, was still zealously devoted, in all spiritual matters, to the Romish forms. Neither party, consequently, escaped his wrath. The reformers, who, by their preaching and writings, attacked the doctrinal errors, and exposed the supersti. tious and burdensome ceremonies of papacy, were equally liable to punishment with the Romish priests and laymen, who denied his supremacy. Whilst the lesser abbeys, to the number of three hundred and seventy-six, were suppressed, and, not long after, the greater ones shared the same fate; yet, with an inconsistency peculiar to Henry's character, he caused several eminent protestants, among whom was the excellent lady Ann Askew, to be burnt to death in Smithfield.
"One great act was achieved in this reign— the translation of the Bible into English; and, in the month of September, 1538, Thomas Cromwell, lord privy-seal, vicegerent to the king's highness, sent forth instruction to all bishops and curates throughout the realm; charging them to see, that in every parishchurch, the Bible of the largest volume printed in English, should be placed for all men to read in: and a book of register was also provided and kept in every parish-church, wherein was to be written every wedding, christening, and burying, within the same parish for ever. Crosses and images in many places were taken down: one image in particular is mentioned, as exposed at St. Paul's cross, by the bishop of Rochester, and afterwards broken and plucked in pieces. This piece of machinery seems to have been curiously contrived, so as to move the eyes and lips.
"But the death of Henry put an end to the dangerous versatality of his opinions; and the short reign of Edward the Sixth, who succeeded his father when but nine years of age, was marked by signal benefits to the protestant cause. Not only were sundry injunctions issued for the removing of images out of all churches, and measures taken for the suppression of idolatry and superstition within his realms and dominions, but the Homilies (which are still in use in the church) were composed by many of the most pious and learned men of the age, and directed to be read generally for the edification of the lower classes:—the Lord's supper was ordered to be administered to the laity:—the Catechism was compiled for the use of children, by Cranmer:—the Liturgy was established by law; and the Articles were drawn up, explanatory of the doctrines of the Church of England, and which, in the main, appear, under the name of the thirty-nine articles, in the Prayer-book.
"The apparel of the clergy, after the reformation, underwent a change, and was restricted to sable garments. Previous to this, the graduates went either in a variety of colours, or in garments of light hue, as yellow, red, green, &c. with their shoes piked, their hair crisped, their girdles armed with silver; their shoes, spurs, bridles, &c. buckled with light metal; their apparel, for the most part, of silk and richly furred; their caps laced and buttoned with gold: so that a priest of those days would not now be recognized as belonging to the order.
"But the hopes of the Reformers were clouded by the premature death of the young king, who expired at Greenwich, the sixth of July, 1553.
"He possessed undoubted piety; and his talents appear to have been very great. It is related of him, that he knew not only the name and style of living of his great officers and judges, but in what estimation their religion and conversation were held. He had a singular respect for justice; and was particularly assiduous in the dispatch of business. Charitable and humane in an extraordinary degree, this exemplary prince just "sparkled" for a time, then was " exhaled," and "went," undoubtedly, "to Heaven."
"The gloomy era which followed, on Mary's accession to the throne, is marked, in the memory of every Englishman, with sentiments of horror and detestation. The queen, a zealous catholic, was anxious to restore the popish forms of worship; and a statute was passed, abolishing all the laws relative to religion, which had been enacted in Edward's reign.
"Mass was again celebrated, images and crosses erected, and punishments followed any affront to the priests: reconciliation with the pope followed.
"Married clergy were dispossessed of their preferments; and reading the sacred volume, in the vulgar tongue, not only forbidden, under pain of death; but, in the year 1557, the papists actually burnt all the English Bibles they could seize.
"Persecution raged with accumulated violence; and amongst the excellent men who preferred a good conscience to life itself, I shall only enumerate Cranmer, Latimer, Ridley, and Hooper.
"Others, equally valiant for truth, perished also in the flames; but their numbers were too great to allow of my enumerating them. In one year alone, eighty-five persons were burnt for their religious opinions; and the joy and holy triumph, with which many of them expired, under the excruciating torment of the flames, served to confirm the more wavering, and strengthen the surrounding crowd.