« السابقةمتابعة »
“Men must beware, that in the procuring or muniting of religious unity, they do not dissolve and deface the laws of charity and of human society. There be two swords among Christians, the spiritual and temporal; and both have their due office and place in the maintenance of religion. But we may not take up the third sword, which is Mahomet's sword, or like unto it; that is to propagate religion by wars or by sanguinary persecutions to force consciences; except it be in cases of overt scandal, blasphemy, or intermixture of practice against the state . It was great blasphemy when the devil said, I will ascend and be like the Highest ; but it is greater blasphemy to personate God, and bring Him in saying, I will descend and be like the prince of darkness : and what is it better, to make the cause of religion to descend to the cruel and execrable actions of murdering princes, butchery of people, and subversion of states and governments ?”
BACON, Essays; Of Unity in Religion.
COUNTER-REFORMATION AND ULTRA
The English Reformation must have come, whatever sovereigns had ruled in England and whatever their personal desires might have been. Must have come, because
1. For a very long time the nation had felt that Roman claims were incompatible with English interests and English rights.
2. Much of Roman doctrine was found to be detrimental to character and out of harmony with Scripture and primitive teaching.
3. The low standard of life which prevailed in the monasteries had long been a scandal. That so much wealth should be so abused shocked both reason and conscience.
4. The Revival of Letters in some ways told against religion generally: it told with disintegrating force against all religious teaching and practice which had its strength in ignorance rather than in enlightenment. Other reasons might be suggested,
arising out of social and economical conditions ; but these four are sufficient to justify the belief that in 1509 the English Reformation was inevitable.
When Archbishop Parker died in 1575,1 the main points in the Reformation of the English Church had been secured.
1. The authority of the See of Rome over the Church of England had been finally cast off.
2. The clergy were allowed to marry. 3. Auricular confession ceased to be compulsory.
4. A simple Prayer Book in the English language had taken the place of the complicated Latin service-books.
5. By means of the Prayer Book, the Articles, and the Homilies, considerable changes had been made in doctrine. All that was contrary to Scripture had been discarded, together with a great deal which was certainly not essential, was open to question, and had in some cases produced grave abuse ; but all that was Scriptural and much that was primitive had been retained.
The experience of the coming years was to show whether this necessary (and on the whole) moderate Reformation could be maintained in the face of the persistent assaults of Romanism and Puritanism ; and, supposing that it were maintained, whether the details which still required settlement would be settled in the direction of Catholicism or of Calvinism.
Parkhurst, Bishop of Norwich, and Bullinger, the Zurich reformer, died in the same year, 1575; Pilkington of Durham, 3rd January 1576. Jewel of Salisbury had died in 1571.
It was not to be expected that either the Pope, with his intractable ally, Philip of Spain, or the Puritans, with their supporters on the Continent, would allow Elizabeth and the English Church to determine these questions for themselves. Rome had by no means abandoned all hope of winning back the English nation to her allegiance; and the Puritans, both inside and outside the Church of England, were agreed that a clean sweep must be made of nearly everything that had been retained, before a satisfactory Reformation could be reached. It is the contest between these two forces, which we may call Counter-Reformation and Ultra-Reformation, and the way in which Elizabeth defeated the attacks of both of them, that we now have to consider; and we must endeavour to concentrate our attention upon them, while we pass by much that is attractive and important. But it is impossible to understand either movement, without taking account of one who is the most romantic and fascinating personage in the reign of Elizabeth, Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots.
The Counter-Reformation may be looked at from two different points of view.—On the one hand, it was an attempt to satisfy the conscience of Christendom by reforming some of the crying abuses which had led to the Protestant revolt: such reforms might at any rate prevent the revolt from going further. On the other hand, it was an attempt to win back again to the Papacy those princes and peoples which had thrown off the jurisdiction of Rome. The one was, in the main, a conciliatory effort, and to describe its successes and failures would be to write the history of the Council of Trent. The other was wholly an aggressive effort; and it is with this aggressive side of the Counter - Reformation that we have to do.
The Counter-Reformation, in its persistent and ferocious assault upon Christian liberty in general, and upon Protestantism in particular, had two great instruments—the Inquisition, which had been in existence since the thirteenth century, and the Company of the Jesuits, which was instituted in a very humble way in 1540, but became very flourishing about the time of the excommunication of Elizabeth by Pius v. in 1570. To these two should perhaps be added a third, the Index of Prohibited Books. These are the three “bad angels” which the Church of Rome sent out to fight its battle against Christian freedom in thought and speech and action. We may ignore the Inquisition and the Index, which have had little influence in England; but we must take account of the Jesuits.
The Company of the Jesuits has been described as “a naked sword, whose hilt is at Rome, and whose point is everywhere.” The sword is rightly called “naked.” It is never sheathed, and has never ceased to fight. It has won some notable victories. But a strange fatality attends its triumphs. They are Cadmean victories, equivalent to defeats. The Jesuits have won immense influence in various