Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

beth; the same religious tendencies, academic and popular, are seen in the two reigns; the reconstruction of the ecclesiastical machinery which had been left over under Elizabeth was completed under James. Dr Frere is peculiarly full in his account of the controversies and literary agitations of the time, with a fullness they deserve, because they differ from many controversies in being significant of the thought of one generation and formative for the thought of another. It is a little difficult, for instance, to hold the threads of the controversial network which had Jewel for a centre; and they are often tossed aside with the remark that he was the most learned Anglican of his day. But a real appreciation of that learning, which was admired even in those days of learning, is necessary to understand alike the position of the Caroline divines and the theological influences of the Elizabethan settlement.

It is well, therefore, that these controversies and others-such as that between Bellarmine and James I -should be sketched, as they are, by Dr Frere, for they are really vital to the history. Jewel was learned, as was Andrewes after him; Bellarmine was equally learned; but it is not their learning which interests us so much as their discussion of questions that are living even yet. When Jewel began to show it plain that God's holy gospel, the ancient bishops, and the primitive Church do make on our side, and that we have not without just cause left these men and rather have returned to the apostles and old catholic fathers,' he was speaking somewhat as an 'Anglican' of to-day. When Bellarmine, in spite of his learning, failed to understand what the Royal Supremacy really was, he made a mistake which followers of his, some more and some less distinguished, have repeated since. The great controversy turned then, as

now, upon the claims of the Papacy. The main point of his whole plea is this,' says Jewel, speaking of his opponent Harding, that the bishop of Rome, whatsoever it shall like him to determine in judgment, can never err.' For the rest, it need not be said that Dr Frere writes with a full knowledge of the sources, some of which have not been sufficiently used by previous writers. He is at home in the episcopal registers; he moves easily through the liturgic and con

6

6

fessional tangles of the day; he has sympathy to spare alike for the Romanist recusant and the ejected Puritan; yet he does not let all this check his sympathy for the men, possibly more prosaic, who, like Nehemiah, did the humbler work of building up the walls of their ruined Jerusalem, with their swords always ready for use.

In some other works we come across an interesting preliminary discussion. Dr Gee, who in his recent little book upon the Reformation Period has surveyed the whole period, undertook in The Elizabethan Clergy and the Settlement of Religion, 1558-1564,' to investigate the treatment of the clergy at the beginning of Elizabeth's reign, and to estimate the number deprived for refusing, by reason of their papal sympathies, to conform to the settlement of religion then made. This investigation was far more laborious than the easily expressed conclusion would seem to show. Here and there estimates and approximations have to be made; but to most students following out the work in detail Dr Gee's fairness and judgment are satisfactory. "The extreme ascertainable number' (he says) of the clergy deprived for all causes between November 17, 1558, and November 17, 1564, is about 400. To these may be added eighty more whose names are preserved by Sanders, but are not to be identified in official authorities.'

But from this total of 480 large deductions have to be made. Some vacancies due to deprivation may have dated from the Marian reaction, which left many parishes vacant; some persons in Sanders' list were never in Holy Orders at all; and some were perverts of a date later than 1559 but before 1564. On the other hand, additions have to be made for those dioceses-York, Lincoln, Bristol, Bangor, Llandaff, and St Asaph-where registers and diocesan records fail us wholly or in part. Dr Gee's conclusion is that the total number cannot be much above 200, and must be under 300. With this calculation Dr Frere would agree; but it will be noticed that it applies only to the beginning of the reign. It includes, on the one hand, the few who submitted at first only to withdraw their assent later; and, on the other hand, it cannot distinguish between those who subscribed heartily and those who did it grudgingly. Dr Gee would allow

6

[ocr errors]

6

[ocr errors]

that at the outset of the reign the clergy, as a body, were hostile to any change in the existing state of affairs so far as the Church was concerned.'

These conclusions have been attacked in detail by Dom Birt, who, in his Elizabethan Religious Settlement,' gives us in interesting form the results of long and honest work. To quote his own words in describing the occasion of the book, Dr Creighton's · Elizabeth' and Dr Gee's book, just noticed, ran counter so completely’ to his 'own growing conviction, that he determined to set forth the facts as the original documents had presented them to him. Bishop Creighton's Elizabeth and his · History of the Papacy' stand, of course, upon different planes; but even the slighter work has its value. And Dom Birt is not entitled to speak as he does of Dr Gee's 'professing' to have studied the sources; his opponent has done this as genuinely as Dom Birt himself.

Dom Birt and Dr Gee differ in their estimates of the clergy deprived at the beginning of Elizabeth's reign. The former would raise the total of those deprived to at least 700, besides some 1175 who left their parishes for conscience' sake. But his calculations seem a little loose; thus he reckons (p. 163) all who did not take the oath as Papists; in one place (p. 163) the number of clergymen in the Northern Province appears as 1000, in another place (p. 187) as 1130; and the argument for reducing the total number of beneficed clergymen in England to 8000 does not carry conviction. It is true that Dom Birt corrects Dr Gee in a few details, but his estimates and his dealings with figures do not impress us as equal to those of his opponent. He does not start from so certain an arithmetical basis; his assumptions are larger; and the means he gives us for checking his argument are less abundant. The inevitable assumption of the papal position underlies the whole of his work; thus, for instance, he points out that the validity of Parker's consecration depends on the form used-a point which is settled for him and others by the Bull Apostolicae Curae. But these defects, once pointed out, do little to lessen the interest of the book, which is a genuine piece of history, and, owing to Dom Birt's knowledge of the sources, has peculiar value. If, on the one hand, he overestimates the zeal of England for the Papacy, he is probably right

on the other, in denying the existence of any great zeal for the Elizabethan system at its start. The growth of zeal, or at any rate of acquiescence in the system, cannot be denied. But it remains for discussion whether Dom Birt is right in assigning as the cause for this change the severity of the ecclesiastical administration. This severity he seems to overstate; and in any case it is doubtful whether any persecution, unless perfectly general and rigid, could have such an effect.

Some of these problems are handled in Professor A. O. Meyer's England und die katholische Kirche unter Elizabeth und den Stuarts. Prof. Meyer has had the advantage of working at the Vatican library as well as in England; and, if the whole work is wrought out upon the same scale and with the same excellent workmanship, English students will once more have to congratulate themselves upon their German fellow-workers. At the outset of his book Dr Meyer distinguishes clearly Elizabeth's view of the Royal Supremacy from her father's. It is well known that Elizabeth, largely through her own wish, was styled not Supreme Head' as her father had been, but Supreme Governor.' Article 37 of the Thirty-nine Articles puts it clearly: 'we give not to our Princes the ministering either of God's Word, or of the Sacraments, the which thing the Injunctions also lately set forth by Elizabeth our Queen do most plainly testify; but that only prerogative, which we see to have been given always to all godly Princes in holy Scriptures by God himself; that is, that they should rule all states and degrees committed to their charge by God, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Temporal, and restrain with the eivil sword the stubborn and evildoers.'

6

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

6

There was much discussion about the title. The Commons wished to keep ‘Supreme Head,' which, as Dixon says, died irksomely’; the Lords inclined the other way. Among the Puritans opinions differed ; Lever, according to Sandys, 'wisely put such a scruple in the Queen's head that she would not take the title of Supreme Head'; but Parkhurst held that 'head' and 'governor'came to the same thing. There were all sorts of minor opinions ; there was a Parliamentary tangle; but even then the Queen's wishes were strong and her policy was clear. As years went on, its merits and its rightfulness made themselves felt. There was no Cæsaropapism,' no usurpation of the spiritual functions by the sovereign. There was a protectorship of the Church; there was a subjection of the clergy to the law of the land, a visitorial jurisdiction, and an appeal against abuses. The existing bishopswithout their head and few in number-could not accept such conditions without disgrace. Their places were filled; and Parker ascended the vacant throne of Pole. There was a revolution, so far as the rejection of the Papal Supremacy went; but that, we hold, was the limit of revolution. It might be difficult theoretically to justify every step in the formation of the Prayer-book and the settlement of law. But there was no intrusion of the civil power into religious matters, nor was there any interference or violence that could not be paralleled from other lands in other circumstances. The limits of revolution were clearly marked; its area was confined to the abolition of Papal Supremacy and the creation of the machinery necessary thereto.

The true explanation of the change by which the Elizabethan system became gradually more popular Dr Meyer finds, not in the persecution (indeed, the success of the Jesuit mission coincides with times of severe persecution instead of laxity), but in the fitness of that system for the temperament of the English nation; while, as lesser causes, he assigns the preference for the national tongue and the peacefulness of Elizabeth's rule. Here his judgment, which is always balanced and deliberate, agrees with Maitland's rather than with Dom Birt's. The setting of his special theme in the international politics of the day, the variations among the English Romanists themselves, the effects of the Bull of 1570 and of the Spanish Armada, are all well described, with ample notes and references to fresh material.

The one lack in Dr Meyer's work is possibly due to choice and not to neglect; but it is essential to an allround view that the development of the English Church should be traced. The names of Parker and Whitgift, for instance, do not appear in the index to his book, and only incidentally, if at all, in the work itself. But, on the other hand, particularly full and excellent is the treatment of the Jesuit mission and of the instruction to the

[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »