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Henry V. from the record of some pensions granted by him in the beginning of his reign to the relations of some other sufferers for heresy under his father, whose cases are not otherwise recorded. We have already expressed the opinion that he is too severe in his judgment of Henry V.; and we think what he says of Bradbie's case is no exception. This poor man being brought to the stake in Smithfield, Henry, then Prince of Wales, went to the place and endeavoured to persuade him to save his life by recanting ; but the poor creature remaining
constant to his principles .... Henry, with some anger, • peremptorily ordered the execution to proceed, regarding the
sufferer's case as hopeless. (P. 42.) On which, after some just observations on the lamentable effects of evil usages and
wicked laws, more especially when founded on superstitious • enthusiasm, in hardening the heart,' &c. the author thus comments:
• The prince's conduct, at the beginning of the cruel scene which we have been contemplating, did him great credit; it showed that his feelings were kindly and well directed. But the idea never once entered his mind that the victim could be saved from a cruel death by any act of grace, unless he recanted. A pardon was to be asked for him, but only in case he abjured his opinions. Nor did the sagacity of Henry help him to perceive that the act of abjuration, far from being meritorious, is a mockery and a lie, inasmuch as holding any belief and renouncing it, or altering it, is not, and cannot be, a voluntary act; and ....it is further to be observed, that all the prince's pity for the sufferer was extinguished when he persisted in holding by his faith,' &c.-Pp. 42, 43.
It is not clear to us that the act of abjuration is of necessity a mockery and a lie. On the contrary, we think there may be cases in which a good man may very conscientiously submit his own opinion to the decision of his Church, and of the laws of his country, and may declare that, whatever may have been his own conclusions, he prefers to abide by the collective judgment of those wiser than himself, and having authority over him. Such may have been Henry's view of the course which he endeavoured to impress upon this victim of cruel laws; nor do we think he could have saved him by any other means, since he was himself as yet a subject, and it was only in case he recanted that his pardon could have been obtained.. . Our space forbids us to follow our author in his spirited and admirable sketch of Lord Cobham's character and trial. We agree in all that he says, except that here again we think him unfair upon Henry. The character, indeed, of this remarkable man is so full of interest, that we should gladly be persuaded, with him, to adopt the belief that Cobham had nothing whatever to do with the insurrection, or alleged insurrection, in
Our se sketch he says, es caracter, inuld gladly nothing
S: Giles's Fields; nor was even engaged in any hostile designs against the Government, at the time of his final capture. We think, however, that even if this were not so, it would be no great wonder if the bitter persecution which they had undergone had driven him and the rest of the Lollards to seek redress by means of a change of dynasty. Whether they did so, or were merely suspected because it was thought probable that they might do so, is a question which, probably, must for ever remain in some degree of mystery.
We have already intimated our intention to draw some conclusions from the view we have taken of the great movement under Wycliffe, in reference to present times. Without defending or justifying all his proceedings, we contend that those proceedings were not necessarily schismatical. If we are right in our belief that he did not assume, nor advise his followers to assume, the power of conferring holy orders—if his preachers were merely itinerant priests, claiming their privilege as such, even though irregularly, to do that without Papal sanction which the Popes had authorized the mendicant orders to do, to preach in any parish without the consent of the parish priest; it is, at least, worthy of consideration, how far the necessity of the times might justify such a course. We think he did not teach his converts to separate themselves from the communion of the Church. Himself a parish priest, and a Doctor in Theology, he strove to recall the Church to what he termed more Catholic' belief than that which he found prevailing. And in this struggle he lived and died, officiating in his own parish church according to the established ritual at the moment that he received his final summons.
Does not this hold out some example, and some encouragement to those who, at this very time, as we hear, are yearning after better things than they have found existing among them, and to ourselves in regard to the course which we should indicate to them? Instead of exhorting them to set up, wherever they can, Protestant communities,' ought we not rather to persuade them to put forth, wherever they can, the truth as they have found it, and to endure hardness as good soldiers of the cross, if need be, within the pale of that communion in which they are providentially placed ? There are some parts of Christendom, as we well know, such as the Roman and Neapolitan, and probably the Austrian States, in which even so much as this would be impossible. Nor ought we, perhaps, to exhort the people of those countries to undertake a course which would expose them to persecutions from which we ourselves, through the good providence of God, are happily exempt. Nor is Wycliffe's example to be pleaded with them; for persecution
of carrying those with and the presticular Cathostly ihal their viewhom mi
had been so little practised in England before his time that the law, if it existed, was almost a dead letter.
But there are other countries, such as Piedmont and France, and some parts of Germany, where any deviation from the established religion would, indeed, expose those who should adopt it to the most trying circumstances, but where it can hardly be said that such a course would be impracticable. We do not mean to recommend any particular course, such as that of itinerant preaching, and the like, which must be left to the discretion of those with whom must rest the final responsibility of carrying out their views in practice. But we contend very earnestly that it is our duty, as members of the Reformed Catholic Church in England, to exhort them not to quit the Church of their country, but by their prayers, their writings, their sermons, and, if possible, by still more positive and open acts of reformation, to endeavour to restore it to a greater approximation towards a primitive and scriptural model.
Nor is it only in regard to foreign Churches that the inferences apply which, we think, may be drawn from the times we have been considering.
In speaking of the system of itinerant preaching adopted by the Lollards, M. Merle d’Aubigné very justly observes, that “This • kind of preaching always re-appears in England in the grand
epochs of the Church, (p. 103.) It did so in the time of Wycliffe; it did so during the Reformation, when preachers were licensed for the purpose; it did so in the last century, under Wesley and Whitfield. When shall it again re-appear, and to what direction shall the movement tend ?
There are not wanting some marked points of similarity between the present system of the Wesleyan Methodists and that of the mendicant friars. The “friar limitour,' described by Chaucer, was one of a class whose office or privilege it was to preach and collect alms within certain limits or bounds, as the circuit preachers' now. Whether the system of collecting money adopted by these preachers be truly represented as having something of the same kind, we would be careful of asserting, lest we should be guilty of judging those whom we are not set to judge. But that there is on one point a great similarity in doctrine between them and the earlier Franciscans will hardly be disputed, if we can believe the following extract to have been written, not by a modern Wesleyan, but by a devotee of the sect of S. Francis, in describing the life of his founder :-Being one day in prayer at this her• mitage, and calling to mind all his years in the bitterness of « his soul, he became assured, by means of a new effusion of the • Holy Spirit, by which he felt himself filled with joy, that his
he same ment he mance, wh by meangthat he had
sins were pardoned. It cannot be doubted but that he had • already received the remission of his sins by means of a lively * grief, and of the sacrament of penance, when he was converted. • But in this happy moment he knew it for certain by revela• tion, and at the same time understood that the remission was • total, that is, that all the punishments due to his sins were remitted him."
Those who are conversant with the practical working of Wesleyanism, and, perhaps, of some other systems among ourselves, uniformly testify to this very same self-delusion as lying at the root of the whole superstructure. Believing beforehand that they must expect some sensible assurance of the pardon of their sins, they give way to profligate habits, as if to magnify the future gift of grace; and when they think they have received it, they despise all ordinary means of grace, and often, alas ! end by being hypocrites, when they began only as enthusiasts. Far be it from us to say that this is always the case. Far be it from us to deny that there are many good, and humble, and pious Christians among them; but we are describing the system as it affects the sinful and unreclaimed portion of the community, and if it sometimes stops them in a career of vice, we fear it often leads them into spiritual pride, and sometimes to a very dangerous downfall.
And what is the remedy? It will not be denied, that if we call ourselves the Catholic Church in England, we oblige ourselves by that title to attempt a remedy for those whose souls we claim as a portion of the heritage of our Church. We believe it has been a practice pretty common among the clergy, where railway works have been going on through their parishes or in their neighbourhood, to hire Scripture Readers to read to, and instruct the men upon the works. We have heard, too, of railway chaplains in holy orders being sometimes engaged ; but can the clergy delegate such functions as these ? Are not these precisely those occasions on which they themselves are bound by their ordination vows to preach the Gospel, and, if need be, in the open air? And if on such occasions, why not on others of a similar kind? We well remember, on that memorable 10th of April, when the Chartist-gathering took place on Kennington Coinmon, to have been haunted all the day with a sort of vision of some white-robed bishop, with his assistant priests, advancing towards them in venerable order, and placing his life in their hands, while he preached to them of One, his Master and theirs, in whose sight all are equal, and who alone can right the wrongs and inequalities of life! And it is not
Vita di San Francisco, ut supra, p. 32. (A.D. 1209.)
England and France under the House of Lancaster.
without consideration that we say this, nor without being prepared, if need be, or occasion arise, to point out the system on which we think such preaching might be successfully conducted.
To return, then, to the sentiment that this kind of preach. ing always re-appears in England in great epochs of the • Church;' the only question that remains is, whether such an epoch have now arrived. We believe that it has. We believe that the time only awaits the men; and that the men will be found, when some one—if possible, a Bishop-shall shew the way. Exoriare aliquis!