Page:History of England (Froude) Vol 2.djvu/499

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1536.]
479
PROSPECTS OF THE REFORMATION.

The saying and singing of mass, matins, and evensong, was but roaring, howling, whistling, mumming, conjuring, and juggling,' and 'the playing of the organs a foolish vanity.' It was enough for a man to believe what was written in the Gospel—Christ's blood was shed for man's redemption, let every man believe in Christ and repent of his sins. Fin ally, as a special charge against Cromwell, the Convocation declared that these heresies were not only taught by word of mouth, but were set out in books which were printed and published cum privilegio, under the apparent sanction of the Crown.

Thus were the two parties face to face, and the King had either to make his choice between them, or with Cromwell's help to coerce them both into moderation. The modern reader may imagine that he should have left both alone, have allowed opinion to correct opinion, and truth to win its own victory. But this 'remedy for controversy,' so easy now, was then impossible—it

because he, not being able, as he said, to contain, though he could not be suffered by the laws of man, saw he might do it lawfully by the laws of God; and for the avoiding of more inconvenience, which before he was provoked unto, he did thus, having confidence in you that this act should not be anything prejudicial unto him.'—MS. State Paper Office, temp. Henry VIII., second series, vol. xxxv.

Cromwell acquiesced in the reasonableness of the abbot's proceeding; he wrote to tell him 'to use his remedy,' but to avoid, as far as possible, creating a scandal.—MS. ibid. vol. xlvi.

The Government, however, found generally a difficulty in knowing what to resolve in such cases. The King's first declaration was a reasonable one, that all clergy who had taken wives should forfeit their orders, 'and be had and reputed as lay persons to all purposes and intents.'—Royal Proclamation: Wilkins's Concilia, vol. iii. p. 776.