Page:An Academic Sketch.djvu/27

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
The Romanes Lecture 1892

great national movement under Henry VIII, vivid, though to a great extent latent, religious influences were at work; and of these influences on the reforming side, not the greater part only, but almost the whole belong to Cambridge. Except the influences of Jewell, and of Nowell, Oxford did not, I believe, contribute a single name that can be quoted to the promotion of the movement. The three famous prelates, who have been monumentally commemorated in Oxford for reasons other than academic, were Cambridge men. The Elizabethan Bishops, generally, were Cambridge men. A student of Cambridge denounced the indulgences of Leo X in 1517, the same year with Luther. Bilney, another genuine Reformer; and Tyndale, whom we gratefully remember for his labours in the formation of the English Bible, found refuge in Cambridge, at least for a period, when driven from Oxford. Every Archbishop of Canterbury, between Warham and Abbot, excepting Pole, was a Cambridge man.

But we are not to suppose that Edwardian or Elizabethan bishops occupied the same hegemonic position with regard to the religious movement in England, as was held by Luther and Melanchthon, by Calvin and Zwinglius, and even by others, second to these in fame, on the continent of Europe. From whatever cause, possibly from the strong infusion of political and secular ingredients, the religious movement of England was, in the dominant circles, comparatively a feeble one. We may take, as specimens of the laity, Cromwell and Somerset; strong men, but men to whose strength little was contributed by religion. Within the eccle-