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This created a vast distraction in the country: some conformed to the Interim; but the major part were firm to their principles, and were turned out of their livings for disobedience. Those who complied were for the most part Lutherans, and carried the name of Adiaphorists, from the Greek word, that signifies, things indifferent. But the rest of the reformed were for shaking off all the relics of Popery, with the hazard of all that was dear to them in the world; particularly at Zurich, where Hooper was, they were zealous against any compliance with the Interim, or the use of the old rites prescribed by it.
With these principles Hooper came over to England, and applied himself to preaching and explaining the Scriptures to the people; he was in the pulpit almost every day in the week, and his sermons were so popular, that all the churches were crowded where he preached. His fame soon reached the court, where Dr. Poynet and he were appointed to preach all the Lent sermons. He was also sent to preach throughout the counties of Kent and Essex, in order to reconcile the people to the Reformation. At length, in the month of July 1550, he was appointed bishop of Gloucester by letters patent from the king, but declined it for two reasons,
1. Because of the form of the oath, which he calls foul and impious. And,
2. By reason of the Aaronical habits.
By the oath is meant the oath of supremacy,* which was in this form, “By God, by the saints, and by the Holy Ghost;" which Hooper thought impious, because God only ought to be appealed to in an oath, forasmuch as he only knows the thoughts of men. The young king being convinced of this, struck out the words with his own pen.†
But the scruple about the habits was not so easily got over. The king and council were inclined to dispense with them; but Ridley and the rest of the bishops that had worn the habits were of another mind, saying, “the thing was indifferent, and therefore the law ought to be obeyed."--This had such an influence upon the council, that all Hooper's objections were afterward heard with great prejudice. It discovered but an ill spirit in the reformers, not to suffer Hooper to decline his bishoprick, nor yet to dispense with those habits which he thought unlawful. Hooper was as much for the clergy's wearing a decent and distinct habit from the laity, as Ridley, but prayed to be excused from the old symbolizing Popish garments,
* Mr. Fuller, when he wrote his Church History, conceived that the oath bishop Hooper refused, was that of canonical obedience, but when he published his Wor thies he was convinced of bis mistake, and corrected it. Neal's Review.-ED.
Hist. Ref. vol. 3. p. 203.
1. Because they had no countenance in Scripture or primitive antiquity.
2. Because they were the inventions of antichrist, and were introduced into the church in the corruptest ages of Christianity.
3. Because they had been abused to superstition and idolatry, particularly in the pompous celebration of the mass; and therefore were not indifferent.
4. To continue the use of these garments, was, in his opinion, to symbolize with antichrist, to mislead the people, and was inconsistent with the simplicity of the Christian religion.
Cranmer was inclined to yield to these reasons; but Ridley and Goodrick insisted strongly on obedience to the laws, affirming, that“ in matters of rites and ceremonies, custom was a good argument for the continuance of those that had been long used.” But this argument seemed to go too far, because it might be used for the retaining all those other rites and ceremonies of Popery which had been long used in the church, but were now abolished by these reformers themselves.
Hooper, not willing to rely upon his own judgment, wrote to Bucerat Cambridge, and to Peter Martyr at Oxford, who gave their opinions against the habits, as inventions of antichrist, and wished them removed; as will appear more fully in the reign of queen Elizabeth ;* but were of opinion, since the bishops were so resolute, that he might acquiesce in the use of them for a time till they were taken away by law: and the rather, because the Reformation was in its infancy, and it would give occasion of triumph to the common enemy to see the reformers at variance among themselves. The divines of Switzerland and Geneva were of the same mind, being unwilling that a clergyman of so much learning and piety, and so zealous for the Reformation, as Hooper was, should be
• Collyer's Eccles. Hist. vol. 2. p. 297,
silenced; they therefore advised him to comply for the present that he might be the more capable by his authority and influence in the church, to get them laid aside. But these reasons not satisfying Hooper's conscience, he continued to refuse for above nine months.
The governing prelates being provoked with his stiffness, resolved not to suffer such a precedent of disobedience to the ecclesiastical laws to go unpunished. Hooper must be a bishop, and must be consecrated in the manner others had been, and wear the habits the law appointed; and to force him to comply he was served with an order of council first to silence him, and then to confine him to his house. The doctor thought this usage very severe: to miss his promotion was no disappointment, but to be persecuted about clothes, by men of the same faith with himself, and to lose his liberty because he would not be a bishop, and in the fashion, this says Mr. Collyer, was possibly more than he well understood. After some time Hooper was comunitted to the custody of Cranmer, who not being able to bring him to conformity, complained to the council, who thereupon ordered him into the Fleet, where he continued some morths to the reproach of the reformers. At length he laid his case before the earl of Warwick, who by the king's own motion wrote to the archbishop, to dispense with the habit at bis consecration : but Cranmer alleged the danger of a præmunire; upon which a letter was sent from the king and council to the archbishop and other bishops to be concerned in the consecration, warranting them to dispense with the garments, and discharging them of all manner of dangers, penalties, and forfeitures, they might incur any manner of way by omitting the same : but though this letter was dated August the 5th, yet such was the reluctance of Cranmer and Ridley, that Hooper was not consecrated till March following; in which time, says bishop Burnet,* the matter was in some sort compromised; Hooper consenting to be robed in bis habits.at his consecration, when he preached before the king, or in his cathedral or in any public place, but to be dispensed with at other times
Accordingly,t being appointed to preach before the king, * Hist. Ref. vol. 2. p. 166.
+ Mr. Neal in his Review, adds from Mr. Fox, that “ Bishop Hooper was constrained to appear once in public attired after the manner of other bishops, wbich unless he had done, some ibivk there was a contrivance to take away his life ; for his servant told me (says Mr. Fox), that the duke of Suffolk sent sucli word to Hooper, who was not himself ignorant of what was doing."--Ed.
he came forth, says Mr. Fox, like a new player on the stage: his upper garment was a long scarlet chymere down to the foot, and under that a white linen roehet that covered all his shoulders, and a four-square cap on his head; but he took it patiently for the public profit of the church. * After this Hooper retired to his diocess, and preached sometimes two or three times a day, to crowds of people that hungered for the word of life: he was impartial and zealous in the faithful discharge of every branch of his episcopal character, even beyond his strength, and was hintself a pattern of what he taught to others.
In the king's letter to the archbishop, Hooper is said to be a divine of great knowledge, deep judgment; and long study, both in the Scriptures and profane learning; as also, a person of good discretion, ready utterance, and of an honest life; but all these qualifications must be buried in silence and a prison, at a time when there was a famine of the word, rather than the above-mentioned uniformity in dress be dispensed with.
Most of the reforming clergy were with Hooper in this controversy ; several that had submitted to the habits in the late reign laid them aside in this, as the bishops Latimer ånd Coverdale, Dr. Taylor, Philpot, Bradford, and others, who laid down their lives for the Protestant faith.+ In some ordinations, Cranmer and Ridley dispensed with the habits; for Mr. Thomas Sampson, parson of Bread-street, London, afterward one of the heads of the Puritanis, and successively dean of Chichester and Christ-church, in a letter to secretary Cecil, writes, “that at his ordination by Cranmer and Ridley, he excepted against the apparel, and was nevertheless permitted and admitted." If they had not done so on some occasions, there would not have been elergymen to support the Reformation. Bishop Burnet says, they saw their error, and designed to procure an act to abolish the Popish garments, but whether this were so or not, it is certain that in the next reign they repented their eonduet; for when Ridley was in prison he wrote a letter to Hooper, in which he calls him “ his dear brother and fellow-elder in Christ;" and desires a mutual forgiveness and reconciliation. And when he and Cranmer came to be
* Fuller's Abel Redivivus, p. 173.
+ Pierce's Vind. p. 31–33. # Strype's Life of Cranmer, p. 192.
degraded, they smiled at the ridiculous attire with which they were clothed, and declared they had long since laid aside all regards to that pageantry.*
This behaviour of the bishops towards the king's naturalborn subjects was the more extraordinary, because a latitude was allowed to foreign Protestants to worship God after the manner of their country, without any regard to the Popish vestments : for this year a church of German refugees was established at St. Austin's in London, and erected into a corporation under the direction of John a Lasco, superintendant of all the foreign churches in London, with whom were joined four other ministers; and as a mark of favour three hundred and eighty of the congregation were made denizens of England. The preamble to the patent sets forth, that the German church made profession of pure and uncorrupted religion, and was instructed in truly, Christian and apostolical opinions and rites.In the patent which incorporates them there is the following clause:
Item, We command, and peremptorily enjoin, our lordmayor, aldermen, and magistrates, of the city of London, and their successors, with all archbishops, bishops, justices of the peace, and all officers and ministers whatsoever, that they permit the said superintendant and ministers to enjoy and exercise their own proper rites and ceremonies, and their own proper and peculiar ecclesiastical discipline, though differing from the rites and ceremonies used in our kingdom, without impediment, let, or disturbance; any law, proclamation, or injunction, heretofore published to the contrary notwithstanding."
John a Lasco was a Polander of noble birth; and, according to the words of the patent, a man very famous for learning, and for integrity of life and manners. He was in high esteem with the great Erasmus, who says, that he, though an old man, had profited much by his conversation. And Peter Martyr calls him his most learned patron. But he did not please the ruling prelates, because he took part with Hooper, and wrote against the Popish garments, and
* Bishop Maddox maintained, that the habits pat on those reformers were the Popisb habits, which was the ground of their dislike. Mr. Neal, in his Review, controverts the truth, and exposes the futility, of this distinction.-ED. + Barnet's Hist. Ref. in Records, vol. 2, No. 51.
Strype's Life of Crapmer, p. 239.