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the pope himself add to, or substract from, the articles of Catholic faith delivered to us by Christ through his apostles.
The reader having now before him a brief outline of the one undeviating rule by which the Catholic is assured of the divine essence of his religion, it follows that we should show him how the reformed creed, or rather creeds, was first established in England. We shall confine our remarks principally to this country, because the facts we shall adduce will be easier of detection, should we pervert or misrepresent any part of history. But first we must observe, that in the early ages of Christianity the use of letters was necessarily limited, because the art of printing being then unknown, the copying a work was a tedious process, and rendered it an impossibility to have the copies extensively multiplied. Still, however, there were, as we have shewn before, men in all ages and all nations skilled in the learned languages, and at all times ready to detect any innovation attempted to be made in the rule of faith delivered by the apostles. We must here also observe, that in no age whatever, that we are acquainted with, nor under any sovereign or state, were writers restrained from publishing their sentiments, and discussing theological questions, before the reign of our Henry the 8th. In the 15th century the art of printing was invented in Germany, and, according to our earliest writers, was introduced and first practised in England by Wm. Caxton, under the patronage of the abbot of Westminster. Other authorities say, that when printing made some noise in Europe, Thomas Boucher, archbishop of Canterbury, solicited Henry the 6th to use all possible means to procure a printing mould, as it was then called, to be brought into the kingdom. Here then we have the fact, that this new invention, so beneficial to the imparting of useful knowledge, but which has unhappily been employed in the circulation of fraud and falsehood, by which public opinion has been perverted, was encouraged by the Catholic clergy, who are so grossly misrepresented as studious to keep the people in darkness and ignorance. The introduction of this at once useful and hurtful art into England is placed about the year 1464, and, as is usual with all infant inventions, its progress was but slow during the first century. This brings us to the period of the reformation, as it is called, but which ought rather to be termed the deformation of religion.
Luther began to rail against the Catholic church about the year 1524; our eighth Harry threw off his spiritual subjection to the Catholic church about ten years after. One of the first ends the evangelical reformers made of the press was, to print an English translation of the new testament, which was followed by another of the old testament, but instead of preserving the original sense of the scripture, which the Catholic church had so carefully done during the long time of 1500 years, the edition by Tindall is stated to have contained no less than TWO THOUSAND corruptions. In the reign of James the 1st, the ministers of Lincoln diocess wrote a book against the CommonPrayer, which they delivered to his majesty on the 1st of December, 1606. "In an abridgment of this work," says Ward, in his England's Reformation, canto iv, "I find these following observations against it: First, that the Book of Common Prayer appointed such a translation "of the holy scriptures to be read in the church, as leaveth out of the
"text sundry words and sentences which were given of divine inspiration. pag. 14. It doth add both words and sentences to the text, to the chang"ing and obscuring of the meaning of the Holy Ghost. p. 15. Such a translation, as is in many places absurd, and such as no reasonable .sense can be made of. p. 16. In many places it perverteth the meaning of the Holy Ghost, by a false interpretation of the text. p. 17." Yet, notwithstanding these charges of errors, false translations and corruptions of scripture, the king and his bishops in the book of Canons, made in their convocation of 1603, and printed in 1704, compel every body under pain of excommunication to hold the said book of Common Prayer for true and good.-(See Can. 40.) Now we will here take leave to ask,” whether this does not resemble priestcraft and being priestridden much more than the rule of principle adopted and practised by the Catholic church? Such was the use made of the PRESS, by those who pretended to reform religion, and correct the supposed errors of what they termed Popery.
We have shewn that in the Catholic church, when any point was under examination, it was freely discussed and decided by the invariable rule of scripture and tradition. When Harry the eighth, however, took upon him to rule the church of England, he adopted a different plan to maintain his supremacy. By an act passed in the 25th year of his reign, it was made treason to call the king a heretic or schismatic. In the 31st and 34th of his reign, he was made independent of parliament; and, in the last mentioned year, an act was also passed, by which it was decreed, that " Nothing shall be taught or maintained contrary to the king's instructions. And if any spiritual person preach or maintain any "thing contrary to the king's instructions or determinations, made, or "TO BE made, and shall be thereof convicted, he shall for the first "offence recant, for the second abjure and bear a fagot, and for his "third shall be adjudged a heretic, and be burned, and lose all his goods "and chattels." Thus, by an unparalleled stretch of spiritual usurpation, the conscience of every individual in the realm was laid prostrate at the mercy of an inexorable despot; for had this new English pope, in the plenitude of his power, ordered the doctrine of the Alcoran to be preached one week and that of Judaism the next, all and every one of his subjects must have submitted to the same, or of course been liable to the penalties of this conscience-tyrannizing statute. Such was the change made by those who threw off what was called the yoke of the pope, who could lay no more upon their shoulders than the laws of the church permitted him; but here we have a king invested with a degree of infallibility hitherto unheard of, and the religious opinions and practices of his subjects were to be regulated by his sole will and pleasure. It was also made high treason to PRINT or publish any work against the spiritual supremacy of this monarch. Thus, when its free exercise became more necessary to discuss and vindicate the truth, this formidable instrument to detect error and encroachment was shackled and rendered useless in defence of truth.
Under Elizabeth the press was more strictly forbidden to the Catholics. It was made high treason for any one to PRINT or publish that the queen was a heretic, schismatic, tyrant, infidel or usurper. By the 25th, c. 1, entitled An Act to retain the queen's subjects in their due obedi
ence, amongst other restraints it was enacted, that if any person or persons, above the age of sixteen, "shall at any time after forty days next "at the end of this session of parliament, by PRINTING, writing, or "express words or speeches, advisedly or purposely practice, or go "about to move or persuade any of her majesty's subjects, or any other "within her highness' realms or dominions, to deny, withstand, or impugn her majesty's power and authority in cases ecclesiastical, united "and annexed to the imperial crown of this realm, &c. .... every such person so offending, and being thereof lawfully convicted, shall be "committed to prison, there to remain without bail or mainprize, until "they shall conform and yield themselves to come to some church, chapel, or usual place of common prayer," &c.
Such was the freedom of opinion in matters spiritual allowed in the golden days of good queen Bess, as they are generally termed by Protestants! The publishers of the present edition of Fox's Book of Martyrs have prefaced their work with a pretended representation of the tortures of the Inquisition; but they must be reminded that Elizabeth, who settled the reformed religion in this country, did it by means as unconstitutional, as barbarous, and as unjust, as any act that can be verified against the tribunal of the Inquisition; the bare mention of which makes a Protestant shudder, while his heart will feel elated at the name of the virgin queen Bess, of whose tyranny and despotism he is entirely ignorant, the Catholic. press having been shackled, and the Protestant press finding it more to its interest to keep the real character of Elizabeth from public view, that its supporters may be at more liberty to calumniate the Catholics. Be it known then that this queen Elizabeth was armed by her parliament with the most formidable and inquisitorial powers. She issued a commission called the high commission court, authorizing the members thereof to inquire, on the oath of the person accused, and on the oath of witnesses, of all heretical, erroneous, and dangerous opinions; of seditious books and libels against the queen, her magistrates and ministers; and to punish the offenders by spiritual censures, by fine, imprisonment, and torture. The jurisdiction of this court extended over the whole kingdom, and their power was independent of parliament. The punishments they inflicted were arbitrary, and their fines so heavy, as often to bring total ruin on those who had the misfortune to offend.-(See Hume, Neale's History of the Puritans, and other historians.) We have heard enough of the Star Chamber exactions under the Stuarts, but scarce a Protestant in the kingdom is acquainted with the cruel and diabolical transactions of Elizabeth and her ministers. Rymer says, "Whoever will compare the power given to "this tribunal with those of the Inquisition, which Philip II. endeavour"ed to establish in the Low Countries, will find that the chief difference between the two courts consisted in their names. One was the "court of inquisition, the other of high commission. In the first com"missions (see one in Strype's Grindal, App. 64) the power of interrogating the person upon oath was not expressly inserted; yet the judges always attempted it, because they were ordered to inquire by 65 all ways and means they could devise.' (Rym. xvi. 291. 564.) Let it not be thought, by the introducing this comparison that we intend to de
fend the abuses of the inquisition in Catholic countries, we condemn injustice wherever and by whomsoever committed, as a violation of the genuine principles of Christianity, but it is right that the Protestant part of the community should be informed by what means the reformed religion was first established in this country, as well as of the excesses of the inquisition and the imputed cruelties of Catholics.
It was under this system of terror, pain, and proscription, when the relater of truth was sure to lose his liberty, if he escaped the loss of limb, that Fox's work, bearing the title of Acts and Monuments, made its appearance in the English tongue, it having been originally compiled in the Latin language. This book was answered by father Parsons, in a work called The Three Conversions of England, about the year 1604; but in consequence of the restrictions of the press in this country, and the activity displayed by the pursuivants and informers against Popish books (for we should have said that all magistrates were at that time empowered to make domiciliary visits at any hour of the day or night in search of printed books in favour of Catholicism, and spies were encouraged to give information), the work of father Parsons was printed at St. Omer's, in Flanders, and could only be brought into this country by stealth, and then not without considerable danger to the owner. Under such peculiar circumstances, truth had no chance in its favour, and an author might write what he pleased against it without fear of detection. So it was with John Fox; he knew the peril that was suspended over the man who should have the temerity to engage in an exposure of his works; he knew the men whose cause he intended to promote, and he wrote with so little regard to truth that he actually recorded the deaths of individuals who were living at the very time his Acts and Monuments were put into circulation. In proof of this statement, Anthony Wood, the Oxford historian, and a Protestant, recites a remarkable story of one Grimwood being actually present in a church when the clergyman was describing, on the authority of Fox's Acts and Monuments, the circumstances of his pretended preternatural death, "his bowels, by the "judgment of God, falling out of his body in consequence." Grimwood in return, brought an action against the clergyman for defamation. (Athen. Oxon. Hen. Morgan.)
When the work was first translated into English, it filled three folio volumes, and in the third was inserted a new calendar of Protestant saints, in the room of the one in use amongst Catholics. Although our review will be confined to the examination of this work, as published by the present editors, though, by the by, in its modern shape, we believe John Fox would hardly be able to recognize the book sent forth in his name, yet we cannot omit extracting the opinion of father Parsons from his answer to the Protestant martyrologist. In the 2nd chapter of the second part of his Three Conversions, Parsons writes thus : He that "will consider the proportion of John Fox's book of Acts and Monuments in the latter edition, he will find it the greatest perhaps in vo"lume that ever was put forth in our English tongue; and the falsest "in substance, without perhaps, that ever was published in any tongue. "The volume consisteth of about a thousand leaves of the largest paper "that lightly hath been seen, and every leaf containeth four great columns; and yet, if you consider how many leaves of those thousand
"he hath spent in deduction of the whole church; his or ours, and "the whole ecclesiastical story thereof, for the first thousand years after Christ, they are by his own account but three score and four, to wit, scarce the thirtieth part of that he bestoweth in the last five hundred years.' And again, in the Relation of a trial before the king of France between the bishop of Evreux and the lord Plessis Mornay, p. 58, the same author writes: "I have had occasion these months past to peruse a great part of his last edition of Acts and Monuments, printed the fifth time in "1596, and do find it so stuffed with all kinds of falsehood, and deceit"ful manner of telling tales, as I could never, truly, have believed it, if "I had not found it by my own experience. And I do persuade myself "fully, notwithstanding all his hypocritical words, and protestations, "which are more, and oftener repeated by him, than in all the writers together that I have read in my life, that there is scarce one whole story "in that large volume, told by himself, except when he relateth other "men's words out of records, and thereby is bound to the formality
thereof, but that it is falsified and perverted one way or other, either in "the beginning, middle, or end, by adding, cutting off, concealing, false "translating, wrong citing, or cunning juggling and falsification, which "I do not speak for any tooth against the man, that is dead, and whom I never knew, but in respect of truth only, and of so many deceived "souls as are in danger to perish by his deluding them. Nor when I speak of Master Fox's falsehoods, do I make account of any errors or cc oversights, though never so gross, that are found in him, as to reckon sonie martyrs, that were alive at the making of his book; for this he "excuseth in his later edition, in that he was deceived by false informa"tions: nor do I urge, that others are made calendar martyrs by him, "whom he cannot gainsay, but that they were malefactors, and some of "them either mad or denied Christ himself, and placeth he them in his "calendar for saints. These escaped, I say, are not here to be urged "by me now, but rather in another place. The points that I for the present accuse him of, are wilful corruptions and falsifications that can"not be excused, as many other things, and for example sake, when he "reciteth any point in controversy of the Catholic doctrines, he putteth "it down commonly in plain contrary words and sense, to that which "he must needs know that they hold and teach; for so much as their public books are extant in every man's hands to testify the same.'
Parsons, however, does not confine himself to mere assertions, but in "his Examination of the second part of Fox's Calendar," he furnishes ample proofs of the martyrologist's want of veracity. The 19th chapter of this part is entitled "A note of more than a HUNDRED AND TWENTY LIES "uttered by John Fox IN LESS than three LEAVES of his Acts and Monu"ments, and this in one kind only of perfidious dealings, in falsifying the opinions of Catholics, touching divers chief points of their religion." the beginning of this chapter, F. Parsons observes, "Albeit there may be many sorts of lying and false dealing to be noted in John Fox, yet are "two most notorious in general, each of them containing sundry mem"bers and branches under them. The first may be called historical, "when in his narrations he purposely uttereth falsehood, for when he doth "it by error, or false information concerning any fact, as when for example in his former edition, he putteth down John Marbeck, single