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be permitted, which breathes through it, the mingled tenderness and majesty, the Saxon simplicity, the preternatural grandeur, unequalled, unapproached, in the attempted improvements of modern scholars, all bear the impress of the mind of one man, William Tyndale."
Shortly after the completion of the New Testament, Tyndale took refuge in Marburg, and was soon converted to a type of Protestant theology much more advanced than that which he had imbibed from Luther at Wittenburg. Rejecting not only Luther's doctrine of consubstantiation, but also Calvin's theory of a spiritual presence in the Sacrament, he followed the Swiss reformer Zwingli in regarding the Lord's Supper merely as a commemorative rite. In October, 1528, he issued his most important original work, The Obedience of a Christian Man, printed by Hans Luft at Marburg; it insists upon the supremacy of the civil power and the paramount authority of Scripture in matters of doctrine. Unfortunately, Tyndale undid the good impression which this produced upon Henry by an unsparing denunciation of the divorce proceedings in a work of some pith called The Practyse of Prelates (1530). It is grievous to find two such men as Tyndale and Sir Thomas More engaged during these years in a literary controversy which degenerated into an interchange of the most scurrilous personalities. More defended the practice and paramount authority of the Church with the skill of an accomplished logician. Tyndale replied in a sharp and satirical Answere (1531), appealing to Scripture with an ultimate resort to individual judgment. No controversial issue could possibly be reached from such divergent premises; in the meantime Tyndale, first at Hamburg and then at Antwerp, was proceeding steadily with his translation of the Pentateuch, which was issued at Marburg by Hans Luft, January, 1530, 8vo. The only perfect copy of this edition is in the British Museum, as is also a copy of his unique version of Jonah, Antwerp, 1531. His trans
lation of Joshua, Kings, and Chronicles was not printed separately, but was left in MS. and incorporated in Matthew's Bible. This was done through the agency of John Rogers, the first martyr of the Marian persecution who came out to Antwerp as English chaplain, and was converted by Tyndale. From the end of 1531, Tyndale's position in Antwerp had been a very precarious one. Not only had Henry VIII. demanded his surrender from the Emperor on a charge of spreading sedition in England, but several priests and ecclesiastical embassies were plotting against him. As long as he remained in the English merchant's house under the protection of a sympathiser named Thomas Poyntz, Tyndale was comparatively secure. Unhappily in May, 1535, he was decoyed from this refuge by a fanatical papist, betrayed to the Emperor's agents, and imprisoned in the Belgian Bastile, the castle of Vilvorde. Great efforts were made to procure his liberation; nevertheless, in the early summer of 1536 he was brought to trial for heresy, condemned, degraded, and sentenced to death. On October 6th he was bound by an iron chain to a stake, surrounded by faggots, strangled, and then burnt.
No one had dared to print Wyclif's Bible-the knowledge of which was consequently much restricted. Tyndale, no doubt, used it, and also its original, the Vulgate; but on the whole his translation is an independent one, based upon the Hebrew and Greek texts. More important still is the originality of his language and his happy collocation of phrases. His achievement fixed the type in accordance with which later labourers worked. His influence decided that our Bible should be popular rather than literary in its appeal. He felt by a happy instinct the potential affinity between Hebrew and English idioms, and enriched our language and thought for ever with the characteristics of the Semitic mind. The labours of the next seventy-five years were devoted to improving his work in detail.
His Bible had been prohibited in England, though large
numbers of ill-printed copies were steadily imported from Antwerp, and meanwhile a decree had been passed by Convocation to the effect that the Bible should be printed in the vulgar tongue (1533). As the outcome of this, the first complete English Bible, a translation from the German and Latin, with aid from Tyndale's English, was issued in October, 1535. This did not prove wholly satisfactory, and in 1537 another version made up of Tyndale and Coverdale was published by the King's "lycense." This was known as Matthew's Bible. And here we must interrupt for a brief space our story of the English Bible.
John Foxe (1516-1587) was born at Boston, in Lincolnshire, and was educated at Magdalen College School, subsequently becoming a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford; but he retired from his Fellowship in 1545 as, being already a fervent Protestant, he objected both to the enforcement of celibacy and to the obligation of taking Holy Orders. In 1547 he married a lady who, like himself, was then in the household of the Lucys of Warwickshire, and soon after this he was appointed to be tutor to the sons of the unfortunate Earl of Surrey. During this period he read largely in Church history, with a view to an elaborate defence of the Protestant position. In 1550 he was ordained deacon by Bishop Ridley, but on the accession of Mary he fled to Strasburg, where he printed in Latin the earliest draft of a fragment of his great Martyrology. A little later, at Frankfort, he became an adherent of John Knox, and later we find him at Basle, reduced to his last penny, and full of gratitude to Grindal for a gift of two crowns. Then his fortunes mended slightly, and he became a reader for the press of a Protestant printer, Johannes Oporinus; yet he seems to have had a considerable amount of time for his own studies, and when the accounts of the terrible burning of Protestants reached him he set to work immediately upon a narrative of the
Marian persecutions. In the autumn of 1559 he returned to England, where he was now ordained priest. In 1563, from the press of his friend John Day, he published his great work with a title borrowed from the Actiones et Monimenta Martyrum, printed at Geneva some two or three years previously. The success of the undertaking was immediate (four editions of the Actes and Monuments appeared during his lifetime), and through Bishop Jewel Foxe received a prebend in Salisbury Cathedral as a reward.. But Foxe still remained poor; vainly he communicated to Elizabeth in very complimentary terms his intention of writing her Life. When she was excommunicated in 1570, he preached a strong anti-Catholic sermon at St. Paul's Cross. He next wrote a treatise on the legal settlement of the Church of England, and edited for Archbishop Parker an Anglo-Saxon text of the Gospel. In 1572 he showed his fidelity to his old patron by attending the Duke of Norfolk on the scaffold, and three years later he showed more courage in protesting against the burning of two Dutch Anabaptists. His obstinate refusal to adopt the surplice effectually prevented his promotion in the Church; but he lived on till April, 1587, when he was buried in St. Giles's, Cripplegate, where his monument may still be seen. Though extremely devout, and illprovided with worldly goods, he seems to have been merry, sanguine in disposition, and kind-hearted and charitable to the poor. Though grave and bearded, he had more benevolence in his look than seems habitual to the grim Protestant divines of that age. In his dress he is said to have been shabby and even slovenly.
In its enlarged form of 1570 Foxe's work contains more than twice as much matter as Gibbon's Decline and Fall. When it is remembered that he wrote the book in exile with the scantiest facilities for reference to works of learning, the reader is impressed not only by the amazing
industry, but also, and scarcely less, by the historical respectability of the work. Foxe did not belong to the class of philosophical historians. He did not try to hold the balance between contending sides. He was an out-andout Protestant, and he wrote his book in a polemical spirit and for a polemical purpose. It was intended as an attack upon the Popish system, the errors and intolerant spirit of which he felt it his bounden duty to expose. Hence, especially in his marginal notes, he uses expressions such as modern taste would object to.
Yet, after the Bible, it is probable that Foxe's Martyrs moulded English Protestantism more than any single book. The first three Archbishops, Parker, Grindal, and Whitgift, cordially approved it, and Convocation ordered it to be set up in the parish churches and halls of the universities. Its influence in keeping alive Protestant feeling in Britain and North America is too well known to be disputed. It has passed through the ordeal of innumerable abridgments; it may still be seen, as Macaulay saw it, chained to the reading desk in the village church. Its lurid drawings of racks and faggots have given nightmares to generation upon generation of Protestant children.
The process of evolution to which we owe the English Book of Common Prayer was more rapid than that by which our Authorised Version of the Bible gradually assumed its final form. The originality of the forms of worship which go to inspire the English liturgy is not much greater than that of the subject-matter of our Bible. The outlines of the service are an inheritance which has come down to us from the remote ages of Christianity. During the Middle Ages a complicated system of ritual books had come into existence, and it was to the abbreviation and careful editing of these rather than to the origination of any novelties that reformers such as