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more hereafter) with his own prefixed letters of recommendation, had his majesty not been a thorough Calvinist: nor would he, just before the agonies of death came upon him, have set his seal, as he did, to the doctrine of election, had not that doctrine been an essential and predominant article of his faith. “ Lord God (said the royal saint, a little before he expired), deliver me out of this miserable and wretched life, and take me among thy chosen (h).”
I unwillingly descend from one of the most wonderful and valuable princes that ever adorned a throne, to the meanest and most rancorous Arminian priest that ever disgraced a surplice. How extreme, how immense the transition, from king Edward VI. to Mr. Walter Sellon! But I must let the reader see, in what way this factor for Methodism pretends to account for the Calvinistic measures of king Edward's administration. Even thus: “ Some rigid Calvinists in power had imposed upon that good young king, and made use of his authority to impose their notions upon the church (Sell. p. 53).” A certain sort of people stand in particular need of good memories. Mr. Sellon's forsakes him in the very next page; where the “ some rigid Calvinists” are dwindled into one. “ Up starts rigid Ponet, and gets poor young king Edward, whom he had brought to his lure, to command all schoolmasters within his dominions to teach the youth this catechism (ibid. p. 54).” What is this, but calling “poor young king Edward” a poor young fool ? An insi. nuation as false and unjust to the real character of that extraordinary prince, as I should be guilty of, were I to insinuate that Mr. Sellon is a man of sense, learning, and good manners. But supposing we should, for a moment, admit (contrary to all fact and truth), that the “ poor young king” was in
() Burnet's History of the Reformation, vol. ii. p. 212.
deed a flexible piece of tape, which Ponet, bishop of Winchester, could easily twist round his finger at pleasure; yet, can it be imagined, that Ponet was an absolute monopolizer of the tape royal ? Was he the only haberdasher who made property of the said tape ? Could not a soul beside come in for a yard or two? Where (for instance) were Cranmer, and Ridley, and Hooper, and Latimer? Was it possible, that a transaction of such consequence to the church of England, as the public sanction of Ponet's catechism, could take effect, without the participation and concurrence of the other English bishops, and of the Convocation, and of the king's council itself? Every reasonable man will say no : besides, however liable to imposition “poor young king” Edward may be represented, by the Arminians of the present age, yet, surely, his majesty's next successor but one (under whom that same catechism was revived, and published with enlargements, by Dr. Nowell, dean of London) cannot be thought to have been very soft and pliable: but, I dare say, Mr. Sellon, by way of answer to this remark, will content himself with crying out, poor young queen Elizabeth!
King Edward was by no means that ductile, undiscerning prince, for which Mr. Sellon's cause requires him to pass. As this defamer, under the impulse of his inspirer, Mr. Wesley, has thought proper to fasten this obliquity on that king's memory, I shall give a short summary of his character, drawn by the best authorities; and the rather, as Edward's reputation is very closely interwoven with the credit of the church of England, which chiefly owes her present purity and excellence to the pious and paternal authority of that young, but most respectable Josiah.
Bishop Latimer had the honour to know him well; and no man was ever less prone to flatter, than that horfest, unpolished prelate.
“ Blessed (said he)
is the land, where there is a noble king; where kings be no banqueters, no players, and where they spend not their time in hunting and hawking. And when had the king's majesty a council, that took more pains, both night and day, for the setting forth of God's word, and profit of the commonwealth? And yet there be some wicked people that will say (and there are still some wicked pelagians who continue to say), Tush, this gear will not tarry; it is but my lord Protector's and my lord of Canterbury's doing: the king is a child, and he knoweth not of it. Jesu, have mercy! how like are we Englishmen to the Jews, ever stubborn, stiffnecked, and walking in bye ways! Have not we a noble king? Was there ever king so noble, so godly brought up, with so noble counsellors, so excellent and well learned schoolmasters? I will tell you this, and speak it even as I think; his majesty hath more godly wit and understanding, more learning and knowledge, at this age, than twenty of his progenitors, that I could name, had at any time of their life (©).”
Bishop John Bale, the Antiquarian, could also speak of the king upon personal knowledge; and his testimony is this: “He is abundantly replenished with the most gracious gifts of God; especially, with all kinds of good learning, far above all his progenitors, kings of this imperial region. The childhood of youth is not in him to be reproved ; for so might king Josiah have been reproved, who began his reign in the eighth year of his age.” The occasion of Bale thus vindicating king Edward, was the petulance of one whom he styles “ a frantic papist of Hampshire," who had insolently termed his majesty, “ a poor child :" which was much the same with Mr. Sellon's contemptuous language of,
poor young king Edward.” Mr. Strype, to whom
(i) Latimer's Sermons, vol. i. p. 89, 90. octavo, 1758.
I am indebted for the above quotation from Bale, goes on:
“ Then he (i. e. Bale) comes closer to this papist, so blasphemously reporting the noble and worthy king Edward, then in the fifteenth year of his age, and the fifth of his reign.” Bale added, “ His (majesty's) worthy education in liberal letters, and godly virtues, and his natural aptness in retaining of the same, plenteously declared him to be no poor child, but a manifest Solomon in princely wisdom (k).” - Even bishop Burnet offers the following chaplet at Edward's tomb: “ Thus died king Edward VI. that incomparable young prince. He was then in the sixteenth year of his age, and was counted the wonder of that time. He was not only learned in the tongues, and other liberal sciences, but knew well the state of his kingdom. He kept a book, in which he wrote the characters that were given him of all the chief men of the nation, all the judges, lord-lieutenants, and justices of the peace, England; in it he had marked down their way of living, and their zeal for religion. He had studied the matter of the mint, with the exchange and value of money, so that he understood it well, as appears by his journal. He also understood fortification, and designed well. He knew all the harbours and ports, both of his own dominions, and of France and Scotland; and how much water they had, and wbat was the way of coming into them. He had acquired great knowledge in foreign affairs, so that he talked with the ambassadors about them, in such a manner, that they (viz. the foreign ambassadors) filled all the world with the highest opinion of him that was possible; which appears in most of the histories of that age. quickness of apprehension ; and, being mistrustful of his memory, used to take notes of almost every
He had great
(k) See Strype's Eccles. Memor. vol. ii. p. 377, 378.
thing he heard. He wrote these, first, in Greek characters, that those about him might not understand them: and, afterwards, wrote them out in his journal, He had a copy brought him of every thing that passed in council: which he put in a chest, and kept the key of that always himself. In a word, the natural and acquired perfections of his mind were wonderful. But his virtues and true piety were yet more extraordinary (1).”
Mountagu, bishop of Winchester, in his Preface to the Works of king James I. makes very observable mention of Edward, considered even as a writer. “ Edward the Sixt, though his dayes were so short, as he could not give full proofe of those singular parts that were in him; yet he wrote divers epistles and orations, both in Greek and Latin. He wrote a treatise de fide, to the duke of Somerset. He wrote an history of his owne time. Which are all yet extant, under his owne hand, in the king's library, as Mr. Patrick Young, his majestie's learned Bibliothecarius, hath showed me. And, which is not to bee forgotten, so diligent an hearer of sermons was that sweet prince, that the notes of the most of the sermons he heard, are yet to be seene, under his own hand; with the preacher's name, the time, and the place, and all other circumstances (m).”
It were endless, to adduce the praises which have been deservedly accumulated on this most able and most amiable monarch. But I must not overpass the character given of him by Jerom Cardan, the famous Italian physician, who, the year preceding king Edward's death, spent some months in England. That foreigner, amidst all his acknowledged oddities, was still a person of very extraordinary genius and learning; so that his ability, to judge of
(7) Burnet's Hist of the Reform. vol. ii. p. 212. & alibi. (m) Bp. Mount. u. 8. edit. 1616.