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In this important reign, so glorious to intellect and national pride, protestantism was restored, and with it much of civil and religious freedom. The Bible was now once more accessible to all; and every man re-assumed the privilege of judging for himself in matters of faith. The religious sects, rendered torpid by the noxious influence of Mary's envenomed spirit, revived and enlarged their numbers; and among these, we trace the rise of the puritans, of famous memory.

The spirit of levelling, inherent in human nature, now powerfully reinforced by the equalitarian principles and examples of christianity, rendered the opulence and splendor of an ecclesiastical hierarchy odious to the middling and lower classes of society, who, in their zeal to abolish catholic corruptions, perhaps injudiciously proscribed all ceremoni

ous observancies, disclaiming the instrumentality of the senses, as idolatrous, and degrading to that visionary, spiritual, and abstracted devotion to which they aspired. To fix the reformation therefore upon a durable basis (one of the first and great objects of this reign) was not accomplished without much division and opposition. The reformed clergy, who had fled into Germany from the persecutions of Mary, now returned in great numbers. By their residence abroad, they had imbibed calvinistic principles of church-government; and even the comparatively modest ceremonies of the reformed system, gave umbrage to the fastidious zeal of these spiritual doctors; and the church was rent with divisions, not concerning the fundamental doctrines of christianity, but on the forms of ecclesiastical discipline. The decision of these controversies led to the accumulation of vast massés of learning on the part of the reforming clergy, who appealed to the Jews, the primitive christians, the fathers, councils, &c. The puritans, on the contrary, disclaiming all human authority, relied solely for the defence of their cause on the authority of the sacred oracles. This ground of argument was, of course, incontes

tible; but Hooker, in his deep investigation of the subject, contrived to elude its force, by establishing the important inference, that our belief, even in religion itself, is founded on the authority of reason.

Fine literature suffered by these polemical contests. Its progress was also checked from other causes. By the seizure and alienation of impropriations, ecclesiastical preferments were diminished, which produced a proportional diminution in the numbers bred to the church; or, which was then the same thing, who received a liberal education. Numbers, besides, of vulgar people were admitted to the sacred functions--an abuse, which continued to increase to such a degree, that in the year 1560, the bishop of London received an injunction from his metropolitan, to ordain no more artificers and other illiterate persons. This caution, however, was unavailing. About three years after, it is asserted by Wood, that there were only two divines, the president of Magdalene College, and the dean of Christchurch, capable of preaching the public sermons, before the university of Oxford.

But when the commotions, which arose from the fall of the old establishments, had

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