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tendom. The consciousness of the Latin Mediæval Church found most rare and wonderful expression in the ecclesiastical art of the Renaissance. There it was unmistakably evident, even if it were not in so many other ways, that it was the Virgin Mary, not God, not Christ, whom Christendom was worshipping, to whom it looked for aid and protection. Once more the conviction is borne in upon us by the teaching of history that it is the consciousness of God which makes a people strong. That consciousness had well-nigh died out in Italy, where the Renaissance had its birth. As the contents of the medieval religious life were exhibited on the canvas with the skill of a matchless art, the proportions of faith became apparent. The land was covered with Madonnas; the people fed upon them to satiety. The few efforts to represent God the Father resulted in a venerable head, weak and inefficient and lacking even the power of Jupiter Capitolinus, who seems to have been taken for a model. It may have been the limits of art that were at fault. None the less striking is the result. And as for Italy, alone among the nations she was unable to take the first steps toward national independence and freedom, but fell under the thraldom of a foreign power, going down into the sleep of death for ages before her resurrection came.

CHAPTER VI

THE CHANGE IN THE DOCTRINE OF THE INCARNATION AT THE REFORMATION

THE most characteristic feature of the English people, of the English Church and the English nation in the sixteenth century is the prevailing sense of the presence of God. It may be discerned in the literature of the age, which, in its ephemeral products even, assumes a religious tone, because of the consciousness that the will of God is manifested in the nation's experience. Only this deep, widespread conviction, that God was acting, leading, and protecting the nation, would have sufficed to carry it through the perils of the great transition. The state took on a divine character, the king's will was regarded as divine, because it was in harmony with the people's will, and the will of the people was reflecting the will of God. The majesty of the Divine supremacy dwarfed all minor considerations and relegated them to a subordinate position. This feeling grew from the time when England, first of the nations,

stepped forth from the fold of medieval Christendom, declaring the state to be independent, and, under God, competent to rule its own affairs. From this time (1534) the belief grew stronger that God was leading, and in Him was protection and safety; till it culminated, at the moment when Latin Christendom, under the leadership of the Pope, concentrated its energies for the conquest of the rebellious nation. Then, at the Armada, it became the national conviction that the victory was not due to human agencies. "God blew" with His winds, and the fleet of the enemy was scattered or went down like lead in the mighty waters, and England was free. From that time England's greatness began to be felt. She advanced to the leadership among the nations, and has developed into a world power, in comparison with which the civilization that grew up around the Mediterranean Sea, with Rome as its centre, seems small and insignificant.1

In this great hour of her history, the English

1 There are many histories of England and of the Reformation, but in none of them have the issues at stake been more clearly apprehended than by Froude. The criticism his work encountered was inspired to a large degree by religious and political prejudices. "He held strong views," says Pollard, "and he made some mistakes; but his mistakes were no greater than those of other historians, and there are not half a dozen histories in the English language which have been based on so exhaustive a survey of original materials." "Life of Cranmer," p. viii.

Church was not engaged in an attempt to shore up the tottering Christianity of the Middle Ages or even of the ancient catholic Church in so far as it had influenced perversely mediæval dogmatic forms. To get back to the will of Christ and to the commandments of God was the deliberate intention. At such moments in history it is given to see more plainly the issues that are vital to national prosperity. The English Reformation had in it the elements of revolution. It was not the letter and the text of creeds, but Scripture as the Word of God, to which the Church gave the highest place. And the doctrine which the Church received was received from Scripture, not from tradition; as Christ had commanded and not as men had taught.

The chief evil to be overcome was not, as in the case of Germany, the system of indulgences, for from that evil England had not so greatly suffered; but rather the worship of man, which had been substituted for the worship of God. Mary worship, saint worship, image worship, against these the protest was made; and the steps taken to secure their abolition were radical and thoroughgoing, quite as much so as in any other country where the Reformation prevailed.

It is apparent that the primary object was to give Christ an opportunity once more to be known

in Himself, apart from His mother, - to be heard and seen, as when He once lived among men. For this reason Scripture was made supreme, because it contained the record of His life and the comment on that life by inspired evangelists, apostles, and teachers. The Church before the Reformation had lost the clew to the meaning of the New Testament, and for that reason did not find it so edifying as extracts from the fathers. A higher conception of the Incarnation, which made the life of Christ historic and real, instead of illusory and perfunctory, was the first consideration, in accordance with the words of St. Augustine:

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"It behoveth us, to take great heed, lest while we go about to maintain the glorious Deity of Him which is man, we leave Him not the true bodily substance of a man.' (Ep., 187.)

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To insist upon His glorious Deity, but also to regain the humanity which had been lost, was the aim. The Church of England redefined the doctrine of the Incarnation, and as General Councils stood in the way, or their wrong interpretation, she cleared the ground for action by declaring that they not only "might err," but "had

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