INTRODUCTION. 9 because he refused a bishopric ? It was certainly some kind ofexcuse, that the bishops would not consecrate him contrary to law.; but there can be no excuse for his imprisonment, and their conspiring to take away his life. When Hooper wished to be excused accepting the offered preferment upon the conditions of the ecclesiastical establishment, was there any law to constrain him, contrary to the convictions of his own conscience ? Ridley, however, who was by far the most severe against Hooper, lived to change his opinions, as will appear hereafter. Mast of the reforming clergy were of Hooper's senti- ments in this controversy. Several who had submitted to the habits in the late reign, now laid them aside: among whom were Bishops Latimer and Coverdale, Dr. Rowland Taylor, John Rogers, John Bradford, and John Philpot, all zealous nonconformists. They declaimed against them as mere popish and superstitious attire, and not fit for the ministers of the gospel.* Indeed, they were not so much as pressed upon the clergy in general, but mostly left as matters of indifference.i- During; this reign, certain persons denominated anabap- tists, having_ fled from the wars in Germany, and come to England, propagated their sentiments and made proselytes in this country. Complaints being brought against them to the council, Archbishop Cranmer, with several of the bishops and others, received a commission, April 12, 1550, 6, to examine and search after all anabaptists, heretics, or contemners of the common prayer." As they were able to discover such persons, they were to endeavour to reclaim them, and, after penance, to give' - them absolution ; but all who continued obstinate, were to be excommunicated, imprisoned, and delivered over to the secular power. Several tradesmen in London being convened before the commissioners, abjured ; but Joan I3ocher, or Joan of Kent, was made a public example. She steadfastly maintained, '6 That Christ was not truly incarnate of the virgin, whose flesh being sinful, he could not partake of it ; but the word, by the consent of the inward man of the virgin, took flesh of her."t These were her own words ; not capable of doing much mischief, and, surely, undeserving any severe punishment. The poor woman could not reconcile the spotless purity of MS. Chronology, vol. i. p. 35. (30.) + Burnet's Hist. of Refor. vol. iii. p. 310, 311. * Burnet's Hist. of Refor, vol. H. Collec. p. 168.