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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume III. Renascence and Reformation.

II. Reformation Literature in England

§ 7. His influence

It was the influence of Cranmer that restrained the English reformation from following more closely the extremes of foreign example. When Edward’s reign was over, he regretted his compliance with regard to the change in the royal succession, but he was prepared to justify, with arguments that were forcible as well as learned, the theological position which he finally reached and which he had at least made possible under the second prayer-book. His martyrdom was a great incident in the reformation, and it added to his individual influence. To his friends and foes alike, the death-scene was both pathetic and important; eye-witnesses of very different sympathies have described it; and complicated questions, legal and canonical, have been asked concerning it. But the simple, self-distrusting mind of the scholar and writer wished to make no pose, and sought after no display. The cruelty shown him did little to check the movement. The leaders of the Elizabethan church were men of much his mould, but with an added touch of strength and effective purpose. They thankfully took as the basis of their work the prayer-book that had translated the devotion of the past into the language of the future. They followed Cranmer in his wish to learn from the church, as he had strongly expressed it in his Appeal to a Council; they followed him also in his love of the Scriptures.