LIVES OF JOHN DONNE, HENRY WOTTON, RICH’D HOOKER, GEORGE HERBERT, &c, VOLUME TWO
This issue of “Walton’s Lives” is based upon John Major’s edition of 1825, which was printed from a copy of the edition of 1675, “corrected by Walton’s own pen,” Major’s “illustrative notes” have been preserved, with some modifications by later hands. Mr. AUSTIN DOBSON has read the text, added the marginalia, and contributed the supplementary notes.
The Life of Mr. Richard Hooker
The Life of Mr. George Herbert, Prebendary of Salisbury Cathedral
The Life of Dr. Robert Sanderson, Late Lord Bishop of Lincoln
THE LIFE OF MR. RICHARD HOOKER:
THE AUTHOR OF THOSE LEARNED BOOKS OF THE LAWS OF ECCLESIASTICAL POLITY.
“Judicious Hooker, though the cost be spent On him, that hath a lasting monument
In his own books; yet ought we to express If not the worth, yet our respectfulness.”
SIR WIL. COWPER
I have been persuaded, by a friend whom I reverence, and ought to obey, to write the Life of RICHARD HOOKER, the happy Author of Five–if not more–of the eight learned books of “The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity.” And though I have undertaken it, yet it hath been with some unwillingness: because I foresee that it must prove to me, and especially at this time of my age, a work of much labour to enquire, consider, research, and determine what is needful to be known concerning him. For I knew him not in his life, and must therefore not only look back to his death,–now sixty-four years past,–but almost fifty years beyond, that, even to his childhood and youth; and gather thence such observations and prognostics as may at least adorn, if not prove necessary for the completing of what I have undertaken.
[Sidenote: Reasons for this Life]
This trouble I foresee, and foresee also that it is impossible to escape censures; against which I will not hope my well-meaning and diligence can protect me,–for I consider the age in which I live–and shall therefore but intreat of my Reader a suspension of his censures, till I have made known unto him some reasons, which I myself would now gladly believe do make me in some measure fit for this undertaking; and if these reasons shall not acquit me from all censures, they may at least abate of their severity, and this is all I can probably hope for. My reasons follow.
About forty years past–for I am now past the seventy of my age–I began a happy affinity with William Cranmer,–now with God,–grand-nephew unto the great Archbishop of that name;–a family of noted prudence and resolution; with him and two of his sisters I had an entire and free friendship: one of them was the wife of Dr. Spencer, a bosom friend and sometime com-pupil with Mr. Hooker in Corpus Christi College in Oxford, and after President of the same. I name them here, for that I shall have occasion to mention them in the following discourse, as also George Cranmer, their brother, of whose useful abilities my Reader may have a more authentic testimony than my pen can purchase for him, by that of our learned Camden and others.
[Sidenote: Hooker’s friends]
This William Cranmer and his two fore-named sisters had some affinity, and a most familiar friendship, with Mr. Hooker, and had had some part of their education with him in his house, when he was parson of Bishop’s-Bourne near Canterbury; in which City their good father then lived. They had, I say, a part of their education with him as myself, since that time, a happy cohabitation with them; and having some years before read part of Mr. Hooker’s works with great liking and satisfaction, my affection to them made me a diligent inquisitor into many things that concerned him; as namely, of his persons, his nature, the management of his time, his wife, his family, and the fortune of him and his. Which enquiry hath given me much advantage in the knowledge of what is now under my consideration, and intended for the satisfaction of my Reader.
I had also a friendship with the Reverend Dr. Usher, the late learned Archbishop of Armagh; and with Dr. Morton, the late learned and charitable Bishop of Durham; as also the learned John Hales, of Eton College; and with them also–who loved the very name of Mr. Hooker–I have had many discourses concerning him; and from them, and many others that have now put off mortality, I might have had more informations, if I could then have admitted a thought of any fitness for what by persuasion I have now undertaken. But though that full harvest be irrecoverably lost, yet my memory hath preserved some gleanings, and my diligence made such additions to them, as I hope will prove useful to the completing of what I intend: in the discovery of which I shall be faithful, and with this assurance put a period to my Introduction.
[Footnote 1: A native of Suffolk, one of the Clerks of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, and Greek Reader. He entered Orders, became a noted Preacher, Chaplain to James I., and a great admirer of Richard Hooker and the famous Dr. John Reynolds, the latter of whom he succeeded as Master of his College. About four years after Hooker’s death, he published the Five Books of Ecclesiastical Polity, with a Preface; and dying on April 3rd, 1614, was buried at Oxford.]
[Footnote 2: The illustrious Primate of Ireland, born in Dublin, Jan. 4th, 1580. He was the first Student of Trinity College, in 1593, and in 1610 he was made Bishop of Meath, whence he was translated to Armagh, in 1625. In the Irish Rebellion, he lost every thing but his library, which he conveyed to England, where he died in retirement, March 21st, 1655-56.]
MR. RICHARD HOOKER.
[Sidenote: Birth and parentage]
It is not to be doubted, but that Richard Hooker was born at Heavy-tree, near, or within the precincts, or in the City of Exeter; a City which may justly boast, that it was the birth-place of him and Sir Thomas Bodley; as indeed the County may, in which it stands, that it hath furnished this nation with Bishop Jewel, Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh, and many others, memorable for their valour and learning. He was born about the year of our Redemption 1553, and of parents that were not so remarkable for their extraction or riches, as for their virtue and industry, and God’s blessing upon both; by which they were enabled to educate their children in some degree of learning, of which our Richard Hooker may appear to be one fair testimony, and that nature is not so partial as always to give the great blessings of wisdom and learning, and with them the greater blessings of virtue and government, to those only that are of a more high and honourable birth.
[Sidenote: “His complexion”]
His complexion–if we may guess by him at the age of forty–was sanguine, with a mixture of choler; and yet his motion was slow even in his youth, and so was his speech, never expressing an earnestness in either of them, but an humble gravity suitable to the aged. And it is observed,–so far as enquiry is able to look back at this distance of time,–that at his being a school-boy he was an early questionist, quietly inquisitive “why this was, and that was not, to be remembered? why this was granted, and that denied?” This being mixed with a remarkable modesty, and a sweet serene quietness of nature, and with them a quick apprehension of many perplexed parts of learning, imposed then upon him as a scholar, made his Master and others to believe him to have an inward blessed divine light, and therefore to consider him to be a little wonder. For in that, children were less pregnant, less confident and more malleable, than in this wiser, but not better, age.
[Sidenote: Early training]
This meekness and conjuncture of knowledge, with modesty in his conversation, being observed by his Schoolmaster, caused him to persuade his parents–who intended him for an apprentice–to continue him at school till he could find out some means, by persuading his rich Uncle, or some other charitable person, to ease them of a part of their care and charge; assuring them that their son was so enriched with the blessings of nature and grace, that God seemed to single him out as a special instrument of his glory. And the good man told them also, that he would double his diligence in instructing him, and would neither expect nor receive any other reward, than the content of so hopeful and happy an employment.
This was not unwelcome news, and especially to his Mother, to whom he was a dutiful and dear child, and all parties were so pleased with this proposal, that it was resolved so it should be. And in the mean time his Parents and Master laid a foundation for his future happiness, by instilling into his soul the seeds of piety, those conscientious principles of loving and fearing God, of an early belief that he knows the very secrets of our souls; that he punisheth our vices, and rewards our innocence; that we should be free from hypocrisy, and appear to man what we are to God, because first or last the crafty man is catched in his own snare. These seeds of piety were so seasonably planted, and so continually watered with the daily dew of God’s blessed Spirit, that his infant virtues grew into such holy habits, as did make him grow daily into more and more favour both with God and man; which, with the great learning that he did after attain to, hath made Richard Hooker honoured in this, and will continue him to be so to succeeding generations.
[Sidenote: John Hooker]
This good School-master, whose name I am not able to recover,–and am sorry, for that I would have given him a better memorial in this humble monument, dedicated to the memory of his scholar,–was very solicitous with John Hooker, then Chamberlain of Exeter, and uncle to our Richard, to take his Nephew into his care, and to maintain him for one year in the University, and in the mean time to use his endeavours to procure an admission for him into some College, though it were but in a mean degree; still urging and assuring him, that his charge would not continue long; for the lad’s learning and manners were both so remarkable, that they must of necessity be taken notice of; and that doubtless God would provide him some second patron, that would free him and his Parents from their future care and charge.
[Sidenote: Bishop Jewel]
These reasons, with the affectionate rhetoric of his good Master, and God’s blessing upon both, procured from his Uncle a faithful promise, that he would take him into his care and charge before the expiration of the year following, which was performed by him, and with the assistance of the learned Mr. John Jewel; of whom this may be noted, that he left, or was about the first of Queen Mary’s reign expelled out of Corpus Christi College in Oxford,–of which he was a Fellow,–for adhering to the truth of those principles of Religion to which he had assented and given testimony in the days of her brother and predecessor, Edward the Sixth; and this John Jewel, having within a short time after, a just cause to fear a more heavy punishment than expulsion, was forced, by forsaking this, to seek safety in another nation; and, with that safety, the enjoyment of that doctrine and worship for which he suffered.
But the cloud of that persecution and fear ending with the life of Queen Mary, the affairs of the Church and State did then look more clear and comfortable; so that he, and with him many others of the same judgment, made a happy return into England about the first of Queen Elizabeth; in which year this John Jewel was sent a Commissioner or Visitor, of the Churches of the Western parts of this kingdom, and especially of those in Devonshire, in which County he was born; and then and there he contracted a friendship with John Hooker, the Uncle of our Richard.
[Sidenote: At Oxford]
About the second or third year of her reign, this John Jewel was made Bishop of Salisbury; and there being always observed in him a willingness to do good, and to oblige his friends, and now a power added to his willingness; this John Hooker gave him a visit in Salisbury, and besought him for charity’s sake to look favourably upon a poor nephew of his, whom Nature had fitted for a scholar; but the estate of his parents was so narrow, that they were unable to give him the advantage of learning; and that the Bishop would therefore become his patron, and prevent him from being a tradesman, for he was a boy of remarkable hopes. And though the Bishop knew men do not usually look with an indifferent eye upon their own children and relations, yet he assented so far to John Hooker, that he appointed the boy and his School-master should attend him, about Easter next following, at that place: which was done accordingly; and then, after some questions and observations of the boy’s learning, and gravity, and behaviour, the Bishop gave his School-master a reward, and took order for an annual pension for the boy’s parents; promising also to take him into his care for a future preferment, which he performed: for about the fifteenth year of his age, which was anno 1567, he was by the Bishop appointed to remove to Oxford, and there to attend Dr. Cole, then President of Corpus Christi College. Which he did; and Dr. Cole had–according to a promise made to the Bishop–provided for him both a Tutor–which was said to be the learned Dr. John Reynolds,–and a Clerk’s place in that College: which place, though it were not a full maintenance, yet, with the contribution of his Uncle, and the continued pension of his patron, the good Bishop, gave him a comfortable subsistence. And in this condition he continued until the eighteenth year of his age, still increasing in learning and prudence, and so much in humility and piety, that he seemed to be filled with the Holy Ghost; and even like St. John Baptist, to be sanctified from his mother’s womb, who did often bless the day in which she bare him.
[Sidenote: “A dangerous sickness”]
About this time of his age, he fell into a dangerous sickness, which lasted two months; all which time his Mother, having notice of it, did in her hourly prayers as earnestly beg his life of God, as Monica the mother of St. Augustine did, that he might become a true Christian; and their prayers were both so heard as to be granted. Which Mr. Hooker would often mention with much joy, and as often pray that “he might never live to occasion any sorrow to so good a mother; of whom he would often say, he loved her so dearly, that he would endeavour to be good, even as much for her’s as for his own sake.”
[Sidenote: The Bishop’s horse]
As soon as he was perfectly recovered from this sickness, he took a journey from Oxford to Exeter, to satisfy and see his good Mother, being accompanied with a countryman and companion of his own College, and both on foot; which was then either more in fashion, or want of money, or their humility made it so: but on foot they went, and took Salisbury in their way, purposely to see the good Bishop, who made Mr. Hooker and his companion dine with him at his own table: which Mr. Hooker boasted of with much joy and gratitude when he saw his mother and friends: and at the Bishop’s parting with him, the Bishop gave him good counsel, and his benediction, but forgot to give him money; which, when the Bishop had considered, he sent a servant in all haste to call Richard back to him: and at Richard’s return, the Bishop said to him, “Richard, I sent for you back to lend you a horse, which hath carried me many a mile, and, I thank God, with much ease;” and presently delivered into his hand a walking-staff, with which he professed he had travelled through many parts of Germany. And he said, “Richard, I do not give, but lend you my horse: be sure you be honest, and bring my horse back to me at your return this way to Oxford. And I do now give you ten groats, to bear your charges to Exeter; and here is ten groats more, which I charge you to deliver to your Mother and tell her I send her a Bishop’s benediction with it, and beg the continuance of her prayers for me. And if you bring my horse back to me, I will give you ten groats more, to carry you on foot to the College: and so God bless you, good Richard.”
[Sidenote: Jewel’s death]
And this, you may believe, was performed by both parties. But, alas! the next news that followed Mr. Hooker to Oxford was, that his learned and charitable patron had changed this for a better life. Which happy change may be believed, for that as he lived, so he died, in devout meditation and prayer: and in both so zealously, that it became a religious question, “Whether his last ejaculations or his soul did first enter into Heaven?”
And now Mr. Hooker became a man of sorrow and fear: of sorrow, for the loss of so dear and comfortable a patron; and of fear for his future subsistence. But Dr. Cole raised his spirits from this dejection, by bidding him go cheerfully to his studies, and assuring him, he should neither want food nor raiment,–which was the utmost of his hopes,–for he would become his patron.
And so he was for about nine months, and not longer; for about that time this following accident did befall Mr. Hooker.
[Sidenote: Bishop Sandys]
[Sidenote: Hooker’s pupil]
Edwin Sandys–sometime Bishop of London, and after Archbishop of York–had also been in the days of Queen Mary, forced, by forsaking this, to seek safety in another nation; where, for some years, Bishop Jewel and he were companions at bed and board in Germany; and where, in this their exile, they did often eat the bread of sorrow, and by that means they there began such a friendship, as lasted till the death of Bishop Jewel, which was in September, 1571. A little before which time the two Bishops meeting, Jewel had an occasion to begin a story of his Richard Hooker, and in it gave such a character of his learning and manners, that though Bishop Sandys was educated in Cambridge, where he had obliged, and had many friends; yet his resolution was, that his son Edwin should be sent to Corpus Christi College in Oxford, and by all means be pupil to Mr. Hooker, though his son Edwin was not much younger than Mr. Hooker then was: for the Bishop said, “I will have a Tutor for my son, that shall teach him learning by instruction, and virtue by example: and my greatest care shall be of the last; and, God willing, this Richard Hooker shall be the man into whose hands I will commit my Edwin.” And the Bishop did so about twelve months, or not much longer, after this resolution.
[Sidenote: Hooker’s behaviour]
And doubtless, as to these two, a better choice could not be made; for Mr. Hooker was now in the nineteenth year of his age; had spent five in the University; and had, by a constant unwearied diligence, attained unto a perfection in all the learned languages; by the help of which, an excellent tutor, and his unintermitted studies, he had made the subtilty of all the arts easy and familiar to him, and useful for the discovery of such learning as lay hid from common searchers. So that by these, added to his great reason, and his restless industry added to both, he did not only know more of causes and effects; but what he knew, he knew better than other men. And with this knowledge he had a most blessed and clear method of demonstrating what he knew, to the great advantage of all his pupils,–which in time were many,–but especially to his two first, his dear Edwin Sandys, and his as dear George Cranmer; of which there will be a fair testimony in the ensuing relation.
This for Mr. Hooker’s learning. And for his behaviour, amongst other testimonies, this still remains of him, that in four years he was but twice absent from the Chapel prayers; and that his behaviour there was such, as shewed an awful reverence of that God which he then worshipped and prayed to; giving all outward testimonies that his affections were set on heavenly things. This was his behaviour towards God; and for that to man, it is observable that he was never known to be angry, or passionate, or extreme in any of his desires; never heard to repine or dispute with Providence, but, by a quiet gentle submission and resignation of his will to the wisdom of his Creator, bore the burthen of the day with patience; never heard to utter an uncomely word: and by this, and a grave behaviour, which is a divine charm, he begot an early reverence unto his person, even from those that at other times and in other companies, took a liberty to cast off that strictness of behaviour and discourse that is required in a Collegiate life. And when he took any liberty to be pleasant, his wit was never blemished with scoffing, or the utterance of any conceit that bordered upon, or might beget a thought of looseness in his hearers. Thus mild, thus innocent and exemplary was his behaviour in his College; and thus this good man continued till his death, still increasing in learning, in patience, and piety.
[Sidenote: Scholar of his College]
In this nineteenth year of his age, he was, December 24, 1573, admitted to be one of the twenty Scholars of the Foundation; being elected and so admitted as born in Devon or Hantshire; out of which Counties a certain number are to be elected in vacancies by the Founder’s Statutes. And now as he was much encouraged, so now he was perfectly incorporated into this beloved College, which was then noted for an eminent Library, strict Students, and remarkable Scholars. And indeed it may glory, that it had Cardinal Poole, but more that it had Bishop Jewel, Dr. John Reynolds, and Dr. Thomas Jackson, of that foundation. The first famous for his learned Apology for the Church of England, and his Defence of it against Harding. The second, for the learned and wise manage of a public dispute with John Hart, of the Romish persuasion, about the Head and Faith of the Church, and after printed by consent of both parties. And the third, for his most excellent “Exposition of the Creed,” and other treatises; all such as have given greatest satisfaction to men of the greatest learning. Nor was Dr. Jackson more note-worthy for his learning, than for his strict and pious life, testified by his abundant love, and meekness, and charity to all men.
[Sidenote: Inceptor of Arts]
[Sidenote: Sir Henry Savile]
And in the year 1576, February 23, Mr. Hooker’s Grace was given him for Inceptor of Arts; Dr. Herbert Westphaling, a man of note for learning, being then Vice-Chancellor: and the Act following he was completed Master, which was anno 1577, his patron, Dr. Cole, being Vice-Chancellor that year, and his dear friend, Henry Savile of Merton College, being then one of the Proctors. ‘Twas that Henry Savile that was after Sir Henry Savile, Warden of Merton College, and Provost of Eton; he which founded in Oxford two famous Lectures; and endowed them with liberal maintenance.
It was that Sir Henry Savile that translated and enlightened the History of Cornelius Tacitus, with a most excellent Comment; and enriched the world by his laborious and chargeable collecting the scattered pieces of St. Chrysostom, and the publication of them in one entire body in Greek; in which language he was a most judicious critic. It was this Sir Henry Savile that had the happiness to be a contemporary and familiar friend to Mr. Hooker; and let posterity know it.
And in this year of 1577, he was so happy as to be admitted Fellow of the College; happy also in being the contemporary and friend of that Dr. John Reynolds, of whom I have lately spoken, and of Dr. Spencer; both which were after and successively made Presidents of Corpus Christi College: men of great learning and merit, and famous in their generations.
[Sidenote: Sandys and Cranmer]
Nor was Mr. Hooker more happy in his contemporaries of his time and College, than in the pupilage and friendship of his Edwin Sandys and George Cranmer; of whom my Reader may note, that this Edwin Sandys was after Sir Edwin Sandys, and as famous for his “Speculum Europae,” as his brother George for making posterity beholden to his pen by a learned relation and comment on his dangerous and remarkable Travels; and for his harmonious translation of the Psalms of David, the Book of Job, and other poetical parts of Holy Writ, into most high and elegant verse. And for Cranmer, his other pupil, I shall refer my Reader to the printed testimonies of our learned Mr. Camden, of Fynes Moryson and others.
“This Cranmer,” says Mr. Camden in his Annals of Queen Elizabeth,–“whose Christian name was George, was a gentleman of singular hopes, the eldest son of Thomas Cranmer, son of Edmund Cranmer, the Archbishop’s brother: he spent much of his youth in Corpus Christi College in Oxford, where he continued Master of Arts for some time before he removed, and then betook himself to travel, accompanying that worthy gentleman Sir Edwin Sandys into France, Germany, and Italy, for the space of three years; and after their happy return, he betook himself to an employment under Secretary Davison, a Privy Councillor of note, who, for an unhappy undertaking, became clouded and pitied: after whose fall, he went in place of Secretary with Sir Henry Killegrew in his Embassage into France: and after his death he was sought after by the most noble Lord Mountjoy, with whom he went into Ireland, where he remained, until in a battle against the rebels near Carlingford, an unfortunate wound put an end both to his life, and the great hopes that were conceived of him, he being then but in the thirty-sixth year of his age.”
[Sidenote: “A sacred friendship”]
Betwixt Mr. Hooker and these his two Pupils, there was a sacred friendship; a friendship made up of religious principles, which increased daily by a similitude of inclinations to the same recreations and studies; a friendship elemented in youth, and in an university, free from self-ends, which the friendships of age usually are not. And in this sweet, this blessed, this spiritual amity, they went on for many years: and as the holy Prophet saith, “so they took sweet counsel together, and walked in the house of God as friends.” By which means they improved this friendship to such a degree of holy amity, as bordered upon heaven: a friendship so sacred, that when it ended in this world, it began in that next, where it shall have no end.
[Sidenote: Hooker’s studies]
And, though this world cannot give any degree of pleasure equal to such a friendship; yet obedience to parents, and a desire to know the affairs, manners, laws, and learning of other nations, that they might thereby become the more serviceable unto their own, made them put off their gowns, and leave the College and Mr. Hooker to his studies, in which he was daily more assiduous, still enriching his quiet and capacious soul with the precious learning of the Philosophers, Casuists, and Schoolmen; and with them the foundation and reason of all Laws, both Sacred and Civil; and indeed with such other learning as lay most remote from the track of common studies. And, as he was diligent in these, so he seemed restless in searching the scope and intention of God’s Spirit revealed to mankind in the Sacred Scripture: for the understanding of which, he seemed to be assisted by the same Spirit with which they were written; He that regardeth truth in the inward parts, making him to understand wisdom secretly. And the good man would often say, that “God abhors confusion as contrary to his nature;” and as often say, “That the Scripture was not writ to beget disputations and pride, and opposition to government; but charity and humility, moderation, obedience to authority, and peace to mankind;” of which virtues, he would as often say, “no man did ever repent himself on his death-bed.” And that this was really his judgment, did appear in his future writings, and in all the actions of his life. Nor was this excellent man a stranger to the more light and airy parts of learning, as Music and Poetry; all which he had digested and made useful; and of all which the Reader will have a fair testimony in what will follow.
[Sidenote: Hebrew Lecturer]
In the year 1579, the Chancellor of the University was given to understand, that the public Hebrew Lecture was not read according to the Statutes; nor could be, by reason of a distemper, that had then seized the brain of Mr. Kingsmill, who was to read it; so that it lay long unread, to the great detriment of those that were studious of that language. Therefore the Chancellor writ to his Vice-Chancellor, and the University, that he had heard such commendations of the excellent knowledge of Mr. Richard Hooker in that tongue, that he desired he might be procured to read it: and he did, and continued to do so till he left Oxford.
Within three months after his undertaking this Lecture,–namely in October 1579,–he was, with Dr. Reynolds and others, expelled his College; and this Letter, transcribed from Dr. Reynolds his own hand, may give some account of it.
[Sidenote: Expulsion from College]
To SIR FRANCIS KNOLLES.
“I am sorry, Right Honourable, that I am enforced to make unto you such a suit, which I cannot move; but I must complain of the unrighteous dealing of one of our College, who hath taken upon him, against all law and reason, to expel out of our house both me and Mr. Hooker, and three other of our fellows, for doing that which by oath we were bound to do. Our matter must be heard before the Bishop of Winchester, with whom I do not doubt but we shall find equity. Howbeit, forasmuch as some of our adversaries have said that the Bishop is already forestalled, and will not give us such audience as we look for; therefore I am humbly to beseech your Honour, that you will desire the Bishop, by your letters, to let us have justice; though it be with rigour, so it be justice: our cause is so good, that I am sure we shall prevail by it. Thus much I am bold to request of your honour for Corpus Christi College sake, or rather for Christ’s sake; whom I beseech to bless you with daily increase of his manifold gifts, and the blessed graces of his Holy Spirit.
“Your Honour’s in Christ to command,
“LONDON, _October_ 9, 1579.”
[Sidenote: At Paul’s Cross]
This expulsion was by Dr. John Barfoote, then Vice-President of the College, and Chaplain to Ambrose Earl of Warwick. I cannot learn the pretended cause; but that they were restored the same month is most certain. I return to Mr. Hooker in his College, where he continued his studies with all quietness, for the space of three years; about which time he entered into Sacred Orders, being then made Deacon and Priest, and, not long after, was appointed to preach at St. Paul’s Cross.
[Sidenote: His sermon]
In order to which Sermon, to London he came, and immediately to the Shunamite’s House; which is a House so called, for that, besides the stipend paid the Preacher, there is provision made also for his lodging and diet for two days before, and one day after his Sermon. This house was then kept by John Churchman, sometime a Draper of good note in Watling-street, upon whom poverty had at last come like an armed man, and brought him into a necessitous condition; which, though it be a punishment, is not always an argument of God’s disfavour; for he was a virtuous man. I shall not yet give the like testimony of his wife, but leave the Reader to judge by what follows. But to this house Mr. Hooker came so wet, so weary, and weather-beaten, that he was never known to express more passion, than against a friend that dissuaded him from footing it to London, and for finding him no easier an horse,–supposing the horse trotted when he did not;–and at this time also, such a faintness and fear possessed him, that he would not be persuaded two days’ rest and quietness, or any other means could be used to make him able to preach his Sunday’s Sermon; but a warm bed, and rest, and drink proper for a cold, given him by Mrs. Churchman, and her diligent attendance added unto it, enabled him to perform the office of the day, which was in or about the year 1581.
And in this first public appearance to the world, he was not so happy as to be free from exceptions against a point of doctrine delivered in his Sermon; which was, “That in God there were two wills; an antecedent and a consequent will: his first will, That all mankind should be saved; but his second will was, That those only should be saved, that did live answerable to that degree of grace which he had offered or afforded them.” This seemed to cross a late opinion of Mr. Calvin’s, and then taken for granted by many that had not a capacity to examine it, as it had been by him before, and hath been since by Master Henry Mason, Dr. Jackson, Dr. Hammond, and others of great learning, who believe that a contrary opinion intrenches upon the honour and justice of our merciful God. How he justified this, I will not undertake to declare; but it was not excepted against–as Mr. Hooker declares in his rational Answer to Mr. Travers–by John Elmer, then Bishop of London, at this time one of his auditors, and at last one of his advocates too, when Mr. Hooker was accused for it.
[Sidenote: Wanted a nurse!]
[Sidenote: His marriage]
But the justifying of this doctrine did not prove of so bad consequence, as the kindness of Mrs. Churchman’s curing him of his late distemper and cold; for that was so gratefully apprehended by Mr. Hooker, that he thought himself bound in conscience to believe all that she said: so that the good man came to be persuaded by her, “that he was a man of a tender constitution; and that it was best for him to have a wife, that might prove a nurse to him; such a one as might both prolong his life, and make it more comfortable; and such a one she could and would provide for him, if he thought fit to marry.” And he, not considering that “the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light;” but, like a true Nathaniel, fearing no guile, because he meant none, did give her such a power as Eleazar was trusted with,–you may read it in the book of Genesis,–when he was sent to choose a wife for Isaac; for even so he trusted her to choose for him, promising upon a fair summons to return to London, and accept of her choice; and he did so in that, or about the year following. Now, the wife provided for him was her daughter Joan, who brought him neither beauty nor portion: and for her conditions, they were too like that wife’s, which is by Solomon compared to a dripping house: so that the good man had no reason to “rejoice in the wife of his youth;” but too just cause to say with the holy Prophet, “Wo is me, that I am constrained to have my habitation in the tents of Kedar!”
This choice of Mr. Hooker’s–if it were his choice–may be wondered at: but let us consider that the Prophet Ezekiel says, “There is a wheel within a wheel;” a secret sacred wheel of Providence,–most visible in marriages,–guided by his hand, that “allows not the race to the swift,” nor “bread to the wise,” nor good wives to good men: and He that can bring good out of evil–for mortals are blind to this reason–only knows why this blessing was denied to patient Job, to meek Moses, and to our as meek and patient Mr. Hooker. But so it was; and let the Reader cease to wonder, for affliction is a divine diet; which though it be not pleasing to mankind, yet Almighty God hath often, very often, imposed it as good, though bitter physic to those children whose souls are dearest to him.
[Sidenote: At Drayton-Beauchamp]
And by this marriage the good man was drawn from the tranquillity of his College; from that garden of piety, of pleasure, of peace, and a sweet conversation, into the thorny wilderness of a busy world; into those corroding cares that attend a married Priest, and a country Parsonage; which was Drayton-Beauchamp in Buckinghamshire, not far from Aylesbury, and in the Diocese of Lincoln; to which he was presented by John Cheney, Esq.–then Patron of it–the 9th of December, 1584, where he behaved himself so as to give no occasion of evil, but as St. Paul adviseth a minister of God–“in much patience, in afflictions, in anguishes, in necessities, in poverty and no doubt in long-suffering;” yet troubling no man with his discontents and wants.
[Sidenote: Res augusta domi]
And in this condition he continued about a year; in which time his two pupils, Edwin Sandys and George Cranmer, took a journey to see their tutor; where they found him with a book in his hand,–it was the Odes of Horace,–he being then like humble and innocent Abel, tending his small allotment of sheep in a common field; which he told his pupils he was forced to do then, for that his servant was gone home to dine, and assist his wife to do some necessary household business. But when his servant returned and released him, then his two pupils attended him unto his house, where their best entertainment was his quiet company, which was presently denied them: for Richard was called to rock the cradle; and the rest of their welcome was so like this, that they staid but till next morning, which was time enough to discover and pity their tutor’s condition; and they having in that time rejoiced in the remembrance, and then paraphrased on many of the innocent recreations of their younger days, and other like diversions, and thereby given him as much present comfort as they were able, they were forced to leave him to the company of his wife Joan, and seek themselves a quieter lodging for next night. But at their parting from him, Mr. Cranmer said, “Good tutor, I am sorry your lot is fallen in no better ground, as to your parsonage; and more sorry that your wife proves not a more comfortable companion, after you have wearied yourself in your restless studies.” To whom the good man replied, “My dear George, if Saints have usually a double share in the miseries of this life, I, that am none, ought not to repine at what my wise Creator hath appointed for me: but labour–as indeed I do daily–to submit mine to his will, and possess my soul in patience and peace.”
[Sidenote: Master of the Temple]
At their return to London, Edwin Sandys acquaints his father, who was then Archbishop of York, with his Tutor’s sad condition, and solicits for his removal to some benefice that might give him a more quiet and a more comfortable subsistence; which his father did most willingly grant him when it should next fall into his power. And not long after this time, which was in the year 1585, Mr. Alvey,–Master of the Temple,–died, who was a man of a strict life, of great learning, and of so venerable behaviour, as to gain so high a degree of love and reverence from all men, that he was generally known by the name of Father Alvey. And at the Temple-reading, next after the death of this Father Alvey, he, the said Archbishop of York being then at dinner with the Judges, the Reader, and the Benchers of that Society, met with a general condolement for the death of Father Alvey, and with a high commendation of his saint-like life, and of his great merit both towards God and man; and as they bewailed his death, so they wished for a like pattern of virtue and learning to succeed him. And here came in a fair occasion for the Bishop to commend Mr. Hooker to Father Alvey’s place, which he did with so effectual an earnestness, and that seconded with so many other testimonies of his worth, that Mr. Hooker was sent for from Drayton-Beauchamp to London, and there the Mastership of the Temple proposed unto him by the Bishop, as a greater freedom from his country cares, the advantages of a better society, and a more liberal pension than his country parsonage did afford him. But these reasons were not powerful enough to incline him to a willing acceptance of it: his wish was rather to gain a better country living, where he might see God’s blessings spring out of the earth, and be free from noise,–so he expressed the desire of his heart,–and eat that bread which he might more properly call his own, in privacy and quietness. But, notwithstanding this averseness, he was at last persuaded to accept of the Bishop’s proposal; and was by Patent for life, made Master of the Temple the 17th of March, 1585, he being then in the 34th year of his age. [This you may find in the Temple Records. William Ermstead was master of the Temple at the Dissolution of the Priory, and died 2 Eliz. (1559). Richard Alvey, Bat. Divinity, Pat. 13 Febr. 2 Eliz. _Magister, sive Custos Domus et Ecchsiae Novi Templi_, died 27 Eliz. (1585). Richard Hooker succeeded that year by Patent, in terminis, as Alvey had it, and he left it 33 Eliz. (1591). That year Dr. Balgey succeeded Richard Hooker.]
And here I shall make a stop; and, that the Reader may the better judge of what follows, give him a character of the times and temper of the people of this nation, when Mr. Hooker had his admission into this place; a place which he accepted, rather than desired: and yet here he promised himself a virtuous quietness, that blessed tranquillity which he always prayed and laboured for, that so he might in peace bring forth the fruits of peace, and glorify God by uninterrupted prayers and praises. For this he always thirsted and prayed: but Almighty God did not grant it; for his admission into this place was the very beginning of those oppositions and anxieties, which till then this good man was a stranger to; and of which the Reader may guess by what follows.
[Sidenote: Character of the times]
[Sidenote: Hopes under Elizabeth]
In this character of the times, I shall by the Reader’s favour, and for his information, look so far back as to the beginning of the reign of Queen Elizabeth; a time, in which the many under pretended titles to the Crown, the frequent treasons, the doubts of her successor, the late Civil War, and the sharp persecution for Religion that raged to the effusion of so much blood in the reign of Queen Mary, were fresh in the memory of all men; and begot fears in the most pious and wisest of this nation, lest the like days should return again to them, or their present posterity. And the apprehension of these dangers, begot a hearty desire of a settlement in the Church and State; believing there was no other probable way left to make them sit quietly under their own vines and fig-trees, and enjoy the desired fruit of their labours. But time, and peace, and plenty begot self-ends: and these begot animosities, envy, opposition, and unthankfulness for those very blessings for which they lately thirsted, being then the very utmost of their desires, and even beyond their hopes.
[Sidenote: Three parties]
This was the temper of the times in the beginning of her reign; and thus it continued too long; for those very people that had enjoyed the desires of their hearts in a Reformation from the Church of Rome, became at last so like the grave, as never to be satisfied, but were still thirsting for more and more; neglecting to pay that obedience, and perform those vows, which they made in their days of adversities and fear: so that in short time there appeared three several interests, each of them fearless and restless in the prosecution of their designs: they may for distinction be called, the active Romanists, the restless Non-conformists,–of which there were many sorts,–and the passive peaceable Protestants. The counsels of the first considered and resolved on in Rome; the second both in Scotland, in Geneva, and in divers selected, secret, dangerous Conventicles, both there, and within the bosom of our own nation: the third pleaded and defended their cause by established laws, both Ecclesiastical and Civil: and if they were active, it was to prevent the other two from destroying what was by those known Laws happily established to them and their posterity.
I shall forbear to mention the very many and dangerous plots of the Romanists against the Church and State; because what is principally intended in this digression, is an account of the opinions and activity of the Non-conformists: against whose judgment and practice Mr. Hooker became at last, but most unwillingly, to be engaged in a book-war; a war which he maintained not as against an enemy, but with the spirit of meekness and reason.
[Sidenote: The Non-conformists]
In which number of Non-conformists, though some might be sincere, well-meaning men, whose indiscreet zeal might be so like charity, as thereby to cover a multitude of their errors; yet of this party there were many that were possessed with a high degree of spiritual wickedness; I mean with an innate restless pride and malice; I do not mean the visible carnal sins of gluttony and drunkenness, and the like,–from which, good Lord, deliver us!–but sins of a higher nature, because they are more unlike God, who is the God of love, and mercy, and order, and peace: and more like the Devil, who is not a glutton, nor can be drunk, and yet is a Devil: but I mean those spiritual wickednesses of malice and revenge, and an opposition to government: men that joyed to be the authors of misery, which is properly his work that is the enemy and disturber of mankind; and thereby greater sinners than the glutton or drunkard, though some will not believe it. And of this party there were also many, whom prejudice and a furious zeal had so blinded, as to make them neither to hear reason, nor adhere to the ways of peace: men that were the very dregs and pest of mankind; men whom pride and self-conceit had made to over-value their own pitiful crooked wisdom so much as not to be ashamed to hold foolish and unmannerly disputes against those men whom they ought to reverence, and those laws which they ought to obey; men that laboured and joyed first to find out the faults, and then speak evil of Government, and to be the authors of confusion; men whom company, and conversation, and custom had at last so blinded, and made so insensible that these were sins, that like those that perished in the gainsaying of Korah, so these died without repenting of these spiritual wickednesses; of which the practices of Coppinger and Hacket in their lives, and the death of them and their adherents, are, God knows, too sad examples, and ought to be cautions to those men that are inclined to the like spiritual wickednesses.
[Sidenote: Growth of sedition]
And in these times, which tended thus to confusion, there were also many of these scruple-mongers, that pretended a tenderness of conscience, refusing to take an oath before a lawful Magistrate: and yet these very men in their secret Conventicles did covenant and swear to each other, to be assiduous and faithful in using their best endeavours to set up the Presbyterian doctrine and discipline; and both in such a manner as they themselves had not yet agreed on; but up that government must. To which end there were many that wandered up and down and were active in sowing discontents and seditions, by venomous and secret murmurings, and a dispersion of scurrilous pamphlets and libels against the Church and State; but especially against the Bishops; by which means, together with venomous and indiscreet sermons, the common people became so fanatic, as to believe the Bishops to be Antichrist, and the only obstructers of God’s discipline! and at last some of them were given over to so bloody a zeal, and such other desperate delusions, as to find out a text in the Revelation of St. John, that Antichrist was to be overcome by the sword. So that those very men, that began with tender and meek petitions, proceeded to admonitions: then to satirical remonstrances: and at last–having, like Absalom, numbered who was not, and who was, for their cause–they got a supposed certainty of so great a party, that they durst threaten first the Bishops, and then the Queen and Parliament, to all which they were secretly encouraged by the Earl of Leicester, then in great favour with her Majesty, and the reputed cherisher and patron-general of these pretenders to tenderness of conscience; his design being, by their means, to bring such an odium upon the Bishops, as to procure an alienation of their lands, and a large proportion of them for himself: which avaricious desire had at last so blinded his reason, that his ambitious and greedy hopes seemed to put him into a present possession of Lambeth-House.
[Sidenote: Scottish Non-conformists]
And to these undertakings the Non-conformists of this nation were much encouraged and heightened by a correspondence and confederacy with that brotherhood in Scotland; so that here they become so bold, that one [Mr. Dering] told the Queen openly in a sermon, “She was like an untamed heifer, that would not be ruled by God’s people, but obstructed his discipline.” And in Scotland they were more confident; for there [Vide Bishop Spotswood’s History of the Church of Scotland] they declared her an Atheist, and grew to such an height, as not to be accountable for any thing spoken against her, nor for treason against their own King, if it were but spoken in the pulpit; shewing at last such a disobedience to him, that his mother being in England, and then in distress, and in prison, and in danger of death, the Church denied the King their prayers for her; and at another time, when he had appointed a day of Feasting, the Church declared for a general Fast, in opposition to his authority.
[Sidenote: Remedial measures.]
To this height they were grown in both nations, and by these means there was distilled into the minds of the common people such other venomous and turbulent principles as were inconsistent with the safety of the Church and State: and these opinions vented so daringly, that, beside the loss of life and limbs, the governors of the Church and State were forced to use such other severities as will not admit of an excuse, if it had not been to prevent the gangrene of confusion, and the perilous consequences of it; which, without such prevention, would have been first confusion, and then ruin and misery to this numerous nation.
[Sidenote: Spectator ab extra]
These errors and animosities were so remarkable, that they begot wonder in an ingenious Italian, who being about this time come newly into this nation, and considering them, writ scoffingly to a friend in his own country, to this purpose; “That the common people of England were wiser than the wisest of his nation; for here the very women and shop-keepers were able to judge of Predestination, and to determine what laws were fit to be made concerning Church-government; and then, what were fit to be obeyed or abolished. That they were more able–or at least thought so–to raise and determine perplexed Cases of Conscience, than the wisest of the most learned Colleges in Italy! That men of the slightest learning, and the most ignorant of the common people, were mad for a new, or super, or re-reformation of Religion; and that in this they appeared like that man, who would never cease to whet and whet his knife, till there was no steel left to make it useful.” And he concluded his letter with this observation, “That those very men that were most busy in oppositions, and disputations, and controversies, and finding out the faults of their governors, had usually the least of humility and mortification, or of the power of godliness.”
[Sidenote: Growth of Atheism]
And to heighten all these discontents and dangers, there was also sprung up a generation of godless men; men that had so long given way to their own lusts and delusions, and so highly opposed the blessed motions of His Spirit, and the inward light of their own consciences, that they became the very slaves of vice, and had thereby sinned themselves into a belief of that which they would, but could not believe, into a belief, which is repugnant even to human nature;–for the Heathens believe that there are many Gods;–but these had sinned themselves into a belief that there was no God! and so, finding nothing in themselves but what was worse than nothing, began to wish what they were not able to hope for, namely, “That they might be like the beasts that perish!” and in wicked company–which is the Atheist’s sanctuary–were so bold as to say so: though the worst of mankind, when he is left alone at midnight, may wish, but is not then able to think it: even into a belief that there is no God. Into this wretched, this reprobate condition, many had then sinned themselves.
[Sidenote: John Whitgift]
And now, when the Church was pestered with them, and with all those other fore-named irregularities; when her lands were in danger of alienation, her power at least neglected, and her peace torn to pieces by several schisms, and such heresies as do usually attend that sin:–for heresies do usually out-live their first authors;–when the common people seemed ambitious of doing those very things that were forbidden and attended with most dangers, that thereby they might be punished, and then applauded and pitied: when they called the spirit of opposition a tender conscience, and complained of persecution, because they wanted power to persecute others: when the giddy multitude raged, and became restless to find out misery for themselves and others; and the rabble would herd themselves together, and endeavour to govern and act in spite of authority:–in this extremity of fear, and danger of the Church and State, when, to suppress the growing evils of both, they needed a man of prudence and piety, and of an high and fearless fortitude, they were blest in all by John Whitgift, his being made Archbishop of Canterbury; of whom Sir Henry Wotton–that knew him well in his youth, and had studied him in his age–gives this true character; “That he was a man of reverend and sacred memory, and of the primitive temper; such a temper, as when the Church by lowliness of spirit did flourish in highest examples of virtue.” And indeed this man proved so.
And though I dare not undertake to add to this excellent and true character of Sir Henry Wotton; yet I shall neither do right to this discourse, nor to my Reader, if I forbear to give him a further and short account of the life and manners of this excellent man; and it shall be short, for I long to end this digression, that I may lead my reader back to Mr. Hooker where we left him at the Temple.
[Sidenote: Archbishop of Canterbury]
John Whitgift was born in the County of Lincoln, of a family that was ancient; and noted to be both prudent and affable, and gentle by nature. He was educated in Cambridge; much of his learning was acquired in Pembroke Hall,–where Mr. Bradford the Martyr was his tutor;–from thence he was removed to Peter House; from thence to be Master of Pembroke Hall; and from thence to the Mastership of Trinity College. About which time the Queen made him her Chaplain; and not long after Prebend of Ely, and then Dean of Lincoln; and having for many years past looked upon him with much reverence and favour, gave him a fair testimony of both, by giving him the Bishoprick of Worcester, and–which was not with her a usual favour–forgiving him his first fruits; then by constituting him Vice-President of the Principality of Wales. And having experimented his wisdom, his justice, and moderation in the manage of her affairs in both these places, she, in the twenty-sixth of her reign, 1583, made him Archbishop of Canterbury, and, not long after, of her Privy Council; and trusted him to manage all her Ecclesiastical affairs and preferments. In all which removes, he was like the Ark, which left a blessing on the place where it rested; and in all his employments was like Jehoiada, that did good unto Israel.
These were the steps of this Bishop’s ascension to this place of dignity and cares: in which place–to speak Mr. Camden’s very words in his Annals of Queen Elizabeth–“he devoutly consecrated both his whole life to God, and his painful labours to the good of his Church.”
And yet in this place he met with many oppositions in the regulation of Church affairs, which were much disordered at his entrance, by reason of the age and remissness of Bishop Grindal, his immediate predecessor, the activity of the Non-conformists, and their chief assistant the Earl of Leicester; and indeed by too many others of the like sacrilegious principles. With these he was to encounter; and though he wanted neither courage, nor a good cause, yet he foresaw, that without a great measure of the Queen’s favour, it was impossible to stand in the breach that had been lately made into the lands and immunities of the Church, or indeed to maintain the remaining lands and rights of it. And therefore by justifiable sacred insinuations, such as St. Paul to Agrippa,–“Agrippa, believest thou? I know thou believest,” he wrought himself into so great a degree of favour with her, as, by his pious use of it, hath got both of them a great degree of fame in this world, and of glory in that into which they are now both entered.
[Sidenote: The “little black husband”]
His merits to the Queen, and her favours to him were such, that she called him, “her little black husband,” and called “his servants her servants:” and she saw so visible and blessed a sincerity shine in all his cares and endeavours for the Church’s and for her good, that she was supposed to trust him with the very secrets of her soul, and to make him her confessor; of which she gave many fair testimonies; and of which one was, that “she would never eat flesh in Lent, without obtaining a licence from her little black husband:” and would often say “she pitied him because she trusted him, and had thereby eased herself by laying the burthen of all her Clergy-cares upon his shoulders, which he managed with prudence and piety.”
[Sidenote: Church-lands Acts]
I shall not keep myself within the promised rules of brevity in this account of his interest with her Majesty, and his care of the Church’s rights, if in this digression I should enlarge to particulars; and therefore my desire is, that one example may serve for a testimony of both. And, that the Reader may the better understand it, he may take notice, that not many years before his being made Archbishop, there passed an Act, or Acts of Parliament, intending the better preservation of the Church-lands, by recalling a power which was vested in others to sell or lease them, by lodging and trusting the future care and protection of them only in the Crown: and amongst many that made a bad use of this power or trust of the Queen’s, the Earl of Leicester was one; and the Bishop having, by his interest with her Majesty, put a stop to the Earl’s sacrilegious designs, they two fell to an open opposition before her; after which they both quitted the room, not friends in appearance. But the Bishop made a sudden and seasonable return to her Majesty,–for he found her alone–and spake to her with great humility and reverence, to this purpose.
[Sidenote: An address]
“I beseech your Majesty to hear me with patience, and to believe that your’s and the Church’s safety are dearer to me than my life, but my conscience dearer than both: and therefore give me leave to do my duty, and tell you, that Princes are deputed nursing Fathers of the Church, and owe it a protection; and therefore God forbid that you should be so much as passive in her ruin, when you may prevent it; or that I should behold it without horror and detestation; or should forbear to tell your Majesty of the sin and danger of Sacrilege. And though you and myself were born in an age of frailties, when the primitive piety and care of the Church’s lands and immunities are much decayed; yet, Madam, let me beg that you would first consider that there are such sins as Profaneness and Sacrilege: and that, if there were not, they could not have names in Holy Writ, and particularly in the New Testament. And I beseech you to consider, that though our Saviour said, ‘He judged no man;’ and, to testify it, would not judge nor divide the inheritance betwixt the two brethren, nor would judge the woman taken in adultery; yet in this point of the Church’s rights he was so zealous, that he made himself both the accuser, and the judge, and the executioner too, to punish these sins; witnessed, in that he himself made the whip to drive the profaners out of the Temple, overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and drove them out of it. And I beseech you to consider, that it was St. Paul that said to those Christians of his time that were offended with Idolatry, and yet committed Sacrilege; ‘Thou that abhorrest Idols, dost thou commit Sacrilege?’ supposing, I think, Sacrilege the greater sin. This may occasion your Majesty to consider, that there is such a sin as Sacrilege; and to incline you to prevent the Curse that will follow it, I beseech you also to consider, that Constantine, the first Christian Emperor, and Helena his Mother; that King Edgar, and Edward the Confessor; and indeed many others of your predecessors, and many private Christians, have also given to God, and to his Church, much land, and many immunities, which they might have given to those of their own families, and did not; but gave them for ever as an absolute right and sacrifice to God: and with these immunities and lands they have entailed a curse upon the alienators of them: God prevent your Majesty and your successors from being liable to that Curse, which will cleave unto Church-lands as the leprosy to the Jews.
“And to make you, that are trusted with their preservation, the better to understand the danger of it, I beseech you forget not, that, to prevent these Curses, the Church’s land and power have been also endeavoured to be preserved, as far as human reason and the law of this nation have been able to preserve them, by an immediate and most sacred obligation on the consciences of the Princes of this realm. For they that consult Magna Charta shall find, that as all your predecessors were at their Coronation, so you also were sworn before all the Nobility and Bishops then present, and in the presence of God, and in his stead to him that anointed you, to maintain the Church-lands, and the rights belonging to it: and this you yourself have testified openly to God at the holy Altar, by laying your hands on the Bible then lying upon it. And not only Magna Charta, but many modern Statutes have denounced a Curse upon those that break Magna Charta; a Curse like the leprosy, that was entailed on the Jews: for as that, so these Curses have, and will cleave to the very stones of those buildings that have been consecrated to God; and the father’s sin of Sacrilege hath, and will prove to be entailed on his son and family. And now, Madam, what account can be given for the breach of this Oath at the Last Great Day, either by your Majesty, or by me, if it be wilfully, or but negligently violated, I know not.
“And therefore, good Madam, let not the late Lord’s exceptions against the failings of some few Clergymen prevail with you to punish posterity for the errors of the present age; let particular men suffer for their particular errors; but let God and his Church have their inheritance: and though I pretend not to prophecy, yet I beg posterity to take notice of what is already become visible in many families; that Church-land added to an ancient and just inheritance, hath proved like a moth fretting a garment, and secretly consumed both: or like the Eagle that stole a coal from the altar, and thereby set her nest on fire, which consumed both her young eagles and herself that stole it. And though I shall forbear to speak reproachfully of your Father, yet I beg you to take notice, that a part of the Church’s rights added to the vast treasures left him by his Father, hath been conceived to bring an unavoidable consumption upon both, notwithstanding all his diligency to preserve them.
“And consider, that after the violation of those laws, to which he had sworn in Magna Charta, God did so far deny him his restraining grace, that as King Saul, after he was forsaken of God, fell from one sin to another; so he, till at last he fell into greater sins than I am willing to mention. Madam, Religion is the foundation and cement of human societies; and when they that serve at God’s Altar shall be exposed to poverty, then Religion itself will be exposed to scorn, and become contemptible; as you may already observe it to be in too many poor Vicarages in this nation. And therefore, as you are by a late Act or Acts of Parliament, entrusted with a great power to preserve or waste the Church-lands; yet dispose of them, for Jesus’ sake, as you have promised to men, and vowed to God, that is, as the donors intended: let neither falsehood nor flattery beguile you to do otherwise; but put a stop to God’s and the Levites’ portion, I beseech you, and to the approaching ruins of His Church, as you expect comfort at the Last Great Day; for Kings must be judged. Pardon this affectionate plainness, my most dear Sovereign, and let me beg to be still continued in your favour; and the Lord still continue you in His.”
[Sidenote: Its reception]
The Queen’s patient hearing this affectionate speech, and her future care to preserve the Church’s rights, which till then had been neglected, may appear a fair testimony, that he made her’s and the Church’s good the chiefest of his cares, and that she also thought so. And of this there were such daily testimonies given, as begot betwixt them so mutual a joy and confidence, that they seemed born to believe and do good to each other; she not doubting his piety to be more than all his opposers, which were many; nor doubting his prudence to be equal to the chiefest of her Council, who were then as remarkable for active wisdom, as those dangerous times did require, or this nation did ever enjoy. And in this condition he continued twenty years; in which time he saw some flowings, but many more ebbings of her favour towards all men that had opposed him, especially the Earl of Leicester: so that God seemed still to keep him in her favour, that he might preserve the remaining Church-lands and immunities from Sacrilegious alienations. And this good man deserved all the honour and power with which she gratified and trusted him; for he was a pious man, and naturally of noble and grateful principles: he eased her of all her Church-cares by his wise manage of them; he gave her faithful and prudent counsels in all the extremities and dangers of her temporal affairs, which were very many; he lived to be the chief comfort of her life in her declining age, and to be then most frequently with her, and her assistant at her private devotions; he lived to be the greatest comfort of her soul upon her death-bed, to be present at the expiration of her last breath, and to behold the closing of those eyes that had long looked upon him with reverence and affection. And let this also be added, that he was the Chief Mourner at her sad funeral; nor let this be forgotten, that, within a few hours after her death, he was the happy proclaimer, that King James–her peaceful successor–was heir to the Crown.
[Sidenote: The Bishop’s works]
[Sidenote: His Free-school]
Let me beg of my Reader to allow me to say a little, and but a little, more of this good Bishop, and I shall then presently lead him back to Mr. Hooker; and because I would hasten, I will mention but one part of the Bishop’s charity and humility; but this of both. He built a large Alms-house near to his own Palace at Croydon in Surrey, and endowed it with maintenance for a Master and twenty-eight poor men and women; which he visited so often, that he knew their names and dispositions; and was so truly humble, that he called them Brothers and Sisters; and whensoever the Queen descended to that lowliness to dine with him at his Palace in Lambeth,–which was very often,–he would usually the next day shew the like lowliness to his poor Brothers and Sisters at Croydon, and dine with them at his Hospital; at which time, you may believe there was joy at the table. And at this place he built also a fair Free-school, with a good accommodation and maintenance for the Master and Scholars. Which gave just occasion for Boyse Sisi, then Ambassador for the French King, and resident here, at the Bishop’s death, to say, “the Bishop had published many learned books; but a Free-school to train up youth, and an Hospital to lodge and maintain aged and poor people, were the best evidences of Christian learning that a Bishop could leave to posterity.” This good Bishop lived to see King James settled in peace, and then fell into an extreme sickness at his Palace in Lambeth; of which when the King had notice, he went presently to visit him, and found him in his bed in a declining condition and very weak; and after some short discourse betwixt them, the King at his departure assured him, “He had a great affection for him, and a very high value for his prudence and virtues, and would endeavour to beg his life of God for the good of his Church.” To which the good Bishop replied, “_Pro Ecclesia Dei! Pro Ecclesia Dei_!” which were the last words he ever spake; therein testifying, that as in his life, so at his death, his chiefest care was of God’s Church.
This John Whitgift was made Archbishop in the year 1583. In which busy place he continued twenty years and some months; and in which time you may believe he had many trials of his courage and patience: but his motto was “_Vincit qui patitur_;” and he made it good.
[Sidenote: His trials]
Many of his trials were occasioned by the then powerful Earl of Leicester, who did still–but secretly–raise and cherish a faction of Non-conformists to oppose him; especially one Thomas Cartwright, a man of noted learning, sometime contemporary with the Bishop in Cambridge, and of the same College, of which the Bishop had been Master; in which place there began some emulations,–the particulars I forbear,–and at last open and high oppositions betwixt them; and in which you may believe Mr. Cartwright was most faulty, if his expulsion out of the University can incline you to it.
And in this discontent after the Earl’s death,–which was 1588,–Mr. Cartwright appeared a chief cherisher of a party that were for the Geneva Church-government; and, to effect it, he ran himself into many dangers both of liberty and life, appearing at the last to justify himself and his party in many remonstrances, which he caused to be printed: and to which the Bishop made a first answer, and Cartwright replied upon him; and then the Bishop having rejoined to his first reply, Mr. Cartwright either was, or was persuaded to be, satisfied, for he wrote no more, but left the Reader to be judge which had maintained their cause with most charity and reason. After some silence, Mr. Cartwright received from the Bishop many personal favours and betook himself to a more private living, which was at Warwick, where he was made Master of an Hospital, and lived quietly, and grew rich; and where the Bishop gave him a licence to preach, upon promises not to meddle with controversies, but incline his hearers to piety and moderation: and this promise he kept during his life, which ended 1602, the Bishop surviving him but some few months; each ending his days in perfect charity with the other.
And now after this long digression, made for the information of my Reader concerning what follows, I bring him back to venerable Mr. Hooker, where we left him in the Temple, and where we shall find him as deeply engaged in a controversy with Walter Travers,–a friend and favourite of Mr. Cartwright’s–as the Bishop had ever been with Mr. Cartwright himself, and of which I shall proceed to give this following account.
[Sidenote: The new generation]
[Sidenote: Thomas Nashe]
And first this; that though the pens of Mr. Cartwright and the Bishop were now at rest, yet there was sprung up a new generation of restless men, that by company and clamours became possessed of a faith, which they ought to have kept to themselves, but could not: men that were become positive in asserting, “That a papist cannot be saved:” insomuch, that about this time, at the execution of the Queen of Scots, the Bishop that preached her Funeral Sermon–which was Dr. Howland, then Bishop of Peterborough–was reviled for not being positive for her damnation. And besides this boldness of their becoming Gods, so far as to set limits to His mercies, there was not only one Martin Mar-Prelate, but other venomous books daily printed and dispersed; books that were so absurd and scurrilous, that the graver Divines disdained them an answer. And yet these were grown into high esteem with the common people, till Tom Nash appeared against them all, who was a man of a sharp wit, and the master of a scoffing, satirical, merry pen, which he employed to discover the absurdities of those blind, malicious, senseless pamphlets, and sermons as senseless as they; Nash’s answers being like his books, which bore these, or like titles: “An Almond for a Parrot;” “A Fig for my Godson;” “Come crack me this nut,” and the like; so that this merry wit made some sport, and such a discovery of their absurdities, as–which is strange–he put a greater stop to these malicious pamphlets, than a much wiser man had been able.
[Sidenote: Mr. Travers]
And now the Reader is to take notice, that at the death of Father Alvey, who was Master of the Temple, this Walter Travers was Lecturer there for the Evening Sermons, which he preached with great approbation, especially of some citizens, and the younger gentlemen of that Society; and for the most part approved by Mr. Hooker himself, in the midst of their oppositions. For he continued Lecturer a part of his time; Mr. Travers being indeed a man of competent learning, of a winning behaviour, and of a blameless life. But he had taken Orders by the Presbytery in Antwerp,–and with them some opinions, that could never be eradicated,–and if in anything he was transported, it was in an extreme desire to set up that government in this nation; for the promoting of which he had a correspondence with Theodore Beza at Geneva, and others in Scotland; and was one of the chiefest assistants to Mr. Cartwright in that design.
Mr. Travers had also a particular hope to set up this government in the Temple, and to that end used his most zealous endeavours to be Master of it; and his being disappointed by Mr. Hooker’s admittance, proved the occasion of a public opposition betwixt them in their Sermons: many of which were concerning the doctrine and ceremonies of this Church: insomuch that, as St. Paul withstood St. Peter to his face, so did they withstand each other in their Sermons: for, as one hath pleasantly expressed it, “The forenoon Sermon spake Canterbury; and the afternoon Geneva.”
[Sidenote: His petition]
In these Sermons there was little of bitterness, but each party brought all the reasons he was able to prove his adversary’s opinion erroneous. And thus it continued a long time, till the oppositions became so visible, and the consequences so dangerous, especially in that place, that the prudent Archbishop put a stop to Mr. Travers his preaching, by a positive prohibition. Against which Mr. Travers appealed, and petitioned her Majesty’s Privy Council to have it recalled; where, besides his patron, the Earl of Leicester, he met also with many assisting friends: but they were not able to prevail with, or against the Archbishop, whom the Queen had intrusted with all Church-power; and he had received so fair a testimony of Mr. Hooker’s principles, and of his learning and moderation, that he withstood all solicitations. But the denying this petition of Mr. Travers, was unpleasant to divers of his party; and the reasonableness of it became at last to be so publicly magnified by them, and many others of that party, as never to be answered: so that, intending the Bishop’s and Mr. Hooker’s disgrace, they procured it to be privately printed and scattered abroad; and then Mr. Hooker was forced to appear, and make as public an Answer; which he did, and dedicated it to the Archbishop; and it proved so full an answer, an answer that had in it so much of clear reason, and writ with so much meekness and majesty of style, that the Bishop began to have him in admiration, and to rejoice that he had appeared in his cause, and disdained not earnestly to beg his friendship; even a familiar friendship with a man of so much quiet learning and humility.
[Sidenote: Points at issue]
To enumerate the many particular points in issue which Mr. Hooker and Mr. Travers dissented,–all, or most of which I have seen written,–would prove at least tedious: and therefore I shall impose upon my Reader no more than two, which shall immediately follow, and by which he may judge of the rest.
Mr. Travers excepted against Mr. Hooker, for that in one of his Sermons he declared, “That the assurance of what we believe by the Word of God is not to us so certain as that which we perceive by sense.” And Mr. Hooker confesseth he said so, and endeavours to justify it by the reasons following.
“First; I taught that the things which God promises in his Word are surer than what we touch, handle, or see: but are we so sure and certain of them? If we be, why doth God so often prove his promises to us as he doth, by arguments drawn from our sensible experience? For we must be surer of the proof than of the things proved; otherwise it is no proof. For example; how is it that many men looking on the moon, at the same time, every one knoweth it to be the moon as certainly as the other doth? but many believing one and the same promise, have not all one and the same fulness of persuasion. For how falleth it out, that men being assured of any thing by sense, can be no surer of it than they are; when as the strongest in faith that liveth upon the earth hath always need to labour, strive, and pray, that his assurance concerning heavenly and spiritual things may grow, increase, and be augmented?”
[Sidenote: Hooker’s sermon]
The Sermon, that gave him the cause of this his justification, makes the case more plain, by declaring “That there is, besides this certainty of evidence, a certainty of adherence.” In which having most excellently demonstrated what the certainty of adherence is, he makes this comfortable use of it, “Comfortable,” he says, “as to weak believers, who suppose themselves to be faithless, not to believe, when notwithstanding they have their adherence; the Holy Spirit hath his private operations, and worketh secretly in them, and effectually too, though they want the inward testimony of it.”
Tell this, saith he, to a man that hath a mind too much dejected by a sad sense of his sin; to one that, by a too severe judging of himself, concludes that he wants faith, because he wants the comfortable assurance of it; and his answer will be, do not persuade me against my knowledge, against what I find and feel in myself: I do not, I know, I do not believe.–Mr. Hooker’s own words follow.–“Well then, to favour such men a little in their weakness, let that be granted which they do imagine; be it, that they adhere not to God’s promises, but are faithless, and without belief: but are they not grieved for their unbelief? They confess they are; do they not wish it might, and also strive that it may be otherwise? We know they do. Whence cometh this, but from a secret love and liking, that they have of those things believed? For no man can love those things which in his own opinion are not; and if they think those things to be, which they show they love, when they desire to believe them; then must it be, that, by desiring to believe, they prove themselves true believers: for without faith no man thinketh that things believed are: which argument all the subtilties of infernal powers will never be able to dissolve.” This is an abridgement of part of the reasons Mr. Hooker gives for his justification of this his opinion, for which he was excepted against by Mr. Travers.
[Sidenote: Answers to Travers]
Mr. Hooker was also accused by Mr. Travers, for that he in one of his Sermons had declared, “That he doubted not but that God was merciful to many of our forefathers living in Popish superstition, for as much as they sinned ignorantly;” and Mr. Hooker in his Answer professeth it to be his judgment, and declares his reasons for this charitable opinion to be as followeth.
But first, he states the question about Justification and Works, and how the foundation of Faith without works is overthrown; and then he proceeds to discover that way which natural men and some others have mistaken to be the way, by which they hope to attain true and everlasting happiness: and having discovered the mistaken, he proceeds to direct to that true way, by which, and no other, everlasting life and blessedness is attainable. And these two ways he demonstrates thus;–they be his own words that follow:–“That, the way of Nature; this, the way of Grace; the end of that way, Salvation merited, pre-supposing the righteousness of men’s works; their righteousness, a natural ability to do them; that ability, the goodness of God, which created them in such perfection. But the end of this way, Salvation bestowed upon men as a gift: pre-supposing not their righteousness, but the forgiveness of their unrighteousness, Justification; their justification, not their natural ability to do good, but their hearty sorrow for not doing, and unfeigned belief in Him, for whose sake not-doers are accepted, which is their Vocation; their vocation, the election of God, taking them out of the number of lost children: their Election, a Mediator in whom to be elected; this mediation, inexplicable mercy: this mercy, supposing their misery for whom He vouchsafed to die, and make Himself a Mediator.”
And he also declareth, “There is no meritorious cause for our Justification, but Christ: no effectual, but his mercy;” and says also, “We deny the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we abuse, disannul and annihilate the benefit of his passion, if by a proud imagination we believe we can merit everlasting life, or can be worthy of it.” This belief, he declareth, is to destroy the very essence of our Justification; and he makes all opinions that border upon this to be very dangerous. “Yet nevertheless,”–and for this he was accused,–“considering how many virtuous and just men, how many Saints and Martyrs have had their dangerous opinions amongst which this was one, that they hoped to make God some part of amends, by voluntary punishments which they laid upon themselves: because by this, or the like erroneous opinions, which do by consequence overthrow the merits of Christ, shall man be so bold as to write on their graves, ‘Such men are damned; there is for them no Salvation?’ St. Austin says, _Errare possum, Haereticus esse nolo_. And except we put a difference betwixt them that err ignorantly, and them that obstinately persist in it, how is it possible that any man should hope to be saved? Give me a Pope or Cardinal, whom great afflictions have made to know himself, whose heart God hath touched with true sorrow for all his sins, and filled with a love of Christ and his Gospel; whose eyes are willingly open to see the truth, and his mouth ready to renounce all error,–this one opinion of merit excepted, which he thinketh God will require at his hands;–and because he wanteth, trembleth, and is discouraged, and yet can say, Lord, cleanse me from all my secret sins! shall I think, because of this, or a like error, such men touch not so much as the hem of Christ’s garment? If they do, wherefore should I doubt, but that virtue may proceed from Christ to save them? No, I will not be afraid to say to such a one, You err in your opinion; but be of good comfort; you have to do with a merciful God, who will make the best of that little which you hold well; and not with a captious sophister, who gathereth the worst out of every thing in which you are mistaken.”
But it will be said, says Mr. Hooker, the admittance of merit in any degree overthroweth the foundation, excludeth from the hope of mercy, from all possibility of salvation. (And now Mr. Hooker’s own words follow.)
“What, though they hold the truth sincerely in all other parts of Christian faith; although they have in some measure all the virtues and graces of the Spirit, although they have all other tokens of God’s children in them? although they be far from having any proud opinion, that they shall be saved by the worthiness of their deeds? although the only thing, that troubleth and molesteth them, be a little too much dejection, somewhat too great a fear arising from an erroneous conceit, that God will require a worthiness in them, which they are grieved to find wanting in themselves? although they be not obstinate in this opinion? although they be willing, and would be glad to forsake it, if any one reason were brought sufficient to disprove it? although the only cause why they do not forsake it ere they die, be their ignorance of that means by which it might be disproved? although the cause why the ignorance in this point is not removed, be the want of knowledge in such as should be able, and are not, to remove it? Let me die,” says Mr. Hooker, “if it be ever proved, that simply an error doth exclude a Pope or Cardinal in such a case utterly from hope of life. Surely, I must confess, that if it be an error to think that God may be merciful to save men, even when they err, my greatest comfort is my error: were it not for the love I bear to this error, I would never wish to speak or to live.”
I was willing to take notice of these two points, as supposing them to be very material; and that, as they are thus contracted, they may prove useful to my Reader; as also for that the answers be arguments of Mr. Hooker’s great and clear reason, and equal charity. Other exceptions were also made against him by Mr. Travers, as “That he prayed before, and not after, his Sermons; that in his prayers he named Bishops; that he kneeled, both when he prayed, and when he received the Sacrament;” and–says Mr. Hooker in his Defence–“other exceptions so like these, as but to name, I should have thought a greater fault than to commit them.”
[Sidenote: His “dove-like temper”]
And it is not unworthy the noting, that, in the manage of so great a controversy, a sharper reproof than this, and one like it, did never fall from the happy pen of this humble man. That like it was upon a like occasion of exceptions, to which his answer was, “your next argument consists of railing and of reasons: to your railing I say nothing; to your reasons I say what follows.” And I am glad of this fair occasion to testify the dove-like temper of this meek, this matchless man. And doubtless, if Almighty God had blest the Dissenters from the ceremonies and discipline of this Church, with a like measure of wisdom and humility, instead of their pertinacious zeal, then obedience and truth had kissed each other; then peace and piety had flourished in our nation, and this Church and State had been blessed like Jerusalem, that is at unity with itself: but this can never be expected, till God shall bless the common people of this nation with a belief, that Schism is a sin, and they not fit to judge what is Schism: and bless them also with a belief, that there may be offences taken which are not given, and, that laws are not made for private men to dispute, but to obey.
[Sidenote: His writings]
And this also may be worthy of noting, that these exceptions of Mr. Travers against Mr. Hooker proved to be _felix error_, for they were the cause of his transcribing those few of his Sermons, which we now see printed with his books; and of his “Answer to Mr. Travers his Supplication;” and of his most learned and useful “Discourse of Justification, of Faith, and Works:” and by their transcription they fell into such hands as have preserved them from being lost, as too many of his other matchless writings were: and from these I have gathered many observations in this discourse of his life.
[Sidenote: “Ecclesiastical Polity”]
After the publication of his “Answer to the Petition of Mr. Travers,” Mr. Hooker grew daily into greater repute with the most learned and wise of the nation; but it had a contrary effect in very many of the Temple, that were zealous for Mr. Travers, and for his Church-discipline; insomuch, that though Mr. Travers left the place, yet the seeds of discontent could not be rooted out of that Society, by the great reason, and as great meekness, of this humble man: for though the chief Benchers gave him much reverence and encouragement, yet he there met with many neglects and oppositions by those of Master Travers’ judgment; insomuch that it turned to his extreme grief: and, that he might unbeguile and win them, he designed to write a deliberate, sober treatise of the Church’s power to make Canons for the use of ceremonies, and by law to impose an obedience to them, as upon her children; and this he proposed to do in “Eight Books of the Law of Ecclesiastical Polity;” intending therein to shew such arguments as should force an assent from all men, if reason, delivered in sweet language, and void of any provocation, were able to do it: and, that he might prevent all prejudice, he wrote before it a large Preface, or Epistle to the Dissenting Brethren, wherein there were such bowels of love, and such a commixture of that love with reason, as was never exceeded but in Holy Writ; and particularly by that of St. Paul to his dear brother and fellow-labourer Philemon: than which none ever was more like this epistle of Mr. Hooker’s. So that his dear friend and companion in his studies, Dr. Spencer, might, after his death, justly say, “What admirable height of learning, and depth of judgment, dwelt in the lowly mind of this truly humble man–great in all wise men’s eyes, except his own; with what gravity and majesty of speech his tongue and pen uttered heavenly mysteries; whose eyes, in the humility of his heart, were always cast down to the ground; how all things that proceeded from him were breathed as from the Spirit of Love; as if he, like the bird of the Holy Ghost, the Dove, had wanted gall:–let those that knew him not in his person, judge these living images of his soul, his writings.”
[Sidenote: Desire for quietness]
The foundation of these books was laid in the Temple; but he found it no fit place to finish what he had there designed; he therefore earnestly solicited the Archbishop for a remove from that place; to whom he spake to this purpose: “My Lord, when I lost the freedom of my cell, which was my College, yet I found some degree of it in my quiet country parsonage: but I am weary of the noise and oppositions of this place; and indeed God and Nature did not intend me for contentions, but for study and quietness. My Lord, my particular contests with Mr. Travers here have proved the more unpleasant to me, because I believe him to be a good man; and that belief hath occasioned me to examine mine own conscience concerning his opinions; and, to satisfy that, I have consulted the Scripture, and other laws, both human and divine, whether the conscience of him, and others of his judgment, ought to be so far complied with, as to alter our frame of Church-government, our manner of God’s worship, our praising and praying to him, and our established ceremonies, as often as his, and other tender consciences shall require us. And in this examination, I have not only satisfied myself, but have begun a Treatise, in which I intend a justification of the Laws of our Ecclesiastical Polity; in which design God and his holy angels shall at the last great Day bear me that witness which my conscience now does; that my meaning is not to provoke any, but rather to satisfy all tender consciences: and I shall never be able to do this, but where I may study, and pray for God’s blessing upon my endeavours, and keep myself in peace and privacy, and behold God’s blessings spring out of my mother earth, and eat my own bread without oppositions; and therefore, if your Grace can judge me worthy of such a favour, let me beg it, that I may perfect what I have begun.”
[Sidenote: Rector of Boscombe]
[Sidenote: Prebend of Salisbury]
About this time the Parsonage or Rectory of Boscum, in the Diocese of Sarum, and six miles from that City, became void. The Bishop of Sarum is patron of it; but in the vacancy of that See,–which was three years betwixt the translation of Bishop Pierce to the See of York, and Bishop Caldwell’s admission into it,–the disposal of that, and all benefices belonging to that See, during this said vacancy, came to be disposed of by the Archbishop of Canterbury: and he presented Richard Hooker to it in the year 1591. And Richard Hooker was also in the said year instituted, July 17, to be a Minor Prebend of Salisbury, the corps to it being Nether-Haven, about ten miles from that City; which prebend was of no great value, but intended chiefly to make him capable of a better preferment in that church. In this Boscum he continued till he had finished four of his eight proposed books of “The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity,” and these were entered into the Register-Book in Stationers’ Hall, the 9th of March, 1592, but not published till the year 1594, and then were with the before-mentioned large and affectionate Preface, which he directs to them that seek–as they term it–the reformation of the Laws and Orders Ecclesiastical in the Church of England; of which books I shall yet say nothing more, but that he continued his laborious diligence to finish the remaining four during his life;–of all which more properly hereafter;–but at Boscum he finished and published but only the first four, being then in the 39th year of his age.
He left Boscum in the year 1595, by a surrender of it into the hands of Bishop Caldwell: and he presented Benjamin Russell, who was instituted into it the 23rd of June in the same year.
[Sidenote: Rector of Bishops-bourne]
The Parsonage of Bishop’s Bourne in Kent, three miles from Canterbury, is in that Archbishop’s gift; but, in that latter end of the year 1594, Dr. William Redman, the Rector of it, was made Bishop of Norwich; by which means the power of presenting to it was _pro ea vice_ in the Queen; and she presented Richard Hooker, whom she loved well, to this good living of Bourne, the 7th July, 1595; in which living he continued till his death, without any addition of dignity or profit.
And now having brought our Richard Hooker from his birth-place, to this where he found a grave, I shall only give some account of his books and of his behaviour in this Parsonage of Bourne, and then give a rest both to myself and my Reader.
His first four books and large epistle have been declared to be printed at his being at Boscum, anno 1594. Next I am to tell, that at the end of these four books there was, when he first printed them, this Advertisement to the Reader. “I have for some causes, thought it at this time more fit to let go these first four books by themselves, than to stay both them and the rest, till the whole might together be published. Such generalities of the cause in question as are here handled, it will be perhaps not amiss to consider apart, by way of introduction unto the books that are to follow concerning particulars; in the mean time the Reader is requested to mend the Printer’s errors, as noted underneath.”
[Sidenote: “Ecclesiastical Polity”]
[Sidenote: The Pope his reader]
And I am next to declare, that his Fifth Book–which is larger than his first four–was first also printed by itself, anno 1597, and dedicated to his patron–for till then he chose none–the Archbishop.–These books were read with an admiration of their excellency in this, and their just fame spread itself also into foreign nations. And I have been told, more than forty years past, that either Cardinal Allen, or learned Dr. Stapleton,–both Englishmen, and in Italy about the time when Mr. Hooker’s four books were first printed,–meeting with this general fame of them, were desirous to read an author, that both the reformed and the learned of their own Romish Church did so much magnify; and therefore caused them to be sent for to Rome: and after reading them, boasted to the Pope,–which then was Clement the Eighth,–“That though he had lately said, he never met with an English book, whose writer deserved the name of author; yet there now appeared a wonder to them, and it would be so to his Holiness, if it were in Latin: for a poor obscure English Priest had writ four such books of Laws, and Church-polity, and in a style that expressed such a grave and so humble a majesty, with such clear demonstration of reason, that in all their readings they had not met with any that exceeded him:” and this begot in the Pope an earnest desire that Dr. Stapleton should bring the said four books, and, looking on the English, read a part of them to him in Latin; which Dr. Stapleton did, to the end of the first book; at the conclusion of which, the Pope spake to this purpose: “There is no learning that this man hath not searched into, nothing too hard for his understanding: this man indeed deserves the name of an author: his books will get reverence by age; for there is in them such seeds of eternity, that if the rest be like this, they shall last till the last fire shall consume all learning.”
[Sidenote: King James on Hooker]
Nor was this high, the only testimony and commendation given to his books; for at the first coming of King James into this kingdom, he enquired of the Archbishop Whitgift for his friend Mr. Hooker, that writ the books of Church-polity; to which the answer was, that he died a year before Queen Elizabeth, who received the sad news of his death with very much sorrow; to which the King replied, “And I receive it with no less, that I shall want the desired happiness of seeing and discoursing with that man, from whose books I have received such satisfaction: indeed, my Lord, I have received more satisfaction in reading a leaf or paragraph, in Mr. Hooker, though it were but about the fashion of Churches, or Church-Music, or the like, but especially of the Sacraments, than I have had in the reading particular large treatises written but of one of those subjects by others, though very learned men: and I observe there is in Mr. Hooker no affected language: but a grave, comprehensive, clear manifestation of reason, and that backed with the authority of the Scripture, the Fathers, and Schoolmen, and with all Law both sacred and civil. And, though many others write well, yet in the next age they will be forgotten; but doubtless there is in every page of Mr. Hooker’s book, the picture of a divine soul, such pictures of truth and reason, and drawn in so sacred colours, that they shall never fade, but give an immortal memory to the author.” And it is so truly true, that the King thought what he spake, that, as the most learned of the nation have, and still do mention Mr. Hooker with reverence; so he also did never mention him but with the epithet of learned, or judicious, or reverend, or venerable Mr. Hooker.
[Sidenote: A Latin version]
Nor did his son, our late King Charles the First, ever mention him but with the same reverence, enjoining his son, our now gracious King, to be studious in Mr. Hooker’s books. And our learned antiquary, Mr. Camden [in his Annals, 5299], mentioning the death, the modesty, and other virtues of Mr. Hooker, and magnifying his books, wished, “that, for the honour of this, and benefit of other nations, they were turned into the Universal Language.” Which work, though undertaken by many, yet they have been weary, and forsaken it: but the Reader may now expect it, having been long since begun and lately finished, by the happy pen of Dr. Earle, now Lord Bishop of Salisbury, of whom I may justly say,–and let it not offend him, because it is such a truth as ought not to be concealed from posterity, or those that now live, and yet know him not,–that since Mr. Hooker died, none have lived whom God hath blessed with more innocent wisdom, more sanctified learning, or a more pious, peaceable, primitive temper: so that this excellent person seems to be only like himself, and our venerable Richard Hooker, and only fit to make the learned of all nations happy, in knowing what hath been too long confined to the language of our little island.
[Sidenote: Life at Bishops-bourne]
There might be many more and just occasions taken to speak of his books, which none ever did or can commend too much; but I decline them, and hasten to an account of his Christian behaviour and death at Bourne; in which place he continued his customary rules of mortification and self-denial; was much in fasting, frequent in meditation and prayers, enjoying those blessed returns, which only men of strict lives feel and know, and of which men of loose and godless lives cannot be made sensible; for spiritual things are spiritually discerned.
[Sidenote: Saravia’s tracts]
At his entrance into this place, his friendship was much sought for by Dr. Hadrian Saravia, then, or about that time, made one of the Prebends of Canterbury; a German by birth, and sometime a pastor both in Flanders and Holland, where he had studied, and well considered the controverted points concerning Episcopacy and sacrilege; and in England had a just occasion to declare his judgment concerning both, unto his brethren ministers of the Low Countries; which was excepted against by Theodore Beza and others; against whose exceptions he rejoined, and thereby became the happy author of many learned tracts writ in Latin, especially of three; one, of the “Degrees of Ministers,” and of the “Bishops’ superiority above the Presbytery;” a second, “against Sacrilege;” and a third of “Christian Obedience to Princes;” the last being occasioned by Gretzerus the Jesuit. And it is observable, that when, in a time of Church tumults, Beza gave his reasons to the Chancellor of Scotland for the abrogation of Episcopacy in that nation, partly by letters, and more fully in a Treatise of a threefold Episcopacy,–which he calls divine, human, and satanical,–this Dr. Saravia had, by the help of Bishop Whitgift, made such an early discovery of their intentions, that he had almost as soon answered that Treatise as it became public; and he therein discovered how Beza’s opinion did contradict that of Calvin’s and his adherents; leaving them to interfere with themselves in point of Episcopacy. But of these tracts it will not concern me to say more, than that they were most of them dedicated to his, and the Church of England’s watchful patron, John Whitgift, the Archbishop; and printed about the time in which Mr. Hooker also appeared first to the world, in the publication of his first four books of “Ecclesiastical Polity.”
This friendship being sought for by this learned Doctor, you may believe was not denied by Mr. Hooker, who was by fortune so like him, as to be engaged against Mr. Travers, Mr. Cartwright, and others of their judgment, in a controversy too like Dr. Saravia’s; so that in this year of 1595, and in this place of Bourne, these two excellent persons began a holy friendship, increasing daily to so high and mutual affections, that their two wills seemed to be but one and the same; and their designs both for the glory of God, and peace of the Church, still assisting and improving each other’s virtues, and the desired comforts of a peaceable piety; which I have willingly mentioned, because it gives a foundation to some things that follow.
[Sidenote: “What went they out to see?”]
[Sidenote: His bashfulnes]
This Parsonage of Bourne is from Canterbury three miles, and near to the common road that leads from that City to Dover; in which Parsonage Mr. Hooker had not been twelve months, but his books, and the innocency and sanctity of his life became so remarkable, that many turned out of the road, and others–scholars especially–went purposely to see the man, whose life and learning were so much admired: and alas! as our Saviour said of St. John Baptist, “What went they out to see? a man clothed in purple and fine linen?” No, indeed: but an obscure, harmless man; a man in poor clothes, his loins usually girt in a coarse gown, or canonical coat; of a mean stature, and stooping, and yet more lowly in the thoughts of his soul; his body worn out, not with age, but study and holy mortifications; his face full of heat-pimples, begot by his unactivity and sedentary life. And to this true character of his person, let me add this of his disposition and behaviour: God and Nature blessed him with so blessed a bashfulness, that as in his younger days his pupils might easily look him out of countenance; so neither then, nor in his age, did he ever willingly look any man in the face: and was of so mild and humble a nature, that his poor Parish-Clerk and he did never talk but with both their hats on, or both off, at the same time: and to this may be added, that though he was not purblind, yet he was short or weaksighted; and where he fixed his eyes at the beginning of his sermon, there they continued till it was ended: and the Reader has a liberty to believe, that his modesty and dim sight were some of the reasons why he trusted Mrs. Churchman to choose his wife.
[Sidenote: His Parish Clerk]
This Parish-Clerk lived till the third or fourth year of the late Long Parliament; betwixt which time and Mr. Hooker’s death there had come many to see the place of his burial, and the Monument dedicated to his memory by Sir William Cowper, who still lives; and the poor Clerk had many rewards for shewing Mr. Hooker’s grave place, and his said Monument, and did always hear Mr. Hooker mentioned with commendations and reverence; to all which he added his own knowledge and observations of his humility and holiness; and in all which discourses the poor man was still more confirmed in his opinion of Mr. Hooker’s virtues and learning. But it so fell out, that about the said third or fourth year of the Long Parliament, the then present Parson of Bourne was sequestered,–you may guess why,–and a Genevan Minister put into his good living. This, and other like sequestrations, made the Clerk express himself in a wonder, and say, “They had sequestered so many good men, that he doubted, if his good master Mr. Hooker had lived till now, they would have sequestered him too!”
It was not long before this intruding Minister had made a party in and about the said Parish, that were desirous to receive the Sacrament as in Geneva; to which end, the day was appointed for a select company, and forms and stools set about the altar, or communion-table, for them to sit and eat and drink: but when they went about this work, there was a want of some joint-stools, which the Minister sent the Clerk to fetch, and then to fetch cushions,–but not to kneel upon.–When the Clerk saw them begin to sit down, he began to wonder; but the Minister bade him “cease wondering, and lock the Church-door:” to whom he replied, “Pray take you the keys, and lock me out: I will never come more into this Church; for all men will say, my master Hooker was a good man, and a good scholar; and I am sure it was not used to be thus in his days:” and report says the old man went presently home and died; I do not say died immediately, but within a few Christian days after.
[Sidenote: His Christian behavior]
But let us leave this grateful Clerk in his quiet grave, and return to Mr. Hooker himself, continuing our observations of his Christian behaviour in this place, where he gave a holy valediction to all the pleasures and allurements of earth; possessing his soul in a virtuous quietness, which he maintained by constant study, prayers, and meditations. His use was to preach once every Sunday, and he, or his Curate, to catechise after the second Lesson in the Evening Prayer. His Sermons were neither long nor earnest, but uttered with a grave zeal and an humble voice: his eyes always fixed on one place, to prevent imagination from wandering; insomuch that he seemed to study as he spake. The design of his Sermons–as indeed of all his discourses–was to shew reasons for what he spake; and with these reasons such a kind of rhetoric, as did rather convince and persuade, than frighten men into piety; studying not so much for matter,–which he never wanted,–as for apt illustrations, to inform and teach his unlearned hearers by familiar examples, and then make them better by convincing applications; never labouring by hard words, and then by heedless distinctions and sub-distinctions, to amuse his hearers, and get glory to himself; but glory only to God. Which intention, he would often say, was as discernible in a Preacher, “as a natural from an artificial beauty.”
[Sidenote: Fasting and prayer]
He never failed the Sunday before every Ember-week to give notice of it to his parishioners, persuading them both to fast, and then to double their devotions for a learned and a pious Clergy, but especially the last; saying often, “That the life of a pious Clergyman was visible rhetoric; and so convincing, that the most godless men–though they would not deny themselves the enjoyment of their present lusts–did yet secretly wish themselves like those of the strictest lives.” And to what he persuaded others, he added his own example of fasting and prayer; and did usually every Ember-week take from the Parish-Clerk the key of the Church-door, into which place he retired every day, and locked himself up for many hours; and did the like most Fridays and other days of fasting.
He would by no means omit the customary time of Procession, persuading all, both rich and poor, if they desired the preservation of love, and their Parish-rights and liberties, to accompany him in his perambulation; and most did so: in which perambulation he would usually express more pleasant discourse than at other times, and would then always drop some loving and facetious observations to be remembered against the next year, especially by the boys and young people; still inclining them, and all his present parishioners, to meekness, and mutual kindness and love; because “Love thinks not evil, but covers a multitude of infirmities.”
[Sidenote: Parish work]
He was diligent to enquire who of his Parish were sick, or any ways distressed, and would often visit them, unsent for; supposing that the fittest time to discover to them those errors, to which health and prosperity had blinded them. And having by pious reasons and prayers moulded them into holy resolutions for the time to come, he would incline them to confession and bewailing their sins, with purpose to forsake them, and then to receive the Communion, both as a strengthening of those holy resolutions, and as a seal betwixt God and them of his mercies to their souls, in case that present sickness did put a period to their lives.
And as he was thus watchful and charitable to the sick, so he was as diligent to prevent lawsuits; still urging his parishioners and neighbours to bear with each other’s infirmities, and live in love, because, as St. John says, “He that lives in love, lives in God: for God is love.” And to maintain this holy fire of love constantly burning on the altar of a pure heart, his advice was to watch and pray, and always keep themselves fit to receive the Communion, and then to receive it often; for it was both a confirming and strengthening of their graces. This was his advice; and at his entrance or departure out of any house, he would usually speak to the whole family, and bless them by name; insomuch, that as he seemed his youth to be taught of God, so he seemed in this place to teach his precepts as Enoch did, by walking with him in all holiness and humility, making each day a step towards a blessed eternity. And though, in this weak and declining age of the world, such examples are become barren, and almost incredible; yet let his memory be blessed by this true recordation, because he that praises Richard Hooker, praises God who hath given such gifts to men; and let this humble and affectionate relation of him become such a pattern, as may invite posterity to imitate these his virtues.
[Sidenote: Slanderous tongues]
[Sidenote: False accusations]
[Sidenote: A prayer]