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Mr. Johnson, at the same time, presented a petition to the queen or council, d, siring to be restored to his former liberty of preaching, from which he was restrained by the foregoing heavy sent, ince. This petition, together with a letter from the court, dated Greenwich, March 19, 1573, were sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London, pressing them to take the case into consideration, and take such order therein as should appear most convenient. The council also sent another letter to the Bishop of London, dated Greenwich, May 16, 1574, signifying that their lordships were given to understand, that Mr. Johnson, committed to the Gatehouse for nonconformity, was very sick and likely to die, unless he might enjoy more open air. Therefore they commanded his grace to give order for the poor afflicted man to be bailed, and upon sureties to be removed to his own house, but not to depart thence without further order.” All these efforts were, however, without any good effect. The relentless prelate continued inflexible. Mr. Johnson experienced neither his lenity, nor his charity, nor any other favour : for the good man died soon after, a prisoner in the Gatehouse, through the cruelty of his imprisonment, and his extreme poverty and want. Herein, surely, his inhuman persecutors would be highly gratified. Bishop Sandys, who was at the head of these proceedings, is said to have been “a man very eminent for his learning, probity, and prudence;”; but, surely, it may be questioned whether he exercised these excellent qualifications on the present occasion. This is even admitted by his partial biographer: for he observes, that during the above period, the good bishop proceeded so vigorously against the puritans, that his doings brought public reproach on his name and reputation. Mr. Johnson wrote a letter, a little before his death, to the Dean of Westminster, another zealous promoter of his persecution. This letter is still preserved. Mr. Strype charges Mr. Johnson as a false accuser, and, in 1609, as reviling the puritans. But the fact of his being dead several years before either of these events are said to have taken place, at once acquits him of the twofold charge. Some other person of the same name, who was a rigid churchman, we believe to have been guilty of those crimes.
* Baker's MS. Collec. vol. xxi. p. 383, 384.
+ Parte of a Register, p. 111, 1 18. Le Neve's Lives, vol. i. part ii. p. 69. § Ibid. p. 31. Parte of a Register, p. 112–116. T Strype's Parker, p. 328, 329. * Cardinal Wolsey possessed, for some years, all that power and grandeur which could be enjoyed by the greatest favourite, and most absolute minister, under an arbitrary prince. He exercised as absolute a power in the church, as he had done in the state. His abilities were equal to his great offices, but these were by no means equal to his ambition. He was the only man that ever had the ascendancy of Henry VIII., but after wards fely into disgrace.—Granger's Biog. Hist, vol. i. p. 92. -
Rich ARD TAve RNER, A.M.–This distinguished person was born at Brisley in Norfolk, in the year 1505, and educated first in Bennet college, Cambridge, then in the university of Oxford. The famous Cardinal Wolsey having founded a new college at the latter place,” furnished it with all the best scholars in the nation; among whom were Taverner, Tindal, Frith, Goodman, and many others. Here Mr. Taverner and his brethren were soon called to the triat of their faith. They were men of good learning and grave judgments, and Mr. Taverner was famous for his knowledge of music; but conferring together about the corruptions of the church, they were presently accused to the cardinal, and cast into prison. They were confined in a deep cell under the college, where salt fish was wont to be preserved; so that by the filthiness and infection of the place, several of them soon lost their lives. Mr. Taverner, however, escaped the fatal malady. Though he was accused of hiding one Mr. Clark's books under the boards of his school, the cardinal, on account of his music, exempted him, saying, “He is only a musician;” and so he was released. He had a good knowledge of the Greek language, philosophy; and divinity; but about this time he removed or was expelled from the university, and became a student at the inns of court. Here, when he read any thing in the law, he made his quotations in Greek. In the year 1534, he was taken under the patronage of Lord Cromwell, principal secretary to Henry VIII.; by whose recommendation the king afterwards made him one of the clerks of the signet. This place he kept till the accession of Queen Mary, having been held in high esteem by King Henry, Edward VI., and the Buke of Somerset, the lord protector. > In the year 1539, he published “A Recognition or Correction of the Bible after the best Exemplars.” It was printed in folio, dedicated to the king, and allowed to be publicly read in the churches. But upon the fall of Lord Cromwell, in 1540, the bishops causing the printers of the Bible in English to be cast into prison and punished, Mr. Taverner, as the reward of his labours, was sent to the
+ Fox's Martyrs, vol. ii. p. 209, 251 . . .
Tower. Here, however, he did not continue long; for, having fully acquitted himself before his judges, he was soon after released, and restored to his place and the king's favour. He was about this time, a member of parliament, and held in high esteem by men of piety and worth. Upon King Henry's coming to the parliament house in 1545, and exhorting the members to chaeity, unity, and concord, he published a translation of Erasmus, entitled “An Introduction to Christian concord and unitie in matters of Religion.” In the year 1552, Mr. Taverner, though he was not ordained, obtained a special license subscribed by King Edward, to preach in any part of his dominions; and he did not fail to make use of the liberty granted him. He preached from place to place through the kingdom; also at court before the king, and in other public places, wearing a velvet bonnet or round cap, a damask gown, and a chain of gold about his neck; in which habit, he sometimes preached in St. Mary's church, Oxford, in the days of Queen Elizabeth. When Queen Mary came to the crown, he retired to his country house called Norbiton-hall, in Surrey, where he continued during the whole of her reign. Upon the accession of Elizabeth, he presented her majesty with a congratulatory epistle in Latin, for which she exceedingly respected him, placed great confidence in him, and, besides offering him the degree of knighthood, put him into the commission of peace #. the county of Oxford. Here numerous concerns were entrusted to him, and, in 1569, he was made high sheriff of the county. Notwithstanding his high station, he did not relinquish his ministerial labours, but continued preaching as he found opportunity. While he was in the office of high sheriff, he appeared in St. Mary's Fo with his gold chain about his neck, and his sword y his side, and preached to the scholars, beginning his sermon with the following words:—“Arriving at the mount “ of St. Mary's, in the stony" stage where I now stand, I “ have brought you some fine biskets, baked in the oven of “charity, and carefully conserved for the chickins of the “church, the sparrows of the spirit, and the sweet swallows “ of salvation.” This way of preaching was then mostly fashionable, and commended by the generality of scholars in those times. This celebrated reformer and zealous nonconformist to the church of England, laid down his head in peace, July 14, 1575, aged seventy years. He died at his manor-house, at Wood-Eaton, in Oxfordshire, and his remains were interred with great funeral solemnity, in the chancel of the church at that place."
* Wood says the pulpit of St. Mary's was then of fine carved stone; but it was taken away in 1654, when Dr. John Owen was vice-chancellor, and a pulpit of wood set up in its place.—Athena Ozon. vol. i. p. 144. note.
+ Fuller's Church Hist, b. ix. p. 65.
His WoRks.—1. The Sum or Pith of the 150 Psalmes of David, reduced into a forme of Prayers and Meditations, with other certaine godly Orisons, 1539.-2. Correction of the Bible, already mentioned. —3. The Epistles and Gospels, with a brief Postill upon the same, from Advent to Low Sunday, drawn forth by divers learned men for the singular commoditie of all good Christian Persons, and namely of Priests and Curates, 1540.-4. The Epistles and Gospels, with a brief Postill upon the same, from after Easter till Advent, 1540–5. Fruite of Faith, containing all the Prayers of the holy Fathers, Patriarks, Prophets, Judges, Kings, renowned Men, and Women, in the Old and New Testament, 1582.-6. Various Poems in Latin and English, and several Translations of the works of other learned men.
R. HARVEY was a zealous and learned minister in the city of Norwich, a divine of puritanical principles, and brought into troubles for his nonconformity. Having spoken against the pompous titles, and the government of bishops, and other ecclesiastical officers, he was summoned, May 13, 1576, to appear before his diocesan at Norwich. Upon his appearance before his lordship, he was immediately suspended; when the dean, who pronounced the sentence, behaved himself towards Mr. Harvey, not as a judge, but a most angry tyrant.*
Mr. Harvey having received the ecclesiastical censure, and conceiving himself to have been hardly used, wrote a letter to the Bishop of Norwich, in which he addressed his lordship with considerable freedom and boldness. The substance of this letter is as follows:—“I am moved in conscience,” says he, “to address you in this way, that I may give a further account of my behaviour. I think you may see, if you shut not your eyes, how the man of sin, I mean the pope of Rome, hath so perverted and corrupted the doctrine of Christ, that not one free spot of it now remaineth. In like manner, touching the discipline and government of the church, although our Saviour, who is the only king of his church, sate in the seat of judgment, with the crown of life on his head, and the sceptre of righteousness in his hand; that man of sin plucked him from his throne, and placed himself upon it, having on his head the mitre of death, and in his hand the sword of cruelty and blood. These things I hope you know. “We find in the scriptures of truth, that when Christ ruled and reigned in his church, his officers were bishops or pastors, and elders and deacons. But when the pope set aside this government, he appointed new governors in the church, as cardinals, archbishops, lord-bishops, deans, chancellors, commissioners, and many others. The doctrine and government of the church of thus thrown down, it pleased the Lord in his time to shew us favour. By means of our good prince, he hath purged the doctrines of our church from the errors of popery; and was ready to have restored unto us true discipline, if it had not been prevented by our own slackness and unthankfulness. But you prelates turn the edge of the sword against us, and stand in the way to keep us from the tree of life. The government of the church is much the same as it was under . popery. The pope's officers, you know, still bear rule; and, therefore, the reins of government are not in the hands of Christ, but in the hands of antichrist. And though you hide yourselves under the shadow of the prince, saying, that she created you and your authority; you perversely attempt to deceive the world, and you miserably abuse the name and goodness of our prince. For how long were your names and offices in full force before our prince was born ? How then will you make her authority the origin of your jurisdiction ? - • “Moreover, as Jesus Christ is the only lawgiver in his church, and as he alone has power and authority to appoint its officers, if any king or prince in the world appoint any other officers in the church, than those which Christ hath already allowed and appointed, we will lay down our necks upon the block, rather than consent to them. Wherefore, do not so often object to us the name of our prince; for you use it as a cloak to cover your cursed enterprizes. Have you not thrust out those who preached the word of God sincerely and faithfully Have you not plucked out those preachers whom God fixed in his church And do you think that this plea, I did but execute the law, will excuse ou before the High Judge.” It does not appear what effect this bold address had on the mind of the reverend
* Wood's Athenae Oxon. vol. i. p. 143–145. + Strype's Annals, vol. ii. p. 448, 449.-Parte of a Register, p. 389.