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Mr. Gilpin having been trained up in the popish religion, still continued a steady son of that church; and in defence of popery, had held a disputation with John Hooper, afterwards bishop of Worcester, and the famous martyr. This was in the reign of Henry VIII.;..but upon the accession of King Edward, Peter Martyr being sent to Oxford, delivered public lectures upon divinity in a strain to which that university had been little accustomed. He attacked the Romish doctrines in a manner that alarmed the popish party; which induced them to unite, and make as strong an opposition as they were able. Mr. Gilpin having gained considerable reputation in the university, the popish party were exceedingly solicitous to engage him in a public defence of their cause, and made the most pressing applications for this purpose. But they found his zeal much cooler than their own. Indeed, he was not satisfied with the cause of the reformers, having never had a sufficient' opportunity of acquainting himself with their principles: but, on the other hand, he had never been a bigotted papist; and had discovered, in his dispute with Hooper, that several of the Romish doctrines were not so well supported by scripture, as he had before supposed. While his mind was thus unsettled, he thought himself ill qualified to defend either side by public disputation. His inclination was to stand by as an unprejudiced observer; and to embrace the truth, whether he found it among papists or protestants. By much importunity, however, he at length yielded, and the next day appeared in public against Peter Martyr." Mr. Gilpin being thus drawn into the controversy against his inclination, was determined to make it as useful as possible to himself. By bringing his old opinions to the test, he hoped that he should be enabled to discover whether they were justly founded, or he had hitherto been involved in error. He resolved, therefore, to lay aside as much as possible, the temper of a caviller; and to follow truth, from which he was determined nothing should make him swerve. Having commenced the dispute, he soon found the arguments of his adversary too strong for him. They came so forcibly authorized by the testimony of scripture, that he

* Dr. Peter Martyr, a celebrated reformer, was born in Florence, and invited to England by the Protector Somerset and Archbishop Cranmer. In the year 1548, he was made regius professor of divinity at Oxford, and, in 1550, installed canon of Christ-church. His numerous works, which are in Latin, consist chiefly of commentaries on the scriptures, and pieces on controversy. On the accession of Queen Mary, and the commencement of persecution, he desired to withdraw, and died at Zurich, November 12, 1562.-Granger's Biog. Hist, vol. i. p. 141.

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could not help frankly acknowledging they were of a very different nature from the wire-drawn proofs and strained interpretations, in which he had hitherto acquiesced. The disputation, therefore, was soon over. Mr. Gilpin had too much honesty to defend suspected opinions. He yielded to the force of truth; and owned publicly, that he could not maintain what he undertook to defend; and therefore determined to enter no more upon controversy, till he had gained that full information which he was anxious to obtain." Mr. Gilpin being thus staggered by his opponent's arguments, the first step he took, after imploring divine assistance, was to commit to paper, the substance of the dispute. Also, he resolved to enter into a strict examination of the whole, but especially those points in which he had found himself the most closely pressed. At the same time, he began with great assiduity to examine the scriptures, and the writings of the fathers, with a particular view to the controversy betwixt protestants and papists. The first result of his inquiries, cooled his zeal for popery, and gave him a more favourable opinion of the doctrines of the reformation. In this unsettled state of mind, he communicated his thoughts to his friends, and particularly to Tonstal, bishop of Durham, who was his mother's uncle, and his great friend. The advice he received induced him to examine the scripiures and the fathers with still greater attention; and at last he became thoroughly convinced, that there were numerous sore abuses and corruptions in the church of Rome, and that a reformation was highly necessary. As an academic life affords the greatest leisure for study, Mr. Gilpin was resolved still to continue wholly employed in the pursuit of knowledge. He had too just a sense of the ministerial work, to rush, upon it hastily, or to be unacquainted with the qualifications requisite to the discharge of it; and too mean an opinion of himself, to think he was yet possessed of them. He thought more learning was necessary in that controversial age, than he had yet acquired. And his chief argument with his friends, who were continually urging him to leave the university, was, that he was not yet sufficiently instructed in religion himself * Peter Martyr was much concerned for Mr. Gilpin's welfare, and used to say, he cared not much for his other adversaries; but for Gilpin, who spoke and acted like a man of integrity, he was much troubled. He therefore often prayed that God would convince him of his error, and convert

him to the truth; which the Lord was pleased afterwards to do.--Fuller's Abel Redivivus, p. 358. - -


to teach others. The christian ministry, said he, was an arduous work, especially in those times; and protestantism could not suffer more than by the rawness and inexperience of its teachers. These thoughts continued to attend him at Oxford till the thirty-fifth year of his age. About this time, the vicarage of Norton, in §: disocese of Durham, becoming void, j with some difficulty, prevailed upon him to accept it. Accordingly, he was presented to this living in November, 1552. But before he entered upon his important charge, he was appointed to preach before King Edward at Greenwich. Mr. Gilpin was resolved on this occasion to censure the prevailing avarice and corruptions with honest freedom, and ordered his sermon accordingly. He began by first addressing the clergy. He was sorry, said he, to observe amongst them so manifest a neglect of their function. To get behefices, not to take care of their flocks, was their great object. Half of them were pluralists, or nonresidents, and such could never fulfil their charge. He was shocked, he said, to hear them quote human laws against the word of God. If such laws did exist, they were the remains of popery, and ought to be repealed. For while mens' consciences would permit them to hold as many livings as they could get, and discharge none, it was impossible the gospel could have any considerable success. From the clergy he turned to the court; and observing the king was absent, he was obliged to introduce that part of his sermon, by saying, it grieved him to see those absent, who, for example's sake, ought to have been present. He had also heard other preachers remark, that it was common for them to be absent. Business might, perhaps, be their “excuse; but he could not believe that serving God would ever hinder business. If he could, he said, he would make them hear in their chambers. However, he would speak to their seats, not doubting that what he said would be carried to them.—“You, great prince,” said he, “are appointed by God to be the governor of this land; let methen here call upon you in behalf of your people. It is in your power to redress them; and if you do not, the neglect must be accounted for. Take away dispensations for pluralities and nonresidence, and oblige every pastor to hold only one benefice; and, as far as you can, make every one do his duty. Your grace's eye to look through the realm, would do more good than a ousand preachers. The land is full of idle pastors. And how can it be otherwise, while the nobility, and patrons of

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livings, put in just who will allow them to take out most profit It would be good, if your grace would send out surveyors, to see how benefices are bestowed. It is no wonder that your people are continually rising up in rebellion, when they have no instructors to teach them their duty. If some remedies be not applied to these evils, we are in danger of falling into more ignorance, superstition, and idolatry, than we ever were in while under the Bishop of Rome. This must, indeed, be the case, if some proper methods be not taken to prevent it; for benefices are eve where so plundered and robbed by patrons, that in a little time no one will bring up his children to the church. . It is amazing to see how the universities are diminished within these few years. And I must tell your grace, that all these evils will be laid to your charge, if you do not exert yourself to prevent them. For my part, I will do my duty: I will tell your grace what corruptions and abuses prevail, o: pray to God that he will direct your heart to amend them.” . . . . . He next addressed the nobility and magistrates. He told them, that they all received their honours, their powers, and their authority, from God, who expected they would make a proper use of such gifts; and would certainly call them to an account for the abuse of them. But he saw so much ambitious striving for these things at court, that he was afraid they did not all consider them in their true light. He observed, that the spirit of avarice was crept in among them; that the country cried out against their extortions; and that when the poor came to seek for justice in London, the great men would not see them; but their servants must first be bribed. Oh said he, with what glad hearts and clear consciences might noblemen go to rest, after having spent the day in hearing the complaints of the poor, and redressing their wrongs. For want of this, he said, they were obliged to seek their right among lawyers, who quickly devoured every thing they had, and thousands every term were obliged to return worse than they came.—“Then,” said he, “let me call upon you magistrates, and put you in mind, that if the people are debtors to you for obedience, you are debtors to them for protection. If you deny this, they must suffer; but God will assuredly espouse their cause against you. And now, if we search for the root of all these evils, what is it but avarice? This it is that maketh the bad nobleman, the bad magistrate, the bad pastor, the bad lawyer.”—Having thus freely addressed his audience,

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he concluded his sermon with a warm exhortation, that all would consider these things, and that such as found themselves faulty would amend their lives." | Such was the manner in which Mr. Gilpin entered on the work of the ministry and such was the sense he had of the sincerity and faithfulness necessary to the proper discharge of it. Whatever appeared to be his duty, appeared also to be his interest; and he was never swayed by hope or fear. He considered himself in some degree chargeable with those vices of which he had the knowledge, if he failed to rebuke them. His plain dealing on this occasion was therefore well taken, and recommended him to the notice of many persons of the first rank. And Sir William Cecil presented him a general license for preaching. . Soon after this, he repaired to his parish, and with becoming seriousnessentered upon the duties of his function. Though he failed not occasionally to use the king's license in other parts of the country, he considered his own parish as requiring his principal labours. He chiefly preached on practical subjects; and seldom touched on points of controversy, lest by attempting to instruct, he should only mislead. Though he was fully resolved against popery, he did not see protestantism in its clearest light; and was scarcely settled in some of his religious opinions. Hence by degrees he became extremely diffident, which gave him great uneasiness. He thought he had engaged too soon in the work of the ministry; that he ought not to rest in giving his hearers merely moral instructions; and that, as the country was overspread with popish errors, he did ill in pretending to be a teacher of religion, if he were unable to oppose those errors. - - These thoughts made deeper impressions upon his mind every day; and being at length extremely unhappy, he wrote to Bishop Tonstal, then in the Tower, giving him an account of his situation. The venerable prelate advised Gilpin to provide a trusty curate for his parish, and to spend a year or two in Germany, France, and Holland; by which means he might have an opportunity of conversing with men celebrated for learning, both papists and protestants. Mr. Gilpin having long earnestly desired a conference with learned men abroad, was much pleased with the advice. And as to the expense, Tonstal observed, that his living would do something towards his maintenance, and

* This sermon is published with Carleton and Gilpin's Life of Bernard Gilpin, and is the only thing he ever published, - -

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