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BIOGRAPHIA EVANGELICA.

GEORGE ABBOT,

ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY.

EMINENT as this Prelate was by his station, he was more so by his parts and learning, and by his zeal for the Protestant Religion. He had great influence in the public affairs of his time. We shall leave, however, as much as possible, the detail of his transactions, as a great member of the State, to the civil historian, and confine ourselves, principally, to those circumstances of his life, which mark him as a public Governor in the Church, or represent him in his function as a Man of GOD.

He was born October 29, 1562, at Guildford, in Surry, of very worthy parents; remarkably distinguished by their steady zeal for the protestant religion ; for their living long and happily together, and for their singular felicity in their children. While his mother was pregnant with this son, she is said to have had a dream which proved at once an omen and an instrument of his future fortunes. Her dream was this: She fancied she was told in her sleep, that if she could eat a jack, or pike, the child she went with would prove a son, and rise to great preferment. Not long after this, in taking a pail of water out of the river Wey, which ran by their house, she accidentally caught a jack, and had thus an odd opportunity of fulfilling her dream. This story being much talked of, and coming to the ears of some persons of distinction, they offered to become sponsors for the child, which was kindly accepted ; and they had the goodness to afford many testimonies of their affection to their godson, while VOL. III.

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at school, and after he was sent to the university. Such were the good effects at least of his mother's dream.

When he was grown up to an age proper for receiving the first tincture of learning, he was sent with his elder brother Robert to the free-school, erected in their native town of Guildford, by King Edward VI. and having passed through the rudiments of literature, under the care of Mr. Francis Taylor, who had then the direction of that school, he was in 1578 removed to the University of Oxford, and entered a student in Baliol college. On November 29, 1583, being then bachelor of arts, he was elected probationer-fellow of his college; and afterwards proceeding in the faculty of arts, he entered into holy orders, and became a celebrated preacher in the university. He commenced bachelor of divinity in 1593, and proceeded doctor in that faculty in May 1597: And in the month of September, of the same year, he was elected master of University college. About this time it was, that the first differences began between him and Dr. Laud, which subsisted as long as they lived, and were the cause of great uneasiness to both. In the year following, which was 1598, he published a Latin work which did him great honour; and which was afterwards reprinted in Germany.

On March 6, 1599, he was installed dean of Winchester, in the room of Dr. Martin Heton, who was preferred to the bishoprick of Ely: Dr. Abbot being then about thirtyseven years

of

age. Some writers say that he was also dean of Gloucester, but this is absolutely a mistake. In 1600, he was vice-chancellor of the university of Oxford, and distinguished himself while in that high office, by the opinion he gave with respect to the setting up again the cross in Cheapside, about which there were great disputes ; but in the end he carried his point against Dr. Bancroft, then bishop of London, and afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury; which gained him great reputation, as appears by a tract published on that subject. The cross at Cheapside was taken down in the year 1600, in order to be repaired, and upon this occasion, the citizens of London desired the advice of both universities on this question, Whether the said cross should be re-erected or not? And Dr. Abbot, as vice-chancellor of Oxford, gave it as his opinion, that the crucifix with the dove upon it should not be again set up, but approved rather of a pyramid, or some other matter of mere ornament, for the reasons assigned in his letter. In this determination he acted consistently with his own practice, when in his

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