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of this Church, with a like measure of wisdom and humility, in. stead of their pertinacious zeal, then obedience and truth had kissed each other; then peace and piety had flourished in our na. tion, 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 ta. ken which are not given, and, that laws are not made for private men to dispute, but to obey.
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.
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. Trav. ers left the place, yet the seeds of discontent could not be rooted out of that Society, by the grea' 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, is 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 by these living images of his soul, his writings."
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 quiet
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 Churchgovernment, 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 examina. tion, 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 endeav. ours, and keep myself in peace and privacy, and behold God's blessing 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 fạvour, let me beg it, that I may perfect what I have begun.”
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 Arch bishop 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
* In some of the later editions of the Life of Hooker, this paragraph is thus altered—“And in this examination : I have not only satisfied myself, but have begun a treatise in which I intend the satisfaction of others, by a demonstration of the reasonableness of our Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity; and therein laid a hopeful foundation for the Church's peace; and so as not to provoke your adversary, Mr. Cartwright, nor Mr. Travers, whom I take to be ininebut not mine enemy-God knows this to be my meaning. To which end I have searched many books, and spent many thoughtful hours; and I hope not in vain, for I write to reasonable men. But my Lord, I shall never be able to finish what I have begun, unless I be removed into some quiet country parsonage, where I may see God's blessings spring out of my mother earth, and eat mine own bread in peace and privacy. A place where I may, without disturbance, meditate my approaching mortality and that great account, which all flesh must at the last great day give to the God of all Spirits. This is my design ; and as those are the designs of my heart, so they shall, by God's assistance, be the constant endeavours of the uncertain remainder of my life”
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.
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 eâ 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 birthplace, 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 meantime the Reader is requested to mend the Printer's errors, as noted underneath."
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 ex. cellency 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, t-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 tie 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.'
* He was for some time Fellow of Oriel College, and principal of St. Mary Hall. He was made a Cardinal by Pope Sixtus V. in 1587. In 1589, he was appointed Archbishop of Mechlin in Brabant, and died about 1594.
† It is ascertained by Bishop King's letter to Walton, that it was Dr. Stapleton who introduced the works of Hooker to the Pope. Thomas Stapleton was a Romish Divine, born in 1535, at Henfield, in Sussex, and educated at Winchester, and New College, Oxford ; but he left England on account of his religion, and became Professor of Divinity at Douay. He died at Louvain, in 1598, and his works form four volumes in folio.