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of him, until the tenth year of his age ; and in his eleventh year was sent to the University of Oxford; having at that time a good command both of the French and Latin tongue. This, and fome other of his remarkable abilities, made one then give this censure of him ; " That this “ age had brought forth another Picus “ Mirandula;” of whom story says, “ That “ he was rather born, than made wise by “ study."
There he remained for fome years in Hart-Hall, having, for the advancement of his studies, tutors of several sciences to attend and instruct him, till time made him capable, and his learning expressed in public exercises declared him worthy, to receive his first degree in the schools, which he forbore by advice from his friends, who being for their religion of the Romish persuasion, were conscionably averse to some parts of the oath that is always tendered at those times, and not to be refused by those that expect the titulary honour of their studies. About the fourteenth year of his age
he was transplanted from Oxford to Cambridge; where, that he might receive nourishment from both foils, he staid till his seventeenth year; all which time he was a most laborious student, often changing his studies, but endeavouring to take no degree, for the reasons formerly mentioned.
About the seventeenth year of his age he was removed to London, and then admitted into Lincoln's Inn, with an intent to study the law; where he gave great testimonies of his wit, his learning, and of his improvement in that profesfion; which never served him for other use than an ornament and self-fatisfaction.
His father died before his admiflion into this fociety, and, being a merchant, left him his portion in money. (It was 3000l.) His mother, and those to whose care he was committed, were watchful to improve his knowledge, and to that end appointed him tutors both in the mathematics, and in all the other liberal sciences, to attend him. But with these arts they were advised to instil into him particular principles of the Romish Church; of which those tutors professed, though secretly, themselves to be members.
They had almost obliged him to their faith; having for their advantage, besides many opportunities, the example of his dear and pious parents, which was a most powerful persuasion, and did work much upon him, as he professeth in his preface to his Pseudo-Martyr, a book of which the reader shall have some account in what follows.
He was now entered into the eighteenth year of his age, and at that time had betrothed himself to no religion, that might give him any other denomination than a Christian. And reason and piety had both persuaded him, that there could be no such fin as Schism, if an adherence to fome visible church were not necessary.
About the nineteenth year of his age, he being then unresolved what religion to adhere to, and considering how much it concerned his foul to choose the most orthodox, did therefore, (though his
youth and health promised him a long life) to rectify all scruples that might concern that, presently lay aside all study of the law, and of all other sciences that might give him a denomination; and began seriously to survey and confider the body of divinity, as it was then controverted betwixt the Reformed and the Roman Church. And as God's blessed Spirit did then awaken him to the search, and in that industry did never forsake him, (they be his own words *) so he calls the fame holy Spirit to witness this protestation ; that in that disquisition and search he proceeded with humility and diffidence in himself, and by that which he took to be the safest way; namely, frequent prayers, and an indifferent affection to both parties; and indeed, truth had too much light about her to be hid from so sharp an enquirer; and he had too much ingenuity, not to acknowledge he had found her.
Being to undertake this search, he be
* In his Preface to Pseudo-Martyr.
lieved the Cardinal Bellarmine to be the beft defender of the Roman cause, and therefore betook himself to the examination of his reasons. The cause was weighty, and wilful delays had been inexcusable both towards God and his own conscience : he therefore proceeded in this search with all moderate haste, and about the twentieth year of his age did shew the then Dean of Gloucester (whose name my memory hath now loft) all the Cardinal's works marked with many weighty observations under his own hand; which works were bequeathed by him, at his death, as a legacy to a most dear friend.
About a year following he resolved to travel; and the Earl of Essex going first the Cales, and after the Island voyages, the first anno 1596, the second 1597, he took the advantage of those opportunities, waited upon his Lordship, and was an eye-witness of those happy and unhappy employments.
But he returned not back into England, till he had staid some years first in Italy,