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As a result of this visit, Sandys prayed his father, the Archbishop of York, to do something to improve Hooker's condition; and, at the archbishop's suggestion and by the influence of John Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury, he was on March 17, 1584–5, appointed Master of the Temple,1 being at the time but thirty-four years of age. Hooker at length accepted the appointment, though with considerable reluctance—the better society and more liberal stipend having no attraction to
Concerning the Mastership of the Temple, Stow tells us, that, “Since the dissolution of the Hospitalers, in the time of Henry VIII. there hath been a divine, by the name of a Master or Custos, belonging to this church. Who is constituted by the King or Queen's Letters Patents, without institution or induction. Besides the Master, there is a Reader, who readeth Divine Service twice a day, at eight a clock in the morning, and at four in the afternoon. Formerly, they had also a fixed Lecturer for Sundays in the afternoon. Who had the allowance of £80 per ann. paid from each House, and convenient lodging; and his diet at the Benchers'
1 The Temple in London, which was formerly the dwelling of the Knights Templars, at the suppression of the order, fell into the possession of the professors of the common law, who converted the buildings into inns of court, A.D. 1340. They are called the Inner and the Middle Temple, in relation to Essexhouse which was called the Outer Temple, because it was situated without Temple Bar. St. Mary's, or the Temple church, situate in the Inner Temple, is an ancient Gothic building, which dates from the year 1240, and is remarkable for its circular vestibule, and for the tombs of the crusaders who were buried there. The church was recased with stone by Smirke in the year 1828. Vide “Haydn's Dictionary of Dates," sub “ Temple.'
Hooker's appointment to the Mastership of the Temple suddenly brought him into open controversy with the two prominent leaders of the English Puritans, Thomas Cartwright and Walter Travers, and in consequence with the whole party which they represented. Cartwright and Travers stood firmly together as " the chief men of that powerful and growing school which acknowledged the theological supremacy of Calvin, and which aimed at fundamental changes in the Church government of England.” 2 This controversy with the Puritans henceforth became the business of Hooker's life. Travers, with whom Hooker was more particularly brought in contact, was one of the best and strongest men of the Puritan party. As to the reality of his intellectual gifts, the quality of his learning, the genuineness of his piety, and the height of his personal character, there can be no question.
1 Survey of the City of London Vol. I. Bk. iii. ch. xii., p. 272. Lond. 1720.
2 R. W. Church, Introduction to the First Book of Hooker,
“From all sources, English, Scotch, and Irish, by all sorts of men, whether they agreed or contended with him, this is amply attested. He was able, learned, and unworldly.”
Travers, already afternoon Lecturer at the Temple, was anxious to obtain the vacancy offered to and accepted by Richard Hooker : but, as we have said, he was passed over, and Hooker became Master whilst Travers remained Lecturer. This result was mainly due to Whitgift, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who used the influence attaching to his great position with Queen Elizabeth to prevent the mastership being bestowed upon Travers. In August, 1584, he wrote to the Queen, saying, “ because he heard ... that there had been . suit made to her Highness for one Mr. Travers, he thought it his duty to signify unto her Majesty, that the said Travers had been and was one of the chief and principal authors of dissention in the Church; a contemner of the Book of Prayers and other orders by authority established ; an earnest seeker of innovation ; and either in no degree of the ministry at all, or else ordered (ordained) beyond the seas, not according to the form in this Church England used.” 2
1 Paget, Introduction to the Fifth Book of Hooker, p. 56. ? Strype's Whitgift, Oxford 1822, i. 341.
No sooner was Hooker installed in office, than the Temple church became the scene of a violent and unedifying religious controversy between the Master and the Lecturer. Sunday after Sunday the church was crowded by throngs of judges and barristers, among whom were Sir Edward Coke and Sir James Altham and other legal celebrities of the day. Of this matter Strype quaintly says -“ Between Mr. Richard Hooker and the said Travers happened great controversy about their doctrines they preached in the same pulpit.” 1 Walton describes the state of affairs thus : “ insomuch that as St. Paul withstood St. Peter to his face, so did they withstand each other in their sermons; for as one 2 hath pleasantly exprest it, “The forenoon sermon spake Canterbury, and the afternoon, Geneva.”"3 We can well imagine what a lively time the Lecturer must have had Sunday by Sunday, in preparing his answers in the brief interval between the forenoon and afternoon preachings. Unseemly as the whole business was, it is pleasant to know that there was but little personal feeling or bitterness between the Master and the Lecturer, and that the controversy, keen though it undoubtedly
1 Strype's Whitgift, Oxford 1822, i. 345. 2 Fuller, Worthies of Englund, p. 264. 3 Walton's Life, p. 52.
conducted with much dignity, neither disputant losing respect for the other. “ In the very midst of the paroxysm betwixt Hooker and Travers, the latter still bare (and none can challenge the other to the contrary) a reverend esteem of his adversary. And when an unworthy aspersion, some years after, was cast on Hooker, Mr. Travers being asked of a private friend what he thought of that accusation : In truth,' said he, “I take Mr. Hooker to be a holy
Archbishop Whitgift at length intervened, summarily silencing Travers on several grounds, one of which was that he had not received Catholic but Presbyterian ordination. Upon this inhibition, Fuller remarks :—“As for Travers his silencing, many which were well pleased with the deed done were offended at the manner of doing it. For all the congregation on a sabbath day in the afternoon were assembled together, their attention prepared, the cloth, as I may say, and napkins were laid, the guests set, and their knives drawn for their spiritual repast, when suddenly as Mr. Travers was going up into the pulpit,
Fuller, Church Hist., ix. 217. 2 Travers had been ordained by Cartwright and others at Antwerp, as it appears.