« PreviousContinue »
a sorry fellow served him with a letter, prohibiting him to preach any more.”ı
Readers who desire to learn more concerning this disputation may consult the long account and list in detail given by Isaac Walton in his Life of Hooker.2 It is sufficient in this volume to say that one of the chief points of discussion concerned the claims of the Roman Church and the position of its members, a subject from the immediate circumstances of the time naturally much to the front. Upon this particular point, Hooker took the broader and truer view, that “the Church of Rome is a true Church of Christ, and a Church sanctified by profession of that truth, which God had revealed unto us by his Son, though not a pure and perfect Church ;"3 whilst Travers stoutly maintained the Church of Rome to be the “seat of Antichrist” 4—such was the virulence of the protestantism of the man whom the archbishop so effectually silenced. It is only just to
1 Church History, ix. 217. 2 Pp. 53–64. See also Hooker's Works, Vol. III. pp; 548–596, for “ Travers’ Supplication” and “Hooker's Answer.
3 Walton's Life, p. 59. In another passage Hooker blamed the Puritans for suffering indignation at the faults of the Church of Rome to blind and withhold their judgments from seeing that which withal they should acknowledge, concerning so much nevertheless still due to the same Church, as to be held and reputed a part of the house of God, a limb of the visible Church of Christ.”--Eccles. Pol., Bk. V. ch. lxviii. $ 9.
4 Walton's Life, p. 61, note.
add that Hooker's treatment of the Roman question, though singularly temperate and admirably restrained, is not wholly unexceptional. In fact, considering the events of the times in which he lived, this was hardly to be expected. In his Sermon on Justification etc., which was, however, preached during the first year of his Mastership of the Temple (A.D. 1585), he refers to the Pope as “the Man of sin "Lan expression repeated with gratuitous insolence in that miserably fulsome and profane preface to the English Bible of James I., which has for three hundred years disfigured the Authorized Version of the Holy Scriptures. But in endeavouring to estimate rightly the attitude towards Rome of men of the period of Hooker and Travers, we cannot justly forget their extreme provocations at the hands of the Roman party. To some of these reference is made in the sermon alluded to above, where the writer says“Here I must advertise all men, that have the testimony of God's holy fear within their hearts, to consider how unkindly and injuriously our own countrymen and brethren have dealt with us by the space of four and twenty years, from time to time, as if we were the men of whom St. Jude here speaketh ; never ceasing to charge us, some with schism, some with heresy, some with plain and manifest apostasy, as if we had clean separated ourselves from Christ ...."2 The reference of date here is in all probability to the Bull of excommunication and deposition against Queen Elizabeth, issued by Pope Pius V. in 1570,3 which was found nailed in a spirit of ironical defiance on the Bishop of London's door. It was an open secret that the Queen's assassination was favoured and connived at by the papists, in order that Mary Queen of Scots might be placed on the throne of England, and the papal system restored. “ Nations, like persons, cannot attend to more than one important matter at a time, and the great question at issue in Elizabeth's reign was whether the nation was to be independent of all foreign powers in ecclesiastical as well as in civil affairs.”? Certainly the circumstances of
1 Sermon II. in Hooker's Works, Vol. III. pp. 489, 525. А similar, though stronger expression, “the son of perdition and Man of Sin,” occurs in Sermon V. p. 676; but both Mr. Keble in his Preface to Hooker's Works, $ 27, and Dr. Paget in his Introduction to the Fifth Book of Hooker's Treatise, p: 265, throw grave doubts as to this latter sermon being Hooker's: the latter writer describes it and another sermon as “ being weakest of all in internal evidence.”
2 Sermon V. See previous footnote.
1 The preacher's text was, Jude vv. 17-21, in the midst of which are the words which he renders “ makers of Sects, fleshly, having not the Spirit.”
2 Sermon V. pp. 674-5.
3 The text of this Bull, placing Elizabeth and all her adherents under a curse, and absolving her subjects from their allegiance to her, is given in Cardwell's Documentary Annals, Oxford 1844, Vol. I. pp. 363 ff.-Damnatio et Excommunicatio Elizabethae. . .
1 the stirring times in which Hooker lived were favourable to the encouragement of strong anti-papal feeling and action, and it is not at all wonderful that he felt to some slight extent the force of the influences with which he found himself surrounded. With the exception of the phrase upon which the present writer has commented, and which is out of harmony with the exceptional dignity and studied moderation of Hooker's style, his treatment of the Roman controversy is beyond praise. In speaking generally of Hooker as a controversialist, Dean Church has said that he was “one of those rare controversialists who are more intent on shewing why their opponents are wrong than even the fact that they
are so.” 2
Dr. Paget has suggested the interesting question--Who, in the estimation of London churchmen, were in the year 1589 regarded as the most remarkable preachers in the City ? and he considers that the answer would probably have included three names soon to
1 Gardiner, Student's History of England, Lond. 1898, p. 442. 2 R. W. Church, Introduction to Hooker, Bk. I., p. xvi.
become very famous throughout England. These three names are those of Richard Bancroft, rector of St. Andrew's Holborn, treasurer of St. Paul's and chaplain to the Lord Chancellor of England ; Lancelot Andrewes, prominent amongst the younger clergy who were closing with the difficulties of the time; and Richard Hooker, Master of the Temple. After referring to the first of this great trio of ecclesiastics, Dr. Paget proceeds thus 1
“ But there was a greater man than Bancroft preaching every Sunday morning in the Temple church; neither popular nor happy there, but with strength and diligence and learning of the rarest splendour, working steadily at a great book which should outlive all the controversies that had made his fame and spoilt his peace. For Richard Hooker was still Master of the Temple, though he was longing to regain the blessings of obscurity in a country parish; and while some men thought his sermons tedious and obscure, and others who had sided with his now silenced adversary, Travers, bore a grudge against him for the past, still men could not be unmoved by his massive thought and knowledge, by the power of his patience and holiness, and by the
1 The Spirit of Discipline, p. 311.