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purpose to forsake them, and then to receive the Communion, both as a strengthening of those holy resolutions, and as a seal betwixt God and them of his mercies to their souls, in case that present sickness did put a period to their lives.
“ And as he was thus watchful and charitable to the sick, so he was as diligent to prevent lawsuits, still urging his parishioners and neighbours to bear with each other's infirmities, and live in love, because (as St. John says) • he that lives in love, lives in God, for God is love.' And to maintain this holy fire of love constantly burning on the altar of a pure heart, his advice was to watch and pray, and always keep themselves fit to receive the Communion; and then to receive it often, for it was both a confirming and strengthening of their graces ; this was his advice: and at his entrance or departure out of any house, he would usually speak to the whole family, and bless them by name; insomuch, that as he seemed in his youth to be taught of God, so he seemed in
Prayer Book used by Hooker, was—" Here shall the sick person make a special confession, if he feel his conscience troubled with any weighty matter. After which confession, the priest shall absolve him after this sort ..." In the revision of 1662, the rubric of 1559 and 1604 was altered to commence—“Here shall the sick person be moved to make a special confession .. Walton's use of the word “incline" above, seems to point to his having the rubric of 1662 in mind, as in the case of the place for the public catechizing, referred to above, p. 69, note 2.
this place to teach his precepts, as Enoch did by walking with him, in all holiness and humility, making each day a step towards a blessed eternity. And though in this weak and declining age of the world, such examples are become barren, and almost incredible; yet let his memory be blest with this true recordation, because he that praises Richard Hooker praises God, who hath given such gifts to men; and let this humble and affectionate relation of him become such a pattern, as may invite posterity to imitate these his virtues.
“ This was his constant behaviour both at Borne and in all the places in which he lived : thus did he walk with God and tread the footsteps of primitive piety; and yet, as that great example of meekness and purity, even our blessed Jesus, was not free from false accusations, no more was this disciple of his, this most humble, most innocent, holy man; his was a slander parallel to that of chaste Susannah's by the wicked elders; or that against St. Athanasius, as it is recorded in his life, (for that holy man had heretical enemies,) a slander which this age calls trepanning ;1 the particulars need not a repetition; and that it was false, needs no other testimony than the public punishment of his accusers, and their open confession of his innocency. It was said that the accusation was contrived by a dissenting brother, one that endured not church-ceremonies, hating him for his Books' sake, which he was not able to answer; and his name hath been told me, but I have not so much confidence in the relation, as to make my pen fix a scandal on him to posterity; I shall
1 i.e. blackmailing.
; rather leave it doubtful till the great day of revelation. But this is certain, that he lay under the great charge, and the anxiety of this accusation, and kept it secret to himself for many months; and being a helpless man, had lain longer under this heavy burden, but that the Protector of the innocent gave such an accidental occasion as forced him to make it known to his two dear friends, Edwin Sandys and George Cranmer: who were so sensible of their tutor's sufferings, that they gave themselves no rest, till by their disquisitions and diligence they had found out the fraud, and brought him the welcome news, that his accusers did confess they had wronged him, and begged his pardon: to which the good man's reply was to this purpose, • The Lord forgive them;' and, • The Lord bless you for this comfortable news. Now I have a just occasion to say with Solomon, Friends are born for the days of adversity, and such you
have proved to me: and to my God I say, as did the mother of St. John Baptist, Thus hath the Lord dealt with me, in the day wherein He looked upon me, to take away my reproach among men. And, O my God, neither my
life nor my reputation are safe in mine own keeping, but in thine, who didst take care of me, when I yet hanged upon my mother's breast : blessed are they that put their trust in thee, O Lord; for when false witnesses were risen up against me, when shame was ready to cover my face, when my nights were restless, when my soul thirsted for a deliverance, as the hart panteth after the rivers of waters; then thou, Lord, didst hear my complaints, pity my condition, and art now become my deliverer ; ; and as long as I live I will hold up my hands in this manner, and magnify thy mercies, who didst not give me over as a prey to mine enemies: the net is broken and they are taken in it. O blessed are they that put their trust in thee; and no prosperity shall make me forget those days of sorrow, or to perform those vows that I have made to thee in the days of my affliction ; for with such sacrifices, thou, O God, art well pleased; and I will pay them.'
“ Thus did the joy and gratitude of this good man's heart break forth. And it is observable,
that as the invitation to this slander was his meek behaviour and dovelike simplicity, for which he was remarkable; so his Christian charity ought to be imitated : for, though the spirit of revenge is so pleasing to mankind, that it is never conquered but by a supernatural grace, revenge being indeed so deeply rooted in human nature, that to prevent the excesses of it (for men would not know moderation) Almighty God allows not any degree of it to any man, but says, ' Vengeance is mine :' and though this be said positively by God himself, yet this revenge is so pleasing, that man is hardly persuaded to submit the menage 1 of it to the time, and justice, and wisdom of his Creator, but would hasten to be his own executioner of it: and yet, nevertheless, if any man ever did wholly decline, and leave this pleasing passion to the time and measure of God alone, it was this Richard Hooker of whom I write; for when his slanderers were to suffer, he laboured to procure their pardon; and when that was denied him, his reply was, “That
, however he would fast and pray, that God would give them repentance, and patience to undergo their punishment.' And his prayers were so far returned into his own bosom, that the first was granted, if we may believe a
1 1. e. the management.