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Saravia, who knew the very secrets of his soul (for they were supposed to be confessors to each other), came to him, and after a conference of the benefit, the necessity, and safety of the Church's absolution, it was resolved the doctor should give him both that and the Sacrament the day following. To which end, the doctor came, and after a short retirement and privacy, they two returned to the company; and then the doctor gave him and some of those friends which were with him, the blessed Sacrament of the body and blood of our Jesus. Which being performed, the doctor thought he saw a reverend gaiety and joy in his face; but it lasted not long; for his bodily infirmities did return suddenly, and became more visible; insomuch that the doctor apprehended death ready to seize him: yet, after some amendment, left him at night, with a promise to return early the day following; which he did, and then found him better in appearance, deep in contemplation, and not inclinable to discourse; which gave the doctor occasion to inquire his present thoughts: to which he replied, “That he was meditating the number
1 The use of private confession was quite common in the sixteenth century, as may be seen from a reference to the long series of quotations given in Hierurgia Anglicana, De la More Press, 1904. Ed. Vernon Staley. Part III. pp. 31–82. Quotations from Hooker's Eccles. Pol. are given later.
and nature of angels, and their blessed obedience and order, without which, peace could not be in heaven; and oh that it might be so on earth!'1 After which words he said, “I have lived to see this world is made up of perturbations, and I have been long preparing to leave it, and gathering comfort for the dreadful hour of making my account with God, which I now apprehend to be near; and, though I have by his grace loved him in my youth, and feared him in mine age, and laboured to have a conscience void of offence to him, and to all men; yet, if thou, O Lord, be extreme to mark what I have done amiss, who can abide it? And therefore, where I have failed, Lord shew mercy to me, for I plead not my righteousness, but the forgiveness of my unrighteousness, for his merits who died to purchase pardon for penitent sinners; and since I owe thee a death, Lord let it not be terrible, and then take thine own time; I submit to it! Let not mine, O Lord, but let thy will be done !' With which expression he fell into a dangerous slumber; dangerous, as to his recovery ; yet recover he did, but it was to speak only these few words: ‘Good doctor, God hath heard my daily petitions, for I am at peace with all men, and He is at peace with me; and from that blessed assurance I feel that inward joy, which this world can neither give nor take from me: my conscience beareth me this witness, and this witness makes the thoughts of death joyful. I could wish to live to do the Church more service, but cannot hope it, for my days are past as a shadow that returns not.' More he would have spoken, but his spirits failed him; and after a short conflict betwixt nature and death, a quiet sigh put a period to his last breath, and so he fell asleep. And now he seems to rest like Lazarus in Abra..um's bosom; let me here draw his curtain, till with the most glorious company of the Patriarchs and Apostles, the most noble army of Martyrs and Confessors, this most learned, most humble, holy man
1 These memorable words recall a magnificent passage in The Ecclesiastical Polity, in which Hooker speaks of "the law which angels do work by,” and which begins thus—“But now that we may
lift up our eyes (as it were) from the footstool to the throne of God, and leaving these natural, consider a little the state of heavenly and divine creatures : touching angels, which are spirits immaterial and intellectual, the glorious inhabitants of those sacred palaces, where nothing but light and blessed immortality, no shadow of matter for tears, discontentments, griefs, and uncomfortable passions to work upon, but all joy, tranquillity, and peace, even for ever and ever doth dwell : as in number and order they are huge, mighty, and royal armies, so likewise in perfection of obedience unto that law, which the Highest, whom they adore, love, and imitate, hath imposed upon them, such observants they are thereof, that our Saviour himself being to set down the perfect idea of that which we are to pray and wish for on earth, did not teach to pray or wish for more than only that here it might be with us, as with them it is in heaven. . Bk. I. ch. iv. $ 1.
shall also awake to receive an eternal tranquillity; and with it, a greater degree of glory than common Christians shall be made partakers of.
“In the mean time, bless, O Lord, Lord bless his brethren, the clergy of this nation, with effectual endeavours to attain, if not to his great learning, yet to his remarkable meekness, his godly simplicity, and his Christian moderation : for these will bring peace at the last! And, Lord, let his most excellent writings be blest with what he designed when he undertook them: which was, “Glory to thee, O God on high, peace in thy Church, and good will to mankind !'
“ Amen, Amen.”1
1 Walton's Life, pp. 84 ff.
RICHARD HOOKER'S WILL 1
Dated October 26, 1600; proved December 3, 1600.
In the name of God, Amen. This sixe and twentieth of October, in the yeare of our Lord one thousand and sixe hundred, I Richard Hooker of Bishopsborne, though sicke in bodye, yet sounde in minde, thankes be unto almightye God, doe ordaine and make this my last will and testament in manner and forme followinge. First, I bequeth my soule unto allmightye God my Creator, hopinge assuredly of my salvation purchased thorough the death of Christ Jesus, and my bodye to the earth to be buried at the discretion of mine executor. Item, I give and bequeth unto my daughter Alice Hooker one hundred pounds of lawfull Englishe money, to be paide unto her at the day of her marriage. Item, I give and bequeth unto my daughter Cicilye Hooker one hundred pounds of lawful Englishe moneye, to be paid unto her at the daye of her marriage. Item, I
1 Extracted from the Registry of the Archdeacon's Court of Canterbury.