« PreviousContinue »
“ to be Master of the Temple. Whereunto I answered, that “ at the request of Dr. Alvey in his sickness, and a number “ of honest gentlemen of the Temple, I had yielded my “ allowance of him to the place, so as he would shew himself “ conformable to the orders of the church. Whereunto I was “ informed, that he would so be. But her majesty told me, “ that your grace did not so allow of him. Which I said “ might be for some things supposed to be written by him in " a book intituled, De Disciplina Ecclesiastica. Whereupon “ her majesty commanded me to write to your grace, to know “ your opinion, which I pray your grace to signify unto her,
as God shall move you. Surely it were great pity that any
impediment should be occasion to the contrary; for he is “ well learned, very honest, and well allowed and loved of “ the generality of that house. Mr. Bond told me, that your
grace liked well of him; and so do I also, as one well “ learned and honest; but, as I told him, if he came not to “ the place with some applause of the company, he shall “ be weary thereof. And yet I commended him unto her
majesty, if Travers should not have it. But her majesty “ thinks him not fit for that place, because of his infirmities. “ Thus wishing your grace assistance of God's Spirit to “ govern your charge unblameably,
“ Your grace's to command,
“ WILL. BURGHLEY." “ From the court at Oatlands,
“ the 17th Sept. 1584." Part of the archbishop's letter in answer to this, was to this tenor :
“Mr. Travers, whom your lordship names in your letter, “ is to no man better known, I think, than to myself. I did “elect him fellow of Trinity college, being before rejected
by Dr. Beaumont for his intolerable stomach: whereof “I had also afterwards such experience, that I was forced by “ due punishment so to weary him, till he was fain to travel, “ and depart from the college to Geneva, otherwise he should “ have been expelled for want of conformity towards the “ orders of the house, and for his pertinacy. Neither was “ there ever any under our government, in whom I found “ less submission and humility than in him. Nevertheless if
The archbi. shop in answer to the letter of the lord treasurer.
“ time and years have now altered that disposition (which I “ cannot believe, seeing yet no token thereof, but rather “ the contrary), I will be as ready to do him good as any “ friend he hath. Otherwise I cannot in duty but do my “ endeavour to keep him from that place, where he may “ do so much harm, and do little or no good at all. For “ howsoever some commend him to your lordship and others,
yet I think that the greater and better number of both “ the Temples have not so good an opinion of him. Sure “I am that divers grave, and of the best affected of them, “ have shewed their misliking of him to me; not only si
out of respect of his disorderliness, in the manner of the “ communion, and contempt of the prayers, but also of his “ negligence in reading. Whose lectures, by their report,
are so barren of matter, that his hearers take no com“ modity thereby.
“ The book De Disciplina Ecclesiastica, by common “ opinion, hath been reputed of his penning, since the “ first publishing of it. And by divers arguments I am “ moved to make no doubt thereof. The drift of which “ book is wholly against the state and government. Wherein “ also, among other things, he condemneth the taking and
paying of firstfruits, tenths, &c. 62 And therefore, unless he “ will testify his conformity by subscription, as all others “ do, which now enter into ecclesiastical livings, and make
proof unto me that he is a minister ordered according to “the laws of this church of England, as I verily believe “ he is not, because he forsook his place in the college upon " that account; I can by no means yield my consent to the “placing him there, or elsewhere, in any function of this “ church.”]
And here I shall make a stop; and, that the reader may the better judge of what follows, give him a character of the times, and temper of the people of this nation, [Fol. 88.
“ Quum omnis hic esse videntur) Collationum, Re“ locus de ecclesia nostra indignis signationum, et aliarum nundina“sime spoliata a doctissimo viro “ tionum et spoliationum direp“ Martino Bucero perpurgatus sit
“ tiones prosecutus sit: malo hæc eo libro quem ante
memini, quum ex eruditissimis illius scriptis que eodem libro non solum Im peti, quo majorem autoritatem propriationum, sed et Annalium “ oratio hæc habere possit.”] “ (quæ ejusdem species quædam
when Mr. Hooker had his admission into this place : place which he accepted, rather than desired ; and yet here he promised himself a virtuous quietness, that blessed tranquillity which he always prayed and laboured for; that so he might in peace bring forth the fruits of peace, and glorify God by uninterrupted prayers and praises : for this he always thirsted and prayed: but Almighty God did not grant it: for his admission into this place was the very beginning of those oppositions and anxieties, which till then this good man was a stranger to; and of which the reader may guess by what follows.
In this character of the times, I shall, by the reader's favour, and for his information, look so far back as to the beginning of the reign of Queen Elizabeth ; a time, in which the many pretended titles to the crown, the frequent treasons, the doubts of her successor, the late civil war, and the sharp persecution for religion that raged to the effusion of so much blood in the reign of Queen Mary, were fresh in the memory of all men ; and begot fears in the most pious and wisest of this nation, lest the like days should return again to them, or their present posterity. And the apprehension of these dangers begot a hearty desire of a settlement in the church and state ; believing, there was no other probable way left to make them sit quietly under their own vines and fig-trees, and enjoy the desired fruit of their labours. But time, and peace, and plenty, begot self-ends; and these begot animosities, envy, opposition, and unthankfulness for those very blessings for which they lately thirsted, being then the very utmost of their desires, and even beyond their hopes.
This was the temper of the times in the beginning of her reign 63: and thus it continued too long : for those very people that had enjoyed the desires of their hearts in a reformation from the church of Rome, became at last so like the grave, as never to be satisfied, but were still thirsting for more and more: neglecting to pay that obedience, and perform those vows which they made in their days of adversities and fear: so that in short time there appeared three several interests, each of them fearless and
[See a note on these words in Dr. Wordsworth’s Eccl. Biog. IV. 217.]
restless in the prosecution of their designs; they may for distinction be called, the active Romanists, the restless Nonconformists (of which there were many sorts), and, the passive peaceable Protestant. The counsels of the first considered and resolved on in Rome : the second in Scotland, in Geneva, and in divers selected, secret, dangerous conventicles, both there, and within the bosom of our own nation; the third pleaded and defended their cause by establisht laws, both ecclesiastical and civil; and, if they were active, it was to prevent the other two from destroying what was by those known laws happily establisht to them and their posterity.
I shall forbear to mention the very many and dangerous plots of the Romanists against the church and state ; because what is principally intended in this digression, is an account of the opinions and activity of the Nonconformists ; against whose judgment and practice, Mr. Hooker became at last, but most unwillingly, to be engaged in a book-war ; a war which he maintained not as against an enemy, but with the spirit of meekness and reason.
In which number of Nonconformists, though some might be sincere, well-meaning men, whose indiscreet zeal might be so like charity, as thereby to cover a multitude of their errors; yet, of this party, there were many that were possest with a high degree of “ spiritual wickedness;" I mean, with an innate restless pride and malice. I do not mean the visible carnal sins of gluttony and drunkenness, and the like, (from which good Lord deliver us, but sins of a higher nature, because they are more unlike God, who is the God of love and mercy, and order, and peace; and more like the Devil, who is not a glutton, nor can be drunk, and yet is a devil; but I mean those spiritual wickednesses of malice and revenge, and an opposition to government : men that joyed to be the authors of misery, which is properly his work, that is the enemy and disturber of mankind; and thereby greater sinners than the glutton or drunkard, though some will not believe it. And of this party, there were also many, whom prejudice and a furious zeal had so blinded, as to make them neither to hear reason, nor adhere to the
of peace : men, that were the very HOOKER, VOL. I.
dregs and pest of mankind : men whom pride and selfconceit had made to overvalue their own pitiful, crooked wisdom so much, as not to be ashamed to hold foolish and unmannerly disputes against those men whom they ought to reverence, and those laws which they ought to obey ; men that laboured and joyed first to find out the faults, and then to “speak evil of government,” and to be the authors of confusion: men, whom company, and conversation, and custom had at last so blinded, and made so insensible that these were sins, that, like those that “perisht in the
gainsaying of Core,” so these died without repenting of these “spiritual wickednesses,” of which the practices of Coppinger and Hacket 64 in their lives, and the death of them and their adherents, are God knows too sad examples ; and ought to be cautions to those men that are inclined to the like “spiritual wickednesses.”
And in these times which tended thus to confusion, there were also many of these scruplemongers that pretended a tenderness of conscience, refusing to take an oath before a lawful magistrate 65 : and yet these very men, in their secret conventicles, did covenant 66 and swear to each other, to be assiduous and faithful in using their best endeavours to set up the presbyterian doctrine and discipline; and both in such a manner as they themselves had not yet agreed on 67, but, up that government must. To which end there were many that wandered up and down, and were active in sowing discontents and sedition, by venomous and secret murmurings, and a dispersion of scurrilous pamphlets and libels against the church and state; but especially against the bishops; by which means, together with venomous and indiscreet sermons, the common people became so fanatic, as to believe the bishops to be Antichrist, and the only obstructors of God's Discipline ; and at last some of them were given over to so bloody a zeal, and such other [See Camden. Ann. pars ii.
Dr. Wordsworth thinks Walton pag. 34. ed. 1627. Strype, Ann. inaccurate in the mention of their IV.95.]
swearing. But see Strype, Parker, (Strype, Whitg. I. 502. II. 25, II. 285. Collier, E. H. II. 544.] 28. lil. 120. I. 351, 357. Hooker, 67 [Dr. Bancroft proves their disPref. to E. P. VIII. 13.)
agreement at large; Survey of the 66 [By subscription. Strype, pretended holy Discipline, c. 9-19, Whitg. III. 239. II. 13.