Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

He would by no means omit the customary time of procession, persuading all, both rich and poor, if they desired the preservation of love, and their parish-rights and liberties, to accompany him in his perambulation; and most did fo: in which perambulation, he would usually express morepleasant discourse than at other times, and would then always drop some loving and facetious observations to be remembered against the next year, especially by the boys and young people ; still inclining them, and all his present parishioners, to meekness and mutual kindnesses and love ; because “Love thinks not evil, but covers a multitude of infirmities'.”

He was diligent to inquire who of his parishi were sick, or any way distressed, and would often visit them unsent for ; supposing that the fittest time to discover those errors, to which health and prosperity had blinded them. And having, by pious reasons and prayers, moulded them into holy resolutions for the time to come, he would incline them to confeffion, and bewailing their fins, with purpose to forsake them, and then to receive thecommunion, both as a strengthening of those holy resolutions; and as a feal 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 diligent to prevent law-suits, ftill 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 a 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,

• It was among the injunctions given by Queen Elizabeth in 1559, on the abolition of those ceremonies, which attended the Popish processions, “that the parishioners shall once in the “ year, at the time accustomed, with the curate and the fubftantial men of the parish, walke about the parishes as they were accustomed, and at their returne to the church make their com- . “mon prayers.” Many reasons concur to evince the necessity of reviving the custom of holding these perambulations frequently and regularly. See in “ The Book of Homilies,”.p. 314 (Oxford edit. 1683), an exhortation to be spoken to such parishes where they use their perambulation in Rogation-week for the oversight of the bounds and limits of their town.

family, and bless them by name; insomuch, that as he seemed in his youth to be taught of God, so he seemed in 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 blessed 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 his virtues”.

This was his constant behaviour at Borne; thus as Enoch, so he, walked with God; thus did he tread in 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 flander 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), and which

this

P We may surely apply to this good man these lines of Mr. Cowley::

-his harmless life
“ Does with substantial blessedness abound,
“ And the soft wings of Peace cover him round."

The Editor of this Work reads this description with inexpressible satisfaction, as it recalls to his remembrance the character of a much-honoured parent, who, in the instances of duty here related, literally trod in the steps of good Mr. Hooker ; a bright example of primaeval piety, adorning all the acquirements of a scholar and a divine with an unblemished fanctity of life and manners.

“ Nil me pæniteat sanum patris hujus.”

HOR.

q "Scribit Theodoretus (lib. I. cap. 3.) subornatam ab Arianis mulierem poftulâffe Athana- . “sium illati fibi per vim ftupri, cum illum suscepisset hofpitio. Cum igitur mulier in Atha“ nasium suas querelas proponeret, progrediens Timotheus Presbyter, Egone, ait, mulier, vim " tibi et ftuprum intuli? Tum ipfa credens effe fibi ignotum Athanasium, convitiis sacerdotem " excipiens, rem præfractius asseverat, et judicum fidem contra Timotheum obteftatur ad Ice. «. leris vindictam.” (Notitia Conciliorum, &c. p. 123.)

this age calls trepanning'. 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 diffenting brother, one that endured not church-ceremonies, hating him for his book's 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 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 burthen, but that the Protector of the innocent gave such an accidental occasion as forced him to make it known to his two dear friends, Edwyn 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 46 comfortable news'. Now I have a just occasion to say with Solomon,

" Friends

as if one eye
“ Upon the other were a spy ;
“ That to trepan the one to think
“ The other blind, both strove to blink."

(HUDIBRAS, Part III. Canto. II. ver. 356.)
Trepann'd the state, and fac'd it down,
* With plots and projects of our own."

Ib. ver. 832.

s'« A certain lewd woman came to his chamber, and solicited his charity under this cogent argument, that if he should deny her, she would lay base attempts to his charge;' and by this means, at several times, she had gotten money from him ; until at last Providence was pleased to concern itself for the righting wronged innocence. It fo fell out, that this woman came to him when his two dear friends Mr. Sandys and Mr. Cranmer were with him : wondering to fee such a person come with so much confidence, they inquired of their tutor the occasion of it, who in a little time tells them the truth of the whole abuse. Upon which they contrive a way to be present in his chamber, where they might hear the whole discourse at her next

* 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 on 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 I was “ bowed down with an horrible dread, and went mourning all the day “ long; when my nights were restless, and my seeps broken with a fear “ worse than death ; when my soul thirsted for a deliverance, as the hart

panteth for the rivers of water ; then thou, Lord, didst hear my com“.plaints, 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 didft pot give me over as a prey to mine enemies. O “ blessed are they that put their trust in thee; and no prosperity shall make

me forget those days of sorrows, or to perform those vows that I have “ made to thee in the days of my fears and affliion ; for with such sacri“ fices 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 dove-like 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, 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 by God himself, yet this revenge is so pleasing, that man is hardly,

percoming. An opportunity foon offered, and the lewd woman persisting in her threats of laying ill things to his charge, if she was denied what she came for, money, his two friends stepped. forth from behind the curtains to her confusion and the shame of those who had employed her in so vile an action ; for his flanderers were punished for this their vile attempt, who at their suffering shewed a penitent behaviour, and made an open confession.” (Prince's Wor... ibies, &C. p. 396.)

persuaded to submit the manage of it to the timē, and justice, and wisdom of his Creator, but would hasten to be 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 Nanderers 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 re

pentance 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 penitent behaviour, and an open confession. And it is observable, that after this time he would often say to Dr. Saravia, “ O with “ what quietness did I enjoy my soul, after I was free from the fears of my “ flander ! And how much more after a conflict and victory over my de“ fires of revenge?

In the year 1600, and of his age forty-six, he fell into a long and sharp sickness, occasioned by a cold taken in his passage betwixt London and Gravesend, from the malignity of which, he was never recovered ; for till his death, he was not free from thoughtful days and restless nights; but a submission to his will that makes the fick man's bed easy, by giving rest to his soul, made his very languishment comfortable; and yet all this time he was solicitous in his study, and said often to Dr. Saravia (who saw him daily, and was the chief comfort of his life,) “ That he did not beg a “ long life of God, for any other reason, but to live to finish his three re

maining books of Polity; and then, Lord, let thy servant depart in

peace“;" which was his usual expression. And God heard his prayers, though he denied the benefit of them as completed by himself; and it is thought he haftened his own death, by hastening to give life to books.

But

t“ When an unworthy afperfion was cast on Mr. Hooker-(If Christ was dasht, shall Christians escape in their journey to heaven?)—Mr. Travers being asked of a private friend what he thought of the truth of the accusation? “ In truth,” said he, “ I take Mr. Hooker to be a holy man." A speech which, coming from an adversary, sounds no less to the commendation of his charity who spoke it, than to the praise of his piety of whom it was spoken." (Fuller.)

u How different this from the application of the same words by Hugh Peters, and by an advocate for political reform in later times!

« НазадПродовжити »