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Within four years after the death of this venerable man, the most strict and diligent inquiry was made after them without success. Anthony Wood announces the publication of all the eight books, with certain tractates and fermons, fo early as in 1617. The titlepage of the edition of that year, on which he establishes his opinion, utters a glaring falsehood; the volume containing only five books, as well in this edition of 1617, as in the subsequent ones of 1621 and 1631. The compilers of “The General Dictionary," and of “The Biographia Britannica," relying on the authority of Wood, have fallen into the same error.--Without condescending to examine the contents of the volume, they very injuriously charge Dr. Gauden with ignorance or confidence, when he insinuates that the Seventh Book was first published in 1662.
The Sixth and Eight Books were printed at London in 1648, 4to, under the title of “ The Lawes of Ecclesiasticall Politie, the Sixth and Eight Books : By Richard Hooker. A work long expected, and now published according to the most authentique copies.” In this edition it is afferted that they were compared with five copies extant, in different libraries; in the Bodleian Library, in that at Lambeth, and in those of Bishop Andrews, Archbishop Uther, and Lord Edward Conway. With regard to the degree of credit due to these copies, a profound silence is observed.
Fourteen years after, namely in 1662, the Seventh Book (touching Episcopacy, or the Primitive, Catholick, and Apoftolick Government of the Church) said to be completed out of his own manuscripts, was published by Dr. Gauden, then Bishop of Exeter, along with Mr. Hooker's other works.
It seems reasonable to expect that the fullest and most convincing proofs should have been adduced to substantiate these books as authentic. A cautious editor, when he presents to the public light a choice and precious manuscript, that had long been buried in obscurity, will not content himself with mere afiertions: He will endeavour to inform his readers when and where it was discovered : He will endeavour to establish its authority with all pouble precision, so as to banish every doubt concerning its genuineness. On the present occasion nothing of this kind has been attempted. When asseverations are urged without any attendant arguments to confirm their validity, the mind is left to fluctuate in uncertainty and perplexedness. It is declared by Dr. Gauden, that these three last books were never finished." The truth of this declaration is expressly contradicted, both by the above cited epitaph, and by Isaac Walton's narrative. ·
It is added, that “ they had been for many ages suppresed.” Was it not, therefore, highly requisite to advance fome evidence of their originality after this long suppression; to ascertain the place where they had eluded all inquiry; to instruct us by what means they were brought from their dark abode? A treasure so inestimable, a deposit so dear to every good man, would surely have been preserved with the utinost fidelity and caution; and, when ushered
Dr. Gauden published " Hooker's Works," in 1662, fol. A second edition, with “ The Life of Mr. Hooker, by Isaac Walton," appeared in 1666. fol. A third in 1676. fol. A fourth in 1682. fol. A fifth in 1723, fol. And a sixth in 1793, printed at Oxford in three volumes, 8vo.
• See" Dr. Gauden's Life, &c. of Mr. Richard Hooker,".
into the world, would have been accompanied with all the attestations necessary to enhance its worth.
He proceeds : “ They are now come to light after our late long troubles, as some buried statues or hidden monuments are oft discovered by earthquakes." Are we to attribute the discovery of them, after a concealment for fo extensive a period of time, to the distracted state of this country, amidit the horrors and confusions of a civil war? Yet what prevented their more early appearance? In the mild and peaceable reign of James I. when disquisitions on the discipline and doctrine of the Church of England were the subjects of general attention, the publication of them would have been peculiarly acceptable. And if their genuinenels admitted no doubt, what causes can possibly be assigned for secreting them? If they remained in the poffeffion of Mr. Hooker's friends, those friends would eagerly and without delay have consigned them to the press. If his cnemies concealed them, it is scarce probable that from their hands they would emerge pure and uncontaminated'.
He adds further : “ Each of them is by learned critics judged to be genuine or authentic.” Who those learned critics are, or upon what grounds they founded their criticism, we are left to conjecture. King Charles I. by whom the very name of Mr. Hooker was held in the highest veneration, thought otherwise. In his interview with Lord Say, he expressly maintained that the Sixth and Eight Books were not allowed to have been written by Mr. Hooker. And this opinion was probably the result of his discourses on the subject with those divines, in whose converfation he delighted, and who were perfectly competent to decide upon the matter, being men of great candour and known integrity of mind, neither deficient in inquisitiveness, nor liable to be deceived by artifice. ·And no recent testimony has been since adduced to enervate the evidence that arises from the king's assertion.
Of the authenticity of the Sixth Book no intelligence is communicated.
The Seventh Book is affirmed, “ by comparing the writing of it with other indisputable papers or known manuscripts of Mr. Hooker, to be undoubtedly his own hand throughout.” From this last positive declaration it may be deemed difficult to withhold assent. Our acquiescence in it would have been cheerfully given, if it had been supported by any corroborating arguments:-If we had been informed when these papers and known MSS. were depobted, and by whose nice discriminating eye the collation was made.
It is remarked of the puritanical writers of those times, that they were not alhamed " to sett forth suppofitious pamphlets in favour of their cause, under the counterfeit names of other men of known piety and parts, whose former writings have been entertained with general approbation abroad in the world :" Their very names, they thought, would give some countenance to any cause which they could seem in any degree to own." “ This,” says Dr. Sanderson, " is one of their piæ fraudes, or godly cheats; a practice common to them with the Jesuits, as many other of their practices (ey and of their doctrines too) are. Such an unhappy fatal coincidence not feldom there is of extremes. Thus they dealt with the reverend Primate of Armagh, printing his name, and that in his life-time too (which was their modefty and tenderness of conscience), to two severall pamphiets, the one cailed Vox Hibernia,' and the otherA Direction to the Parliament," kc." See" Clavi Trabales," p. 151.
The Eight Book has no other mark of legitimacy upon it, has no other character to elucidate its origin, than the bare affirmation, that “it is written by another hand, as a copy, but interlined in many places with Mr. Hooker's own character, as owned by him."
Dr. John Spencer, President of Corpus Christi College in Oxford, folicitous to preserve every document, every fragment of the writings of his friend, commillioned Mr. Henry Jacksons, a fellow collegian, to form a transeript of all the papers which were left. This transcript was bequeathed by Dr. Spencer to Dr. John King, Bithop of London, on whose demise it devolved upon his fon the Bishop of Chichester, by whom it was placed in the Archbishop's library at Lambeth. The dreadful devastation made of that library by Hugh Peters, and the other Goths and Vandals of the age, leaves us no reason to think, that the transcript, whatever it contained, escaped the general wreck. But there is no proof that it actually comprised the books in question. A particular description of it is given by Dr. Spencer himself in the advertisement prefixed to the sixth edition of the Five Books of EccleGiaftical Polity. He assures us concerning these three lait Books, that “fome evil-difpored minds, whether of malice or covetousness, or wicked blind zeal, it is uncertain, as if they had been Egyptian midwives, as soon as they were born and their father dead, fmothered them, and by conveying away the perfect copies, left unto us nothing but certain old perfect and mangled draughts, dismembered into pieces, and scattered, like Medea's Alfirtis, no favour, na grace, not the shadows of themselves almost remaining in them.” If he ever arranged these papers with a view to publish them as the finished works of Mr. Hooker, he seems to have altered his design, from a decided conviction that they had no claim to be acknowledged in that light".
He intimates, in the advertisement above quoted, that there is a purpose of setting forth the three laft Booksalfo, their father's posihumi. It may be asked, what hindered this purpose ? Nothing certainly, but an afsurance that the papers found by Mr. Henry Jackfon were info mangled and mutilated a condition, that they could not appear without manifest injury to the reputation of their author. When it is remembered that Dr. Spencer survivel Mr. Hooker fourteen years, we must conclude that his respect for the dignity of his friend's character deterred him from obtruding any work on the public which he did not consider as indisputably authentic.
? Mr. Henry Jackson, born in the city of Oxford, was admitted Probationary Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Sept. 5, 1612. He was a great admirer of Mr. Richard Hooker, and of Dr. John Reynolds; whose memories being molt dear to him, lie did for the sake of the first, industriously collect and publish some of his small treatises, and of the latter several of his epistles and orations. See “ Wood's Ath. 0x." Vol. II. col. 291.
We learn from a letter, wiitten by Mr. Henry Jackson, and preserved in Fulman's papers, in the library of C. C. C. that Dr. Spencer actually intended to publith the Eight Book. “ Puto præfidem noitrum emissurum sub suo Nomine D. Hookeri Librum octavum a me plane viia refiitutum. Tulit alter honores.” What pains were taken by Mr. Jackson to render this Eight Book as perfect as possible, and how doubtful he was whether it really deserved the public light, appears from another letter : “ Si totus non eflem in pol:endo libro octavo D. Richardi Hooker de Ecclefiafticâ Politiâ, quem præses collegii noftri mili commendavit, aliquid ad te misislem, ut tuum expiscarer judicium an lucem necne mereatur.”
It has been already remarked, that a copy of the three last Books is said to have been placed in Archbishop Uther’s library. If that learned and sagacious man had deemed the copy authentic, is it pollible to suppose that he would have withheld it from the public eye? In fact, his anxiety to preserve and make known the genuine writings of Mr. Hooker, appears from the care with which he selected three short treatises written, with the hand of that excellent person, and published by Dr. Bernard, with the Primate's marginal notes, in the “ Clavi Trabales: “ Of gold,” says Bishop Sanderson, in a preface to this publication, “ quævis bracteola the very filings are precious; and our Blefied Saviour, when there was no want of provision, yet gave it in charge to his disciples, that the offall should not be lost.”
Mr. Ifaac Walton informs us, that the three perfect Books were loft, and that the wife of Mr. Hooker did not pay much attention to his memory after his death. She permitted Mr. Charke i and his companion to ransack his study. These two men, profesiedly hostile to the Church of England, burnt and tore many of his written papers, affuring her that they were writings not fit to be seen. Thus the invaluable treasure was irrecoverably gone, before Mr. Henry Jackson entered on his commission. Nothing remained for him but the reliques of their savage plunder. Yet Mr. Neale, in his “ History of the Puritans," Vol. I. p. 571. asserts with his usual boldness, that “the three last Books were not published till many years after the author's death, though they were deposited in the hands of Archbishop Abbot, from whefe copy they were printed about the beginning of the civil wars.” Not to remark the inaccuracy of his observation, for the Seventh Book first appeared in 1662, after the Restoration, we are led to infer from this assertion, that the three Books in their present state as corrected, revised, and prepared by Mr. Hooker for the press, were placed in the library at Lambeth, and there carefully preserved; when it is clear from the best authority, that of Dr. Spencer, that nothing was left but “ certain old unperfect and mangled draughts, dismembered into pieces, and scattered like Medea's Absirtus.”
The excellent Dr. Jeremy Taylor confirms the suspicion, that the three Books are not genuine. In the dedication of his celebrated work, entitled “ Ductor Dubitantium,” to King Charles II. He observes, that “ those cases that concern the power, and offices of ecclefiaftical Superiors and Supreme, were, though in another manner, long lince done by the incomparable Mr. Hooker, in the Seventh and Eight Books of Ecclesiastical Polity, or the learned Archbishop of Spalato: but their labours were unhappily left, and never saw the light.” He adds, “ Though I cannot attain to the strength of these champions of David, yet since their portion of works is fallen into my hands, I have heartily endeavoured to supply their loss."
i In the earlier editions of " Walton's Lives," the person who married Margaret, the youngest daughter of Mr. Hooker, is called Clarke. This circumstance will admit an excuse for the error in the note at p.287.