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And such, during many years of the lives of Arcnbishop Usher and Dr. Hammond, was the condition of that branch of the church of Christ to which they were
HIS EARLY LIFE—MINISTRY—AND TROUBLES.
Brighter than rainbow in the north,
More cheery than the matin lark,
Which on some holy house we mark.
Seasons of severe affliction have usually been the most productive of holiness in the church of Christ; and, if we estimate the goodness of God by the abundance of the harvest which he supplies, we cannot hesitate to pronounce that times of trial are times of especial mercy. The tender plant of true religion then grows healthy under the fertilizing dews of God's grace; the stem that bent beneath every wind becomes strong in the Lord and in the power of his might; the weeds, which in quiet times would have grown to maturity, are, under the same influence, blasted by the breath of sorrow; and the infirmities which so easily beset the best of fallible beings are thus restrained from swelling into crimes.
And such, during many years of the lives of Archbishop Usher and Dr. Hammond, was the condition of that branch of the church of Christ to which they were affectionately attached; and as the body suffered, so all the members, and they amongst the rest, suffered with it. But the gold was purified by the fiery trial; and to the grace and providence of an all-wise God, who makes the most evil things work together for the good of those that love him, we may attribute the excellence of the christian man and minister, whom we are now about to propose as an example worthy of imitation ; and who was particularly estimable for his anxiety to prove all things by the test of truth according to the abilities which God had given him; his moderation in maintaining his opinions at a period of great provocation, his ardent piety, and his blameless life.
Henry Hammond was born in the village of Chertsey, in Surrey, on the 18th of August 1605. His father, Dr. John Hammond, had been professor of Greek at Cambridge, and was a physician of high repute.
At an early age Henry was sent to Eton, where he soon distinguished himself by his proficiency in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, the latter of which languages was very much neglected in those times. He was a peaceable and sweet-tempered boy, and so impressed with religion that he would often withdraw himself from the circle of his schoolfellows, and retire to places of privacy for the purpose of prayer and reflection.
In 1618, being thirteen years old, he was sufficiently advanced in learning for the university, and was accordingly sent to Magdalen college, Oxford, of which he was afterwards chosen a demy, in July 1622.
Here he enjoyed the society of many friends who were eminent for learning and piety; and amongst others, he was on terms of intimacy with a youth of great promise, refined taste, lively imagination, and extensive reading, in the person of Jeremy Taylor, whose recorded senti