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ments on the subject of friendship reflect a pleasing light upon the character of those to whom he extended his regard. He considered that such are to be chosen for our friends who are able to give us counsel, to restrain our wanderings, to comfort us in our sorrows; who are pleasant to us in private and useful in public, who will make our joys double, and alleviate by sharing our griefs.
In December 1622, Henry Hammond was made bachelor of arts. Not long afterwards, he was appointed reader of the natural philosophy lecture in his own college ; and was selected to deliver a funeral oration on the death of Dr. Langton, the president. In June 1625 he took the degree of master of arts ; and in the following month was advanced to a vacant fellowship.
About the same time he began to study the writings of the Fathers, thinking it best to resort to primitive sources of information, before he suffered himself to be prepossessed by the views of modern authors. The opinions which he thus formed may reasonably claim our respectful attention, when we consider that during the whole period of his residence in the university he usually devoted thirteen hours a-day to reflection and study.
In the year 1629, being then twenty-four years of age, he entered into holy orders; but probably still remained in Oxford till 1633, when an occurrence took place which led unexpectedly to his preferment. Dr. Frewen, the president of Magdalen college, being also chaplain to the king, appointed Mr. Hammond to supply one of his preaching turns at court; and the earl of Leicester, happening to be present, was so well pleased with his sermon, that he immediately offered to him the vacant rectory of Penshurst in Kent, which was in the earl's gift. This was a hasty mode of filling up so responsible an office, but the event proved that the preferment was well bestowed.
Mr. Hammond was inducted into the living on the 22nd of August in the same year, and at once took up his abode in the midst of his flock, where he devoted himself to the discharge of those duties of the pastoral care which the providence of God had assigned to him, and for which he felt that he must give account. In public and private he was diligent and earnest in his vocation, at the same time endeavouring so to order his own steps that the sheep might follow him safely.
Here he thought that the interests of religion would be promoted by assembling the congregation for prayer more frequently than was commonly done, and therefore either he or his curate performed public worship once every day at Penshurst church, besides twice on Saturday and Sunday, and on every holiday. In those days few of the poorer people could read, and therefore it was important for them not only to have such assistance in their devotions, but to enjoy frequent opportunities of hearing the Holy Scriptures, that they might become wise unto salvation.
As he preached constantly on Sunday morning, so in the afternoon he catechised the younger part of the congregation, employing about an hour before the time of prayer in that exercise. On these occasions he explained in an easy and familiar way the doctrines and duties of the christian religion, taking as his guide the catechism of the Church of England; and he thought that the parents and aged people, who generally attended to hear him, reaped even more benefit from the instructions then delivered than from his sermons. He was always much interested about the spiritual welfare of the young, and, being convinced of the importance of early training in the right way, he availed himself of these opportunities of setting before them the happiness of a religious life, and the good effects of remembering their Creator in the days of their youth. And, with a view to render his endeavours more effectual, he provided at his own cost an able schoolmaster, whom he maintained as long as he continued to be the minister of the parish.
The poor of Penshurst soon learned the advantage of having one placed amongst them who sympathized with their distresses, and was able to relieve them. He dedicated to charitable purposes a stated weekly sum, in addition to a tenth of his income. He often purchased corn, to sell again to the people below the market-price; and was ready to lend little sums to those who had fallen into unforeseen calamity, permitting them to repay him by instalments. These acts of beneficence were his pleasures; and he often declared them to be the sources of unmingled gratification, feeling the truth of the scriptural saying, that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
He saw fit to celebrate the communion once a month, thinking it right to approach nearer to the primitive frequency than was then usual in country places. And on these occasions his instructions and example recommended liberality so strongly, that the collections rendered it unnecessary to levy a poors'-rate; nay, means were supplied for apprenticing the children of the indigent parishioners.
It is recorded of at least one poor family, that they partook of his kindness long after his removal from Penshurst, and even to the close of his life. He sent them his practical works; paid for the education of one of the children; and wrote friendly letters to the father, saying, that he should receive any reply with pleasure.
He always watched for opportunities of exciting and increasing a sense of religion in the hearts of his people; and knowing well that no season is more favourable than when the mind is subdued and softened by ill health, he was frequent and diligent in visiting the sick, and was often found at their bed-sides without being sent for.
He lived on the most friendly terms with all his parishioners and neighbours; for he did not lose sight of that important caution which Joseph gave to his brethren, See that ye fall not out by the way; and he was so successful in diffusing the spirit of that admonition as to be the happy cause of reconciling many who were at variance with each other.
While he highly disapproved of a luxurious and extravagant mode of living, he remembered that a christian ought to be given to hospitality, and considered that by such means he might "increase and preserve mutual love and charity amongst men:" and therefore his table was often spread, though in a plain and simple way, for the entertainment of his neighbours.
His own habits were always abstemious. When in good health he usually took only one meal in twentyfour hours; and his seasons of fasting were of very frequent recurrence. He saw in the New Testament many tokens that fasting was approved of by our Saviour, and was much impressed with the direction of St. Chrysostom, that as we forsake the publican's sins, and retain his humility, so we should avoid the pharisee's pride, but not neglect his performances, amongst which was fasting. It also appeared to have its uses as an exercise of self-denial, an expression of humility, and a means of keeping under the body and bringing it into subjection. And as the season of abstinence ought, in his estimation, not merely to be a time of bodily humiliation but of self-examination, confession, and prayer, he approved of its recurrence as often as "piety and the Spirit of God might prompt," consistently with a "due care of health," and regulated his own practice accordingly. He set apart for that purpose two days in the week, and three during Lent and the Ember-weeks, abstaining altogether from food at those times for thirty-six hours. But he remembered and followed our Saviour's caution to his disciples, that they should appear not to men to fast, but only unto their Father which is in secret.
Such was the course of self-mortification which the rector of Penshurst, as well as many other devout persons, thought to be conducive to the benefit of his soul, and practised during his whole life. He probably recommended a similar discipline to his parishioners as the means of purifying their affections and humbling their spirits; speaking of the sanction given to fasting by the word of God, while he cautioned them against the errors and extravagances into which the papists had fallen. Occasion might have been given for such admonitions by the provisions of an old law, which was still observed in the parish of Penshurst. In the reign of Ed. VI. an Act had been passed enjoining the observance offish-days, (so the statute terms them,) on the grounds that " due and godly abstinence is a mean to virtue," and that "fishers may thereby the rather be set on work, and that by eating of fish much flesh shall be saved and encreased." By another statute of like intent, which passed in the fifth year of Queen Elizabeth's reign, the clergy were empowered to grant to their parishioners licences to eat meat on the fish-days under certain circumstances, and particularly in case of sickness; and if there were occasion to extend the licence beyond eight days, then it was to be entered in the churchbook. A document of this kind is still to be seen in the register-book at Penshurst, in the hand-writing of