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ther Alvy, he, the said Archbishop of York, being
And here I shall make a stop; and that the
1 This you may find in the Temple Records. Will. Ermstead was Master of the Temple at the dissolution of the Priory, and died 2 Eliz.
Richard Alvy, Bat. Divinity, Pat. 13 Feb. 2 Eliz. Magister sive Custos, Domûs et Ecclesiæ novi Templi, died 27 Eliz.
Richard Hooker succeeded that year by patent, in terminis, as
may the better judge of what follows, give him a character of the times, and temper of the people of this nation, when Mr. Hooker had his admission into this place; a 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 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 had so lately thirsted, being then the very utmost of their desires, and even beyond their hopes.
This was the temper of the times in the begin
ning of her reign; 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 a short time there appeared three several interests, each of them fearless and 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 both 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 established 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 established 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 possessed 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 ways of peace; men, that were the very dregs and pest of mankind; men, whom pride and self-conceit 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 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 perished in the gain-saying of Core, so these died without repenting of these spiritual wickednesses; of which the practices of Coppinger and Hacket 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 those scruple-mongers, that pretended a tenderness of conscience, re
fusing to take an oath before a lawful magistrate : and yet these very men in their secret conventicles did covenant 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; but, up that government must. To which end there were many
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 Anticbrist, 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 desperate delusions, as to find out a text in the Revelation of St. John, that Antichrist was to be overcome by the sword. So that those very men, that began with tender and meek petitions, proceeded to admonitions; then to satirical remonstrances; and at last (having, like Absalom, numbered who was not, and who was, for their cause,) they got a supposed certainty of so great a party, that they durst threaten first the Bishops, and then the Queen and Parliament, to all which they were secretly encouraged by the Earl of Leicester, then in great favour with her Majesty, and the reputed cherisher and patrongeneral of these pretenders to tenderness of conscience; his design being, by their means, to bring such an odium upon the Bishops, as to procure an alienation of their lands, and a large proportion of them for himself: which avaricious desire had at last so blinded his reason, that his ambitious and greedy hopes seemed to put him into a present possession of Lambeth House.