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THE LIFE OF RICHARD HOOKER.
CHAP. I. RICHARD HOOKER, whose name is, and ever will be, dear to all English Churchmen, was born in 1553, at Heavytree near Exeter, of parents “not so remarkable for their extraction or riches, as for their virtue and industry, and God's blessing upon both. At an early age he gave evidence of the great powers by which he was in after life distinguished ; for whilst at school he was always inquiring why this was to be remembered, and that forgotten. The quickness of his powers of perception, and the sweet modesty of his nature, caused Richard to be regarded as a wonder by his schoolmaster, who persuaded his parents to continue him at school; assuring them that their son was so enriched with the blessings of nature and grace, that God seemed to single him out, as a special instrument of His glory. And the good man told them also, that he would double his diligence in instructing him, and would' neither expect nor receive any other reward than the content of so hopeful, and happy employment."
This proposal, especially dear to his mother, met with the ap
proval of his parents, who, as well as his master, now laboured most diligently to implant in him the seeds of piety, and to train him in habits of righteousness and holiness. At the earnest entreaty of his master, John Hooker, Chamberlain of the city of Exeter, promised to take Richard under bis care, and to use his endeavours to obtain him admission into some college. In order to fulfil his promise, this John Hooker waited upon the celebrated Dr. Jewel, then Bishop of Salisbury, who was at all times ready and willing to oblige his friends to the best of his power, besought him for charity's sake to look favourably upon a poor nephew of his, whom nature had fitted for a scholar; but the estate of his parents was so narrow, that they were unable to give him the advantages of learning; and that the Bishop would therefore become his patron, and prevent him from being a tradesman, for he was a boy of remarkable hopes.” The Bishop accordingly appointed that Richard and his master should wait upon him at the following Easter ; when he was so much pleased with the interview, and the answers he received to his questions, that he presented the schoolmaster with a reward, and took an order for an annual pension for the boy's parents. In his fifteenth year Hookerwas removed to Oxford, where, being provided with a tutor and a clerk's place in the college, he had a comfortable subsistence from these sources and the pension which Jewel allowed him. “And in this condition he continued unto the eighteenth year of his age, still increasing in learning and prudence, and so much in humility and piety, that he seemed to be filled with the Holy Guost; and even, like S. John Baptist, to be sanctified from his mother's womb, who did often bless the day in which she bare him."
About this time he had a very severe illness, which lasted two months, from which his mother prayed most earnestly that he might be delivered. Her prayers were answered, and as soon as Richard was sufficiently recovered, he journeyed from Oxford to Exeter on foot, being accompanied by a countryman, who was at the same college with him. By the way he paid a visit to Salisbury, that he might see his good patron the Bishop, who made him dive with him at his own table. “At the Bishop's parting with him, the Bishop gave him good counsel and his benediction, but forgot to give him money; which when the Bishop bad considered, he sent a servant in all haste to call Richard back to him, and at Richard's return the Bishop said to him, Richard, I sent for you back to lend you a horse, which hath carried me many a mile, and, I thank God, with much ease ;' and presently delivered into his hands a walking staff, with which he professed he had travelled through many parts of Germany. And he said, “ Richard, I do not give, but lend you my horse ; be sure you be honest and bring my horse back to me at your return this way to Oxford. And I now do give you ten groats' to bear your charges to Exeter; and here is ten groats more, which I charge you to deliver to your mother, and tell her I send her a Bishop's benediction with it, and beg the continuance of her prayers for me. And if you bring my horse back to me, I will give you ten groats more, to carry you on foot to the college, and so bless you, good Richard.””
The contract thus entered into was duly performed. Very soon after Hooker's return to Oxford he had to mourn the death of Jewel, and the
of a kind and generous patron. In the distress which he naturally felt, and the fears which lie had touching the future, Dr. Cole gave him much comfort, promising that he should want neither food nor raiment. And in a short time assistance came to him from another quarter also. Sandys, one of the translators of the Bible, and afterwards Archbishop of York, had met Bishop Jewel in Germany, when they had been compelled to seek refuge abroad during the troubles of Queen Mary's reign. A little before the death of Jewel these two friends met. During this interview Hooker was mentioned, his patron not failing to set forth his many good qualities. The character that was given of the diligent student made Sandys resolve to send his son to Oxford that he might have Hooker for his tutor; for he said, “ I will have a tutor for my son, that shall teach him learning by instruction, and virtue by example: and my greatest care shall be of the last; and, GOD willing, this Richard Hooker shall be the man into whose hands I will commit my Edwin.” And so about twelve months afterwards Sandys did.
Of Hooker's learning we shall have to speak hereafter ; of his demeanour at the university we have the following account.
“ Amongst other testimonies this also remains of him, that in four years he was but twice absent from the college prayers, and that his behaviour there was such as showed an awful reverence of that God which he then worshipped and prayed to; giving all outward testimonies that his affections were set on heavenly things. This was his behaviour towards God; and for that to man, it is observable that he was never known to be angry, or passionate, or extreme in any of his desires ; never heard to repine or dispute with Providence; but, by a quiet gentle submission and resignation of his will to the wisdom of his CREATOR, bore the burden of the day with patience; never heard to utier an uncomely word; and by this and a grave behaviour, which is a divine charm, hé begot an early reverence unto his person, even from those that at other times, and in other companies, took a liberty to cast off that strictness of behaviour and discourse which is required in a collegiate life.”
In his nineteenth year he became a foundation scholar of his college, which was then noted for an eminent library, strict students, and remarkable scholars. In due course he proceeded to the degree of Master of Arts, and was admitted to a Fellowship, being not less happy in his contemporaries of his times and college than in the pupilage and friendship of Edwin Sandys and George Cranmer, all of whom oftentimes took sweet counsel together, and walked in the house of God as friends. In due course Richard was ordained Deacon and Priest, and appointed to preach the sermon at S. Paul's Cross. In order to discharge this duty, he came up to London to the Shunammite's house, so called because there were lodging and provisions for the preacher for two days before and one after the sermon.
It was at this time kept by a person named Churchman. Here Hooker arrived wet and weather-beaten, and was so ill that he did not expect to be able to preach the sermon, but the kind care and attentions of Mrs. Churchman enabled him to perform the office. In consequence of her attentions to him, Hooker' readily believed all that she said. So when she told him that he was of tender constitution, and that it would be well for him to have a wife that would prove a nurse to him, such a one as might both prolong his life, and make it more comfortable; and such a one she could and would provide for him, if he thought fit to marry ;" he intrusted her with this important charge, and said he would come at any time, and accept of her choice. Now Mrs. Churchman having a daughter Joan, was not long at a loss with whom to supply the unsuspecting Priest, and the two were united in the bonds of holy wedlock.
In consequence of his marriage, it became necessary for Hooker to leave his peaceful abode at College, and enter into the world. The first scene of his labours was Drayton-Beauchamp in Buckinghamshire, not far from Aylesbury, in the Diocese of Lincoln, to which he was preferred by John Cheney, Esq., the then patron. After he had been here about a year, his pupils Sandys and Cranmer paid a visit to their former master. They found him reading the Odes of Horace, and tending his sheep in a common field, “ which he told his pupils he was forced to do then, for his servant was gone home to dine, and assist his wife to do some necessary business. But when the servant returned and released him, then his two pupils attended him unto his house, where their best entertainment was his quiet company, which was presently denied them, for Richard was called to rock the cradle." It took but little to see in what circumstances their tutor was placed, and so, having enjoyed a little sweet converse touching the past, they left him the next night to seek a quieter lodging. “But at their parting from him, Mr. Cranmer said, “Good tutor, I am sorry your lot is fallen in no better ground as to your parsonage, and more sorry that your wife
proves not a more comfortable companion, after you have wearied yourself in your restless studies." To whom the good man replied, My dear George, if saints have usually a double share in the miseries of this life, I, that am none, ought not to repine at what my wise CREATOR hath appointed for me; but labour, as indeed I do daily, to submit mine to His will, and possess my soul in patience and peace.”
Upon his return home, young Sandys represented to his father, then Archbishop of York, the sad condition in which he found his beloved tutor, and asked for his removal to some better preferment. Not long after, Mr. Alvy, Master of the Temple, who was so much endeared to all that he was generally called Father Alvy, departed this life. At the next Temple reading after his decease, the Archbishop, dining with the Benchers and reader, met with a general condolement, and a hope was expressed that a successor of like virtues and learning might be found. Hereupon the Archbishop made such high and honourable mention of Hooker, that he was sent for, and the Mastership was offered him, as greater freedom from his country cares, the advantages of a better society, and a more liberal pension than his country parsonage did afford him. But these inducements were not sufficient at first to persuade Hooker to give up the pleasures of a country life, to which he was much attached ; though after a while his objections gave way, and he was appointed Master of the Temple in 1585, and the thirty-fourth year of his age.
CHAPTERS ON CHURCHES AND CHURCH
CHAPTER 1.-RAMSEY ABBEY. The history of the foundation and erection of our great ecclesiastical establishments, is full of varied interest and information, and when taken from authorities contemporary with the events related, or at any rate far removed from our own times, affords an insight into the literature, and into the habits of thinking and acting of our remote ancestors. We propose on this account to give a series of articles under the above head, and we commence with an interesting example, in the foundation of the Abbey of Ramsey.
The isle of Ramsey, in Huntingdonshire, was the least repulsive of the marsh lands of that district, and the mere out o which it arose was remarkable for the abundance of fish which it produced, especially eels, and pike of enormous size. In the reign of Edgar it was part of the patrimony of Aylwin, a nobleman of the highest reputation, and rich in the favour of his prince and of all the people
. It happened that to Aylwin the King intrusted the funeral of one of the greatest and most beloved persons of his court; and at Glastonbury, where the corpse was to rest, Oswald, the successor of Dunstan in his influence over the monastic body, and now bis suffragan,* took part in the obsequies. Aylwin was irre* Dunstan being Archbishop of Canterbury, Oswald Bishop of Worcester.