Surely I must confess.
What to do? What to do?
That if it be an Error to think that God may be merciful to save men, even when they err; my greatest comfort is, my error: Were it not for the love I bear to this Error, I would never wish to speak or to live. I was willing to take notice of these two points, as supposing them to be very material; and that as they are thus contracted, they may prove useful to my Reader; as also for that the Answers be Arguments of Mr.
Hookers great and clear Reason, and equal Charity. Other Exceptions were also made against him, as, That he prayed before, and not after his Sermons; that in his Prayers be named Bishops, that be kneeled, both when he prayed, and he when he received the Sacrament; and says Mr. Hooker in his Defence other Exceptions so like these, as but to name, I should have thought a greater fault then to commit them.
And 'tis not unworthy the noting, that in the menage of so great a Controversie, a sharper reproof then this, and one like it, did never fall from the happy Pen of this humble Man. That like it, was upon a like occasion of Exceptious, to which his Answer was, Your next Argument consists of Railing and of Reasons; to your Railing I say nothing, to your Reasons I say what follows.
And I am glad of this fair occasion, to testifie the Dove-like temper of this meek, this matchless Man; and doubtless, it Almighty God had blest the Dissenters from the Ceremonies and Discipline of this Church, with a like measure of Wisdom and Humility, instead of their pertinacious Zeal, then Obedience and Truth had kissed each other, then Peace and Piety had flourished in our Nation, and this Church and State had been blest like Ierusalem, that is at unity with it self; but that can never be expected, till God shall bless the common people with a belief, That Schism is a sin, and that there may be offences taken which are not given; and that Laws are not made for private men to dispute, but to obey.
And this also maybe worthy of noting, That these Exceptions of Mr. Travers against Mr. Hooker, were the cause of his transcribing several of his Sermons, which we now see Printed with his Books; of his Answer to Mr. After the publication of his Answer to the Petition of Mr. Travers, Mr. Travers, and for his Church Discipline; insomuch, that though Mr. Travers left the place, yet the Seeds of Discontent could not be rooted out of that Society, by the great Reason, and as great Meekness of this humble Man: For though the Cheif Benchers gave him much Reverence and Incouragement, yet he there met with many neglects and oppositions-by-those of Mr.
The Foundation of these Books was laid in the Temple ; but he found it no fit place to finish what he had there designed; and therefore solicited the Archbishop for a remove, to whom he spake to this purpose; My Lord, When I lost the freedom of my Cell, which was my Colledge; yet, I found some degree of it in my quiet Countrey Personage: But I am weary of the noise and oppositions of this place; and indeed, God and Nature did not intend me for Contentions, but for Study and Quietness.
And, My Lord, my particular Contests here with Mr. Cartwright, nor Mr. To which end, I have searched many Books, and spent many thoughtful hours; and I hope not in vain; for I write to reasonable men. And therefore if your Grace can think me and my poor labors, worthy such a favour? Let me beg it, that I may perfect what I have begun: which is a blessing I cannot hope for in this place. About the time of this request to the Bishop, the Parsonage or Rectory of Boscom, in the Diocess of Sarum, and six miles from that City, became void.
The Bishop of Sarum is Patron of it, but in the vacancy of that See which was three years betwixt the death of Bishop Peirce, and Bishop Caldwells admission into it the disposal of that and all Benefices belonging to it, during the time of this said vacancy, came to be disposed of by the Archbishop of Canterbury ; and he presented Richard Hooker to it in the year And Richard Hooker was also in this said year Instituted, Iuly In this Boscum he continued till he had finished four of his eight proposed Books of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, and these were enter'd into the Register Book in Stationers-Hall the 9th of March He left Boscum in the year The Parsonage of Bishops Borne in Kent, three miles from Canterbury, is in that Archbishops gift, but in the latter end of the year And now having brought our Richard Hooker from his Birth-place, to this where he found a Grave, I shall only give some account of his Books, and of his behaviour in this Parsonage of Borne, and then give a rest both to my self and my Reader.
His first four Books and large Epistle have been declared to be printed at his being at Boscum, Anno Next I am to tell that at the end of these four Books there is printed this Advertisement to the Reader; I have for some causes thought it at this time more fit to let go these first four Books by themselves, than to stay both them and the rest, till the whole might together be published. Such generalities of the cause in question as are here handled, it will be perhaps not amiss to consider apart, by way of Introduction unto the Books that are to follow concerning particulars; in the mean time the Reader is requested to mend the Printers errors, as noted underneath.
And I am next to declare that his fifth Book which is larger than his first four was first also printed by it self Anno These Books were read with an admiration of their excellency in This, and their just same spread it self into forain Nations. Hooker, thought it were but about the fashion of Churches, or Church Musick, or the like, but especially of the Sacraments, then I have had in the reading particular large Treatises written but of one of those subjects by others, though very Learned Men ; and, I observe there is in Mr. Hooker no affected Language; but a grave comprehensive, cleer manifestation of Reason; and that back't with the Authority of the Scripture, the Fathers and Schoolmen, and with all Law both Sacred and Civil.
And, though many others write well, yet in the next Age they will be forgotten; but doubtless there is in every page of Mr.
RCCG Greater Works Parish, Richards Bay, 18 Paseta Parade Street, Richards Bay ()
Hookers Book, the Picture of a Divine Soul, such Pictures of Truth and Reason, and drawn in so sacred colours, that they shall never fade, but give an immortal memory to the Author. And it is so truly true, that the King thought what he spake; that, as the most Learned of the Nation have and still do mention Mr.
Nor did his Son our late King Charles the first, ever mention him but with the same Reverence, enjoyning his Son our now gracious King, to be studious in M. Hookers Books. And our learned Antiquary Mr. Which work though undertaken by many, yet they have been weary and forsaken it; but the Reader may now expect it, having been long since begun, and lately finisht, by the happy pen of Doctor Earl, now Lord Bishop of Salisbury, of whom I may justly say and let it not offend him, because it is such a truth as ought not to be conceal'd from Posterity, or those that now live and yet know him not that since Mr.
Hooker also appeared first to the world in the Publication of his four Books of Ecclesiastical Polity.
This friendship being sought for by this Learned Doctor, you may believe was not denied by Mr. Hooker, who was by fortune so like him as to be engaged against Mr. Cartwright, and others of their Judgment in a controversie too like Doctor Saravia's ; So that in this year of Iohn Baptist, what went they out to see! This Parish Clark lived till the third or fourth year of the late long Parliament; betwixt which time and Mr.
Hookers Death, there had come many to see the place of his Burial, and the Monument dedicated to his memory by Sir William Cooper, who still lives and the poor Clark had many rewards for shewing Mr. Hookers Grave-place, and his said Monument, and did always hear Mr. Hookers Vertues and Learning; but it so fell out, that about the said third or fourth year of the long Parliament, the present Parson of Borne was Sequestred you may guess why and a Genevian Minister put into his good living.
Hooker had lived till now, they would have Sequestred him too. It was not long before this intruding Minister had made a party in and about the said Parish, that were desirous to receive the Sacrament as in Geneva ; to which end, the day was appointed for a Select Company, and Forms and Stools set about the Altar or Communion Table for them to sit and eat and drink; but when they went about this work, there was a want of some Joynd-stools, which the Minister sent the Clerk to fetch, and then to fetch Cushions.
When the Clerk saw them begin to sit down, he began to wonder; but the Minister bade him cease wondering, and lock the Church door: To whom he replied, Pray take you the Keys and lock me out, I will never come more into this Church; for all men will say my Master Hooker was a good Man, and a good Scholar, and I am sure it was not used to be thus in his days: And report says, The old man went presently home, and died; I do not say died immediately, but within a few days after.
But let us leave this grateful Clerk in his quiet Grave, and return to Mr. Which intention he would often say, was as discernable in a Preacher, as an Artificial from a Natural Beauty. He never failed the Sunday before every Ember week, to give notice of it to his Parishioners, perswading them both to fast, and then to double their Devotions for a Learned and Pious Clergy, but especially for the last; saying often, That the life of a pious Clergy-man was visible Rhetorick, and so convincing, That the most godless men though they would not deny themselves the enjoyment of their present Lusts did get secretly wish themselves like those of the strictest lives.
He would by no means omit the customary time of Procession, perswading all, both rich and poor, if they desired the preservation of Love, and their Parish Rights and Liberties, to accompany him in his Perambulation, and most did so: In which Perambulation, he would usually express more pleasant discourse then at other times, and would then always drop some loving and facetious observations to be remembred against the next year, especially by the boys and young people; still inclining them, and all his present Parishioners, to meekness and mutual kindnesses and love; because Love thinks not evil, but covers a multitude of infirmities.
And as he was thus watchful and charitable to the sick, so he was as diligent to prevent Law-sutes, still urging his Parishioners and Neighbors, to bear with each others infirmities, and live in love, because as St. Iohn says He that lives in love, lives in God, for God is Love. And to maintain this holy Fire of Love, constantly burning on the Altar, of a pure Heart, his advice was to watch and pray, and always keep themselves fit to receive the Communion, and then to receive it often; for it was both a confirming, and a strengthning of their Graces.
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And though in this weak and declining age of the World, such examples are become barren, and almost incredible; yet let his memory be blest with this true Recordation, because, he that praises Richard Hooker, praises God, who hath given such gifts to men; and let this humble and affectionate Relation of him, become such a pattern as may invite Posterity to imitate his Vertues.
This was his constant behavior at Borne ; thus as Enoch, so he walked with God; thus did he tread in the footsteps of Primitive Piety; and yet, as that great example of meekness and purity, even our Blessed Iesus was not free from false accusations, no more was this Disciple of his. This most humble, most innocent holy Man; his was a slander parallel to that of chaste Susannaes by the wicked Elders; or that against St.
Athanasius, as it is Recorded in his life for that holy Man had Heretical enemies and which this age calls Trepanning. The particulars need not a repetition, and that it was false, needs no other Testimony then the publick punishment of his accusers, and their open confession of his innocency: 'Twas said, that the accusation was contrived by a Dissenting Brother, one that indur'd not Church Ceremonies, hating him for his Books sake, which he was not able to Answer; and his name hath been told me: But I have not so much confidence in the Relation, as to make my Pen fix a scandal on him to Posterity; I shall rather leave it doubtful till the great day of Revelation.
But this is certain, that he lay under the great charge, and the anxiety of this accusation, and kept it secret to himself for many moneths: And, being a helpless man, had lain longer under this heavy burthen, but that the Protector of the innocent gave such an accidental occasion as forced him to make it known to his two dear Friends, Edwin Sandys and George Cranmer, who were so sensible of their Tutors sufferings, that they gave themselves no rest, till by their disquisitions and diligence they had found out the Fraud, and brought him the welcome news, that his accusers did confess they had wrong'd him, and begg'd his pardon: To which the good mans reply was to this purpose, The Lord forgive them ; and, The Lord bless you for this comfortable news.
Now I have a just occasion to say with Solomon, Friends are born for the days of Adversity, and such you have prov'd to me: And to my God I say, as did the Mother of St. John Baptist, Thus hath the Lord dealt with me, in the day wherein he looked upon me, to take away my reproach among men. And, O my God, neither my life, nor my reputation, are safe in mine own keeping, but in thine, who didst take care of me, when I yet hanged upon my Mothers Brest.
The Breath of Life
Blessed are they that put their trust in thee, O Lord; for, when false witnesses were risen up against me; when shame was ready to cover my face; when I was bowed down with an horrible dread, and went mourning all the day long; when my nights were restless, and my sleeps broken with a fear worse then death; when my Soul thirsted for a deliverance, as the Hart panteth after the Rivers of Waters: Then, thou Lord, didst bear my complaints, pitty my condition, and art new become my Deliverer; and as long as I live I will hold up my hands in this manner, and magnifie thy Mercies, who didst not give me over as a prey to mine enemies.
O blessed are they that put their trust in thee; and no prosperity shall make me forget those days of sorrow, or to perform those vows that I have made to thee in the days of my fears and affliction; for with such sacrifices, thou, O God, art well pleased; and I will pay them. And, though this be said by God himself, yet this revenge is so pleasing, that man is hardly perswaded to submit the menage of it to the Time, and Justice, and Wisdom of his Creator, but would hasten to be his own executioner of it.
And his Prayers were so for returned into his own bosom, that the first was granted, if we may believe a Penitent Behavior, and an open Confession. And 'tis observable, that after this time he would often say to Dr. Saravia, O with what quietness, did I enjoy my Soul after I was free from the fears of my slander! And how much more after a conflict and victory ever my desires of Revenge!
In the Year One thousand six hundred, and of his Age Forty six, he fell into a long and sharp sickness, occasioned by a Cold taken in his Passage betwixt London and Gravesend, from the malignity of which, he was never recovered; for, till his death he was not free from thoughtful days, and restless nights; but a submission to his Will that makes the sick mans bed easie, by giving rest to his Soul, made his very languishment comfortable: And yet all this time he was solicitous in his Study, and said often to Dr.
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And God heard his Prayers, though he denied the Church the benefit of them as compleated by himself; and 'tis thought he hastned his own death, by hastning to give life to his Books. About a moneth before his death, this good man, that never knew, or at least, never consider'd the pleasures of the Palate, became first to lose his Appetite, then to have an aversness to all Food; insomuch, that he seem'd to live some intermitted weeks by the smell of meat onely; and yet still studied and writ.
In this time of his sickness, and not many days before his death, his House was robb'd; of which, he having notice, his Question was, Are my Books and Written Papers safe? And being answered, That they were.
His Reply was, Then it matters not, for no other loss can trouble me. About one day before his death, Dr. To which end the Doctor came, and after a short retirement and privacy, they return'd to the company; and then the Doctor gave him and some of those friends that were with him, the Blessed Sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Jesus.
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After which words, he said, I have lived to see this World is made up of perturbations, and I have been long preparing to leave it, and gathering comfort for the dreadful hour of making my account with God, which I now apprehend to be near: And though I have by his Grace lov'd him in my youth, and fear'd him in mine age, and labor'd to have a Conscience void of offence to him, and to all men; yet, if thou, O Lord, be extream to mark what I have done amiss, who can abide it? And since I ow thee a death, Lord let it not be terrible, and then take thine own time, I submit to it: Let not mine, O Lord, but let thy Will be done.