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THE LIFE OF MR. RICHARD HOOKER.
It is not to be doubted, but that Richard Hooker was born at Heavy-tree, near, or within the precincts, or in the City of Exeter; a city which may justly boast, that it was the birth-place of him and Sir Thomas Bodley; as indeed the County may, in which it stands, that it hath furnished this nation with Bishop Jewel, Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh, and many others, memorable for their valour and learning. He was born about the year of our Redemption 1553, and of parents that were not so remarkable for their extraction or riches, as for their virtue and industry, and God's blessing upon both; by which they were enabled to educate their children in some degree of learning, of which our Richard Hooker may appear to be one fair testimony, and that na ture is not so partial as always to give the great blessings of wisdom and learning, and with them the greater blessings of virtue and government, to those only that are of a more high and honourable birth.
His complexion,-if we may guess by him at the age of fortywas sanguine, with a mixture of choler; and yet his motion was slow even in his youth, and so was his speech, never expressing an earnestness in either of them, but an humble gravity suitable to the aged. And it is observed,—so far as enquiry is able to look back at this distance of time, that at his being a school-boy he was an early questionist, quietly inquisitive, "why this was, and that was not, to be remembered? why this was granted, and that denied?" This being mixed with a remarkable modesty, and a sweet serene quietness of nature, and with them a quick apprehension of many perplexed parts of learning, imposed then upon him as a scholar, made his Master and others to believe him to have an inward blessed divine light, and therefore to consider him to be a little wonder. For in that, children were less pregnant,
less confident and more malleable, than in this wiser, but not better, age.
This meekness and conjuncture of knowledge, with modesty in his conversation, being observed by his School master, caused him to persuade his parents—who intended him for an apprentice to continue him at school till he could find out some means, by persuading his rich Uncle, or some other charitable person, to ease them of a part of their care and charge; 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 an employment.
This was not unwelcome news, and especially to his Mother, to whom he was a dutiful and dear child, and all parties were so pleased with this proposal, that it was resolved so it should be. And in the mean time his Parents and Master laid a foundation for his future happiness, by instilling into his soul the seeds of piety, those conscientious principles of loving and fearing God, of an early belief, that he knows the very secrets of our souls; that he punisheth our vices, and rewards our innocence; that we should be free from hypocrisy, and appear to man what we are to God, because first or last the crafty man is catched in his own snare. These seeds of piety were so seasonably planted, and so continually watered with the daily dew of God's blessed Spirit, that his infant virtues grew into such holy habits, as did make him grow daily into more and more favour both with God and man; which, with the great learning that he did after attain to, hath made Richard Hooker honoured in this, and will continue him to be so to succeeding generations.
This good School master, whose name I am not able to recover, —and am sorry, for that I would have given him a better memorial in this humble monument, dedicated to the memory of his scholar,—was very solicitous with John Hooker, then Chamberlain of Exeter, and uncle to our Richard, to take his Nephew into his care, and to maintain him for one year in the University, and in the mean time to use his endeavours to procure an admis
sion for him into some College, though it were but in a mean degree; still urging and assuring him, that his charge would not continue long; for the lad's learning and manners were both so remarkable, that they must of necessity be taken notice of; and that doubtless God would provide him some second patron, that would free him and his Parents from their future care and charge.
These reasons, with the affectionate rhetoric of his good Master, and God's blessing upon both, procured from his Uncle a faithful promise, that he would take him into his care and charge before the expiration of the year following, which was performed by him, and with the assistance of the learned Mr. John Jewel ;* of whom this may be noted, that he left, or was about the first of Queen Mary's reign expelled out of Corpus Christi College in Oxford, of which he was a Fellow, for adhering to the truth of those principles of Religion, to which he had assented and given testimony in the days of her brother and predecessor, Edward the Sixth; and this John Jewel having within a short time after, a just cause to fear a more heavy punishment than expulsion, was forced, by forsaking this, to seek safety in another nation; and, with that safety, the enjoyment of that doctrine and worship for which he suffered.
But the cloud of that persecution and fear ending with the life of Queen Mary, the affairs of the Church and State did then look more clear and comfortable; so that he, and with him many others of the same judgment, made a happy return into England about the first of Queen Elizabeth; in which year this John Jewel was sent a Commissioner or Visitor, of the Churches of the Western parts of this kingdom, and especially of those in Devon
* Dr. John Jewel, was born in the Parish of Berry Narber, in Devon, May 24th, 1522. He was educated at Merton, and Corpus Christi Colleges, Oxford, and in the reign of Edward VI. he publicly professed the Reformed Religion. During the reign of Mary he remained abroad; but on the accession of Elizabeth, he returned, and was made Bishop of Salisbury, in 1559. In his controversy with the Roman Catholics, he published his famous "Apology for the Church of England," which was translated into several languages, although it was greatly opposed by the Papists. His fatigues abroad, and his incessant study, so much impaired his constitution, that he died, Sept. 23rd, 1571.
shire, in which County he was born; and then and there he contracted a friendship with John Hooker, the Uncle of our Richard.
About the second or third year of her reign, this John Jewel was made Bishop of Salisbury; and there being always observed in him a willingness to do good, and to oblige his friends, and now a power added to his willingness; this John Hooker gave him a visit in Salisbury, and 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 advantage 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. And though the Bishop knew men do not usually look with an indifferent eye upon their own children and relations, yet he assented so far to John Hooker, that he appointed the boy and his School master should attend him, about Easter next following, at that place which was done accordingly; and then, after some questions and observations of the boy's learning, and gravity, and behaviour, the Bishop gave his Schoolmaster a reward, and took order for an annual pension for the boy's parents; promising also to take him into his care for a future preferment, which he performed for about the fifteenth year of his age, which was anno 1567, he was by the Bishop appointed to remove to Oxford, and there to attend Dr. Cole, then President of Corpus Christi College. Which he did; and Dr. Cole had-according to a promise made to the Bishop-provided for him both a Tutor—which was said to be the learned Dr. John Reynolds,†—and a Clerk's place in that
* Dr. William Cole, 1599, exchanged with Dr. Reynolds the Presidentship of Corpus Christi College for the Deanery of Lincoln, which he did not long enjoy. He fled into Germany in the time of Queen Mary, and Anthony Wood names him as one of the exiles of Geneva engaged with Miles Coverdale, in a new translation of the Bible.
+ He was professor of Divinity in Oxford, and died May 21st, 1607. It has been said that he was brought up in the Romish faith, and that he was afterwards a strong supporter of the Puritans; but Fuller supposes that it was only for the sake of giving satisfaction to some of the more tender consciences of the Nonconformists, since the virtue of Reynolds was almost proverbial.
College which place, though it were not a full maintenance, yet, with the contribution of his Uncle, and the continued pension of his patron, the good Bishop, gave him a comfortable subsistence. 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 Ghost; and even like St. John Baptist, to be sanctified from his mother's womb, who did often bless the day in which she bare him.
About this time of his age he fell into a dangerous sickness, which lasted two months; all which time his Mother, having notice of it, did in her hourly prayers as earnestly beg his life of God, as Monica the mother of St. Augustine did, that he might become a true Christian; and their prayers were both so heard as to be granted. Which Mr. Hooker would often mention with much joy, and as often pray that "he might never live to occasion any sorrow to so good a mother; of whom he would often say, he loved her so dearly, that he would endeavour to be good, even as much for her's as for his own sake."
As soon as he was perfectly recovered from this sickness, he took a journey from Oxford to Exeter, to satisfy and see his good Mother, being accompanied with a countryman and companion of his own College, and both on foot; which was then either more in fashion, or want of money, or their humility made it so: but on foot they went, and took Salisbury in their way, purposely to see the good Bishop, who made Mr. Hooker and his companion dine with him at his own table: which Mr. Hooker boasted of with much joy and gratitude when he saw his mother and friends: and 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 had 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 hand 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