« PreviousContinue »
confirmation of my belief, the Reader may note, that since his Book of Logic was first printed there has not been less than ten thousand sold: and that 'tis like to continue both to discover truth and to clear and confirm the reason of the unborn world.
It will easily be believed that his former standing for a Proctor's place, and being disappointed, must prove much displeasing to a man of his great wisdom and modesty, and create in him ar. averseness to run a second hazard of his credit and content and yet he was assured by Dr. Kilbie, and the Fellows of his own College, and most of those that had opposed him in the former Election, that his Book of Logic had purchased for him such a belief of his learning and prudence, and his behaviour at the former Election had got for him so great and so general a love, that all his former opposers repented what they had done; and therefore persuaded him to venture to stand a second time. And, upon these, and other like encouragements, he did again, but not without an inward unwillingness, yield up his own reason to their's, and promised to stand. And he did so; and was the tenth of April, 1616, chosen Senior Proctor for the year following; Mr. Charles Crooke* of Christ Church being then chosen the Junior.
In this year of his being Proctor, there happened many memorable accidents; namely, Dr. Robert Abbot,† Master of Baliol College, and Regius Professor of Divinity,—who being elected or consecrated Bishop of Sarum some months before,—was solemnly conducted out of Oxford towards his Diocese, by the Heads of all Houses, and the chief of all the University. And Dr. Prideaux‡
* Mr. Charles Crooke, a younger son of Sir John Crooke, of Chilton, in Bucks, one of the Justices of the King's Bench. In 1625, he proceeded D. D. being then Rector of Amersham, and a Fellow of Eton College.
+ Brother of George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, born at Guildford in 1590, and promoted to the See of Salisbury in 1615, as a reward for his Lectures against Suarez and Bellarmine, in defence of the King's supreme power. On his way to Sarum, he made an oration to the University, and his friends parted from him with tears. He died March 2nd, 1617.
Dr. John Prideaux, born at Harford, in Devonshire, in 1578, and Rector of Exeter College in 1612, when he acquired so much fame in the government of it, that several eminent foreigners placed themselves under his care. He was made King's Professor in. Divinity, in 1615, but was reduced to great poverty in the Civil Wars, and died July 20th, 1650.
succeeded him in the Professorship, in which he continued till the year 1642,-being then elected Bishop of Worcester,--and then our now Proctor, Mr. Sanderson, succeeded him in the Regius Professorship.
And this year Dr. Arthur Lake-then Warden of New College was advanced to the Bishopric of Bath and Wells: a man of whom I take myself bound in justice to say, that he has made the great trust committed to him, the chief care and whole business of his life. And one testimony of this proof may be, that he sate usually with his Chancellor in his Consistory, and at least advised, if not assisted, in most sentences for the punishing of such offenders as deserved Church-censures. And it may be noted, that, after a sentence for penance was pronounced, he did very rarely or never, allow of any commutation for the offence, but did usually see the sentence for penance executed; and then as usually preached a Sermon of mortification and repentance, and did so apply them to the offenders, that then stood before him, as begot in them a devout contrition, and at least resolutions to amend their lives: and having done that, he would take them— though never so poor-to dinner with him, and use them friendly, and dismiss them with his blessing and persuasions to a virtuous life, and beg them to believe him. And his humility and charity, and other Christian excellencies, were all like this. Of all which the Reader may inform himself in his Life, truly writ, and printed before his Sermons.
And in this year also, the very prudent and very wise Lord Ellesmere, who was so very long Lord Chancellor of England, and then of Oxford, resigning up the last, the Right Honourable, and as magnificent, William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, was chosen to succeed him.
And in this year our late King Charles the First-then Prince of Wales, came honourably attended to Oxford; and having deliberately visited the University, the Schools, Colleges, and Libraries, he and his attendants were entertained with ceremonies and feasting suitable to their dignity and merits.
And this year King James sent letters to the University for the regulating their studies; especially of the young Divines: advi sing they should not rely on modern sums and systems, but study
the Fathers and Councils, and the more primitive learning. And this advice was occasioned by the indiscreet inferences made by very many Preachers out of Mr. Calvin's doctrine concerning Predestination, Universal Redemption, the Irresistibility of God's Grace, and of some other knotty points depending upon these ; points which many think were not, but by interpreters forced to be, Mr. Calvin's meaning; of the truth or falsehood of which I pretend not to have an ability to judge; my meaning in this relation, being only to acquaint the Reader with the occasion of the King's Letter.
It may be observed, that the various accidents of this year did afford our Proctor large and laudable matter to dilate and discourse upon: and that though his office seemed, according to statute and custom, to require him do so at his leaving it; yet he choose rather to pass them over with some very short observations, and present the governors, and his other hearers, with rules to keep up discipline and order in the University; which at that time was, either by defective Statutes, or want of the due execution of those that were good, grown to be extremely irregular. And in this year also, the magisterial part of the Proctor required more diligence, and was more difficult to be managed than formerly, by reason of a multiplicity of new Statutes, which begot much confusion; some of which Statutes were then, and others suddenly af ter, put into an useful execution. And though these Statutes were not then made so perfectly useful as they were designed, till Archbishop Laud's time—who assisted in the forming and promoting them;-yet our present Proctor made them as effectual as discretion and diligence could do: of which one example may seem worthy the noting; namely, that if in his night-walk he met with irregular Scholars absent from their Colleges at University hours, or disordered by drink, or in scandalous company, he did not use his power of punishing to an extremity; but did usually take their names, and a promise to appear before him unsent for next morning and when they did, convinced them, with such obligingness, and reason added to it, that they parted from him with such resolutions, as the man after God's own heart was possessed with, when he said, "There is mercy with thee, and therefore thou shalt be feared:" Psal. cxxx. 4. And by this and a like beha. 11
viour to all men, he was so happy as to lay down this dangerous employment, as but very few, if any, have done, even without an enemy.
After his speech was ended, and he retired with a friend into a convenient privacy, he looked upon his friend with a more than common cheerfulness, and spake to him to this purpose: "I look back upon my late employment with some content to myself, and a great thankfulness to Almighty God, that he hath made me of a temper not apt to provoke the meanest of mankind, but rather to pass by infirmities, if noted; and in this employment I have had—God knows—many occasions to do both. And when I consider, how many of a contrary temper are by sudden and small occasions transported and hurried by anger to commit such errors, as they in that passion could not foresee, and will in their more calm and deliberate thoughts upbraid, and require repentance: and consider, that though repentance secures us from the punishment of any sin, yet how much more comfortable it is to be innocent, than need pardon: and consider, that errors against men, though pardoned both by God and them, do yet leave such anxious and upbraiding impressions in the memory, as abates of the offender's content-when I consider all this, and that God hath of his goodness given me a temper that hath prevented me from running into such enormities, I remember my temper with joy and thankfulness. And though I cannot say with David-I wish I could,— that therefore his praise shall always be in my mouth' Psal. xxxiv. 1; yet I hope, that by his grace, and that grace seconded by my endeavours, it shall never be blotted out of my memory; and I now beseech Almighty God that it never may."
And here I must look back, and mention one passage more in his Proctorship, which is, that Gilbert Sheldon, the late Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, was this year sent to Trinity College in that University; and not long after his entrance there, a letter was sent after him from his god-father,—the father of our Protector-to let his son know it, and commend his godson to his acquaintance, and to more than a common care of his behaviour; which proved a pleasing injunction to our Proctor, who was so gladly obedient to his father's desire, that he some few days after sent his servitor to intreat Mr. Sheldon to his chamber next morning. But
it seems Mr. Sheldon having—like a young man as he was—run into some such irregularity as made him conscious he had transgressed his statutes, did therefore apprehend the Proctor's invitation as an introduction to punishment; the fear of which made his bed restless that night: but, at their meeting the next morning, that fear vanished immediately by the Proctor's cheerful countenance, and the freedom of their discourse of friends. And let me tell my Reader, that this first meeting proved the beginning of as spiritual a friendship as human nature is capable of; of a friend. ship free from all self ends: and it continued to be so, till death forced a separation of it on earth; but it is now reunited in Heaven.
And now having given this account of his behaviour, and the considerable accidents in his Proctorship, I proceed to tell my Reader, that, this busy employment being ended, he preached his sermon for his Degree of Bachelor in Divinity in as elegant Latin, and as remarkable for the matter, as hath been preached in that University since that day. And having well performed his other exercises for that Degree, he took it the nine and twentieth of May following, having been ordained Deacon and Priest in the year 1611, by John King, then Bishop of London, who had not long before been Dean of Christ Church, and then knew him so well, that he became his most affectionate friend. And in this year, being then about the twenty-ninth of his age, he took from the University a license to preach.
In the year 1618, he was by Sir Nicholas Sanderson, Lord Viscount Castleton, presented to the Rectory of Wibberton, not far from Boston, in the County of Lincoln, a living of very good value; but it lay in so low and wet a part of that country as was inconsistent with his health. And health being-next to a good conscience—the greatest of God's blessings in this life, and requiring therefore of every man a care and diligence to preserve it, he, apprehending a danger of losing it, if he continued at Wibberton a second Winter, did therefore resign it back into the hands of his worthy kinsman and patron, about one year after his donation of it to him.
And about this time of his resignation he was presented to the Rectory of Boothby Pannell, in the same County of Lincoln; a