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RIGHT REVEREND AND HONOURABLE,
LORD BISHOP OF WINCHESTER,
PRELATE OF THE GARTER,
AND ONE OF
HIS MAJESTY'S PRIVY COUNCIL.
If I should undertake to enumerate the many favours and advantages I have had by my very long acquaintance with your Lordship, I should enter upon an employment, that might prove as tedious as the collecting of the materials for this poor Monument which I have erected, and do dedicate to the Memory of your beloved friend, Dr. Sanderson : But though I will not venture to do that; yet I do remember with pleasure, and remonstrate with gratitude, that your Lordship made me known to him, Mr. Chillingworth,* and Dr. Hammond; men, whose merits ought never to be forgotten.
My friendship with the first was begun almost forty years past, when I was as far from a thought, as a desire to outlive him ; and farther from an intention to write his Life. But the wise Disposer of all men's lives and actions hath prolonged the first, and now permitted the last; which is here dedicated to your Lordship,--and, as it ought to be—with all humility, and a desire that it may remain as a public testimony of my gratitude.
* William Chillingworth, born at Oxford in 1602, and educated at Trinity College. He was proverbially celebrated there for clear and acute reasoning; but he so much involved himself in the Romish Controversy with John Fisher, a Jesuit, as to become a convert, and enter the College at Douay. His re-conversion was brought about by his god-father, Archbishop Laud, in 1631, when he returned to England; and in 1638, he wrote his famous work called “The Religion of Protestants a safe Way to Salvation.” Fol. He was zealously attached to the Royal cause, and served at the Siege of Gloucester: but being taken prisoner, he was carried to the Bishop's Palace, at Chichester, on account of his illness, and, dying there Jan. 30th, 1644, was buried in the Cathedral, without any other ceremony than that of his book being cast into the grave by the hand of a fanatic.
I DARE neither think, nor assure the Reader, that I have committed no mistakes in this relation of the Life of Dr. Sanderson ; but I am sure, there is none that are either wilful, or very material. I confess, it was worthy the employment of some person of more Learning and greater abilities than I can pretend to; and I have not a little wondered that none have yet been so grateful to him and posterity, as to undertake it. For it may be noted, that our Saviour hath had such care, that, for Mary Magdalen's kindness to him, her name should never be forgotten: and doubtless Dr. Sanderson's meek and innocent life, his great and useful Learning, might therefore challenge the like endeavours to preserve his memory: And 'tis to me a wonder, that it has been already fifteen years neglected. But, in saying this, my meaning is not to upbraid others,—I am far from that,-but excuse myself, or beg pardon for daring to attempt it. This being premised, I desire to tell the Reader, that in this relation I have been so bold, as to paraphrase and say, what I think he—whom I had the happiness to know well-would have said upon the same occasions: and if I have erred in this kind, and cannot now beg pardon of him that loved me; yet I do of my reader, from whom I desire the same favour.
And, though my age might have procured me a Writ of Ease, and that secured me from all further trouble in this kind; yet I met with such persuasions to begin, and so many willing informers since, and from them, and others, such helps and encouragements to proceed, that when I found myself faint, and weary of the burthen with which I had loaden myself, and ready to lay it down; yet time and new strength hath at last brought it to be what it now is, and presented to the Reader, and with it this desire ; that he will take notice that Dr. Sanderson did in his Will, or last sickness, advertise, that after his death nothing of his might be printed; because that might be said to be his, which indeed was not; and also for that he might have changed his opinion since he first writ it. And though these reasons ought to be regarded, yet regarded so, as he resolves in that Case of Conscience concerning Rash Vows; that there may appear very good second reasons why we may forbear to perform them. However, for his said reasons, they ought to be read as we do Apocryphal Scripture; to explain, but not oblige us to so firm a belief of what is here presented as his.
And I have this to say more; That as in my queries for writing Dr. Sander. son’s Life, I met with these little Tracts annexed; so, in my former queries for my information to write the Life of venerable Mr. Hooker, I met with a Sermon, which I also believe was really his, and here presented as his to the Reader. It is affirmed,—and I have met with reason to believe it,that there be some Artists, that do certainly know an original picture from a copy; and in what age of the world, and by whom drawn. And if so, then I hope it may be as safely affirmed, that what is here presented for theirs is so like their temper of mind, their other writings, the times when, and the occasions upon which they were writ, that all Readers may safely conclude, they could be writ by none but venerable Mr. Hooker, and the humble and learned Dr. Sanderson.
And lastly, I am now glad that I have collected these memoirs, which lay scattered, and contracted them into a narrower compass; and if I have, by the pleasant toil of doing so, either pleased or profited any man, I have attained what I designed when I first undertook it. But I seriously wish, both for the Reader's and Dr. Sanderson's sake, that posterity had known his great Learning and Virtue by a better pen; by such a pen, as could have made his life as immortal, as his Learning and merits ought to be.
THE LIFE OF DR. ROBERT SANDERSON,
LATE LORD BISHOP OF LINCOLN.
DOCTOR ROBERT SANDERSON, the late learned Bishop of Lincoln, whose Life I intend to write with all truth and equal plainness, was born the nineteenth day of September, in the year of our Redemption 1587. The place of his birth was Rotherham in the County of York; a Town of good note, and the more for that Thomas Rotherham,* some time Archbishop of that see, was born in it; a man, whose great wisdom, and bounty, and sanctity of life, have made it the more memorable : as indeed it ought also to be, for being the birth place of our Robert Sanderson. And the Reader will be of my belief, if this humble relation of his life can hold any proportion with his great Piety, his useful Learning, and his many other extraordinary endowments.
He was the second and youngest Son, of Robert Sanderson, of Gilthwaite-Hall, in the said Parish and County, Esq. by Elizabeth, one of the daughters of Richard Carr, of Butterthwaite-Hall, in the Parish of Ecclesfield, in the said County of York, Gentle
This Robert Sanderson, the Father, was descended from a numerous, ancient, and honourable family of his own name: for
* Thomas Scot, or Rotheram, so called after his birth place, Fellow of King's College, in Cambridge, was afterward Master of Pembroke Hall, and in 1483 and 1484, Chancellor of the University. He obtained great ecclesiastical preferment, being successively Provost of Beverley, Bishop of Rochester and of Lincoln, and lastly Archbishop of York. Nor was he less adorned with civil honours, having been appointed, first, Keeper of the Privy Seal, and then Lord Chancellor of England. The two Universities and his native town still enjoy the fruits of his bounty. He died of the plague, at his palace of Cawood, in 1501.