« PreviousContinue »
exiles, which then repaired homeward, Master Hooper, also moved in conscience, thought not to absent himself, but seeing such a time and occasion, offered to help forward the Lord's work, to the uttermost of his ability. And so coming to Master Bullinger, and other of his acquaintance in Zurich (as duty required), to give them thanks for their singular kindness and humanity toward him manifold ways declared, with like humanity again purposed to take his leave of them at his departing, and so did. Unto whom Master Bullinger again (who had always a special favour to Master Hooper) spake on this wise: "Master Hooper," said he," although we are sorry to part with your company for our own cause, yet much greater causes we have to rejoice, both for your sake, and especially for the cause of Christ's true religion, that you shall now return out of long banishment into your native country again, where not only you may enjoy your own private liberty, but also that the cause and state of Christ's church by you may fare the better, as we doubt not but it shall.
"Another cause moreover why we rejoice with you and for you is this, that you shall remove not only out of exile into liberty; but you shall leave here a barren, a sour, and an unpleasant country, rude and savage, and shall go into a land flowing with milk and honey, replenished with all pleasure and fertility. Notwithstanding with this our rejoicing, one fear and care we have, lest you being absent, and so far distant from us, or else coming to such abundance of wealth and felicity, in your new welfare and plenty of all things, and in your flourishing honours, where ye shall come peradventure to be a bishop, and where ye shall find so many new friends, you will forget us your old acquaintance and well-willers. Nevertheless, howsoever you shall forget and shake us off, yet this persuade yourself, that we will not
forget our old friend and fellow Master Hooper, And if you will please not to forget us again, then I pray you let us hear from you."
Whereunto Master Hooper, answering again, first gave to Master Bullinger and the rest right hearty thanks, for that their singular good-will, and undeserved affection, appearing not only now, but at all times, towards him; declaring moreover, that as the principal cause of his removing to his country was the matter of religion; so touching the unpleasantness and barrenness of that country of theirs, there was no cause therein, why he could not find in his heart to continue his life there, as soon as in any place in the world, and rather than in his own native country, if there were nothing else in his conscience that moved him so to do.
And as touching the forgetting of his old friends, although, said he, the remembrance of a man's country naturally doth delight him, neither could he deny, but God had blessed his country of England with many great commodities; yet neither the nature of country, nor pleasure of commodities, nor newness of friends, should ever induce him to the oblivion of such friends and benefactors, whom he was so entirely bound unto: "and therefore you shall be sure," said he," from time to time to hear from me, and I will write unto you how it goeth with me. But the last news of all I shall not be able to write: for there," said he (taking Master Bullinger by the hand)," where I shall take most pains, there shall you hear of me to be burnt to ashes, and that shall be the last news, which I shall not be able to write unto you, but you shall hear of me, &c."
To this also may be added another like prophetical demonstration, foreshewing before the manner of his martyrdom wherewith he should glorify God, which was this: when Master Hooper being made
Bishop of Worcester and Gloucester should have his coat of arms given him by the herald, as the manner here in England is, every bishop to have his arms assigned unto him (whether by the appointment of Master Hooper, or by the herald, I have not certainly to say), that the coat of arms which were to him allotted was this: a lamb in a fiery bush, and the sunbeams from heaven descending down upon the lamb, rightly denoting, as it seemed, the order of his sufferings, which afterwards followed.
But now to the purpose of our story again. Thus when Master Hooper had taken his farewell of Master Bullinger and his friends in Zurich, he made his repair again into England in the reign of King Edward the Sixth, where he coming to London used continually to preach, most times twice, at least once every day, and never failed.
In his sermons, according to his accustomed manner, he corrected sin, and sharply inveighed against the iniquity of the world, and corrupt abuses of the church: the people in great flocks and companies daily came to hear his voice, " as the most melodious sound and tune of Orpheus's harp," as the proverb saith: insomuch that oftentimes when he was preaching, the church would be so full, that none could enter further than the doors thereof. In his doctrine he was earnest, in tongue eloquent, in the Scriptures perfect, in pains indefatigable.
Moreover, besides other his gifts and qualities, this is in him to be marvelled, that even as he began, so he continued still unto his life's end. For neither could his labour and pain-taking break him, neither promotion change him, neither dainty fare corrupt him. His life was so pure and good, that no kind of slander (although divers went about to reprove it) could fasten any faults upon him. him. He was of body strong, his health whole and sound, his wit very
pregnant, his invincible patience able to sustain whatsoever sinister fortune and adversity could do. He was constant of judgment, a good justice, spare of diet, sparer of words, and sparest of time. In housekeeping very liberal, and sometimes more free than his living would extend unto. Briefly, of all those virtues and qualities required of St. Paul in a good bishop, in his Epistle to Timothy, I know not one in this good bishop lacking. He bare in countenance and talked always with a certain severe and grave grace, which might peradventure be wished sometimes to have been a little more popular and familiar in him; but he knew what he had to do best himself.
Thus by the way I thought to note, for that there was once an honest citizen, and to me not unknown, which having in himself a certain conflict of conscience, came to his door for counsel, but being abashed at his austere behaviour durst not come in, but departed, seeking remedy of his troubled mind at other men's hands, which he afterwards by the help of Almighty God did find and obtain. Therefore, in my judgment, such as are appointed and made governors over the flock of Christ, to teach and instruct them, ought so to frame their life, manners, countenance, and external behaviour, as neither they shew themselves too familiar and light, whereby to be brought into contempt, nor on the other side again, that they appear more lofty and rigorous, than appertaineth to the edifying of the simple flock of Christ. Nevertheless, as every man hath his peculiar gift wrought in him by nature, so this disposition of fatherly gravity in this man neither was excessive, neither did he bear that personage which was in him without great consideration. For it seemed to him peradventure, that this licentious and unbridled life of the common sort ought to be chastened, not only
with words and discipline, but also with the grave and severe countenance of good men.
After he had thus practised himself in this popular and common kind of preaching, at length, and that not without the great profit of many, he was called to preach before the King's Majesty, and soon after made Bishop of Gloucester by the King's commandment. In that office he continued two years, and behaved himself so well, that his very enemies (except it were for his good doings, and sharp correcting of sin) could find no fault with him and after that he was also made Bishop of Worcester.
But I cannot tell what sinister and unlucky contention concerning the ordering and consecration of bishops, and of their apparel, with such other like trifles, began to disturb the good and lucky beginning of this godly Bishop. For notwithstanding that godly reformation of religion that began in the church of England, besides other ceremonies more ambitious than profitable, or tending to edification, they used to wear such garments and apparel as the popish bishops were wont to do: first, a chymere, and under that a white rochet; then a mathematical cap with four angles, dividing the whole world in four parts. These trifles, tending, as he thought, more to superstition than otherwise, as he could never abide, so in no wise could he be persuaded to wear them. For this cause he made supplication to the King's Majesty, most humbly desiring his Highness, either to discharge him of the bishopric, or else to dispense with him for such ceremonial orders. Whose petition the King granted immediately, writing his letter to the Archbishop after this tenour: