« PreviousContinue »
niversary of his majesty's inauguration, in 1642, preached at Westminster Abbey, from the text, “ Yea, let them take all, so that my lord, the king, return in peace,”—2 Sam. xix. 30. This sermon having been published, gave great offence to the popular leaders of the day, and brought the preacher into some danger. About this period he completed and published The Holy State,' in one volume folio. This is generally regarded as one of the best, if not the best in every respect of his numerous works. “The Profane State' is to be classed along with it; both being a series of moral portraits illustrated occasionally by biographical sketches. The idea of these works, it has been suggested, was probably taken from Causines's · Holy Court :' we should think it more probable that the Characterisms of Virtues and Vices,' by Bishop Hall, gave the hint. During the ferment and conflict of the civil war, he prosecuted his studies as he had opportunity. In 1643, he joined the king at Oxford, and he afterwards attended Sir Ralph Hopton as his army-chaplain. After the battle at CheritonDown, in March, 1644, we find our chaplain at Basing House, where he so animated the garrison to a vigorous defence of that place, that Sir William Waller was obliged to raise the siege with considerable loss. On Hopton's retreat into Cornwall, Fuller took refuge in Exeter, where he preached regularly to the citizens, and was appointed chaplain to the infant-princess, Henrietta Maria, who was born in that city in 1643. On the surrender of Exeter to the parliamentary forces, in April, 1646, he removed again to London, and was chosen lecturer, first at St Clement's Lane, Lombard Street, and afterwards at St Bride's.
About 1648, he was presented by the earl of Carlisle to the living of Waltham in Essex. Two years after, he published a geographical account of the Holy Land, which he entitled, “A Pisgah sight of Palestine, and the Confines thereof,' in folio, with maps and views ; and in 1650 appeared his · Abel Redivivus,' a collection of lives of eminent martyrs, saints, and confessors. After having lived about twelve years a widower, he married again, making choice of one of the sisters of Viscount Baltinglasse for his new helpmate ; but he still found time and means to pursue his multiform studies, and gratify his taste for authorship. In 1656 he published his Church History, at London, in folio. The whole title of this work is, • The Church History of Britain, from the birth of Jesus Christ, until the year 1648. Endeavoured by Thomas Fuller.' This performance was severely animadverted on by Dr Peter Heylin in his · Examen Historicum,' which appeared about three years after. It is also treated with quite too much asperity of censure by Archbishop Nicolson, who complains of its being “ so interlaced with pun and quibble, that it looks as if the man had designed to ridicule the annals of our church into fable and romance." To Heylin, Fuller replied with much ingenuity and candour. In 1658, the living of Crauford, in Middlesex, was bestowed upon him, and he removed thither. On the Restoration, he received his prebend in the ca:hedral of Salisbury, and was appointed extraordinary chaplain to his majesty, besides being created D. D. at Cambridge by royal mandamus. He would have been further rewarded with a bishopric, had it not been prevented by his death, which happened on the 16th of August, 1661. He was interred in the chancel of Crauford church ; above two hundred
of his clerical brethren accompanied his remains to the grave, and Dr Hardy, dean of Rochester, preached his funeral sermon. His principal work, entitled, • The Worthies of England,' was published the year after his death. In it Fuller has given a diffuse and rather minute account of the remarkable men and things in each of the several shires of England and Wales ; it contains not a little of serious trifling, but is a valuable repository of curious facts, and abounds with pithy sayings and amusing anecdotes.
The following able estimate of Fuller and his writings appeared in the Christian Examiner,' an American periodical :-“ Fuller was regarded as an extraordinary man by his contemporaries ; and the judgment has been and will be confirmed, the more he is known. That he had his share in the literary faults of his age, is not to be disputed ; and they who will judge his writings by no standard but such as is applied at the present day, will doubtless find much to be offended with. But it would be gross injustice to deny his claim to great and distinguishing excellence. He possessed a capacious and vigorous mind—filled even to overflowing with the knowledge to be gained from books and menstrong in its native powers, and kept bright by habits of keen and astute observation. His astonishing power of memory was, perhaps, never surpassed by that of any individual. His learning, large and various as its stores were, appears never to have overlaid his intellect, but to have been used, if not always necessarily, yet aptly and for purposes truly connected with the matter in hand, and not in that tasteless and diffuse manner which marked the compositions of not a few of his contemporaries. As a reasoner, in the restricted sense of the word, he was not distinguished. His excellence consisted rather in that practical and sagacious turn of mind which arrives at valuable results, without going through the process of premises and inferences, and wbich spreads out the fruits of its meditations in sage and amusing remarks on life and on the springs of human character and passions. We know not where we should find a richer fund of this sort of entertaining wisdom, than is to be had in many of his pages.
“ The quality which is usually thought to stand out in most striking relief in Fuller's works is his untiring humour. This was indeed the ruling passion of his soul. He could say nothing without saying it, it possible, quaintly and facetiously. It seems to have been a lesson of self-denial which he never learned, to pass by a jocose turn of thought or expression, and leave it unused. If there were two ways of stating a sentiment, or giving a description, the one literal and grave, the other witty and allusive, he was pretty sure to choose the latter. Yet, in this quality, Fuller, though he surpassed some others, was far from Leing alone. We are accustomed to consider the divines of two centuries ago as grave, dignified, and stern men, whose countenances never relaxed into a smile, and who wrote and thought, as they are imagined to have lived and walked, only in the old-fashioned clerical stateiiness. Yet the fact is, that many of them indulged in a vein of humour, and sometimes broad humour too, in their preaching and writings, which would be altogether startling to the men of these degenerate days.' We wonder what an audience would think now, were they to hear such gibes and jests as were not unfrequently uttered from English pulpits, in the reigns of Elizabeth, James, the first and second Charles, and even at an earlier period. Who ever has read Latimer's sermons must remember that he relates many a mirthful anecdote in them, and sometimes with the prefatory remark, that he is about to tell ó a merry toy.' The sermons of John Hales of Eton are not wanting in strokes of facetiousness which might be deemed free enough for the pleasantry of familiar conversation. The raillery and wit of Eachard would not fail in comparison with those of Swift ; and the unsparing sarcasms, and coarse but pungent ridicule of South, are well known to all who have looked into his strange but valuable discourses, which are the productions of a strong mind, given up to the impulse of a feeling at least equally strong. But the facetious qualities of Fuller, abundant as they were to a fault, were always good natured and free from asperity,—the spontaneous glee of a mind that had an irresistible propensity to disport itself in this sort of pastime. It was not sharp enough to answer to bis own description of the wit of Erasmus, who, he says, ' was a badger in his jeers ; when he did bite he would make his teeth meet.' Calamy, in his life of Howe, having mentioned the services which Howe rendered to several of the royalists and episcopalians, when they were brought before the Tryers, appointed in Cromwell's time to test their qualifications for the exercise of the ministry, relates the following characteristical anecdote of Fuller :-Among the rest that applied to him for advice upon that occasion, the celebrated Dr Thomas Fuller, who is well known by his punning writings, was one. That gentleman, who was generally upon the merry pin, being to take his turn before these Tryers, of whom he had a very formidable notion, thus accosted Mr Howe, when he applied to him for advice :—Sir,' said he, 'you may observe I am a pretty corpulent man, and I am to go through a passage that is very strait : I beg you would be so kind as to give me a shove, and help me through. He freely gave him his advice, and he promised to follow it; and when he appeared before them, and they proposed to him the usual question—Whether he had ever had any experience of a work of grace upon his heart,—he gave this in for answer, that he could appeal to the Searcher of hearts that he made conscience of his very thoughts ; with which answer they were satisfied, as indeed well they might. One cannot but suspect that the Tryers were too glad to be well-rid, at any rate, of a man like Fuller, not to grant him a dispensation on easy terms."
A new edition of Fuller's Worthies,' with his life prefixed, appeared in 1810, in two vols. 4to. His • Holy and Profane States' were republished in America, in 1831. A portrait of Fuller, by Loggan, is prefixed to the folio edition of his Worthies,' and also to his · Pisgah Sight."
Brian Walton, D.D.
BORN, A. D. 1600.--DIED, A. D. 1661.
This distinguished biblical scholar, the editor and promoter of the London Polyglott Bible, was born at Seymour in Yorkshire, in the
· Sup. to Bayle. -Life and Death of Fuller. Oxon. 1662.
year 1600. In July, 1616, he is said to have been admitted a sizar of Magdalene college in Cambridge; whence he was removed to Peterhouse as a sizar also, in 1618. In 1619, he took the degree of bachelor of arts; in 1623, that of master of arts.
From Cambridge he removed to a curacy in Suffolk, where he was also appointed master of a grammar-school. From this situation he soon removed to the metropolis, and became an assistant at the church of Allhallows, Bread-street. In 1626, he was made rector of St Martin's Ongar. Here he became distinguished for activity and diligence in ecclesiastical affairs, and he was soon employed in the principal management of the business of the London clergy relative to the payment of tithes in the city. A statute is said to have been enacted in the reign of Henry the VIIIth: which fixed the tithes or oblations at two shillings and pinepence in the pound on the rent. The citizens resisted this impost, and when James the first came to the throne the clergy sought redress from the legislature. This being refused by parliament, the clergy in 1634 renewed their petition for relief a statement to King Charles the first, setting forth the greatness of their benefices in former days, and the meanness of them at that time, together with an exposition of the causes of the deficiency. The king undertook to be the arbitrator between the parties, and valuations were ordered on both sides. Two committees were appointed ; one for the city, consisting of three aldermen; and one for the clergy, consisting of three of their number, including Dr Walton. These proceedings were however soon closed by the eventful times which succeeded. Dr Walton composed a regular and complete treatise on the subject of these claims, about 1640, which was published in 1752, in the Collectanea Ecclesiastica, or treatises relating to the rights of the clergy of the church of England, by Samuel Brewster, Esq.
Soon after the preceding application of the clergy to King Charles the first, Dr Walton was instituted to the two rectories of St Giles-inthe-fields, London, and of Sandon in Essex. He is supposed to have been a chaplain to the king, and to have been collated also to a prebend in St Paul's cathedral. In 1639, he commenced doctor in divinity at Cambridge; where, in keeping his act on the occasion, he maintained this thesis: ‘Pontifex Romanus non est judex infallibilis in controversiis fidei.'
In the midst of these honours and emoluments, he was called to mourn the loss of a beloved wife, whom he buried in the chancel of Sandon, A.D. 1640, raising to her memory a monument with an epitaph highly commendatory and affectionate.
From this trouble he was soon called to another affecting his personal comfort and public character. His parishioners presented a petition to parliament, complaining of his pluralities and his zeal for the ceremonies as established by Archbishop Laud. They were also aggrieved at his omitting the afternoon sermon, and refusing them the privilege of procuring a lecturer, and supporting him themselves. His accusers proceed to censure Dr Walton's demand for tithes, and the suits at law which he had instituted to obtain the demand when refused. They represent him as exacting his claims with threats, and harassing them with informations and excommunications; making them a prey to officers, and leaving them at last, though wronged, without relief.
There is no record of Dr Walton's defence before the committee of parliament, to whom such things were referred; but he is supposed to have been dispossessed of both his rectories in 1641; and took refuge in the city of Oxford, where the royalist party prevailed. Here Dr Walton formed his design of publishing a Polyglott Bible. From thence, at the surrender of the city, he removed to London, and took up his residence with Dr Fuller, vicar of St Giles, Cripplegate, whose daughter was now the second wife of Dr Walton. Having submitted to many judicious friends, and most of the English bishops then living, an account of his plan, and of the materials which he had spent so much time in procuring, he proceeded in 1652, to publish a description of the intended work, with proposals, and a recommendatory letter by Usher, Selden, and others. The design was so much approved, that before the close of the year, subscriptions to the amount of near £1000 were obtained, and soon afterward the amount was more than doubled. The council of state under Cromwell patronised the undertaking by a subscription of £1000, and, at the instance of Cromwell, the paper for the work was exempted from duty-a similar privilege which he had conferred on the editors of the Critici Sacri.
In this great and laborious undertaking Walton was assisted by many men of eminent learning, as Castell, Usher, Pocock, Lightfoot, Hyde, Casaubon, Selden, and others.
The Polyglott Bible was printed in nine languages, and comprehended in six volumes folio, with prolegomena, by Dr Walton, and was finished in about four years, the last volume appearing in the close of the year
The original preface contained a grateful acknowledgment of the remission of the duty on the paper by Cromwell and the council. The former he styles · Serenissimus Dominus Protector. On the restoration of Charles, Walton cancelled the direct acknowledgment, and only distantly alluded to those by whose favour the duty had been remitted ; and dedicated his work to the new monarch.
Dr Walton was immediately, on the accession of Charles, restored to the preferments of which he had been deprived by the parliament, and was consecrated bishop of Chester in Westminster abbey, December, 1660. In September of the following year, he made his entry into Chester with great pomp, and was received by the gentry, the clergy, and the multitude with the same demonstrations of loyalty as to their sovereign. This honour, however, soon vanished away; for, on his return to London, about a month afterward, he fell sick, and died on the 29th of November, 1661, at his house in Aldersgate-street. On the 5th of December following he was interred in the south aisle of St Paul's cathedral, opposite to the monument of Lord-chancellor Hatton. The corpse was followed by the earls of Derby and Bridgewater, and many more of the nobility ; by the grater part of the bishops in their rochets ; by deans and prebendaries of several cathedrals; and by a multitude of clergy, proceeding from Saddler's Hall in Cheapside. The ceremony was marshalled and directed by all the heralds at arms, The funeral service was read by the bishop of London. Over his grave a noble monument was soon afterward erected with a Latin inscription to his memory.