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Evangelical biography : or, an historical account of the lives & deaths of the most eminent and evangelical authors or preachers, both British and foreign, in the several denominations of Protestants, from the beginning of the Reformation to the present time ... (Volume 1) online

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V



EVANGELICAL '

BIOGRAPHY;

AN HISTORICAL ACCOUNT

OF THE

LIVES 4- DEATHS

OF
THE MOST EMINENT AND EVANGELICAL

AUTHORS OR PREACHERS^

BOTH BRITISH AND FOREIGN,

IN THE SEVERAL

DENOMINATIONS OF PROTESTANTS,

FROM THE /

BEGINNING OF THE REFORMATION TO THE PRESENT TIME.

WHEREIN

Are collected, from authentic Historians, their most remarkable Actions, Shtf-
J'erings, and Writings ; exhibiting the Uniti/ of their Faith and Experienee
in their several Ages, Countries, and Professions ; and illmtrating the
Power of Divine Gruce in their holy Living and Dying.



I BY THE

REV. ERASMUS MIDDLETON,

Of King's College, Cambridge; Chaplain to the Riglit Hon. the Countess of Craoford
and Lindsay J and Rector of Turvey, Bedfordshire,

llie Faithful are chosen in Christ, Eph. i. 4. — called by grace, Gal. i. 16.
-^justified freely by grace, Rom. iii. 24. — ^holy and beloved, Col. iii. 12. —
Ihey live by faith, Gal. iii. 11. — obtain a good report tlnough faith, Heb.
xi. 39. — die blessed in the Lord, Rev. xiv.I3. — shall appear with him in
glory, Col. iii. 4.

A NEW EDITION,

ILLUSTRATED WITH FIFTY -ONE PORTRAITS.

IN FOUR VOLUMES.— VOL. L



LONDON:

PRINTED FOR VT , BAYNES, 54, PATERNOSTER-KOW.

1816.



BIOGRAPHIA EVANGELIC A :

OR, AN

HISTORICAL ACCOUNT

OF THE MOST EMINENT AND EVANGELICAL

AUTHORS OR PREACHERS,

FROM

THE BEGINNING OF THE REFORMATION

TO

THE PRESENT TIME.



PREFACE.




T a time, when Infidelity and Irreligion abound
on the one hand, and Popery and other hereti-
cal tenets are making large strides upon the Reform-
ed Rehgion on the other; it hath been thought ne-
cessary, by many serious persons, of all the Protestant
Denominations among us, to oppose a torrent of
wickedness and delusion, which threatens to bear
down all before it. The Judgments of GOD, which
seem to hang over us as a Nation, and t*he dreadful
scourge of war, with which we are already visited,
may justly be imputed to the prevailing iniquity of
the times, the dissoluteness of our public principles
and manners, and the open disregard for the Lord of
Hosts, which so many among us, in practice if not in
words, have dared to avow. We have reason to trem-
ble as a nation, under the awful visitations of the
Almighty; and to fear, that, unless a reformation of
our general conduct take place, and a greater regard
be paid to the interests of Religion and Truth, we shall
te afflicted with yet heavier dispensations, and that
what we see already, is only the beginning of sorrows.

With this view it hath been suggested, that (as no-
thing makes stronger impressions upon the mind than
Example^ a Review of the Lives and Principles of the
most Eminent Persons in the Protestant Churches, from
the beginning of the Reformation to the pfHent day,
might be a providential means of assisting, at least, in
giving a check to this general inundation of infidelity
and false opinions. The attentive perusal and con-
sideration of what those gre0 and good men main-

2 tained



11



PREFACE.



tained, suffered for, or died in possession of; may, in
the Hand ©f GOD, he instrumental in leading others
to follow their example, and at least deter many from
reviling and c>)ntemning those pecuhar principles of
the Protestant Doctrine, which their Indolence or their
Ignorance have not suffered them to understand. It
may safely be said, that nothing has contributed so
much to the reception of impious or superstitious te-
nets among us, as the spiritual darkness of our present
enlightened age^ which indeed has made great improve-
ments in the knowledge of every thing but one — and
that is, the One Thing Needful. Our Youth are train-
ed up, according to the fashion, in the ignorance and
contempt of every thing sacred ; and no man is allow-
ed either sense or discretion, unless he is quite at ease
with respect to religion, and indifferent to the great
concerns of eternity. In short, to be polite, in the
common acceptation, is to be profane ; and to gain
a character of understanding and honour, a man
must affect to despise the conscientious purity of the
gospel, and openly disregard the Author of all Wisdom.
What can be hoped for from maxims like these ; but
what we have already found ; viz. Irreligion on the one
side, and spiritual error on the olher ? And these, we
may expect, will draw upon us (as they did upon the
Churches of Asia) the dreadful scourges of GOD, by
o?//rcwT/ calamities, and in the progress of inward blind-
ness or abandonment.

Every man, therefore, who has any concern for the
glory of GOD, the purity of the gospel, and the best
interests of posterity, will readily (we should hope)
give his%arnest encouragement to a work, which
seems calculated for these important purposes, as well
as his own edification. It is a Family-Book, and may
be put into the hands of youth, both for their infor-
mation as a History, ai^ for their profit as an Instruc-
tor



PREFACE.



Ill



tor. Mr Fox's Ac^s and Monmnents were ordered by
Authority to be placed in every Church, that the peo-
ple of the several parishes in the kingdom, might be
led, to a thorough detestation of the poisonous prini
ciples and bloody practices of the Papists. It is to be
regretted, that this order, like many others, is grown
obsolete. Perhaps, in no case, is the disuse of whole-
some Injunctions more to be lamented, than in the
unbridled liberty, which is taken in the education of
our youth. People, of the worst principles, may with-
out examination, inculcate them freely upon the ris-
ing generation : And thus, insidiously, Popery, Infi-
delity, and Immorality, are scattered all over the land.
However, it cannot be unseasonable for Parents, in
particular, to lay a work of this kind before their
childicn, when the tenets of Rome, dangerous to all
civil and religious liberty, seem to be gaming ground
among us. Those, indeed, are the most ignorant of
the community, who are infected or most likely to be
infected by that corrupt leaven ; for, it may be truly
said, no man was ever seduced into its erroneous prin-
ciples, either by die conviction of his Reason or his
Senses, and much less by the sanctions of Scripture.
And we must do the Papists the justice to say, that
' they do not attempt this sort of conviction. Their
Arguments and Inducements are laid in the fears of
the Simple, v/ho know neither the true doctrines of
Christianity nor themselves, and in their own self-suf-
ficient, or rather all-sufficient, Authoritij ; which, if
it was properly explained, would sooner excite the con-
tempt and abhorrence, than the approbation of any
reasonable being. ^ft

As to the work itself, we have freely made use of
the several Authors vi'ho penned the lives o'i these il-
lustrious men ; omitting what was either too prolix:
for our plan, or what^ upoj^ comparison with other

accounts.



IV



PREFACE.



accounts, did not appear sufficiently founded ; and ad-
ding many circumstances, which had escaped them,
or had since been collected by others. By this me-
thod, we may, without vanity, hope, that these rela-
tions are in general more complete than those which
have been hitherto offered to the Pubhc. In the several
accounts of these evangelical men, the great object
of our plan has been the general edification, as well
as information ; and, for this end, the Reader will find
many serious reflections interspersed throughout the
work. How far we have succeeded, must be submit-
ted to the judgment of the Reader ; whom, if a sin-
cere Christian, w^e shall trust to please ; and, if other-
wise, we ought not to be anxious about it.

We will only detain the Reader to assure him, that
no bigotted partiality to Sects or Denominations,
whether established or tolerated, will be found in this
Collection ; but our whole attention has been paid to
truly great and gracious characters of all those per-
suasions, which hold the distinguishing principles of
the Gospel, and are united in the main endeavour to
promote our common Christianity.

The Copper-plates are the performance of an inge-
nious young Artist, and sufficiently bespeak his merit.
The encoaragers of this undertaking will perceive,
that this part of the work has been performed in a
manner much superior to what is generally given ;
and, we doubt not, it will be fully agreeable to their
expectation.

May the GOD of all Grace be pleased to bless our
attempt ; to the instruction of the Ignorant and them
that are o^jtjmfthe zcaij ; to the edification of humble
Professors of the Gospel; and to the satisfaction of all
those, whatever be their outward denommation, who
love our Lord Jesus Christ in smceriiif,

% INDEX.



I N D E X.



PAGE.

Wkldiff^ 1

Huss 29

Jerom of Prague 47

John de Wesalid 58

Hamilton 59

Geldenhatir 8 1

Oecolamp adius 8 5



Zahifyluis

Bilneif

Frith

T'mdale

Lambert



Begins



99
114

123
128
139
144

Capita 1 47

Simon Grijnceus 149

Leo J II dee 152

Brulius 154

Luther 158

F. Mijconius 250

Diazius 254

Cruciger ^^7



PAGE.


Fagius


260


Bucer


264


Munster


290


Hedio


291


Geo. Pr. ofAnhalt


292


Rogers


296


Saunders


304


Hooper


317


Taylor


330


Ferrar


346


Bradford ^


352


Jonas


373


Latimer


376


Ridkij


403


Phil pot


428


Cranmer


434


Ponet


469


Melancthon


471


John a Lasco


492


P. Martyr


499


Tho, Grijnceus


509



Vergerio 5 1 1

INDEX.



INDEX.







PAGE




PAGE


Bdneif




114


Leo Judce


152


Bradford




352


Luther


158


Mrultus




154






Bucer




264


P, Martifr
Melancthon


499
471


Capita




147


Mt/conius, JP.


250


Cramner




434


Munster


290


Crucii>er




257






\J






Oecolampadius


85


Diazius




254


Philpot


42S


Fas^ius




260


Ponet


469


Ferrar




346






Frith




123


Regius
Ridley


144
403


Geldenhaur


81


Rogers


296


Geo. Pr.


of Anha


It 292






Grifnceus


Simon


149


Saunders


304


Grynceus


Thomas


509


Taiflor


330


Hamilton




^9


'I indale


128


Hedio




291


1




Hooper




317


Vergerio


511


Huss




29






Jerom of


Prague


47


Wesalid^ John


de 58


John a L


asco


^92


Wicldiffe


i


Jonas




373


Wishart


235


Lambert




139






l^timer




376


ZuingUus


99



Biog.




'-jC^ an a.y.:../.^^^c^ .^ /^^ &^/.r/.^^^ a/ //r ^u/^.f^a^el



Biographia Evangelica.



JOHN W I C K 1. I F F E,

THE FIRST REFORMER.



"TI7HEN we look back upon the days of barbarism,
^ ' and the gross ignorance of the true light of the
gospel, which prevailed in the Christian world, for so
many ages together, before the Reformation ; when we
reflect upon the stupid ceremonies and abominable super-
stitions and cheats, practised by the monks and others ;
and then survey the hand of GOD, working, in a most
extraordinary manner, through all this mass of corruption
and folly, and bringing about, by degrees, the clear shin-
ing of the everlasting gospel : We must stand astonished
at the whole, and from the wonderful contrast of the times,
may say ; This hath GOD nvrotight ; it is the Lord's doijigy
mid it is marvellous i?i our eyes,

GOD vouchsafed to honour England with the first
dawning of the Reformation : And an Englishman was the
first champion of that cailse, which afterwards received
the name of Pkotestantism. This remarkable instru-
ment of the divine blessing was John Wickliffe, or
John de Wickliffe, taking his sirname from a village
once called Wickliffe, near Richmond, in Yorkshire, where
he was born in the year 1324'. It has been observed,
that no such place exists at present under that name ; but
it is well known, that great numbers of our villages, and
even towns and hundreds, have received different deno-
minations from change of possessors in the course of ages.
Wickliffe was sent early to Oxford, and was first admitted
commoner of Queen's College, and afterwards of Merton,
where he became fellow.

Merton



2 W I C K L I F F E.

Merton College was then the best seminary for great
and learned men in the whole university ; and the fol-
lowing eminent persons belonged to it, about this time.
]. Walter Burley, called the Plain Doctor, who was pre-
ceptor to king Edward III. 2. William Occam, called
the Singular Doctor. 3. Thomas Bradwardine, the Profound
Doctor, who was called to court by archbishop Stratford,
and succeeded him in the see of Canterbury. 4. Simon
Mepham, archbishop of Canterbury, in 1330. 5. Simon
Islip, who was also promoted to the same see, in 134-9,
was lord privy seal, and secretary to the king. 6. Wil-
liam Rede, an excellent mathematician, and bishop of
Chichester in 1369. 7. Geoffry Chaucer, the Father of
English Poetry. WicklifFe was afterwards called Doctor
Evafigelicusy or the Gospel Doctor ; and he certainly de-
served the title, as the study of the holy scriptures was
his principal delight. He was indeed (to use the words
of bishop Newton) ' deservedly famous, the honour of his
*■ own, and the admiration of all succeeding times/

Wickliffe was soon distinguished, among these illus-
trious contemporaries, for the closeness of his application
to study, and the vivacity of his genius. He became
celebrated in philosophy and divinity ; being so remark-
able for an elegancy of wit, and strength in disputations,
that he was esteemed more than human by the common
sort of divines. He adorned the learning of the schools
by acquiring a deep knowledge of the civil and canon
law, as also of the municipal laws of his own country,
which have been always too much neglected till our
own times, when we find the Vinerian professorship of
the laws of England established in the university of Ox-
ford. Wicklifl'e not only studied and commented upon
the sacred writings ; but he translated them into his na-
tive language, and wrote homilies on several parts of
them. He also diligently studied the writings of St
Austin, St Jerom, St Ambrose, and St Gregory, the
four fathers of the Latin church : But he was thirty-six
vears of age before he had a proper opportunity of ex-
erting his excellent talents, so as to attract the observa-
tion of the university, and even of the whole kingdom ;
for it was in the year J 360 when he became the advo-
cate for the university against the encroachments made
by the mendicant friars, who had been very troublesome
from their first establishment in Oxford, in 1230, and
occasioned great inquietude to the chancellor and scho-
lars,



W I C K L I F F E. 3

lars, by infringing their statutes and privileges^ and setting
up an exempt jurisdiction.

Poperjr was established in England by Austin the monk,
and continued to be the only religion till the Reformation.
The church of Rome hiid infected all Christendom with
its errors and corruptions ; and the whole church was de-
generated from its primitive purity by the artifices of the
monks, who had polluted the clear stream of religion with
the rank weeks of superstition.

The clergy had engrossed the greatest part both of the
riches and power of Christendom : But the corruptions of
their worship and doctrine were easily detected ; nor had
they any varnish to colour them by, except the authority
and traditions of the church. When some studious men
began to read the ancient fathers, and councils, they found
a vast difierence between the first five ages of the Christian
church, in which piety and learning prevailed, and the last
ten ages, in wiiich ignorance had buried all their former
learning : Only a little misguided devotion was retained
for six of those ages ; and, in the last four, the restless
ambition and usurpation of the popes were supported by
the seeming holiness of the begging friars, and the false
counterfeits of learning, consisting only of a vile metaphy-
sical jargon, or vain school-divinity, which prevailed among
the canonists, school-men, and casuists.

It may be noted, that soon after and about the year
l.'-JOO, flourished several able and pious men, who boldly
withstood the errors of the church of Rome, and the in-
solence of its popes. Of these, perhaps, none was more
remarkable than Marsilius of Padua, who wrote his De-
fensor Pacis for the emperor Lewis, of Bavaria, against
pope John XXII, and who is execrated by name in the
bull of pope Gregory against Wickliffe. He vehemently
opposed the enormities of the court of Rome, and main-
tained, that believers are freely justified by grace alone,
and that works are not the efficient causes of our salva-
tion, though justification and salvation are ever attended
with them. He and others paved the way for our great
countryman, who soon afterwards appeared and distin-
guished himself above them.

Wickliffe was indeed the morning-star of the Rcform.a-
tion ; though he appeared like a meteor to the monks,
when he opposed them in support of the university. I'hc
number of students there had been thirty thousand ; but,
in the 1357, they were so far decreased that the whole was
not above six thousand. This was entirely owing to the

bad



4 W I C K L I F F E.

bad practices of the preaching friars, who took all oppor-
tunities to entice the students, from the colleges, inta
their convents , which made people afraid of sending their
children to the university. The friars disregarded the de-
termination of the parliament in 1366, whereby it was en-
acted, that they should receive no scholar under the age of
eighteen •, and that the king should have power to redress
nil controversies between them and the university. Wick-
liffe soon distinguished himself by his bold and zealous
opposition against the usurpations and errors of the friars,
who justified their begging trade, by asserting, that the
poverty of Christ, and his apostles, made them possess all
things in common, and beg for a livelihood. This opinion
was first opposed by Richard Kilmyngton, dean of St
Paul's; who was seconded by Richard Fitz Ralph, arch-
bishop of Armagh ; after which, Wickiiffe, Thoresby,
Bolton, Hereford, Bryts, and Norris, openly opposed this
doctrine at Oxford, where thej? made the friars blush for
their audacity.

Wickiiffe wrote with an elegance uncommon in that
age, especially in the English language, of which he may
be considered as one of the first refiners, and his writings
aitord many* curious specimens of the old English ortho-
graphy. Ill one of his tracts, intitled " Of Clerks Posses-
<f sioncrs," he exposes the friars for drawing the youth of
tiie university into their convents, and says, " Freres
<« drawen children fro Christ's religion into their private
«' order by hypocrisie, lesings, and steling. For they
« tcUen that their order is iPiOre holy than any other ;
" that they shulkn have higher degree in the bliss of
«^ heaven than other men that been not therein; and
" seyn, that men of their order shullen never come ta
^'^ hell, but shullen dome other rhen with Christ at
^i domesday."

AVickliiie wrote and published several tracts against the
beggary of the friars ; particularly *' Of the Poverty of
" Ciirist, against able Beggary •," and " Of Idleness in
<^< Beggary." He asserts, that ^^ Christ bad his apostles
•^f and disciples that they should not here a sachell, ne
" scrip ; but look vv^hat man is able to hear the gospel,
" and eat and drink therein, and pass not hence, and
<' not pass fro house to house. — Sith there were poor
*^ men enough to taken mens alms before that freres
" camen in, and the earth is now more barren than it was,
*« other freres, or poor men, moten wanten of this alms :

but



W I C K L I F F E. 5

<« but freres, by subtle hypocrlsie, gotten to themselves,
«« and letten the poor men co have these alms."

He disputed with a friar, on able beggary, before the
^uke of Gloucester, to whom he sent an account of both
their arguments, and addressed his higlmess in these words j
" To you lord, that herde the disputasion be geve tlie
« fyle to Tubbe away the rust in either partye."

These controversies gave Wicklifi'e such great reputation
in the university, that, in 1361, he was advanced to be
master of Baliol College; and four years after he was made
warden of Canterbury-hall, founded by Simon de Islip,
archbishop of Canterbury, in J 36 1, and nov* svv'ailowed up
in Christ-church. The royal license granted to the arch-
bishop, for founding the college, is dated the twentieth of
October 1361; and only mentions ' a certain number of
' scholars,' religious and secular. There v.^ere to be a
warden and eleven scholars, who were to study logic, the
civil and canon law ; for whose maintenance the arch-
bishop settled on them the rectory of Pageham in Sussex,
and the manor of Wodeford in Northamptonshire. He pur-
chased some old houses in the parish of St Mary's in
Oxford, and fitted them up for the reception of his scho-
lars, whom he placed there himself, and appointed Henry
de Wodehall, or Woodhall, to be the warden. This iuaii
was a monk of Christ-church, Canterbury, and doctor of
divinity : But he was at such variance with the secular
scliolars, that the archbishop, in i 365, turned him, and
three monks, out of his nevv^-founded Hall, in whose room
he appointed Wicklifre to be warden, and three other se-
culars to be scholars. It vras afterwards pretended, that
the warden, and three of the scholars, were to be monks
of Christ-church, Canterbury, and the other eighty secular
priests ; though this limitation could not be proved from
the wri|:ings relating to the foundation.

The letters of institution, whereby the archbishop ap-
pointed WicklifFe to this w^irdenship, were dated the four-
teenth of December, 1365 -, in which he is styled « a person
' in whose fidelity, circumspection, and industry, his
' grace very much confided ; and one on wliom he had
* fixed his eyes for that place, on account of t'le ho-
« nesty of his life, his laudable conversation, and knov/-
' ledge of letters."

Wicklifi-e behaved with universal approbation, till the
death of the archbishop, who had a great esteem for
him. His grace died the twenty-fifth of April, 1366,
and v/as succeeded in the archiepiscopal d'gnity by Simon

Lann:bam,



6 W I C K L I F F E.

Lairgham, bishop of Ely, who had been a monk, and was
inclined to favour the rehgioiis against the seculars. The
monks of Canterbury applied to Langham to eject Wick-
liffe from his wardenship, and the other seculars, from
their fellowships. They alleged, that the warden was to
be a monk, and nominated by the prior and chapter of
Canterbury, and appointed by the archbishop : But that
WickliiFe craftily obtained the vvardenship. Archbishop
Langiiam ejected Wickhffe from the wardenship, and
the three other seculars, in 1 367 ; in consequence of
which, he also issued out his mandate, requiring Wick-
lifFe and all the scholars to yield obedience to Wodehall
as their warden. This was refused by them, as being
contrary to the oath they had taken to the founder •, but
the archbishop sequestered the revenue, and took away
the books and other things, v/hich the founder, by his
last will, had left to the Hail.

Wickliire, and the three expelled fellows, appealed to
the pope ; to which appeal the archbishop made a reply,
and the pope commissioned cardinal Andruynus to examine
and determine the affair-, Vv'ho, in 1370, ordained, by a
dehnitive sentence, which was confirmed by the pope,
that only the monks of Christ-cliurch, Canterbury, ought
to remain in the coWc^/d called Canterbury-hall, and that
the seculars should be all expelled j that Wodehall and the
other monks, who were deprived, should be restored j and
that perpetual silence should be imposed on WickliiFe and
his associates. WickliiTe and three poor clerks, could not
oppose such a powerful combination, and the decree war>
strictly put iii execution, pursuant to the papal bull,
dated at Viterbium, the twenty-eighth of May, l.»^70, di-
rected to Simon de Sudbury, bishop of London, and others,
who were to restore Wodehall and the monks, and to com-
pel all thgse vv-ho contradicted them by ecclesiastical cen-
sures, without permitting any appeal.



Online LibraryUnknownEvangelical biography : or, an historical account of the lives & deaths of the most eminent and evangelical authors or preachers, both British and foreign, in the several denominations of Protestants, from the beginning of the Reformation to the present time ... (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 54)