Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

tion, he would often say, was as discernible in & sixth year of his age, he caught cold in his preacher, as a natural from an artificial beau passage, by water, from London to Gravesty.... The innocency and sanctity of his life end. With his constitution already weakbecame so remarkable, that many turned out of ened, he never seems to have recovered purposely to see the man, whose life and learning from the effects of this cold, but gradually were so much admired; and, alas! as our sunk under it. The sacrament was admin. Saviour said of St. John Baptist, “What went istered to him by Dr. Saravia the day bethey out to see? a man clothed in purple and fore his death: and his last thoughts were fine linen ? No, indeed, but an obscure, harmless of his sins, and the “ perturbations of this man; a man in poor clothes, his loins usually world,” in contrast with the sublime order girt in a coarse gown, or canonical coat ; of 2 and peace of heaven" the number and in the thoughts of his soul his body worn out, nature of angels, and their blessed obedi

ence." pot with age, but study, and holy mortifications ; his face full of heat pimples, begot by his inactivity and sedentary life. And to this true cha Only five of the books of Ecclesiastical racter of his person, let me add this of his dis- Polity were given to the world, we have position and behaviour. God and nature blest seen, by Hooker himself. The history of him with so blessed a bashfulness, that as in his the three remaining books is a very curious younger days, his papils might easily look him out

one. of countenance; so neither then, nor in his age,

The story told by Walton as to their did he ever willingly look any man in the face, mutilation, or rather as to the destruction, and was of so mild and humble a nature, that his of the complete copies, left by the author in poor parish-clerk and he did never talk but with his library after his death, by certain Puritan both their hats on, or both off at the same time; ministers, used to be considered a mere and to this may be added, that though he was not piece of credulous gossip on the part of old, purblind, yet he was short or weak-sighted; and Isaak. It is a “ blind story, a true Canter. where he fixt his eyes at the beginning of his sermon, there they continued till it was ended; bury tale,” exclaimed Coleridge ;* and Hal. and the roader has a liberty to believe, that lam, in his Constitutional History,t was bis modesty and dim sight were some of the obviously very much of the same opinion. reasons why he trusted Mrs. Churchman to The investigations of Mr. Keble, however, choose his wife."'*

have established that whatever credit may

be due to the allegation of Puritan intervenSuch was Hooker in his retirement at tion, in the destruction of the MSS., there Bishopsborne. The picture wants relief; can be no doubt that in the case of the sixth the touches are too uniformly quiet and sad; book especially, we no longer possess in its but we have no reason to doubt its general complete form what was left by Hooker, faithfulness. Still in the prime of life, un- It will be necessary to examine briefly the wearied study seems to have impaired his evidence of this, and the story in connexion health, and incessant thoughtfulness to have with it, both on account of the interest of cast a shade over his spirits. Meek and pure the subject itself, and the renewed light as was his life, however, he did not escape which it serves to throw on the character of detraction, and even something worse. The his wife. allusions of Walton to this subject, indeed, Immediately following Hooker's death, are not very intelligible; and his gossiping inquiry was made after his papers, by friends propensities are clearly stamped on certain who had been watching with interest the features of the story; but it appears certain completion of his work. He died on the that notwithstanding the gravity and sim-2d of November, and plicity of his character, Hooker was the victim of a serious slander, which ocasioned only five days afterwards, Dr. Andrews, being him long uneasiness, until, by the interven- then at the court, wrote to Dr. Parry, who was, tion of his “two dear friends," Edwin Sandys family, and near at hand, requesting him to proand George Cranmer, the matter was cleared vide without delay for the security of the papers.. up, and his enemies made to confess that He writes in a tone of the greatest anxiety, and they had wronged him.

regrets that he should be so late in giving this Åbout the year 1600, and in the forty- hint, having but just been informed of Hooker's

death." * Walton's Life, Keble's Ed., pp. 77-79. Nothing satisfactory seems to have been

+ We profess ourselves unable, from the state elicited by this inquiry; for the next thing ments of the Life (see p. 82), to understand the we learn is, that at the end of a month exact nature of the imputation preferred against Hooker; and there is no light thrown upon it from any other quarter that we have examined. Fuller * Notes on English Divines, vol. i. p, 2. says nothing of it, notwithstanding his love for such + Constitutional History, vol. i. Notes, pp. 266, 267. miscellaneous gossip.

Keble's Preface, p. xxi.

Whitgift sent one of his chaplains to inquire Dr. Saravia? 'We do not pretend for our after the three remaining books,"of which part to clear up the mystery. she would not, or could not, give any ac- The satisfactory evidence that the MSS. count.” After the lapse of some further were really interfered with, is to be found time-three months, it is said-suspicion* in the contrast which the sixth book, as it having arisen, she was summoned to the now stands, presents, not only to its design, Privy Council, and interrogated by the as laid down by Hooker himself, but to its Archbishop, when she was represented as original course, as otherwise certified. The confessing,

subject before Hooker in this book, accord

ing to his plan, was the Scriptural authority " That one Mr. Charke, and another minister of lay eldership. To this subject, however, that dwelt near Canterbury, came to her, and only the first two chapters, and the first desired that they might go into her husband's section of the third chapter, have any relastudy, and look upon some of his writings, and tion. The remainder, being nineteen-twenthat there they two burnt and tore many of them, tieths of the whole, is devoted to the discusassuring her that they were writings not fit to be seen, and that she knew nothing more con

sion of penance and absolution, as between cerning them." "Her lodging," Walton adds, the Church of England and that of Rome.

was then in King-street, in Westminster, where That this absurd divergency from the proper she was found next morning dead in her bed, subject of the book, to which he nowhere and her new husband suspected and questioned returns, did not characterize it as completed for it, but he was declared innocent of her death." by the author, is shewn from a document

published for the first time by Mr. Keble, Within so short a period after her hus- bearing to be the critical notes of Cranmer band's death, she had contracted, it appears, and Sandys upon it, as submitted to them. à second marriage, of which, however, we It is known to have been the custom of learn no further particulars.

Hooker to forward his work as he comSo much for Mrs. Hooker. Whatever pleted it, to his old pupils, for their advice may be the truth of the story, her character and revision. The document is in their own comes out of it with a very base stamp; handwriting; Cranmer's part filling twentyand the unintelligible tragedy of her death four folio pages, and Sandy's part, which is only deepens the unhappy perplexity of her more closely written, occupying six pages whole life. The question suggests itself, Could more. There can be no reasonable doubt she herself have been a Puritan? and did of its genuineness; for who, as Mr. Keble any of the unhealed bitterness of Hooker's says, would have ever thought such a paper marriage spring out of this source? It worth forging? The collation of the existseems undeniable, from the statement of ing sixth book, with this document, leaves Travers, and otherwise,f that family rela- no room for doubt as to its corruption, tions brought him into close connexion with “ First, it will be found that among all the the Puritans; his own daughter married a notes there are not so many as four instances Mr. Charke, conjectured to have been the in which the catchwords at the beginning of same person who is mentioned in the above the note occur in the text as it stands. Next, statement. It is simply possible that his the whole subject matter of the critical rewife, besides her natural sourness of temper marks, the scriptural and other quotations and indifference to him, may have been referred to, indicate an entirely different alienated from him by the force of ecclesi- work. There is not a word about peniastical sympathies, the intensity of which, in tency, auricular confession, absolving power; the peculiar circumstances of the time, we but in the third place) the frame of the cannot well overrate. And does not such whole, and each particular, as far as it can a view impart a ready meaning to the em- be understood, implied the annotators to phasis of certain statements in Hooker's have had before them a work really addressPreface, I as well as to the distrustful anxiety ing itself to the question of lay elders, and regarding his papers, manifested by his meeting all the arguments which, as we friends, on hearing of his death? On the know from contemporary writers, the upother hand, it must be confessed, that the holders of the Puritan platform were used fact of his having by his will entrusted his to allege."* MSS. to the charge of his wife, seems op

This is the state of the case, no doubt posed to such a view. Why, as Coleridge put strongly, but resting on grounds that pertinently asks, did he not entrust them to seem indisputable. Mr. Keble further en

deavours, from the scattered hints of the * Appendix to Walton's Life, p. 91.

notes, to sketch the several heads of the + Works, vol. iii. p. 557. Works, vol. i. p. 163.

* Works, Editor's Preface, pp. 27, 28.

book as it must have appeared to Cranmer with the previous texts" in very many maand Sandys; but we need not follow him terial points; many portions being added, into this detail, only observing, the heads some few omitted, and the parts which recorrespond very well with the nature of the main transposed in such a manner as: to task which Hooker had undertaken. It form, on the whole, an entirely new arrangeseems certainly to lend confirmation to the ment.* The fragment added by Gauden on story of Puritan interference, that it is ex- Civil Obedience is not incorporated with the actly that part of the three remaining books book, as it had been by previous editors, but of the Polity, which would have been most subjoined in an appendix. obnoxious to the Puritans, which have most Hooker's great work may be contemclearly suffered mutilation. To Mr. Keble plated in two main points of view : in its this evidence seems decisive; but we do general, philosophical, and literary characnot feel that it is entitled altogether to re- ter; and in its special polemical import and move our doubts as to the fact of such inter- value. It is just its glory that it presents ference, at least in the manner narrated by this twofold aspect of interest to the reader ; Walton.

that it remains a monument, not only of Of the two latter books we have a more past controversy, but of the highest philososatisfactory account. The seventh book was phical and literary genius. It is this latter first published in 1662 by Gauden, Bishop character alone which gives it that weighty of Worcester, whose name is so questionably and time-honoured renown, and that classiassociated with the Eikwv Baoidery. The cal position so universally conceded to it. MS. of it, he alleges in his Preface, to be It is this which makes it a living study now, undoubtedly in Hooker's own handwriting while the works to which it was opposed, as throughout. He says nothing, however, as well as that of Whitgift, which preceded it, to where he got the MS., or what he did are only subjects of research to the Christwith it, and furnishes, in fact, no clue what-ian historian. Had it been a mere repertory ever whereby subsequent inquirers might of ecclesiastical polemics, however able, it determine its authority. Its authorship and would have long since passed into the com. value, therefore, rest entirely on the internal parative oblivion by which these have been evidence which it bears of having come from overtaken, or rather, it would never have Hooker's own hand; and Mr. Keble, from emerged from the predestined obscurity obvious reasons, considers this evidence as which awaits all merely polemical writvery complete. Upon the whole, there ing. But animated by the light of a seems no reason to doubt that it is the genu-| divine philosophy, and pregnant with a life ine production of Hooker. The course of of Thought, which clothes itself in the noblest argument and flow of style clearly indicate forms of language, rising often into the this. But, at the same time, it must be most ripe and swelling eloquence, it at once borne in mind, that, if a real, it is at the took a rank in our literature, from which best, as indeed Mr. Keble admits, a “muti- we can never conceive it displaced, however lated and imperfect relic;' and its special little interest may come to be attached to statements as to the Divine authority of many of the special discussions which it emEpiscopacy, must accordingly be received braces. and judged, if not with any definite qualifica We see the influence of this higher chation, which is by no means necessary, yet racter of Hooker's work strongly shown in in the full light of the general reasoning of the the manner in which it is spoken of by Mr. first three books.

Hallam.t It is the presence of a great The eighth book originally appeared along mind dealing in the most profoundly philowith the sixth, in 1651. Additional frag- sophical spirit, with questions so easily narments were published by Dr. Barnard in his rowed by prejudice, and debased by fáction, Clavi Trabalex, 1661. Some of these pas- that above all interests such a critic. It is sages were incorporated by Gauden in his with the Treatise of Cicero, De Legibus, that edition, and the book further enlarged and a comparison at once occurs to him, of the compiled from apparently distinct sources; English masterpiece, on the Foundation and he added also a new fragment on the Limits Origin of Laws--the first book of the Polity. of Obedience to Sovereigns. Such was the Upon the whole, Mr. Hallam would assign very imperfect state of the last book, pre- the palm to the Ciceronian Treatise, for digvious to the labours of Mr. Keble. His nity and force of language, and conciseness very careful researches, founded on four dif- and rigour of reasoning, but he admits the ferent MSS., drawn from different quarters, latter to be “ by no means less high-toned Oxford, Cambridge, Lambeth, and Dublin, have issued in a text to some extent new

* Works, Editor's Preface, p. 35. in his own words, "widely at variance" | Lit. of Europe, vol, ii. p. 166.

in sentiment, or less bright in fancy, and far There are parts of his reasoning which, pro. more comprehensive and profound in the bably wrought out with great effort by himfoundations of its philosophy.***

self-tracing a thread of living but tangled Hooker's philosophical characteristics, as connexion in his own mind-must be very here indicated, are, profundity and compre carefully, and even laboriously, examined hensiveness, combined with patience and by the reader, before they can be taken up calmness of reflection. He does not light in all their dependence and conclusive force. up his subject by any vivid flashes of thought, This is more especially the case when he is nor startle by the force and quickness of in- seduced into the meshes of some merely sight with which he seizes hold of its deeper scholastic discussion. truth; but he never fails, in his own more As a writer, perhaps, even more than a elaborate way, to reach to its very ground, thinker, Hooker marks an era in English and lay open its foundations, and, moreover, literature. If not the creator of English prose, to trace it out in all its windings, slowly, and he was the first of its masters, as he resometimes even tediously, yet with the hand mains to this day among the greatest of of a master, who knows it all well, and there them. Four books of the Ecclesiastical fore is not impatient to complete his work. Polity preceded the publication of Bacon's This largeness of handling is his one most Essays, by a few years; and acknowledging distinguishing attribute. His mind did not to the full what had been already done by work by strong and sudden impulses, leaping Latimer in his Sermons, and Sir Philip Sidney with irresistible force to its conclusions, but in his Arcadia, we must accord to Hooker by calm and laborious processes, tending the prime honour of working out the cápasilently yet surely thereto. The meditative cities of that language, which, with Bacon character of his life confirms this view, as and Shakspere, was about to reach, all at well as both Fuller's and Walton's descrip-once, its consummate development. The tion of his preaching. It is not the facile extent of merit which here really belongs to and overflowing speaker that we contem- our author, may be seen by turning from plate, but the rapt and abstract student, re- his great work to the writings of Cartwright strained and hesitating with the weight of his and Whitgift, on the same subject, so immesubject, his eye not kindling with answering diately preceding. The comparative roughand sympathetic emotion, but fixed in ness and barrenness of their style, even dreamy introspection on the great ideal or when it is vigorous and animated; the want outline of thought with which he is laboring. of any approach to that elevation, and digHence, too, the frequent prolixity of his nity, and grace of movement, in which our reasoning, in many cases returning upon author rejoices ; stamp the progress which itself, and only after repeated accumula- the language had made in his hands. In tions, again unfolding in linked and rolling fülness and majesty, combined with pregsequences. For the clearness of his argu- nancy, and richness, and felicity of expresment, and the more exact conveyance of his sion, the style of Hooker remains, indeed, views, it would have been well, certainly, unsurpassed. That of Bacon's Essays is as Mr. Hallam observes, using á phrase in more idiomatic, and terse, and intense in its itself very felicitous, but not strictly applica- meanings; but it does not move with the ble that we had a little less of the ex- same swell, it does not rise to the same panded palm of rhetoric, and somewhat grandeur. It is more close and flexible, more of dialectical precision;" but, with more living and expressive, throughout; more definiteness, we could not have had but it does not carry along the same freight that very amplitude of research, and exuber- of eloquence, nor gather to itself the same ance of language, which constitute the chief splendour of utterance. And, certainly, in distinction of Hooker. And even when he is the supreme quality of harmony-at once most voluminous, when he most tarries, and the most subtle in its secret, and the most returns upon himself in his course of expo-obvious in its presence, of all gifts of lansition, or expands into his most copious guage-Hooker is singularly pre-eminent. statements, rhetoric" scarcely expresses While adding statement to statement, and what will be found instinct with meaning in clause to clause, along a series that seems all its involutions, and touched with power extended to confusion, there will yet be even to its extremities. It must at the same found, through all, a proportion and sequence be admitted that Hooker's prolixity some- which, when well read, fall upon the ear times loses itself in confusion of ideas, and like music. He is nowhere discordant, and the indiscriminate use of general terms.I but seldom confused ; and now and then the * Do. Constitutional History, p. 231.

chime of his many-toned sentences breaks + Lit. of Europe, vol. ii. p. 167.

forth into a sustained and overpowering | Do. Constitutional History, vol. i. p. 234. chorus.

The First Book of the Ecclesiastical Poli- settlement of the special questions before ty will always remain, as it deserves to be, him. the most generally read and admired. Beginning, therefore, from “ the very Here, in the lofty region of moral inquiry, foundation and root, the highest well-spring with which the book is throughout engaged, and fountain," he inquires into the First Law the genius of Hooker was most at home. Eternal," the order which God before all . The largeness of spirit and wide range of ages hath set down for himself to do all thought, so characteristic of him, found in things by." The ground of all being is at this region full scope. The consciousness of once Law and Life, Reason and Personality, the nobler elevation to which, from his working in most exact order, yet knowing whole point of view, he was carrying the what and why it worketh. This great Thewearying, and often degrading, controversy istic principle is firmly seized and expressed of his time, brought forth to the full all his by him. He holds with a fine hand the powers, and displayed them in their hap. balance of truth, which has so often, on this piest exercise. It is the same shining and deepest question, been allowed to swerve to ample intellect, and the same calm and judi- the one side or the other; vindicating at cial wisdom, that meet us throughout the once the harmonious necessity of the uniwork; but here, in a congenial atmosphere, verse, and the living spring of personal the mind of Hooker rose to its sublimest agency that moves in it all. There is to him height, and expatiated with its grandest force in all things no deeper meaning than lau. and compass of reasoning. Nowhere in A mere arbitrary will is wholly foreign to the literature of philosophy, has ethical the essential idea of God; yet a mere blind and political speculation essayed a profound necessity is still more foreign. This idea er and more comprehensive task-sought only attains its full illumination when appreto take, at one flight, a broader sweep; hended as a Personal Agent, working " not and never, we may safely say, has the har- only according to his own will, but the counmony of the moral universe, and the inter- sel of his own will." dependence and unity of man's spiritual This First Eternal Law,--the everlasting and civil life, in their multiplied relations, order laid up in the bosom of God,-comes been more firmly seized, and more impres- forth in diverse manifestations, adapted to sively expounded. The distinct character the different kinds of things subject to it, of the book, moreover, and its comparative and through which it is expressed. There completeness, have served to give it

, by it is first of all the Law of Nature,--of the self, a position and renown, which some ever-revolving mechanism of inanimate obwhat overshadow the others. It is a vesti- jects. Nothing can be finer or grander in bule so magnificent, and here and there so its way than Hooker's whole conception of richly adorned, that many, in their admira- the vast order of nature. No positivist-poet tion of it, delay, or care not, to enter into or philosopher ever expressed a more subthe less inviting and intricate argumentative lime admiration of its undeviating harstructure to which it leads.

mony,—its silent and ceaseless march; yet The conception of such a plan of argu- acknowledging to the full the naturalistic ment as Hooker's First Book embraces a conception, he is not content for a moment plan of argument underlying the whole struc- to rest in it. It draws from him an eloquent ture of the work, and giving to it its per- awe; but all this the more, that he sees in vading meaning-could only have sprung it not a direct necessity, but an articulate up in a mind of genuinely philosophical ten- revelation of the Divine will. Nay, so vividdency and power. Amid all the din of con- ly, and in its highest form, does he seize this troversy around him, there was no clear truth, that he beholds in nature the uncon. discernment of principles. Many talked of scious working out of a Divine pattern or the truth, as he himself said, “which never archetype ; and in the light of this ideasounded the depth from which it springeth." now scientifically verified by the genius of To such a mind as his, however, there could an Owen and a Sedgwick-the more adores be no rest, save on a broad and comprehen- the Living Presence operating in all.*. sive basis of philosophy. The particular Following the law of nature comes the controversy as to ecclesiastical order and Celestial Law, or " that which angels behold, ceremonies, only found its true importance and without any swerving observe;" and in connexion with the whole subject of law liere, as he rises to the full and animating and order. It was only from a fundamental thought of the harmony of heaven, he kininquiry into the "grounds and original dles again with his subject, and breaks forth causes of all laws," and carrying out the into one of his richest and most swelling conclusions to which such an inquiry leads, passages :that he could go forth with interest to the

* Works, vol. i. p. 209.

« PoprzedniaDalej »