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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 251 pages of information about Lives of John Donne, Henry Wotton, Rich'd Hooker, George Herbert, &C, Volume 2.

THE LIFE OF MR. RICHARD HOOKER: 

The author of those learned books of the laws of ecclesiastical
polity.

  “Judicious Hooker, though the cost be spent
  On him, that hath a lasting monument
  In his own books; yet ought we to express
  If not the worth, yet our respectfulness.”

SIR WIL.  COWPER

INTRODUCTION

[Sidenote:  Introduction]

I have been persuaded, by a friend whom I reverence, and ought to obey, to write the Life of Richard Hooker, the happy Author of Five—­if not more—­of the eight learned books of “The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity.”  And though I have undertaken it, yet it hath been with some unwillingness:  because I foresee that it must prove to me, and especially at this time of my age, a work of much labour to enquire, consider, research, and determine what is needful to be known concerning him.  For I knew him not in his life, and must therefore not only look back to his death,—­now sixty-four years past,—­but almost fifty years beyond, that, even to his childhood and youth; and gather thence such observations and prognostics as may at least adorn, if not prove necessary for the completing of what I have undertaken.

[Sidenote:  Reasons for this Life]

This trouble I foresee, and foresee also that it is impossible to escape censures; against which I will not hope my well-meaning and diligence can protect me,—­for I consider the age in which I live—­and shall therefore but intreat of my Reader a suspension of his censures, till I have made known unto him some reasons, which I myself would now gladly believe do make me in some measure fit for this undertaking; and if these reasons shall not acquit me from all censures, they may at least abate of their severity, and this is all I can probably hope for.  My reasons follow.

About forty years past—­for I am now past the seventy of my age—­I began a happy affinity with William Cranmer,—­now with God,—­grand-nephew unto the great Archbishop of that name;—­a family of noted prudence and resolution; with him and two of his sisters I had an entire and free friendship:  one of them was the wife of Dr. Spencer,[1] a bosom friend and sometime com-pupil with Mr. Hooker in Corpus Christi College in Oxford, and after President of the same.  I name them here, for that I shall have occasion to mention them in the following discourse, as also George Cranmer, their brother, of whose useful abilities my Reader may have a more authentic testimony than my pen can purchase for him, by that of our learned Camden and others.

[Sidenote:  Hooker’s friends]

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