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Afterwards, quitting the schoolmaster, he entered into the ministry, and became a sedulous preacher. This was about the year 1597. Petrus Buflerius, one of the senators of Isna, being informed of his perfect knowledge in the holy tongue, and of the natural bias which he had to learning, erected a printing-house, at his own cost and charge, to the end that Fagius might publish, whatever ne might deem useful to religion and to posterity: But the event did not answer the charges Bufferus had been at. Fagius, however, prosecuted his studies with continued zeal, and was allowed to be one of the greatest Hebræans of his time. He often employed his knowledge to the confutation of the Jews, with whom he had strenuous debates. Mr Leigh notes of him, that, as the Jews say of Moses Ben Maimon (or Maimonides,) from Moses Moses not one has risen up like this Moses ; so the Germans might add of Paulus Fagius, that from Paul to Paul, not one, in this way, has appeared like this Paul.
In the year 1541, the plague began to spread at Isna, when Fagius understanding, that the wealthiest of the inhabitants were about to leave the place, without having any regard to the poorer sort, he rebuked them openly, and admonished them of their duty; that they should either continue in the town, or liberally bestow their alms before they went, for the relief of those they left behind; adding that, during the time of their visitation, he would himself in person visit those that were sick, would administer spiritual comfort to them, pray for them, and be present with them day and night: All which he did, and yet escaped the distemper. At the same season, the plague was hot in Strasburgh, and, among many others, took off Wolfgang Capito; upon which Fagius was called by the senate to succeed him and here he continued preaching till the beginning of the German wars.
Then Frederic the second, the prince elector Palatine, intending a Reformation in his churches, called Fagius from Strasburgh to Heidelberg, and made him public professor there : But the emperor prevailing against the elector, the Reformation was put a stop to. During his residence there, he published many books for the promotion of Hebrew learning ; which were greatly approved by Bucer, Hedio, Zellius, and others, who were the first planters of the gospel in those parts, and who also employed him to read divinity lectures on weekdays, and to officiate for them in other parts of their
pastoral function, when they were hindered themselves by sickness or other important avocations. Even Scaliger confessed him to be the most learned of all the Christians of his time in the Hebrew tongue.
His father dying in the year 1548, and the persecution in Germany threatening pains, penalties, and banishments to all who did not profess the doctrine of the church of Rome, he and Bucer came over to England, upon receiving letters from archbishop Cranmer, in which they had repeated assurances of a kind reception and a handsome stipend, if they would continue there. They arrived in April, 1549; were cordially entertained for some time in the palace at Lambeth ; and were destined at length to reside at Cambridge; where they were to perfect a new translation and illustration of the scriptures, Fagius taking the Old Testament, and Bucer the New, for their several parts. But this was all put an end to, by the sudden illness and death of both these gracious and learned professors. Fagius fell ill at London of a quartan fever, but would be removed to Cambridge, upon a presumption of receiving benefit from the change of air. He died there upon the 13th of November, 1550, aged 45; and Bucer did not live above a year after him. · See Bucer's life. Melchior Adam says, that Fagius slept with great resignation in Christ, not without suspicion of having been poisoned; which last circumstance is not mentioned by any of the English historians.
Both their bodies were dug up and burnt in the reign of queen Mary, both because they had maintained the doctrine of predestination with the other Reformers, and because they, in their writings, had highly commended those Reformers. Fagius was tall in stature, somewhat black-visaged ; his countenance appeared stern, yet such as commanded reverence; he was of an affable and courteous disposition, affectionate, meek, and lowly, an excellent orator, and a great student, as appears by his works; which are, 1. A translation of Thesbites Elias. 1 2. Apothegms of the Hebrew fathers. 3. Moral sentences of Ben Syra, alphabetically digested, with notes. 4. The translation of Tobias Hebraicus. 5. Hebrew prayers used by the Jews on their solemn festivals. 6. An exposition of the Hebrew sayings on the four first chapters.of Genesis, with the Chaldee paraphrase of Onkelos. 7. Translation of a book called, Of the Truth of Faith ; compiled by a converted Jew, to prove the verity of the Christian religion. $. Commentaries on certain Psalms by Kimchi. 9. An
Hebrew preface to Elias Levita's Chaldee Lexicon. 10. The Targum, with notes. 11. An introduction to the Hebrew tongue. And many others.
Melchior Adam has preserved the heads of his valedictory sermon, when Fagius left Strasburgh; in which, among other exhortations, he desired his hearers; “ not to raise “ a disturbance, nor attempt by human force, to keep “ the ministers of the gospel among them, now attacked « by persecution ; but to read their bibles, to edify one « another, and to continue in the doctrine which had “ been faithfully preached to them; to honour the mini(6 sters for their work's sake, who were not sent to serve “ their own bellies, nor to please men ; that the causes “ of the present evil were, 1. That wherever God raised ~ a church, the devil would build a chapel by it. 2. “ That the professors of the gospel had been too remiss " and secure, so that the devil had sown his tares. 3. “ That they had been too little thankful for the divine “ blessing of God's word. 4. That God would try his
own, and, by the trial, separate the chaff from the
grain.” He added concerning himself : “ I hear the “ trumpet of sedition, upon this occasion ; but I bless 66 God, I have instigated no man to follow it. This “ cannot truly be said of me. What I would confess is, « that I have been too little diligent in preaching the “ gospel among you ; for which I implore pardon of my “ God. Pray for me, that I may abide faithful in all " afflictions. I am but a man : and even Peter fell.”Thus humbly did this gracious man think and speak of himself! He knew his own heart; and knew too, that nothing but alınighty grace could keep that heart from falling. This is a point of wisdom, which comes alone from heaven, and which is given to all the faithful in leading them thither.