Page images
PDF
EPUB

BIOGRAPHIA EVANGELICA.

EZEKIEL HOPKINS, D.D.

BISHOP OF DERRY, IN IRELAND.

EZEKIEL HOPKINS, a learned Bishop, whose works are in good esteem, was born in 1633, in the parish of Crediton, near Exeter, in Devonshire, and was son to the curate of Sandford, a chapel of ease belonging to Crediton. In 1649 he became a chorister of Magdalen College, Oxford, usher of the school adjoining when bachelor of arts, chaplain of the college when master, and would have been fellow had his county qualified him. All this time he lived and was educated under presbyterian and independent discipline; but, upon the restoration of King Charles II. being a doctrinal Calvinist, and a real professor of the most essential artieles of the church of England, he found no difficulty in his mind for a full conformity to its outward ritual, when re-established by law; persuaded that more good might be done in the church than out of it, both because there were more opportunities of attempting it, and because there, in consequence of the larger and more mixed multitude, it was most of all wanted. He was first, by the interest of Sir Thomas Viner, made lecturer of the parish of Hackney near London, where he continued till the act of conformity was published, and might have been chosen a lecturer in London, but the bishop would not permit it, * because he was a popular preacher, Mr. Wood says, church continued the same. Some fiery Arminians took the lead, and, instead of compromising differences, (as they had then a favourable opportunity to do) they, or too many of them, sought the indulgence of revenge by trampling all dissenters under their feet. It is not to be doubted, but that the great majority of the hundreds who were ejected in 1662, would have gladly conformed by healing measures, both to preserve their maintenance and to enjoy a larger sphere of usefulness. All moderate men (and moderate men are the only wise men) must look back with regret upon those times, when, to the great scandal of the protestant religion and of Christianity itself, the ministers of peace became ministers of war, and, instead of embracing and forgiving, and reclaiming, seemed too eager to bite and devour' one another. Pudet hæc opprobria nobis. After some considerable time, he was promoted to the parish church of St. Mary Woolnorth, in Lombard Street. But, on account of the plague, he retired to Exeter, where he was so much approved of and applauded for his excellent manner of preaching, especially by Dr. Seth Ward, Bishop of that diocese, (who was himself a true bishop and real friend of the church) that he presented him to the parish of St. Mary Arches in that city. John, Lord Roberts, Baron of Truro, happened to hear him preach at this place, and was so much pleased with his abilities, (for he was, as the late Mr. Hervey* styled him, "a fervent and affectionate' preacher) that, soon after upon his own appointment to be Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, be took him with him in the quality of chaplain, and in the same year, viz. 1669, gave him his daughter in marriage, and conferred upon him the treasurership of Waterford, and, in the year following, the deanery of Raphoe. In the spring afterwards, he strongly recommended him to the favour of his successor, John, Lord Berkeley of Stratton, who, on the twenty-seventh of October 1671, promoted him to the see of Rapboe, to which he was consecrated in Christ Church, Dublin, by James, Archbishop of Armagh, assisted by the Bishops of Clogher, Waterford, and Derry.

among the fanatics. At the Restoration, the men of the church were much changed, but the doctrines of the VOL. IV. B

church

On the eleventh of November 1681, ten years after, he was translated to the bishopric of Derry. In 1688, on account of the troubles in Ireland, he returned to England for safety, and was made minister of the parish of St. Mary, Aldermanbury, or, as others say, of St. Lawrence,

Jewry, * Theron and Aspasio, Vol. II. p. 319.

Jewry, where he died on the twenty-second of June 1690, and was buried in the church of St. Mary, Aldermanbury. The see was kept vacant on account of the unsettled state of the kingdom, till the eighth of January following

He was a Prelate greatly esteemed for his humility, modesty, hospitality, and charity; as also for his great learning and excellent preaching; and was reckoned also no inconsiderable poet.

His Works consist of “ Two volumes of sermons; an Exposition of the Ten Commandments, printed in 1692, 4to. And an Exposition of the Lord's Prayer, &c. 1692. 4to.”

THOMAS JACOMB, D. D. THOMAS JACOMB was born near Melton Mowbray, in Leicestershire, in the year 1622. After he had been trained up in grammar learning at the country schools, he was sent to Magdalen Hall, Oxford, of which Dr. Wilkinson, the elder, was then principal. When he had taken the degree of bachelor of arts, he removed to Cambridge, and was of Emanuel College. He was for some time fellow of Trinity, and much esteemed in that flourishing society. He came to London in 1647, and was soon after minister of Ludgate parish, where his ministry was both acceptable and useful till he was turned out in 1662. He was a nonconformist upon moderate principles; much rather desiring to have been comprehended in the national church, than to have separated from it. He met with some trouble after his ejectment, but being received into the family of the Countess Dowager of Exeter, daughter of the Earl of Bridgewater, he was covered from his enemies. Her respect for the Doctor was peculiar, and the favours conferred upon him extraordinary, for which he made the best return, by his constant care to promote religion in her family.

He was a servant of Christ in the most peculiar and sacred relation, and was true to his title both in his doctrine and in his life. Effectual grace wrought so power

fully In

fully upon his soul, that he became an excellent preacher of the gospel, and had a happy art of conveying saving truths into the minds and hearts of men. He did not entertain his hearers with mere curiosities, but with spiritual food, faithfully dispensing the bread of life, whose vital sweetness and nourishing virtue is by the Holy Spirit rendered both productive and preservative of the life of souls. He preached Christ crucified, our only wisdom and righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.

His great design was to convince sinners of their absolute want of Christ, that with flaming affections they might be led to him by his convincing Spirit, and from his fulness receive divine grace. This is to water the tree at the root, whereby it becomes both flourishing and fruitful; whereas oniy laying down moral rules for the exercise of virtue, too frequently ends in words only, without any real effect in the life and conversation. short, his sermons were clear, solid, and affectionate. His words came from his soul, and from warm affections, and they entered into the breasts of his hearers : Of this many serious and judicious persons were witmesls, who long attended upon his ministry with profit and delight.

His constant diligence in the service of Christ was becoming his zeal for the glory of his master, and his love to the souls of men. He preached thrice a-week while he had opportunity and strength, esteeming bis labour in his sacred office both his highest honour and his pleasure. At the first appearance of an ulcer in his mouth, which he was told to be cancerous, he was observed to be not more concerned thereat, than as it was likely to hinder his delightful work of preaching; and when he enjoyed ease, and after wasting sickness was restored to sonie degree of strength, he joyfully returned to his duty. Nay, when his pains were tolerable, preaching was his best antidote when others failed; and after his preaching, the reflection upon the divine goodness, that bad given him strength for the discharge of the service, was a great relief of his pains.

His sermons, which, we have observed, were clear, solid and affectionate, were printed in a fair and lively character in his conversation. He was an example to believers, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. He was of a stayed inind, temperate passions, and moderate in counsels. In managing affairs of moment, he was

not

not vehement and confident, not imposing and overbearing, but receptive of advice, and yielding to reason. His compassionate charity and beneficence were very eonspicuous amongst his other graces. His heart was given to God, and his relieving hand was open to the living images of God, whose pressing wants he felt with tender affections, and he was greatly instrumental in supplying them. As his life adorned the gospel, so also his death was exemplary to others, and gracious and comfortable to himself. The words of men leaving the world make usually the deepest impressions, being spoken most feelingly and truly, and 'with the least affectation. Death reveals the secrets of men's hearts: And the testimonies of dying saints, how gracious a Master they have served, and how sweet his service has been to their souls, have a mighty influence upon those about them.

In his last sickness, which was long and painful, his first work was, to yield himself with resigned submission to the will of God. When a dear friend of his first visited him, he said, “ I am in the use of means; but “ I think my appointed time is come, that I must die : “ If my life might be serviceable to convert or build “ up one soul, I should be content to live; but if “ God hath no work. for me to do, here I am, let “ him do with me as he pleaseth : But to be with “ Christ is best of all.” Another time he told the same person, " That now it was visible it was a determined “ case: The Lord would not hear the prayer, 'to bless " the means used for his recovery,” therefore desired his friends to be willing to resign him to God, saying, “ It will not be long before we meet in heaven, “ never to part more, and there we shall be perfectly " happy : There neither your doubts and fears, nor “ my pains and sorrows, shall follow us, nor our “ sins, which is best of all.” After a long continuance in his languishing condition, without any sensible alteration, being asked how he did, he replied, “ I lie here, si but get no ground for heaven or earth :" Upon which one said, · Yes, in your preparations for heaven.' “ yes, said he, there I sensibly get ground, I bless « GOD." An humble submission to the divine pleasure was the babitual frame of his soul. Whether the hope of his recovery were raised or sunk, he was content in every dispensation of providence,

« PreviousContinue »