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Christopher Goodman

Christopher Goodman, B. D.*—This distinguished puritan was born in the city of Chester, about the year 1519, and educated in Brazen-nose college, Oxford. After taking his degrees in Arts, he was constituted one of the senior students of Christ's Church, then newly founded by Henry VIII. Towards the close of the reign of King Edward, he was admitted to the reading of the sentences, and chosen divinity lecturer in the university. But upon the accession of Queen Mary, and the return of popery and bloody persecution, he withdrew from the storm, and went into exile. He retired, with many of his brethren, to Frankfort, and was deeply involved in the troubles of that place, occasioned chiefly by the officious interference of Dr. Cox and his party. Here, when it was proposed to make choice of officers for the church, Mr. Goodman gave it as his opinion, " That they ought first to agree to some godly order for the church; and, in agreeing to this order, to obtain the consent of the congregation, whereby it might appear that they contemned not the rest of their brethren: and further, to proceed to the election, which he thought, also, ought not to be attempted without the consent of the whole church." In neither of these proposals, however, did Mr. Goodman succeed. For it was replied, that they should have no other order than the English Book of Common Prayer; and Dr. Cox had assembled the ministers, at his lodgings, to make choice of a bishop and other officers.* Upon the separation at Frankfort, Mr. Goodman went to Geneva, where he and Mr. John Knox, the famous Scotch reformer, were chosen pastors of the English church, and there remained till the death of Queen Mary. While at Geneva, he assisted Mr. Knox in composing " The Book of Common Order," which was to be used as a directory of worship in the protestant congregations.* Upon receiving the news of the queen's death, Mr. Goodman and his brethren at Geneva, wrote a most affectionate, healing letter to their fellow-exiles at Frankfort. This letter, with the answer, is still preserved-f

It will be proper here to observe, that during Mr. Goodman's exile, and some time before the queen's death, a report came to them that she was dead. The rumour occasioned him to write to Mr. Bartlet Green, a lawyer, a pious professor of the gospel, and his former acquaintance

• Troubles at Frankeford, p. 39,40.

+ Scott's Lives of .Reformers, p. 250. Edit. 1810.

t Troubles at Frankeford, p. 160—163.

at Oxford, inquiring whether the report was true. His worthy friend replied, The queen is not yet dead. The letter, however, being intercepted, Mr. Green was apprehended, committed to the Tower, and, after lying a long time in prison, condemned and committed to the flames, under the cruel severities of Bonner, bishop of London.* While our divine remained at Geneva, he took an active part, with several of his learned brethren, in writing and publishing the Geneva translation of the Bible.+

On the accession of Queen Elizabeth, Mr. Goodman, after finishing the Translation, returned from exile, but did not immediately come to England. He went to Scotland; and, for several years, was actively employed in promoting the reformation, and preaching the gospel, in that country. In the year 1560, having preached for some time at Ayr, the committee of parliament, who nominated the ministers for the principal towns in Scotland, appointed him to be minister at St. Andrews, where it was thought expedient that the officiating minister should be a man of established reputation.): About the same time, he was employed in a public disputation at Edinburgh, betwixt the papists and protectants. Those on the side of the papists were Dr. Lesley, Dr. Anderson, Mr. Mirton, and Mr. Stracquin; who disputed with Mr. Knox, Mr. Willock, and Mr. Goodman. The points of disputation were, " The holy eucharist, and the sacrifice of the altar." In the conclusion, though the papists gave it out, that the protestants were completely baffled, and declined the contest in future, the nobility, who attended the dispute, were certainly of another mind.j

As minister of St. Andrews, Mr. Goodman was present in the assembly, December 20, 1560, with the assistant elders, David Spens and Robert Kynpont, who accompanied him. In 1562, he and Mr. John How, minister of Perth, were appointed to assist John Erskine of Dun, in the visitation of the sheriffdoms of Aberdeen and Banff. And in 1563, he argued in opposition to Mr. Secretary Lethington, that the tithes ought to be appropriated to the clergy. Lethington was on this occasion much chagrined; and ungenerously said, that it was not fit that a stranger should meddle with the affairs of a foreign commonwealth. Mr. Goodman calmly, but firmly, replied, " My lord secretary.

• Fox'» Martyrs, vol. ill. p. 523—526.—Slrype'» Cranmcr, p. 370. + See Art. Coverdule.

t Hist, of Church of Scotland, p. 253. Edit. I0t4. S Collier's Keel. Hist. vol. 11. p. 470.

though in your policy I be a stranger, yet I am not so in the kirk or God; and, therefore, the care thereof appertained no less to me in Scotland, than if I were in the midst of England."*

In the year 1564, he was appointed to preach for the space of a month, at Edinburgh, in the absence of Mr. John Craig, one of the ministers of that city, who had been commissioned to visit some of the southern parts of the kingdom. Also, the assembly, June 25, 1565, laid many appointments upon him, some of which he did not fulfil; for, before the assembly again met, December 25th, in the same year, he had left the kingdom; which is thus noticed in the church-register:—" Commissioners from St. Andrews appeared, who requested that Mr. John Knox should be transplanted, and placed at St. Andrews. The assembly refused their request, and desired them to choose a minister out of their own university, in the room of Mr. Christopher Goodman, who had lately departed into England."t

Dr. Hcylin, with his wonted peevishness and slander, says, " It cannot be denied, that Goodman, Gilby, Whittingham, and the rest of the Gencvean conventicle, were very much grieved, at their return from exile, that they could not bear the like sway here as Calvin and Beza did at Geneva. They not only repined and were envious at the reformation of the English church, because not fitted to their fancies, and Calvin's platform; but laboured to sow those seeds of heterodoxy and disobedience, which brought forth those troubles and disorders that afterwards followed."J So much reproach, misrepresentation and falsehood, is seldom found within so small a compass.

About the year 1568, our celebrated divine became chaplain to Sir Henry Sidney, in his expedition against the rebels in Ireland, and shewed his great diligence and faithfulness in that service^ And in 1571, he was cited before Archbishop Parker, and other high commissioners, at Lambeth. He published a book, during his exile under Queen Mary, entitled, " How Superior Powers ought to be obeyed of their Subjects, and wherein they may be lawfully, by God's Word, obeyed and resisted: Wherein also is declared the Cause of all the present Misery in England, and how the same may be remedied," 1558. In this work, he spoke wittt some freedom against the government of Women, but especially the severe proceedings of Queen

• Scotl's Llvrt of Rcformeri, p.251. t Ibid. p. 2S9.

t Heyllo'. IIlil. of Frei. p. 84. <i TrooWn at Frankeford, p. 161.

Mary. From this book, the archbishop, after so many years, collected certain dangerous and seditious articles, as they are called; and required Mr. Goodman to revoke his opinions.* Though he refused for some time, yet, before his release could be procured, he was obliged to subscribe the following recantation:

u For as much as the extremity of the time, wherein I did write my book, brought forth alteration of religion, setting up of idolatry, banishment of good men, murdering of saints, and violation of all promises made to the godly; I was, upon consideration of present grief, moved to write many things therein, which may be, and are, offensively taken, and which also I do mislike, and wish they had not been written. And notwithstanding the book, by me so written, I do protest and confess, « That good and godly women may lawfully govern whole realms and nations; and do, from the bottom ot my heart, allow the queen's majesty's most lawful government, and daily pray for the long continuance ot the same. Neither did I ever mean to affirm, that any person or persons, of their own authority, ought or might lawfully have punished Queen Mary with death. Nor that the people, of their own authority, may lawfully punish their magistrates, transgressing the Lord's precepts. Nor that ordinarily God is the head of the people, and givcth the sword into their hands, though they seek the accomplishment of his laws.' Wherefore, as many of these assertions as may be rightly collected out of my said book, them I do utterly renounce and revoke, as none of mine, promising never to write, teach, nor preach, any such offensive ^doctrine. Humbly desiring, that it may please your lordships to give me your good and favourable allowance; whereby I shall, by God's grace, endeavour to labour in furthering the true service of God, and obedience to her majesty, to the utmost of my power, during my whole life: to the satisfaction of all good men, and to the contentment of her majesty and your good lordships.

" CliniSToPHER GooDMAN."t

" This is a lame recantation," says one of our learned historians. " For Goodman founds the queen's title upon her moral, and not upon her civil qualifications. Godly women," he says," may lawfully govern. By this doctrine, where there is no virtue, there can be no claim to authority; and when their godliness is at an end, their government must

• Strjpc's Parker, p. 325, 320. + Strype's Annals, Tol. i. p. 126.

be so too: this is founding dominion on grace. And when the prince has so precarious a title, and the subjects are made judges of the forfeiture, peace and public order must be weakly established. The next part of the recantation is not one jot better. For by only denying that prixate people may execute their princes, he seems to allow that magistrates and parliaments may do it. And by saying, that God does not ordinarily put the sword into the hands of the people, what can be inferred, but that in some cases it is lawful for the people to rise against their sovereign, and reform the church and state at discretion."* How much better would the learned writer have ordered this recantation, if he had fortunately been one of the high commissioners at Lambeth! If the form of it was really faulty, surely this attaches, no evil to Mr. Goodman. He only complied with the impositions of his ecclesiastical judges. In this, as in numerous other instances, we see the extreme madness of any man, or any body of men, attempting to impose their own opinions upon their fellow-creatures.

When Mr. Goodman was cited before the archbishop and other commissioners, he was required to subscribe, not only the above recantation, but the following protestation of his loyalty to the queen and government:

" I, Christopher Goodman, preacher of God's word in this realm of England, have protested, the day and year above written, before the reverend fathers aforesaid, and in this present writing, do unfcignedly protest and confess before all men, that I have esteemed and taken Elizabeth, by the grace of God Queen of England, France, and Ireland, defender of the faith, &c. ever since her coronation, as now, and shall during life, and her grace's government! for my only liege lady, and most lawful queen and sovereign. Whom I truly reverence in my heart, love, fear, and obey, as becometh an obedient subject, in all tilings lawful; and as 1 have at sundry times in the pulpit, willingly and of mine own accord, declared in great audience, who can and will bear me sufficient record, exhorting and persuading all men, so far forth as in me did lay, to the like obedience to her majesty. For whose preservation, and prosperous government, 1 have earnestly and daily prayed to God, and will, heing assisted by his holy spirit, during my life. In witness whereof, I the said Christopher,

have subscribed this protestation with mine own hand, the 26th day of April, 1571, by me,

" Christopher Goodman."* In the year 1584, Mr. Goodman, we find, lived in his native county, where he was most probably silenced for nonconformity. During that year, Archbishop Whitgif't having pressed subscription to his three articles, upon the

fodly ministers in those parts, Mr. Goodman wrote to the larl of Leicester, informing him how the papists in Cheshire and elsewhere, rejoiced at the proceedings and severities of the archbishop. This the archbishop, indeed, resented and denied, and charged Mr. Goodman with perverseness, in refusing subscription, and an exact conformity to the established church, t

We have not been able to obtain any further account of this excellent divine, till the pious and learned Mr. James Usher, afterwards the famous archbishop, came to England to purchase books for the college library at Dublin, when he visited him on his death-bed. Usher was so deeply impressed with the holy conversation of this venerable divine, that, when he himself became an old man, and the Archbishop of Armagh, he often repeated the wise and grave speeches which he had heard from him.t Mr. Goodman died in 1602, aged eighty-three years, and his remains were interred in St. Werburg's church, in the city of Chester. Fuller denominates him a leader of the fierce nonconformists.^ Wood says, he was a most violent nonconformist, and more rigid in his opinions than his friend John Calvin, who speaks of him in his epistles.| | Mr. Leigh calls him a learned, good, and holy divine.* Dr. Bancroft says, that he, with the rest of the Geneva accomplices, urged all estates to take up arms, and by force to reform religion themselves, rather than to surfer superstition and idolatry to remain in the land.**

Mr. Thomas Merburie of Christ's college, Cambridge, in his last will and testament, da d December 1, 1571, and proved the same month, appointed " his well-beloved in Christ, his father-in-law, Mr.Christopher Goodman, preacher

* Strype's Annals, vol. i. p. 95, 96. • + Ibid. vol. HI. p. 245, 846.

J Bernard's Life of Usher, p. 48. Edit. 1656.

^ Fuller's Church Hist. b. ix. p. 77.

I! Wood's Athena; O.von. vol i. p. 873.

S Leigh's Religion and Learning, p. 811.

*• Bancroft's Dangerous Positions, p. 68. Edit. 1640.

of God's word," one of the supervisors of his will.* Mr. Goodman published the two following articles: " How Superior Powers ought to be obeyed of their Subjects, and wherein they may be lawfully, by God's Word, disobeyed and resisted," 1548.—" A Commentary on Amos." Wood ascribes to htm, " The first Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women," 1558: But it is well known that Mr. John Knox, the celebrated Scotch reformer, was its author: our divine only wrote the preface to that work.