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Henry Jacob

Henry Jacob, A. M.—This distinguished person was born in Kent, HThe year 1563, and educated in St. Mary'shall, Oxford, where he took his degrees in arts. Entering upon the ministerial work, he became precentor of Christ's Church, and was afterwards beneficed at Cheriton in his native county; but he quitted his living previous to the year 1591. " He was a person," says Wood, " most excellently well read in theological authors, and a most zealous puritan."{ About this period, he embraced the principles of the Brownists; though he never carried them to that uncharitable extent which was the worst feature in the character of that people. Upon the general banishment of the Brownists, in 1593, Mr. Jacob retired to Holland,^ bat probably returned to England before the year 1597. At this time, the controversy arose about the true interpretation of that article in the apostle's creed, which relates to Christ's descent into hell. ESisIiop Bilson, in his sermons at Paul's cross, maintained the literal sense of the passage; and affirmed that he went thither not to suffer, but to wrest the keys of hell and death out of the hands of the devil. 1 The

• Fuller's Hist, of Cam. p. 183.

+ MS. Chronology, vol. iii. A. D. 1628,16il.

t Athena Oxon. vol. i. p. 394. S Weal's Puritans, vol. L p. 495.

| Ibid. p. 502.

bishop's sermons were no sooner published to the world, than Mr. Jacob drew up a reply, entitled, " A Treatise of the Sufferings_ and Victory of Christ in the^work~'6T~our Redemption, wrUfen against' certain Errors'in these points, publicly preached in London," 1598. The two principal points defended by Mr. Jacob, in this treatise, were, " That Christ suffered for us the wrath of God, which we may well termjthe'pains of hell, or hellish sorrows. And that the soul of Christ, after his death oh the cross, did not actually descend into hell." In the year 1600, he came forwards in vindication of what he had written on these points, by publishing his " Defence of a Treatise touching the Sufferings and Victory of Christ in the work of our Redemption."*~ The writings of Mr. Jacob and other puritans upon this subject, roused the attention and indignation of Queen Elizabeth, who commanded the bishop " neither to desert the doctrine, nor let the calling which he bore in the church of God be trampled under foot by such unquiet refusers of truth and authority."t This, instead of putting them to silence, only awakened them the more, and occasioned Mr. Jacob to publish his " Survey of Christ's Sufferings for Man's Redemption: and of his descent to Hades, or Hel, for our deliverance," 1604. A Prior to the publication of this last "piece, it appears that Mr. Jacob removed to Amsterdam, where he was engaged in some disputes with the more rigid Brownists. The principal question then agitated, was, «4 Whether the church of England be a true church." This most of the Brownists denied; but it was affirmed and defended by Mr. Jacob, who was less rigid in his opinions. The particulars of this controversy may be collected from a book entitled " A Defence of the Church and Ministry of England, written in two Treatises against the Reasons and Objections of Mr. Francis Johnson," 1599; a circumstantial accouut of which is given in another place, t

Mr. Jacob was commonly denominated a semi-separatist. As he did not utterly refuse communion with the church of England; so he rejected all her corruptions. And once, for refusing to kneel at the sacrament, the minister prosecuted him in the ecclesiastical court; and having taken great pains to carry on the prosecution, but with little success, he asked the bishop what he should do, who told him to go home,

and trouble himself no more about it, but leave such kind of work to his churchwardens.* During the above debates, and about the year last mentioned, Mr. Jacob settled at Middleburg, in Zealand; where he collected a church among the English exiles, over which he continued pastor for several years. Though he considered the church of England to be a true church, he believed there were many things in her discipline and worship, which, savouring too much of the church of antichrist, stood in need of reformation. Accordingly, he published his thoughts upon this subject, in a treatise entitled " Reasons taken out of God's word and the best human Testimonies, proving a necessity of Reforming our Churches in England," 1604. In this work he maintains,—1. " The absolute perfection of the holy scriptures, in all matters of faith and discipline, without any human traditions.—2. That the ministry and ceremonies of the church of England stood in need of reformation .—

3. That for two hundred years after Christ, the churches of Christ were not diocesan churches, but congregational.—

4. That the New Testament contains a particular form of church government.—5. That this form of church government is not changeable by man; and, therefore, no other form is lawful." The book was dedicated to King James.t

About the year 1610, Mr. Jacob performed a journey to Leyden, where he enjoyed much familiar intercourse with Mr. John Robinson, and embraced his opinions relative to church government, since known by the name of Independency.t This change in his sentiments appears to have been the effect of cool and deliberate inquiry; and he published to the world the result of his convictions, in a treatise entitled " The Divine beginning and institution of Christ's true, visible, and material Church," 1610. Soon after the publication of this piece at Leyden, he returned to his charge at Middleburg. The following year he drew up another treatise, designed to explain and confirm the former one, entitled," A Declaration and opening of certain Points, with a sound Confirmation of some others, in a Treatise entitled " The Divine beginning, &c." 1611.%

Mr. Jacob, after being absent several years from his native country, returned to London in the year 1616. There he formed a design of raising a separate congregation, similar to those in Holland; and communicated his intention

• Pagel's Heresiography, p. 72.

t Strype's Whitgift, p. 566. t Neat's Puritans, vol. il. p.47,100. t Wood's Athene Ojcon. rol. i, p 395.

to. Mr. Dod, Mr. Tbrogmorton, and some other learned puritans, who, seeing no prospect of a reformation of the national church, expressed their approbation of his design. He accordingly called several of his friends together, when he obtained their consent to unite in church fellowship for a purer administration of divine ordinances; and it is generally supposed, though Mr. Edwards asserts the contrary,* that he laid the foundation of the first independent or congregational church in England. The method of proceeding on this occasion was as follows : — Having observed a day of solemn fasting and prayer, for the blessing of God upon their undertaking, each member of the society made a public confession of his faith in Jesus Christ. Then standing together, they joined hands, and solemnly covenanted with each other, in the presence of Almighty God, to walk together in all God's ways and ordinances, according as he had already revealed, or should further make known to them. Mr. Jacob was chosen their pastor by the sufferage of the brotherhood, and proper persons were chosen to the office of deacons, with fasting and prayer, and the imposition of hands. About the same time, our divine published " A Protestation or Confession, in the name of certain Christians,' shewing how far they agreed with the Church of England, and wherein they differed, with the reasons of their Dissent drawn from Scripture," 1616. To this was added a petition to the king for the toleration of such christians. This was soon after followed by another piece, entitled, " A Collection of sound Reasons, shewing how necessary it is for all Christians to walk in all the ways and ordinances of God in purity, and in a right way."t

Mr. Jacob continued with his congregation about eight / years; but, in 1624, being desirous to extend his usefulness, ' \ he, with the consent of his church, went to Virginia, where ) he soon after died, aged sixty-one years. Mr. John Lathorp, / another distinguished puritan, succeeded him in the pastoral charge of his church in London. In addition to the articles already mentioned, Mr. Jacob was author of the following works:—" A Position against vain-glorious, and that jwhich is falsely called, learned Preaching,^ 1604.— u A Christian and modest Offer of Conference with the Prelates," 1606.—" AjCounterpoyson," 1608.—4rA plain and clear Exposition of the Second Commandment," 1610.

Mr. Jacob had a son of the same name, a man of

* Edwards's Gangrseua, part Hi. p. 165.
t Neat's Puritans, rol. if. p. 100,101.

uncommon erudition, and entirely devoted to literary pur* suits, but totally ignorant of the world. He was innocent, harmless, and careless, and lived principally on the benefactions of friends, particularly the celebrated Mr. Selden. He died at Canterbury in September, 1652.*