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John Rainolds

John Rainolds, D. D.—This celebrated divine was born at Penboe, near Exeter, in the year 1549, and educated in Corpus Christi college, Oxford. At first he was a zealous papist, and his brother William a professed protestant; but engaging in conference and disputation, the brothers, it is said, converted each ether; William becoming a most inveterate papist, and John an avowed protestant.^ The latter no sooner changed his views, than he applied himself to the study of the holy scriptures, and soon became a celebrated preacher.

In the year 1578, he was chosen to perform the two acts of the university, which gained him great applause; and the year following was appointed to the reading of the sentences. By these exercises he was soon drawn into the popish controversy, when the papists sought to eclipse his reputation. This did not in the least discourage him in his pursuits; but, in order that he might be the better qualified for discussing this subject, he read, with indefatigable pains, all the Greek and Latin fathers, and perused all the ancient records of the church he could meet with. By these

• MS. Register, p. 480—422. t Ibid. p. 742.

t Newcourt't Repert. Eccl. voL ii. p. 501. S Fuller'! Abel Redmriis. p. 478, 479.

Herculean labours, be shortly became so well acquainted with the errors and superstitions of popery, that he was accounted a complete master of the controversy.

About this time, the famous John Hart, a zealous papist, had the boldness to challenge all the learned men in the nation, to try the doctrine of the church. No one was thought better qualified to encounter the daring champion than Rainolds; who was, therefore, solicited by one of her majesty's privy council. After several combats, the popish antagonist was obliged to quit the field ; as appears from his own letter written from the Tower.1 This conference, subscribed by both parties, was afterwards published; which gave abundant satisfaction to all unprejudiced readers, and so greatly raised the fame of Rainolds, that he was immediately taken notice of at court. After taking his degrees in divinity, the queen appointed him divinity lecturer at Oxford. In these lectures he encountered Bellarmine, the renowned champion of the Romish church. Bellarmine was public reader in the English seminary at Rome; and as he delivered bis popish sentiments, they were taken down and regularly sent to Dr. Rainolds ; who from time to time commented upon them, and refuted them at Oxford. Thus Bellarmine's books on controversy were answered, even before they were printed.

'We are informed, indeed, that this divinity lecture was set up on purpose to widen the breach, and increase the difference betwixt the church of England and the church of Rome; and, to accomplish this design, Dr. Rainolds, a violent anti-papist, was first placed in the chair. His lectures were numerously attended and highly applauded. But it is further observed, " that Dr. Rainolds made it his business to read against the hierarchy, and weaken the authority of the bishops."t How far this account is correct, we shall not attempt to determine; but the queen, hearing of his great fame, and his good services in opposing the church of Rome, preferred him to a deanery in Lincoln, and even offered him a bishopric. The latter he modestly refused, choosing an academical life rather than the riches and splendour of any ecclesiastical preferment whatever, t

Dr. Bancroft, chaplain to Archbishop Whitgift, in a sermon, January 12, 1588, maintained, " that bishops were a

* Fnller's Abel Redivhos, p. 482.
+ Collier's Eccl. Hist. vol. ii. p. 597.

t Fuller's Abel Redmvti». p. 482, 483.—Wood's Atbense Oion. vol. L p. 290.

VOL. 11. JJ

distinct order from priests; and that they had a superiority over them by divine right, and directly from God." In those times this was new and strange doctrine, even to churchmen themselves. Hitherto it had been maintained, that all the superiority of bishops over pastors or presbyters, was wholly of human appointment, devised in the third or fourth century. While his sermon was highly gratifying to most of the ruling prelates, it gave great offence to many of the clergy, and to all the friends of the puritans at court. Sir Francis Knollys * told the archbishop, that Bancroft's opinion was contrary to the command of Christ, who prohibited all superiority among the apostles. But this gentleman, not relying on his own judgment, requested Dr. Rainolds to give his opinion of this new doctrine;, which he did in a letter at considerable length.

Dr. Rainolds, in this letter, observes, " that all who have laboured in reforming the church, for five hundred years, have taught that all pastors, whether they are entitled bishops or priests, have equal authority and power by God's word: As, the Waldeiiscs, next Marsilius Fatavinus, then VVickliffe and his scholars, afterwards Husse and the Hussites; and Luther, Calvin, Brentius, Bullingcr, and Musculus. Among ourselves, we have bishops, the queen's professors of divinity, and other learned men: as, Bradford, Lambert, Jewel, Pilkington, Humphrey, Fulke, &c. But why do I speak of particular persons? It is the opinion of the reformed churches of Helvetia, Savoy, France, Scotland, Germany, Hungary, Poland, the Low Countries, and our own. I hope Dr. Bancroft will not say, that all these have approved that for sound doctrine, which was condemned by the general consent of the whole church as heresy, in the most flourishing time. I hope he will acknowledge that he was overseen, when he avouched the superiority of bishops over the rest of the clergy, to be God's own ordinance."*

About the year 1599, Dr. Rainolds gave up his deanery of Lincoln, and his mastership of Queen's college, when he was chosen president of Corpus Christi college. Though in the last situation he did not continue above eight years, his presidency was rendered eminently useful. In 1603, he

• Sir Francis Knollys was one of her majesty'« privy council, a man of distinguished learning and piety, a ino>t able statesman, and a constant patron of the persecuted nonconformists ; on which account be was not well esteemed by some of the prelates.—Futler't Abel ll'd. p. 218.—Brilith Biog. vol. iii. p. 371.

y Strype's Whitgift, f. 8<>2, 293.—Slrype's Annuls, vol. iii. p. 577 , 578.

/ was'nominated one of the puritan divines to attend the' conferenceat Hampton-court. On the side of the episco-' palians, were Archbishop Whitgift, eight bishops and eight deans, with the king at the head; and on the side of the

Euritans, were Dr. Hainolds, Dr. Thomas Sparke, Mr. awrence Chadderton, and Mr. John Kncwstubs, all nominated by the king.* Dr. Rainolds, in the name of his brethren, humbly presented the following requests:

1. " That the doctrine of the church might be preserved pure, according to God's word.

2. " That good pastors might be planted in all churches, to preach the same.

3. " That church government might be sincerely ministered, according to God's word.

\ 4. " That the Book of Common Prayer might be fitted to more increase of piety."

These requests contained all or most of what the chief puritans desired ; and however reasonable they may appear, not one of them was granted. When the puritan ministers wished to discuss those things, for which they were professedly called together, the king would not allow them to proceed: but rising from his chair, he said, " If this be all i " that your party nave to say, I will make them conform, '~' . " or I will hurry them out of the land, or else do worse." ( They were much insulted, ridiculed, and laughed to scorn.t Sir Edward Peyton confessed, that our divine and his brethren had not freedom of speech; and finding it of no use to attempt a reply, they held their peace.t This con-' ference was therefore justly called, The mock conference of Hampton-court; and, says the judicious historian, was only a blind to introduce episcopacy into Scotland.^

In the year 1604, the king appointed Dr. Rainolds, on account of his uncommon skill in Greek and Hebrew, to be one of the translators of the Bible; but he did not live to see the work completed.fl He was seized with the consumption of which he died, when in the midst of this laborious undertaking; yet he continued to afford his assistance even to the last. During his sickness, his learned

• Fuller's Church Hist. b.lx. p. 7.—Slrype'sWhitgift.Appen. p. 237. .

+ Fuller's Church Hist. b. z. p. 19.—Barlow's Account, p. 170.

1 Neil's 1'iirltnns, »ol. ii. p. 18.
. S Rapln'i Hist, of Eng. vol. ii. p. 169.

| This was the present authorized translation, which bis majesty committed to the care of forty-seven reverend and learned persons, divided into six companies, to whom he gave the requisite instructions for the work.—Biog. Brilm.voh ii. p. 528. Edit. 1778.

brethren in Oxford met at his lodgings regularly once a week, to compare and perfect their notes. This learned man was thus employed in translating the word of life, even till he himself was translated to life everlasting.*

In his last sickness, all his time was spent in prayer to God, in hearing persons read, and in conferring with the translators. He remained in a lingering state till Ascensionday, when he addressed his friends, saying, " I hoped to have ascended on the very day of our Lord's ascension; but I shall stay with you a little longer, in which time I entreat you to read nothing to me, only such chapters of scripture as I shall appoint."

This reverend and learned divine, during his life, had been a famous opposcr of the errors of popery; and now upon his death-bed, the papists propagated scandalous reports concerning the nature of his complaint, and began to insinuate that he now recanted. To counteract this vile calumny, his friends desired him to give some testimony of his faith, previous to his departure. This being signified to him, he shook his head, and seemed much affected, but was not able to speak. His friends, observing this, asked him 'whether a tbrm might be drawn up in writing, to which God might enable him to set his hand; and he signified, by certain signs, his full approbation. Then they drew up the following paper:—" These are to testify to all " the world, that I die in the profession of that faith which " I have taught all my life, both in my preaching and in " my writings, with an assured hope ot my salvation, only u by the merits of Christ my Saviour."—This paper being twice distinctly read to him, and having seriously pondered every word of it himself, he put on his spectacles, and subscribed his name in very fair characters.t The day following, with his eyes lifted up to heaven, he breathed his soul into the hands of his dear Redeemer. He died May 21, 1607, in the sixty-eighth year of his age. His remains were interred, with great funeral solemnity, in the college chapel, being attended by the vice-chancellor, the heads of colleges, and the mayor and aldermen of the city. Dr. Henry Airay, the vice-chancellor, preached his funeral sermon; and Mr. Isaac Wake, the university oratory

• Fuller's Abel Itedivlvus, p. 487,488. + Ibid. p. 489.

t Wnke is said lo have been an elegant scholar, and no mean orator t bat King James thought Sleep of Cambridge much superior to htm I which occasioned his saying, " That he was inclined to sleep, when he heard Wake; and to wake, when be heard Sleep."—Granger's Biog. Hill. vol. i. p. 212.

delivered a funeral oration, in which he gave him the following character:

" However others admired his knowledge, lowliness of mind, and incredible abstinence, in all which he excelled, as even exceeded wonder; yet I do, and ever shall, chief!/ admire his slighting and neglecting all ways of preferment. Neither Luther, nor Calvin, nor Beza, nor Wbitaker, can challenge any honour which Rainolds hath not merited. I cannot but exceedingly congratulate our country, where he was born, our mother the university, where he was educated, and that most pregnant house of excellent wits, where he learned the first rudiments of most exquisite literature."* Dr. Crackenthorp, his intimate acquaintance, gave this account of him: " He turned over all writers, profane, ecclesiastical, and divine; and all the councils, fathers, and histories of the church. He was most excellent in all tongues, useful or ornamental to a divine. He had a sharp and ready wit, a grave and mature judgment, and was indefatigably industrious. He was so well skilled in all arts and sciences, as if he had spent his whole life in each of them. And as to virtue, integrity, piety, and sanctity of life, he was so eminent and conspicuous, that to name Rainolds is to commend virtue itself."t Bishop Hall used to say, " That Dr. Rainolds alone was a well-furnished library, full of all faculties, all studies, and all learning; and that his memory and reading were nearly a miracle." And our author adds, " he was a prodigy in reading, famous in doctrine, and the very treasury of erudition; and in a word, nothing can be spoken against him, only that he was the pillar of purilanism, and the grand favourer of nonconformity."t Indeed, Fuller insinuates, and Dr. Crackenthorp laboured to prove, that he was not a puritan, but an exact conformist.^ In this, however, they have proved unsuccessful. For, besides subscribing the " Book of Discipline," he utterly disapproved of certain ecclesiastical ceremonies; and though he wore the round cap as a collegian, he refused wearing the clerical habils.l Granger says, that Dr. Rainolds was generally reputed the greatest scholar of his age and country; that his memory was so retentive, he hardly knew what it was to forget; that he

• Fuller's Abel. Red. p. 496. + Ibid. p. 483, 484.

t Wood's Athenm Oxon. vol. i. p. 890.

{Fuller's Church Hiit. b. x. p. 48.— Bark*dale's Remembrancer, p. 9—II. Edit. 1670.

|| MS. Remarks on Hist. p. 88. (8.)

was esteemed a match for Bellarminc, the Goltah of the church of Rome; and that he was styled a living library, or a third university.*

His Works.—I. Two Orations, 1576.—2. Six Theses, 1579.— 3. A Sermon on the Destruction of the ldumcaus, 1584.—4. A Sermon to the Scholars of the University, 1586.—5. The Sum of a Conference between John Kainolds and John Hart, 1588.—6. Dc Romans; Eecleiiss ldolatria, 1596.—7. The Overthrow of Stageplays, 1599.—8. An Apologie of his Theses, 1602.—9. An Epistle to Thomas l'yc, 1C06.—10. A Defence of the J udgnirnt of the Reformed Churches, 1609.—II. Censure I.ibrorum Apocryphorum vcteris Tcslamenti, 1011.—12. The I'rophcsic of Obadiah opened and applied, 1613.—13. Letter to his Friend, concerning the Study of Divinity, 1613.—14. Orationcs Duodcccm, 1638.—15. The Discovery of the Man of Sin, 1641.—10. A Letter to Sir Francis Knollys, 1641.— 17. The Original of Bishops and Metropolitans briefly laid open, 1641.—18. Judgment concerning Episcopacy, 1641.—19. The I'rophcsic of Haggai interpreted and applied, 1649.—20. Commentary" lu trcs bib. Aristot. Do Kctorica.—21. Answer to Nich. Saunders his Docks, Dt Schiimnte Anylicauo, in Defence of our Reformation.— 22. A Defence of our English Liturgy against Rob. Browne his Schismatical Book.—23. A Treatise of the llcginning and 1'rogress of the Popish Errors.—He also published several Translations of the works of other learned men.