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Thomas Holland

Thomas Holland, D. D.—This celebrated scholar and divine was born at Ludlow in Shropshire, in the year 1539, and educated in Exeter college, Oxford; where lie took his degrees with great applause. In 1589 he succeeded Dr. Lawrence Humphrey, as king's professor of divinity; and in 1592, was elected master of Exeter college, being accounted a prodigy in almost all kinds of literature. His distinguished reputation was not confined to his own country. He was highly admired in the foreign universities, as well as in our own public seminaries. During his professorship, many persons eminent for learning and piety were his scholars, who afterwards became conspicuous ornaments in the church and the commonwealth.

Dr. Holland was a thorough Calvinist in his views of the doctrines of the gospel, and a decided nonconformist in matters of ceremony and discipline. In one of his public acts at the university, he boldly maintained that bishops were no distinct order from presbyters, nor at all superior to them, according to the word of God. He was a most zealous opposcr of the innovations in doctrine, worship, and ceremonies, intended to be introduced into the university of Oxford, by Bancroft, Ncile, and Laud.* In the year 1604 Mr. William Laud, afterwards the famous archbishop, performing his exercise for bachelor of divinity, maintained, u That there could be no true churches without diocesan episcopacy;" for which, it is said, Dr. Holland sharply rebuked, and publicly disgraced him, as one who endeavoured to sow discord among brethren, and between the church of England and the reformed churches abroad.+ During the above year, Dr. Holland was one of the Oxford divines appointed by King James to draw up a new translation of the Bible; and he had a consid e rable hand in that learned and laborious work. This is the translation now in use.}

Towards the close of life, this celebrated divine spent most of his time in meditation and prayer. Sickness, old age, and its infirmities, served only to increase his ardour for heaven. He loved God, and longed to enjoy him. His soul was formed for heaven. He could find no rest out of heaven; and his end was peace. Finding the hour of his departure near at hand, he exclaimed, " Come, O come

* MS. Chronology, vol. II. p. 635. (2.)

t MS. Remarks, p. 583.—Canterburies Doome, p. 389.

t Burners Hist, of Refor. vol. ii. Rec. p. 367.

Lord Jesus, thou bright Morning Star! Come, lx>rd Jesus: I desire to be dissolved, and be with thee." Herein his request was granted. Jesus crowned him with glory, immortality, and eternal life, March 17,1612, aged seventy, three years. His remains were interred in the chancel of St. Marys church, Oxf'rd, with great funeral solemnity and universal lamentation. He was succeeded in the professor's chair by Dr. Robert Abbot, afterwards Bishop of Salisbury.*

Dr. Kilby, who preached his funeral sermon, gives the following account of him: " He had a wonderful knowledge of all the learned languages, and of all arts and sciences, both human and divine. He was mighty in the scriptures; and so familiarly acquainted with the fathers, as if he himself had been one of them; and so versed in the schoolmen, as if he were the seraphic doctor. He was, therefore, most worthy of the divinity chair, which he filled about twenty years, with distinguished approbation and applause. He was so celebrated tor his preaching, reading, disputing, moderating, and all other excellent qualifications, that all who knew him commended him, and all who heard of him admired him.

" His life was so answerable to his learning, that it was difficult to say which was most to be admired. He was not like those, who when they become learned cease to do well; nor like those, who by their learning, aspire after riches, honours, or preferments; but his learning was so sanctified by the Holy Ghost, that he ever aspired towards the kingdom of heaven. His lite and conversation were so holy, upright and sanctified, that in him the fruits of the Spirit greatly abounded: as, love, joy, peace, gentleness, meekness, temperance, and brotherly kindness. He was so zealous an advocate for the purity of the gospel, both in faith and worship, and had so great an aversion to all innovation, superstition and idolatry, that previous to his going a joumey, he constantly called together the fellows of the college, and delivered to them this charge: 4 I commend

* This most pious and learned prelate, brother to Archbishop Abbot, distinguished himself by writing In defence of Mr. William Perkins's

Reformed Catholic," against Dr. William Bishop, then a secular priest, but afterwards, in the pope's style, a titular bishop of Cbalcedon. When Abbot was offered the bishopric of Salisbury, it was with great difficulty be could be pressed to accept it; insomuch, that when he attended at court, to do his homage after his consecration, King James pleasantly said to him, " Abbot, I have had very much to do to make thee a bishop; but I know no reason for it, unless it were because thou hast writteo against one."—Biog. Britan. vol. i. p. 22,23. Edit. 1178,

you to the love of God, and to the hatred of all popery and superstition.' "• The Oxford historian denominates him " a •olid preacher, a most noted disputant, and a most learned divine."* It does not appear whether he was any relation to Mr. John Holland, another excellent puritan divine.

Dr. Holland published several learned orations, and a ^aermon on Mat. xii. 42, printed 1601; and left many manuscripts ready for the press, 'which, falling into the hands of those unfriendly to the puritans, were never published.