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Thomas Hill

Thomas Hill was of Hart-hall, Oxford, and a popular preacher in the university. He was zealous in the advancement of truth, and in opposition to error; yet he discovered great moderation. Having preached a sermon from James 1. 16. in St. Mary's church, May 24, 1631, he made the following observations: " Were my time and learning parallel to my zeal, what a tempting doth here present itself, to shew how rashly (I say not cruelly) our Pelagian votaries have handled the decrees and statutes of the King of heaven. But they are to be mischieved into honour, (no matter how,) which tempts them to disrelish sound doctrine on no other ground than did David, because the lords do not favour it. 1. Sam. xxix. 6. Scripture they use worse than the Turks do christians at Tunis; enslave it to the vassalage of the foulest error; and, according to their most current garb, employ it to defend popery, or, as bad, Pelagianism. Popish darts, whet afresh on a Dutch grindstone, have pierced deep, and, without succour, will prove mortal. I am persuaded these late transmarine tenets had not been so jol/u and brief among us, nor the opposite truth so diametrically condemned by many, had they first made

• CUrk's Lira, p. 119,180. + Hildersham on John, Epi».

proof of these points in their own retired and serious contemplations." •

For these slight glances at popery and Arminianism, he was, by the instigation of Bishop Laud, convened before the vice-chancellor and heads of houses, when he was required to make the following degrading recantation, in a full convocation, on his bended knees :t—" I, Thomas Hill, " do freely and sincerely acknowledge before this venerable " assembly of convocation, that in a sermon lately by me. " preached in St. Mary's, I did let fall divers scandalous " speeches, partly in opposition to his majesty's injunctions, " by odious just ling together the names of certain factions " in the church, and imputing Pelagianism and popery to " the one side: partly in disparagement of the present " government of state and church, by making foul and " erroneous opinions the readiest steps now a days to pre" ferment. As also in disparaging the whole order of " bishops, in point of learning and religion, making them " favourers of unsound and erroneous doctrine, and dis" favourers of sound doctrine. As likewise in imputing to " a great part of our clergy, only politic and lunatic religion: " besides private glances against particular persons, con" ceming some speeches delivered in their fate sermons. " In all whichpassages in my sermon, I confess to have u given just offence to the university, and to deserve the " sharpest censures. Wherefore, with all humble sub" mission, I beseech the whole university, represented in " this venerable house, to pass by this my wilful error of " undiscreet and misguided zeal, and do faithfully promise " henceforward to abstain from all such scandalous asper* " sions and intimations, as tending only to the disparagement " of the church, and the distraction and disquiet of the " university. And this my submission I humbly crave may " be accepted, which I do here make willingly, and from " my heart, with true sorrow for what is past.

" Thomas Hill." It appears from the records of the university, that Mr. Hill made the above recantation, July 16, 1631, when he was no doubt released from the hands of his cruel oppressors. There was another puritan divine of the same name, who lived at the same time, was doctor in divinity, and a person of distinguished eminence in his day.

* Prynne'« Cant. Doome, p. 173. - + Ibid. p. 174.—Wharton's Troubles of Land, vol. ii. p. 5I.

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