BLTC Press Titles


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The Art of Worldly Wisdom

Baltasar Gracian


The Worm Ouroboros

E. R. Eddison


The Secret Doctrine, Volume I Cosmogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky


My Man Jeeves

P. G. Wodehouse


A disputation on Holy Scripture

by William Whitaker

Excerpt:

PREFACE.

It seemed desirable that this, the great work of cue of the greatest of our early divines upon the cardinal point of difference between the churches of the Roman and the reformed communions, should be comprised in the collection of the Parker Society; not only on account of its intrinsic merits, but also for its historical value; as exhibiting the posture of defence assumed by our schools against that change of tactics in the management of this great controversy, which is to be dated from the institution of the Society of Jesus.

William Whitaker (or Whitacre) was born at Holme, in Lancashire, A. D. 1547, of a good family, nearly related to Alexander Nowel, the celebrated dean of St Paul's. He was bred at Cambridge, where he soon distinguished himself, and was in 1579 appointed the Queen's Professor of Divinity. In 1586, through the influence of Burghley and Whitgift, and in spite of obstinate and powerful opposition, he was made Master of St John's College in that University; soon after which appointment he took his degree of Doctor in Divinity. His delay in assuming the doctorate seems curious, and it was maliciously made the ground of a most unjust imputation of puritanism. How small was his sympathy with the disciplinarian party, appears from the manner in which he speaks of their great leader, Cartwright, in a letter preserved by Bancroft1: " Quem Cartwrightus nuper emisit libellum, ejus magnam partem perlegi. Ne vivam, si quid unquam viderim dissolutius ac pene puerilius. Verborum satis ille quidem lautam ac novam supellectilem habet, rerum omnino nullam, quantum ego quidem judicare possum. Deinde non modo perverse de Principis in Rebus Sacris atque Ecclcsiasticis auctoritate sentit; sed in papistarum etiam castra transfugit; a quibus tamen videri vult odio capitali dissidere. Verum nee in hac causa

1 Surrey of Discipline, p. 379, Lond. 1593.

fcrcndus, sed aliis etiam in partibus tcla a papistis mutuatur. Denique, ut de Ambrosio dixit Hieronymus, verbis ludit, sententiis dormitat, et plane indignus est qui a quopiam docto refutetur."

But though far removed from the disciplinarian tenets of the puritans, Whitaker undoubtedly agreed with them in their hostility to the Arminian opinions, which in his time began to prevail in the Church of England; as appears from the share taken by him in the prosecution of Baret, and the devising of the Lambeth articles. The history of such proceedings is foreign from my present purpose; but the reader will find a full detail of the circumstances connected with them in Strype's Life of Whitgift, Book iv., Chapters 14—18. Shortly after the termination of that memorable dispute, Whitaker died in 1595, in the forty-seventh year of his age. He was married, and had eight children. It was pleasantly said of him, that he gave the world a child and a book1 every year. Of his children I have nothing to communicate, and his books will speak for themselves. They gained for him in his life-time a high character, not only with friends, but with enemies also. " I have," says the writer of his life, in Lupton's Protestant Divines2, " I have heard it confessed of English Papists themselves, which have been in Italy with Bellarminc himself, that he procured the true portraiture and effigies of this Whitaker to be brought to him, which he kept in his study. For he privately admired this man for his singular learning and ingenuity; and being asked of some of his friends, Jesuits, why he would have the picture of that heretic in his presence? he would answer, Quod quamvis htereticus erat et adversarius, erat tamen doctus adversarius: that, " although he was an heretic, and his adversary, yet he was a learned adversary," p. 359. " He was," says Gataker, " tall of stature and upright; of a grave aspect, with black hair and a ruddy complexion ; a solid judgment, a liberal mind, an affable disposition; a


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