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University orator, at Cambridge. That celebrated scholar having probably reached manhood with a constitution weakened by the bodily inace tivity which generally distinguishes the early years of genius, had suffered much from sickness, and was now slowly recovering from an obstinate ague. While thus struggling with the relics of his malady, his spirits became seriously depressed, and he anticipated the fish-diet, to which Lent would in the ordinary course of things consign him, with an invincible feeling of repugnance. Haunted by a morbid apprehension of ill effects likely to arise from a long continuance of such watery food, he applied to Cranmer for permission to choose his own diet on fast days, through Poynet, one of his Grace's chaplains.“ It is not,” wrote the sickly student, “to pamper my appetite, or from an affectation of doing something unusual, but only for the sake of preserving my health, and of thus being enabled to read with greater diligence, that I desire an exemption from the dietary restrictions imposed on those around
At Cambridge, where the air is naturally cold and moist, fish-diet is more than usually unwholesome. I could wish, therefore, to be no longer tied to certain meats at certain seasons. We are told by Herodotus, in his Euterpe, that the Egyptian priests, from whom originally issued all kinds of arts and learning, were not allowed to taste of fisho. No doubt this prohibi
• Herodot. Lib. II. c. 37. This prohibition arose undoubtedly from the Noetic superstition which is the basis of Paganism. tion flowed from an anxiety to prevent the fiery force and noble qualities natural to the human mind from being quenched by such cold juices as fish-eating is likely to engender. Among these Egyptians took its rise that stream of superstition, which, after visiting Greece and Rome, at length, through the sink of Popery, reached the shores of England. Surely therefore, it is most unreasonable, that, after having been obliged to follow so many pernicious devices originating in
The departed spirits, or in Romish language, the saints venerated by the Gentile world, were those eight favoured individuals whom Providence mercifully reserved in the Ark during the universal deluge. Of these, the deified personage most adored in several eastern regions was a female variously designated according to the idiom of different countries, as Ashtaroth, Astarte, Atargatis, Derceto, Aphrodite, or Venus. The mythologic allegory relates that his divinity, being closely pursued by Typhon, transformed herself into a fish, and thus escaped her enemy. In other words, the mother of the postdiluvian world, being endangered by the rising waters of Noah's flood, took refuge in the Ark and under its friendly shelter was enabled to survive the ruin which overtook contemporary mortals. In memory of this wonderful preservation, the Great Mother's Syrian descendants addressed in after ages their prayers to statues intended to represent her, of which the upper part presented the form of a woman, the lower that of a fish. Similarly fashioned in all probability were the figures of Dagon, or the Fish-god, worshipped by the Philistines. These allegorising superstitions invested fish with a sacred character in Syria, and to feed upon them was there deemed sacrilegious. Now between the superstitions of Egypt and Syria there existed a close connexion; a fact sufficient to account for the abstinence from fish enjoined to the priesthood of the former country. Lucian. de Syria Dea. Op. Amstel. 1687. II. 657. 662. Xenophon. Anab. Hutchinson. Oxon. 1735. 40.
Egypt, we should be debarred from adopting one of the most sensible rules in operation there." Whatever Cranmer might think of the ingenuity which discerned one of the stultifying processes of the Roman Church in her dietary laws, his good nature would not allow him to turn his back upon Ascham's application. Accordingly he procured a royal licence allowing that learned person to use his own discretion through life as to his Lenten repasts. The Archbishop also, well aware of the scanty finances usually at a scholar's command, kindly paid out of his own pocket all the fees of office, and being personally unacquainted with the applicant, he transmitted to him the desired dispensation through the master of his college.
Among the means adopted in London for disposing men's minds towards a decided change of religion, few, perhaps, were more efficacious than the restoration to public notice of Bishop Latimer. That eminently pious and zealous minister of God's Word had spent the last seven years of King Henry's reign a prisoner in the Tower, and in constant expectation of a violent death. When restored to liberty at the commencement of the present reign, he was found to have lost nothing of that pastoral diligence and fervour which had formerly captivated so many honest hearts. Archbishop Cranmer kindly gave him entertainment at Lambeth, and many, nay, most men
P Strype, Mem. Cranm. 238.
would have thought that he might allowably have spent the short remainder of his life in bodily ease and private devotion. His age now closely verged on seventy years, and his frame was irremediably shattered by the fall of a tree, from which he received a serious injury within a short time of his imprisonment. But when the venerable Latimer looked around upon the world to which he was restored, he felt that the holy cause of scriptural truth greatly needed strenuous advocates, and bowed down as he was by more than the ordinary infirmities of his age, he turned not back from the laborious field which lay before him. It was his habit throughout the year to rise at two in the morning for the purpose of pursuing his studies ', and during the busier part of the day his time was almost incessantly employed in affording spiritual counsel to those who came to ask it of him, or in hearing cases of oppression for the redress of which his influence was sought with such as could remedy the injury'. On Sundays, he seldom failed to deliver
4 Bernher's dedication to the Duchess of Suffolk. Latimer's Sermons, Lond. 1824. II. xji,
r“I cannot go to my book, for poor folks come unto me, desiring that I will speak that their matters may be heard. I trouble my Lord of Canterbury, and being at his house, now and then, I walk in the garden looking in my book, as I can do but little good at it. But something I must needs do to satisfy this place. (The royal pulpit.) I am no sooner in the garden, and have read awhile, but by and by cometh there some one or other knocking at the gate. Anon cometh my man, and saith, Sir, there is one at the gate would speak with you. When I come
two sermons, and of these, from his ardent zeal, his unquestionable integrity, his homely illustrations, his penetrating rebukes, and his humorous images, the effect was irresistible. On New Year's day he preached at St. Paul's Cross, and again on the two following Sundays, as well as upon the Conversion of St. Paul. The third of these sermons is yet extant. It is upon the Parable of the Sower, and after describing the duties of the Christian ministry, it launches out into severe invectives against the Romish hierarchy, as well as against the mass'. On the first Sunday in Lent, Latimer was appointed to preach before the King, when the pulpit was placed for the first time in the privy garden, it being thought probable that the chapel would be unable to contain the crowd which the fame of his eloquence was likely to bring together! Edward listened to the sermon from an open window of the palace, and was so much affected by the exemplary preacher's earnestness, that he presented him with a gratuity of twenty pounds“. In subsethere, then it is some one or other that desireth me I will speak that his matter might be heard, and that he hath lain this long at great costs and charges, and cannot once have his matter come to the hearing." Latimer's Sermons, I. 110.
•“ For whereas Christ, according as the serpent was lifted up in the wilderness, so would he himself be exalted; that thereby as many as trusted in him should have salvation ; but the devil would none of that. They would have us saved by a daily oblation propitiatory: by a sacrifice expiatory, or remissory." Ibid. 68. ? Heylin, Hist. Ref. 57.
Strype, Eccl. Mem. II. 122.