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W HEN he was born, his parents had then alive
two sons mores and two daughters * ; so we account him the third son. He came into the world Febr. 22, An. 1592*, was christened the 28th day in the parish of St. Mary Stayning, in Mark Lane, London, named Nicholas after the name of his father; a lovely child, fair and of bright hair like his mother. The Bible was the book in the world to him dear and precious. The next book, the Book
1 Baker heads the MS.
"Some directions for the collecting materials for the writing the life of Mr. Nich. Ferrar. Then follows the account of his life, beginning, In the name of God, Amen.
"N.B. This is only an extract of a much larger account." 3 John and Erasmus.
3 Susanna, afterwards Mrs. Collett, alone is named in Peckard's Life.
of Martyrs, he took great delight in ; and the story of bishop Ferrar' he had perfect, as for his name's sake.
2. About the year 1598, the bishop of London held at St. Magnus's Church a confirmation", whither Mr. Francis his schoolmaster brought the said Nicholas Ferrar to be confirmed, as he was the second time by his own contrivance, and being asked by his master, Why did you so ? replied cheerfully, I did it because it was a good thing to have the bishop's prayers and blessing twice, and I have got it. And now his parents resolved to send him and his brother William to a school in Berkshire, near to Newbury, to one Mr. Brooks's house, a minister
i See the “Martyrdome of Doctor Robert Farrar, Bishop and Martyr, at Carmarthen. Anno 1555, March 30," in Fox, (1413, ed. 1597.)
3 “He seldom travelled but notice being given before, he staid at some town or village, to confirm such as were but even past children, to lay his hands on them, and to bless them, and did it oftener than the 60 canon requires : an ancient and an admirable order, when such were presented as were before made ready by being exactly catechized." Hacket's Life of Williams, ii. 61. “Why do we confirm little children, whom in all reason we cannot suppose to be capable and receptive of such graces ?”—“There is a third way, which the church of England and Ireland follows, that after infancy, but yet before they understand too much of sin... then it is good to bring them to be confirmed.""The sooner the better, I mean after that reason begins to dawn.”—Jer. Taylor, Disc. of Confirm. $ 7 (v. 661, 663, 664, new ed.). Herbert (Country Parson, c. xxii.) recommends early admission to the Communion.
and their old acquaintance, a famous man when he lived in the Old Jewry, London', who had already their two elder sons there at school, and thirty gentlemen and merchants' sons of London, keeping a schoolmaster in his house to teach all of them; he only had an eye upon their learning and good manners, who himself was a very severe man, and with his very looks kept all his boarders in exceeding great awe and reverence.
3. While preparations were making to send them, it pleased God to permit a sore and grievous temptation to befall Nicholas Ferrar, that wonderfully perplexed his body and mind, Whether there was a God, and how to be served. One night, which was cold and frosty, he riseth out of his bed, for sleep he could not, and goes down to a green grass-plat in the garden, and throws himself upon his face on the ground, and with extreme perplexity of grief sobs sighs and abundance of tears, earnestly with all his strength, humbly begged of God that He would put into his heart the true fear and care of His Divine Majesty, and that this fear and love of God might never depart out of his mind, and that he might know, how he must serve Him. After much bitter weeping he felt his heart much eased, and comforts began to come to it, and to have an assurance of
i Rob. Brooks, M. A. was instituted vicar of St. Olave Jewry, Aug. 27, 1593, being thereunto presented by the crown ; and rector of Wodeham Walter in Essex, Dec. 12, 1619 (Newcourt, i. 515, ü. 605).
* Supply [he began].
God, and the doubt began to pass away and his heart was much cheered. He then rose up, and went up to his chamber to bed again, but could not sleep but little, yet he found daily more and more confirmation in his soul, and so had all his lifetime after a more than ordinary fear of God in him, and His presence, which continued in him to his dying day!
4. He went to Enbornes school, near Newbury, Berks, and such a progress he made in Latin, logic, and Greek, as he was the prime scholar of his years, to the admiration not only of his schoolmaster, but of Mr. Brooks himself. Mr. Brooks grew proud of his scholar, and though he was not attained to above thirteen years of age, earnestly persuaded his parents to remove him to the university of Cambridge, For (said he) he loseth precious time, and is more than fit for the university; and soon after he would needs carry him to Cambridge, to Clare Hall, and there presents him to his tutor, Dr. Linsell, then but a senior fellow; Dr. Smith was master. He gave such a character of Nicholas Ferrar as they all admired, and all confessed afterwards was so. His parents thought it most fit to have him the first year but a pensioner, and let his first year's approbation and merit raise him up fellow-commoner; performing all such exercises as were appointed him in that first year', nay month, to the admiration of all, his tutor's wonder that learned man, Dr. Aug. Linsell”, afterwards bishop of Hereford, where he died. He (N. F.) was ever observed by all to be as diligent at chapel as he was at his book. The second year his tutor, &c., would have him fellowcommoner 5. DR. ROB. BYNG TO MR. BARNABAS OLEY“.
1 The story told by Dr. Worthington (Hearne, Caii Vind. 685) though the time (a night in summer) and place (a garret) are different, seems only another version of this. On Dr. W.'s notice of Ferrar compare Letters from the Bodleian, ii. 79.
3 2} miles south-west of Newbury.
3 William Smith, D.D. master of Clare 1601, provost of King's Aug. 22, 1612, vicechancellor 1602, died Mar. 26, 1615. On his appointment as master, see Baker's MSS. xxvii. 16-19, xxix. 382. The presentation had lapsed to the chancellor.
SIR Concerning your request in your second letter, I wish I was as able as I am willing to deliver the
i “Notwithstanding the exemption which fellow-commoners in colleges are ready to plead from the performance of them [exercises in the university and college]."-Clarke's Martyrologie (1651), 419. “The fellow-commoners in Balliol were no more exempt from exercise than the meanest scholars there.”—Evelyn's Diary, May 10, 1637.
9 Augustine Linsell (Lynsell or Lindsell) bishop of Peterborough in 1632, and of Hereford in 1633–4. “A man of very great learning; of which he gave sufficient proof by setting forth an excellent edition of Theophylact upon St. Paul's Epistles.”—Fast. Oxon. i. 360. See Kennett's notice of him, (Lansd. MS. 984. Art. 113).
3 The necessary annual charges of a fellow-commoner at this time did not exceed £60 (D'Ewes's Life, i. 119). : 4 The letter which follows is printed from Peckard, 29–34; Baker omitted it.