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LIFE

OF

NICHOLAS F E R R A R

BY

DOCTOR JEB B.

Nihil, inquam, de his loquar: videntur enim nonnullis res humanas plus quam oporteret deseruisse, non intelligentibus quantum nobis eorum animus in orationibus prosit, et vita ad exemplum, quorum corpora videre non sinimur. Sed hinc dis. putare longum et supervacaneum puto : nam hoc tam excellens fastigium sanctitatis, cui non sua sponte mirandum et honorandum videtur, oratione nostra videri qui potest ? Tantum isti admonendi sunt, qui sese inaniter jactant, intantum processisse temperantiam et continentiam sanctissimorum catholicae fidei christianorum, ut restringenda nonnullis, et quasi ad humanos fines revocanda videatur : usque adeo supra homines illorum animos evasisse, ab iis etiam quibus id displicet, judicatur.

S. Aug. De moribus Eccl. Cathol. $ 66.

LIFE OF NICHOLAS FERRAR.

ME

TR. Nicholas Ferrar of blessed memory was

born in London the 21st of February in the year of our Lord 1591°, and born again of water and the Holy Ghost February the 28th'. A day (I find) he registered as more memorable than his birth-day, esteeming it (as he ought) a greater blessing to be received into the Catholic Church, than to come into the world. He was the third son of Mr. Nicholas Ferrar, a rich East India merchanit, and of Mary his wife, and as he became a follower of St. John the Baptist in a retired and mortified life, so his parents had that good character the word of God bestows on Zacharias and Elizabeth,

2

1 22nd.

1592–3. See note on pedigree. 3 “His godmother was a Mrs. Riggs, wife to Capt. Riggs, who recommended herself highly to the esteem of queen Elizabeth by a heroic act which she performed upon the sea-shore at Dover in 1588.”—Peckard.

the father and mother of that burning and shining light, that they were both righteous, &c. (Luke i. 6). Though he never enjoyed a very firm health, but was inclined to aguish distempers from his infancy, yet his vigorous temper of mind overcame those indispositions of his body, so that he was noted for an active nimble youth, and graceful in all his motions. His genius at six years old began to discover itself much addicted to history, that of the Holy Bible especially, which he compassed in two or three years, and got all the Psalms without book. Then he fell upon the English chronicle and the Book of Martyrs, which, whilst his fellows were playing, he would be reading: and rather than not finish his story, which he seldom forgot, he used often to forget his meals and his sleep, as he was naturally moderate in them both.

Even at this time of day he fancied being a clergyman, and made his friends laugh heartily at a request he very solemnly made to his mother: that whatever his brothers wore, he might wear no lace, but only plain' clean banns, for he was resolved to

2.

i “Little and plain, like those of Mr. Wotton, 'for I wish to be a preacher as he is.' Mr. Wotton was a learned divine and reader of divinity in Gresham College. He was frequently at Mr. Ferrar's, and always examined and exercised young Nicholas, being wonderfully delighted with his ingenuity.”-Peckard. This Antony Wotton was charged with Arianism by George Walker; the question was referred to eight arbiters, amongst whom was Thomas Gataker. When the judges had absolved Wotton, Walker turned upon

be a clergyman; and he would take no denial, but all his clothes must be plain. Before he was eight years old it was high time to translate him to a greater school; and there was one in a good healthful air by Newbury in Berkshire, where one Mr. Brooks, an excellent man for discipline, had introduced so extraordinary a way of teaching and living, that I am apt to believe the thoughtful pious child did there receive the first impressions and dispositions to that regular and religious course of life he so many years after hightened and formed in his own family into a greater and nobler figure of the good old Christian discipline. This Mr. Brooks had lived and preached with much esteem in London, but following the example of Jo. Gerson, the famous chancellor of Paris', he forsook the noise of a great

them, and the controversy had not died away at the end of 30 years (1611-1642). See Gataker's Answer to Mr. George Walker's Vindication, &c. Lond. 1642, 4to, pp. 136; Ward's Gresham Professors, and Peck's note from Fleming (ap. Peckard, 15, 16).

1 Jean Charlier, better known as Jean Gerson (Doctor Christianissimus), born at Gerson in the diocese of Rheims in 1363, became chancellor of the university of Paris in 1395, zealously asserted the liberties of the Church against the papacy at the councils of Pisa and of Constance ; in the year 1419 he retired into a cloister at Lyons, of which his brother was prior, and there devoted himself to instructing children. On the 11th of July, 1429, the day before his death, he took his pupils into church, and there bid them pray : God, my Creator, have mercy upon Thy poor servant, John Gerson (Schröckh, K. G. xxxiv, 6-33). See his Tractatus de par

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