Hammond, Dr. Henry

, a learned English divine, was born at Chertsey in Surrey, August 18, 1605; and was the youngest son of Dr. John Hammond, physician to Henry prince of Wales, svho was his godfather, and gave him his own name. In his infancy he was remarkable for sweetness of temper, the love of privacy, and a devotional turn. He was educated at Eton-school, and sent to | Magdalen-college, Oxford, in 1618; of which, after taking his degrees in a regular way, he was elected fellow in July 1625. During the whole of his residence here, he generally spent thirteen hours every day in study; in the course of which he not only went through the usual academic studies, but read almost all the classics, writing emendations, critical remarks, &c. as he proceeded. Having applied himself also with great diligence to the study of divinity, he was admitted to holy orders in 1629, and soon, after took the degree of bachelor of divinity. In 1633 he was presented to the rectory of Penshurst in Kent, by Robert Sidney earl of Leicester. That nobleman, happening to be one of his auditors while he was supplying a turn at court for Dr. Frewen, the president of his college, and one of his majesty’s chaplains, was-so deeply affected with the sermon, and conceived so high an opinion of the preacher’s merit, that he conferred on him this living, then void, and in his gift. Upon this he quitted his college, and went to his cure, where he resided as long as the times permitted him, punctually performing every branch of the ministerial function in the most diligent and exemplary manner. In 1639 he took the degree of D. D.; in 1640, was chosen one of the members of the convocation, called with the long parliament, which began that year; and, in. 1643, made archdeacon of Chichester by the unsolicited favour of Dr. Brian Duppa, then bishop of Chichester, and afterwards of Winchester. The same year also he was named one of the assembly of divines, but never sat amongst them.

In the beginning of the national troubles he continued undisturbed at his living till the middle of July 1643; but, joining in the fruitless attempt then made atTunbridge in favour of the king, and a reward of 100l. being soon after promised to the person that should produce him, he was forced to retire privily and in disguise to Oxford. Having procured an apartment in his own college, he sought that peace in retirement and study which was no where else to be found. Among the few friends he conversed with was Dr. Christopher Potter, provost of Queen’s college; by whose persuasion it was, that he published his “Practical Catechism,” in 1644. This was one of the most valuable books published at that time; but great objections were raised against it by fifty-two ministers within the provincQ, of London; and especially by the famous Francis | Cheynell, on account of its containing Arminian tenets. Hammond, however, defended his book, and the same year and the following, published several useful pieces, adapted to the times. In December of the same year he attended as chaplain the duke of Richmond and earl of Southampton; who were sent to London by Charles I. with terms of peace and accommodation to the parliament; and when a treaty was appointed at Uxbridge, he appeared there as one of the divines on the king’s side, where he managed, greatly to his honour, a dispute with Richard Vines, one of the presbyterian ministers sent by the parliament.

A few days after the breaking of this treaty, a canonry of Christ Church in Oxford becoming vacant, the king bestowed it upon him about March 1645; and the university chose him their public orator. His majesty also, coming to reside in that city, made him one of his chaplains in ordinary: notwithstanding all which employments, he did not remit from his studies, or cease to publish books, principally contrived to do service in the times when they were written. When Oxford surrendered, his attendance as cbaplain was superseded; but when the king came into the power of the army, he was permitted to attend him again, in his several confinements and removes of Woburn, Caversham, Hampton-court, and the Isle of Wight: at which last place he continued till Christmas, 1647, when all his majesty’s servants were removed from him. He then returned again to Oxford, where he was chosen sub-dean of Christ Church in which office he continued till March 30, 1648, and was then forcibly turned out of it by the parliamentary visitors. The accusations against him were, his refusing to submit to the visitors’ power; his being concerned in drawing up the reasons which were presented to the convocation against the authority of that visitation; and his refusing to publish the visitors’ orders for the expulsion of several of the members of Christ Church. Instead, however, of being commanded immediately to quit Oxford, as others were, a committee of parliament voted him and Dr. Sheldon to be prisoners in that place, where they continued in restraint for about ten weeks. During this confinement he began his “Paraphrase and Annotations on the New Testament;” the ground-work of which is said to be this. Having written in Latin two large volumes of the way of interpreting the New Testament, with inference to the customs of the Jews, and of the first | heretics in the Christian church, and also of the heathens, especially in the Grecian games and, above all, of the importance of the Hellenistical dialect he began to consider, that it might be more useful to the English render, to write in our vulgar language, and set every observation in its natural order, according to the direction of the text. And having some years before collated several Greek copies of the New Testament, and observed the variation of our English from the original, and made an entire translation of the whole for his own private use, he cast his work into that form in which it now appears. It came out first in 1653; in 1656, with additions and alterations; and, in 1698, Le Clerc put out a Latin translation of it, viz. of the “Paraphrase and Annotations,” with the text of the Vulgate, in which he has intermixed many of his own animadversions, explained those points which Dr. Hammond had but slightly touched, and corrected many of his mistakes.

From Oxford he was removed to the house of sir Philip Warwick at Clapham in Bedford shire. The trial of king Charles drawing on, and Dr. Hammond being in no other capacity to interpose than by writing, he drew up an address to the general and council of officers, which he published under this title: “To the right honourable the lord Fairfax, and his council of war, the humble Address of Henry Hammond.” It is unnecessary to add that this produced no effect, as his majesty’s doom was fixed. Dr. Hammond’s grief for the death of his royal master was extreme; but, as soon as he had in some measure recovered his spirits, he resumed his studies, and published several pieces. The rigour of his restraint being taken off in the beginning of 1649, he removed to Westwood in Worcestershire, the seat of the loyal sir John Packington, from whom he received a kind invitation; and here spent the remainder of his days. In 1651, when Charles II. came into those parts, he waited upon him, and received a letter from his own hand of great importance, to satisfy his loyal subjects concerning his adherence to the religion of the church of England. In 1653 he published, as already observed, his great work on the New Testament, and went on applying antidotes to the distempers of the church and state, and opposing the absurd tenets of the sectaries, particularly those of the anabaptists. Afterwards he undertook a “Paraphrase and Commentary on all the books | of the Old Testament;” of which he published the Psalms, and went through a third part of the book of Proverbs. His want of health only hindered him fromproceeding farther: for that strength of body which had hitherto attended his indefatigable mind, beginning to fail him about 1654, he was attacked by a complication of disorders, the stone, the gout, the colic, and the cramp; but the stone put an end to his life. While Charles II. was designing him for the bishopric of Worcester, and he was preparing to go to London, whither he had been invited by the most eminent divines, he was seized with a sharp fit of the stone the 4th of April, of which he died the 25th of the same month, 1660.

Dr. Hammond was a very handsome man, well-made, and of a strong and vigorous constitution; of a clear and florid complexion, his eye remarkably quick and sprightly, and in his countenance there was a mixture of sweetness and dignity. He had a free, graceful, and commanding eloquenee. King Charles I. said of him, that he was the most natural orator he ever heard. He had not, however, a technical memory, and used to complain that it was harder for him to get ope sermon by heart than to pen twenty. He was of a very kind, social, benevolent, and friendly disposition; extremely liberal to the poor, to whom he rendered his bounty more valuable by his manner of bestowing it. “Misery and want,' 7 says his excellent biographer,” wherever Dr. Hammond met with them, sufficiently endeared the object. His alms were as exuberant as his love; and in calamities, to the exigence he never was a stranger, whatever he might be to the man that suffered.“Among other evidences which Hammond gave of his benevolence, Dr. Fell informs us, that, when he saw a man honest and industrious, he would trust him with a sum, and let him pay it again at such times and in such proportions as he found himself able; all this accompanied by an inquiry into his condition, and advice as to the better disposal of the money, closing his discourse with prayer, and dismissing the object of his benevolence with the utmost kindness. To persons of rank and fortune his advice was, to” treat their poor neighbours with such a cheerfulness, that they may be glad to have met with them."

Dr. Hammond was a man of great temperance; his diet was of the plainest kind, and he frequently practised fastng. He seldom went to bed until midnight, or remained | in it beyond five or six o’clock. By these means he was enabled to endure cold and fatigue, and in the severest weather sat at a distance from a fire. His studious industry was unceasing. He not only avoided, but had a strong aversion to idleness. “To be always furnished with somewhat to do” he considered as the best expedient both for innocence and pleasure, saying, that no burthen was more heavy, or temptation more dangerous, than to have time lie on one’s hand.“His piety was fervent, and from his youth he spent much of his time in secret devotion. Bishop Burnet says of him, that” his death was an unspeakable loss to the church; for as he was a man of great learning, and of most eminent merit, he having been the person that during the bad times had maintained the cause of the church in a very singular manner; so he was a very moderate man in his temper, though with a high principle, and would probably have fallen into healing counsels. He was also much set on reforming abuses, and for raising the clergy to a due sense of the obligations they lay under."

He published a great many controversial and practical tracts and sermons, commentaries, &c. in his life-time, which, with many posthumous pieces, were collected together by his amanuensis, the learned Mr. William Fulman, and published in 4 vols. fol. 1684; and in 1739 Mr. Peck published a collection of his letters, amounting to nineteen. 1


Life by bishop Fell, 1601, 12mo, lately reprinted at Oxford, 1806. Biog. Brit. Wordsworth’s Eccl. Biography, Berwick’s Life. Lloyd’s Memoirs, fol. —Ath. Ox. vol. II. Peck’s Desiderata, vol. II. Chuiton’s Life of Nowell. Wsher’s Life, and Letters, p. 541—543.