Rainolds, John

, one of the most learned and eminent divines of the sixteenth century, and a strenuous champion against popery, was the fifth son of Richard Rainolds of Pinho, or Penhoe, near Exeter in Devonshire, where he was born in 1549. He became first a student in Merton college, Oxford, in 1562, of which his uncle, Dr. Thomas Rainolds, had been warden in queen Mary’s time, but was ejected in 1559 for his adherence to popery, which appears to have been the religion of the family. In \5GJ he was admitted a scholar of Corpus Christi college, and in October 1566, was chosen probationer fellow. In Oct. 1568, he took his degree of bachelor of arts, and in May 1572, that of master, being then senior of the act, and founder’s Greek ‘lecturer in his college, in which last station he acquired great reputation by his lectures on Aristotle.

A story is told by Fuller and others, that Mr- Rainolds was at first a zealous papist, and his brother William a professed protestant; but that having frequently disputed together, the issue was a change* of principles on both sides, John becoming a zealous protestant, and William a papist. As no time is specified when this change took place, we may be permitted to entertain some doubts of its authenticity. John Rainolds entered the university at a very early age, and at a time when the reformed religion was so fully established and guarded there, that had he been a zealous papist, he could not have escaped censure but of this nothing is upon record on the contrary, his first public appearances were all in support of the doctrines of the reformation, and his established character appears to have given great weight to his opinions on matters in dispute at Oxford. In 1576, when he was only in his | twenty-seventh year, we find him opposing the giving the degree of D. D. to Corrano (See Corrano) who was suspected of being unsound in certain doctrinal points. Wood has preserved a long letter of his on this subject, which shows him well versed in religious controversy, and decidedly for the doctrines of the reformers.

In June 1579, he took the degree of bachelor of divinity, and in June 1585 that of doctor, and on both occasions maintained theses which had for their subject, the defence of the church of England in her separation from that of Rome. This was a point which he had carefully studied by a perusal of ecclesiastical records and histories. He held also a controversy with Hart, a champion for popery and on this, as well as well as every other occasiqn, acquitted himself with so much ability, that in 1586, when a new divinity lecture watf founded at Oxford by sir Francis Walsingham, principal secretary of state, he desired that Dr. Rainolds might be the first lecturer, and he was accordingly chosen. Wood and Collier, whose prejudices against the reformation are sometimes but thinly disguised, represent the design of the founder and of others in the university with whom he consulted, as being “to make the difference between the churches wide enough”-*-“to make the religion of the church of Rome more odious, and the difference betwixt them and the protestants to appear more irreconcileable,” &c. The intention, however, plainly was, to counteract the industry of the popish party in propagating their opinions and seducing the students of the university, in which they were too frequently successful. And Wood allows that the founder o? this lecture, “that he might not fail of his purpose to rout the papists and their religion,” could not have chosen a fitter person, for Rainolds was a man of infinite reading, and of a vast memory. He accordingly read this lecture in the divinity school thrice a week in full term, and had a crowded auditory. Wood says erroneously, that when appointed to this lecture he was dean of Lincoln; but this dignity was not conferred upon him until 1593, (not 1598 as Wood says). It was the gift of the queen, who was much pleased with the report of his services in opposing popery, and offered him a bishopric but he preferred a college life, where he thought he could do most good by training up a race of defenders of the reformation, a measure then of great importance. That he might have no temptation to | relax in this care, he, in 1598, exchanged the deanery of Lincoln for the presidentship of Corpus Christ! college, and was elected Dec. 11 of that year, and soon after removed to the president’s lodgings at Corpus, from some chambers which he had been allowed in Queen’s college. To Corpus Christ! he became an eminent benefactor by restoring their finances, which had been impoverished by the neglect or avarice of some of his predecessors, at the same time that he made more effectual provision for the scholars, chaplains, and clerks, that he might retain in college such as were useful. He also repaired the chapel, hall, and library; but his more particular attention was paid to the rules of discipline, and the proficiency of the students in learning and religion.

In 1603, when the Hampton-court conference took place, we find him ranged on the puritan side; on this occasion, he was their spokesman, and it may therefore be necessary to give some account of what he proposed, as this will enable the reader in some measure to determine how far the puritans of the following reign can claim him as their ancestor. At this conference, he proposed, 1. “That the Doctrine of the Church might be preserved in purity, according to God’s word.” 2. “That good Pastors might be planted in all churches to preach the same.” 3. “That the Church*government might be sincerely ministred according to God’s word.” 4. “That the book of Common Prayer might be fitted to the more increase of Piety.” With regard to the first he moved his majesty, that the book of “Articles of Religion” concluded in 1562, might be explained in places obscure, and enlarged where some things were defective. For example, whereas Art. 16, the words are these, “After we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from Grace;” notwithstanding the meaning may be sound, yet he desired, that because they may seem to be contrary to the doctrine of God’s Predestination and Election in the 17th Article, both these words might be explained with this or the like addition, “yet neither totally nor finally v and also that the nine assertions orthodoxall, as he termed them, i. e. the Lambeth articles, might be inserted into that book of articles. Secondly, where it is said in the 23d Article, that it is not lawful for any man to take upon him the office of preaching or administering the Sacraments” in the. congregation,“before he be. lawfully called, Dr. Rainolds | took exception to these words,” in the congregation,“as implying a lawfulness for any whatsoever, * 4 out of the congregation,” to preach and administer the Sacraments, though he had no lawful calling thereunto. Thirdly, in the 25th Article, these words touching “Confirmation, grown partly of the corrupt following the Apostles,” being opposite to those in the collect of Confirmation in the Communion-book, “upon whom after the example of the Apostles,” argue, said he, a contrariety each to other; the first confessing confirmation to be a depraved imitation of the Apostles; the second grounding it upon their example, Acts viii. 19, as if the bishop by confirming of children, did by imposing of hands, as the Apostles in those places, give the visible Graces of the Holy Ghost. And therefore he desired, that both the contradiction might be considered, and this ground of Confirmation examined. Dr. Rainolds afterwards objected to a defect in the 37th Article, wherein, he said, these words, “The Bishop of Rome hath no authority in this land,” were not sufficient, unless it were added, “nor ought to have.” He next moved, that this proposition, “the intention of the minister is not of the essence of the Sacrament,” might be added to the book of Articles, the rather because some in England had preached it to be essential. And here again he repeated his request concerning the nine “orthodoxall assertions” concluded at Lambeth. He then complained, that the Catechism in the Common-Prayer-book was too brief; for which/reason one by Nowel, late dean of St. Paul’s, was added, and that too long for young novices to learn by heart. He requested, therefore, that one uniform Catechism might be made, which, and none other, might be generally received. He next took notice of the profanation of the Sabbath, and the contempt of his majesty’s proclamation for reforming that abuse; and desired some stronger remedy might be applied. His next request was for a new translation of the Bible, because those which were allowed in the reign of Henry VIII. and Edward VI. were corrupt and not answerable to the original of which he gave three instances. He then desired his majesty, that unlawful and seditious books might be suppressed, at least restrained, and imparted to a few. He proceeded now to the second point, and desired that learned ministers might be planted in every parish. He next went on to the fourth point relating to the Common -Prayer, and | jcomplained of the imposing Subscription, since it was a great impediment to a learned ministry; and in treated, that “it might not be exacted as formerly, for which many good men were kept ont, others removed, and many disquieted. To subscribe according to the statutes of the realm, namely, to the articles of religion, and the king’s supremacy, they were not unwilling. Their reason of their backwardness to subscribe otherwise was, first, the books Apocryphal, which the Common-Prayer enjoined to be read in the church, albeit there are, in some of those chapters appointed, manifest errors, directly repugnant to tjie scriptures. . The next scruple against subscription was, that in the Common-Prayer it is twice set down, ‘Jesus said to his Disciples,’ when as by the text original it is plain, that he spake to the Pharisees. The third objection against subscription were ‘ Interrogatories in Baptism,’ propounded to infants.” Dr. Rainolds owned “the use of the Cross to have been ever since the Apostles time; but this was the difficulty, to prove it of that ancient use in Baptism.” He afterwards took exceptions at those words in the Office of Matrimony, “With my body I thee worship” and objected against the churching of women by the name of Purification. Under the third general head touching Discipline he took exception to the committing of ecclesiastical censures to lay-chancellors. “His reason was, that the statute made in king Henry’s time for their authority that way was abrogated in queen Mary’s time, and not revived in the late queen’s days, and abridged by the bishops themselves, 1571, ordering that the said lay-chancellors should not excommunicate in matters of correction, and anno 1584 and 1589, not in matters of instance, but to be done only by them, who had the power of the keys.” He then desired, that according to certain provincial constitutions, they of the clergy might have meetings once every three weeks first, in rural deaneries, and therein to have the liberty of prophesying, according as archbishop Grindal and other bishops desired of her late majesty. Secondly, that such things, as could not be resolved upon there, might be referred from thence to the episcopal synods, where the bishop with his Presbyteri should determine all such points as before could not be decided. Notwithstanding our author’s conduct at this conference, Dr. Simon Patrick observes, that he professed himself a conformist to the church of | England, and died so. He remarks, that Dr. Richard Crakanthorp tells the archbishop of Spalato, that the doctor was no Puritan (as the archbishop called him). “For, first, be professed, that he appeared unwillingly in the cause at Hampton-court, and merely in obedience to the king’s command. And then he spoke not one word there against the hierarchy. Nay, he acknowledged it to be consonant to the word of God in his conference with Hart. And in an answer to Sanders’ s book of the ‘ Schism of England 7 (which is in the archbishop’s library) he professes, that he approves of the book of * consecrating and ordering bishops, priests, and deacons.’ He was also a strict observer of all the orders of the church and university both in public and his own college; wearing tbte square cap and surplice, kneeling at the Sacrament, and he himself commemorating their benefactors at the times their statutes appointed, and reading that chapter of Ecclesiasticus, which is on such occasions used. In a letter also of his to archbishop Bancroft (then in Dr. Crakanthorp’s hands), he professes himself conformable to the church of England, ‘ willingly and from his heart,’ his conscience admonishing him so to be. And thus he remained persuaded to his last breath, desiring to receive absolution according to the manner prescribed in our liturgy, when he lay on his death-bed which he did from Dr. Holland, the king’s professor in Oxford, kissing his hand in token of his love and joy, and within a few hours after resigned up his soul to God.

Wood says, perhaps justly, that the “best matter” produced by this Hampton-court conference was the new translation of the Bible, which is now the authorized translation. It was begun in 1604, by forty- seven divines of Westminster and the two universities. Dr. Rainolds had too much reputation as a Greek and Hebrew scholar to be omitted from this list. Some of the prophets appear to have been the portion allotted to him, but his growing infirmities did not, it is thought, permit him to do much. The Oxford translators, however, used to meet at his lodging in Corpus college, once a week, and compared what they had done in his company. During this undertaking he was seized with the consumption of which he died, May 21, 1607, in the fifty -eighth year of his age.

His death is thus recorded by Anthony Wood, with his character taken from various contemporaries.

It must not be forgotten that this year died Dr. John Rainolds, president of Corpus, Christi college, one of so | prodigious a memory that he might have been called a walking library; of so virtuous and holy life and conversation (as writers say) that he very well deserved to be redlettered so eminent and conspicuous, that as Nazianzen, speaketh of Athanasius, it might be said of him ’to name Rainolds is to commend virtue itself. 7 He had turned over (as I conceive) all writers, profane, ecclesiastical and divine, all the councils, fathers, and histories of the church. He was most excellent in all tongues which might be any way of use, or serve for ornament to a divine. He was of a sharp and nimble wit, of a grave and mature judgment, of indefatigable industry, exceeding therein Origen surnamed Adamantius. He was so well seen in all arts and sciences, as if he had speiit his whole time in each of them. Eminent also was he accounted for his conference had with king James and others at Hampton Court, though wronged by the publisher thereof, as he was often heard to say. A person also so much respected by the generality of the academicians for his learning and piety, that happy and honoured did they account themselves that could have discourse with him. At times of leisure he delighted much to talk with young towardly scholars, communicating his wisdom to the encouraging them in their studies, even to the last; A little before his death, when he could not do such good offices, he ordered his executors to have his books (except those he gave to his college and certain great persons), to be dispersed among them. There was no house of learning then in. Oxford, but certain scholars of each (some to the number of twenty, some less,) received of his bounty in that kind, as a catalogue of them (with the names of the said scholars) which I have lying by me sheweth.” This catalogue Wood prints in a note. It records the dispersion of a very considerable library among the students of the different colleges, to the amount of two hundred and eighty, many of whom became afterwards men of great eminence in the church. He also bequeathed some books to the Bodleian, and some to his relations. He was interred with great solemnity in the chapel of Corpus Christi college, where a monument was erected to his memory by his successor in the presidentship, Dr. Spenser, with the following inscription “Virtuti sacrum. Jo. Rainoldo S. Theol. D. eruditione, pietate, integritate incomparabile, hujus Coll. Pxaeses, qui obiit, c. Jo. Spenser auditor, successor, | virtutum et sanctitatisadmirator H. M. amoris ergaposuit.” Dr. Rainolds wrote some controversial works published in his life-time, enumerated by Wood, and sermons on the prophecies of Obadiah and Haggai, which with some other pieces appeared after his death that on Jlaggai was published during the rebellion to enlist him on the side of those who were enemies to the church establishment, to which he ever appears to have been attached; although he may be ranked among doctrinal puritans. Motives for publication like these throw an air of suspicion upon the works, and incline us to doubt whether they now appear as he left them.

His brother, William Rainolds, above mentioned, was educated in Winchester school, and became fellow of New college in 1562. The story of his turning Roman Catholic in consequence of a dispute with his brother John, seems discredited by Wood and Dodd gives farther reason to question it, on the authority of father Parsons, who was tokl by Rainolds himself, that his first doubts on the subject were occasioned by perusing Jewell’s Works, and examining the authors quoted by that learned prelate. It is certain, however, that he left a benefice he had in Northamptonshire, and went to Rheims, where he could have the free exercise of his adopted religion, and was made professor of divinity and Hebrew. At last he returned to Antwerp, where he died in 1594. He wrote against Whitaker, and other works in the popish controversy. Two letters to him are printed with his brother John’s “Orationes,” Oxon. 16 14, 1628, 4to. There was a third brother, Edmund, educated at Corpus college, Oxford, who was ejected for popery in 1568. Dodd thinks the converting conference between the brothers was more likely to have been held between this Edmund and John, than between William and John. Edmund died in 1630, and was buried at Wolvercote, near Oxford, where he had an estate, and probably lived in privacy. 1

1 Ath. Ox. vol. I. Gen. Dict. Fuller’s Abel Reiiwus. Wood’s Annals. Prinwe’s Worthies of Devon.