A Disputation on Holy Scripture

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It seemed desirable that this, the great work of one of the greatest of our early divines upon the cardinal point of difference between the churches of the Roman and the reformed communions, should be comprised in the collection of the Parker Society; not only on account of its intrinsic merits, but also for its historical value; as exhibiting the posture of defence assumed by our schools against that change of tactics in the management of this great controversy, which is to be dated from the institution of the Society of Jesus.<br><br>William Whitaker (or Whitacre) was born at Holme, in Lancashire, A.D. 1547, of a good family, nearly related, to Alexander Nowel, the celebrated dean of St Paul's. He was bred at Cam bridge, where he soon distinguished himself, and was in 1579 appointed the Queen's Professor of Divinity. In 1586, through the influence of Burghley and Whitgift, and in spite of obstinate and powerful opposition, he was made Master of St John's College in that University; soon after which appointment he took his degree of Doctor in Divinity. His delay in assuming the doctorate seems curious, and it was maliciously made the ground of a most unjust imputation of puritanism. How small was his sympathy with the disciplinarian party, appears from the manner in which he speaks of their great leader, Cartwright, in a letter preserved by Bancroft1: "Quern Cartwrightus nuper emisit libellum, ejus magnam partem perlegi. Ne vivam, si quid unquam viderim dissolutius ac pene puerilius. Verborum satis ille quidem lautam ac novam supellectilem habet, rerum omnino nullam, quantum ego quidem judicare possum. Deinde rion modo perverse de Principis in Rebus Sacris atque Ecclesiasticis auctoritate sentit; sed in papistarum etiam castra transfugit; a quibus tamen videri vult odio capitali dissidere.

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