Brooks - BX9338 .B7 1813 v2

RAINOLDS. 177 Herculean labours, he shortly became so well acquainted with the errors and superstitions of popery, that he was, accounted a complete master of the controversy. About this time, the famous John Hart, a zealous papist, had the boldness to challenge all the learned men in the nation, to try the doctrine of the church. No one was thought better qualified to encounter the daring champion than Rainolds; who was, therefore, solicited by one of her majesty'sprivy council. After several combats, the popish antagonist was obliged to quit the field ; as appears from his own letter written from the Tower.* This conference, subscribed by both parties, was afterwards published ; which gave abundant satisfaction to all unprejudiced readers, and so greatly raised the fame of Rainolds, that he was immedi- ately taken notice of at court. After taking his degrees in divinity, the queen appointed him divinity lecturer at Oxford. In these lectures he encountered Bellarmine, the renowned,champion of the Romish church. Bellarminewas public reader in the English seminary at Rome ; and as he delivered his popish sentiments, they were taken down and regularly sent to Dr. Rainolds ; who from time to time com- mented upon them, and refuted them at Oxford. Thus Bellarmine's books on controversy were answered, even before they were printed. We are informed, indeed, that this divinity lecture was set up on purpose to widen the breach, and increase the difference betwixt the churchof England and the church of Rome ; and, to accomplish this design, Dr. Rainolds, a violent anti-papist, was first placed in the chair. His lectures were numerously attended and highly. applauded. But it is further observed, " that Dr. Rainolds made it his business to read against the hierarchy, and weaken the authority of the bishops."+ How far this account is correct, we shall not attempt to determine ; but the queen, hearing of his great fame, and his good services in opposing the church of Rome, preferred him to a deanery in Lincoln, and even offered him a bishopric. The latter he modestly refused, choosing an academical life rather than the riches and splendour ofany ecclesiastical preferment whatever. Dr. Bancroft, chaplain to Archbishop Whitgift, in a ser- mon, January 12,,1.588, maintained, ',that bishops were a Fuller's Abel Redivivus, p. 482. l Collier's Ecel. Hist. vol. ii. p. 597. t Fuller's Abel Redivivus, p. 482, 483.--Wood's Athena Oxon. vol. i. p. 290. VOL. II.