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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Hall, Joseph, D.D.

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bishop of Norwich, was born at Ashby-de-la-Zouch July 1, 1574, and educated at Emanuel College, Cambridge. While rector of Halstead, in Suffolk, he composed his "Contemplations," which procured him the patronage of prince Henry and the rectory of Waltham. In 1616 he went to Paris as chaplain to the English ambassador. On his return he was appointed by king James to the deanery of Worcester (1617), and in the following year he accompanied his royal master into Scotland, when that monarch made a progress into the northern part of his kingdom to prosecute his imprudent scheme of erecting Episcopacy on the ruins of Presbyterianism. None of the unpopularity, however, of that measure fell upon Hall, whose character and principles secured him the esteem and respect of the most eminent Scotchmen of the day. He was commanded to go over into Holland to attend the Synod of Dort in 1618; but the protracted meetings go that convocation made sad inroads on his health, and after two months he returned with an impaired constitution to England. In 1627 he was raised to the see of Exeter, and afterwards, without any solicitation, to that of Norwich in 1641. Amid all the ecclesiastical tyranny of Laud, bishop Hall preserved his moderation; the bishop, however, had his season of trial. When the popular outcry "No bishops" was raised, and an armed mob marched against the House of Lords, Hall, with eleven of the lords spiritual, joined in protesting against the measures which were passed in their absence; and this document having been made a ground of impeachment, he, with his protesting brethren, were consigned to the Tower. He was released in June following on giving bail for 5000. He continued for a year to exercise his episcopal functions in Norwich; but the popular tide again set in, his house was attacked, his property sequestrated, himself insulted, and in meek resignation he retired into a small place called Higham, in Norfolk, where he spent the remainder of his days in acts of piety and charity, and at length died Sept. 8, 1656, in the eighty-second year of his age. Bishop Hall was a "man of very devotional habits, to fortify which he made a most rigid distribution of his time, having set hours for prayer, for reading divinity, for general literature and composition; and so intense was his ardor In the pursuit of intellectual and spiritual improvement, that for a time he observed the strictest abstemiousness, taking for a while only one meal a day." For his depth of thought and elegance of language he has been called "the Christian Seneca." His writings consist, besides the "Contemplations," of sermons, polemical and practical theology, and correspondence; the best edition is Works, with some account of his life and writings (edited by Peter Hall, Oxford, 1837,12 vols. 8vo). Many editions of the Contemplations have appeared. See Hughes, Life of Bishop Hall; Hook, Eccles. Biography, 5, 514; Rich, Cyclop. of Biography, s.v.; Jamieson, Religious Biography, p. 245; Wordsworth, Eccles. Biogoraphy, 4, 255.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Hall, Joseph, D.D.'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/h/hall-joseph-dd.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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