Hopkins, Ezekiel (DNB00)

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HOPKINS, EZEKIEL, D.D. (1634–1690), bishop of Derry, second son of John Hopkins, clerk, and rector of Pinne in Devonshire, was born there on 3 Dec. 1634. Educated at Merchant Taylors' School (1646–8) and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was a chorister (1648–53), he graduated B.A. on 17 Oct. 1653, and being admitted usher of the college school in 1655 and chaplain of the college in the following year, he proceeded M.A. on 5 June 1656. At the Restoration he went up to London, where he became assistant to Dr. William Spurstow, one of the authors of ‘Smectymnuus,’ and at that time minister of Hackney. Hopkins, who conformed after the Act of Uniformity in 1662, was elected preacher of St. Edmund's, Lombard Street, or, according to Malcolm (London, ii. 125), of St. Mary Woolnoth. In 1666, in consequence, it is supposed, of the plague, Hopkins quitted London and returned to Devonshire, where he was shortly afterwards chosen minister of St. Mary Arches, Exeter. Here he attracted the favourable attention of Lord Robartes, afterwards Earl of Radnor [q. v.], who, on being appointed lord-lieutenant of Ireland in 1669, made Hopkins his chaplain. On 22 Nov. Hopkins became archdeacon and treasurer of Waterford, and on 8 Dec. a prebendary of St. Patrick's, Dublin. On 2 April 1670 he was appointed dean of Raphoe, and on 29 Oct. in the following year was consecrated bishop of Raphoe. He resided constantly in his diocese, and on the death of Dr. Michael Ward he was translated to the bishopric of Derry, 11 Nov. 1681. He contributed largely to the adornment of the cathedral of his new diocese, furnishing an organ and handsome communion plate. On the outbreak of the rebellion in support of James II, he consulted his safety by retiring to England, after offending his fellow-citizens by advocating a policy of non-resistance (Macaulay, Hist. of Eng. iii. 144). In September 1689 he was elected preacher of the parish church of St. Mary Aldermanbury in London. The fact that his eldest son, Charles, had joined the Irish rebels deeply troubled him. He died on 19 June 1690, and was buried on the 24th in the church of St. Mary Aldermanbury, his funeral sermon being preached by Dr. Richard Tenison, bishop of Clogher.

Hopkins married, first, a niece of Sir Robert Viner, sometime lord mayor of London, to whom he dedicated his ‘Vanity of the World,’ and by her he had two sons, Charles (1664–1700) [q. v.], the poet and dramatist, and John (b. 1675) [q. v.], the author of ‘Amasia;’ secondly, in 1685 at Totteridge, the Lady Araminta Robartes, a daughter of the Earl of Radnor, by his second wife, Isabella, daughter of Sir John Smith (Chester, Marriage Licences, ed. Foster, p. 708).

Hopkins, who was of medium stature, and inclined to corpulency, was a good scholar, an excellent preacher (although, according to Prince, ‘his discourses smelt of the lamp’), an agreeable talker, and a tolerable poet. During his lifetime he published a ‘Sermon on the Death of Mr. Grevill’ in 1663, a ‘Treatise on the Vanity of the World’ in 1668, and a ‘Sermon on Submission to Rulers’ in 1671. A volume of his sermons was published by the Bishop of Cork and Rosse in 1692, and an edition of his works appeared in 1701, with an engraved portrait by Sturt. To these were added in 1712 his ‘Doctrine of the Two Covenants,’ ‘Doctrine of the Two Sacraments,’ and ‘Death disarmed of its Sting.’ The best edition of his works is that published by Josiah Pratt in 4 vols., London, 1809. According to Doddridge (Lectures on Preaching) ‘his motto, Aut suaviter aut vi, well answers to his works. Yet he trusts most to the latter. He awakes awfully: sometimes there is a little of the bombast—he bends the bow till it breaks.’

[Robinson's Merchant Taylors' School Register; J. R. Bloxam's Register of Magdalen College, Oxford; Wood's Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss; Prince's Worthies of Devon; Malcolm's London; Luttrell's Diary; Cotton's Fasti Eccl. Hib.]

R. D.