Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 58.djvu/262

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Vermigli
Vermigli
254

dedicate any that lived to the Dominican saint, Peter Martyr (d. 1252). His mother taught him Latin; his studies were pursued under Marcello Vergilio. At the age of sixteen he entered on his novitiate in the Augustinian cloister at Fiesole, his sister Felicita entering the convent of St. Peter Martyr. His father's disapproval of this step has been inferred from his leaving part of his property to the Albergo de' Forestieri for the benefit of the poor. At Fiesole he had access to a fine library, and applied himself to biblical study. In 1519 he was transferred to the convent of St. John of Verdara, near Padua, and studied for eight years at the university of Padua, attaining the degree of D.D. To master the philosophy of Aristotle he learnt Greek. He was first employed as a public preacher in Lent 1527 at Brescia, then at Rome, Venice, Pisa, and elsewhere. In the intervals between the preaching seasons (Advent and Lent) observed by Augustinians, he lectured on Scripture in various convents of his order; at Bologna he learned Hebrew by help of a Jewish physician, named Isaac; at Vercelli he renewed a friendship with Benedict Cusano, and lectured on Homer at his request. By 1530 he was elected abbot of the Augustinian monastery in Spoleto, and ‘reformator’ of his order. Showing great capacity, he was promoted, three years later, to be prior of the important convent of St. Peter at Aram at Naples. Here he fell in with the commentaries on the Gospels (1527) and the Psalms (1529) by Martin Bucer [q. v.], and read also Zuingli's ‘De Vera et Falsa Religione’ (1525). Like Bernardino Ochino [q. v.], he came under the influence of Juan de Valdés, and was associated with his evangelical conferences. In his convent church he began to lecture to large audiences on the first Epistle to the Corinthians. The Theatins accused him of error regarding purgatory, and Toledo, the viceroy, forbade his preaching. The prohibition was removed on appeal to Rome, where he had influential friends among the cardinals, including Reginald Pole [q. v.], his contemporary at Padua. His health was impaired by a fever, and in the latter half of 1541 he was transferred to Lucca, as prior of St. Frediano, and visitor-general of his order. At Lucca he did much to promote biblical studies, engaging John Emmanuel Tremellius [q. v.] to teach Hebrew. His safety was endangered by measures taken against heresy by the cardinal bishop of Lucca, Bartholomew Guidoccioni. Summoned in August 1542 to a chapter of the order at Genoa, Vermigli fled from Lucca with three friends, hid for a short time in Pisa, where he celebrated the Lord's Supper in secret, and made his way to Ochino at Florence. Vermigli had already made his plans for leaving Italy; he advised Ochino to the same course, and furnished money for his journey to Geneva. Two days later (?25 Aug.) Vermigli started for Zürich. Finding no opening there, he pushed on to Basle, with no better prospect. The death of Capito (1541) had made a vacancy at Strasburg. On Bucer's invitation, Vermigli went thither on 16 Nov. 1542; the senate appointed him professor of theology, and for five years he prelected on parts of the Old Testament with great reputation. Here he married his first wife, Catherine Dammartin of Metz, who had left a convent, having adopted evangelical views.

In 1547 Cranmer invited Vermigli and Ochino to England, charging John Abell (d. 1569), a London merchant, with the conduct of their journey. Abell's account of expenses (126l. 7s. 6d. from their outfit) at Basle to their arrival in London—from 4 Nov. to 20 Dec.—is still preserved (Ashmole MSS. No. 826). Cranmer received them at Lambeth, and obtained for each of them a pension of forty marks, secured by letters patent. Vermigli was followed by his friend Giulio Terenziano, known in England as Julius. In February 1548 Vermigli was incorporated D.D. at Oxford, and appointed regius professor of divinity at the end of March. He succeeded Richard Smith, D.D. [q. v.], deprived. Smith attended his lectures (on the Epistles to the Corinthians), and challenged him to a disputation on the eucharist, which was fixed for 4 May 1549. Accounts differ as to whether Smith appeared. According to Wood and Strype, the discussion, which actually began on 28 May, lasted four days, Vermigli's opponents being William Tresham (d. 1569) [q. v.], William Chedsey or Cheadsey [q. v.], and Morgan Philipps or Philippes [q. v.] (Strype, Cranmer, ed. Barnes, 1853, i. 289). Vermigli and Tresham each published accounts of the disputation. Vermigli believed in a real presence, conditioned by the faith of the recipient. On 20 Jan. 1550–1 he was installed in the first canonry of Christ Church. His wife and the wife of Richard Cox (1500–1581) [q. v.] were ‘the first women, as 'twas observ'd, that resided in any coll. or hall in Oxon’ (Wood). Hence the windows of his lodgings, which looked into Fish Street, were often broken, ‘especially in the night time,’ by indignant papists, and he removed to the lodgings of the second canonry in the cloister, and built in the garden ‘a fabric of stone’ two stories high, as a study (demolished, March 1684, by Henry Aldrich [q. v.]).