Edward Dering

Edward Dering (c.1540-1576) was the third son of John and Margaret Dering. He received his education at Christ’s College, Cambridge; was admitted B.A. 1559-60, and was shortly after elected a fellow of the society. He commenced M. A. in 1563. In the following year Queen Elizabeth visited the university, and proceeded to make a tour of the colleges; on her arrival at Emmanuel, Dering presented her with a congratulatory copy of Greek verses–the earliest evidence of that scholarship which afterwards led Archbishop Parker to style him ‘the greatest learned man in England.’ In 1566 he was university proctor, and the next year preacher before the university on the Lady Margaret foundation. On 28 Nov. 1568 he was collated by Parker to the rectory of Pluckley. He also appears about this time to have been one of the chaplains to the Duke of Norfolk, and to have held a chaplaincy in the Tower of London, where he preached, 11 Dec. 1569, a sermon of remarkable power and beauty, which he afterwards printed.

Down to this time he would seem to have been well disposed towards the Anglican party, and in agreement with the church discipline and ritual. He was singled out by Parker as the scholar best qualified to reply to the malignant misrepresentations of Sander in his treatise, ‘De Visibili Monarchia;’ and he was employed by the privy council to draw up a series of answers to a book which at the time was supposed to have been written by Cartwright. In his ‘Sparing Restraint’ (a reply to Harding, the Jesuit assailant of Jewel) he writes: “Our service is good and holy, every tittle grounded on Holy Scriptures.”

On February 25, 1569-1570 he preached at court before the queen, his text being Psalm 128:70, with singular vehemence. Thomas Baker, referring to this discourse, observes that it “is a remarkable piece, and perhaps the last of that kind that was preached at court.” The whole sermon is a fierce indictment against the clergy, whose lives and ordinary practice are held up to reprobation in the most unsparing terms. Dering wound up his description in the following words, directly addressed to Elizabeth herself: “And yet you in the meanwhile that all these whoredoms are committed, you at whose hands God will require it, you sit still and are careless, let men do as they list. It toucheth not belike your common-wealth, and therefore you are so well contented to let all alone.” We learn from Dering’s own statement in the dedication of his lectures on the Hebrews to Elizabeth, that in consequence of the offence thus given he was suspended from preaching.

In 1573 he was suspended from his lectureship and summoned before the Star-chamber. He was there charged with having given utterance to unwarrantable and unorthodox sentiments, and more especially with having predicted that Parker, his former friend, would be the last archbishop of Canterbury. This charge he sought to explain away. Examined as to his general agreement with the doctrine of the Thirty-nine Articles, his answers were deemed satisfactory. His sentence of suspension from his lectureship was cancelled. But when an effort was made in 1574 to obtain for Dering the appointment of lecturer at Whittington College as successor to Thomas Sampson, Parker put his veto on the proposal.

Shortly after this Dering’s health began to give way. In 1572 he married Anne Locke, who nursed him as he succumbed to tuberculosis. He died 26 June 1576 at Thoby, in the parish of Mountnessing, Essex.

Dering’s writings show that he possessed a remarkable command of language, and that he was a man of warm affections and deep and earnest convictions; but it is no less evident that he was by temperament singularly vehement and impulsive, and wanting in sobriety of judgment and in discretion. He seems to have fully merited Strype’s description as being “a great enemy to the order of bishops.” On the other hand, his reputation among his contemporaries stood singularly high. By Rutherfurd he is named along with Calvin, Cartwright, and Beza, as one to whose judgment he would readily bow.

His works have been several times printed, and a complete list as far as known is given by Cooper. The best collected edition is that of 1614 [listed below]. This contains 1.) ‘A Sermon Preached Before the Queen’s Majesty,’ 2.) ‘A Sermon Preached at the Tower of London,’ 3.) ‘Twenty-Seven Lectures or Readings upon the Epistle to the Hebrews,’ 4.) ‘Certain Godly and Comfortable Letters,’ 5.) ‘ A Brief and Necessary Catechism for Christian Housholders,’ and 6.) ‘Godly Private Prayers for Christian Families. [More via Wikipedia]

The Complete Works of Edward Dering:

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The Works of Edward Dering. (684 pages)
[pdf epub mobi txt web via Internet Archive]
Containing the following:

  1. Certain Godly and Comfortable Letters. pdf, 60 pp.
  2. Twenty-Seven Lectures or Readings upon the Epistle to the Hebrews:
    1. Lecture 1. (Hebrews 1:1) – pdf, 15 pp.
    2. Lecture 2. (Hebrews 1:2-3) – pdf, 16 pp.
    3. Lecture 3. (Hebrews 1:4-7) – pdf, 18 pp.
    4. Lecture 4. (Hebrews 1:8-9) – pdf, 16 pp.
    5. Lecture 5. (Hebrews 1:10-12) – pdf, 14 pp.
    6. Lecture 6. (Hebrews 1:13-14) – pdf, 18 pp.
    7. Lecture 7. (Hebrews 2:1-4) – pdf, 18 pp.
    8. Lecture 8. (Hebrews 2:5-8) – pdf, 16 pp.
    9. Lecture 9. (Hebrews 2:8-10) – pdf, 14 pp.
    10. Lecture 10. (Hebrews 2:11-13) – pdf, 20 pp.
    11. Lecture 11. (Hebrews 2:15-18) – pdf, 16 pp.
    12. Lecture 12. (Hebrews 2:17-3:1) – pdf, 18 pp.
    13. Lecture 13. (Hebrews 3:2-6) – pdf, 16 pp.
    14. Lecture 14. (Hebrews 3:6) – pdf, 14 pp.
    15. Lecture 15. (Hebrews 3:7-11) – pdf, 16 pp.
    16. Lecture 16. (Hebrews 3:12-14) – pdf, 18 pp.
    17. Lecture 17. (Hebrews 3:15-19) – pdf, 16 pp.
    18. Lecture 18. (Hebrews 4:1-2) – pdf, 16 pp.
    19. Lecture 19. (Hebrews 4:3-10) – pdf, 16 pp.
    20. Lecture 20. (Hebrews 4:11-13) – pdf, 16 pp.
    21. Lecture 21. (Hebrews 4:14-16) – pdf, 16 pp.
    22. Lecture 22. (Hebrews 5:1-3) – pdf, 16 pp.
    23. Lecture 23. (Hebrews 5:4-6) – pdf, 12 pp.
    24. Lecture 24. (Hebrews 5:7-9) – pdf, 30 pp.
    25. Lecture 25. (Hebrews 5:10-14) – pdf, 16 pp.
    26. Lecture 26. (Hebrews 5:13-6:2) – pdf, 16 pp.
    27. Lecture 27. (Hebrews 6:3-6) – pdf, 18 pp.
  3. A Brief and Necessary Catechism for Christian Housholders. pdf, 32 pp.
  4. Godly Private Prayers for Christian Families. pdf, 100 pp.
  5. A Sermon Preached Before the Queen’s Majesty. (Psalm 78:70-72) – pdf, 35 pp.
  6. A Sermon Preached at the Tower of London on December 11, 1569. (John 6:34-35) – pdf, 22 pp.