USHER, JAMES, Archbishop of Armagh, and by common consent the most learned prelate that ever adorned the Irish Protestant church, belonged to one of the oldest Anglo-Irish families, and was born in Dublin, Jan. 4, 1580. His father, Arnold Usher, one of the clerks in chancery, was a gentleman of good estate, and his unc:e, Henry Usher, preceded him in the archbishopric of Armagh. At the age of 13 he entered Dublin college, where his predilection for history soon revealed itself. Having resolved to devote himself to the service of the church, he proceeded, after the solid fashion of the times, to read up the entire literature of ecclesiastical antiquity—a task which occu pied Win from his 20th to his 38th yearl In 1601, he was ordained deacon and priest, and was shortly after appointed preacher of Christ church, Dublin. In 1607, he was chosen to the chair of divinity, a post which he held for 13 years. In 1609, he made one of his numerous visits to England, in the course of which he made the acquaintance of the most distinguished schohirs of the age. In 1613, his first publication appeared, entitled De Ecclesiarum Christianarum Successione et Statu, which was designed as is continuation of bishop Jewel's Apology. The work was divided into three parts, of which only the first, reaching to the period of Hildebrand, and part of the second, were finished. In 1615, he was appointed, by a convocation of the clergy held at Dublin, to draw up a series of articles (the number amounted to 104) relating to The doctrine and discipline of the Irish Protestant church, in which the doctrines of predestination and reprobation (of which Usher was an unflinching apologist) found prominence. These. and other views, such as, that bishops were not a different order from presbyters, that the Sabbath should Mle strictly enforced, that no toleration should be granted to Catholics, laid him open to the charge of Puritanism; but as his loyalty to the principle of mon archy was undoubted, lie suffered no diminution of the royal favor; on time contrary, king James promoted him to the bishopric of Meath in 1620; and in 1623, constituted him a privy-councilor of Ireland. Two years later, he was raised to the bight st ecclesiastical dignity in the kingdom, the archbishopric of Armagh, and in his °Mein] capacity "vigorously" opposed the toleration of popery and the spread of Arminian ism. In 1632, Usher published Yeterum Epistolarum Diberniearum Sylloge, a collection of letters out of several ancient MSS., concerning the state of the Irish church front t;92 to 1180; in 1638, Emmanuel, or a Treatise on the Incarnation of the Son of God; in 1639, Britannicarum Ecclesiarum Antiquitates, which is said to contain "a most exact account of the British church; from the first planting of Christianity, twenty yer,7s after ce:r Saviour's crucifixion, down, both in Britain and Ireland, to the end of 'the 7th c.;" iii
1641, The Judgment of Dr. Reynolds concerning the Original of Episcopacy defended; The Original of Bishops; The Power of the Prince and the Obedience of the Subject, etc. When the civil war broke out, Usher, who was in England at the time, espoused the side of tha king, refused to sit, when nominated, among the assembly of divines at Westminster, and made himself very obnoxious to the parliament by the sermons which he preached at Oxford. When the fortunes of the king began to decline, Usher left Oxford; his property and revenues in Ireland were seized, and after a residence in Wales and else where, he came to London in 1647, where, in spite of his royalist sympathies, he was chosen by the benchers preacher of Lincoln's Inn, a post which he retained till his death, March 21, 1656. Cromwell, who had a great respect for his learning, ordered his remains to be interred with great magnificence in Erasmus's chapel in Westminster abbey. Usher was a man of undoubted ability and of enormous erudition, pious and free from worldly ambition; but he lacked force of character, real insight and intellec tual power, hence, though pronounced by Dr. Johnson "the greatest luminary of the Irish church," he exercised less influence over the course of contemporary events than the humblest of Cromwell's Ironsides. Nor can it be shown that posterity is very deeply indebted to him for more than the'exfnple of a virtuous and studious life. Usher's chief works, besides those already mentioned, are his edition (1644) of the Epistolce of Polycarp and Ignatius; his. treatise De Romance Ecclesice Symbolo (1647); Dissertatio de ltacedonum et Afianorum Anna Solari (1648); and Annals tf the Old Testament (1654) a chronological work. After his death, there were published (front his numerous MSS.), Chronologia Sacra, etc. (Oxford, 1660), by which and his Annals lie is most widely known; a volume of Sermons; Historia Dogmatiea Controtershe inter Orthodaros et Pontiticios de Scriptures et Sacris Yernaculis (Loud. 1690); A Collection of three hundred Letters written to James Usher, Lord Archbishop of Armagh, to which is prefixed a life of the archbishop by his chaplain,. Richard Parr, an, (Lend. 1686). A colleetect,edition of Usher's works. in 16 vols., with a new biography, was published at Dublin in 1841, by Dr. Ellington.