Page images
PDF
EPUB

his «

We must,

out the slightest impediment being would furnish a new chapter for Dens and offered to his nefarious proceedings. Pascal's Provincial Letters. Thus he says, We cannot but think that if, six months “You insist that the pledge must be ago, a law had been passed to prohibit a vow; and you charge me with what

monster meetings,” and to render you call •Jesuitism for denying it. a conspiracy for the severance of the Your grounds are that the crowds kneel, constituent parts of her Majesty's do- that they receive a blessing upon their minions highly penal, a salutary check engagement, that it is proposed to be would have been interposed to his pre- kept with the Divine assistance, &c.' sent alarming power.

We cannot be- • If such a promise,' you conclude, does lieve that any government ought to not amount to a vow, we do not know allow a rebel parliament to meet, as is

what constitutes a vow. It is no use, threatened, and agitate for the dissolu- of course, to refer to schoolmen or other tion of the national bonds.

authorities for the definition of a vow as however, presume that Sir R. Peel and understood by Catholics; but I will his colleagues, whose information on all point out a few differences between the the facts of the case far surpasses that pledge as at present taken, and what it of unofficial persous, must have acted upon would be were it a vow. very strong considerations. They are “1. A. B. has taken the pledge, and clearly not unapprehensive of danger; for after a trial finds, or thinks he finds, total they have taken strong measures of pre- abstinence disagree with him. Perhaps caution ; all Ireland is bristling with for greater security he takes a physibayonets ; and the principal towns are cian's opinion, and it coincides with his fortified and provisioned to hold out own. No one will find fault with him against an attack, and to afford a refuge if he considers himself free, and acts for the Protestants, who are preparing to accordingly. C. D. has made a vow, if resort to them in case of emergency. At you please, in private, without any sopresent all is quiet; O'Connell convenes lemnity or blessing, to abstain from all meetings, makes speeches, appoints a intoxicating liquors. He finds, after a magistracy, and is about to issue his time, that his health will not allow him writs for three hundred delegates for his to persevere without danger. Still he new parliament; but the people are cannot dispense with himself, but must taught to refrain from outrage; and have recourse to his ecclesiastical supetheir abstinence from inebriating liquors rior, priest, or bishop; and only from renders them calm, composed, and reso- him can he receive dispensation. 2. A. lute. Father Mathew has powerfully B. having come to his conclusion, is as served the cause of Repeal; not, we free as he was before he took the pledge. believe, with that intention ; for we give C. D., on the contrary (unless his vow him credit for conscientiously wishing is pronounced a rash one, and conseto restrain men, and women too, whether quently not binding ab initio) will have in England or Ireland, from the sin and some other religious obligation imposed misery of drunkenness; and we think instead. This vow will be commuted, that a correspondent in our present

not annulled or abrogated. 3. This Number has dealt hardly with him; difference in the results must suppose an though not too hardly with the Church essential difference in the acts. The of Rome in regard to its system of sub- difference is, that C. D. intended delibestituting partial acts for scriptural prin- rately to make his promise directly to ciples, for the sake of the remarks on God, depositing the act thereof, if one which we inserted the paper. But much may be allowed the expression, in the as we rejoice at the result of priest hands of his Church, putting revocation Mathew's labours, they add strength to out of his own power, and rendering any cause which a multitude of reclaimed himself liable to the grievous sin of a drunkards may espouse ; and accord- violated vow, if he should ever transingly every Irish rebellion has com- gress. On the other hand, A. B. did not menced with the inculcation of sobriety; purpose so to engage himself, or so to and usually with bonds and vows, as in bind himself. But A. B. invokes the the present case, notwithstanding the Divine assistance upon his promise; and disclaimer of Dr. Wiseman, whose Je. what is this you say, but making the suitical quibbling upon vows, addressed promise to God!" But enough— too to the Editor of the Times newspaper, much--of this. Such is Popery!

ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS. J. R. ; An Old Correspondent ; R. P. W.; S. A. ; F. G. ; R. H. ; and Z. ; are

under consideration.

[blocks in formation]

ور

AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF BISHOP PATRICK.

For the Christian Observer. A

that school of theologians of which Archbishops Tillotson, Tenison, and Wake, and Bishops Burnet, Patrick, and Stillingfleet, were among the chief supporters; and which, during the reign of William and Mary, was in the ascendant, at least in the Upper House of Convocation, and so continued, till it degenerated into what was afterwards styled the Orthodox school. The Tillotsonian divines differed widely, on the one hand, from the Reformers; and on the other, from the Laudeans, Non-Jurors, or Altitudinarians—three names for persons, in the main, of one school. The Tillotsonians professed to have found the just middle in theology and ecclesiastical polity. They considered the school of the Reformers, the school of the Puritans, and the school of the Altitudinarians, as affording scope for a judicious eclecticism. They thought the Reformers were right in maintaining “moderate episcopacy,” and also in acknowledging the foreign communions to be true churches, though in this respect seriously defective; but they thought they carried the doctrine of justification by faith to an “extreme rigour, and they proposed, with a view to instruct the people more correctly in this matter, to set forth a new book of Homilies, in the drawing up of which Tillotson proposed that Burnet and Patrick should have the chief share. They of course disapproved strongly of the Puritans, in matters both of doctrine and ecclesiastical government; but their more immediate adversaries were the “Altitudinarians ;" whom they charged with holding Popish views respecting the Sacraments and the priestly office; and with being bigotted and intolerant in their notions in regard to other Protestant communions and questions of civil government. We have called the Altitudinarians the more immediate adversaries of the

Tillotsonians, because these two parties came most directly into collision, especially in Convocation ; as for instance, immediately after the Revolution, when the majority of the Lower House elected Dr. Jane, a violent Jacobite Altitudinarian, to keep out Tillotson, then Dean of St. Paul's; and refused to concur in the draught of an address, proposed and carried by the Upper House, in which King William was thanked “ for the zeal shewn in his message for the Protestant religion in general, and the Church of England in particular.” The ground of their objection was Christ. OBSERV. No. 71.

4 N

that “this imported their owning some common union with the foreign Protestants.”

The strifes between these two parties continued till the scandals and political mischiefs arising from them forced the government, early in the reign of George the First, to put an end to them, by refusing licence to the Convocation to sit as a legislative body. The three successive Archbishops whom we have above mentioned, and the great majority of Bishops who concurred with them in upholding “moderate measures,' were unable to restrain the violence of their opponents, especially when the Jacobite party became politically strong, and was urged on by such demagogues as Sacheverell. The genuine school of the Reformation had dwindled away ; the Articles and Homilies of the Church of England were scarely heard of; and till the class of clergymen usually called “ Evangelical” sprang up, the two schools above mentioned divided the national suffrages between them ; till at length they for the most part silently coalesced under the denomination of the Orthodox school :” a school of High-Church formality; which had neither the devoutness of the Kens and Kettlewells of the Altitudinarian class, nor the candour and charity of the “ Latitudinarians," (as the Ilickeses and Sacheverells called such men as Tillotson, Tenison, Burnet, and Wake); and who were opposed to the Puritans and Non-conformists, not only in their dissent from the Church of England, but in their agreement with it; the doctrinal views of the Reformers being as distasteful to what was called “the Orthodox party,” as the ecclesiastical opinions of the Separatists. This long-dominant class now seems likely to be crushed between the “ Evangelicals," as they are called, and the Tractarians. The former revived the doctrines of the Reformation ; and had demonstrated by their appeals to Scripture, and, subordinately, to the formularies of the Anglican communion, that the lifeless and unscriptural system called “Orthodoxy," —which was a meagre offspring of the Tillotsonian family, and which blended faith and works, sacraments and merits, in ignorant confusion — was neither the doctrine of the Bible nor of the Church of England. The so-called Orthodox body, thus discountenanced on the one side, has been of late years vehemently assailed on the other : the Tractarians affirming that their system was not " Catholic ;” that it gave a powerful handle to the Evangelicals; and that the re-action produced by it was the cause of the revival among us of the malign principles of the Protestant Reformation. Devout men of the last century, say the Tractarians, wishing for something which they could not find in the communion of the Church of England, as its doctrines were then set forth and its system practically conducted, too often became either fanatical seceders, or non-Catholic churchmen. But now, add they, that the Catholic system is revived, this danger will be obviated ; for the church-loving portion of devout men of the old Orthodox party will find in it what they panted for ; while those who are infected with Protestantism will unite with “the Evangelicals ;” but for neither will the frigid system called “Orthodoxy” have any charms; it has received its death-blow; it may linger a few years, till its pupils of the last generation have died off ; but it will not be the religion of Young England; the rising race will scorn it.

We have expressed in courteous terms what some zealots of the Tractarian school, irritated perhaps at episcopal Charges and Oxford proceedings, are pleased to state in bitter language. Take the following illustration from a Tractarian publication. The writer, who signs himself“ Erasmus Yorick,” (does he mean that he combines the learning 1813.)

of the philosopher of Rotterdam with the wit of the king of Denmark's jester ?) is vindicating the British Critic against some objections which had been made to its "tone and tendency." He is pleased to say:

Knowing, as I do from experience, the singular advantage derived to the Catholic principle from that admirable periodical, the British Critic, I must, for my part, protest stoutly and uncompromisingly against any measure calculated to cast suspicion upon it, or to diminish its circulation. Your correspondent styles himself Catholic, but appears to defer with some apprehension to the scruples of certain • Orthodox ' brethren. Let me be permitted to ask him whether Orthodoxy, in the modern acceptation, be more likely to advance or to retard Catholicity? I have a pretty extensive acquaintance with these Orthodox personages. As a class, they have comfortable livings, backed commonly by snug private fortunes ; they give exemplary dinners ; pay visits in roomy chariots with fat wives, fat horses, fat coachmen; they are condescending to curates : in speech, rather weighty (not to say authoritative) than verbose ; if the latter, prosy; they transcribe their divinity from Stanhope, Claxton, and Pyle; Tillotson is the Ultima Thule of their theology; beyond his period their church is in nubibus; they call the Church the Establishment; in rubrical observance they follow their fathers, (literally); to return to the practice of their grand-fathers they consider dangerous innovation; some, indeed, preach in a surplice, but that is from laziness, for the species delights especially in the rustle of silk gowns with huge pudding sleeves; Dissent angers them, but Po. pery terrifies ; and they would as soon put on the shirt of Nessus as the name of Catholic ; their High Church principle may be supposed to have some connexion with ideas of high place, high life, and high living, including however a supreme contempt of Calvinism. Really, if the Church is to wait upon these ponderous divines, she might just as well turn round for another long sleep, duller than the fat weed that roots itself in ease on Lethe's wharf.'

“But for the alleged papistical tendencies of the British Critic. - If that very influential work really discovered a bias towards Romish corruptions_innovations required by that church to be subscribed to as terms of communion, doubtless it were the duty of every Anglo-Catholic to protest against it and them. But it is not so. I challenge proof of the affirmative. If your correspondent have assumed an appropriate signature, his mind will have been emancipated from the confused prejudices of this ultra-Protestant generation: he will not, like them, cry 'Popery!' at everything that has not been clipped and ground down to the model of the doctrines and practices prevalent in this country for the last century ; which have made “discrimen obscurum 'between Churchmen and Dissenters. He will have broke through the web of feeble Puritanism that has been wrapped round us all while we slept. And, what is yet of more consequence, he will have asserted a right (while the ultra-Protestant section of the Church scruple not to demand a new reform of the Reformation, that its formularies may be adjusted to the spirit which they have mesmerised into it) to do his part in re-animating the existing figure with a life at least as Catholic as that consigned to us by Edward and Elizabeth. I say at least, for I have yet to learn what should restrict us, members of Christ's universal Church, to the private opinions of the reforming clergy."

The admirers of the Orthodoxy of the last century; the transcribers of divinity from Stanhope, Claxton, and Pyle, whose names used to figure upon Orthodox tracts for the poor, catalogues of Orthodox books for the younger clergy, and Orthodox Family Bibles (for Pyle and Stanhope are among the authorities from which Bishop Miant and Dr. D'Oyly “transcribe their divinity'); and those to whom "Tillotson is the Ultima Thule of their theology,” will see in the above extract the opinion of Tractarians respecting the school which they have long assumed to be the genuine decorous model-school of the Church of England. As we have always contended that the Stanhopes, Pyles, and Claxtons, and their successors the Randolphs and Tomlines of our own younger days, were not true representatives of the English Church ;that their doctrines were not those of Scripture or of the Protestant Reformation;- it is not ourpart to undertake their defence against their Tractarian assailants. Tillotson, as we before remarked, ought not personally to be classed with the meagre writers of the “Orthodox” school of the

[ocr errors]

وو

last century; nor ought Burnet; though the defective views of Scriptural and Anglican doctrine held by theologians of that class, laid the foundation of the wretched Orthodoxism of the reign of the three Georges.

We have premised these historical remarks, as a preface to a biographical notice of Bishop Patrick, who was one of the brightest ornaments of this class of divines. His learned, devout, and valuable writings ; his exemplary pastoral and episcopal labours; and the active part which he took in settling the affairs of the Church at the Revolution, could not but create a desire for a more detailed account of his life than is to be found in the meagre sketches hitherto published. At the conclusion of the brief notice of him in Chalmers's Biographical Dictionary, occurs the following remark : “Whiston speaks of a Life of Bishop Patrick, written by himself, which he had read, and which was in Dr. Knight's hands, but where now is not known.This long-buried manuscript has been brought to light, and was published at Oxford about four years ago. The Editor gives the following account of it; from which it will be seen that it had not wandered far, being still in the possession of Dr. Knight's family.

“ This Memoir, now for the first time made public, tells its own story so completely, that it seems unnecessary to say more than that the original manuscript has been in the possession of Bishop Patrick's family ever since his death. It is now in the library of Mrs. Knight of Milton Hall, near Cambridge, by whose kind permission it has been copied and printed. The writing is fair and perfectly legible, with the exception of some notes at the end, which are in short-hand, and cannot be deciphered. The • Little book' of which the Bishop makes such frequent mention, would probably bring to light many interesting particulars relating to a period of our history when every event is worthy of notice ; but we have no means of discovering whether it is still extant. Nor have we been able to learn by whom the supplementary account of the Bishop's friends was put together.

We suggest the inquiry whether these supplementary notices were not drawn up by Dr. Knight, who was an antiquary and biographer. He was born in London, and was educated at St. Paul's school. He took his Bachelor of Arts degree, at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1702. He was successively made Vicar of Chippenham ; Rector of Borough-Green ; a Prebendary of Ely; Rector of Bluntesham, Chaplain to George II. ; and Archdeacon of Berks. He died at Bluntesham in 1746. He left an ample fortune to his only son, who purchased the manor of Milton, where he died in 1790. Dr. Knight assisted many authors in their researches, and his valuable aid is acknowledged by Peck, Grey, Ward, and others. His lives of Dean Colet and Erasmus, are scarce, and obtain high prices. He had made collections for the Lives of Bishops Grossetete, Overall, and Patrick ; the last of which may contain the account of Patrick's friends, alluded to by the Editor of the autobiography. Mrs. Knight, we suppose, is the widow of his grandson. The Little book,' we hope, will even yet be recovered. As to the short-hand notes, it is a mistake to say they “ cannot be deciphered,” for no system of short-hand has proved impregnable to skill and perseverance. Tillotson's secret-hand manuscripts were deciphered by Gibbs, the short-hand writer for Dr. Birch, who incorporated them in his Memoir of the Archbishop ; and Dr. Doddridge's secret papers have been deciphered and published in our own times, including some things which had better been left in oblivion.

In order to give coherence to the passages which we purpose extracting from Bishop Patrick's auto-biographical detail, we will prefix a general outline of his life.

« PreviousContinue »