Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

See of London before the Bishop held his primary visitation; but the cause of the delay arose, as he himself observes, "from a wish to collect all the information he could from various quarters, and more particularly from the answers to the several queries which had been some months before circulated through the diocese."

With these materials before him, he was enabled to select such topics for his Charge as appeared the most important; and accordingly he insisted principally on the necessity of more constant residence*, an increase of salaries to

curates,

* The residence of the beneficed Clergy on their cures was one of the objects, connected with the discipline and good order of the Church, which the Bishop was unceasing in his endeavours to promote; and the following extract from a most useful and able Charge delivered by Mr. Archdeacon Cambridge in 1808, to the Clergy of the Archdeaconry of Middlesex, is an honourable and convincing proof how successfully

[graphic]

curates, and the improvement of our parochial psalmody. In regard to the

last

frilly those endeavours were exerted.—*' Itwillnow," he says, " be expected, that I should make some report of the state and condition of the Parsonage Houses,which it was a part of my duty to inspect; but it was with real pleasure I found, that the difficulty and trouble, which may readily be supposed to attend the due performance of this delicate branch of our official inquiry, were considerably lessened, and the duty in a great measure anticipated by the unwearied exertions of our excellent Prelate, whose constant endeavour it has been, ever since he presided over this important diocese, to establish resident clergy on every preferment where it was possible to accomplish it; an endeavour, in which he had- most meritoriously and successfully persevered for many years previous to the late Act for enforcing the Residence of the Parochial Clergy. Of this, his first concern, the repair and improvement of the parsonage house, in which the incumbent was required to reside, formed an essential and often a preliminary part. And it is now with infinite satisfaction I can state, that with the exception of a very few cases, where accidental circumstances have occasioned delays in the accomplishment of the wishes and directions of the Bishop, on almost every living, the income of which is sufficient to supply the means of maintaining a decent residence for the incumbent, this important object is already attained."

last of these subjects, he states the following reasons for pressing it on the attention of his clergy.

"Of all the Services of our Church, none appear to me to have sunk to so low an ebb, or so evidently to need reform, as our parochial psalmody; more especially, as Dr. Burney, in his History of Music, had very injudiciously taken great pains to ridicule and discredit the use of psalmody in our churches, and to introduce in the room of it cathedral music. In consequence of this, many churches and chapels in London had already adopted his ideas; and at their charity sermons, professional singers, both male and female, were brought from various places of public entertainment- lo sing hymns and anthems for the benefit of the children. Nay, in one or two churches there had been musical

entertainments entertainments upon Sunday evenings, without even prayers or a sermon. I therefore thought it highly necessary, in order to prevent our places of public worship from being converted into concert-rooms, to endeavour to check this musical madness, and if possible to bring back our psalmody to its antient purity and simplicity/'

For his opinions and advice, both which are extremely judicious upon this subject, I must refer the reader to the Charge itself, which will be found in his Works. It is a composition throughout of great elegance and ability; and there is one circumstance in it which I cannot suffer to pass without notice, namely, the high testimony which it bears to the talents and virtues of his venerable predecessor, Bishop Lowth. The See of London had never been filled

by by a more distinguished prelate; and his successor felt that it would have been an act of injustice to so great a man, if he had not offered some part at least of that tribute which was justly due to his memory, and publicly expressed his deep regret for the loss sustained by the church, and by the world at large. The character he has given of him is forcibly and ably drawn: and, although the necessity of enlarging upon other important matter prevented him from saying much upon the subject, he would yet but ill have satisfied his own feelings, or the expectations of bis clergy, if, with such an opportunity before him, he had said less.

Not many months after his return from the visitation of his diocese, a decree given in his favour by the Court of Chancery enabled him to prosecute a

plan,

« FöregåendeFortsätt »