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jurisdiction, the parties were at liberty to marry again. "Now this position," says the Bishop, " I hold to be a false and dangerous doctrine. Marriage is indeed a civil contract; but then it is also something more. It is a divine ordinance. It is so pronounced to be by our Saviour. It is also declared so to be in our Marriage Ceremony. Now the Christian religion is incorporated into our Constitution, and made a part of the law of the land; and the Liturgy besides is formally established by Act of Parliament. It follows therefore that matrimony is considered by the law of England as a divine institution. Indeed, if it were not so, why should adultery be considered as so very heinous a crime? What would the breach of marriage be as a mere civil contract, but a mere civil offence?"
To this I may add, that Lord Loughborough, then Lord Chancellor, at the Bishop's earnest and particular request, took occasion to give a direct contradiction to Lord Clare's assertion, by declaring it to be his fixed opinion, that "marriage was not only a civil institution, but also a divine ordinance, and that it was uniformly so considered by the laws of England."
The year 1800 closed by a singular concurrence of circumstances:—the commencement on the same day of a new year, a new century, and the Union of Ireland with Great Britain. Such a combination of events would naturally make a strong impression on a thinking and religious mind, and it evidently made a very strong one on the Bishop. "The present," he says, in a passage
written with his thoughts full of the subject, and elevated by the warmest patriotic feelings, "the present is a memorable aera in the annals of this kingdom. God grant it may be a happy one! Auspicium melioris aevi! replete with the choicest blessings of Heaven upon this land, and bringing back to us once more that Divine assistance and protection, which have lately been withr drawn from us, and without which all the efforts of human wisdom and power, as we have found by sad experience, can avail us nothings
<< *f To me," he adds, "a gracious Providence has marked the close of this century by many propitious circumstances; more particularly by favouring me with success in a contest of great importance with a clergyman of'my diocese, in which the interests of Religion o:,.-.n and and the Church of England were materially involved. Would to God! the century had closed in a manner equally favourable to this country. But, alas ! it has been the reverse. The last year has entirely blotted out all the glorious events and fair prospects of the preceding one, and left us in a more perilous situation than we were ever placed in before In truth, the sudden, frequent, and astonishing vicissitudes of this war have no parallel in history, and are plainly out of the ordinary course of human affairs. They bear the most evident marks of an Almighty, overruling hand; and, sure I am, that nothing but the interposition of the same irresistible Power in our behalf, can rescue us from ruin.” , , , ‘. . . . : , ; ; * | Such were the sentiments of this great Prelate more than ten years ago, on the
state* of this country. How much greater reason have we at the present day, and amidst the present awful and tumultuous scene of things, to stand amazed at the mysterious ways of Providence, and to send up our devoutest prayers to the Supreme Disposer of all human events, not to forsake us in this hour of peril! Unless He protect us, we must sink inevitably beneath the dangers which surround us: and yet who must not tremble at the thought, how very little we deserve to be protected!
In the Autumn of 1801, a very interesting scene took place, which, though strictly of a private nature, I cannot forbear from mentioning. It is thus related by the Bishop. "Yesterday, the 6th of August, I passed a very pleasant day at Shrewsbury House, near Shooter's Hill, the residence of the Princess Charlotte of