« FöregåendeFortsätt »
almost any other period; a Church, which has stood the test of ages, and the shock of persecution; which is the great bulwark of Protestantism in Europe, the admiration of foreign nations, and the glory of our own; it would, I say, be paying but an ill compliment to such an Establishment to suppose, that a Church so constituted, and at the same time supported and protected by the State, can be shaken, or in any material degree injured, by the invectives or misrepresentations of any adversaries that we have to contend with. No, my Brethren, let us think better of ourselves; let us be true to ourselves; let us make the best use of the vast advantages we possess; let us exert ourselves in our several stations with diligence, with vigour, with energy and with perseverance, and we have nothing to fear/' In
In addition to these admirable observations, which I would to God were universally felt and followed, he exhorted his clergy to encourage amongst their people, peculiarly at such a time, a spirit of loyalty, obedience and subordination; and, with that view, recommended to them in the strongest terms the adoption in their respective parishes of those excellent institutions, Sunday Schools; or, if these should be disapproved, or thought impracticable, the propriety at least in some way or other of educating the lower classes of the people, and instructing them in the principles of the Christian Faith. The conclusion of this Charge, the last he ever delivered, is very affecting. "I have now stated to you," he says, "what appeared to me most worthy of your attention, arid most necessary at the present mornent. And as, at my advanced N period
period of life, I dare scarcely indulge the hope of being permitted to meet you again in this place, I was anxious to take this opportunity of collecting into one view, and pressing upon your most serious consideration, every thing that presented itself to my mind, as most conducive to your real credit and welfare, to the best interests of the Church of England, and to the general diffusion of sound morality and genuine piety and religion throughout the great mass of the people of this land. What I have here offered to your thoughts, I do in my best judgment, after the most mature consideration and the experience of a long life, most conscientiously believe to be well calculated for those important purposes; and I entreat you to receive it as the advice of one, who can now have no other possible view in this world but that of discharging the various duties
incumbent incumbent on him (more especially those which he owes to you) to the best of those abilities, which God has given him. And it will be my last and most fervent prayer to Heaven, that both you and I may be well prepared for that most awful account, which we must all of us give, of the sacred and important trust reposed in us, at the tribunal of our Almighty Judge."
On the subject of Residence, in this Charge, the Bishop stated that the consideration of the question was then before the Legislature. The fact was, that under the Statute of the 21st of Henry the Eighth, many vexatious prosecutions had been instituted by common informers, for the mere sake of the penalties, against non-resident clergy; in consequence of which, many excellent men had been subjected to great hardships.
It was therefore extremely desirable, that such persons should be relieved from the pressure of this Act. Accordingly with this view a short Bill was in the first instance introduced, to suspend all actions on the Statute of Henry till the 25th of March 1802; and during the interval another Bill was brought forward by Sir William Scott, the outline of which, as stated by himself in a speech of great learning, ability and eloquence, was shortly this: first, on the matter of farming—for on that point also the Act of Henry was extremely rigorous and severe—to give the clergy the liberty of farming in cases where they had been injuriously prohibited; and, secondly, in the matter of residence—to give a fair and reasonable allowance of time to the clergyman for the occasions of private life, free from the vexatious suits of an