« FöregåendeFortsätt »
"I can with perfect truth declare, that I had not any other objects in view, than those which I openly avowed and professed in the outset of the debate; namely, the general interests of Religion, the credit of the Church of England, the spiritual welfare of the people, and the relief of a large, laborious, deserving, indigent and suffering class of the inferior Clergy: all which important ends I did, and do still most sincerely think, this Bill was well calculated to obtain. I had not, and could not possibly have any other objects in view than these. Indeed no considerations of less moment could have had weight enough to draw me from my retreat, or to set in motion those springs of active exertion, which age and indisposition had so much weakened and impaired; for I can but too closely apply to myself, with a small
variation, those affecting words of old Evander;
Mihi tarda gelu, saeclisque -effceta senectus
Invidet eloquium, serseque ad fortia vires."
The last public act, if I may so term it, of the Bishop's life, was worthy of all that he had done before, and I give it in his own words.
"I had for some time past," he says, "observed in several of the papers an account of a meeting, chiefly of military Gentlemen, at an Hotel at the West end of the Town, which was regularly announced, as held every other Sunday during the winter season. This appeared to me, and to every friend to religion, a needless and wanton profanation of the Christian Sabbath, which by the laws both of God and man was set apart for very different purposes; and the Bishops and Clergy were severely censured for
and exhausted frame; and it became evident to those most constantly with him, that nature could not much longer sustain the shock. He was himself indeed strongly impressed with the conviction, that his end was fast approaching; and he contemplated the event with all that calm, composed resignation, which nothing can inspire but a deep sense of piety, and a devout, religious submission to the will of God. On Thursday the 10th of May, I saw him for the last time; and never can I forget the affecting solemnity of voice, and look, and manner, in which he begged my most earnest prayers for his early and easy release. He said little more to me, for his mind seemed wholly absorbed in the near prospect of an eternal world. The following day he was at his own desire removed to Fulham; and for a
short time the change of air and scene appeared to cheer and exhilarate him. As he sat the next morning in his library, near the window, the brightness of a fine spring day called up a transient glow into his countenance; and he several times exclaimed, O, that glorious Sun Afterwards, whilst sitting at dinner, he was seized with some slight convulsions, which were happily of short duration; and he then fell, as it seemed, into a gentle sleep. From that time however he never spoke, and scarcely could be said to move. Without a pang or a sigh, by a transition so easy, as only to be known by a pressure of his hand upon the knee of his servant, who was sitting near him, the spirit of this great and good Man fled from its earthly mansion
How truly were his own prayers accomplished, thus beautifully expressed many years before in his Poem upon Death:
--------At Thy good time
Let Death approach; I reck not:—let him come
In obedience to express directions, which he left in writing, he was removed to Sundridge, and there interred in a