« FöregåendeFortsätt »
all the mischievous tenets of the French Philosophy, and was in fact an avowed infidel, was so impressed and struck by a sermon, which the Bishop preached on these words,—" Truly this was the Son of God,"—that he was actually converted by it. He was induced to renounce his former principles. He was persuaded to look into Revelation; to examine and consider its evidences; and the result was, that he not only became a sincere and firm Believer in the doctrines of the Gospel, but undertook a translation of a very ingenious and excellent work, M. Bonnet's Inquiries into Christianity, with the hope, as he expresses himself, "of imparting those advantages to others, which I derived myself from the weighty arguments and persuasive eloquence of that respectable Prelate, who first traced out to me the road to Truth."
But the Bishop was not only himself pre-eminent in the pulpit, but he was anxious to promote those in the church, who appeared to him to be best qualified by their learning, their talents, and their eloquence, to uphold the cause of religion. It must ever, for example, be mentioned to his honour, that he conferred the valuable living of St. James's, Westminster, on its present highly respected Rector, the Dean of Canterbury. At the time the benefice became vacant, Dr. Andrewes was no otherwise known to him, than by his general character, and his acknowledged excellence as a preacher. But "for these reasons," says the Bishop, "he appeared to me by far the fittest person I could place in that very important situation; the most important perhaps of any parochial situation in this kingdom. His conduct since has
fully answered my most sanguine expectations. His church is crowded with persons of every rank and condition; and he is doing infinite service in that large and populous parish, not only by his preaching, but by his exemplary unremitted attention to all the duties of his profession, private and public."
It was not however only by patronizing men of reputation, and placing them in situations of usefulness and responsibility, that he endeavoured to advance the credit of the church. He was also anxious to lay a foundation for its future benefit: and this he thought might be most effectually done in the manner thus stated by himself:
"It has often/' he says, "been matter of deep regret to me, that, in the excellent system of education established in
our our two Universities, sufficient regard has not been paid to the instruction of young men intended for the church, in those studies and attainments, which are peculiarly fitted to qualify them for discharging with respectability and success the various important functions of their sacred office. More particularly I have lamented that there is no part of academical education that has any tendency to produce, what is certainly one of the most useful, and most essential branches of our profession,—good preaching and good reading. There is no instruction given in it, no rewards or honours assigned to it, no attention paid to it. Yet this is confessedly the great instrument by which we are 'to persuade men;' by which we are to make an impression on their hearts and consciences, reclaim them from sin, establish
them in virtue, and 'work out their salvation.'
"I therefore determined to try, whether by any means I could excite in, the younger part of the University of Cam-; bridge a spirit of ambition to excel in those most important and necessary qualifications of a parochial clergyman: and, after much deliberation, nothing seemed to me more likely to attain this purpose, than the institution of Prizes for good Elocution and good Composition on religious subjects. If public honours were once assigned to those, who distinguished themselves in these things, as well as to eminent classical scholars and mathematicians, I felt persuaded, that the most beneficial effects would result from such an institution; and I therefore resolved to form one for that purpose at Christ's College, where
u I was