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NO. 4, ROYAL EXCHANGE ;
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RIGHT REV. WILLIAM BEVERIDGE, D.D.
LORD BISHOP OF ST. ASAPH.
WILLIAM BEVERIDGE, second son of the Rev. William Beveridge, vicar of Barrow, in Leicestershire, was born there in 1637, and, after receiving his earlier education under the care of his father, was sent to the free school of Oakham, in the county of Rutland, whence, in May, 1653, he removed to St. John's College, Cambridge, where he was admitted as a sizar. At the university he pursued his studies with uncommon diligence, and devoted himself with such assiduity to the Oriental languages, that in his eighteenth year he wrote a Latin treatise on the Excellency and Use of the Oriental Tongues, especially the Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, and Samaritan; together with a Grammar of the Syriac language, in three books, 1658. In 1656 he took the degree of B.A., and in 1660, that of M.A. On the 3rd of January, 1661, he was ordained deacon in the church of St. Botolph, Aldersgate, in the city of London, by the celebrated Dr. Sanderson, bishop of Lincoln. On the 31st of the same month he was ordained priest in the same church. He was shortly after collated to the vicarage of Ealing, in Middlesex, by Dr. Sheldon, bishop of London. Here he remained for twelve years, devoting to his studies such leisure time as a sedulous discharge of his ministerial duties left at his disposal; the fruits of which were his “ Insti
tutiones Chronologicæ,” an elementary work on chronology, published in 1669, and dedicated to the then bishop of London, Dr. Henchman. In November, 1672, he resigned the vicarage of Ealing, on being chosen rector of St. Peter's, Cornhill, London, by the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of that city. In this wider and more conspicuous field of pastoral labour he exercised the various functions of his office with exemplary zeal; and the signal success that attended his ministrations as a parish priest attests the earnestness and assiduity with which he performed them, and justifies the eulogy which has styled him “the great restorer and reviver of primitive piety.” Among the fruits of his learning and piety, may be reckoned his excellent Sermons, from which the following Selection has been made. In December, 1674, he was collated by bishop Henchman to the prebend of Chiswick, in the cathedral of St. Paul; and in November, 1681, he was made archdeacon of Colchester by bishop Compton, who had succeeded Dr. Henchman in the see of London. In November, 1684, he was installed prebendary of Canterbury. Shortly afterwards he became associated with Dr. Horneck in directing the religious societies which began to be formed in London in the reign of James II., and which contributed to the diffusion of religious knowledge and piety both in the metropolis and in the provinces. From these associations two permanent offshoots bave originated: the SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE, and the SOCIETY FOR THE PROPAGATION OF THE GOSPEL IN FOREIGN PARTS. In 1690, he was nominated chaplain to king William and queen Mary; and in the following year he declined the see of Bath and Wells, vacated by the deprivation of bishop Ken, who had refused to take the oaths of allegiance to the reigning sovereign. But in 1704 he was consecrated bishop of St. Asaph, on the translation of Dr. George Hooper from that diocese to the see of Bath and Wells. He died on the 5th March, 1708, in the seventy-first year of his age, and was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral; to which he bequeathed his books, to serve as a foundation of a theological library, for the use of the Clergy of the city of London. Besides the works already mentioned, he wrote “ Private Thoughts on Religion ;” “The Church Catechism Explained;” “The Great Necessity of Frequent communion;"
;” “Thesaurus Theologicus, or, a Complete System of Divinity ;” “A Defence of the Old Singing Psalms ;” “Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles ;" Συνοδικόν, sive Pandectae Canonum SS. Apostolorum et Conciliorum ab Ecclesiâ Græcâ receptorum,” and, “Codex Canonum Ecclesiæ Primitivæ Vindicatus et Illustratus."
Of the published Sermons of this learned and pious prelate—a hundred and fifty in number-only five or six had the advantage of being prepared by him for the press : but it is believed that the following Selection will not only sustain the high reputation which the author had, as a preacher, among the most eminent judges of literary merit in his own time, but also enlighten the understanding, confirm the faith, elevate the hope, and enlarge and warm the affections, of all who shall read them with some portion of that love of things sacred with which they were written.
The character of Bishop Beveridge's Sermons, which is given by Robert Nelson in his “Life of Bishop Bull',” may properly be quoted in this short Memoir:
“ And now I have named this great and good man, I cannot forbear acknowledging the favourable dispensation of Provi
Life of Bishop Bull. Oxford Ed. 1846, pp. 63, 64,