« ZurückWeiter »
tevenue had experienced no diminution. So truly noble was his mind, that he often remitted his rights when he thought the party could not pay him without suffering inconvenience. Of this, one instance out of many shall suffice. He had made a bargain with one of his parishioners to receive so much for the tithe of a large meadow, and according to the agreement received part of the money at the beginning of the year. During hay-harvest a sudden flood deluged the meadow, and wholly spoiled the produce. The tenant however, came punctually and offered the rector the last payment according to contract; but, so far from receiving it, he generously returned him the former' sum, saying to the poor man, “ God for-, bid that I should take the tenth, when you have not the ninth part!"
He took great pains in hearing and reconciling any differences that happened among his parishioners, and always gavė satisfaction to both parties, by his equitable decisions and excellent advice. By this means he so much engaged their affection, that no person of his calling was better beloved when present, nor more regretted when absent, than he was by his flock, of which these two instances are proof: The one, that being driven away, and his books plundered, one of his neighbors bought them, and preserved them for him till the end of the war; the other, that during his abode at Penshurst, he never had a single dispute about his dues, bút had his tithes fully paid, and that with the greatest cheerfulness. He was careful in his attendance upon the sick, nor even failed in that duty when the disorder was contagious, saying always, “he was as much in God's hands in the sick chamber as elsewhere.” To the poor in such cases he was a most liberal benefactor, not only supplying them with spiritual consolation, but with temporal conveniences. For the instruction of youth in the principles of piety, his custom was, during the warmer season of the year, to spend an hour before evening prayer in catechizing, intermingling the whole with easy expositions, which rendered this exercise not only serviceable to the catechumens themselves, but to the elder part of the congregation ; and he was wont to say, " that they reaped more benefit from hence than from his sermons." He likewise provided his parish with a religious and able schoolmaster. The parsonage house being much decayed and very inconvenient, he repaired and enlarged it at a considerable expence.
Thus employed was this good man, during the whole period of his residence, in all those duties which dignify the character of a clergyman, and render him a truly valuable member of society.
But the lot of this excellent man was cast upon troublesome times, in consequence of the civil war between the king and parliament, and he was obliged to fly from his beloved residence, a reward of an hundred pounds being set on his head. On this he repaired to Oxford, and sought that peace in study which was no where else to be found ; taking no other diversion than in the instruction which he afforded to young students, and in the satisfaction he received from the conversation of learned men.
The court being then at Oxford, his great worth could not but make him acceptable to it; especially as a treaty was then negocia
ting between the king and parliament for composing the unhappy differences which rent the church and state. The duke of Richmond and the earl of Southampton being sent to London, Dr. Hammond attended them as chaplain ; and soon after he was appointed one of the divines to assist the king's commissioners at the treaty of Uxbridge.
In 1644, the king promoted him to a canonry in Christ Church, and about the same time the university chose him for their public orator. He was also appointed one of his Majesty's chaplains ; in which capacity he constantly attended on the person of his royal master, in his various places of confinement, as well from affection as from a sense of duty; and the regard which the king entertained for him, was proportioned to his eminent worth. But the enemies of that ill-fated monarch, having at length determined on his death, Dr. Hammond was banished from his presence, and with a melancholy spirit measured back his steps to the university, where he was chosen sub-dean of his college. This office he discharged with admirable diligence, relieving the necessitous in their wants, exciting the vicious to sobriety, encouraging the virtuous to diligence, and inventing stratagems to tempt the idle to a love of study.
Yet neither here was he suffered long to remain quiet'; for in November 1647, he was summoned before the committee for reformation of the university, then sitting at London; and in a few months after he was ejected from his canonry and orator's place. The accusations laid against him were, his refusing to submit to the authority of the visitors ; being concerned in drawing up the reasons which were presented to the convocation against the authority of that visitation; and his refusing to publish the visitors' orders for the expulsion of several of the members of Christ Church. Such were the reasons on which these inquisitors thought proper to displace the ablest scholar, and perhaps best divine in the whole university. But, not content with this act, they made him a close prisoner for ten weeks at Oxford, and then sent him to the house of Sir Philip Warwick in Bedfordshire, where, however, he was more at his ease. On gaining his liberty, he went to reside with the loyal Sir John Packington, of Westwood, in Worcestershire, whose excellent lady appears to have the strongest claims to the honor of writing the Whole Duty of Man. Here the Doctor took up his abode for the remainder of his days, which he spent in constant study, devotion, and the exercise of good works.
[To be continued]
A PASTORAL LETTER From the Right Reverend Thomas John CLAGGETT, D. D. Bishop of the
Protestant Episcopal Church in Maryland, to the Clergy and Congregation of said Church. DEAR BRETHREN,
THE Convention of this year having requested me to address to you a pastoral letter, I should have endeavoured to comply with their request without delay, had the state of my health permitted. But since the last Convention, Providence has thought fit to render my returns of sickness more frequent and severe than usual. Yet while the Almighty is pleased to continue to me the enjoyment of l'eason, I would employ it, as far as I can, in the service of our common Lord; and the nearer I approach the completion of the hopes which Christianity gives, the more ardent ought to be my desire of promoting the temporal and eternal welfare of those whom I leave behind.
To you, then, my Brethren of the Clergy, I must first express the earnest wish of my heart, that, as I have been instrumental in clothing many of you with the sacred character of labourers in the vineyard of Christ, I may, while I live, have the unspeakable joy of wit. nessing the fruit of the united labours of us all, in the increase of rational and vital religion ; and that in that kingdom where all painful obedience shall be at an end, we may be able to join our mutual congratulations and praises, to the Giver of all good, with those souls whom the Redeemer shall have snatched from the evils of the world, and whom we shall have had the happiness to lead, through dangers and temptations, to the possession of the promised reward.
First of all then, my dear Brethren, let me remind you of the solemn vows which you made at your ordination, in the presence of God, of angels, and of men, to preach the gospel of Jesus. If your fervent desire is to increase the kingdom of righteousnes, of peace and joy; to win souls to Christ; thereby diminishing the evils of our failen state, and multiplying its joys,-if, with the eye of faith fixed on him who trod the same path before, you, whose gracious Spirit is with you, whose heavenly words have been left on record for your instruction and comfort, you long to receive that best and most significant of all applauses, “Well done, good and faithful servants,"_is, like the Apostles, and many of your fellow-labourers in every age of the Church, your full determination is to testify the Gospel of the grace of God; to finish your course with joy; having many seals of your ministry in the day of the Lord; the difficulties and discouragements which occur in your Christian vocation ; the reproach which, by the thoughtless and profane, is sometimes cast upon the Ministers of religion ; the privation of many pleasures, as they are unwisely called, which, to the votaries of the world, seem the only desirable blessings—all these will be accounted by you as nothing, while you eagerly press onward, for the prize of inestimable value. I cannot, therefore, too earnestly beseech you to lay the foundation deep and strong in your own hearts. But I will suppose this foundation already laid ; that your hearts, renewed by divine grace, glow with love to God and charity to man; that you are rooted and grounded in a lively faith ; and that your whole souls and hearts are given to your profession. Then your labours in the service of Christ, are, and will be, blessed. Easily will you obtain the victory over a world lying in wickedness ; and nothing can deprive you of the present rewards of piety and virtue,mpeace of mind; the joy of doing, and being good ; and strong persuasion that you are working together with God; that you are protected by an omnipotent arm ; assisted and directed by unerring wisdom ; and that the fidelity of God is pledged to make all things work for your present and everlasting good. The fate of the unfaithful and insincere in the work of the ministry, it is necessary frequently to recal to your thoughts; that, by the terrors, as well as the goodness of the allseeing Judge, you may persuade yourselves and others to strive against languor and remissness, and to be in all respects worthy of your exalted privileges and hopes.
Trusting, therefore, that what I now say meets a zealous advocate in your own breasts, let me farther exhort you closely to adhere to the articles of our Church, lately ratified by the highest ecclesiastic, al authority. They are no new articles. They are the same (with the exception of a few omissions, which our situation made expedient, or which the most careful and deliberate investigation suggested) with the articles of the Church of England; of that Church, which is, and has been, for almost three hundred years, the glory of the Reformation ; which has been a wall of fire to repel and destroy the assaults of enthusiasm and infidelity ; which has been to the Protestant Churches throughout the world, struggling against antiChristian delusions, an illustrious standard, around which they ea: gerly rallied and found safety and peace. In the good old paths, in which the first reformers walked-in which your forefathers found peace-in which I am fully convinced the blessed Apostles themselves and their successors walked, until a great corruption over, spread the Christian world, and its rulers were inflamed by love of riches, and the ambitious projects of domination, even in tempora! concerns in this good way, continue yourselves, and exhort others to continue
We cannot too often recur to first principles, if we would preserve purity in faith and practice. In this age, especially, when many, alas! even of professing Christians, have erred from the faith ; when many books are thrown upon the world, and eagerly read by the thoughtless, in which the original depravity of man is carefully concealed, and an apology made for the greatest crimes, under the names of sensibility and refinement,—when, in the form of novels, of natural philosophy, or travels, many attempts are made to lead the incautious into the snares of vice and irreligion, it becomes you, my reverend brethren, to warn the rising generation especially, of these insidious foes. To your office a high responsibility is annexed. That you may counteract the devices of the evil one, be firm, be intrepid, put on the whole armour of God. Often place before your hearers the leading truths of Christianity, the corruption of our nature by our fall from innocence, the necessity and influence of the mediation of Jesus Christ, of preventing and assisting grace, of man's free will in rejecting or in complying with the gracious covenant, into which we were admitted by baptism : In short, the essential truths of the everlasting gospel, which, as they are necessary to all, may by all be understood, so far as to become the articles of their faith. The union of morality and devotion, of faith and good works, is an object so momentous, and so evident, that it needs only be mentioned; indeed, as the oracles of truth are, in this age of free enquiry, open to all, sincerity and warmth in recommending practical truths are rather required in teachers of Christianity, than ab: struse and elaborate disquisitions.
While, therefore, I exhort you to remain faithful to your ordination vows, and not only to cultivate a regard to the Articles of our Church, but in your sermons to recommend a diligent perusal and acceptance of thein, by the people committed to your charge, let it be your main concern to nourish them with the bread of life, to make them wise unto salvation. Remembering that you speak and they hear, for eternity, you will endeavour to suit your discourses to particular ages and conditions, without giving offence, by any marked designation of individuals. You will see the propriety, while you labour to awaken to a sense of duty the careless and profane, while you confirm and build up, in sacred knowledge and Christian practice, those who seriously incline to work out their salvation, of taking especial care, that your congregations may be prepared for the apostolic rite of Confirmation. This rite rests upon the highest authority; and if it was a necessary appendage of baptism, even when persons of mature age were baptized (which was generally the case in the conversion of the heathen world, much more necessary is it now, when infants are baptized. Ratifying in their own names, when arrived at years of discretion, the solemn engagements made for them in baptism, they prepare themselves for the highest and most authentic act of communion with the Church, the participation of the Lord's Supper, which, in the primitive times, followed soon after Confirmation. This rite also removes, if rightly understood, the objection against the baptizing of infants; and justifies the piety of parents, who, remembering the instability of life, and that a great part of the human species are snatched away before they reach mature age, bring their children 10 Christ, as he commanded ; that being taken into the covenant of grace, the stain of their nature may be washed away, and by an early instruction in Christian principles, they may be prepared either for life or death, as Providence may direct.
Ignorance of the Canons may often be pleaded, for want of conformity among the members of our Church. Be careful, as you will answer to your own consciences, and the searcher of hearts, that the fault may not lie at your door. In occasional addresses, inform your congregations of such as are most important. Endeavour 10 bring them to the custom of having prayer-books, that, in the worship of our assembled brethren, they may go along with the Minister in devoutly making the responses. Explain the different parts of our Liturgy, as required by the Canons; and set a good example of a strict adherence to those venerable forms of prayer, which are well. known by our congregations, and which have been sanctioned by the wisdom of ages. It is a just maxim, that if the words of our prayers in public are left to discretion, they are left to indiscretion also. If Ministers, forgetting their promise of conforming to our Liturgy, shall afterwards deviate from it, the order and peace of the Church will be much injured, and many well-disposed persons either misled, or driven from our communion. In order to preserve this peace, to avoid these divisions, the beginners of which can rarely escape the charge of guilt, let me beseech you, my dear brethren, to think whether a little temporary applause from man can weigh against the re