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ing still higher, let us cultivate the more amiable virtues of patriots and of christians; among those, on mercy or beneficence, to a congregation so distinguished for it, would even the time permit, I need not expatiate—you know, my brethren, from experience, that no virtue can be more grateful in its exercise; and you must be convinced, that no occasion for its exercise can be more honourable and beneficial than the present. It is to relieve poverty overwhelmed with pain or grief; it is to afford recompence to those, who in their country's cause, have sustained the loss of limbs, health, and repose; or those who have to bewail the fall, and are deprived of the comfortable support of a husband, a father, or brother,-surely you will not refuse a small part of your substance to those or their families, whe have wished, or actually lost their lives, to preserve you the whole.”
After these quotations, all praise would be superfluous.
A Sermon preached before the House of Lords, in the Abbey Church of Westminster, on Monday January 30th, 1737–8, being the day appointed to be observed as the -day of the Martyrdom of King Charles I. By MARTIN BENSoN, D. D. Late Lord Bishop of Gloucester. The third edition. 8vo. Pp. 31.
N this republication of a valuable discourse, is prefixed the following advertisement.
“The person by whose desire this sermon is re-printed, has long been an admirer of Bishop BEN so N’s character, of his religious and political principles: this sermon at all times useful and instructive, perhaps is more particularly so at present.”
We perfectly agree in the truth of this remark, and earnestly recommend the Sermon as an excellent antidote to those loose, and dangerous, principles in morality and politics which at present threaten to undermine civil and religious order throughout the world. -
In giving a brief, but true historical sketch of those unhappy times which produced the murder of the King and the downfall of the Church, the learned and pious prelate could not forbear to notice the indolence of the
sectaries when they gained the possession of power. This part of his discourse deserves to be quoted :
" When the prelacy worship,” says he, “ and discipline of the Church of England was abolished, and the Presbyterian scheme exalted in is place, how did those who had been so bitterly inveighing against the persecutions of the episcopal par. ty, behave towards them and towards others who differed from them? Did they so much as tolerate the worship of the Church of England ? Nay, they not only persecuted all churchmea, whom they looked on as their professed enemies, but the Independents, whom they before had stiled their holy friends and dear bretbren. And the Independents themselves called the Presbyterian government antichristian, lordly, cruel, a worse bondage than u:der prelates*. And they called their assembly. antichristian, Romish, bloodyt. Though episcopal government had been held to be antichristian, yet the whole new form of the Presbyterian was immediately declared to be Jure Divino."
• How much soever they have cried out against it since, the Presbyterians were then very ready to invoke the assistance of the secular arm; and applied not only for having their ową form of ecclesiastical government established, but no other tolerated, and for the restraint even of all private assembliest. 'The parliament called in all the common Prayer-books, and imposed a fine on those ministers who should read any other form than that contained in the directory. The common prayer was forbid to be used, not only in public, but in any private family or place, under penalty of 51. for the first offence, 101. the second, the third a year's imprisonment. There was farther, a declaration of the House of Commons against all who should write or say any thing in derogation of the new established Church Government*. And still farther, an act of their parliament, impowering the council of state to regulate the mystery of printingt. And thus they had an opportunity of shewing how real their regard was then, for what is at other times a favourite topic with them, the liberty of the press. Nay, there was an ordinance, that all who should wittingly maintain, publish or defend, by preaching or writing, certain herecies, contrary to the doctrines of the then established Church, should be adjudged felons; and upon com. plaint or proof by the oaths of two witnesses before two justices of the peace, be committed to prison, and in case they should not abjure them, suffer death: and in case they should abjure them, should find security for their future behaviour. If they should
* Edward's Gangr. Part III, page 221 and 230..
* Page 365.
t Passed January 7, 1652.
relapse, they shorld suffer death as beforet. It is scarcely cré. dible, that such should bo the behaviour of a set of men, even immediately upon their first exaltation to power, the employment of whose lives had been, while they were out of it, to exclaim against the antichristian tyranny of the Church of. England: and that themselves should rival the cruelty of the Romish Church, even in the most cruel part of it, the inquisition. Liberty of conscience, which they had been so highly extolling, when they were undermost, as soon as they were got uppermost, is cried down, and represented to be the root of all evil, the ruin of all religion”. And what hath been lately demanded as a natural right, a capacity of serving in all state employments, was then looked upon by themselves in quite a contrary light, and no layman whosoever was capable of any office civil or military whatsoever, who did not qualify himself by taking the covenanti. “Thus then, at length, all the pretended Reformation, both of church and state, ended in tho destruction of both ; and at the same time of all liberty, civil and religious. For, instead of the grievances, part of them imaginary ones, which these men had so much complained of under the government of their lawful prince, the sorest tyranny was introduced that ever this nation felt ; not of one, but of many tyrants, and some of them the lowest and worst of the people. Then were those prophecies verified in our land, The people shall be oppressed every one by another, and every one by his neighbour. The child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient, and the base against the honourable. Behold, the *; maketh the earth waste, and turneth it upside down. And it sha be, as with the people so with the priest, as with the servant so with his master, as with the maid so with her mistress, as with the buyer so with the seller, as with the lender so with the borrower. The land shall be utterly spoiled, because the Lord hath spoken the word. The earth is defiled under the inhabitants thereof, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the cvertasting covenant".” - The conclusion of this excellent discourse is so judicious and pertinent to the present state of things, that we shall readily assure to ourselves the excuse of our readers for making another extract:
“When once people grow weary of their God, it is not to be imagined, that they will be likely long to remain faithful to their King, or just to one another. If any man is really a friend
1 Passed May 2, 1618.
* Vide Edward's Gangr. and other writings. Harmonious consent
of the Lancashire ministers, 1648. Cawdrey's indepency a great schism,
1657. Baxt. Non. Conf. Plea. Pref. and his Self-Den. Ep. Mon. and
his Ch. Div. and other writings.
* . to
to his country, he should take care to shew himself to be such by being a friend to religion too. Whatever tends to the removing out of men's minds all principles of religion, , tends to. the removing out of the world all government and order. Religion above all things, conduces to secure respect and obedience to the civil magistrate. It will have a good influence both on those that govern, and those that obey. It will teach the former to rule over men in the fear of God: it will teach the latter to obey not only for wrath but for conscience sake.
*** Let us then first make ourselves good christians, and that will make us good subjects and good neighbours. Let us plant. in ourselves and promote in others all those christian virtues and graces, which tend to the peace and prosperity of all mane, kind. Let us extirpate those vices and passions, which render the world unhappy, which make men uneasy in themselves and pernicious to others; which are the misery of every private person, and the bane of public society.
“ To conclude: if either the remembrance of past blessings, or prospect and hopes of future; if either the memory of past iniseries, or apprehensions of others to come, can have any effect upon us: if we have any love for our country, any regard for ourselves, or concern for our posterity: let every one of us, each in his proper station, contribute his utmost to support and improve our happy constitution both in Church and State. The interest of the one depends on that of the other, and the interest both of prince and people equally depends upon the preservation of each of them."
We cannot dismiss the consideration of this sermon without giving a short account of the venerable author; · especially as all our biographical collectors have omitted to notice him. .
Martin Benson was educated first at Westininster=' school, and afterwards at Christ Church, Oxford, where he took his degree of master of arts. He became tutor to lord Pomfret and Theophilus earl of Huntingdon, whom he accompanied on their travels. In 1728, he was in- : stalled prebendary of Durham; and in 1797, became chaplain to George II. He was also prebendary of Salisbury, țarchdeacon of Berks, and rector of Blechley in Buckinghamshire. In 1730, he was created D. D. at Cainbridge, when the King visited that University, and was consecrated bishop of Gloucester January 19, 1734, being permitted to hold the prebend of Durham in cominendam. He died at Gloucester August 30, 1752, and was buried in the Cathedral there. Bishop Benson was distinguished for his unaffected humility, piety, and extensive chatity:
Christ's Lamentation over Jerusalem. A Sectarian Prize
Poem. By CHARLEs PEERs, Esq. A. M. and F. S. A. of St John's College, Cambridge. Printed at the University Press, 4to, Pp. 16.
EW sacred subjects could have been better selected for the display of the feeling powers of poesy in the descriptive and the pathetic, than that which has been here selected for the Sectarian Prize in the university of Cambridge. And it must be acknowledged this interesting and affecting subject is treated in the Poem before us with considerable sweetness and elegance. It is in the Miltonic strain, and the imitation is happy without being ever servile or laboured. The Poem opens with a copious, but not turpid paraphrase of ovr Saviour's pathetic lamentation as given is, the Gospels; having finished which, the Poet says,
Thus with sad speech and lamentation sore, -
An elegant description of Jerusalem beautifully introduces a tender representation of the Messiah standing on the Mount of Olives and weeping over her fate.
“What wonder, if as Jesus musing stood