Obrazy na stronie

and other teachers ; without the restraint of laws and government, mankind would be intolerably wicked. And except means were provided and measures taken to instruct men in Christianity, and persuade them to a religious life, the knowledge of God, the faith of Christ, the practice of godliness, would rapidly decline. We may add that in regard to worldly things, the demand, and of course the efforts to obtain them, increase in proportion to their wants or deficiency. In religion the fact is just the reverse; the less of virtue, or piety, or Christian knowledge men have, the less will they desire, and seek for it. The wicked dislike to be reproved ; they hate to be reformed, they have an antipathy to holy living; the unbeliever dislikes the doctrines of the cross. If then it is important that men should live well; that they should know their spiritual stale ; that they should receive the doctrines of eternal life, and live as Christians ; it is equally important that the gospel should be sent to them, and means be provided for its regular ministrations. It follows, and it is an inference worthy of the most serious consideration, that pro. perty given and wisely applied to religious purposes ; for the preaching the gospel, and the administration of the Saviour's ordinances, is given and applied to the very best purpose; it is the noblest and inost necessary of all charities; property cannot be applied more to the general benefit of mankind. Religious instruction tends more than any thing, perhaps more than all things besides, to the promotion of “ all virtue and godliness of living ;" to the increase of “ peace on earth, and good will towards men.” It gives efficacy to laws and government; causes magistrates to be upright and rulers to be obeyed. The happiness of social life, and every blessing desired, or aimed at, in the various intercourse of mankind, and in all the relations of life, are very much enhanced and secured by inculcating the pure religion of Jesus Christ. And they who cause this to be done; they espe. cially who give property for the propagation of the salutary doctrines of the divine Saviour; for inculcating the sanctifying precepts of the Redeemer, are our best benefactors; and should be had in continual and grateful remembrance.

The promotion of literature and science is justly deemed a publick good, and wealth appropriated to that object is of general and great utility. The establishment of free schools, and higher seminaries of learning is honourable to the people, and useful to the state. But without the fostering hand of charity, learning would not, like religion, be neglected. Mankind have no general aversion to worldly knowledge; they see the advantage, and feel the want of learning; and they who have little themselves are often the more desirous that their children should be well instructed. But without the contribu. tions of charity, and labour of love, religion is sure to decline. Who does not know that mankind are naturally far more inclined to learn, and to teach their children the wisdom of this world, than that which is from above? To give them learning, than to make them religious ?

But money may be given with pious liberality, and for the best of purposes, and yet, through carelessness, or ill management, the noble 3


intention of the donor be defeated. And there is too much reason for fearing that the improper uses sometimes made of money given for religious use, and the selfishness, and avaricious cupidity which it excites, have deterred, and continue to deter, others from the like liberality. Such misapplication of funds given for religious use is more than unjust ; it is sacrilegious. Let it by us be religiously avoided. What may be our temporal interest, or what we may most desire or approve is of no consideration. Conscientiously and in the fear of God we are to consider ourselves as stewards to whom a trust is committed, never forgetting that “it is required of stewards that a man be found faithful. Whatever of this nature may be intrusted to our care, let us, as the Lord shall give us wisdom, manage and apply with all possible prudence and fidelity, and with a sacred regard to the donor's intention ; to the honour of God, and to the best good of mankind.

Though the care and appropriation of the lands given for the benefit of the Church in this state, do not properly appertain to this convention, it is a subject in which we are all, as Churcbmen and as Christians, concerned ; and it is evidently fitting that the subject should be mentioned on this occasion. So far as the providence of God, and the laws of our country shall intrust the avails of these lands to our management, let us faithfully discharge the trust. Due regard should be had to the equitable claim of individuals : whatever rents may be realized, should, with the utmost prudence and economy, be appropriated for the benefit of the people in this state ; and, as far as is practicable, to the use of the people in the towns where the lands are. No part of the funds should be used for erecting houses for publick worship; for houses will decay, and funds, so expended, will, in most cases, be lost. To which we may add that there is no part of religious expenses, which the people can with more convenience, and do more willingly, take upon themselves, than building their own churches. So far as my advice and influence will avail, these funds will be employed in teaching the doctrines, and administering the holy ordinances of the blessed Redeemer. The doctrines which we teach are not, and our manner of teaching should show that they are not, the doctrines of a sect, or of any popular reformer. Except we depart from the standards of our Church, we shall preach no other faith than that which was “ once delivered to the saints," and has since by Christians been most generally received. We adhere to that order of church government, which we verily believe to be primitive and apostolick; and which has most generally prevailed in all the ages of Christianity. Our liturgy, in its language, its sentiments, its doctrines, its adaptation to social worship, and its suitableness to inspire and express rational, fervent devotion, is, to say the least, as near perfection as buman effort has ever yet arrived. With such advantages, great and without excuse must be our negligence, if the funds intrusted to our care, do not, to the utmost of their amount, confer the greatest of blessings upon the people of this state.

Other things would I gladly mention, but too long already have I

exercised your patience. The defects, in many respects, of this address will remind you, brethren, how much I need your counsel, and your prayers. If the first apostles, enriched as they were with spi. ritual gifts, and endued with miraculous power, yet needed the prayers of the churches, that “ the word of the Lord,” preached by them,

might have free course," and their ministry be blessed; much more is it necessary that your daily and earnest prayers should be offered for the bishops now labouring in the like ministry : and chiefly for him, wbo is the least of the bishops, and not worthy to be so call

And not unworthy only ; but subjected to peculiar disadvantages. My remote and insulated situation in regard to the society and counsel of my clerical brethren ; the sole care of a parish, requiring much parocbial duty; an unusual weight of domestick cares ; the churches in this diocese thinly scattered over a wide extent of country; and my means of visiting them so limited and scanty: these are circumstances which may, it is hoped, in some degree apologize for defects in the performance of the duties of the Episcopate : they are certainly reasons why I should repeat, “ Brethren, pray for us.”

And let us all lift up our hearts in prayer, and unite our voices in praise and thanksgiving to him, whose preserving mercy has conducted us in safety through the perils of another year; whose good providence has caused us to assemble again in this place ; and under circumstances how different from those in which we met here seven years ago!

To Him, to the God of our salvation, be rendered glory and eternal praise.



The character of Archbishop Laud has been a trite theme of unmerited abuse, in one class of writers, and of profuse indiscriminate encomium in another. But if those, whose memory is vivid in retracing each cruel sentence of the star chamber, should come from reading the earlier history of Charles with a flow of indignation, like a torrent of fire, at the insulting sway of that prelate, I think that even they would find some room in their hearts for a kindlier feeling towards hirn, if they had the opportunity of consulting his own account of his trial and condemnation. They would be sensible, that, whatever might have been the bigotry and tyranny that disgraced his publick life, it was mercy and Christian love, compared with that storm of mad fanaticism, that swept away from their high places” this aged victim, and his unfortunate friend and sovereign.

The mind instinctively recoils from lifting a shroud so mournful, to discover and expose the errours and frailties, which it conceals. For, after a brief and troubled administration, the hour had come, when he was called on to render his solemn account. And then it

seenis almost brutal, if, looking on the scaffold, which he ascended with meekness, and a dignity not to be impaired by the tremblings of old age, we can witness without emotion, the fall of such great authority and power, to a disgrace so mournful. Then we feel assured, that though God and man may have condemned his measures, they were the dictates of his conscience, however blinded; and that he brought, to support them, not the detestable bypocrisy of such men as Cromwell, but pure principles, high efforts of intellect, and open, generous, fearless intentions.

There was diffused, over the whole face of Laud's defence, an expression of such manliness, and an air so gentle, that you expect his execution, as the last scene of a martyr's triumph. He stood as if resentment had fled from his bosom, a patient defender of his charac. ter and purposes before the house of lords. He stood there, at the age of seventy-two, and seemed to defend his reputation in the spirit of a noble Roman, who is calmly and meekly gathering the folds of his robe, from the pressure and insults of the populace. We discover in bim no affectation of insensibility to his fate ; and still Jess can we find any endeavours to excite compassion, except that wbich might be awakened by laying his purposes bare to the publick eye. In his plain and manly defence, he follows from step to step, the whole series of accusations against him, with close, and patient, and even scrupulously minute attention ; far forth," to borrow bis language on that occasion, “as an old slow hand could take them, a heavy heart observe them, and an old decayed memory retain

The same spirit was displayed, in his speech before the house of « Mr. Speaker,

"I am very aged, considering the turmoils of my life, and I daily find in myself more decays than I make show of'; and the period of my life in the course of nature cannot be far off. It cannot but be a great grief unto me, to stand at these years thus changed before ye, yet give me leave to say thus much without offence.

Whatsoever errours or faults I may have committed, by the way, in any my proceedings, through human frailty, as who is he who has not offended, and broken some statute laws too, by ignorance, or misapprehension, or forgetfulness at some sudden time of action? Yet, if God bless me with so much memory, I will die with these words in my mouth, that I never intended, much less endeavoured the subversion of the laws of the kingdom, nor the bringing in of popish superstition upon the true protestant religion as established by law in this kingdom.”t

Archbishop Laud was beheaded, Jan. 10, 1644. And I know not in what better manner to prove to the reader the justice of those opinions which I have expressed, than by asking his attention to the address, wbich he delivered on the scaffold, to those who were assembled to witness bis execution. I scarcely know to what passage of




* Hargrave's State Trials, vol. i. p. 943.

+ Ibid. p. 946.

English eloquence to refer, to find ils parallel for a union of dignity and pathos.

" This is an uncomfortable time to preach, yet I shall begin with a text of scripture, Heb. xii. 2. Let'us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

“I have been long in my race, and how I have looked unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of my faith, he best knows: I am come to the end of my race, and here I find the cross : a death of shame: but the shame must be despised, or there is) no coming to the right hand of God: Jesus despised the shame for me, and God forbid, but I should despise the shame for him. I am going apace (as you see) towards the Red Sea, and my feet are now upon the very brink of it: an argu• ment, I hope, that God is bringing me into the land of promise ; for that was the way through which he led his people : but before they came to it, he instituted a passover for them, a lamb it was, but must be eaten with sour herbs. I shall obey, and labour to digest the sour herbs, as well as the lamb; and I shall remember that it is the Lord's passover.

I shall not think of the herbs, nor be angry with the hand that gathereth them, but look up only unto him who insti. tuted that, and governs these. For man can have no more power over me, than what is given from above ; I am not in love with this

passage through the Red Sea, for I have the weakness and infirmity of flesh and blood plentifully in me: and I have prayed with my Father, ut transeat calix iste,' that this cup of red wine pass from me; but if not, God's will, not mine, be done : and I shall most willingly drink of this cup, as deep as he pleases, and enter into this sea, yea, and pass through it, in the way that he shall lead me : but I would have it remembered, good people, that when God's servants were in this boisterous sea, and Aaron among them, the Egyptians who persecuted them, and did in a manner drive them into the sea, were drowned in the same waters while they were in pursuit of them.

“ And as for this people, they are at this day miserably misled. God of his mercy open their eyes, that they may see the right way: for at this day the blind lead the blind, and if they go on, both will certainly fall into the ditch. Though the weight of my sentence be heavy upon me, I am as quiet within as ever I was in my life. And although I am not only the first archbishop, but the first man that ever died by an ordinance in parliament, yet some of my predecessors have gone this way, though not by this means.

“ Here is a great clamour that I would have brought in popery. I shall answer that more fully by and by.

In the mean time you know what the Pharisees said against Christ himself. If we let him alone, all men will believe on him, et venient Romani, and the Romans will come, and take away our place and nation. Here was a causeless cry against Christ, that the Romans should come, and his death was it that brought in the Romans upon them; God punishing them with that which they most feared. And I pray God that this clamour of

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