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episcopal duties prevented their being composed. He
was also one of a still greater number in whom the love
of books weakens regard for the rights of property ;
for according to a critic less friendly to his reputation,
Moore indulged an " avarice in that respect," which
" carried him a step beyond the sin of coveting." His
library numbered 30,000 volumes, and was bought,
after his death, by George I., as a present to the Uni-
versity of Cambridge.

Cumberland, made Bishop of Peterborough in 1691,
wrote in reply to Hobbes, a Latin treatise, " On the
Laws of Nature," mentioned in a former volume, and
of him his great grandson Richard says, " He had no
pretension to quick and brilliant talents ; but his mind
was fitted for elaborate and profound researches, as his
Avorks more fully testify." He is known to posterity,
and that with faded light, simply as a philosopher of
the Cambridge stamp, and has left no proofs of pre-
eminence in episcopal efficiency ; but we may con-
clude that he was devoted to his office from the
anecdote, that, when in his old age his friends recom-
mended retirement and rest, he said, " I will do m\-
duty as long as I can ; I had better weaf out than rust

Something similar may be said of Fowler, an active
opponent of James' Declaration, promoted to the Sec
of Gloucester in 1690, whose exposition of Latitu-
dinarian theology has been described in a former
volume. His broad views of Christianity, and his
opposition to Popery, recommended him to a Bishopric.
He is spoken of as a very respectable, but not very
eminent, Prelate ; and what is curious in connection
with his rationalism, he was credited with a faith in
the existence of witches and fairies, " whom he dreaded


as much as the lady upon the seven hills, and all the
scarlet train."*

Kidder, Bishop of Bath and Wells, had, before he
wore a mitre, passed ^through circumstances which
must have left a deep impress upon his character, and
were calculated to impart moderation to his episcopal
proceedings. He, in 1662, was deprived of his living
for not subscribing to the Prayer-Book before he could
examine it. Approving of it after examination, he
pursued a chequered career, struggling with poverty,
but exhibiting generous dispositions ; suffering during
the plague year, but persevering in his spiritual duties,
vexed by Nonconformists in his parish, yet administer-
ing the Lord's Supper to those who refused to kneel.
He paid half his income to ex-Bishop Ken ; and
another circumstance is related which places his
integrity in a conspicuous light. A message was sent
him by a minister of King William, telling him he
must give his vote in Parliament in a certain way.
"Must vote!" "Yes, must vote: consider whose
bread you eat." " I eat no man's bread but poor Dr.
Ken's ; and if he will take the oaths, he shall have it
again. I did not think of going to the Parliament, but
now I shall undoubtedly go, and vote contrary to your
vCommands."t The autobiography suggests the idea
that Kidder was a well-meaning man, sometimes want-
ing in firmness and wisdom. His publications, which
-are numerous, include, besides his Boyle Lecture,
Tracts against Popery, and Plain Treatises enforcing

* Noble's "Continuation," II. 87, 88. In the " Lansdowne
MSS., Kennet Coll.," 987, 356, it is said Fowler "had a very
superstitious fancy in catching at stories of apparitions and

t Kidder's "Autobiography," is printed in Cassan's " Lives of
the Bishops of Bath and Wells."


the practice of a religious life. The only sermon of his
which I have read, one preached at Court on the duty
of fasting, suggests no high opinion of his pulpit power.
Amongst the Episcopal Divines of William's reign,
only one can be considered as a decided Puritan. This
was John Hall, Master of Pembroke, Oxford, who re-
tained that position after he became Bishop of Bristol
in 169 1, a poor piece of preferment. He is far less
noticeable as a Bishop than as a Theological Professor,
in which capacity, however, he earned no enviable
fame, even in the estimation of those who sympathized
with him in his theological opinions ; for Calamy says,
that he brought all the theology of the Westminster
Assembly out of the Church Catechism. He was a
good man, laughed at by the wits, but esteemed for his
godliness by pious people. Nicholas Stratford — pos-
sessed of learning, a firm supporter of the Church of
England, and, judging of him by his primary visitation
charge, an earnest preacher and a faithful pastor, bent
on the salvation of souls — succeeded Cartwright in the
Bishopric of Chester, in 1689 ; and in the same year,
John Hough the Champion of Magdalen, rose to the
episcopal chair of Oxford.* An Archiepiscopal mitre
rewarded, at the suggestion of Tillotson in 1691, the
staunch Protestantism of Dr. Sharpe, the Dean of
Norwich ; and, if we are to believe all the encomiums
on his virtues, inscribed upon his monument in York
Cathedral, scarcely ever before did such a paragon of
excellence exist.f Lloyd, Bishop of Lichfield and
Coventry until 1699 — when, on the death of Stilling-

* A high character is given to Nicholas Stratford for kindness,
courteousness, and charity, in " Lansdowne MSS., Kennet Coll.,"
987, 304.

t This curious piece of eulogistic Latinity may be seen in Le
Neve's "Archbishops," Part II. 286.


fleet, the King translated him to Worcester — is described
by Whiston, who received ordination at his hands, as
engaging in " a most uncommon, but vastly improving
examination and instruction, in the Cathedral, before-
hand." Lloyd's prophetical studies, vindicated by
Whiston, exposed him to a good deal of raillery and
satire. As with other students in the same school, his
studies proved labour lost, for it is related that " his
writings supplied the kitchen of his successor with fuel
for many years ; " but his character defied detraction,
and whilst revered for his virtues, that reverence was
increased by his " learning and longevity." *

Politics, rather than Divinity,, recommended men as
Bishops under William III. They were constitutional
Whigs sympathizing in the objects and promoting the
interests of the Revolution. The anti-Papal zeal, and
the readiness of most of them to conciliate Noncon-
formists, gave them favour in the eyes of both King
and Queen ; nor should we overlook the influence of
Tillotson and Burnet, the great ecclesiastical apostles
of the period, in the advancement of these brethren.
Sharpe's promotion was owing to the former, probably
Moore's was owing to the latter. In point of personal
character the new Prelates will bear comparison with
their predecessors. Kidder indeed never enjoyed the
reputation for sanctity possessed by Ken. Tillotson,
Tenison, Burnet, Stillingfleet, Patrick, Cumberland, and
P'owlcr, were in mental power superior to Sancroft,
Thomas, Lake, White, and Frampton ; and as to
personal religion, which admits not of precise judg-
ment, there is no evidence that they were inferior.
Stratford might easily surpass the disreputable Cart-
wright : the name of Hough is as illustrious as the

* Noble's " Continuation," II. 82.


name of Samuel Parker is disgraceful, and the name of
Timothy Hall obscure. In political bias, ecclesiastical
feeling, and theological opinion, the new Prelates
differed from their predecessors, and must therefore
have imported into their dioceses some new methods
of procedure.

I pass over Bishops more or less obscure, to notice
one who attained an unenviable notoriety. This was
Thomas Watson, Bishop of St. David's, who ex-
perienced the singular fate of being proceeded against
in the Court of Arches, when he received a sentence of
deprivation. He was convicted of applying to his own
use offerings given at ordinations ; receiving what had
been bestowed on servants as gratuities ; not adminis-
tering oaths required by law ; ordaining at other
times than the Sundays next Ember weeks ; conferring
orders on a candidate below the canonical age ; exact-
ing illegal fees ; and demanding excessive procurations.
There must have been at the bottom of these proceed-
ings much more than appears on the surface. He is
reported to have been coarse and violent in his language
and conduct, and to have thereby exposed himself to
popular odium ; but these were not the things for
which he was tried, nor was he formally accused of
Popish opinions, though, in public estimation, he stood
suspected of Romanist sympathies. He had been
made a Bishop by James H., whose policy he approved,
and this circumstance seems to have had much to do
with the issue of his trial. He appealed to the House
of Lords against the sentence of the spiritual court, but
the sentence was confirmed. The case made much
noise at the time, and excited a good deal of controversy.
In a '' Review " * of it published by a friendly hand, the

* This is entitled, '•' A Large Review of the Articles exhibited
VOL. v. Q


charges brought against him are pronounced to be false,
the veracity of the witnesses is impugned, and the
whole process is described as a conspiracy carried on
by " subornation," and inspired by " political motives
and inducements of pique and revenge." The writer
intends to suggests the animus of Watson's prosecutors,
by stating that he was asked what Papists and Non-
jurors came to his house, and whether he had not
drunk the health of King James ; and I also find one
deponent declaring that, in the oath of allegiance ad-
ministered by the Bishop at an ordination, neither
William nor Mary were mentioned byname. I cannot
but think that political feeling prompted the prosecu-
tion ; yet, if we look at the characters of such men as
Tenison, Patrick, and others, who united in his con-
demnation, we must suppose that he had been guilty
of great irregularities in his episcopal office.

There were to be found distinguished clergymen
occupying parochial cures, clergymen eminent for
learning, godliness, and zeal, amidst the bustle of a
London life. Some were Anglican. William Beve-
ridge, Rector of St. Peter's, Cornhill, united with a
profound reverence for antiquity an attachment to
doctrinal truths dear to Puritans. He insisted upon
Episcopacy, Sacraments, the observance of Lent, and
fellowship with the Church of England, and he did
this often in a narrow, hard, exclusive spirit ; yet he
sometimes preached sermons such as would be admired
by modern Evangelicals.* They exhibit no closeness

against the Bishop of St. David's." There is a MS. book, con-
taining minutes of the charges, in the Cambridge University
Library (MSS. 757). For the trial, see " Lord Raymond's
Reports," L 447; and Howel's "State Trials," XIV. 447. The
deed of deprivation is in the Lambeth Library, 951, 6.

* Compare for example Sermons IV. and XIV., " Works,"
Vol. II.


of reasoning or sagacity of remark, no command of
illustration, or felicity of style, yet they are sensible,
unaffected, and somewhat forcible, from the manifest
sincerity and earnestness of the author. Beveridge's
" Thoughts on Religion " are perhaps the most edify-
ing, certainly the best known of his works, though they
were written when he was "a young man ; but as to
terseness of expression, not as to breadth of thought,
he appears, in my judgment, to more advantage in
his " Ecclesia Anglicana, Ecclesia Catholica," a post-
humous work on the Articles. In the exposition of
the XL Article, on Justification, he decidedly follows
the Puritan lead ; as to the XVII. Article, on Pre-
destination, he is cautious, and his quotations, though
they would not satisfy, do not condemn, Calvinistic

Down in the pleasant county of Gloucester, at the
Rectory of Avening, George Bull, besides his literary
labours — which before the end of the century won for
him such high renown, that he was complimented by
Bossuet — showed himself to be indefatigable in dis-
charging pastoral duties, putting down country revels,
and otherwise aiming at the improvement of his parish-
ioners. In Wiltshire, John Norris, an English disciple
of Malbranche, held the living of Bemerton ; and,
while he practised the quiet virtues of the parish priest,
he selected for the pulpit, subjects of a moral and
spiritual nature, rather than the more distinctive truths
connected with our redemption by Christ ; not but
that there is a tone in Norris's teaching in unison with
habits of thought cultivated by modern Evangelicals.
His published discourses, for the most part, are plain
and practical ; yet sometimes his handling of topics
is such as to make his readers think that he shot over


the heads of the Wiltshire farmers and peasantry.
In Suffolk, William Burkett, Rector of Milden, added
to his ministerial excellence, large-hearted efforts for
the French refugees, and for preaching the Gospel in
America. He secured a long reputation by his " Ex-
pository Notes on the New Testament," which strongly
reflect the opinions of others, and whilst decidedly
Arminian, are more practical than critical. Of a well-
known Kentish clergyman. Stanhope, Vicar of Lewis-
ham, in no sense a party man, Evelyn remarks : '' He
is one of the most accomplished preachers I ever
heard, for matter, eloquence, action, and voice." *

One clergyman claims separate notice as a foreigner,
a poor pluralist, and an exceedingly popular preacher.
Dr. Horneck, a native of Bacharach, so familiar to all
Rhine tourists, held, in conjunction with a stall at
Exeter worth only twenty pounds a year, the preacher-
ship of the Savoy, which afforded but a miserable
income. His poverty ended three years before his
death, when, through the united kindness of Queen
Mary and Archbishop Tillotson, he was made Pre-
bendary of W^estminster. But from first to last his
ministry was exceedingly popular ; it was no easy
matter for him to get through the crowd to his pulpit.
So great was the number of communicants at his
church, that he had to seek the help of clergymen
in the delivery of the bread and wine, " and with such
assistance it was very late before the congregation
could be dismissed."! His virtues are extolled in
the epitaph inscribed on his monument in the Abbey.

Attempts were not wanting on the part of some
of the Bishops to maintain ecclesiastical discipline.

* "Diary," Nov. lo, 1695.

t " The Life of Dr. Horneck," by Bishop Kidder, 9, 10.


There are papers amongst the " Tanner MSS." which
indicate what went on amidst the throes of the Revo-
lution, in the diocese of Norwich, before the ejectment
of Bishop Lloyd. John Gibbs, Rector of Gissing, had
been a convert to the Church of Rome ; but on the
14th of November, nine days after the landing of the
Prince of Orange, when Protestant East Anglicans
would be exulting at the advent of the Deliverer, this
recusant is referred to as wishing to be reconciled with
the Church of his fathers ; and a report is given of
the sermon which he preached on the occasion.* A
little while afterwards an instance occurs of clerical
immorality, and of that kind of trouble which has
often disturbed episcopal peace : a Norwich rector
was accused of "lewdness," amounting to a capital
crime. The case was undoubted. It came to the
Bishop's knowledge. To conceal the fact would have
been to connive at the sin, to make it known to
endanger the culprit's life. Indeed, to conceal it was
no longer possible, and to stifle the charge was felt
to be a scandal. The common tactics of defence were
adopted by the accused. He appealed to his Arch-
deacon, with the view of gaining time, and by such
means he cunningly slipped entirely out of the hands
of the Consistory at Norwich. After the Revolution,
we meet with a case in which discipline was exercised
by Patrick, Bishop of Ely. The incumbent of Great
Eversden had, by intemperance, drowned his reason
and scandalized his profession. The Bishop required
him to preach two penitential sermons. He did so,
and concluded with the words : " You see, beloved,
what a black indictment I have here drawn up against
myself, wherein I have not been favourable or partial

* " Tanner MSS.," XXVIII. 248, 274.


to my fatal miscarriages, but have dissected and ripped
up my many enormous crimes, and exposed them to
pubhc view. I beseech you not to be too censorious
and uncharitable, since I have passed so severe a
censure upon myself." *

Nothing- like what is now called Ritualism had at
the time of the Revolution any existence. No coloured
vestments were worn by Anglicans, nor w^ere there any
attempts at extraordinary ornamentation of either altars
or churches. The use of the surplice in the pulpit
seems to have been a novelty. " Yesterday," says the
writer of a letter in 1696, "I saw in Low Leighton
Church, that which to my remembrance I never did
see in a Church in England but once, and that is a
minister preach in a surplice for Mr. Harrison (whereas
other ministers on Fast-days do not so much as wear
any surplice), he, by Avay of supererogation, preached in
his. The sight did stir up in- me more of pity than
anger to see the folly of the man ; but if he preach in
a fool's coat we will go and hear him." f Low Leigh-
ton (or Leyton) was the parish in which John Strype
fulfilled his ministry, and therefore it was in the pulpit
of that distinguished ecclesiologist, that the writer of
the extract beheld the phenomenon which startled him
out of his propriety ; if the surplice was worn by the
Incumbent, or with his sanction, the circumstance
would indicate that he regarded the usage as canonical,
however it might have fallen into abeyance. Amongst
the Lambeth archives is a very long letter by Edmund
Bowerman, Vicar of Codrington, who gives a curious
account of his parish, of the extreme ignorance and

* Patrick's "Works," IX. 546.

t 1696, April 7th. " Baumgartncr Papers, Strype's Corre-
spondence," III. 45.


irreliglon of the people, and of their desecration of the
church. They played cards on the communion-table,
and when they met to choose churchwardens, sat with
their hats on, smoking and drinking, the clerk gravely
saying, with a pipe in his mouth, that such had been
the practice for the last sixty years. Not ten persons
in the place had ever received the Sacrament ; one
used to take it by himself In brown bread and small

An important change took place in the psalmody of
the Church of England. The archaic version of the
Psalms, by Sternhold and Hopkins, kept possession in
cathedral and parish congregations until the middle of
the reign of William III. Attempts had been made
at improving the versification. "A Century of Select
Psalms," In verse, for the use of the Charter-house, by
Dr. Patrick, appeared In 1679. Richard Goodridge
followed him by a similar effort In 1682. Dr. Simon
Ford, not to mention others, attempted something of
the same kind in 1688. But a more successful enterprise
was accomplished by Nicholas Brady and Nahum Tate,
who, in 1695, published a tentative "Essay," and in
1696 a ''Complete New Version," differing from such
as they themselves had previously prepared. This
version, afterwards so popular, did not escape criticism ;
but was most determinately opposed by Dr. Beverldge,
who preferred the old rhymes of the Reformation to
any modern rendering of the Songs of David. His
course of argument, if it had any force, would be fatal
to any attempt at improving scripture translations of
different kinds.!

* " Gibson Papers," V. 9. 1692, Dec. 17th.
t A " Defence of the Old Singing Psalms " may be found in
the first volume of Beveridge's " Works," collected by Hornc.


The character of the Clergy at that time has been
drawn by different hands. Samuel Wesley, in the
'* Athenian Oracle," said, that out of fifty or threescore
parishes with which he was acquainted, he could not
think of above three or four clergymen who disgraced
their office. The Nonjurors represented their brethren
in the Establishment as newsmongers and busybodies,
guilty of non-residence, faulty in their morals, and
neelisrent of their duties. Some were often seen
frequenting ale-houses and taverns, where they behaved
disorderly. The communion in the London parish
churches, before largely attended, was, according to
the same authority, unfrequented ; and in cathedral
churches things were worse, so that the alms collected
did little more than pay for the bread and wine.*
Nonjurors looked through a prejudiced medium at
those who took the oaths. They regarded most of
them as indifferent to a matter of immense importance,
and not a {^\n as deliberately dishonest, swearing to
that which they did not believe. Men looking at the
subject from another point of the compass, also came
to an unfavourable conclusion. Whiston declared how
well he remembered that by far the greater part of
University members and clergymen took the oaths
with a doubtful, if not an accusing, conscience.!

In judging of the Clergy of those days, we must
take into account indirect evidence. The Convocation
controversy, degenerating into a contemptible feud
between class and class, or into a despicable squabble
between clergyman and clergyman, proved the ex-
tensive existence of prejudice, obstinacy, and resent-
ment, and must have drawn off the minds of many

* " Life of Kcttlcwcll," 213, 214.
t '' Memoirs," 30.


from the discharge of their proper duties. Neither
was the method of conducting controversy on more
important points — the doctrine of the Trinity for
example — at all calculated to preserve ministers of
religion from injurious habits ; for the temper shown
in books and tracts on this subject is most irreverent,
most conceited, most uncharitable, most unchristian.

Turning from the character of the Clergy to notice
their circumstances, we meet with an interesting
picture of domestic life in the case of the father of the
Wesleys. He was a rector upon ;^50 a year at South
Ormsby, a little village in Lincolnshire, skirting the
parks and woodlands of a goodly mansion. The same
clergyman shortly afterwards was established in the
county at the Rectory of Epworth, described, in a
survey of the period, as consisting of " five bays built
all of timber and plaister, and covered with straw
thatch, the whole building being contrived into three
stories, and disposed into seven chief rooms, namely —
a kitchen, a hall, a parlour, a buttery, and three large
upper rooms, besides some others of common use, and
also a little garden impaled between the stone w^all
and the south."* It is added that to the dwelling
stood attached one barn of six bays, likewise built of
clay and thatch, also one dovecote of timber and
plaister, and one hempkiln. The glebe was stocked.
Cows fed in the meadows, and pigs in the sty. A
nag and two fillies occupied the stable, and flax and
barley waved in the fields. The parishioners were,
according to Wesley's daughter, " unpolished wights,"
" dull as asses," and with heads " impervious as stones."
The clerical dress, the rustic manner, and the lowly

* "Anecdotes of the Wesley Family,"' I. 207.


employments of the Rector, are portrayed by another
member of the gifted family : —

'' To rub his cassock's draggled tail,
Or reach his hat from off" the nail,
Or seek the key to draw the ale,
When damsel haps to steal it ;
To burn his pipe, or mend his clothes,
Or nicely darn his russet hose.
For comfort of his aged toes,
So fine they cannot feel it."

The outlay upon taking the new living amounted to
^^50, just one-fourth of the annual income of the living.
It was a practice for parish officers to compel people
to lighten parochial burdens by taking, as apprentices,
the children of paupers ; and one of these unfortunates
was actually palmed on the Epworth Incumbent, who
said he supposed he must teach the boy " to beat
rhyme." These items are worth mentioning as illus-
trations of the times, and in this case they are interest-
ing in connection with the early life of the founder of
Methodism and the master of English psalmody. At

Online LibraryJohn StoughtonHistory of religion in England from the opening of the Long Parliament to the end of the eighteenth century (Volume 5) → online text (page 17 of 34)