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and few understood them so well. His range over classical
ground was at last very extensive; but he was more remark-
able for that vigour of intellect which seizes, as it were by
intuition, the meaning of an author, and catches at once his
spirit, than for his accuracy as a mere verbal scholar* In
1805 betook liis degree of B. A., and immediately after tried
his powers in English composition, and gained the prize for
the English essay ; the subject, " The Sense of Honour."
Notwithstanding these distinguished honours, he left the
university with all the native modesty he had carried thither,
and with the cordial love of his contemporaries, who could
feel no mortification at being vanquished by such art opponent,
and no envy ftt-the laurels of one who bore them so meekly.
From Brazen-nose College he was elected to a Fellowship at

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346 BiSHOP OP CALCUTTA*

A!]r86tils^ Md Mbn iRer went abroad. Tbe G6n(i»eti^ at
that timQ afforded biit smill x^oioe for an English traveller ;
and those scenes, which, as a scholar, he wo«ld probably
have preferred to vi^t, were not then accessiblie^ He was,
thisrefore^ obliged td content himsdf with Germany, Russia^
and the (Crimea; ahd how closely he could observe, and how
perspicuously impart his observations, appears from the notes
in Dr. Clarke's Travels in the latter countries, which be was
permitted to extract from Mr. Heller's MS. Journal, and
iittacli to his own pages.

Mr. Heber and his friend visited, daring this tour, tlie
principal scenes ambng which Dr. Clark had travell^, in
1800, and which form the subjects of his first volume, pub^
lished in 1810. In the prefiu^e to that volume, the learned
and justly-admired traveller acknowledges great obligations
*• to the Rev. Reginald Heber," whom he inaccurately de-
scribes as " of Brazen-nose College *," for " the valuable
i](ianuscript Journal, which afforded the extracts given in the
notes.'' Besides ^ Mr. Heber's habitual accuracy, his zealous
attention to which appears in every statement," Dr. Clarke
mentions ^* the statistical information, which stamps a pecu-
liar value on his observations," and <<has enriched the volume
by communications the author himself was incompetent to
supply f especially ** concerning the state of peasants in
Russia." Dr. Clarke adds << a further acknowledgment, for
some beautiful drawings, engraved in this volume."

Among these engravings is a vignette, in which is deli-
Heated an unassuming tomb erected at Cherson, on a spot
ivhich Mr. Heber and his fi*iend visited, and where^ in 1790,
the noblest ^ of all the Howards" had closed his tour of
philanthropy; a tour undertaken, we allude to the welUknown
sentiment of Burke, not to contemplate modem grandeur, or
t6 decide, amidst its scattered fragments^ on the extent of
ancient magnificence, but to descend into the prisoner's dun- *
^eon, and to ascertain the dimensions of human misery. To

* He had been elected to a fellowship at All-Souls^

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BISHOP OF CALCUTTA* d4fj

Ae readers of Dn Clarke's " Travels,'' consisting, #e pt6^
sume, of neariy all onr readers, the notes of Mr* H^eber
ninst be familiar. We forbear to quote any of thfem ; arid
possibly the friends of the late Bishop, and the public^ jtnay
be gratified by the appearance of the whole mannscrij^t.
The remarks of such an observer, even after a lapse of years^
could not fail to be acceptable.

It does not appear when Mr. Heber returned froth th^
Continent In 1808 he. took his degree of A.M. at Oxford.
The next year appciared from the press his poem << Etsrcpe^
Lines on the present War." This pdem prdesses to be *< a
review of the general politics of Europe, with a wish to avmd,
as much as possible, subjects purely English." Th^ subject
which predominates is, ^^ the glorious struggle; which has
drawn the attention and sympathy of all mankind to Spain,"
for whom the poet's prophecy,

^* But Spain, the brave, the virtuous, shall be free,**

is unhappily yet to be accomplished.

Having returned to England, and been presented to the
family living of Hodnet, he married Amelia, daughter of Dr.
Shipley, the late Dean of St. Asaph, and thenceforward wil-
lingly devoted himself to the enjoyment of those doimestic
charities, which no one was better fitted to promote, and t^
the discharge of those unobtrusive duties, which fill up the life
of a country clergyman. Herei it Was that he moved iii a
sphere too circumscribed, it might be said, for his talents, l}ut
in which his moral qualities shone with admurable lustre.
Distinction he might have sought with success in anjr pro-
fession, but he was satisfied with a life of comparative ob-
scurity ; and he who so lately had sutpassed all his compeers
in the several pursuits of an university, and given a pledgie to
the world that in tiie higher provinces of poetry " an excellent
spirit was in him," might be found daily conversing with the
ignorant, and " giving subtlety to the simple," — the adviser
to whohi tiiey could resort in difficulties, the confessor to whom
they would scruple not to open their griefs. Few days passed

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S48 BISHOP OF CALCUTTA.

in which he did not spend some time in intercourse with his
people; suffering neither the aged to be deprived of the con-
solations of reli^on, through their inability to reach church,
by reason of their years ; nor the sick man to be long on his
bed, without one to kneel by his side; nor the poor to languish
in want, without his discovering and giving him help ; nor
neighbours to be at strife, without supplying to them a most
effectual peace-maker. Yet all this was done, so that no man
could know it beyond the parties themselves ; done without
effort, and forgotten as soon as done; or living only in the
grateful remembrance of those whom he had befriended.
Many were the good deeds which were brought to light by
his death, and but for his death would have been perhaps for
ever hid ; and few persons there were in his own parish who
had not then some instance of his zeal, his charity, his hu-
mility, his compassion, to communicate, which had come under
their own immediate observation, and which served to bring
him very vividly back to the minds of those who knew him
best Indeed, by such incidents, many of the more delicate
features of his character might be best discovered ; that sim-
plicity of mind which was ever true to nature ; that courteous-
ness and good breeding (if we may so speak) which even
marked his behaviour to the poorest and meanest of his neigh-
bours; that confiding temper which never feared to be abused ;
that guileless singleness of heart which would rather be de-
ceived (as he often was) than entertain a suspicion ; that utter
disregard of self which perhaps was the most striking, as it
certauily was the least attainable, of all his virtues ; that lively
faith which was ever tracing the hand of Providence, where
others saw nothing but system or chance ; and thabdisposition
to rank niankind by their proficiency in holiness, rather than
by their wealth, their title, or their talents, and to look up to
him with the most reverence whom he thought to stand highest
in the favour of God.

Active, however, as was the life of Mr. Seber, it was still
a studious life. Though addressed to a congr^ation for the
most part unlettered, his sermons exhibited no marks of haste ;

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BISHOP OF CALCUTTA. 849

his lamp was not negligently trimmed, because it was in some
degree to shine under a bushel. It might not, indeed, be easy
for all those who heard him properly to appreciate the range
of Scripture knowledge which his discourses displayed, or
their flowing and metaphorical, yet intelligible language ; but
all could perceive the skill with which he was wont to extract
useful and practical lessons from passages in Holy Writ, which
in other hands might have been barren and profitless; the
spirit with which he would expound a parable, and the felicity
with which he would apply it to common life ; all could per-
ceive the affection that breathed in his addresses, not testified
by vapid and nauseous verbiage, but breaking forth (as it did
in his letters) in some casual expression thrown off firom the
heart, (one of the truly ardentia verba^) and which could not
fail in turn to make the hearts of those who heard him *^ bum
within them'* while he spoke.

At his parsonage he applied his vigorous intellect to the
study of divinity, and in 1815 preached the Bampton Lecture.
The subject selected by him was " The Personality and Office
of the Christian Comforter asserted and explained,** in a course
of sermons on John xvi. 7. About this time he composed
many articles foi* a Dictionary of the Bible ; after which, with
the exception of some critical essays, both theological and
literary, not unknown to the public, though without a name,
and an admirable ordination sermon, delivered before the late
Bishop of Chester, and at his request committed to the press,
he did not appear as an author till 1822, when his Life of
Jeremy Taylor, with a Review of his Writings, made known
to the world how well the interval had been spent in maturing
his great knowledge by reflection, and chastising a style in
his former work, perhaps somewhat redundant, by a sound
judgment and more finished taste.

In 1822, Mr. Heber was elected, by the Benchers of Lin-
coln's Inn, preacher to their Society, an office which had been
filled by Warburton, Hurd, and numerous dignitaries of the
church. His election to this office, independently of the
acknowledgment it paid to his talents and character, was va*

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85Q BISHOP OF CALCUTTA.

liable to h^ as securing his more frequent access to die
me^opolis. At Lincoln's lun his sermons were greatly ^d-?
mired by men of the highest talent and worth in the profession
of the law.

^t was not long be&re an occasion of employing him in a
more ei^tensive field of useftilness occurred ; and on the death
pf Dr. Middleton, the Bishoprick of Calcutta was offered to
Mr. Heber* This was certainly a very trying and painfql
monient of his life : it was no struggle betwixt indolence and
ambition, or betwixt conflicting temporal interests) that he had
to encounter ; but it was a struggle between much self-distrust^
much love of country and kindred> much apprehension for the
future health of his wife and child, (for he thought not of his
owi^) and a strong persuasion, on the other hand, that the
pall was the call of God, and that to be deaf to it was to be
deaf to the *^ still small voice.'' He deliberated long and
jEmxiously; he even refused the appointment; be recalled
his refusal; bade farewell to the parish where he had toiled
for fifteen years, and, onjthe 16th of June, 1823, embarked
for a land which was for a short time to be the scene of his
glorys find then his grave.

** Ostendent terris hunc tantum fata, neque ultra
Esse sineiit— "

The appointment of Dr. Heber* to the see of Calcutta
gave great and general satisfaction. How warmly and jusdy
the ^^ Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge" hailed it^
^e following extracts from the Valedictory Address delivered
by Dr. Kaye, the Bishop of Bristol, on the ISth of June, in
the name of the Society, will prove :

^* My Ix>RD Bishop of Calcutta, — Your preparations
for the arduous voyage which }'ou are about to undertake being
iiow so &r advanced towards their completion, as to preclude
the expectation that you will again, at least for a long series
of years, be enable^ to attend the meetings of this Society, it

* He was created Doctor of Divinity by diploma, on his elevation to flie
bishopric;

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III8HPF OF QAhCVr^^^ Ml

pedi^uoy pf the resoIutioDy that a Valedictcsiy Address i^^ld
be delivered to joax Lordship on the present occfiswL T]pi&
)^igh)y responsible and honourable situation wldch jpi| bt^rp
t^e^n reoently lippointed to fill, isintimiitely poimeqtedm^
objjQ^ to which the attention of the Society has for more thao
^ ceataiy been directed. They would, therefore, sul^jject tlieiiH
^elvasto a charge, of all others most abhorrent frosa their real
d»^ac|er and feelings, a chaige of indifference and inattention
tp the s^ritual wel&re of the inhabits^iits of Hindostan, did
(b^ not seize the opportunity, before your departure for tbo&e
difitant regions, of publicly expressing the deep, the intenae
interest, which they take in the success of your future labouis.
^^ My Lord, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowv*
}edge d^ire to offer to your Lordship their sincere congratu-*
lations upon your elevation to the episcopal see of Calcutta.

<< lliey derive irom your appointment to this high c^oe
the certain assurance, that all the advantages which they have
Anticipated irom the formation of a church establishment in
Indi^ will he realized ; und that the various plans for the di£-
fusion of true religion amongst its inhabitaqts, which have been
so wisely laid and so auspiciously commenced by your la-
mented predecessor, will, under your superintendence and
control, advance with a steady and uninterrupted progress.
They ground this assurance upon the rare union of intellectual
and moral qualities which combine to form your character.
They ground it upon the stead&stness of purpose, with whichy
fix)m the period of your admission into the ministry, you have
exclusively dedicated your time and talents to the peculiar
studies of your sacred profession ; abandoning that human
learning, in which you had already shown that you were capa-
ble of attaining the highest excellence, and renouncing the
catain prospect of literary fame. But above ally they ground
this assurance upon the signal proof of self-devotion, whicli
y4>u have giv^i by your acceptance of the episcopal office.
Wil^ respect to any other individual, who had been placed at
the head of the diurch establishment in India, a suspicion



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352 BISHOP OP CALCUTTA.

might have been entertained that some worldly desire, some
feeling of ambition, mingled itself with the motives by which
he was actuated. But in your case, such a suspicion would
be destitute even of the semblance of truth. Every enjoyment
which a well-regulated mind can derive from the possession
of wealth, was placed within your reach. Every avenue to
professional distinction and dignity, if they had been the ob-
jects of your solicitude, lay open before you. What then was
the motive which could incline you to quit your native land ?
to exchange the delights of home, for a tedious voyage to
distant regions ? to separate yourself from the iriends with
whom you had conversed from your earliest years ? What,
bat an ardent wish to become the instrument of good to
•others? an holy zeal in your Master's service? a firm per-
suasion that it was your bounden duty to submit yourself un-
reservedly to His disposal — to shrink from no labour that
He might impose*— to count no sacrifice hard which He
might require ?

" Of the benefits which will arise to the Indian church from
a spirit of self-devotion so pure and so disinterested, the Society
feel that it is impossible to form an exaggerated estimate.
Nor has this act of self-devotion been the result of sudden
impulse: it has been performed after serious reflection, and
with an accurate knowledge of the difficulties by which your
path will be obstructed. You have not engaged in this holy
warfare without previously counting the cost So deeply were
.you impressed with the responsibility which must attach to
the ^iscopal office in India, that you hesitated to accept it
• With that diffidence which is the surest characteristic of great
talents and great virtues, you doubted your own sufficiency.
.But upon maturer deliberation, you felt that a call was made
upon you : a call — to disobey which, would argue a culpable
distrust of the protection of Him who made it You assured
yourself that the requisite strength would be supplied by the
same Almighty power which imposed the burthen. Amongst
the circumstances which have attended your recent appoint-
ment, the Socie^ dweU upon this with peculiar satisfac^n ;



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BISHOP OF CALCUTTA. 353

inasinucli as it forms a striking feature of resemblance betweea
your Lordship and your lamented predecessor; who like you
originally felt, and like you subsequently overcame, a reluct*
ance to undertake the administration of the Indian diocese."

We subjoin the pious and eloquent rqply of the Lord
Bishop of Calcutta :

^^ May it please your Grace * and my Lords, particularly
my Lord Bishop of Bristol.
*^ It may be easily supposed that the present is to me a very
awful moment, both when I consider the persons in whose
presence I stand ; the occasion on which we have been called
together; the charge which I have just received; and the Society
on whose part those admirable and affectionate counsels have
been addressed to me. I cannot recollect without very solemn
and mingled feelings, of gratitude for the trust which has been
reposed in me, and of alarm for the responsibility which I have
incurred, how much I have been honoured by the kindness and
confidence of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge,
and the remarkable and most honourable interest which diis
Society has always evinced in the wdfiire of the Indian church.
I cannot forget that it was this Society which administered to
the wants, and directed the energies of the first Protestant
missionaries to Hindostan; that under its auspices at a later
period Swartz, and Gericke, and KolhofF went forth to sow
the seeds of light and happiness iii that benighted country ;
and that still more recently within these sacred walls (for
sacred I will venture to call them, when I consider the pur-
poses to which they are devoted, and the prayers by which
they are hallowed) Bishop Middleton bade adieu to that
country which he loved, and to that church of which he was
one of the brightest ornaments. With such examples of



* This meeting was attended by the Archbishop of Cinterbury, the President ;
the Arclibishop of Dublin ; the Bishops of London, St. David's, Chester, Llan-
daff, and Bristol ; Lords Kenyon and Lilford ; and a numerous assemblage of
members.

VOL. XI. A A



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854 BISHOP OF CALCUTTA.

learning and holiness around me, with such modeU of GSnis-*
tian zeal before me, I may Well be acquitted of assumed
humility, when I profess a deep and painful sesise of my own
insufficiency; and feel, that where so much has been d(»iey
and. where so much remains td do, &r greater energies and
talents than mine will be necessary either to fulfil the reason-
able expectation of the Christian world, or to avoid falling
short, far short, of the achievements of my admirable pre-
decessor.

" With such difficulties, and under such a responsibility, my
hope must be, and is, in the counsels and countenance of
your grace, and of the other distinguished rulers of the
English church whom I see around me ; and it is therefore
that I could almost feel disposed to lament as a defici^cy in
the eloquent an^ pathetic Address of the Right Reveraad
Prelate, to whose kind notice of me I am so deeply indebted,
that he has professedly waved all detailed explanation oi his
ideas respecting that line of conduct, which, in my situation^
is most* likely to conduce to, and accelerate the triumph €^
the Oospel among the heathen* I regret this the more, since^
in a recent admirable sermon by die same distinguished per«
son, he has shown us how remarkably he is qualified to offer
counsels of such a nature. Most gladly, I am convinced,
we should all — and most gladly above all shotdd I — have
become his scholar in the art of feeding the flock of Christy
and teaching and persuading the things whidfa belong to the
kingdom of God. But, though his modesty has withheld
him fi'om the task, I will still hope to profit by his assistance
in private for the execution of that awful and overpowering
enterprise, which (if I know my own heart) I can truly say,
I undeitakenot in my own strength, but in an humble reliance
on the prayers and counsels of the good and the wise, and on
that assistance^ above all, which, whosoever seeks it faith-
fully, shall never fail of receiving.

" Nor, my Lord Archbishop, will I seek to dissemble my
conviction, that, slow as the growth of truth must be in a
soil so strange and hitherto so spiritually barren, distant as.

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BISHOP OF CALCUTTA, 355

the period mhy lie when any very considerable proportion ol
the natives x>r Indii shall lift up their hands to the Lordo£
Hosts, yet, in the degree of progress which has been niadei
enough of promise is given to remove rili despondeaK^ as to
the eventual issue of our labours^ Whdi we recollect^ thdt
one hundred years have scarcely passed ciway, since the iirsi
Missioiiaries of this Society essayed, under every im^inable
circumstance of difficulty and discouragement, to plant their
grains of mustard-seed in the Camatib ; when w^ look back
tp those apostolic men with few resources, save what this
•Society supplied to them, without cinGOuragement-^withouli
support ; compelled to commit themselves, not to the disaal
hospitality, but to the systematic .and bigoted infaospitalityof
the natives; seated in the street^ because no liOuse would
receive them; acquiring a hew and difficult language at the
doc^s of the Bchck)l9irom the children tracing theii* letters on.
the sand; can we refrain not only from admiring the faitU
and patience d those eminent saints, bat fix>m coitipariiig
their situation widi the port which Ohristidiiiily now asstiiaei
in the-Eas^ and indulging the hope that one centin'y niof e^
and the thousands of converts whi6h our Missionaries al^
#eady number, miiy be extended into a mighty multitude^
who will look back with gratitude tb this Society as tfae first
dbpenser of those sacred truths which will theil be theii^
guide aiid their consolation ? What would have- been the
feeliiigs of Swartz, (< clarum et kKhemMle nokht Genttbmi*^
to !whom even the Heathen, whom be fsiiled to convince^
locked up as something more tfaali mortal,) ulrhat would havd '
been his feelings had he lived to witness Christianiiy in India
established under tiie protection of the ruling power, by ^Urfaom
four^-fifths of that vast continent is held in willing subjeetibn.?
Whfel^ if he had seen her adorned and strengthened by that
primitive and regular form of government which. is so essem
tial to her reception and stability among a race 13te our .
eastern fellow'sutgeets t What forbids^ i ask, that, when in
one century our little one is become a thousand, in a century
more that incipient desertion of the idol shrines, to Which th^

A A 2

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556 BISHOP OF CALCUtTA.

learned Prelate so eloquently alluded, may have beconie totals
and be succeeded by a resort of all ranks and ages to the
altars of the Most High ; so that a parochial clergy may pro-
secute the work which the Missionary has begun, and ^ the
gleaning grapes of Ephraim may be more than the vintage of
Abiezer?'^

The Bishop concluded his animated and truly Christian
reply in the following words :

** Accept the settled purpose of my mind to devote what
little talent I possess to the great cause in which all our
hearts are engaged, and for which it is not our duty only, but
our illustrious privilege to labour ; — accept the hope, which
I would fain express, that I shall not altogether disappoint
your expectations, but that I shall learn and labour in the
furtherance of that fabric of Christian wisdom, of which the
superstructure was so happily commenced by him whose
loss we deplore! I say the superstructure, not the found-*
ation ; for this latter praise the glorified spirit of my revered
Predecessor would himself be the first to disclaim. As a wise
master-builder he built on that which he found ; but ^ other
foundation can no man lay' — nor did Bishop Middleton seek
to lay any other than that — of which the first stone was laid
in Golgotha, and the building was complete when the Son of
God took his seat in glory on the right hand of His Father.

^^ I again, my Lord Archbishop, with much real humility,
request your blessing, and the prayers of the Society. It is,
indeed, a high satisfaction for me to reflect that I go foith as
their agent, and the promoter of their pious designs in the
East; and if ever the time should arrive when I may be en-



Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce. Bureau of NavigaThe Annual biography and obituary .. → online text (page 31 of 50)