« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
LOSS OF HIS FRIEND, BRUCE KNIGHT.
my examining chaplain, my active, kind, judicious and conscientious coadjutor in the administration of the diocese for nearly eighteen years. August 14.
Met the assembled mourners at the deanery-dressed in the episcopal robes, and walked with the bier in procession to the cathedral. Took part in the burial service—but too much affected to proceed.'
His letter to Chancellor Traherne written a few days before, may conclude this notice of an event, the saddest that occurred to the bishop during his whole episcopate.
Hardwick, August 9, 1845. My dear Traherne,
I have been so long expecting this sad event, that the tidings just received from Mr. Prichard and Mr. Pryce by the same post with your letter did not shock, although they deeply affected me, and will continue to oppress me with sorrow for some time. I never felt so thoroughly the loss of a friend before-a friend who rendered me such valuable services, and yet seemed to think he was entitled to no return. I may add that, in addition to his virtues and his amiable qualities, I hardly ever met with such a combination of varied talents and intellectual attainments as he possessed, and, what is still more rare and admirable, such entire freedom from vanity and self-sufficiency. He never appeared to think himself superior to other men. Though cast in the finest mould, he always maintained an intercourse with society as if he had no claim to distinction. His benevolence, too, was of the most exalted kind-founded on pure religious principle, which was the habitual guide of his conduct. I should soon cover my paper if I were to indulge the feelings I have of his extraordinary worth and ability. We shall never cease to think of him whenever we meet for purposes of religion or charity, and, individually,
194 REMARKS ON THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST.'
I shall be sensible of a loss which never can be repaired.
Ever most truly yours,
I close this year with a letter containing some valuable remarks, suggested by a late and popular work of Archbishop Whately.
Hardwick, November 28, 1845. My dear Archbishop,
I have now finished your fourth edition of the Kingdom of Christ, which I take to be the most valuable at the present time of all your publications, because it
goes to the bottom of those questions which divide members of our church-questions about which many of those who are on the right side give wrong or insufficient reasons for their support of it.
The attempt at definition beyond what the nature of the subject admits, Aristotle long ago said was the work of an ill-instructed mind. To attempt it beyond what the argument or the subject we have in view requires, he might have said is equally foolish. And this is the error into which most controversialists about the church fall. It surely is not necessary to define exactly what is government, what is the law, what is the gospel, what is our neighbour, and a hundred other such subjects, before we require obedience to a rule involving those terms as part of it. We never reason in this way on the most important interests of life. We do not keep active duties in suspense, because we cannot discern the precise limits of the principal terms employed. Who can define accurately sleep, or life, or consciousness, or sanity, or insanity, or mind, or reason, or instinct ? yet we are called upon to act, and are in duty bound to act, in a thousand cases into which these ideas enter,—and never hesitate to do so, unless it can be shown
QUESTION OF APOSTOLICAL SUCCESSION.
that there is some peculiar ground for doubt in the case before us.
Now it seems to me, that the history of mankind hardly affords a case more free from doubt, than the duty of Christians to observe the ordinances of that church to which they belong, unless they can show that they are inconsistent with the revealed truths which they themselves admit. It is quite absurd to put imaginary cases, and raise questions what should be done under such and such circumstances. When the time for doubt comes, then let us ascertain the doubtful point, by close comparison with what is undisputed.
I agree with you entirely as to the false notion entertained by many of our own church of the apostolical succession—the transmission of a mysterious virtue from one individual to another.*
Yet if no man is warranted in taking a certain office by his own authority—if there must be some open form of investment—some proof that it is not self-assumed but derivative—what is there in the ministerial offices of the church to exempt them from the general principle. Is there not, on the contrary, greater moral evidence in the history of the church than in that of any community, that the authority was from the first derivative—and if derivative, it must be originally from a divine source.
I remember talking some twenty years ago on this subject with that eccentric but learned man, ' Prebendary Dennis,' who agreed with me, that it was our duty to conform as closely as possible to what we had reason to think was the perfect rule, but that if circumstances interfered with that, we
* This will not be understood as denying that a sacramental character. attaches to ordination, but as excluding that erroneous notion of power, which, in its most exaggerated form, is proper to the Roman church.-ED.
must be content with approximation—as, for instance (putting the very case you have put), if a society of Christians were placed out of the reach of all regularly-ordained ministers, I had no doubt they might and ought to administer the sacraments among themselves, keeping as near as they could to the prototype, and appointing one whom they thought fittest to perform the sacred rites. He started at this and, having certain mysterious notions about the sacraments, he would not go so far as that with me, although he admitted the fundamental principle which I had laid down.
I admire your criticism on the Latin article Ecclesia Visibilis; it is just and highly important
If there was time, I should have much to say about the form of episcopacy, as carrying with it the strongest historical proof of being of universal obligation—the fact, I mean, of its universality in all regions, climates, languages, and forms of government, from the commencement of Christianity-no difference among democracies and oligarchies, despotisms and republics, civilized and savage, Greek,
, Roman, or Barbarian ; and this long before Rome claimed any pre-eminence. But I must stop, I have been a prisoner in the house for more than a month from a hurt in the leg, extremely slow in healing.
Next week, however, I hope to be in London, and to see the author of a very original work, entitled Tentamen AntiStraussianum—the Antiquity of the Gospels asserted. His name is Dobbin, LL.D. of Trinity College, Dublin. Do you know anything about him, or his book ? It is well worth your attention. Hinds I value greatly. Ever yours, truly and affectionately,
February 2, 1846. Entered on my
Entered on my 71st year, in good health and spirits, but with increasing weakness of limbs.'
February 4. Called on Mr. Thomas Grenville, the finest
LETTER OF MR. H. A. BRUCE.
specimen of old age I ever met with, except, perhaps, Bishop Barrington. He was ninety on the 31st of last December. Courteous, cheerful, and chatty as ever.'
· December11. Dined at Lambeth Palace—a small private party. The archbishop just ten years older than myself, in good health and spirits. The conversation like that of the party when Cæsar supped with Cicero at his Formian villa, σπουδαίον ουδεν, φιλόλογα multa. * It is obvious to remark
easy familiarity with classic authors which this quotation indicates. Some of my readers may thank me for reminding them, that the letter is pleasantly translated in Middleton's most agreeable though flattering life of the great orator, vol. ii. p. 200, ed. 1824. This is his rendering of the Greek: ‘Not a word on business, but
many on points of literature.' I am here reminded of a letter addressed to the bishop in this year, and preserved among several others written by the same friend, Henry A. Bruce, Esq. By his permission, I present the reader with the greater. part of it, and feel it to be an interesting addition to the matériel of my Memoir; for nothing can better illustrate the fresh vigour of the bishop's mind, at this late period of his life, than the delight which he took in conversing and corresponding with an intellectual and accomplished person, so much his junior.
Duffryn, Aberdare, Jan. 25, 1846. My dear Lord,
The price of the Ainsworth is ; but I have no idea of dunning you for it before its delivery. If your
* Att. 1. 13, ep. 52.