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" as if God,” (to use the words of Bishop Pearson,) “ had revealed that which man should be ashamed to acknowledge ?" If the public confession of our faith be obligatory upon Christians,“ in respect of God, who commanded it,-in respect of ourselves, who shall be rewarded for it,-and in respect of our brethren, who are edified and confirmed by it;" —WHEN and where shall such confession be made, but in the temple of God at the seasons of public worship? The march of intellect, starting we know not whence, and conducting us we know not whither, may decry the necessity of these symbols of faith; yet we shall ever contend for their retention, whether we look to the manifold benefits resulting thence to the cause of truth, or calculate the myriad mischiefs which their desuetude has produced in the fluctuating opinions of Dissenting congregations; which, having no authorized creeds to perpetuate the articles of their faith, have changed their religious dogmata in accordance with the varying fashions of the hour, and have been the more easily seduced " by the cunning craftiness of those who lay in wait to deceive."
Our limits forbid us to enlarge ; and, therefore, we do not stop to inquire whether “a committee of religion in the House of Commons be a constitutional proceeding,” or “be calculated to allay the fears which might attach to a commission, or a synod;"—and we forbear to ask whether “the commission would be preferred to a synod, or the House of Commons, as a proper preparative for such further measures as might be shown practicable in a synod or the House of Commons ;" for whatever preliminary steps might be adopted, it is clear that ultimately the new Prayer Book must be sanctioned and enforced by an act of parliament. Whatever alterations might be recommended by ecclesiastical authority, to give them the necessary force of a law, they must be established by the civil power. However the jurisdiction of a synod might make them obligatory in foro conscientiæ, the ratification of the civil magistrate would be requisite to make them binding in foro civili. We ask, then, whether any sincere lover of our Prayer Book would willingly submit it to that sort of question by torture, which it would suffer before a tribunal composed of members of such discordant opinions in religion, - of such opposite views touching the interests of our Church, and of such singular qualifications for the dispassionate investigation of matters purely religious ? Recollecting what the liturgy was before the Reformation, we thank God, with overflowing hearts, for our incomparable Book of Common Prayer; and knowing what it might become, when clipped and pruned by the ruthless and fastidious hands of modern innovators, we fold it to our bosoms with increasing admiration, and solicitously deprecate the hazard of a change. We cannot con
VOL. XI. NO. 'V.
template the clamour, the discord, the heresies, the perplexities, the doubts, and the unsettlement of men's minds, which would naturally accompany the parliamentary agitation of this tremendous question, without entering our most solemn protest against it: and when we hear it gravely proposed by the learned author of the Inquiry upon our desk, that the law by which these changes are to be enforced, should be passed “only for the duration of each parliament,” so that new alterations may be more easily introduced; in the septennial recurrence of this delicate investigation, by which the nation would be perpetually harassed, and furious polemics be statedly arrayed against each other, we discover another reason for the firmest opposition to the measures under review.
We think the contemplated alterations unnecessary and inexpedient. Next to the Bible, we hold the Book of Common Prayer to be, as it is, incomparably the very best book that ever issued from the press. Yes, this venerable manual of pure devotion, solemn without being dull, comprehensive without being vague, particular without being tediously minute, sublime without being bombastic; pure in its doctrines, perspicuous in its language, decent in its ceremonies, exact in its method ; warm, yet not enthusiastic ; diversified, yet not perplexed; orthodox, yet not polemical ; pathetic, yet not puerile ; “everywhere sedate, yet oftentimes affecting:" yes, this venerable manual of pure devotion, as it now is, needs no change to recommend it to our taste, or to endear it to our affections; and it is amongst our most fervent petitions to the merciful Author of our being, that he would give us grace to use it as we ought, so that we may meekly hear his word, and receive it with pure affection, and bring forth the fruits of the Spirit. Amen! Amen!
ART. II.-- The Life and Death of Lancelot Andrewes, D.D., late Lord
Bishop of Winchester. By his Friend and Amanuensis, Henry Isaacson, of Pembroke College, Cambridge, Author of the Saturni Ephemerides, or Chronological History of the Four Kingdoms. To which is added, A Brief View of the Plantation and Increase of the Christian Religion in Great Britain, with the Abuses crept into it, and the Reformation of them; together with the original Dedication, and Dissertation on Chronology, by the same Author. The whole edited and arranged, with a Brief Memoir of the Author, and Preliminary Remarks, by the Rev. STEPHEN ISAACSON, A. M., of Christ College, Cambridge, Rector of St. Paul's, Demerary, Fellow of the Medico-Botanical Society, London, and of the Philosophical Society
of British Guiana, Author of a Translation of Jewell's Apology for the Church of England, fc. fc. London: Hearne, 1829. Pp. 145. Price 6s.
The biography of illustrious men, written by their contemporaries, and more especially by those who were admitted to their confidence and friendship, is peculiarly interesting and attractive. From the presumed authenticity of the narrative, founded upon the best means of information, and from the relation of incidents and anecdotes, in which the writer himself appears to have borne a part, we are induced to take a livelier interest in all the parties concerned, and in the sayings and doings of the principal agent. We enter at once into the feelings, the motives, and the pursuits of the individual whose life we are perusing; and we are almost led to imagine ourselves a third interlocutor in a conversation with the writer and the subject of his history. A great portion of the pleasure arising from these particular associations, is lost in reading the events of by-gone times, and the lives of the Great of former days, for which we are indebted to the researches of modern annalists and biographers. Their facts may be well-authenticated, and perhaps indisputable; but the historian has collected his materials from sources equally open to ourselves, and can only vouch for the truth of his assertions upon the faith of autograph letters, public records, or family memoranda. Of characteristic habits, social affections, and of private virtues, any idea, formed after a lapse of ages, can be at best but vague and unsatisfactory; and these are features, which however unimportant in an historical point of view, are of all others most in unison with the kindlier feelings of our nature.
We sometimes meet with the biography of some of our old Prelates and divines, written by cotemporaries, under the most favourable circumstances. A few months since we presented our readers with an amusing specimen in the memoir of Isaac Barrow; the commencement of the Life of Dr. Compton, Bishop of London, occupies a portion of our present number, and we shall continue to lay before our readers such others as, from time to time, may fall into our hands. There are occasions upon which the examples of former ages are replete with wholesome lessons; and the instruction which the conduct of a Compton holds out to those who have succeeded him in the holy office of watching over the Church of Christ, is worthy of attention. In fact, the uncompromising firmness, the pious zeal, and the patient endurance with which the interests of Protestantism were maintained by those who resisted the encroachments, and defied the terrors, of Popery, in its struggles for supremacy in former times, cannot be any thing but a scandal and reproach to time-servers in all ages, who desert the flock which they are sworn to defend, and flee, like “ a hireling, whose own the sheep are not.”
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But it is time to direct our attention to Bishop Andrewes, and his friend and amanuensis, Master Henry Isaacson. The life of this exemplary prelate was marked with less striking passages than some of his martyred predecessors; but he was no less firm in his attachment to the faith he had embraced, and the Church to which he belonged. It has been said that his was a life of prayer; it was certainly a life of piety. The account which his friend has given of him is rather an eulogium on his character, than a narrative of his life; the principal events of which alone are enumerated, and that without even the addition of dates. The style is tinged with the peculiar quaintness, which is so exquisitely characteristic of the writings of that period, to few of which it is inferior, either in force or elegance of diction. .
LANCELOT ANDREWES was born in London, in the parish of All Saints, Barking; and was descended from an ancient family in Suffolk. He was early addicted to study, and made considerable progress, first in the Coopers' Free School in Radcliffe, and afterwards at Merchant Tailors' School in London, from whence he was removed to Pembroke College, Cambridge. Here he was presented by Dr. Watts to one of the Greek Scholarships, which he had lately founded; and after proceeding B. A., he was immediately elected Fellow. In the mean time, Hugh Price, having built Jesus College, Oxford, appointed him one of the first Fellows. When Master of Arts, he applied himself to the study of divinity; and being appointed catechist in the College, he delivered a weekly lecture on the Commandments in the chapel, which was very numerously attended. His abilities now procured for him the notice and favour of Henry, Earl of Huntingdon, and Sir Francis Walsingham, Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth; the latter of whom presented him to the Vicarage of St. Giles Without, Cripplegate, to a Prebendal Stall and Residentiaryship in St. Paul, as well as to a Stall in the Collegiate Church of Southwark. Upon the death of Dr. Fulke, he was elected to the Mastership of Pembroke Hall; and he afterwards became Chaplain in ordinary to the Queen; then, first a Prebendary, and not long after, Dean of Westminster. After the death of Elizabeth, who highly esteemed him, he became a yet greater favourite with King James, who promoted him to the See of Chichester, to which the living of Cheam was added in commandam. His Majesty made him withal Lord Almoner; and, a vacancy occurring, he was translated to Ely, which he held nine years, during which time he was made a Privy Councillor, first in England, and then in Scotland. He was afterwards preferred to the Bishopric of Winchester and Deanery of the Chapel Royal, both of which he enjoyed till his death, which happened on the 25th of September, 1626, in the 71st year of his age.
Such is the detail of the life of Bishop Andrewes, which his biographer follows up with an account of his mental endowments and characteristic virtues. In illustration of these, a variety of particulars are recorded, and the whole recapitulated in the following summary:
Now let us lay all these together: his zeal and piety; his charity and compassion; his fidelity and integrity; his gratitude and thankfulness; his munificence and bounty; hospitality, humanity, affability, and modesty; and to these, his indefatigability in study, and the fruits of his labours in his sermons and writings, together with his profundity in all kinds of learning; his wit, memory, judgment, gravity and humility; his detestation of all vices and sin, but especially of three; all which, by couching them only in this compend, we have seen in him, as “ ex ungue leonem," or by Hercules foot his whole body, and consider, whether the church of God in general, and this in particular, did not suffer an irreparable less by his death.—Pp. 56, 57.
From the epitome of these endowments we make no apology for extracting the following observations, in proof of his gratitude for any benefit conferred upon him.
Lastly, to Pembroke-hall, omitting the legacies by him bequeathed to the parishes of St. Giles; St. Martin, Ludgate, where he had dwelt; St. Andrew in Holborn; St. Saviour in Southwark; All Saints, Barking, where he was born, and others; to that college, I say, where he had been a scholar, fellow, and master, he gave one thousand pounds, to purchase land for two fellowships, and for other uses in that college expressed in his will; besides three hundred such folio books of his own to the increase of that college library, as were not there before; together with a gilt cup and a basin and ewer, in all points, as weight, fashion, inscription, &c. so like to the cup, basin and ewer, given about three hundred years since to that college, by the religious foundress thereof, as that not "ovum ovo similius;" and these, he professed, he caused to be made and given, not for the continuance of his own memory, but for fear that those that she had given so long since might miscarry, and so her remembrance might decay.—Pp. 45, 46.
We have a double view in subjoining the account of the excellent prelate's death. In the first place, we could scarcely omit to do so in justice to the work itself, which we are now reviewing; and secondly, it is one of the examples selected by Mr. Clissold, in his collection of narratives descriptive of the Last Hours of Eminent Christians, which forms the subject of a notice in our Literary Report.
Having taken a short survey of his life, let us now see him dying. He was not often sick, but once indeed till his last sickness in thirty years before the time he died; which was at Downham, in the Isle of Ely; the air of that place not agreeing with the constitution of his body. But there he seemed to be prepared for his dissolution, saying oftentimes in that sickness, “It must come once, why not here?” and at other times before and since he would say, “The days must come, when, whether we will or nill, we shall say with the preacher, I have no pleasure in them.'”
Of his death he seemed to presage himself a year before he died, and therefore prepared his oil, that he might be admitted in due time into the bride chamber. That of “ qualis vita," &c. was truly verified in him; for as he lived, so died be. As his fidelity in his health was great, so increased the strength of his faith in his sickness; his gratitude to men was now changed into his thank