Imágenes de páginas










Reverend Brethren,

Ir is now upwards of two years since I was appointed to fill this important see'; and it may perhaps have been expected that I should have taken an earlier opportunity of assembling you together for the purpose of obtaining a more intimate acquaintance with my diocese, and the various concerns belonging: to it. But I conceived that this end would be more effectually, though not so immediately, answered, by waiting till the usual period of a visitation returned, and in the meanwhile collecting all the information I could from various quarters ; and more partie cularly from the answers to the several queries. that were some months ago circulated round the diocese.

From these, as from the most authentic sources, I shall now select for our mutual consideration such topics as appear to me most important. But I cannot do this without first


satisfying your feelings and my own, by offering some part at least of that tribute which is justly due to the memory of that great and good man who immediately preceded me, and whose loss we have all so many reasons to lament *. To do full justice to such a character as his, is much beyond my power, and is more than our present business, and the time allotted to it would admit. It must be left to those whose peculiar province it is to undertake such a task, and whose abilities are equal to the subject. But we may be allowed in the meanwhile to pay a transient homage at least to the talents and virtues of this excellent prelate, and learn to profit by them both. We may justly admire the universality of that genius which could apply itself, and with almost equal success, to so many different branches of literature; to poetry, to grammar, to criticism, to theology, to oriental learning. In each of these he has displayed the talents of a master, and the originality of true genius. But in that admired work, the Prelections on the sacred Poetry of the Hebrews, he has described and illustrated the

i distinct Bishop Lowth.

distinct properties and excellencies of each particular species of that poetry with such admirable taste and skill, with such exuberant richness of imagery, such variety, copiousness, elegance, and rotundity of style, as few writers have ever yet equalled in a language not their own.

With such various and distinguished talents in almost every branch of literature; with a conduct perfectly inoffensive and irreproachable; with a temper naturally mild and even; with manners the most gentle, unassuming and conciliating, it can be no wonder, if he attracted the notice and the patronage of the great, whose friendship gradually raised him through the various honours of his profession to that high station which he was so peculiarly qualified to dignify and adorn. And this in fact we all know he did while his health and vigour of mind and body remained firm and unbroken. But the very painful disorders and severe domestic losses with which it pleased God to afflict him in the evening of his life, and which he bore with the most perfect fortitude, composure and resignation,


« AnteriorContinuar »