« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
EVIDENCES OF THE EXISTING ATTRIBUTES OF THE DEITY,
COLLECTED FROM THE APPEARANCES OF NATURE.
THE following work was undertaken at your Lordship's recommendation, and, amongst other motives, for the purpose of making the most acceptable return that I could, for a great and important benefit conferred upon me.
It may be unnecessary, yet not perhaps quite impertinent, to state to your Lordship, and to the reader, the several inducements that have led me once more to the press. The favour
This excellent bishop, the patron of Paley, and all that was good, talented, and in need of charity throughout his diocese, long survived the object of his patronage.
He came of an ancient and noble family of Saxon origin, who had been allied to the Plantagenets, to Oliver Cromwell, and to many other distinguished persons.
Shute Barrington, the sixth son of John Lord Barrington, was born May 26, 1734; was educated at Eton, and at Merton college, Oxford. He was twice married; first, in 1762, to the lady Diana Beauclerk, daughter of the duke of St. Albans, who died four years afterwards; and secondly, to Miss Jane Guise, heiress of Sir William Guise, who died in 1808. By neither of these ladies had he any issue. He became bishop of Llandaff in 1768, and was translated to Salisbury in 1782, through the personal favour of George the Third, who always called him "his bishop," for the see was intended by the minister of that day, Lord Shelburne, for another person. His pretensions also were ably supported by William Pitt. The favour of his sovereign followed the bishop into his diocese, for when the extensive repairs of his cathedral required a public subscription, a stranger one day, plainly dressed, walked into the cathedral, and calling for the subscription book-keeper, desired him to take a bank note for 1,000Z.; "You can enter it," said George the Third, to the astonished officer, "in the name of A Country Gentleman, of Berkshire.'"
In 1791, on the death of Dr. Thurlow, he was promoted by the king to the valuable see of Durham, which he held for the long period of thirty years.
He is described as being at once the scholar, the gentleman, and the christian; dignified, mild, courteous, and fascinating in his manners; benevolent and charitable in the extreme, yet careful and economical.
A warm enemy to Catholic emancipation, yet the personal friend of Butler †, and of men of all religious
He was consistent to the end of life; never lost sight of the interests of religion and virtue; and, although he lived nearly to the great age of ninety-two, preserved his faculties to the last and his will, which filled the extraordinary number of forty-three sheets, shews the goodness of his heart; for besides bequeathing his books to the library at Durham, he gave about thirty thousand pounds to various public charities.
His patronage of distinguished clergymen was admirable. Paley was not the only man who owed his promotion by Barrington, solely to his talents. The reader will remember among the distinguished names of Bell, Brewster, Badinèl, Gray, Phillpotts, Zouch, Burgess, Sumner, Gilly, Collinson, Faber, Hollingsworth, Hodgson, Le Mesurier, Gisborne, Owen, Thorpe, Townsend, all promoted by Barrington, several men whose talents have since elevated them to the episcopal bench. He was the friend not only of learned men, but of learning. The new university of Durham, which his successor Dr. Van Mildert established, was suggested and promoted by Barrington. He was the friend of Bowyer and of Black stone, the latter of whom was his neighbour at Mongewell, near Wallingford.
Of such a man to whom Paley owed so much, and who will, at least, be known to after ages as his patron, when his other good deeds are perchance forgotten, the reader will, we are sure, pardon this brief notice.-Annual Obituary, 1826, p. 85. Public Characters.-Imperial Magazine. Gentleman's Magazine, 1826, p. 297, 518, 606. Annual Register, 1826, p. 237.
It would seem that there is something peculiarly favourable to longevity in the air of Durham, for there are some very singular instances of the length of time which its former bishops have held it.
Thus, Hugh Pudsey held it from 1153 to 1194; Thomas de Hatfield, from 1345 to 1381, or 36 years; and Nathaniel Lord Crewe, from 1674 to 1722, the still longer period of 48 years.
+ "One hundred thousand pounds," said this eloquent lawyer, "would not pay the munificent charities in which the bishop had employed me.-Reminiscences, p. 97."
of my first and ever-honoured Patron had put me in possession of so liberal a provision in the Church, as abundantly to satisfy my wants, and much to exceed my pretensions. Your Lordship's munificence, in conjunction with that of some other excellent Prelates, who regarded my services with the partiality with which your Lordship was pleased to consider them, hath since placed me in ecclesiastical situations, more than adequate to every object of reasonable ambition. In the mean time, a weak, and of late a painful, state of health, deprived me of the power of discharging the duties of my station in a manner at all suitable, either to my sense of those duties, or to my most anxious wishes concerning them. My inability for the public functions of my profession, amongst other consequences, left me much at leisure. That leisure was not to be lost. It was only in my study that I could repair my deficiencies in the church; it was only through the press that I could speak. These circumstances entitled your Lordship in particular to call upon me for the only species of exertion of which I was capable, and disposed me without hesitation to obey the call in the best manner that I could. In the choice of a subject, I had no place left for doubt in saying which, I do not so much refer, either to the supreme importance of the subject, or to any scepticism concerning it with which the present times are charged, as I do to its connexion with the subjects treated of in my former publications. The following discussion alone was wanted to make up my works into a system: in which works, such as they are, the public have now before them the evidences of Natural Religion, the evidences of Revealed Religion, and an account of the duties that result from both. It is of small importance that they have been written in an order the very reverse of that in which they ought to be read. I commend, therefore, the present volume to your Lordship's protection, not only as, in all probability, my last labour, but as the completion of a regular and comprehensive design.
Hitherto, my Lord, I have been speaking of myself, and not of my Patron. Your Lordship wants not the testimony of a Dedication; nor any testimony from me: I consult therefore the impulse of my own mind alone when I declare, that in no respect has my intercourse with your Lordship been more gratifying to me, than in the opportunities which it has afforded me, of observing your earnest, active. and unwearied solicitude, for the advancement of substantial Christianity; a solicitude, nevertheless, accompanied with that candour of mind, which suffers no subordinate differences of opinion, when there is a coincidence in the main intention and object, to produce any alienation of esteem, or diminution of favour. It is fortunate for a country, and honourable to its government, when qualities and dispositions like these are placed in high and influencing stations. Such is the sincere judgment which I have formed of your Lordship's character and of its public value: my personal obligations I can never forget. Under a due sense of both these considerations, I beg leave to subscribe myself, with great respect and gratitude,
Your Lordship's faithful
And most devoted servant,