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Bishopric during the whole period of his incumbency. To assist in what was to him a labour of love, the merchants of that city presented him with a large quantity of cedar. In altering the private chapel, he placed (as already stated) a white marble cross over the communion table. This unfortunate step not only occasioned scandal at the time, but gave plausibility to the charge of a leaning towards Popery, which was made in the latter part of his life, and after his death. The cross remained in its place until the destruction of the palace by a mob, in 1831.

In 1746 he was made clerk of the closet to George II. In 1747, upon the decease of Archbishop Potter, he was offered the Primacy, but refused it, declaring, " that it was too late for him to try to support a falling Church.” He took a gloomy view of the prospects of the Establishment. His relations at Wantage wished very much to see him elevated to that high dignity; and one of his nephews, supposing that his uncle's refusal grew out of a fear of the heavy expenses to be incurred at his entrance upon the office, offered to advance £20,000, or any other sum which might be thought necessary. He was exceedingly dissatisfied when he found the Bishop's purpose was not to be altered.

The See of Durham becoming vacant in 1750, by the decease of Dr. Edward Chandler, the king was desirous of advancing Butler to it. When, however, Butler understood that the lieutenancy of the county, which had usually gone with the Bishopric, was about to be separated from it, he at first declined the honour. He appears to have been unwilling that the see should lose a single one of its established dignities. Out of regard to his feelings in this particular, the proposed change was deferred until the next vacancy. Another instance of his delicacy of feeling in this connexion is given by the present Bishop of Exeter. “On his translation, the Deanery of St. Paul's was to be vacated. The minister wished to give it to Butler's oldest and best friend, Secker, who held a stall at Durham, which, in that case, it was proposed that the crown should give to Dr. Chapman, Unfortunately, the arrangement was mentioned to Butler before he was translated; and highly gratifying as it would have been to him for Secker's sake, his conscience took the alarm, lest it should bear even the semblance of a condition of his own promotion. He for some time hesitated, in consequence, to accept the splendid station, which solicited him; nor did he yield till his scruple respecting all possible notion of condition was removed.”

What his feelings were upon this occasion of honour and fortune, is shown in the following extract from a letter to a friend :


“ Increase of fortune is insignificant to one who thought he had enough before; and I foresee many difficulties in the station I am coming into, and no advantage worth thinking of, except some greater power of being serviceable to others; and whether this be an advantage, entirely depends on the use one shall make of it: I pray God it may be a good one. It would be a melancholy thing, in the close of life, to have no reflections to entertain one's self with, but that one had spent the revenues of the Bishopric of Durham, in a sumptuous course of living, and enriched one's friends with the promotions of it, instead of having really set one's self to do good, and promote worthy men; yet this right use of fortune and power is more difficult than the generality of even good people think, and requires both a guard upon one's self, and a strength of mind to withstand solicitations, greater, I wish I may not find it, than I am master of.


In the year 1750, Bishop Butler drew up a plan for introducing Episcopacy into America. Up to this time, and afterwards, the Established Church, in the English Colonies, was under the charge of the Bishop of London, through whose commissaries its affairs were managed. As this plan of Butler's is highly illustrative of the wisdom and moderation of his character, we subjoin it entire :





"1. That no coercive power is desired over the laity in any case, but only a power to regulate the behaviour of the clergy, who are in episcopal orders; and to correct and punish them according to the laws of the Church of England, in case of misbehaviour or neglect of duty, with such power as the commissioners abroad have exercised.

2. That nothing is desired for such Bishops, that may in the least interfere with the dignity, or authority, or interest of the Governor or any other officer of state. Probates of will, license for marriages, &c., to be kept in the hands where they are; and no share in the temporal government is desired for Bishops.

“ 3. The maintenance of such Bishops not to be at the charge of the colonies.

“ 4. No Bishops are intended to be settled, where the government is left in the hands of Dissenters, as in New-England, &c. But authority to be given only to ordain clergy for such Church of England congregations as are among them, and to inspect into the manners and behaviour of such clergy, and to confirm the members thereof."

This plan awakened so much opposition among those for whom it was intended, and particularly in New-England, that, though revived again as late as 1763, it was finally abandoned.

Shortly after his arrival in his diocese, Butler addressed to his clergy a charge upon the “ Use and Importance of External Religion.” Alas! it was the only one he was permitted to deliver as Bishop of Durham. This charge, though full of excellent advices to the clergy, yet contains some statements which are liable to be misunderstood. Indeed, it may be doubted, whether its fundamental idea is not a mistaken one. After stating, that the distinction of the age was “a scorn of religion in some persons, and a disregard of it in the generality," he proceeds to give some directions upon

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the best means of reviving piety among the common people. These he conceives to be: “the keeping up the form and face of religion," and “then endeavouring to make this form subservient to promote its reality and power.” The repairing of churches, the regular attendance upon Divine service, uniformity in public and private prayer, the offering of thanks at meals, the catechism and instruction of children, etc., are the several steps of this process proposed. He fortifies his assertion of the power of forms, by instancing the influence of the forms of Mohammedanism, of Catholicism, and of the old ritual of the Jews. We humbly conceive that when practical piety is dying away in a nation, the effort to resuscitate it by a renewed devotion to external religion, is simply beginning at the end. The form is the symbol of an inward feeling and life; and when the internal correspondent is gone, a more rigid observance of the form may produce superstition, but it can effect no good,-it cannot awaken the dead. That Mohammedanism, whose power Butler cites, gained its triumphs over Christianity, and seized the time-honoured seats of our faith, because the Fathers, by unwisely teaching a ritual religion first, and a spiritual one afterwards, had made the Church superstitious in doctrine, corrupt in practice, and feeble to resist the inroads of error. John Wesley, a presbyter of the Church of England, was a contemporary of Butler: he saw the lamentable irreligion of the common people, and deplored it as deeply as the Bishop himself; and, with his peculiar sagacity, he discerned that the evil was only to be remedied by an earnest, spiritual preaching, addressed to them in a style suited to their capacities and wants. In the year 1750, the period of Butler's accession to the See of Durham, he had already been engaged eleven years in his career of mingled obloquy and triumph. His success is a matter of history. The parish churches were filled with hearers, and their altars were crowded with communicants, who, having been aroused to a sense of their duty by his appeals, hastened to render their obedience to the outward seryice and ritual of the Church. And all this was the least of the fruit of his labours.

From the time of the publication of this discourse, until some years after his death, Butler was violently assailed in pamphlets and newspapers, as addicted to superstition, as inclined to Popery; and finally, as dying in the communion of the Church of Rome. The acrimony of these assaults is undoubtedly to be attributed to the violence of party spirit. Butler's detestation of Popery is strongly enough expressed in his works ;* and the charge itself was the off

See the Sermon before the House of Lords and the remarks on positive insti. tutions.-Analogy, part II., chap. i.

spring of a pure desire to promote a revival of the vital spirit of religion in England. It can only be objected against, as proposing means the most unsuitable of all for accomplishing this end.

His life at Durham exhibits the same tastes and habits which have been described in the preceding pages. Having now a magnificent income, he made extensive repairs in Durham Castle, and greatly improved the episcopal residence at Auckland. At the same time, he gave still wider scope to his almost unbounded benevolence. He is said to have subscribed £400 per annum to the county hospital. Considering it his duty to support the dignity of his station with liberality, he set apart three days of every week for the entertainment of the neighbouring gentry. He was likewise exceedingly attentive to his clerical brethren. The following incident shows his benevolence in a very pleasing light :

" A gentleman once waited upon him with the details of some projected benevolent institution. The bishop highly approved of the object in view, and calling his house-steward, inquired how much money he then had in his possession. The answer was: “Five hundred pounds, my lord.' 'Five hundred pounds! exclaimed his master; What a shame for a bishop to have so much money! Give it away; give it all to this gentleman, for his charitable plan.'Bartlett, p. 196.

He once declared to his under-secretary, Mr. Emm :-"I should feel ashamed of myself, if I could leave ten thousand pounds behind me.” And in this he kept his word; he died worth but little over nine thousand. We believe this sum was not quite half his annual income. But, though liberal in dispensing the hospitalities of his station, he was exceedingly simple in his private habits. It is related, that a young gentleman of fortune once dined by appointment with him, and the table was set out with nothing more than a joint of meat, and a pudding. The bishop apologized for his fare, by saying,

That it was his way of living; that he had been long disgusted with the fashionable expense of time and money at entertainments, and was determined that it should receive no countenance from his example."

He was rigidly honest in distributing his patronage. It was his desire to prefer worthy and capable men to the benefices in his gift; but the sudden termination of his life prevented him from carrying out his purposes, in this respect, to any great extent. He did not suffer the claims of relationship to warp his impartiality. His eccentric nephew, John Butler, in expressing his disappointment, that the bishop had done so little for his family, is reported to have said, very bluntly,—“Methinks, my lord, it is a misfortune to be related to you!"

But, as if to give another proof of the vanity of all carthly things, two years had scarcely. elapsed after the settlement of the bishop in the See of Durham, when his health began to fail. Upon the advice of the most eminent physicians, he at first tried the waters of Clifton: but these affording no relief, he was conveyed, in a sinking condition, to Bath. Here he was constantly attended by his chaplain, Dr. Forster, and was visited by his friend, Bishop Benson. Secker was himself just recovering from illness, and could not safely travel. From Dr. Forster's frequent letters to Secker, we have a full account of Butler's last hours. In one of these, he writes : "All his physicians seem to be clear, that his disorder is owing to some obstructions in the organs of digestion, without being able to tell where the fault principally lies. They say, however, that he is so weak at present, that any attempt to remove these obstructions as yet, would be death to him." Benson, the day after Butler's death, writes to Secker on this point more definitely :-"The liver, by the account which the physicians gave, was so much decayed, that no art was capable of restoring it; and nothing but the formation of a new organ could restore him." His weakness was so great, that during these closing scenes he spoke but little. In parting with Benson, he remarked, says the bishop, “It must be a farewell forever; and said kind and affecting things more than I could bear.” After lingering thus twelve days, he died, June 16th, 1752, in the 60th year of his age. Tradition reports several expressions, as being among the dying words of Butler, all going to show that he expired with an humble trust in the Saviour; but as these, though perhaps founded upon truth, are not substantiated by any direct evidence, they are here omitted.

On Saturday, June 20th, he was interred in the cathedral at Bristol. Over his remains, there was placed a marble stone, with an inscription by Dr. Forster. In the year 1834, an elegant monument was erected, by subscription, in Bristol cathedral, to his memory. Part of the funds for this purpose was contributed by Oriel College, as a testimonial of their reverence for the memory of the eminent scholar, and divine, who had gone forth from their midst. A beautiful inscription was furnished for this monument by Dr. Southey. Three portraits of Butler were taken while he lived: the first during his residence at Stanhope, in the fortieth year of his age; the second shortly after he was made Bishop of Bristol; and the last, not long before his death, when his body was already beginning to sink under the attacks of disease. The engravings from the first likeness show a calm and benignant countenance, regular and delicate features, with a sweetness of expression shining throughout,

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