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JOHN EDWARD NASSAU
AN EMINENT DIVINE OF
HIS YOUNGEST SON
SIR GUILFORD LINDSEY MOLESWORTH
KNIGHT COMMANDER OF THE ORDER OF THE INDIAN EMPIRE
WITH PORTRAITS AND OTHER ILLUSTRATIONS
LONGMANS, GREEN AND CO.
BOMBAY, CALOUTTA, AND MADRAS
All rights reserved
It may appear somewhat of an anachronism to publish the life and writings of one who has so long passed away, when so-called 'progress has greatly changed ideas, especially those connected with religion. But Dr. Molesworth was no ordinary person.
Even when he left Canterbury, to take up his ministry at Rochdale, The Times of January 20, 1840, described him as “one of the most eminent divines in the Church.'
From the earliest days of his curacy at Millbrook, to the end of his life, a period of sixty-six years, he held, and consistently maintained, views not inconsistent with recent progress.
In fact, his influence, example, and writings quietly and unobtrusively moulded, in no small degree, public opinion in those religious changes in the Church for good that had gradually taken place.
Entering on his ministry at a time when there had been great stagnation and laxity in Church matters, although nominally a curate-but actually doing a vicar's work, with all the duties, troubles, and responsibilities of a vicar thrust upon him (his vicar being non-resident and always absent)-he devoted all his energies and talent to raising the standard of the Church from the low ebb in which it had fallen.
His influence, even as a curate, with the Dean of Winchester, with Bishop Tomline, with the Archbishop of Canterbury—and subsequently, as Rector of St. Martin's, with the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral and
the neighbouring clergy-naturally had a widespreading effect on religious thought extending to other parts of England, and this was increased by the large circulation of The Penny Sunday Reader throughout the country and even abroad.
During the whole period of his ministry the Church had passed through trials ; changes had been made, and burning questions raised; but his opinions never changed; he was never led astray by hysterical agitation, but always kept his head clear, and, undisturbed, steadily pursued the even tenor of his way.
His good common sense, his great learning, his toleration, moderation, and his unanswerable logic, based on the unchangeable verities of truly Christian principles, kept him on a straight unswerving course.
His past writings are as applicable to questions of the present day as to those of the period in which they were written. They may be studied with advantage by clergy of these days, and might well form a valuable book of reference for sound Churchmen and Christians.
Another inducement to publish this Memoir has been a desire to vindicate the character of my father, by the refutation of a calumny that has been recently revived in Mr. Macaulay Trevelyan’s ‘Life of John Bright.' In this matter Mr. Trevelyan has evidently acted honestly and in good faith, merely reflecting the views and opinions of those from whose writings he has collected the data for his biography.
It must be remembered, however, that those views and opinions have been tainted by strong party feeling and personal animosity (especially in the case of Bright in his younger days), and by the hostility of those political dissenting agitators whose aim has been to degrade and confiscate the revenue of that Church of which
father was the representative in Rochdale.
The leader of these was Mr. Miall (the so-called 'Liberator '-lucus a non lucendo), the Editor of the Nonconformist, to whom Sir William Molesworth, formerly