Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

say, to the peculiar respect of every friend of our pure and temperate church, and of the religion which it professes. They were, indeed, the lights of our Ark and of our Israel. Various in their capacities and powers, they yet pressed forward, in the same sacred vocation, to the same mark, and with the same sober and persevering zeal; and if true religion have been, in these latter days, more diffused among us, and, by being more effectually taught, have become better understood, we may be authorized, in no slight degree, to ascribe the blessing, under Providence, to the patient perseverance and enlightened piety of their labours.

These eminent persons demand the memorial of public estimation. But some indulgence, my Lord, may be conceded even to the humble and inadequate language of individual respect; and I may not, perhaps, merit much severity of censure, if I adventure to add my imperfect offering to the tribute which has been already paid by a whole country, and if the talents and endowments which I beheld only to revere, I should be ambitious also to record.

Of Primate ROBINSON, who is there, my Lord, who recollects the virtues, and does not reverence the man; who remembers the tempered zeal and the sound wisdom with which he promoted the interests of our ecclesiastical establishment, and the influence of the Gospel, and does not respect and applaud the Christian bishop? Fulfilling the functions of his sacred office with conscientious and well-directed diligence, dignified without pride, and munificent

without ostentation, he presided over the church of Ireland with the salutary and unrelaxing vigilance, and exhibited in his whole conduct the temper and the spirit, of the pious, the judicious, and the effective Primate. His virtues, as various as they were exemplary, constituted the grace and ornament of a long life; but a regular, an upright, and a sedulous clergy, especially attested the wisdom of his paternal superintendence; and glebes purchased, and glebe houses erected, and churches, and libraries, and observatories constructed or endowed, may afford an emphatic evidence of his pastoral cares, and of his effusive liberality.

To Primate NEWCOME, my Lord, there are few who will not advert with similar respect. The urbanity and blamelessness of his deportment, and the unblemished integrity of a whole life, were extolled, not merely by the friends, but by the enemies of his church. He enjoyed the rare and enviable felicity of exercising the necessary authority of his station, without provoking the malignity which is so ready to assail exalted worth. The pure elements of his character seem to have been placed beyond the corrupting influences of this world. His learning was various and profound, not the learning which delights in subtle abstractions, and metaphysical reveries, but in the acquisition and diffusion of sober, salutary, and practical truth. He was not, however, seduced from the active duties of his important office by the secluded occupations of literary retirement. What he derived from study he rendered ministrant to public edification; and the Translation of the Minor Prophets, the Observations on the Character and Conduct of Christ, and other works of similar importance, constitute a distinguished monument of his taste, his piety, and his erudition.

To you, my Lord, who knew him so well, and so frequently co-operated with him for the welfare of the church, it will be scarcely necessary to observe that Primate STEWART was endowed with talents, moral and intellectual, not inferior to those of his exalted predecessors. What the circumstances of the times, and the deficiency of funds, had rendered it impossible for those who preceded him to accomplish, the laudable liberality of Parliament enabled. him to perform; and he performed it with an energy and a wisdom as rare as they were effectual. The glebes, and manses, and churches, which were yet wanting, were supplied. The defects of clerical residence, hitherto unavoidable, were remedied. In the most secluded districts, the voice of the efficient pastor was heard, and the congregation was assembled and edified; and while, in these instances, the ample grants of the legislature were appropriated under a prudent, vigilant, and fruitful superintendence, the various Boards for ecclesiastical regulation, and for the maintenance and inspection of public schools, received an impulse and a direction which rendered them beneficial, in the highest degree, to the church and to the nation. But of the distinguished person who was employed in a manner so consistent with

the obligations of metropolitan duty, these were not the sole labours, or virtues, which have attached to his name the unqualified respect and veneration of this country. The Clergy over whom he was more immediately placed, acknowledged the kindness and the care with which he consulted and promoted their welfare. The munificence of his private and public donations, and the warm, yet discriminating spirit which engaged him, so often, in the most gracious and generous interpositions, have been rarely equalled by the best and most beneficent of mankind. As a scholar, his attainments were ample. He was sufficiently instructed in polite, in elegant, and in sacred literature. Disdaining to be the polemic of a sect, he was the advocate of the Gospel. To the learning of the schools he added a sound judgment, and a cultivated taste; and, in the various Charges which he delivered to his Clergy, on the duties of the Christian ministry, he displayed the tempered fervour, and the impressive eloquence of an Apostolic Bishop, and never failed to command the attention, the respect, and the admiration of his auditory. Are we to wonder that the death of such a man should have been lamented as a national calamity? And might we not wonder if the virtues of such a man were not preserved and embalmed in the reverence of national recollection ?

It was expected of His Majesty, my Lord, that He would raise to the See of Armagh, a successor worthy to occupy the station which had been illustrated and adorned by the virtues and the labours of these

exalted characters; and the wisdom of His Majesty's appointment has been amply acknowledged. It is not solely, or chiefly, to Your Grace's hereditary rank, to your high birth, or to the distinctions derived from the noble and antient family to which you belong, that men advert. Your Grace has other and better claims to the respect of mankind. The talent and temper with which you fulfil the trust committed to your charge; the patient and vigilant inspection which you extend from the humble school and church of the village, to so many diocesan and national institutions, and the Christian munificence with which you employ and consecrate the ample means committed to your hands ; constitute distinctions which adorn and brighten the accidents of rank, and compared with which the accidents of rank are “nothing worth.” Such endowments as these, already recorded by the justice of the public voice, may not shrink from a comparison even with the virtues of Your Grace's immediate and venerable predecessor. They afford, in the estimation of the good and wise, the best and brightest illustration of the high dignity of the Primacy of Ireland. And we trust, humbly but fervently, that they will be long permitted, under a good providence, to contribute to private and public welfare, to support the interests of our national Church, and to promote the influence and the diffusion of that Religion, which, while it lays the foundation of peace, order, and happiness in this world, assures to the children of obedience the eternal felicity of the next.

« AnteriorContinuar »