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THE BISHOP'S MODE OF LIFE IN LONDON AND AT DURHAM. GROUNDS OF HIS OPPOSITION TO THE ROMAN
HIS CONTROVERSIAL WRITINGS
THE dispositions and tastes of the Bishop, the bent of his talents, and his studious habits, rendered frequent attendance in Parliament irksome to him ; but while in Town, during the Session, he made a point of being present in the House of Lords whenever questions came on affecting the interests of Religion and Morality, or those of the Established Church. From speaking in public he shrank at all times, and although he did on some few occasions deliver his sentiments upon momentous subjects, and in strong language, in his place in Parliament, yet such were his diffidence and modesty, that the effort never failed to cost him much previous conflict. In his absence, his proxy was usually entrusted to some Peer whose principles and opinions accorded with his own.
The time, however, which he thus passed in London, was actively employed in the support or promotion of objects of a charitable or professional
character, or in literary studies and researches. The transfer of his person to the gay and busy Metropolis made but little change in the prevailing bent of his thoughts and pursuits, which were usually revolving around some question of theological interest, or of public or private duty; and his habits of temperance were so strict, that he was at his studies early and late without suffering from the effects of severe application.
In one respect, however, he did painfully feel its consequences, and that was in his eyesight, which gradually became so much impaired, that during the last twenty years of his life he was constantly obliged to wear a green shade. The weakness of his eyes rendered preaching a painful effort to him. Neither had nature endowed him with oratorical gifts. His voice, though remarkable sweet, was low; he had not much of fancy or imagination, and the calm equanimity of his mind unfitted him for acting with power on large assemblies. He took his turn as a Prebendary at Durham, and he occasionally composed and delivered sermons on public occasions. Thus, in the year 1804, he preached before the Royal Humane Society; in 1807, before the Lords spiritual and temporal in Westminster Abbey; and in 1808, before the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. The time which he spent at Durham, to keep residence, was employed much in the same studious manner as in London,
varied, however, by the calls of hospitality and by his public duties within the precincts of the Cathedral. The house which he finally occupied in virtue of his Stall, commanded from the drawing-room window the finest among the many fine points of view which crown the course of the river Were, as its silver waters lave the rich groves, and the base of the stately and venerable piles which enchant the eye by their picturesque combinations, in the very centre of the city of Durham.
Among the few public questions in which he did take an active part was that of Roman Catholic Emancipation. From the commencement to the close of the struggle which terminated in its enactment, he gave, on grounds both Political and Religious, his inflexible opposition to that measure, and in various publications, as well as occasionally in his Charges, he stated his objections to it with much energy and ability. He contended that the admission of Roman Catholics to legislative power, would be not only inconsistent with the principles of our Protestant Constitution in Church and State, but would be fraught with danger to both. The fundamental principle of the British Constitution, he maintained, was to support with the utmost tenacity the Protestant Established Church, as the fructifying source of that Religious influence and of that well-balanced civil Freedom upon which the security of the State depends. Now the conse
quence of granting Emancipation would be the admission of a body of seventy or eighty men into Parliament, who, if true to their Faith, would spare no efforts to degrade or subvert the Protestant Established Church, and to augment the influence of their own.
In addition to these objections, he urged his strong conviction that the proposed concessions, instead of allaying, if granted, the existing differences between Protestants and Roman Catholics, would have a directly contrary effect, by stirring up in the latter ulterior objects of ambition, and by producing an increase of demand and rivalry, forming new and perpetual sources of future contention.
No calculations of expediency, he contended, ought to create any wavering in the minds of men. who shared with him in these opinions, as to the course to be pursued. Every religious consideration which made the Reformation necessary should still endear to them their Protestant constitution ; and, trusting in the equity and the sanctity of their cause, they ought inflexibly to maintain their principles and to commit the issue to Providence.
The pervading spirit of all that he spoke or published on this subject was that of uncompromising objection, upon religious grounds, to the proposed concessions. He deemed it inconsistent with his office and clerical character, to take up the question in any other way.
But he was also the author of several publications*, in which, without reference to the Roman Catholic question, his learning and researches were successfully applied to expose the errors and corruptions of the Church of Rome; to vindicate the nationality and independence of that of England, and to assert its claims as a branch of the Church Catholic. He had read and reflected much upon the principal points of difference between the two Churches, and he ably defended and illustrated the grounds upon which our own proceeded in her solemn and deliberate separation from that of Rome.
Among the Treatises enumerated below, that entitled " Popery incapable of Union with a Protestant Church, and not a Remedy for Schism," was written in reply to the Rev. Samuel Wix, a beneficed Clergyman in the Metropolis, who had pub
The following is a list of them :—
Bishop Bull's Letter to Mr. Nelson on the Corruptions of the Church of Rome in relation to Ecclesiastical Government, the Rule of Faith, &c. 18mo. 1813.
Two Letters to the Clergy of the Diocese of St. David's on the Independence of the ancient British Church on any foreign Jurisdiction. 8vo. 1813.
A volume of Tracts on the Independence of the ancient British Church, on the Supremacy of the Pope, and on the Differences between the Churches of England and Rome. 8vo. 1815.
The Protestants' Catechism. 8vo. 1818.
English Reformation and Papal Schism. 8vo. 1819.
Remarks on the Western Travels of St. Paul, as an Argument of Proscription against the Supremacy of the Pope and Church of Rome. 1820.
Popery incapable of Union with a Protestant Church. 1820.
A Speech delivered in the House of Lords on the Roman Catholic Question. 1821.