Page images

Thomas Gale, D. D.

BORN A. D. 1634.- DIED A, D. 1702.

This learned divine was born in the year 1634, at Scruton in Yorkshire. He was educated at Westminster school, from which he removed to Cambridge, where he continued several years, became a fellow of Trinity-college, and afterwards Greek professor in that university. How long he continued in this situation is uncertain ; but in the year 1672 he was chosen head-master of St Paul's school, and soon after had the honour to be named by the city to compose those inscriptions engraved upon the Monument, which have been so much censured and celebrated, for which he was, by the corporation of London, rewarded with a piece of plate. In the year 1676 he received a more ample remuneration, for he was made a prebendary of St Paul's, being one of those termed consumpt. per mare.

Dr Gale had, as soon as he was qualified, taken the degree of doctor of divinity ; he was also chosen a fellow of the royal society. About the year 1697 he made a donation to the new library of Trinity-college of a great number of Arabic manuscripts. Having continued head-master of St Paul's school twenty-five years, he, in the same year, 1697, was preferred to the deanery of the metropolitan church of York, in which situation his piety, hospitality, and benevolence, were equally conspicuous; as was also his care for, and good government of the chapter, and his assiduity in repairing and beautifying that venerable cathedral

Dr Gale did not long enjoy the elevated station to which his merits had raised him. He died at his deanery, April 8th, 1702, learing behind him the character of a learned divine, a great historian and antiquary, and one of the best Grecians of his time.

The several works which he published are equal evidences of his indefatigable industry and erudition, as the following catalogue of them will evince :

—Herodoti Hallicarnassei Historiarum, lib. 9; Iamblichus de Mysteriis Ægyptiorum ;'. Rhetores Selecti;' Historiæ Poeticæ Scriptores Antiqui; Opuscula Mythologica, Physica, et Ethica; "Græcum Psalterium juxta Exemplar Alexandrinum ;' Rerum Anglicarum Scriptorum Veterum. Tom. I. quorum Ingulphus nunc primum integer cæteri primum prodeunt;' Historiæ Britannicæ et Anglicanæ Scriptores. XXV. Vol. 2d;' besides which, among his papers, the following manuscripts were found nearly ready for the press; some of which have since been published, though, perhaps, not exactly in the form in which he left them. • Iamblicus de Vita Pythagoræ ;' Origenis Philocalia variis MSS. collectat, emendata nova Versione donata ;'. Antonini Imperatoris Itinerarium Inscriptionibus et Scholiis Illustratum

[ocr errors]

per T. G.

Dr Gale left also a noble library of curious and valuable books and manuscripts, together with a considerable estate to his son and heir, Roger Gale, Esq. Conversant with the literati of our own nation, his literary talents were equally esteemed by foreigners, among whom he had a particular correspondence with the learned Huetius, Mabillon, Allix, and many others, who have in their works paid the greatest respect to his character and abilities.

Bishop Beveridge.

BORN A, D. 1636.-DIED A. D. 1707.

WILLIAM, second son of the Rev. William Beveridge, B. D., was born early in the year 1636–7, at Barrow, in the county of Leicester ; of which place his grandfather, father, and elder brother were succesively vicars. After receiving the first rudiments of education under the tuition of a learned father, he was sent to the free-school at Oakham, in the county of Rutland, where he continued two years under the care of Mr Freer, the then master. On the 24th of May, 1653, he was admitted as a sizar, or poor scholar, in St John's college, Cambridge. During his residence at college he acquired general esteem, not only for his early piety, seriousness of mind, and his exemplary sobriety and integrity of life, but also for his diligent application to the course of studies prescribed by the university. The learned languages he cultivated with particular attention, and by his assiduous study of the oriental languages, he in no long time attained such a proficiency as enabled him, at the early age of eighteen, to compose a Latin treatise on the * Excellency and Use of the Oriental Tongues, especially the Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, and Samaritan;' together with a grammar of the Syriac language, in three books. This was given to the public in 1658. Two years before, in 1656, be had taken his degree of bachelor of arts, and in 1660 he proceeded to that of master.

On the 3d January, 1660-), he was ordained deacon in the church of St Botolph, Aldersgate, by Dr Robert Saunderson, bishop of Lincoln ; and priest, in the same church, on the 31st of the same month : about which time, Dr Gilbert Sheldon, who then presided over the see of London, collated him to the vicarage of Yealing, or Ealing, in the county of Middlesex. How deeply he felt the responsibility of the pastoral office, we may easily perceive from his Private Thoughts,' (a work known to have been written in his earlier years, on his first entrance into holy orders, though it was not given to the public till after his decease); in one of which he expresses his resolution, “ by the grace of God, to feed the flock over which God shall set him, with wholesome food, neither starving them by idleness, poisoning them with error, nor puffing them up with impertinencies.”

Mr Beveridge continued at Ealing nearly twelve years, assiduously occupied in the duties of his sacred office; amidst which, however, he found leisure to continue his learned studies. The result of these appeared in his Institutiones Chronologicæ,' an elementary work on chronology, published in 1669; of which succeeding writers have not failed to avail themselves. This treatise is dedicated to Dr Humphrey Henchman, who had succeeded Bishop Sheldon in the see of London, and by whom he was subsequently promoted. Three years afterwards, namely, in 1672, Mr Beveridge printed at Oxford his great Collection of the Apostolic Canons, and of the Decrees of the Councils received by the Greek Church, together with the Canonical Epistles of the

Fathers, in two large folio volumes, in Greek and Latin ; and illustrated these venerable remains of ecclesiastical antiquity with copious prolegomena and annotations. On the 22d of November, in the same year, he was chosen rector of St Peter's, Cornhill, by the lord-mayor and aldermen of the city of London. On this occasion he resigned the vicarage of Ealing.

The multiplicity and variety of Mr Beveridge's pastoral labours, al this period of his active and useful life, appear to have left him but little leisure for preparing any thing for the press, excepting a vindica tion of his Collection of the Canons of the Primitive Church, in reply to the Observations of an anonymous author, which appeared in Latin, in 1679; in which year he proceeded to the degree of D. D. He was not, however, long unrewarded. His singular merit having recommended him to the favour of his diocesan, Bishop Henchman, he was collated by him on the 22d of December, 1674, to the prebend of Chiswick, in the cathedral of St Paul's, London ; and on the 3d of November, 1681, he was also collated by his successor, Bishop Compton, to the archdeaconry of Colchester. In discharging the duties of this responsible office, he evinced the same vigilant, regular, and exemplary conduct, which he had previously shown in every station of life. For, not satisfied with the false, or at least imperfect, reports, which at that period were delivered by church wardens at visitations, he visited in person every parish within the limits of his archdeaconry; and took a very minute and exact account of the state of every church he visited, as well as of the residences of the clergy. These particulars were carefully registered in a book, for the benefit of his successors in that dignity.

On the 5th of November, 1684, he was installed prebendary of Canterbury, in the room of Dr Peter Du Moulin, deceased; and si me time between the following year and 1688 he became the associate of the learned and pious Dr Horneck, in directing the religious societies which began to be formed in London in the reign of James II., and which greatly contributed to the revival of religious feeling in the me tropolis, whence it extended into different parts of the country. The object of the religious societies, in the direction of which Dr Beveridge held so conspicuous a place, was first and principally, to promote edifi cation and personal piety in their several members; to effect which purpose their rules appear to have been well-calculated. They did not, however, confine themselves to this single design, but endeavoured to promote piety in others, in various ways. With this view they procured sermons to be preached every Sunday evening in many of the largest churches in the city, either by way of preparation for the Lord's Supper, or to engage communicants to a suitable holiness of life after partaking of that sacrament, which they procured to be administered in many churches every Sunday. They farther extended their charity to deserving objects in all parts of London, and its suburbs ; and by the pecuniary collections which were made by their influence, many clergymen were maintained to read prayers in so many places, and at so many different hours, that devout persons might have that comfort at every hour of the day. Among other benefits which resulted from these religious associations, was the institution of societies for reformation of manners, and the establishment of the two societies for propio

gating the gospel in foreign parts, and for promoting Christian knowledge at home and abroad; both of which subsist to this day, with increasing activity and usefulness.

In the year 1689, Dr Beveridge was president of Sion college ; ip which capacity he preached the anniversary Latin sermon to the clergy of the city of London ; and on the 20th of November, in the same year, he preached the Concio ad Clerum' in Westminster abbey, before the convocation held by the bishops and clergy of the province of Canterbury, on occasion of the Bill of Comprehension which was then in agita

The “Scheme of Comprehension," as it is commonly termed, had been projected in 1668, by the lord-keeper of the great seal, Sir Orlando Bridgman, Bishop Wilkins, Lord-chief-justice Hale, and several other distinguished persons, for relaxing the terms of conformity to the established church in behalf of moderate dissenters, and admitting them into communion with the church. The bill, which was drawn up by Lord-chief-justice Hale, was disallowed. The attempt was renewed in 1674, by Dr Tillotson and Dr Stillingfleet; and, though the terms were settled to the satisfaction of the nonconformists, the bishops refused their assent. After the ever-memorable Revolution in 1688, the question was again agitated ; and King William III., by the advice of Dr Tillotson and Bishop Burnet, submitted the business of comprehension to a synod of divines, as being the method at once the most acceptable to the clergy, and the best calculated to silence the popish objectors, who sneered at a religion established by acts of parliament. Accordingly a commission was issued to thirty of the most eminent divines, (ten of whom were bishops,) among whom we find the names of Tillotson, Burnet, Tenison, Patrick, Beveridge, Stillingfleet, and Kidder, directing them to prepare such alterations as they should judge expedient in the liturgy and canons, together with proposals for reformation in ecclesiastical courts, and in other matters relative to the church. All these changes were first to be submitted to convocation, and afterwards reconsidered in parliament. After four members of this committee had withdrawn in dissatisfaction, the remainder proceeded in the business referred to them; and, among many alterations too tedious to be mentioned here, proposed that lessons from the canonical books of Scripture should be substituted for those taken from the apocryphal books; that the Athanasian Creed, the damnatory clause of which was pronounced to be applicable only to those who denied the substance of the Christian faith, should be left to the option of the officiating minister; that new collects nore glowing in devotion, should be drawn up, and a new version of the Psalms prepared ; that the chanting of divine service in cathedral churches should be discontinued, and legendary saints be expunged from the calendar ; that the cross in baptism, the surplice, and the posture of kneeling at the sacrament, should not in future be insisted on ; that the absolution in the morning and evening service should be read by a deacon, the word “priest” being changed into “minister;" that the intention of the lent-fasts should be declared to consist not in abstinence from meats, but only in extraordinary acts of devotion ; that sponsors in baptism should not be held essential; and that re-ordination, where presbyters had imposed hands, should be only conditional. These with many other alterations in the litany, communion-service, and canons, were designed to be submitted to the

approbation of the convocation before which Dr Beveridge was appointed to preach his ‘Concio ad Clerum,' which was published in the same year by command of the bishops. From the text, (1 Cor. xi. 16.) “ If any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God,” it will readily be inferred that his opinion was against any concessions or alterations. The various changes, however, above poticed, were never adopted: the tories so far succeeded in alarming the public mind, that little could be expected from the convocation by the projectors of the conciliatory scheme of comprehension. As no disposition was manifested by that body to innovate upon the forms of the church, or to meet the conformists with concessions, they were prevented by the king from sitting for ten successive years, by repeated prorogations.

Some time in the year 1690, Dr Beveridge was nominated chaplain to King William and Queen Mary; and on the 12th of October, in the same year, he preached before her majesty his sermon. On the Happiness of the Saints in Heaven,' which is deservedly accounted one of his best discourses. It was afterwards published by her majesty's command.

Dr Beveridge was one of those eminent divines whose learning, wisdom, piety, and moderation, caused them to be selected to fill the sees vacated by the deprivation of Archbishop Sancroft and seven bishops of his province, for refusing to take the oaths of allegiance to King William and Queen Mary. Dr Beveridge was nominated to the see of Bath and Wells. He took three weeks to consider of the subject, during which time Bishop Kenn, though deprived, continued to exercise all the episcopal functions, preaching and confirming in all parts of the diocese. Scrupulous, however, of filling an office, from which a conscientious, though, perhaps, mistaken principle of obedience, had excluded its former possessor, he at length declined the honour designed for him, and continued for thirteen years to discharge his more private and laborious duties, with an assiduity best evinced by the general success which attended his ministry. Nor, until within three years of his death, and when he had attained a very advanced age, did he accept the episcopal chair, being consecrated bishop of St Asaph on the 16th of July, 1704 ; which see was vacated by the translation of Dr George Hooper to the bishopric of Bath and Wells.

Being placed in this exalted station, his care and diligence increased in proportion as his power in the church was enlarged: and as he had before faithfully discharged the duty of a pastor over a single parish, so when his authority was extended to larger districts, he still pursued the same pious and laborious methods of advancing the honour and interest of religion, by watching over both clergy and laity, and giving them all necessary direction and assistance for the effectual performance of their respective duties. Accordingly, he was no sooner advanced to the episcopal chair, than he addressed a pathetic letter to the clergy of his diocese; in which he recommended to them the duty of catechising and instructing the people of their charge in the principles of the Christian religion; and in order to enable them to do this the more effectually, he, in the course of the same year, sent them a plain and easy exposition of the catechism of the church of England.

On the 5th of November, 1704, Bishop Beveridge preached before the house of lords the anniversary sermon on the deliverance from the

« PreviousContinue »