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and an accompanying body of notes. The remaining books were published by his son, who informs us that his father's annotations extended through the 13th, 14th, and 15th. Of this work
of this work it is sufficient praise that Dr Bentley declared it to be “ supra omnem invidiam.” A pleurisy, by which he was attacked in the month of May 1729, brought this great man to his grave in a few days. His exposition of the Church Catechism, and his sermons in ten volumes, were published after his death. The characteristic excellence of Dr Clarke as a writer, consists in the vigour and clearness of his understanding. As a metaphysician, he has, we think, been greatly overrated. His abstruser speculations remind us rather of the intricate and unmeaning subtilties of the schoolmen, than of the depth and comprehensiveness of Bacon, Leibnitz, Locke, or Edwards. But when a sound and manly sense is all that is required to elucidate a question, there Dr Clarke appears almost without a rival. He appears, as a writer, entirely destitute of imagination and sensibility. His theological system was, in one point, as we have already seen, very
In other respects he appears, though an Arminian, to have held the leading principles of the gospel. His sermons are clear and well-arranged: but, on the whole, much inferior to the best of his other works. In life and warmth of evangelical sentiment they are especially defective.
BORN A. D. 1662.-DIED A. D. 1731.
ATTERBURY, bishop of Rochester, was born in 1662, at MiltonKeynes, near Newport-Pagnel, in Buckinghamshire, where his father, Dr Lewis Atterbury, was rector. He had his early education at Westminster school, whence he was elected off to Christ-church college, Oxford. He soon distinguished himself by his classical attainments and taste for polite literature. He took the degree of M. A. in 1687, and, in the same year, made his public appearance as a controversialist in favour of the Reformation by answering Obadiah Walker's •Considerations on the Spirit of Martin Luther,' &c.
In this piece Atterbury vindicated the German reformer in a very able and lively
During his stay at the university, he had a considerable share in the famous controversy between Bentley and Boyle, afterwards earl of Orrery, concerning the genuineness of Phalaris's Epistles ; it appears that more than half of the book published under the name of Boyle was written by Atterbury. He was not quite satisfied, however, with his situation at the university, and thought himself qualified for more active and important scenes. In a letter to his father, dated Oxford, Oct. 24, 1690, he says: My pupil I never had a thought of parting with till I left Oxford. I wish I could part with him to-morrow on that score, for I am perfectly wearied with this nauseous circle of small affairs that can now neither divert no instruct me. I was made, I am
See Whiston's Life of Dr Clarke. 'Hoadly's Preface to the folio edition of Clarke. Biographia Britanica, &c.
bure, for another scene, and another sort of conversation ; though it has been my hard luck to be pinned down to this. I have thought and thought again, Sir, and for some years, nor have I ever been able to think otherwise, than that I am losing time every minute I stay here. The only benefit I ever propose to myself by the place, is studying; and that I am not able to compass. Mr Boyle takes up half my time, and I grudge it him not, for he is a fine gentleman, and while I am with him, I will do what I can to make him a man ; college and universitybusiness take up a great deal more, and I am forced to be useful to the dean in a thousand particulars ; so that I have very little time.”
In 1690, he married Miss Osborne, a lady of great beauty and some fortune. In 1690 and 1691, he appears to have held the office of cen. sor, or president, in the classical exercises. At the same time he held the catechetical lecture founded by Dr Busby. About this period he took orders, but being disappointed in his desire of succeeding to his father's rectory, he came, in 1693, to the metropolis, where he was immediately elected lecturer of St Bride's church, and preacher at Bridewell chapel, and soon after he was appointed chaplain to King William and Queen Mary. His sermons were from the first distinguished for their boldness of sentiment as well as for their elegance of language. One of them, “On the Power of Charity to Cover Sin,' drew down the animadversions of Hoadly, afterwards bishop of Winchester, and another on the character of The Scorner,' met with a more acrimoni
Controversy, however, was no very formidable thing in the estimation of our divine, for we find him in 1700 encountering Dr Wake, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury, and others, in a dispute concerning the rights and privileges of convocations, which was carried on for four years with no small degree of acrimony and bitterness on both sides. Atterbury took the high-church side of the question, and displayed so much zeal for the interests of his order that the lower house of convocation returned him their thanks, and the university of Oxford complimented him with the degree of D.D. His first piece upon this subject was intituled : “ The Rights, Powers, and Privileges, of an English Convocation, stated and vindicated, in answer to a late book of Dr Wake's, intituled, • The Authority of Christian Princes,' &c.” This piece appeared at first without the author's name ; but the year following, Atterbury published a second edition, with his name prefixed to it, and very considerable additions. In this piece he treated Dr Wake's book as “ a shallow empty performance, written without any knowledge of our constitution, or any skill in the particular subject of debate ; upon such principles as are destructive of all our civil as well as ecclesiastical liberties; and with such aspersions on the clergy, both dead and living, as were no less injurious to the body than his doctrine." “ The very best construction (he tells us) that has been put upon Dr Wake's attempt by candid readers, is, that it was an endeavour to advance the prerogative of the prince in church-matters as high, and to depress the interest of the subject-spiritual as low, as ever he could,
colour of truth." Bishop Burnet wrote against this performance of Atterbury's. He says, “that he (Atterbury) had so entirely laid aside the spirit of Christ, and the characters of a Christian, that, without large allowances of charity, one can hardly think that he did once reflect on the obligations he lay under to follow the humility, the
meekness, and the gentleness of Christ. So far from that, he seems to have forgot the common decencies of a man, or of a scholar." His lordship adds, that “ a book written with that roughness and acrimony of spirit, if well received, would be a much stronger argument against the expediency of a convocation than any he brings or can bring for it.” Dr Wake, in the preface to his State of the Church and Clergy of England, in their Councils, Synods, Convocations, &c.' says, that, “ upon his first perusal of Dr Atterbury's book, he saw such a spirit of wrath and uncharitableness, accompanied with such an assurance of the author's abilities for such an undertaking, as he had hardly ever met with in the like degree before.” He afterwards says, “in my examination of the whole book, I find in it enough to commend the wit, though not the spirit of him who wrote it. To pay what is due even to an adversary, it must be allowed, that Dr Atterbury has done all that a man of forward parts and a hearty zeal could do, to defend the cause which he has espoused. He has chosen the most plausible topics of argumentation ; and he has given them all the advantage, that either a sprightly wit, or a good assurance, could afford them. But he wanted one thing; he had not Truth on his side: and Error, though it may be palliated, and by an artificial manager—such as Dr Atterbury without controversy is—be disguised so as to deceive sometimes even a wary reader, yet it will not a bear strict examination. And accordingly I have shown him, notwithstanding all his other endowments, to have deluded the world with a mere romance; and, from the one end of his discourse to the other, to have delivered a history, not of what was really done, but of what it was his interest to make it believed had been done.”
On the 29th of January, 1700, Atterbury was installed archdeacon of Totness, having been promoted to that dignity by Sir Jonathan Trelawney, then bishop of Exeter. The principles of this prelate, both respecting church and state, were those of Dr Atterbury, who frequently corresponded with him concerning the transactions of the convocation. In one of Atterbury's letters to the bishop, is the following passage: “ Things go not well here; the spirit of moderation prevails to an immoderate degree, and the church is dropped by consent of both parties. Carstaires, and the agent for the Irish Presbyterians, are more familiarly seen, and more easily received, at the levees of some great ministers (who are called our friends) than honester men.".
In another letter, dated March 11th, 1700-1, Atterbury says:
“ Dr Jane has taken the chair in the committee for inspecting books written against the truth of the Christian religion. We sat to-day; and several books were brought in to be censured, and an extract from one Toland's
Christianity not mysterious' laid before us. Dr Jane is very hearty in it, and moved, that we might sit de die in diem till we had finished our business. I bring in to-morrow a book of one Craig, a Scotchman, chaplain to the bishop of Sarum, (Dr Burnet,) to prove by mathematical calculcation, that, according to the pretension of the probability of historical evidence, in such a space of time the Christian religion will not be credible. It is dedicated to the bishop. We have made a previous order, that nothing done in this committee shall be divulged till all is finished ; and therefore I must humbly beg your lordship to keep these particulars secret.” The same year he was engaged, with some
other learned divines, in revising an intended edition of the Greek Testament, with Greek scholia, collected chiefly from the fathers by Mr Archdeacon Gregory. As archdeacon of Totness, Dr Atterbury addressed several visitation-charges to the clergy of that archdeaconry. In one of these, delivered in 1703, is the following passage : “ The men who take pleasure in traducing their brethren have endeavoured to expose those of them who appeared steady in this cause, under the invidious name of high-churchmen. What they mean by that word I cannot tell. But if an high-churchman be one who is for keeping up the present ecclesiastical constitution in all its parts, without making any illegal abatements in favour of such as either openly oppose or secretly undermine it,—one who, though he lives peaceably with all men of different persuasions, and endeavours to win them over by methods of lenity and kindness, yet is not charitable and moderate enough to depart from the establishment, (even while it stands fixed by a law,) in order to meet them half-way in their opinions and practices,— one who thinks the canons and rubric of the church, and the acts of parliament made in favour of it, ought strictly to be observed and kept up to, till they shall, upon a prospect of a thorough compliance from those without, (if such a case may be supposed,) be released, in any respect, by a competent authority ; I say, if this be the character of an high-churchman, (how odious a sound soever that name may carry,) I see no reason why any man should be displeased with the title, because such an high-churchman is certainly a good Christian, and a good Englishman."
The accession of Queen Anne was a favourable event for men of Atterbury's principles. She immediately appointed the doctor one of her chaplains in ordinary, and in 1704 he was advanced to the deanery of Carlisle. In 1707, the bishop of Exeter appointed him one of his canon-residentiaries. Two years afterwards we find him engaged in a fresh dispute with Hoadley respecting the doctrine of passive obedience occasioned by his • Concio ad Clerum Londinensem ; and in 1710 he busied himself, in conjunction with Drs Smalridge and Freind, in aiding Dr Sacheverell on his trial. The same year he was chosen prolocutor of the lower house of convocation ; and in May, 1711, he was appointed one of the committee of inquiry into Whiston's doctrines. In June following he aided in drawing up the Representation of the present state of Religion,' which was thought too violent to be presented to the queen, but was privately circulated. The following are extracts from this document: “ We cannot, without unspeakable grief, reflect on that deluge of impiety and licentiousness which hath broke in upon us, and overspread the face of this church and kingdom, eminent in former times for purity of faith and sobriety of manners.
The source of these great evils, as far back as we have traced it, seems to have been that long unnatural rebellion which loosened all the bands of discipline and order, and overturned the goodly frame of our ecclesiastical and civil constitution. The hypocrisy, enthusiasm, and variety of wild and monstrous errors, which abounded during these confusions, begat in the minds of men (too easily carried into extremes) a disre. gard for the very appearances of religion, and ended in a spirit of downright libertinism and prophaneness, which hath ever since too much prevailed among us. It was, indeed, checked and kept under for
a time by the legal restraints laid on the press, and by the just dread of popery which hung over our heads; but as soon as these fears were removed, and those restraints were taken off, it broke out with the greatest freedom and violence.
“ The dispute with our enemies of the church of Rome, managed with so much honour and advantage to the church of England, was no sooner happily ended, but other adversaries arose who openly attacked the fundamental articles of the catholic faith, and scattered the poison of Arian and Socinian heresies through all the parts of this kingdom. The doctrine of a trinity of persons in the unity of the Godhead was then denied and scoffed at; the satisfaction made for the sins of mankind by the precious blood of Christ was renounced and exploded; the ancient creeds of the church were represented as unwarrantable impositions, and treated with terms of the utmost contumely and reproach. And the divulgers of these wicked errors and blasphemies proceeded with as little disguise and caution as if some new law had been made in their favour, notwithstanding that care had been taken by those who passed the act of indulgence, expressly to exclude them from the benefit of it.
“ Nor ought we, among the several instances of infidelity, and of the approaches made towards it, to omit the mention of those damnable errors which have been embraced and propagated by the sect of Quakers; who, in several of their treatises, in their catechisms and primers, have taught the rudiments of the Christian faith in such a manner as to make it seem to be little more than a complicated system of deism and enthusiasm.
Among the chief causes of this falling away and apostasy, the Representation' points out an unrestricted press. The general liberty of the press happened not long after the time when, by reason of confusions aut disorders that usually attend great changes of state, the reins of government were unavoidably slackened, and parties of men were suffered to express their mutual resentments, and manage their debates against each other, with a freedom not often permitted or practisea in more quiet and settled times.
• We cannot but observe to your majesty, that they who derided churches, and creeds, and mysteries, were the same who insulted the memory and justified the murder of the royal martyr,—applauded the rebellion raised against him, and have taken a great deal of wicked pains in collecting and publishing the works of those writers who were the most declared and irreconcileable enemies to monarchy." Hope is afterwards expressed of the great advantages which might be derived from the exercise of the powers of convocation. “ Nor are we without hope, that these our synodical assemblies, regularly and constantly held, may be one useful means of checking the attempts of profane men, and preventing the growth of pernicious errors ; especially if, by the authority or intervention of such synods, some way might be found to restore the discipline of the church, now too much relaxed and decayed, to its pristine life and vigour; and to strengthen the ordinary jurisdiction of ecclesiastical courts, now too much restrained and enfeebled.”
In 1712, Dr Atterbury was made dean of Christ-church, Oxford ; and in June, 1713, on the recommendation of the lord-chancellor