Page images

what seems an abandonment to feelings of sympathy, especially when, from the character of him who thus opens his heart, the effort is known to be considerable. I am afraid that I may be writing at random; only believe me that I feel very deeply interested about you, and perhaps have more sympathy with your case, than many a younger man ; for the circumstances of my life have kept me young in feelings, and the period of twenty years ago is as vividly present to my mind, as though it were a thing of yesterday.



Rugby, November 21, 1834. I was very glad to see your handwriting once again, and shall be very ready to answer your question to the best of my power, although I am well aware of its difficulty. It so happens that I have said something on this very subject in the Introduction to the new volume of my Sermons, which is just published, so that it has been much in my thoughts lately, though I am afraid it is easier here, as in other things, to point out what is of no use, than to recommend what is.

The preparation for ordination, so far as passing the Bishop's examination is concerned, must vary according to the notions of the different Bishops, some requiring one thing, and some another. I like no book on the Articles altogether, but Hey's Divinity Lectures at Cambridge seem to me the best and fairest of any that I know of.

But with regard to the much higher question, “What line of study is to be recommended for a clergyman?" my own notions are very decided, though I am afraid they are somewhat singular. A clergyman's profession is the knowledge and practice of Christianity, with no more particular profession to distract his attention from it. While all men, therefore, should study the Scriptures, he should study them thoroughly; because from them only is the knowledge of Christianity to be obtained. And they are to be studied with the help of philological works and antiquarian, not of dogmatical theology. But then for the application of the Scriptures, for preaching, &c., a man requires, first, the general cultivation of his mind, by constantly reading the works of the very greatest writers, philosophers, orators, and poets; and, next, an understanding of the actual state of society-of our own and of general history, as affecting and explaining the existing differences amongst us, both social and religious,—and of political economy, as teaching him how to deal with the poor, and how to remove many of the natural delusions which embitter their minds against the actual frame of society. Further, I should advise a constant use of the biography of good men; their inward feelings, prayers, &c., and of devotional and practical works, like Taylor's Holy Living, Doddridge's Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul, &c., &c. About Ecclesiastical History, there is a great difficulty. I do not know Waddington's book well, but the common histories, Mosheim, Milner, Dupin, &c., are all bad; so is Fleury, except the Dissertations prefixed to several of his volumes, and which ought to be published separately. For our own Church again, the truth lies in a well; Strype, with all his accuracy, is so weak and so totally destitute of all sound views of government, that it is positively injurious to a man's understanding to be long engaged in so bad an atmosphere. Burnet is much better in every way, yet he is not a great man; and I


that the Catholic and Puritan writers are as bad or worse. As commentators on the Scriptures, I should recommend Lightfoot and Grotius: the former, from his great Rabbinical learning, is often a most admirable illustrator of allusions and obscure passages in both the Old and New Testament; the latter, alike learned and able and honest, is always worth reading. But I like Pole's Synopsis Criticorum altogether, and the fairness of the collection is admirable. For Hebrew, Gesenius's Lexicon and Stuart's Grammar are recommended to me, but I cannot judge of * For the sake of convenience, an asterisk has been prefixed to the names of those correspondents who had been his pupils at Rugby.

them myself. Schleusner's well known Lexicons for the Septuagint and New Testament are exceedingly valuable as an index verborum, but his interpretations are not to be relied on, and he did not belong to the really great school of German Philology.



Rugby, November 26, 1834. I have not time to send you a regular letter in answer, but you wish to hear my opinion about the Rugby Magazine before Lake leaves Oxford. I told him that what I wanted to know, was, in whose hands the conduct of the work would be placed. Every thing depends on this; and as, on the one hand, if the editors are discreet and inexorable in rejecting trash, I should be delighted to have such a work established, so, on the other hand, if they do admit trash, or worse still, any thing like local or personal scandal or gossip, the Magazine would be a serious disgrace to us all. And I think men owe it to the name of a school not to risk it lightly, as of course a Magazine called by the name of “Rugby” would risk it. Again, I should most deprecate it, if it were political, for many reasons which you can easily conceive yourself. I do not wish to encourage the false notion of my making or trying to make the school political. This would be done, were the Magazine liberal; if otherwise, I should regret it on other grounds. If the editors are good, and the plan well laid down and steadily kept to, I shall think the Magazine a most excellent thing, both for the credit of the school, and for its real benefit. Only remember that the result of such an attempt cannot be neutral; it must either do us great good, or great harm. .....

[blocks in formation]

Fox How, December 31, 1834. It delights me to find that so good a man as Mr. H. thinks very well of the New Poor Law, and anticipates very favourable results from it, but I cannot think that this or any other single measure can do much towards the cure of evils so complicated. I groan over the divisions of the Church, of all our evils I think the greatest,—of Christ's Church I mean,—that men should call themselves Roman Catholics, Church of England men, Baptists, Quakers, all sorts of various appellations, forgetting that only glorious name of CHRISTIAN, which is common to all, and a true bond of union. I begin now to think that things must be worse before they are better, and that nothing but some great pressure from without will make Christians cast away their idols of Sectarianism ; the worst and most mischievous by which Christ's Church has ever been plagued.

[blocks in formation]

Fox How, January 24, 1835. I do not know when I have been so much delighted as by a paragraph in the Globe of this morning, which announced your elevation to the Bench. Your late letters, while they in some measure prepared me for it, have made me still more rejoice in it, because they told me how ac. ceptable it would be to yourself. I do heartily and entirely rejoice at it, on public grounds no less than on private ; as an appointment honourable to the Government, beneficial to the public service, and honourable and desirable for yourself; and I have some selfish pleasure about it also, inasmuch as I hope that I shall have some better chance of seeing you now than I have had hitherto, either in Warwickshire or in Westmoreland. For myself, when I am here in this perfection of beauty, with the place just coming into shape, and the young plantations naturally leading one to anticipate the future, I am inclined to feel nothing but joy that the late change of Government has destroyed all chance of my being ever called away from Westmoreland. At least, I can say this, that I should only have valued a Bishopric as giving me some prospect of effecting that Church Reform which I so earnestly long for,--the commencements of an union with all Christians, and of a true Church government as distinguished from a Clergy government, or from none at all. For this I would sacrifice any thing; but as for a Bishopric on the actual system, and with no chance of mending it, it would only make me feel more strongly than I do at present the έχθίστην οδύνην, πολλά φρονέοντα, μηδενός κρατέειν.

Wordsworth is very well; postponing his new volume of poems till the political ferment is somewhat abated. “At ille labitur et labetur," so far as I can foresee, notwithstanding what the Tories have gained at the late elections.

Have you seen your Uncle's “ Letters on Inspiration," which I believe are to be published ? They are well fitted to break ground in the approaches to that momentous question which involves in it so great a shock to existing notions; the greatest probably, that has ever been given, since the discovery of the falsehood of the doctrine of the Pope's infallibility. Yet it must come, and will end, in spite of the fears and clamours of the weak and bigoted, in the higher exalting and more sure establishing of Christian truth.

[blocks in formation]

Fox How, January 26, 1835. I cordially enter into your views about a Theological Review, and I think the only difficulty would be to find an Editor; I do not think that Whately would have time to write, but I can ask him; and undoubtedly he would approve of the scheme. Hampden occurs to me as a more likely man to join such a thing than Pusey, and I think I

« PreviousContinue »