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may teach by example, as well as precept, and that you may appear a good divine everywhere, as well as in the pulpit; for a minister's life and conversation is more heeded than his doctrine.
9. Yet, after all this, take heed that you be not puffed up with spiritual pride of your own virtues, nor with a vain conceit of your parts and abilities; nor yet be transported with the applause of men, nor be dejected or discouraged by the scoffs or frowns of the wicked or profane."
"He would also," adds Dr. Parr, "exhort those who were already engaged in this holy function, and advise them how they might well discharge fheir duty in the church of God answerably to their calling, to this effect: You are engaged in an excellent employment in the church, and entrusted with weighty matters as stewards of our Great Master, Christ the great Bishop. Under him, and by his commission, .you are to endeavour to reconcile men to God; to convert sinners, and build them up in the holy faith of the Gospel, that they may be saved, and that repentance and remission of sins may be preached in his name. This is of the highest importance, and requires faithfulness, diligence, prudence, and watchfulness. The souls of men are committed to our care and guidance; and the eyes of God, angels, and men, are upon us: and great is the account we must make to our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the supreme head of his church, and will at length reward or punish his servants in this ministry of his Gospel, as he shall find them faithful or negligent. Therefore it behoves us to exercise our best talents, labouring in the Lord's vineyard with all diligence, that we may bring forth fruit, and that the fruit may remain.
"This is the work we are separated for, and ordained unto. We must not think to be idle or careless in this office, but must bend our minds and studies, and employ all our gifts and abilities, in this service. We must preach the word of faith, that men may believe aright; and the doctrine and laws of godliness, that men may act as becomes christians indeed. For without faith no man can please God; and without holiness no man can enter into the kingdom of heaven."
Dr. Bernard, one of his chaplains, after stating that the bishop always preached on Sunday mornings, adds, —" in the afternoon this was his order to me, that, besides the catechising of the youth before public prayers, I should, after the first and second lessons, spend about half an hour in a brief and plain opening the principles of religion in the public catechism, and after that, I was to preach also. First, he directed me to go through the Creed alone, giving but the sum of each article; then next time at thrice; and afterwards, each time an article, as they might be more able to bear it; and so proportionably the Ten Commandments, Lord's Prayer, and the doctrine of the Sacraments. The good fruit of which was apparent in the vulgar people upon their approach unto the communion, when, as by the then order, the names of the receivers were to be given in, so some account was constantly taken of their fitness for it."
As one who was appointed to watch, as well as to . send out, the shepherds of the flock, he carefully inspected his diocese, making himself well acquainted with the characters and abilities of his clergy, by frequent personal visitations. He loved those whom he knew to be sober, diligent, and pious, rescued them from unmerited poverty as far as he was able, and protected them from injustice and misrepresentations; but he severely reproved those who were scandalous and vicious in their lives and conversation. He pointed out the beauty of the liturgy and the necessity of agreeing in one mode of public worship; charged the clergy to preach and catechise diligently in their respective cures, and to make the Holy Scriptures the rule as well as the subject of their doctrines and sermons. He also corrected many of the abuses which in popish times had established themselves in the ecclesiastical courts. But he did not carry these reforms so far as many thought to Be both practicable and necessary. Burnet, in his Life ofBishop Bedell, after speaking of Usher as one of the greatest and best men of his time, adds:—" But no man is entirely perfect; he was not made for the governing part of his function. He had too gentle a soul to manage that rough work of reforming abuses; and therefore he left things as he found them. He hoped a time of reformation would come. He saw the necessity of cutting off many abuses; and confessed that the tolerating those abominable corruptions that the canonists had brought in was such a stain upon a church that in all other respects was the best reformed in the world, that he apprehended it would bring a curse and ruin upon the whole constitution. But though he prayed for a more favourable conjuncture, and would have concurred in a joint reformation of these things very heartily, yet he did not bestir himself suitably to the obligations that lay on him for carrying it on. It was not without great uneasiness to me that I overcame myself so far as to say anything that may seem to diminish the character of so extraordinary a man, who, in other things, was beyond any man of his time, but in this only he fell beneath himself; and those that upon all other accounts loved and admired him lamented this defect in him, which was the
only allay that seemed left, and without which, he would have been held, perhaps, in more veneration than was fitting. This was necessary to be told, since history is to be writ impartially."
When any of the clergy had been led away by visionary fancies, he would treat them in a temperate and respectful manner, which engaged attention and secured esteem. A year after his appointment to the bishopric of Meath, he received a complaint that one of his clergy held some peculiar notions relative to the restoration of the Jews, and he gave the following account of his manner of proceeding in this case, in a letter which he wrote.
"I sent for the party, and, upon conference had with him, I put him in mind that his conceits were contrary to the judgment of the church of Christ from the beginning of the Gospel unto this day, and that of old they were condemned for heretical in the Nazarites. But, finding that for the present he was not to be wrought upon by any reasoning, and that time was the only means to cure him of this sickness, I remembered what course I had heretofore held with another in this country who was so far engaged in this opinion of the calling of the Jews, (though not of the revoking of Judaism,) that he was strongly persuaded he himself should be the man that should effect this great work, and to this purpose wrote an Hebrew Epistle, (which I have still in my hands,) directed to the dispersed Jews. To reason the matter with him I found bootless; I advised him therefore that, until the Jews did gather themselves together, and make choice of him for their captain, he should labour to benefit his countrymen at home, with that skill he had attained unto in the Hebrew tongue. I wished him therefore to give us an exact translation of the Old Testament out of the Hebrew verity, which he accordingly undertook and performed. The translation I have by me, but before he had finished that task, his conceit of the calling of the Jews and his captainship over them vanished clean away, and was never heard of after.
"In like manner I dealt with Mr.Whitehall; that, forasmuch as he himself acknowledged that the Mosaical rites were not to be practised until the general calling of the Jews, he might do well, I said, to let that matter rest till then: and in the mean time keep his opinion to himself, and not bring needless trouble upon himself and others by divulging it out of season. And, whereas he had intended to write an historical discourse of the retaining of Judaism under Christianity, I counselled him rather to spend his pains in setting down the history of purgatory, or invocation of saints, or some of the other points in controversy betwixt the church of Rome and us." This advice so far prevailed with Mr. Whitehall, that he "offered to bind himself to forbear intermeddling any way with his former opinions, either in public or in private, and to spend his time in any other employment that should be imposed upon him."
The subjection of the Irish papists to foreign jurisdiction, their refusal to acknowlege the king's supremacy, and the turbulent conduct of the priests, exposed them to the constant jealousy of their rulers; and the protestant church manifested a strong aversion to any concessions which might strengthen a cause already too well supported. The infusion of English and Scottish puritanism amongst the clergy increased their reluctance to countenance any fresh indulgences; and sufficient occasion for such opposition seemed to be furnished by the boldness manifested by the Romish communion, whenever the state was induced by motives of policy to grant