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forgotten his arguments. The consequence was, that the lady was confirmed in her views of scriptural truth, and Lord Mordaunt, after a few private interviews with the archbishop, confessed himself a Protestant by conviction, and continued in that faith to the end of his days.
In 1626 our archbishop brought into Ireland the admirable Mr. Bedell, afterwards bishop of Kilmore and Ardagh. That excellent man was with some difficulty induced to leave a retired and poor preferment to take the headship of Dublin College. Even after he had entered upon that office he longed to return to his living in Suffolk; but, being assured that he might be useful in that situation, he remained in it until he was promoted to a bishopric. In this new charge he united firmness and vigilance with a truly christian meekness, and conferred much benefit upon the Irish church, proving the correctness of that character which Dr. Ward, an eminent scholar of Cambridge, had sent over with him, that he was " a sincere, honest man, not tainted with avarice or ambition; pious, discreet, wise, and in cases of exigency stout enough." He often complained that the archbishop was not sufficiently intent upon carrying into effect the reforms which long-established abuses seemed to require, and considered himself entitled by age and station to remonstrate with him. But their mutual esteem was strong; bishop Bedell's letters indicate affection and respect for the character of his friend, "and the primate," says Burnet, " loved the bishop beyond all the rest of the order, and valued him highly for the zealous discharge of his office."
Soon after the appointment of Mr. Bedell to the provostship of Trinity College, archbishop Usher made one of his periodical visits to England. From his correspondence at this time it appears that he was an anxious observer of the course of public affairs, and that some forebodings of approaching evil occupied his mind. On these points he occasionally expressed his feelings to his friends in those letters which have been preserved, although they are generally rather learned than political.
A few days after the dissolution of parliament in June 1626, writing to his friend Dr. Ward, he evinced much alarm at the complexion of the times:—" The sudden dissolution of parliament hath amazed us," he says; "all men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking on those things which are coming on the land. The Lord prepare us for the day of our visitation, and then let his blessed will be done I"
In the same month he was consulted upon a curious incident, which seems to have made some stir at Cambridge. Dr. Ward wrote thence as follows:—" There was last week a codfish brought from Colchester to our market to be sold; in the cutting up of which there was found in the maw of the fish a thing which was hard; which proved to be a book of a large 16mo, which had been bound in parchment. The leaves were glued together with a jelly. After washing of it, Mr. Mede did look into it. It was printed, and he found a table of the contents. The book was entitled A Preparation to the Cross. It may be a special admonition to us at Cambridge. Mr. Mede upon Saturday read to me the heads of the chapters, which I very well liked of. Now, it is found to have been made by Eich. Tracy, of whom Bale* maketh mention, cent. 9,'p. 719. He is said to flourish then, 1550. But I think the book was made in
* Bale, or Baleus, was the first protestant bishop of Ossory in Ireland, and the writer of many works of learning and antiquarian research.
King Henry the Eighth's time, when the Six Articles were afoot. The book will be printed here shortly."
The archbishop replied:—" I received your letters, wherein you signify unto me the news of the book taken in the fish's belly; and another letter from Mr. Mede, touching the same argument. The accident is not lightly to be passed over, which (I fear me) bringeth with it too true a prophecy of the state to come; and to you of Cambridge (as you write) it may well be a special admonition, which should not be neglected. It behoveth you, who are heads of colleges, and united in sentiments, to stick close to one another, and (quite obliterating all secret distastes or privy discontentments, which possibly may fall betwixt yourselves), with joint consent to promote the cause of God. Mr. Provost will, I doubt not, with great alacrity devote himself to this object. So, with the remembrance of my affections to all my friends there, I commit you to the protection and direction of our good God; in whom I rest your own most assured,
"Lond. June 30, 1626."
Before leaving England the primate preached before the king, upon the general state of religion in the country, and received warm thanks and commendations from his friends for that sermon. At the end of July he commenced his journey homeward, by way of Oxford and Liverpool, and arrived in Ireland in the following month.
A few years afterwards, he was in frequent correspondence with archbishop Laud, who consulted him upon such measures as affected the welfare and efficiency of the Irish church.
When lord Falkland was recalled from the government of Ireland in 1630, archbishop Usher bestowed upon him a parting blessing upon the sea-shore. That nobleman is described as being adorned with the purest virtue, the richest gifts of nature, and the most valuable acquisitions of learning. Between him and the primate a lasting friendship had been contracted; and the latter, in some letters to the privy council, defended him from the charges of maladministration which had been brought against him.
It was a favourite object with the British government to complete the union of the churches of England and Ireland, by establishing the English articles and canons in the latter kingdom as the rule of doctrine and discipline. But this scheme was unwelcome to many of the clergy, who neither liked to sacrifice the independence of their church, nor to blot out that tinge of Calvinism which the Irish articles diffused over them; and their character and influence entitled their sentiments to respectful consideration. In 1635, however, a compromise was effected. The archbishop conferred with lord Wentworth, and at length proposed to the convocation, with the approbation of the government, that the English articles should be adopted by the Irish church without abrogating its own; and that a rule of discipline should be formed out of the English canons, only with such alterations as that assembly should approve. On the subject of the former of these measures, the primate wrote to his friend, Dr. Ward:—" The articles of religion agreed upon in our former synod, anno 1615, we let stand as they did before. But for the manifesting of our agreement with the church of England, we have received and approved your articles also, concluded in the year 1562, as you may see in the first of our canons." This was as much as the compiler of those articles could be expected to concede; and we are not surprised that he and most of the bishops still continued to require candidates for ordination to subscribe them.
It seems, however, highly probable, that the opinions, of archbishop Usher had for some time been changing on the deep subjects of election and predestination, and therefore that he was less averse to the reception of the English articles than at the time when he was appointed to compile a confession of faith for the church of Ireland. We learn from his letters written subsequently to that period, that he was persuaded that in the hot debates of those times both parties had erred from the truth, and 'that for his own part he had found satisfaction in "a middle course." He declares his belief that, through the price paid by our blessed Saviour, all men are placed within the reach of pardon. "All men," he says, " may be truly said to have interest in the merits of Christ, as in common, though all do not enjoy the benefit thereof, because they have no will to take it." "The virtue thereof is such," he observes, " that if all did take it, all without doubt should be recovered, but without taking
it there is no recovery It may be truly said, that
no man's state is so desperate but by this means it is recoverable." He declares that all do not obtain actual remission of their sins, because they do not seek it; but that God invites and entreats us all to be reconciled to Him; that " many, hearing [the Gospel of salvation] do not believe, or lightly regard it; and many that do believe the truth thereof are so wedded to their sins> that they have no desire to be divorced from them, and therefore they refuse the gracious offer that is made unto them. And yet, notwithstanding their [this] refusal on their part, we may truly say that good things were provided for them on Christ's part, and a rich prize teas put into the hands of a fool, howsoever he had no heart to use it."—Prov. xvii. 16.