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rable English Churchmen, who were often antagonistic to each other in
The more I see of the "Life" the more their opinions, but who, because they I feel its spitefulness of selection of were just, and pious, and devout, publicanda; and the more I feel that in have long
the long run it will not seriously hurt any recognized each other as equally the
one mentioned in it. beloved servants and children of one Speaking unfavorably of the “Life Master, and all of whom served him of Dean Hook,” he says that biograwell in their generation ere they “fell phies ought not to be written by sons on sleep.” “What that sacred and
relations. Yet we have supreme Majesty requires of us,” as had or two good biographies Lactantius truly said, “is innocence by sons-like
those of Professor alone."
Maurice and Professor Hort—while we It is of the last two-Archbishop have had others both bad and meagre Magee and Archbishop Benson—that I by friends, and others again by men am asked to say a few words.
who were not friends; and most of The “Life of Archbishop Magee” has them have been very unsatisfactory. just been published,i and before I say I have read at least a dozen memoirs a word about him, I am led to express of men of distinction whom I have the doubt whether the task of the known, and not one of them has acbiographer is not in almost every case curately delineated the real man. In an impossible task. Dr. Magee must some of them the very facts and dehave had something of this feeling. tails which played the most essential Speaking favorably of the first volume part in the lives and careers which of the “Life of Bishop Wilberforce,” they set forth are (perhaps inevitably) he says that it has the rare merits
conspicuous by their absence. One (1) Of complete suppression of the sometimes feels inclined to say of biauthor.
ography what Walpole said of history: (2) Of truthful representation of the “Don't read me history, for I know subject.
that can't be true.” We do not care (3) Of brevity.
for the vapid trivialities and chroni(4) Of picturesqueness — by which I cles of small beer which find a space mean placing the hero in the centre of a in so many volumés. They remind us succession of pictures of his times so that of Mrs. Gaskell's old lady who, rethey reflect light on him and he on them. ceiving an injunction from her grand
(5) Of bringing out the inner life of the mother “to keep baby's feet warm,” man truly and fully, yet without the docketed the letter with the title, “Lettwaddle of religious diaries.
ter from my revered grandmother to But he strongly disliked the last vol- my honored mother on the importance ume, which he describes as
of cherishing warmth in the extremi
ties of infants.” Every one mistrusts scanty and scrappy. Altogether this vol
the common sort of biography which ume (he said) is an unsuccessful attempt is one strain of continuous laudation. to glorify S. Wilberforce by making him
We put such books down, and say the hero of every bishop's meeting and
with Sheffield, Duke of Buckinghamconference, and the guiding spirit which,
shire:during Tait's primacy he never was; and this is attempted :
There's no such thing in nature, and you'll (1) By setting him up.
draw (2) By pulling all others down, save A faultless monster which the world ne'er Gladstone, who, of course, figures always as praising him.
On the other hand, when a biographer 1 The Life and Correspondence of William Con
ventures very slightly and partially nor Magee, Archbishop of York, Bishop of Peterborough. By J. C. MacDonnell, D.D., letc. Two
to draw the veil, and exhibit somevols. London: Isbister.
thing of what the man really wasVOL. XII. 608
often with the result of producing as- living, and which were not necessary tonishing disenchantment,
in to the purpose of truthful delineation. Froude's “Life of Carlyle,” though The sketch of Dr. Magee's childeven in that biography the inmost hood, boyhood, and youth is very infacts are not set forth-the world is teresting. As a boy at school, though disgusted and indignant. I have seen he was full of fun and mischief, he so much of the unreal impression left took no part in any form of athletics, even by painstaking biographies that but was an omnivorous reader, espeI am inclined to think either that they cially of French books; and this was should not be published till they can a taste which he retained to the last. be fully and truthfully written with Born in 1821, he left his school, Kilout causing pain, or that they should kenny College, in 1835, a clever, prebe very brief, and should content cocious boy, full of generous impulses. themselves mainly with external facts. Even at Trinity College, Dublin, he Mr. Browning is by no means the only began to win a name for his oratorical man of eminence in this generation gifts, and almost as soon as he was who, before his death, has burnt all ordained his sermons attracted attenthe private letters on which he could tion. All his life he was subject to lay his hand. A biography which does serious ill-health, and in 1846 he had not tell the truth, the whole truth, and to leave his work for a tour in Spain, nothing but the truth, may very easily which is here described in graphic and leave an entirely false presentation of characteristic letters. They give a its subject; and a biography which vivid impression of the depths to does attempt this often becomes glar which Roman Catholicism has sunk in ingly indiscreet, and incurs the cen- that country, among an ignorant and sure of Tennyson :
As he held for many years the posiProclaim the faults he would not show;
tion of the first of our pulpit orators, Break lock and seal; betray the trust;
it is interesting to read Dr. Magee's Keep nothing sacred; 'tis but just
views about sermons, respecting The many-headed beast should know.
which he says that he was “intensely Some theologian, I forget who, has ambitious, and felt that he could sucsaid that God has “reserved for his ceed.” While he was twenty-six own sight alone that hideous thing, a years old, he wrote: naked human heart.” Most certainly it is not the duty of any biographer to As to hints on sermon-writing, I think say all, but it is essential that he you know my plan. It is not the easiest, should indicate enough to make his but in the end I think the best way, never likeness real. I am quite sure that to look about until I had the idea (in the Canon MacDonnell has endeavored to Coleridgean sense) of my sermon sketched, fulfil his task truthfully and justly;
and then to read everything bearing on but he was the most intimate friend the subject. The great aim of the of Archbishop Magee, and perhaps for preacher who wants to excel is to master that very reason does not sufficiently the mind of his hearers; to do this he must
first master his subject so as to be able indicate the limitations, very human
to present it in a new light. He who can and very pardonable, and only thrown into relief by high and noble qualities, do this will always command attention.
Another rule I always followed was never which, in part, marred the arch
to have more than one idea in my sermon, bishop's career, and made him not
and arrange every sentence with a view quite fair or just to those who ven
to that. This is extremely difficult. I tured to differ from him. Yet it is
don't recollect succeeding in doing this at the same time to be regretted that
more than three times. A good sermon he has published depreciatory epi- should be like a wedge, all tending to a grams from these confidential letters, point. Eloquence and manner which cannot but pain some of the hammer that sends it home; but the sine
quâ non is the disposition of the parts, the only in pouring forth a cataract of shape. I am convinced this is the secret twaddle, of sermon writing. I gave two years to the study of it; it was my passion, and just
In one weak, washy, everlasting flood. as I felt I had found it, just as I had ex- St. Augustine and St. Chrysostom. in perienced that most intoxicating of all ancient days—Tillotson and South, pleasures, the sense of power, the magnetic and Burnet, and Barrow, in modern sensation which the speaker feels as he times were regarded as consummate perceives he is commanding his audience preachers; yet they frequently, and in -then my mouth is stopped, just as I felt the latter instance invariably, wrote I had gained the reward of two years' toil. and read their sermons. If we take
Perhaps I am now suffering a just the very greatest names of modern punishment for a sinful forgetfulness of preachers, names of men who have higher motives in my profession; but I
produced ineffaceable impressions oi feel like an alchemist who sees all his crucibles smashed by some unlucky acci
countless souls—Chalmers, Melville, dent just as he was on the point of suc
Maurice, Kingsley, Newman, Stanley
sermons. ceeding in making the philosopher's stone. all of these read their I can hardly describe to you the bitterness Newman, while his words went thrillof my disappointment. However, this is ing to the souls of generation after all very selfish. To return to sermons. If generation of Oxford undergraduates, you want to go easy and softly as a “dear never lifted his eyes from his book, young man who knows the Gospel,” get or raised the tones of his voice. LidSimeon's skeletons and talk about faith, don, who began by preaching witli etc.; if you want to excel, never read a notes only, during all the later years sermon, and study arrangement and effect. of his life wrote and read his sermons. There are but the two ways. You see 1 If I may mention two only of the livam dogmatizing, but experto crede.
ing-Dean Vaughan and the Arch
bishop of Armagh, who are among the He repeated the same views to a
most eloquent and delightful of living Society of the Clergy at St. Paul's
preachers—both read from their man. when he was Bishop of Peterborough.
uscripts “the thoughts that breathe
and words that burn." He told the clergy that if they wished to speak extempore they must “burn
Ordained in 1845, Magee was first a
curate at St. Thomas's, Dublin, then their sermons into their brain." He regarded a written sermon as some
at St. Saviour's, Bath, and he used to
say that those years at Bath (1849thing entirely different in kind from
1851) were the happiest in his life.. an extempore one; he spoke of written
From 1851 to 1860, he was gradually sermons as religious addresses or meditations. Yet surely all who have
increasing his fame, as minister of heard
the Octagon Chapel, Bath. In 1860, at sermons for years together would say that, while a sermon learnt
the age of thirty-nine, he became minoff by rote (for that is what most so
ister of Quebec Chapel, London, and called extempore sermons are), or really he was appointed Dean of Cork, and
then rector of Enniskillen, In 1864 spoken (which is very rare indeed) in
in 1868 Bishop of Peterborough. Till unpremeditated words which
the age of forty-seven, therefore, he fresh and burning from the heart,
was more or less a poor and struggling may produce more immediate effect, it is on the one hand doubtful whether
man, and during these earlier parts sucb tours de force produce so deep an
of his career his life had not only its
natural trials, but also its stormy ultimate impression; and on the other hand it is certain that not one man
periods, which the intense and proud in a thousand has the requisite gifts
sensitiveness of his disposition made it more difficult to bear.
He once to preach in this manner. There are
wrote: some who pride themselves on a stylo of extempore speaking which consists I should like to be where I could read,
write, fish, and, except when I saw a and cant is aiming at, and he seems to be friend, forget there was a world where rapidly becoming the great ruling power fools thrive, and wise men are driven wild in England. by seeing it; a world where -s play first
Or again, on a different subject:fiddles, and MacDonnells and Magees play hurdy-gurdies; I had soonerstroll about the How sick I am of speaking, preaching, fields among green corn and sheep than live talking, and working generally! How I among green evangelicals and see them long for the side of a trout stream, or a worshipping calves. All this, however, boat on Loch Imagh, with no letters, no would not stir your bile as it would and after-thoughts, no nothink. does mine. You are a smooth man, and Surely Cakya Mouni, the great founder will get through the world happily; I am of Buddhism, must have been a bishop of a hairy man, and am dragged through the some sort when he invented the heaven world wrong end foremost, so that my hair of Nirvana. Even lotus-eating must have is all on end.
been the idea of some sore worried Greek
priest, who had probably to attend many That passage gives the secret of temple “restorations" and take part in many of the trials of his life. It is
many processions, and had Greek Wone of many which resemble it. He
to manage, and dreamed one night of "the was needlessly impatient and need- land where it is always afternoon." Alas lessly bitter. Such passages as the for me! my lotus just now is quinine, and following are less sympathetic in tone my ague fit comes on regularly each afterthan could be desired:
noon, in spite of the said quinine. I saw, this afternoon, the grand pro- And to quote but one more of these cession of the Radical clubs and unions to recurring outbursts:a monster meeting in Hyde Park against
What a hornet's nest he brings about "coercion.” It was very instructive. The
his ears who does not "let things be,” how. multitude of small, undersized, citizen-like
ever bad they are, but must needs try to youths and men-some fierce and proud,
mend them! He gets all the stings, and some evidently half ashamed of the whole
any honey going goes to those who give thing, some evidently regarding it as a
him neither thanks for the honey nor pity jolly lark-the tawdry banners, the flashy for the stings. mottoes, the dismal bands, and the utterly indifferent spectators-all combined with Dr. Magee incessantly complained of the knowledge that the gathering would “misrepresentation," "outrageous travgo off quietly, and have not the least effect esties,” and so forth, and alludes again on the mind of that public which still and again to Church newspapers, with governs-all so unlike anything that could their reams of abuse and attack. But happen in any country save England; all to endure all those "hurricanes of calso contemptible now, and yet all so fraught lumny and tornadoes of abuse," as Mr. with elements of danger for the future John Bright called them, is the most struck me greatly.
ordinary lot even of quite humble pubOr take these very trenchant re- lic men, who have none of the solatia marks:
which fell to the archbishop, and who
have said and done nothing to provoke The boorish voter who sustained that such animosity. He would have been aristocracy and squirearchy was dull and
wiser not to read the attacks. When impassive, and open to bribery and beer;
a man is conscious of his own utter but he was stolid and bovine, and never got into a fury except against the pope.
sincerity and integrity, he
can do But your modern, half-taught, newspaper
nothing better than to "get the thing reading, platform-haunting, discussion- done, and let them howl.” There can club frequenter, conceited, excitable, ner
be no wiser rule for a man who revous product of modern town artisan life, gards it as his sacred duty boldly to is a most dangerous animal. He loves speak the truth and shame the devil, rant and cant and fustian, and loves too and constantly to take the unpopular the power for the masses that all this rant side, than those words inscribed on
the Marischal College at Aberdeen: the damnatory clauses. Clergy in Con"They haif said; quhat say they? lat vocation are like wet hay in a stack, the them say.” A man need not be so thicker you pack them the hotter they "hair-sore" as the bishop said he was, grow. if he will simply follow the two rules: These disparagements are impar"Doe the next thynge," and
tially general; but personalities should Lascia dir le genti:
have been omitted. It is painful to Sta come torre ferma, che non crolla read of a truly great and good archGiammai la cima per soffiar de' venti.1 bishop the unkind remark that "he
regarded the clergy as a big sixth But as he often spoke slightingly, form;" or to hear one of the most lovand even contemptuously, of others, able of deans called “a strangely fashe should have been less' astonished cinating, sad, solitary piece of Church if he, too, had to bear his share of
history;" the eminent clerical misapprehension. He was often lac- scholar who presided over an Oxford erated by the "Sæva indignatio,” and college described as a freethinker, and could mentally describe an opponent “the mummy of an opium-eater reas an “unmitigated ass," and cauterize stored to life and dressed in the dinthose who honestly differed from him
ner-dress of the nineteenth century;" (and were often in the right) with
and of a great preacher as “a man of scathing epithets. Yet, unfortunately, feminine mind,” and “a monk in pettihe was but little able to bear criticism
coats;" and of another good and humhimself. It is a great pity that some
ble bishop as poking his small person of his splendid outbursts are here
into a strife which he does not underprinted, and applied to good men still
stand and is not equal to.” It is still living, or only recently dead. He
more objectionable to print Dr. Magee's might speak of the clergy en masse, opinion of a living dean as “the Oleon without greatly hurting any one's
of the Lower House;" and of a living feelings, as when he wrote,
bishop as “inopportune and misTruly we are coming very fast to the chievous in the most saintly way," condition in which Captain Parolles repre- who “pressed upon a heap of sented the duke's army as being, when he sweetly solemn platitudes, such as he said that there were ten thousand of them; alone can indite, and such as he alone but that one half of them "dare not shake believes can be of the slightest use to the snow from off their cassocks lest they man, woman, or child.” Such remarks shake themselves to pieces !”
might be made, harmlessly enough, in I am beginning almost to long, I have familiar conversation, or written in been for some time looking, for Disestab- the case of confidential letters, but it lishment. It will very nearly drown us; is a very different matter to preserve bat it will kill the feas.
them in print, and it is hoped that in Or, when a bishopric was vacant:- future editions they may be expunged,
or the names omitted. Deans A and B are ordering a pair of
The reader will gain from these lawn sleeves between them, the winner to pay.
Their wives are cautioning their pages some proof that the life of a daughters not to be too familiar with bishop is very far indeed from being curates. I have an application for the a bed of roses. The bishop writes at agency of the See of Limerick. I wonder, various times:do the parasites on the hind legs of a blue.
Oh, how weary I am of it all! weary of bottle make interest for promotion to the trying to restrain the follies of the clergy. fore legs on a deatb vacancy?
I had a return of a bad cold yesterday Or, once more:
morning-preached with two pocket hand
kerchiefs to a great congregation at St. Our clergy here she wrote in 1872] are Mary's, ate a "cold collation" as 3 o'clock, like an angry swarm of bees in defence of
saw clergy on business until 5 o'clock, i Dante, "Purgatorio," v. 13-15.
went to a "parochial tea" at 6 o'clock; sat