THIS little sketch is an expanded reprint of some papers which appeared in the Guardian of August 11th, 18th, and 25th, 1869. They are republished in the present form at the desire of one, whose wishes have a supreme claim to consideration in all that touches her husband's memory, and especially at the hands of any whose happiness it has been to know and to love him.
In a mere sketch, the Reader will not be disappointed at finding neither the exhaustive treatment nor the orderly sequence of events which belong to a biography. Different friends of the late Bishop will fill up different portions of the outline for themselves. And it may suggest to those who only knew him in the distance, as a public man, that much is unsaid which cannot be said at once; much too which could not fail to interest and to improve. In discussing somewhat at length the motives and drift of the Charge of 1867, the writer has endeavoured as accurately as he could [vii/viii] to represent what he knew of the Bishop's latest mind and wishes. If, in doing this, he has himself too frequently had occasion to furnish the language, it has at least been his endeavour not consciously to discolour the convictions and feelings of his revered master by any unnecessary admixture of his own.
WALTER KERR HAMILTON was the son of the Ven. Anthony Hamilton, Archdeacon of Taunton and Prebendary of Lichfield, by Charity Graeme, third daughter of Sir Walter Farquhar, Bart., Physician to the Prince Regent. His great-grandfather was Dr. Terrick, Bishop of London, of whose two daughters, one was married to Mr. Anthony Hamilton, subsequently Archdeacon of Colchester, and father of Archdeacon Hamilton of Taunton. His only sister died in 1842, as Mrs. Sotheby; her death was perhaps the greatest sorrow of Walter Hamilton's unwedded life. His mother, who survives him, was well calculated by her remarkable character and accomplishments to exert a powerful influence upon the future of her sons. [She died at Charters, Sunningdale, on Nov. 9, 1869, at the age of 88.] The Bishop's only and younger brother, Mr. Edward W. T. Hamilton, became a distinguished Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, where the high opinion and confidence of the late Master of Trinity offered him the prospect of a brilliant academical career. But he devoted his best years to working as a man of business in a distant colony; and he returned, in advanced middle life, to represent Salisbury for a short time in the Liberal interest, but with health too much [1/2] enfeebled by exertion to admit of his doing any real justice to his great abilities, or even of his continuing to discharge routine Parliamentary duties. Mr. Hamilton only resigned his seat in July, 1869, a few days before the Bishop's death.
Walter Kerr Hamilton was born in London on November 16th, 1808. His early childhood was passed at Loughton in Essex, of which parish his father was rector. In January, 1818, when he was nine years old, he was sent to a private school of high reputation at that day, which was kept at Chelsea by Monsieur Clement. Here he worked hard, and laid the foundation of some of the friendships of his later life. In January, 1822, he went to Eton. "At Eton," he used to say, "I was a thoroughly idle boy, but I was saved from some worse things by getting to know Gladstone." His real intimacy with Mr. Gladstone would however appear to have been begun at Oxford; but at Eton he made other and lasting friendships, among them that of the present Bishop of Lichfield. "But I first learnt what work meant when I was sent as a private pupil to Arnold." He left Eton in December, 1825, and in the following month he joined Dr. Arnold.
Dr. Arnold was still at Laleham near Staines, but in the full vigour of his life and work. In the course of a single year he took his pupil through almost all the historians and poets--of course, not the philosophy--which were then necessary to secure the highest classical honours at Oxford, "besides making me write essays," as the Bishop said, "on every sort of subject." Arnold, indeed, inspired him with intellectual and moral interests of the highest order; and Bishop Hamilton was, to the last, grateful to his [2/3] great master, and jealous of the honour of his name and memory. In a letter dated Laleham, December 19th, 1826, Dr. Arnold writes to Archdeacon Hamilton, "I have nothing to say on your son's final departure from Laleham, except to repeat what I have had the pleasure of telling you before, that I never had a pupil who improved his time better, and to whom I felt more indebted for his constant attention to my wishes, and for many instances of peculiar personal civility. I shall hope often to see him at Laleham again; and it will give me great pleasure to hear of his well-doing at Oxford, of which I entertain no doubt."
In January, 1827, Mr. Hamilton went up to Christ Church.
Christ Church was then in its days of glory; Archbishop Longley, who was Mr. Hamilton's tutor, was Censor; associated with him was the present Bishop of St. Asaph; and the esprit de corps of the House was at its highest. Among the most intimate college friends of the Bishop who survive him are the Prime Minister, who followed him to Oxford, Dr. Charles Wordsworth, Bishop of St. Andrew's, Sir E. J. Phillimore, the present Dean of the Arches, Dr. Liddell, Dean of Christ Church, Sir Francis Doyle, the present Professor of Poetry;--perhaps others should be named. In December, 1827, Mr. Hamilton was nominated to a Studentship by the late Rev. Dr. Barnes, Sub-Dean of Christ Church, to whom he always referred as "my patron," and for whose benevolent character he ever cherished a warm affection. He read logic for some time with Mr. F .W. (now Professor) Newman, then Fellow of Balliol College; and the Bishop treasured Mr. Newman's lectures, written out with the greatest [3/4] care and method, to the last day of his life. Before taking his degree he spent his last Long Vacation, together with Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Joseph Anstice, [Student of Christ Church, and afterwards Professor of Classical Literature in King's College, London. He was a man of the highest promise. He was cut off by consumption in early life.] in reading at Cuddesdon, under the present Dean of Peterborough, who had the highest character as a private tutor, and who, at the time, was doing duty as curate of Cuddesdon. They occupied what is now known as the "Old Vicarage." "Saunders," he used to say, "insisted that a man who ate plenty of strawberry jam was certain to do well in the schools; but we got a great deal more than strawberry jam out of him."
The name of Walter Kerr Hamilton appears in the First Class in Literis Humanioribus of Mich. Term, 1830, next to that of Henry E. Manning, Balliol. The greater part of 1831 was spent by him at Loughton, and "in Devonshire with the Farquhars." At Easter, 1832, Mr. Hamilton was persuaded, he used to say, by Bishop Charles Wordsworth, to stand for an open Fellowship at Merton. He won it. In the summer of that year he went abroad with the late Mr. Henry Denison, Archdeacon Denison, Dr. Harington, late Principal of Brazenose, the present Bishop of Chester, and Mr. Jacob Ley, afterwards Censor of Christ Church; they all underwent cholera quarantine at Spa, from July 13th to July 17th. He wintered in Rome with his cousin Sir Walter R. Farquhar, and the Hon. R. Curzon. At Rome he was introduced to Baron Bunsen: in a recently-published letter from Bunsen to Arnold, [MS. letter.] the [4/5] Prussian Minister pleasantly alludes to him:--"Pray send me often such specimens of English youth: they are a refreshing species." One of the most intimate of his friends and brother-fellows at Merton refers to this Italian tour as having educated his "keen appreciation of the beauties of art and of natural scenery. Hamilton used to enjoy the recollection of these lovely Italian lakes, and to recall the wonders of Raphael's genius by means of the prints which he had brought home with him." Certainly this love of natural beauty, no less than the kindred feeling for art, remained with him to the last, although he never again enjoyed such an opportunity of gratifying either taste.
He returned to England somewhat hurriedly, and was admitted a full Fellow of Merton at Easter, 1833. It was at Merton that he made or at least strengthened all the chief friendships of his early manhood. Among his brother-fellows were the late Bishop Denison of Salisbury, "my dearest friend and predecessor;" Sir Thomas Tancred, Bart.; the Rev. William Adams, the writer of allegories which of their kind are among the most touching and beautiful samples of modern Christian literature; the Rev. B. E. Bridges, vicar of Haynes, Bedfordshire, for whom during life he entertained the deepest affection, and of whose theological acquirements he had the highest opinion. In 1868, the Bishop appointed Mr. Bridges one of his Chaplains; and it may have been observed that his Chaplain's decease preceded that of Bishop Hamilton, on July 28th, after an illness less prolonged but scarcely less suffering than his own. To the foregoing names must be added those of Bishop Hobhouse, late of Nelson, than whom few, if any, men knew him more intimately; and, [5/6] further, of the Rev. H. E. (now Archbishop) Manning, and Mr. James Hope, now Mr. Hope Scott. The subsequent secession to the Roman Church of the two last-named friends was a life-long sorrow to Bishop Hamilton, but the unavoidable separation never chilled the warm personal love he felt for each of them. Illustrious, too, among his Merton contemporaries were Sir Edmund Head, afterwards Governor-General of Canada, and Mr. Bruce, who, as Lord Elgin, became Governor-General of India. "It is," writes one who was on intimate terms with all of these distinguished persons, "curious to remember reading Plato with Bruce; seeing Manning hard at work getting up the text of the Bible so as to command great facility in applying it; Gladstone working at Hooker; whilst Hamilton was more inclined, I think, to indulge in Aristophanes. Hamilton always impressed me with the idea that he was devoted heart and soul to the work he had in hand." [MS. letter.]
On Trinity Sunday, June 2nd, 1833, Mr. Hamilton was ordained Deacon, his Fellowship being his title, by Dr. Bagot, then Bishop of Oxford; and on December 22nd, in the same year, Bishop Bagot admitted him to Priests' Orders. In later days Bishop Hamilton has often lamented that he did not give himself more time to prepare for the most serious act of his life, and that he entered into Holy Orders within three months of his return from Italy. But in those times, such a [6/7] proceeding would not have suggested any very serious scruples to the most conscientious of men; the ordination examination was scarcely more than a formal exercise, which lasted rather better than an hour, and which, at least in the case of a Fellow of a College who had taken high honours, demanded no special intellectual preparation. No higher kind of preparation was thought of, except such as might be attempted by the individual conscience, without any external guidance or assistance whatever. Looking back upon his ordination in the light of his matured convictions as to the nature and responsibilities of the Priesthood, it was natural in Mr. Hamilton to deplore it; but at the time he acted up to his convictions of what was right, and his first convictions, like those of other good people, were largely formed by the public religious opinion around him.
After his ordination, Mr. Hamilton worked for a time as College tutor, and into this work, as into every thing that he undertook, he threw his whole heart. In the Collegiate life of Merton he felt the deepest interest. He eagerly forwarded any plan for raising the intellectual or the moral tone of the place. He seconded Mr. James Hope's endeavour to reanimate the old statutes, and to breathe--as for awhile he did breathe--into the life of the College an earnest religious and moral spirit not altogether unworthy of its founder. His Divinity Lectures were prepared with great care; and he lost no opportunity of making himself really acquainted with the undergraduates, many of whom were glad enough to make the most of his advances. An eminent layman, who was at the time Fellow of Merton, and who as an earnest Churchman has always been among the Bishop's greatest friends, remembers "its being [7/8] resolved between Denison, Hamilton, and myself, that we would set ourselves against the secular small-talk of the Fellows' table and common-room." [MS. letter.] Whatever became of this particular resolution, the spirit which prompted it cannot but be respected; and, in the long run, that spirit certainly was not without beneficial and marked results.
But, from the first, the work of a parish presented great attractions to Mr. Hamilton. As a Deacon, he became, at Michaelmas, 1833, Curate of Wolvercot. He has often referred to the rapid pace at which he used to walk along the road from Oxford to his parish, and his success in getting his brother-fellows, laymen certainly not less than clerics, to assist in the Sunday Schools. One of them, who threw himself into Mr. Hamilton's wishes with much earnestness, says that among the mostjstriking features of his character at this time, was his keen sympathy with suffering in all its forms; [MS. letter.] a gift which will of itself go far to account for his early ministerial success. He held this curacy until Easter, 1834; at Michaelmas he became Curate to Mr. E. Denison, then Vicar of St. Peter's-in-the-East, and about the same time he was made a Prebendary of Wells by Bishop Law. When, in 1837, his Vicar was promoted to the See of Salisbury, the parishioners petitioned the Crown, who became patron for that turn, that Mr. Hamilton might be his successor. Lord Melbourne at first hesitated. He "had received from many quarters a high character and strong recommendations" of Mr. Hamilton; but "Oxford," he urges, "is a conspicuous place; the University stands in a particular situation with respect to the King's [8/9] Government; a small appointment there may have a great effect; and in such a matter a minister is not left at liberty to indulge his own feelings and inclinations." [MS. letter to Archdeacon Hamilton, March 14, 1837.] Was the motive of this hesitation political or theological? Was it a backward glance at the defeat inflicted on Liberalism by the rejection of Sir Robert Peel; or was it an uneasy presentiment, or something more than a presentiment, of the great religious power which was already making itself felt from the pulpit of St. Mary's? Be this as it may, the interval of suspense was soon ended. A week later Mr. Hamilton received the subjoined note:--
"South Street, March 21, 1837. "Sir,
"From the character which I heard of you from all quarters, I had great pleasure in requesting the Chancellor [Lord Cottenham.] to give you the living of St. Peter's-in-the-East, and
"I remain, Sir,
"Your faithful servant,
"The Rev. W. K. Hamilton."
Lord Cottenham, indeed, by his Secretary, had anticipated this letter; and there is a curious passage in the correspondence, which since the passing of a recent Act of Parliament will have nothing beyond an historical interest. [Mr. Francis Barlow to Rev. W. K. Hamilton, March 18, 1837.] Was the Presentation to be made out to a Vicarage, as St. Peter's stood in the King's Books, or to a Perpetual Curacy, as it had always been considered of late years by the nominees of Merton College? In the one case, the stamp duty was 30s.; in the other, £20. This matter was quickly settled. [9/10] Among the congratulatory letters which Mr. Hamilton received was one from Dr. Hampden, then Regius Professor of Divinity, who had interested himself in promoting the views of the parishioners.
"Ch. Ch., March 20, 1837.
"My dear Sir,
"It has been a great gratification to me, I assure you, to hear that your flock and yourself are not to be separated, or rather that the tie between you is to be drawn more closely.
"I have done nothing more than express an honest feeling in the matter--a feeling of what was just and proper towards yourself, and of what, in my view, would best serve that common holy cause to which we have given ourselves.
"Mrs. Hampden begs to unite her congratulations; and
"I remain, my dear Sir,
"Yours very sincerely,
"R. D. Hampden.
"Rev. W. K. Hamilton, Merton College."
From 1837 to 1841 Mr. Hamilton was Vicar of St. Peter's-in-the-East; and he often referred to those years as the happiest of his life. He was the most indefatigable of parish priests; and as a preacher and a visitor of the poor, he soon won all hearts that could be reached at all. It was during his incumbency of St. Peter's that his mind underwent that great and decisive change which has already been, and will yet be, so fruitful in its consequences to the English Church.
He was always a moral, God-fearing boy; and one of his companions during his Italian tour bears witness at that early date to the steady development of all the main features of his later character. But the religious atmosphere of his home was what would now be called "high and dry;" it implied great attachment to the Church, as a moral and religious institution established [10/11] by the law, and a sincere wish to do any thing that could be done for the spiritual and temporal bettering of the people. Archdeacon Hamilton lived to rebuild the church at Loughton. He established a village school, which certainly was well-attended and well-disciplined. Nor was there any lack either of the varied practical benevolence, or of the elevating moral tone which belongs to a modern English parsonage. But "orthodox" sermons of the day were wanting in that affectionate devotion to our Divine Lord which was inculcated by the earlier Evangelicals; and Walter Hamilton, like other earnest young men, intellectual and otherwise, sought and found in the Evangelical teaching a warmth which was then sought in vain elsewhere. At the time of his ordination, and for some while afterwards, he was entirely devoted to this phase of religious belief and feeling; and when visiting his father the Archdeacon on one occasion, he gave considerable offence by insisting on cultivating an intimacy, avowedly based upon religious sympathy, with a Dissenting minister in the parish. Certainly love and reverence for his father's high Christian character was one of the governing influences of the late Bishop's life; but God places us, by His providence, in different strata of religious knowledge, and the Archdeacon belonged to one stratum, his son to another.
"In 1838," writes one of his Oxford friends, "I remember being taken by Mr. (now Bishop) Waldegrave to hear Mr. Hamilton as a model Evangelical preacher." St. Peter's was crowded, Sunday after Sunday, with hearers collected from all the parishes of Oxford, to learn that limited measure of positive truth which was enforced so earnestly from its pulpit. But already the preacher was himself listening [11/12] to the accents of a deeper and more perfect representation of the one earliest creed of Christendom. If the Oxford movement is to be dated from 1833, it only made itself felt as putting forward a revived system of belief, feeling, and practice towards the end of the decade, when Mr. Hamilton was already at St. Peter's. The deep piety of Dr. Newman, united to his astonishing genius, had already awed or fascinated the University; and it was impossible that a man in Mr. Hamilton's position, and with his keen religious sensitiveness, could be unaffected by such an influence. It is, indeed, probable that this influence told on him gradually, and more or less unconsciously to himself, at least at first. Although he knew Newman, he was not by any means within the Oriel circle of busy intellectual and religious enterprise; perhaps he was a little disposed to fight shy of it. But, on the one hand, he felt the yeanlings of his own heart for a moral ideal higher than the conventionalized piety around him, and, together with this, for the deepest and most absolute religious truth; while, on the other, he was within hearing of a teaching which could become at one time the most trenchant logic, at another the most soul-subduing pathos, and which had then gained the ear of Oxford. Such sympathies and attractions could not fail to do their work; and the change was as profound and complete as it was destined to be permanent.
He himself was accustomed to connect it with a meeting of Evangelical clergy that was held at Islington for the purpose of denouncing some of the proceedings of Bishop Blomfield and the Oxford Tractarians. The speeches appear to have been of the declamatory kind, which would perhaps be natural under the circumstances. On leaving the room Mr. [12/13] Hamilton grasped the arm of the friend who accompanied him, and asked, "Can this be really doing God's work?" He felt, he said, the contrast between this bitter denunciation of the Oxford School, and the quiet, holy, Christian lives of the men who represented it: it seemed to him that if the fruits of the Spirit were to be taken as an evidence of His guiding Presence, the Tractarians of the day had that evidence on their side. He frequently adverted to this circumstance; and although the real causes of his change were, beyond doubt, deeper and more complex than any passing incident, the reference may at least serve to show, that in his case, as in so many others, the first attraction to the Oxford School was ethical and spiritual rather than doctrinal; that the Movement appealed to a desire to lead a holy life rather than to any craving to fill up gaps which the "reason of faith" could not but detect in an imperfect creed. The intellectual or dogmatic interest came later, when the true and lasting doctrinal springs of ethical beauty had been laid bare to the eye of the anxious conscience; but, at first, Mr. Newman and Dr. Pusey had exercised precisely the influence which would have been wielded a generation before by Cecil, or Venn, or Martyn.
With Mr. Hamilton the change from Evangelicalism to Church principles was in the highest sense a matter of deliberation and conscience; and he determined to shape his course accordingly. St. Peter's did not become aesthetically magnificent; but its religious atmosphere was changed. Henceforth there was less of excitement and more of quiet, earnest thought; less of preaching for its own sake, more of preaching as a means of sanctification and as a stimulus to prayer; less of the preacher, and more of his message; less [13/14] of men and their personal peculiarities, and more of God, of His truth, of His redemption, of His sacraments, as being the great channels of His grace and His life. "The most mighty proof I know," observes an Oxford resident who had opportunities at the time of noting what went on, "of his deep hold on his flock, and of his wiseheartedness in managing them is, that during his change (how entire you know) from the Evangelical school to his riper views he did not lose the confidence of any one." [MS. letter.] His preaching became even more fervent than before, and it was attended with larger results in the increased devotion of his people and in the conversion of sinners to earnest and living Christianity. "It was to him," writes a clergyman of high standing, "and his ministry at St. Peter's, Oxford, while I was an undergraduate, during my first term, October, 1840, that I owe my first impressions of reverence and religious earnestness in special connection with Church principles. I had before seen a good deal of earnestness in the Evangelicals of the time, for which I was and am grateful; but there was in the incumbent and congregation of St. Peter's, and in the whole service, a far deeper and more chastened feeling, which came home to my heart especially, and made an impression on me which, I thank God, has never died out. What his sermons were about I do not now remember; but I know that no sermons ever made such an impression upon me as did his at that time." [Another MS. letter.] Only inferior to preaching, as a means of promoting clearsightedness of faith and holiness of life, was Mr. Hamilton's catechizing on Sunday afternoons. This practice was at the time a novelty, and Mr. Hamilton prepared himself for it with great [14/15] care. The lessons which he thus imparted were by no means confined to the children who answered his questions; old parishioners and members of the University listened most eagerly to these simple instructions in Christian Doctrine; they eagerly expected and they carefully treasured up his answers to questions which they would have not liked themselves to ask. Long after Mr. Hamilton had left Oxford the traces of his deep soul-stirring work survived him; and to this day among the parishioners, and especially the poorer people, there are persons who feel that they owe to his earnest and loving ministry all that is most precious for time and eternity.
A feature of Mr. Hamilton's parochial work which deserves particular mention, was the importance he assigned to the Offertory, as furnishing the appointed means of dedicating our worldly goods to the Service of God. He persuaded his parishioners to give all, or nearly all, their subscriptions to religious and charitable societies and undertakings, of the most various kinds, through this channel and thus, while each gift was itself duly consecrated, the duty and privilege of giving freely to God and His poor was brought home in its religious aspects to the mind of his flock more forcibly than would have been possible in any other way. [MS. letter and conversation.] "Mr. Hamilton was also," writes a contemporary, "the first who began what was then called 'afternoon service in the week' at Oxford. It must have been soon after he commenced, at least seven-and-twenty years since, that being at that time Curate of Garsington, I went into Oxford, and whilst [15/16] walking down the High Street (it was in the long vacation) with Dr. Newman to attend it, I said something to him on the subject, when his reply was very nearly in these words: 'We are very much indebted to Hamilton for giving us the opportunity.' [It would probably have been more: I should suppose twenty-nine.] I have a strong impression that Newman was in the habit of attending daily." [MS. letter of Rev. W. B. P. Sept. 6, 1869.] From this it would seem that St. Peter's did something more than keep pace with the devotional side of the Movement which sprang from St. Mary's: in fact, the heart reasons more quickly in these matters than does the intellect, and is especially likely to be beforehand with it, when a practical conclusion is in question.
Mr. Hamilton's rupture with Evangelicalism never led him to become unloving or disrespectful towards Evangelicals. He always spoke of them as good men, who generally made the most of the truth which they knew, and who by their consistency of life would possibly condemn many to whom God had given what he called "a larger vision." He always, and with deep thankfulness, ascribed his own change to the grace of God the Holy Spirit, and wondered that many better men than he had not shared it. In particular, he frequently referred with the greatest reverence and affection to such friends as Dr. Heurtley and Mr. Whitaker Churton, with whom he "had passed many precious and never-to-be-forgotten hours in the study of God's Word." Indeed, so far as Evangelicalism is a positive and religious system, he had no quarrel with it. Its earnest proclamation of the original sinfulness of our nature, of the atoning and mediatorial work of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the sanctifying influence of the Holy [16/17] Spirit, never failed to command his heartfelt sympathy. But these vital truths, after all, were but a fragment of the creed which had come from heaven, and Walter Hamilton had discovered the unmutilated whole. The work of the Holy Spirit in the Church as well as in the individual, the power and grace of the Christian sacraments as bringing the soul into living union with the Divine Humanity of the Saviour, were portions of the Christian revelation, upon which Evangelicalism had lost, or rather had not yet regained, its hold. He only broke with it when it had become deliberately negative; when, instead of reviving forgotten truths, it was setting to work to denounce their complete revival. All that was best in its spirit and thought he permanently retained; and he never hesitated, whether in public or in private, to acknowledge the influences to which, in his early ministerial life, he had been so deeply indebted.
To this passage in his spiritual history he had occasion to refer in the winter of 1864, when replying to a protest presented to him by a small number of Clergymen in his diocese, against an earnest desire which he had expressed in his charge of that year for the restoration of Visible Unity to the Church of Christ:--
"I must further say, that conscious as I am of many grave faults of character, I am not conscious of being a coward in the avowal of my principles. I have never concealed from any one that I am what is commonly called a High Churchman. I was not so when I was ordained, but I became so some years before I was a Canon of Salisbury. And when I declare that I number this change among the many mercies which I have received from my God, I can truly say that these my adopted principles have ever made me the more [17/18] anxious never to bear false witness against others; and that instead of drying up they have cherished in my heart a spirit of charity towards those who--whether in our Church or beyond its limits--are in some matters not one with me; and that, in the many instances in which I have failed to carry out tin's spirit--either in my intercourse with others, or into the judgment I have been obliged to form of any part of their conduct--my fault has been one of infirmity."
Before the final crisis of the original Tractarian movement, culminating tragically, as it did, during the Autumn of 1845, in Mr. Newman's secession to the Church of Rome, Mr. Hamilton had left Oxford. In those great disappointments, in those sad and heartrending separations, he had, indeed, his full share; but his loyalty to the Church of England was unshaken, and a distant scene of work saved him from much distress to which he would have been exposed at Oxford. Often, indeed, has he referred to "that sad morning at the Canonry, when we heard that Newman had left us." To the last he retained his hearty admiration of the Parochial Sermons, and his opinion that of all the mistakes that ever were made by well-intentioned men, the conduct of the Heads of Houses in those years was one of the greatest. He "could not help thinking that Newman might have been saved to us if he had been treated with more consideration." But he had formed another friendship, which to the latest hour of his life afforded him the truest consolations, and "for which," as he said in his last illness, "I can never thank my God often or earnestly enough." Before he left St. Peter's parish, the late Mrs. E. B. Pusey had assisted him in setting on foot a Penitentiary [18/19] and other good works; and he was already bound by ties of deep respect and affection to the Regius Professor of Hebrew.
Upon Dr. Denison's consecration as Bishop of Salisbury in 1837, he had at once asked his friend and curate to become his examining chaplain; and the duties imposed upon Mr. Hamilton by this responsible office obliged him frequently to visit his own future home during his incumbency of St. Peter's, in Oxford. How carefully, although for some years single-handed, he did his work as an Examiner for Holy Orders, may yet be seen in the "Examination Book" preserved at the Palace; and it was at some time during these years that, by a conversation with the late Mrs. Denison, he gave the first impulse to that restoration of the cathedral cloisters which was so munificently carried out by his predecessor. Bishop Denison, however, had been from the first anxious to secure for himself and his diocese the nearer presence and undistracted service of his old fellow-labourer; and an opportunity at last presented itself. The only canonry in the gift of the Bishop became vacant in 1841; and it was at once offered to Mr. Hamilton.
But it was only accepted with much reluctance, and after a severe struggle. Mr. Hamilton's true pastoral interest in his parish; his suspicion that there might not [19/20] be any real work for souls to be done in his new position; his love of Oxford, of his college, of his many resident friends; his deep and deepening interest in that tide of religious movement which was still flowing on, in unchecked strength, around him;--all these were strong reasons for remaining where he was. Among such reasons his attachment to his parish was probably the strongest. "No one who knew Oxford at the time could doubt the depth and genuineness of the moral tie that bound him to his flock." When in the event, he left them, they presented him with a handsome testimonial; and thirty years ago the gift of a testimonial to a clergyman who was resigning his duties was at least as remarkable as the omission to give one would be at the present day. Among the subscribers to this tribute of affection and respect are the names of eight Heads of Houses, and of all the leading parishioners in St. Peter's. The most earnest Evangelicalism in Oxford was represented by that truly excellent man the Rev. John Hill, at that time Vice-Principal of St. Edmund Hall; the highest learning and a really accurate and primitive faith, by the venerable President of Magdalen, Dr. Routh. The address, although hearty, was of the conventional type of heartiness. Mr. Hamilton's reply was characteristic. After thanking the Churchwardens for this token of regard, and assuring the parishioners through them of his cordial affection, he adds, "The language in which they express their regard for me is, believe me, most humiliating to me, and forces me to review the past, and to seek for its sober reality. I have now spent all but seven years amongst you, and my whole intercourse with you has been a most happy one; but oh! may God grant that we may be in His sight what we have been in one another's, and that [20/21] when we meet at the Day of Judgment we may do so with joy, and not with grief!"
In later years the Bishop has often dwelt on the strength of these pastoral and other ties to Oxford, and has wondered that any thing could have availed to counterbalance them. But almost coincidently with the invitation from Salisbury there came another call from another diocese. Dr. Law, Bishop of Bath and Wells, pressed Mr. Hamilton somewhat urgently to accept an Archdeaconry then at his disposal; and this second invitation appeared to "show it to be God's will that, for whatever reason, he should change his quarters." If he must choose, he would follow his old friend and Vicar to Salisbury; and in coming to this decision he was probably assisted by a motive, not distinctly admitted as such to himself, but by no means without its influence. Of all the elevating friendships of his early life, that with the late Mrs. Denison was ever cherished by him as among the highest; he was never weary of referring, not indeed to her beauty and accomplishments, which were matters of sufficient notoriety, but to the great moral interest and delicacy of her character, and to her deep and pure enthusiasm for all that could promote the honour of God and the well-being of His Church. The prospect of her companionship, he often said, had done more at least than any other human consideration to reconcile him to the thought of parting with his Oxford friends: and yet when he came to Salisbury, it was only to follow her to her grave in the Cloister. She died on September 22nd, 1841. By her death her husband was plunged into the deepest melancholy; for awhile he "almost entirely shut himself up in his palace;" and Mr. Hamilton, in his isolation, was distressed by the fear [21/22] that he had made a false move in life, by accepting a post which offered fewer opportunities of serving God than he had enjoyed at Oxford, and which did not warrant him in supposing that he was of any real service to the Bishop who had invited him to leave it. He seriously thought of resigning his Canonry, and returning to Oxford within the year. He was prevented from taking this course, partly by the earnest remonstrance of his friend Mr. James Hope, who warned him against the moral risk of "looking back" after "putting his hand to the plough," and partly by an interview with his diocesan. At that interview, Bishop Denison broke through the reserve which was more or less habitual to him, and which had been perhaps deepened by his sorrow, and assured his chaplain that his own best hopes of personal comfort and "of doing any good work in his diocese in time to come were hound up with the continuance of services which he deemed to be simply invaluable."
From that time all hesitation was at an end; and Canon Hamilton threw himself into the duties of his new position with all the fervour of his character. The immediate scene of his work, as a Canon Residentiary, was the Cathedral. The Stall to which he was instituted in 1841 was that of the Treasurer; his most distinguished predecessor in it had been Edmund Rich, afterwards known as S. Edmund of Canterbury. In 1841 he was transferred to the Precentorship; and this virtually gave him the command of the Choir. He at once addressed himself to reforming, and raising the tone of, the daily service. Although he had not a cultivated ear, nor much natural inclination to study music, he endeavoured to supply these defects, so far as it was possible to do so, by hard and conscientious [22/23] labour. He used to regret that the proper rendering of the Cathedral Services should be wholly left to the minor Canons, while the Residentiaries were for the most part unable or unwilling to take their part at the Altar, or elsewhere, without the most inharmonious result. He determined that he would himself contribute nothing to the unseemly discord of the prevailing practice. On the same principle, when Bishop, he intoned the Ordination Service throughout; and he was thought by competent judges to do this remarkably well. The truth is that he loved his duties towards the Cathedral for their own sake, and not merely as conditions attached to a piece of Church preferment. Every chant and anthem that was used during his precentorship was selected by himself, and upon the principle of making the music and anthems, so far as might be, illustrate the Church's seasons, or the prominent features of her teaching in the daily services. He also devoted much time and effort to forming the intimate acquaintance of the choristers and lay-vicars, with a view to leading them to feel their high privilege in taking so prominent a part in the worship of God, and to replacing the perfunctory and irreverent spirit which is too common in cathedral choirs, by a sincere and earnest devotion. At a later date, it was owing to his suggestion and efforts, and to the co-operation of the late Dean Lear, that the choristers, who had previously been lodged at different places in the city, were collected in one of the houses in the Close, under the care of a "Master" in holy orders; their education and discipline being thus sufficiently provided for. Canon Hamilton's own attendance at the services was marked by an unfailing regularity all the year round. He allowed nothing to interfere [23/24] with an obligation so binding upon himself, and so stimulating, in the way of example, to others. In 1847 he discovered that there had been at Salisbury, as in other cathedrals, a daily early morning service, which had been disused; and he obtained the permission of the Dean and Chapter to restore it, making himself responsible for this duty, but not allowing its performance to interfere with his presence at the two great offices in the choir. In 1849 he effected a much more important improvement, by restoring the weekly 8 a.m. celebration of the Holy Communion in the Cathedral. For this ministration, too, he made himself responsible; and although, since his Consecration in 1854, the maintenance of these services has of necessity passed, to a considerable extent, into other hands, he was to the last, when at Salisbury, a constant attendant at the early morning prayer on weekdays, and he made a point of celebrating the Holy Communion in person on Sundays. It cannot be doubted that this portion of his work will survive him.
Such efforts were not without their effect. It was observable in an increased attendance at the Cathedral services, and in the devotion of the worshippers; especially as Canon Hamilton's earnest and constant preaching exerted a most important influence in the same direction. Once on almost every Sunday, and always once on holydays, he appeared in the Cathedral pulpit; and to this day his Saints' day sermons are remembered by persons who attribute to them their first vivid ideas of the various and great graces with which God the Holy Spirit can adorn the human character in those who yield themselves to His transforming and elevating influence.
But when all was done, the Cathedral was very far [24/25] indeed from realizing the ideal which was present to the mind of its Precentor. In the first place it was, architecturally speaking, in as unsatisfactory a condition as was possible, short of its being an absolute ruin. With the best intentions, but with the most disastrous results, the architect Wyatt had been "let loose" upon Salisbury Cathedral, during the Episcopate of Bishop Shute Barrington (1782-1791); the choir screen was removed in order to create a "Gothic vista" extending to the end of the Lady Chapel; the smaller chapels and the monuments, which in their historical position had clustered around the eastern extremity of the church, were swept away; the latter being arranged between the columns of the nave, apparently on an horticultural principle of some sort, but with an absolute disregard of architectural rule and of historical interest. [King's Handbook to the Cathedrals: Salisbury. P. 68.] Neat, cold, unmeaningly symmetrical, the interior of Salisbury chills the soul more cruelly than does the roofless nave of Tintern: in the one case imagination is free to picture "what must have been," in the other there is no escape from the sense of "what is." No other English cathedral, of the same rank of beauty, has suffered from so desolating a scourge. In no other, as has often been remarked, does the outline of the exterior create such lofty anticipations; and nowhere else, as the stranger passes within, are they so bitterly disappointed.
A thorough restoration of this magnificent building, always a most earnest object of desire with Canon Hamilton, was yet to come: and that such a restoration of the exterior has been actually completed, is mainly due to the untiring exertions of the present [25/26] Dean, during Bishop Hamilton's Episcopate; while, as we write, the work of interior repair is commencing with the Lady Chapel. [Since this was written it has been determined to restore the choir of Salisbury Cathedral as a memorial to Bishop Hamilton. It would be impossible to honour his memory in a manner more entirely in harmony with one of his most cherished hopes.] But Mr. Hamilton was anxious for something more than an architectural regeneration. He longed to make his cathedral religiously and ecclesiastically the central influence, the mother church of the city and diocese; and it was still far from being this except in name. His convictions as to the actual state of the case were not altogether at variance with those of a Presbyterian writer of high feeling and culture in the current number of Fraser's Magazin. ["A May Ramble," by A. K. H. B., Fraser's Magazine, August, 1869.] It was impossible to suppose that that thinly-attended service in the choir at all corresponded to the ideal of a cathedral worship; an ideal which the fabric could not but suggest. A church like Salisbury Cathedral implied a worship at once majestic and popular; intelligible, yet splendid; satisfying, in some sort, the higher aspirations and feelings of cultured piety, yet so devised and offered, as also to hush and elevate the thoughts and hearts of a prostrate multitude. Such a church was, in virtue of its very form, manifestly designed to be a sanctuary and home of the people; open to them, like God's presence-chamber above, at all hours of the day, for private prayer, if they so liked, as well as for public praise and intercession; open to them for the religious musings of a leisure half-hour, at the intervals of toil or in the late evening when work was over, not less [26/27] freely than for the capitular service at the usual hours in the choir. Could nothing be done with that vast nave, with those aisles, those transepts? Did all that luxury of space and variety of resource only recall a ritual that had passed away? Was it impossible to cover that pavement with a listening and praying multitude? Was it out of the question ever to associate these chapels with the work of religious guilds or charitable societies in the neighbouring city? Was it hopeless to suppose that the time would ever come when the Bread of Life would be broken at the Altar of the Cathedral once at least on every morning in the year, for all who might seek it; when every evening, within those walls, long after the echoes of the Choral Service had died away, a short instruction in Christian truth, and a few simple prayers and hymns, might attract modern working men to a building in which their forefathers had been at home, but which they had themselves learned to look upon as little better than a huge monument connected with some considerable endowments, and belonging to some fortunate people who lived in the Cathedral Close?
Canon Hamilton did not think that it was purely Utopian to hope, if not for all of these particular improvements, yet for some improvements of the kind; for changes that should make the Cathedral something more than an historical and antiquarian museum, by transfiguring it into a central sanctuary of warm and hearty Christian worship. Undoubtedly it would have been a mistake to imagine that the nave of Salisbury could ever be filled like those of Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's. The limited population of the whole city, the attachment of the Church-going people to their parish churches, and the natural unwillingness [27/28] of the cathedral clergy to weaken existing ties between the parochial clergy and their flocks, by attracting the latter elsewhere, were considerations which forbade this. But, short of an impossible ideal, there was room for vast improvement;--an improvement the earlier stages of which Bishop Hamilton lived to witness. The use of the nave by large congregations at meetings of the two Societies, and on Sunday afternoons during the summer months of the last eight years, kindled his hopes of better things. On Thursday, May 30, 1861, he himself preached, before the Salisbury Diocesan Choral Association, the first sermon that had been heard in the nave for more than eighty years. "The thought," he begins by saying, "which is filling almost unduly my mind and heart at this present moment, is that I am again taking possession, as it were, of a place from which, in former days, many of the predecessors of us the Clergy of this Cathedral Church used to witness to the Truths of the Gospel, and so have helped to hand on to ourselves that sacred deposit." [Cathedrals and Church Music: a Sermon preached on occasion of a meeting of the Salisbury Diocesan Choral Association, in the nave of their Cathedral, on Thursday, May 30th, 1861, by Walter Kerr, Bishop of Salisbury. Salisbury: Brown and Co. P. 1.] He glances rapidly at the long history of his Cathedral Church; at its original foundation on the neighbouring heights of Old Sarum; at its transfer by Bishop Poore to the water-meadows of the Avon valley; at the six centuries which link those days to these. But this splendid temple is much more than a link with the past: it has a social and religious value at the present day. The nave of a Cathedral Church is, in a peculiar sense, [28/29] the common home of the people. "The space in it is unappropriated; all persons have equal rights in it; and these rights have not been interfered with by those arrangements for families in pews, which, whatever be their advantage, have the manifest inconvenience of repelling many who cannot be thus provided for, from their common place of meeting, their parish church.....Such foundations as this were intended .... to strengthen the weak parts of the parochial system. In the very best things in this world there is ever a tendency to evil; and there is in the parochial system that which, though in itself most admirable, may lead to such an exclusive attention to the interests of a small portion of the Body, as to withdraw the thoughts and affections of the members of the Church from the well-being of the whole, and so to the loss of that Spirit of Unity which should bind together every individual member of the Body, to the Body itself, and so to Him Who is its Head, even Christ." [Ibid. p. 11.] The cathedrals might thus promote a large-hearted charity; and they might invigorate both public Prayer and Preaching, by giving fuller scope to the play of that sense of sympathy which the presence of a multitude, intent on a common sacred object, cannot fail to inspire. [Ibid. p. 13.]
Even this moderate measure of improvement had not been attempted when Mr. Hamilton was a Canon; and he felt keenly the disproportion which existed between the scale of the cathedral establishment and the spiritual work it achieved. It seemed to him a cruel libel on the spirit and capacity of the English Church to say that her cathedral services could never be made [29/30] worthy of the fabrics which she had inherited from the middle ages; that she was merely a guardian of antiquarian treasures which she knew not how to use,--the invading insect which rattled in one claw of the empty lobster-shell, instead of the living creature to whom the whole shell really belonged, and who would fill it as a matter of course. But he was convinced that if a change was to be wrought, it must begin with those upon whom the actual government and administration of these churches devolves. Until the Canons of our cathedrals are able to give their whole hearts to the work which canonries imply, nothing, he was convinced, would really secure to the cathedrals their true place in the system of the Church. "Let Deans and Canons," he said, "be the best of men; yet if they have parishes, their hearts will be probably in the duties of their cure of souls, and the three months' residence at the cathedral will have passed away before they have undertaken any real, definite work; and of course any continued engagement in such works as specially belong to cathedrals is absolutely impossible." He was "persuaded that our Church suffers great damage and loss from the use of cathedral patronage, either as a means of eking out the small incomes of ill-paid parish priests, or of rewarding good but well-endowed parish priests with additional preferment." [Cathedral Reform: a Letter to the Members of his Diocese, from Walter Kerr, Bishop of Salisbury. London: Rivingtons, 1855. P. 6.] His chief panacea, therefore, for the feebleness and failure of the cathedral system was to enforce constant residence upon the Canons as well as upon the Dean; and, as a consequence, to [30/31] allow no member of the Residentiary Chapter to hold his Deanery or Canonry together with any other preferment. He himself acted upon this principle during the thirteen years of his life as a Canon. He resolutely declined the Rectory of Loughton at his father's death, when he would gladly have enabled his mother to live on in her old home if his conscience had permitted him to accept it. Although, in consequence of the successive elevations of Canons Bickersteth and Waldegrave to the Episcopate, the Crown relieved him, as Bishop of Salisbury, of the duty of presenting to the one Canonry in the gift of his see, he never made any secret whatever of his intention, if the occasion should arise, to exact both a promise of constant residence, and an engagement to accept no other preferment whatever during the tenure of the Canonry, from any clergyman on whom he might himself confer it. If the late Lord Herbert of Lea had been spared to his Church and country, it is, at this date, no violation of confidence to say that he would have at least introduced into the House of Lords a measure of Cathedral Reform, to which Precentor Hamilton's opinion upon the subject of Canonries would have contributed some of its most important clauses.
For very obvious reasons, it would be unreasonable to anticipate that any such measure would command universal popularity among those whom it might most immediately affect. But these reasons are not generally urged by upholders of the still existing system. It is more commonly pleaded that four resident Canons would have nothing to do; and that able and hardworking clergymen would be demoralized by the inertia, if not by the social pettinesses, of a Cathedral Close. [31/32] But Bishop Hamilton's idea was to connect certain diocesan duties with each of the stalls; a specific fitness for which would govern the selection of its occupant. "One Canon would be Archdeacon; another at the head of the Theological College; another would organize and forward the work of the two great Church Missionary Societies in the diocese; a fourth might superintend the progress and inspection of Diocesan Education." These duties, supplemented by a common and equal interest in promoting the efficiency and beauty of the cathedral services, would afford full occupation to earnest men; and when it was understood that the salary of a Canonry was not really prize-money, but was attached to the discharge of a specific work, public opinion would co-operate with the conscience of individual Canons to do the rest. For himself, while still Precentor of Salisbury, Mr. Hamilton wrote as follows, in days when the idea of any close connexion between diocesan responsibilities and a Canonry would scarcely have been entertained in any quarter:--"The absence of a full complement of definite duties will probably secure to this reputed idler an amount of other business that may make the place of a resident Canon a far harder one than that of a not idle parish priest. When I had a parish in Oxford I was not an idle man; but I had more leisure for study and for my own pursuits than I have ever enjoyed here as Canon, and Secretary to the Board of Education, and Bishop's Chaplain." [Cathedral Reform, p. 21.]
This, then, was the leading idea of the pamphlet which Mr. Hamilton published in 1853, on the subject of Cathedral Reform, and which he reprinted, [32/33] together with a Pastoral Letter addressed to the members of the Church in his diocese, when, in 1855, he had already been for a year Bishop of Salisbury. He included, indeed, in his idea of Cathedral Reform a great deal besides improvement in the religious services. Cathedrals, he thought, ought to be centres of religious education; and he advocated "the plan which was always so fondly cherished by my very dear and honoured friend and tutor, Dr. Arnold," of opening "a hall in Oxford or Cambridge for the most meritorious of our choristers and other grammar scholars." [Cathedral Reform, p. 27.] He thought it important to revive the ancient privileges of the Great Chapter of non-residentiary Prebendaries. Bishop Denison had saved these stalls from total suppression when they were deprived of their endowments; the seat in the choir and the legal right to a vote in the Great Chapter upon certain occasions remained. Bishop Hamilton wished to make that vote a reality; and also "under the presidency of the Dean, and subject to the correction of their measures by an appeal to the visitor of the cathedral," to entrust the prebendaries with large powers of supervision and control. [Cathedral Reform, p. 7.] He was particularly desirous of adding to and improving the cathedral library, and of making it as widely useful as possible. He further proposed adequately to endow vicarages and perpetual curacies in parishes where the Dean and Chapter were impropriate Rectors; and to make a provision for the chaplaincy of the city workhouse and of Bugmore Hospital. Of these aspirations, some have been more or less satisfied, and others rendered impossible, by the proceedings of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for [33/34] England. But it is still open to Episcopal patrons and to friendly members of the Legislature, who might make the constant residence of all future Canons strictly compulsory, to preserve what remains of the cathedral system, by putting an end to a state of things which threatens nothing short of an entire collapse, whenever the subject is seriously discussed in a reformed Parliament.
But Canon Hamilton's object in his various proposals was higher than any wish to save the cathedrals from being "parochialized" or even from being confiscated to secular uses. Cathedrals might be of real service, he believed, to the true work of the Church; and he earnestly desired to make them thus serviceable. "That God may in His great mercy and goodness be pleased to raise our cathedrals from their present low estate to the one they should occupy in the judgment and affections of right-minded, true-hearted Churchmen, is the anxious hope and prayer of one who only cares for any of these things as a means of extending our Blessed Lord's Kingdom, and of building up its members in their most holy faith." [Cathedral Reform, p. 8.] That certainly was the ruling motive of the writer's interest in the subject: he was not thinking chiefly of antiquity or of art, but of the glory of God and of the edification of souls.
It has already been implied that much of Canon Hamilton's time and interest was devoted to the subject of education. The Training School for Girls, which was established in the Close during Bishop Denison's Episcopate, absorbed a great deal of his time and interest during the week and on Sundays. He was formally secretary and practically chaplain to [34/35] this institution; and he succeeded in raising its intellectual and religious standard most markedly. Besides this, he constantly and readily lent a helping hand to the parochial clergy of Salisbury. It was his usual practice to preach at the Sunday evening service in St. Thomas's Church; and he thus enabled its devoted curate, at that time single-handed, to carry on his work under circumstances of much difficulty. [The Rev. Prebendary Renaud, now Vicar of St. Thomas's.] Mr. Hamilton further re-arranged and read through all the cathedral archives. He restored and refitted the cathedral muniment-room, making it a safe receptacle for these documents; just as, in later years, he made similar provision for the archives of the diocese over the eastern gateway of the palace grounds. The study of the manuscripts cost him "really hard work;" an illustrious predecessor in undertaking it had been Chancellor Drake, the Editor of Andrewes's "Devotions," in the reign of Charles II. The broad result of his reading was to "disillusionize" him as to the state of things in the close of Sarum before the Reformation. Petty quarrels; constant appeals to Rome; groundless scandals of a grave kind, and scandals that rested, unhappily, upon very good grounds; all the grosser struggles about income and preferment which we usually associate with the eighteenth century; these and such like materials were the staple of the history. They went to show that the Church had suffered in the Middle Ages from many of the causes which have depressed her hi later days; causes which are so rooted hi human frailty, as often to overmatch the grace of Christ; and that in some respects the Reformation, especially while the personal influence of Bishop Jewel was still felt, [35/36] had considerably improved the tone of the cathedral body.
Besides this, as throughout his life, Mr. Hamilton read regularly, and as a matter of conscience, solid theology, for its own sake, and not merely with a view to preparation for the pulpit. His Patristic knowledge was wide and accurate; he made constant and systematic references to all that he read, and he possessed in a high degree that cultivated theological instinct which could anticipate with remarkable precision the kind of language that was or was not likely to be found in a particular writer. He was always a diligent student of Holy Scripture. He not unfrequently expressed the opinion that many modern Churchmen were in danger of impoverishing their spiritual life by neglecting Holy Scripture, amid the abundance of recent devotional books. He did not wish to depreciate these books, but he was jealous of any interference with the paramount claims of Scripture upon the daily attention of every soul. There was, he thought, some risk in the natural violence of a reaction from the popular Puritan conception that each individual can elaborate a religion for himself by dint of a study of the Authorized Version. Although, by her Creeds, the Church saves her dutiful children from the perils whether of absurd and blasphemous speculation, or of painful uncertainty and bewilderment; she does not thereby disparage, much less forbid, the duty incumbent upon all Christian souls, of listening to the voice of God the Holy Ghost, speaking to the heart and conscience through the Bible, as He speaks through no other existing book. To Bishop Hamilton himself a conversation on the sense of some portion of Scripture was one of the greatest enjoyments of his [36/37] life. In his last illness he dwelt upon the pleasure which he derived from the pages of his Bible: "One gets nothing like it out of any other reading," he said. And on his better days he read through entire books of Scripture, spending many hours upon them, and afterwards discussing particular points which they had raised in his mind. In this way, while he was at 33, Grosvenor-street, he read through the whole of the Acts of the Apostles on one day, and the Epistle to the Komans on another. He used to say that the Holy Spirit helped his personal needs most completely through the Book of Hosea in the Old Testament, and through the Epistle to the Philippians in the New. He never wearied of reading and re-reading Dr. Pusey's beautiful commentary upon the first of the Minor Prophets; the contrast between the sin and ingratitude of Israel, and the tenderness and depths of the Divine compassion, satisfied at once his own sense of sinfulness before God, and his hope of acceptance through the Redemptive Work of Jesus Christ. In the Epistle to the Philippians he was attracted by the constant exhortations to "rejoice in the Lord;" [Phil. iii. 1; iv. 4.] lightheartedness being at once the right and the duty of a redeemed Christian whose conscience is in fairly good order. He used to "wish that he could rise more perfectly above personal and diocesan troubles to the spirit of that Epistle." In it, too, he admired some most characteristic manifestations of St. Paul's great gift of sympathy. [Phil. i. 3-8.] The varied personal allusions in the Epistle, [Phil. ii. 19-22. 25-29; iv. 2, 3.] its overflowing affectionateness, the gratitude, and yet the delicacy, with which the Apostle touches upon the sacrifices made on his account by [37/38] the Philippian converts, [Phil. iv. 15-18.] not to mention the great passage on the stupendous Incarnation of the Eternal Son;--all had the most living meaning for Walter Hamilton. [Phil. ii. 5-11.] When referring to this Epistle in conversation, he has sometimes found himself so overcome by his sense of the generosity of the Apostle's character, or still more, of the vastness of the Love and Pity of Jesus Christ, as to be quite unable to proceed. Of the Fathers he chiefly read St. Augustine. Even in January, 1869, he took the volume of the folio Benedictine edition, containing the De Civitate Dei, to London, with the intention of again reading the later books of that great work during his illness. Among the older Anglican writers, Donne, the eloquent Dean of St. Paul's, was probably, on the whole, most familiar to him; "I read Donne through more than once before I left Merton." In his earliest ministerial life Leighton had been his favourite author. Although in later years he deplored the taint of Calvinistic fatalism, and the poverty of sacramental teaching which mark this writer, he never lost his value for the profoundly devotional spirit of the Commentary on St. Peter,--so welcome to every practical Christian. Among modern foreign theologians he was very fond of referring to the "Loci Theologici" of Melchior Canus; while of recent sermons, "none," he thought, "could compare with Newman, whether for style or matter." He read a great deal of French prose, and enjoyed it; and, less frequently, Italian. German writers he never read except in translations; and he had but little sympathy with the characteristic forms of thought even in orthodox German writers. [38/39] Considering the great influence which Germany, whether Protestant or Catholic, exercises both for good and evil upon the religious mind of England, it will perhaps in some quarters be thought that this was a weak point in a theologian of such generally wide sympathies and far-reaching culture. [It should, however, be added that among the last books which he read through were Martensen's Dogmatik (Clark's Theol. Library), and Döllinger's First Age of the Church, which has been given to the English public in the unrivalled translation of the Rev. H. N. Oxenham.]
Of Mr. Hamilton's theological knowledge the foundations were completed, if they were not laid, during his precentorship. One fruit of his earlier ministry had been a book of "Family Prayers," which has been printed in Dr. Hook's "Devotional Library." It was originally published in 1842; and in the Preface, which is dated from the Close, Sarum, on July 18th in that year, Mr. Hamilton offers it to his quondam parishioners at Oxford, as a link to bind them to their old pastor; while the work is dedicated with a "reverence, affection, and gratitude," which the writer most certainly felt, to Bishop Bagot of Oxford. It is not, possibly, so accurate in all of its liturgical expressions and forms as a more modern book might be: but it must be used, if it is to be appreciated. It is redolent of the spirit of Scripture, of early liturgies, of Andrewes's "Devotions;" it abounds in prayers which cannot be repeated sincerely without exerting upon the conscience the most powerful and searching influence; it does not pall upon the spiritual taste after long use; and it provides very remarkably for the needs and capacities of old and young alike, or rather of those who know little of the practice and [39/40] spirit of prayer, and of those who have made some way in it.
Among the various features of this book one appears to merit especial notice, from its connexion with a prominent feature of Mr. Hamilton's devotional life. A large proportion of the prayers are addressed directly to our Lord Jesus Christ. Although in the Eucharistic service of the Church prayer is for the most part offered to the Eternal Father through the Son, according to an ancient and recognized principle; yet in all other devotions, the Son Himself has been always, and equally with the Father, an object of the most profound adoration that the Christian soul can offer. Indeed a willingness to pay Him this His rightful honour is a test of serious belief in His real Divinity, as distinct from acquiescence in some Arianizing or Socinianizing theory, fatal not merely to His Divine claims and honour, but to the truthfulness and modesty, and therefore to the perfection, of His Human Character. No man felt this more deeply than the late Bishop of Salisbury; and the worship which he offered, day by day, to Jesus Christ, was proportionately intense and deliberate. He carefully obeyed the Divine rule "that all men should honour the Son even as they honour the Father." [John v. 23.] The suggestion that the adoration of Christ was "contrary to the spirit of the English liturgy" struck him as being not less hostile to our Lord's prerogatives than it was, historically speaking, untrue. Towards our Lord he entertained a deep, personal affection, such as a good man would feel for a very holy friend; while yet this friendship, without ceasing to be such, shaded off into the deepest worship, as being due to One Who [40/41] is truly God as well as truly Man. Language is now sometimes heard which seems to imply that Jesus Christ is only a figure of the distant past, reanimated to the eye of imagination by a careful critical study of the pages of a remarkable book. But the real value of the Gospels which show what Jesus Christ was eighteen centuries ago, appeared to the Bishop to consist in the fact that they show what Jesus Christ is, at this very moment; unseen, it is true, but not less truly living than in the days of His flesh. What our Lord thought, or wished, or disapproved, was just as practical a consideration, hour after hour, to the late Bishop of Salisbury as are the tastes of a wife and children, or of associates to men in general. "Whom not having seen, we love; in Whom, though now we see Him not, yet believing, we rejoice,"--was the motto of the Bishop's life. [1 Pet. i. 8.] No man can have been intimate with Walter Hamilton without feeling that to him Jesus Christ was just as truly present as a living Person as He was to His first Apostles;--the constant object and stimulus and centre of thought, and affection, and disinterested effort, and loving self-sacrifice, and homage as enthusiastic as it was profound.
Mr. Hamilton's position and occupations did not make him a recluse: he was perhaps one of the most popular Canons that could easily be found in any English cathedral close. When he left Laleham in 1826, Dr. Arnold wrote to him, "Now you are gone away I learn no news of the village, and only conjecture that Harris continues his opposition by seeing his cart stand where it used to do." [MS. letter. Dec. 31, 1826.] The habits of social interest and observation which had been so useful at Laleham were transferred to Salisbury. Canon [41/42] Hamilton knew everybody, and everybody knew him. As a Salisbury resident observed to the present writer in later years, "Our Bishop, sir, has lived here so long among us, that he is less like a Bishop than one of ourselves." Whenever he was not prevented by circumstances which he could not control, it was his practice on Sundays to invite six or eight poor people to dinner; he took a particular pleasure "in feeding the poor." He generally had some cases of sickness in hand about the city, to which he brought spiritual and temporal relief at all the intervals of work he could command. When the cholera broke out in 1849, Canon Hamilton at once joined his Diocesan in visiting the sufferers. He was, however, speedily laid up by an illness which, somewhat later in that autumn, obligedhim to seek a restoration oHiealth abroad. In after years he always maintained that, whatever men might say elsewhere, the Salisbury people would never misunderstand him. He felt, so to speak, that he had his hand upon the pulse of his cathedral city; and this confidence was the result of his constant and intimate habits of intercourse with its inhabitants during his precentorship.
On January 9th, 1845, Mr. Hamilton was married to Isabel Elizabeth, daughter of the Very Rev. Francis Lear, Dean of Salisbury, and eight children survive him. The joys and the sorrows of that union are too recent and too sacred for any thing beyond the barest record. But a friend, who knew him well at the time and afterwards, writes that in Mr. Hamilton's case marriage certainly did not involve any lowering of the religious standard; "it impressed a deeper devotional element on his life." [MS. letter.]
 His domestic lot, while he was a Canon of Salisbury, had its full share of sorrow. On March 6th, 1842, he lost his only and dearly beloved sister, Jane Sotheby. His own very serious illness in September, 1849, was followed on March 23rd, 1850, by the death of his father-in-law, the Dean of Salisbury, and by that of his infant child Osmund, on October 11th in the same year. These wounds were scarcely closed, when his own father, Archdeacon Hamilton, died, on September 10th, 1851. Of his later family sorrows, one of the sorest was the loss of his eldest child, Mary Isabel, on April 18th, 1859.
Of his life as a Canon between 1841 and 1847 the following picture is supplied by one who knew him intimately and visited him often:--"His whole soul was set on making his work and office as efficient as he could. This desire gave occasion to his pamphlet on Cathedral Reform.....It was by way of keeping before him a reminder of his work that he used to wear his cassock all day, and it was not until after the afternoon service that he put on his coat for a walk. Till then his time was given to work within the Close and in his study. Cheerful and full of fun as he was, and utterly devoid of stiffness and formality in restricting conversation to serious subjects, one could not but observe that these latter were those to which he continually recurred, always following up with readiness any opening for them. Many an evening we have talked over Church prospects and Church progress and Church anxieties and perplexities in the diocese, and at Oxford, and at large. Once, before taking leave for a longer time than usual, I remember going with him by moonlight into the cathedral, and there praying that God would supply what was wanting in the [43/44] Church among us, and preserve her from the perils which most beset her." [MS. letter.]
Among the "anxieties" and "perplexities" referred to were those defections from the English Church to which allusion has been already made, and the causes which more immediately led to them. Although the secession of Mr. Newman in 1845 was in itself and in its consequences of graver importance to the Church than that of Archdeacon Manning and others in 1851; it is probable, in the judgment of the present writer, that Mr. Hamilton was even more distressed by the later than by the earlier disaster. This was due, partly to the fact of his close and affectionate friendship with Archdeacon Manning, and partly to the aggravation of Mr. Hamilton's sense of the loss thus inflicted upon the English Church which was caused by the miserable episode that precipitated, although it could not justify the step. The Gorham Judgment may have furnished some few waverers with the final impulse, with the producible pretext, for deserting their old spiritual mother: but to the most loyal and loving of her children that Judgment was, and is, a cause of very serious embarrassment. Such distress was occasioned, not merely by the violence with which a clergyman, denying the revealed doctrine of Baptismal Grace, was forced by the civil power, and in the teeth of his Bishop, into an English benefice; but, much more, by the alarming commentary which the case supplied upon the real meaning of the Acts 2 and 3 William IV. c. 92, and 3 and 4 William IV. c. 41. It now appeared that by these Acts, a court of civilians, who might or [44/45] might not be believers in Christianity, were invested with the power of overruling the decision of the Church's own courts, and of pronouncing upon the gravest and most delicate questions of Christian doctrine, under the semblance of determining the true sense of formularies which happened to be also legal documents. Alas! that terrible evil, festering at the very heart of our Church system, and pregnant most assuredly with spiritual mischief in the times to come, is still viewed, as it would seem, with indifference or even with approval, by most of our rulers in Church and State; and it may be feared that the necessity of remedial legislation will only be discovered when it is too late. But the question was, and is, not whether such a state of things is desirable, nor yet whether it is dangerous, but whether it is fatal to the life of the English Church, and still more whether it amounts to a demonstration of the claims or pretensions of the Church of Rome. The relations between the as yet undivided Church and the Constantinopolitan Emperors supplied parallels which showed that the interference of the State, even in matters of doctrine, might up to a certain point be tolerable. The spiritual assumptions of the Judicial Committee did not really prove that the Papal claim to an (Ecumenical supremacy had any solid basis either in Scripture or in history; nor could the Roman cultus of the Blessed Virgin be shown to be God's Will by the fact that an insult had been offered by the civil power in England to one of His sacraments. This, or something very like this, was Mr. Hamilton's mind in those trying times; and it accounts both for his personal distress and for his decision to part company with friends whom he loved, and with whom, up to a certain point, he had deep sympathy. It explains [45/46] that which followed, and which, in a man of his thorough sincerity, might have been otherwise inexplicable. Notwithstanding his sense of the great evil referred to, he had, in the year 1854, that robust belief in the life and mission of the English Church which alone could have permitted him to accept a bishopric.
On Monday, March 6, 1854, Bishop Denison was called to his rest. "On the morning of Ash-Wednesday (the preceding Wednesday) he was obliged to send for his medical attendant, and said repeatedly during the day that he felt very ill. On Thursday and Friday the symptoms seemed to be mitigated:" on Monday it had become plain that all was already over, except in fact; and the manner in which the Bishop spent that day in preparation for his passage to another world has been described, in a well-known sermon, by his chaplain. ["In the Midst of Life we are in Death:" a Sermon preached in the Cathedral Church of Salisbury, by the Rev. Walter Kerr Hamilton, Chaplain of the late Bishop of Salisbury, on March 12, 1854. London: Rivingtons, 1854. P. 25.] But before he passed away, Bishop Denison dictated a message to Lord Aberdeen, who was at the time Prime Minister, to the effect that in the judgment of a man, now almost in the act of dying, Mr. Hamilton would be of all others best able to carry on the work of Christ in the diocese. Lord Aberdeen felt that to yield at once might create a precedent which would interfere with the free exercise of the Crown's choice as patron. He "passed a sleepless night;" it was impossible to entertain Bishop Denison's petition. [MS. letter of the Rev. W. B. Heathcote.] The See was accordingly offered to the Rev. J. J. Blunt, the then eminent Margaret Professor of Divinity at Cambridge. Professor Blunt was [46/47] three times urged to accept the position, "but he declined it on the ground that although then in fair health, he was too old to make an efficient Bishop for more than a short while." ["H.," in "Guardian" of August 25, 1869.] The Premier then felt himself at liberty to do that which he would have done in the first instance if his sense of duty to the Crown had permitted it; and Bishop Denison's dying message was obeyed. [This statement is made on the authority of the late Bishojj. It is perfectly reconcilable with "H.'s" assertion, that "Lord Aberdeen seriously intended Professor Blunt to be Bishop." In offering the See to Professor Blunt, Lord Aberdeen had set aside his own original wishes in obedience to a sense of duty, and, it must be added, in favour of a man who commanded universal respect.]
Certainly to no one did that summons cause surprise more complete, or more unaffected and keen distress, than to the man who was most concerned. The interval of painful deliberation,--the determination to say "No" at once,--the hurried journey to London,--the influences which were brought to bear on him, and which it is, even yet, too soon to discuss,--that "agonizing walk, up and down, in front of Lord Aberdeen's house,"--the final yielding;--all these he has often described, even with tears, to friends who could sympathize and understand. He was consecrated Bishop of Salisbury, by Archbishop Sumner, on May 14th, 1854, in the Chapel of Lambeth Palace; his consecration sermon being preached by his intimate friend, and, for some few years, brother-chaplain, the late Ven. Henry Drury, Archdeacon of Wilts.
The boy is the father of the man, and Bishop Hamilton's life as a parish priest and as a cathedral Canon has already prepared us for his Episcopate. The circumstances of his call to that high office, and his deep love and reverence for Bishop Denison, had the effect of making his language and administration during the first year or two of his office scarcely more than a continuation of the words and action of his predecessor. A writer who has been already quoted expresses the opinion that during his chaplaincy to Bishop Denison Mr. Hamilton had "deferred to him too much, and in loyally upholding the views of his Bishop had too often repressed his own." [MS. letter.] If this was a mistake, it was a mistake on the right side; and Bishop Hamilton, after his consecration, continued at first to act as if he were still chaplain to his friend and patron. In his earlier Pastoral Letters he makes constant references to Bishop Denison's practice and wishes as a reason for his own; and his Primary Charge to his clergy, delivered in August, 1855, is, to a considerable extent, a description of the works which had been carried out in the diocese by his predecessor, together with a review of the most valuable features of his teaching and example.
The sayings and maxims which Bishop Hamilton has collected from Bishop Denison's Charges are in truth most beautiful and suggestive, [Charge of the Lord Bishop of Salisbury, at his primary Visitation in August, 1855, pp. 24-28.] and form, in their [48/49] entirety, a "Sacra Privata," from which, as Bishop Hamilton suggests, no inadequate idea of the inner life of their author and its governing principles may be gathered. Bishop Denison "carried into all his counsels the deep conviction of his soul, that, after all, the real and absorbing duty of a Bishop is to keep safe from all encroachment that sacred deposit which has been committed to him--the whole Doctrine of Christ and of His Holy Church." "And, indeed," exclaims his successor, "wherever I go, in the cathedral city, and, I might say in almost every parish of my diocese, my mind traces the same inscription [Bishop Denison's name] on schools and churches, yea, on every thing which would persuade men so to live that they may die with the hope of a Christian. My beloved friend and spiritual father had been called of God to do the work of a Bishop; and we are surrounded by tokens of the measure he took of that work, and how, in doing it, he made full proof of his ministry."
But, in truth, there was a real difference between the governing principles of the two administrations, the moral side of which has been happily sketched by an acute and observant writer in the Devizes Gazette:--
"If we were asked to give the one distinctive feature in Bishop Denison's character, we should name prudence. This gift it was which gave him, even in his outward demeanour, a lofty calmness of spirit. He had real clearness of view and an eye for consequences, measured his end by his means, sat down and counted the cost before he began to build his tower, was a good judge of character, patiently waited for times and seasons, readily complied with circumstances when no [49/50] vital principle was involved, avoided needless multiplication of these principles, gave great consideration to existing facts, allowed for the modifying influences of custom, accepted the condition of the times, welcomed small improvements as an earnest of greater things, advised calmness and consideration, deprecated excitement and extravagance. [Compare Charge of the Lord Bishop of Salisbury at his primary Visitation in August, 1855. At p. 23 these qualities are exhibited in harmony with Bishop Denison's "sure belief that he had received, by the gift of Christ, power, and the keen sense of responsibility which this gift brought with it."] All these qualities are so many manifestations of prudence, and explain the secret of his steady and unvarying success.
'Nullum numen abest, si sit Prudentia.'
On the other hand, the striking characteristic of our late Bishop was generosity. In whatever sense that word is taken, whether in the lower meaning of pecuniary liberality, or in that higher and truer meaning which expresses the impulse of a man who devotes himself for the good of others, the life of the Bishop of Salisbury was the manifestation of a large, simple, warm, unselfish, ungrudging nature. Whether as a College Tutor at Merton, or as Vicar of St. Peter's-in-the-East at Oxford, or as Canon of Salisbury and coadjutor to his predecessor, or as a Bishop himself, all the actions of his public life were marked with unbounded generosity. He freely gave himself for his work, wherever it might he, or whatever it might be. It is notorious that had he sooner listened to the voice of warning, and sooner desisted from his labours, his life might have been further prolonged, and he might have been still among us. He was generous in all his intercourse with others. With him the true idea of [50/51] the position in which the laity and clergy should stand to one another was that of mutual confidence. He strongly deprecated the notion that the Bishop was merely the overseer of the clergy. The truth which he was anxious to master, and make the ground of every thought, word, and deed, was that his office was ministratio, non dominatio. 'I have not dominion over your faith, but am a helper of your joy.'" [Ibid. p. 50.]
This discriminating writer would be very far from implying that, in the contrast which he has thus sketched, the presence of the one quality implied the absence of the other; that Bishop Denison was ungenerous, or Bishop Hamilton imprudent. Any such supposition would be at once dismissed upon an examination of the document which the writer has principally in view, and in which the self-control of Bishop Hamilton, and the enthusiasm of which his predecessor was at times capable, are equally evident. But the question is as to the ruling natural impulse, the predominating quality, in the two men; and there can be no doubt, with this reservation, of the justice of the general picture. The quality here called "generosity" in Bishop Hamilton, was, in its practical manifestations, enterprise in action, and unreserve in language. In the long run it makes a very great difference to a diocese whether each proposal for Church improvement and Church extension is instinctively met by its presiding mind with the question, "Why should we not?" or with the question, "Why should we?" whether sympathetic impulse, not without caution, or cautious restraint, not without some occasional dispositions to move, be the governing feature in the Bishop's character. So far as diocesan measures were concerned, [51/52] Bishop Hamilton was heart and soul for movement and progress; and his real and profound deference for the memory of his predecessor certainly did not lead him to content himself with only keeping the diocese up to the mark at which he found it.
This was observable, first of all, in the great increase of the number of places at which he held Confirmations. Bishop Denison had largely advanced upon the practice of his predecessor, Bishop Burgess, who had confirmed, after the old fashion, in a few great centres. Bishop Denison extended this to some of the more considerable villages in the diocese: Bishop Hamilton gradually carried the extension to the point of giving a Confirmation in almost every church where the incumbent might ask for it. The justification of this enormous increase of labour lay, he felt, partly in the more intimate knowledge of individual clergymen and of the spiritual condition of their flocks which he thus acquired, and partly in his thus "ceasing to be responsible for the mischief which so often attended late returns to their homes on the part of the country folk after attending a Confirmation in a strange parish, perhaps a distant one." In the year 1855, according to the printed records, he held 56 Confirmations; in 1856, 74; in 1858, 94; in 1859, 90; in 1861, 91; in 1862, 93; in 1864, 90; in 1865, 96; in 1866, 95. These figures are taken from the programmes of the Confirmation tours: as a matter of fact, the Bishop often added largely to his original scheme at the desire of particular clergymen. He devoted the greatest care to the administration of this most sacred rite; feeling, as he said, its extreme importance to the young people concerned. He "had no right to spare himself any [52/53] necessary trouble in administering a blessing, which was given only once in a lifetime to each person who received it." Until his last Confirmation in Dorsetshire, in October, 1868, when at the desire of his medical advisers he restricted himself to a single address, it was his practice to give two addresses, each of considerable length, at every Confirmation; and these addresses were prepared with conscientious care. As he generally held two Confirmations in the day, this practically amounted to his preaching four sermons on each day during a Confirmation tour. It is needless to add that he did not confirm "by railfuls" or "by twos" at a time. Such expedients, which are sometimes quoted in order to justify the practice, so disturbing and painful to well-informed and reverent Churchmen, of administering even the Holy Communion "to railfuls" with one utterance of the words designed by the Church to be addressed to each recipient, were to him "altogether repulsive." Nor was such care without its fruits. There are on record some signal proofs of the blessing with which God visited that loving reverence and those earnest words;--words in which the great solemnities of life and death were brought before the souls of young servants of Christ with such faithful and affectionate power.
In carrying out these and similar improvements he made great use of the sympathy and co-operation of his chaplains. Among them, during the earlier years of his Episcopate, were the Hon. and Rev. C. A. Harris, now Bishop of Gibraltar, the Hon. and Rev. W. Scott, Rector of Maiden-Newton, the Rev. J. L. Popham, Prebendary of Salisbury and Rector of Chilton, the Ven. Henry Drury, Archdeacon of Wilts, the Rev. James Fraser, Vicar of Cholderdon and [53/54] Fellow of Oriel, the Kev. W. B. Heathcote, late Fellow of New College and Precentor of Sarum, and the Bishop's brothers-in-law, the Rev. Francis Lear, Rector of Bishopstone and subsequently Precentor of Salisbury, and the Rev. S. H. Lear, his domestic chaplain. Such a staff furnished him with wide scholarship, accurate theological learning, practical administrative talent, earnest pastoral zeal, and tried friendship and loyalty. Nothing could be more affectionate and cordial than the relations which subsisted between them; and the Bishop certainly lost no opportunity of showing his sense of this, when occasion arose, and at whatever cost of popularity to himself.
Earnestly desirous as the Bishop was to make his Confirmations contribute as much as possible to the spiritual life of his diocese, he was even more anxious to raise the tone of all that preceded and accompanied the administration of Holy Orders. He had at first intended to hold Ordinations at each of the Ember seasons, as a matter of course. But, in an agricultural diocese, the difficulty felt by his clergy in sparing their Deacon-curates during the busy week preceding Christmas, obliged him to content himself with ordaining regularly in Lent, at Trinity, and in September. Long before each Ordination he became nervously anxious about the dispositions and capacities of the several candidates; feeling, as he said, the older he grew, more and more acutely, how terrible was the responsibility of conferring the ministerial character upon unfit recipients. In order to spare himself and others the pain of rejecting candidates on the score of great and fundamental ignorance, he held a preliminary examination, six weeks before the Ember-tide, by which he [54/55] ascertained whether a man had a fair chance of passing. This gave him an opportunity of pointing out the particular reading which was necessary in order to correct serious deficiencies before the examination, or of privately advising the candidate to delay his ordination for another three or six months. The general result of the plan was to spare a great deal of pain and annoyance, and to add to the attainments of some men who knew least. The Bishop was indeed most anxious, if it might be, to raise the standard of knowledge required by his examinations; and, in particular, to insist upon some acquaintance with Hebrew in all his ordinands. With a view to this and other improvements, after taking counsel with his chaplains, he issued in 1864 a new list of "Subjects and Books in which Candidates for Holy Orders are Examined;" and appended to it a "Supplementary List, recommended as useful to Candidates for Holy Orders," and intended to furnish some direction and impulse to preparatory or subsequent studies. What amount and kind of knowledge suffices to constitute a high or an adequate standard is, of course, a matter of opinion: unquestionably it would be too much to say that the Bishop's own hopes and anticipations on this score were completely realized. But he felt that, beyond a certain point, he could not press the improvements which he desired; he had, at least, succeeded in raising his examination-standard on the whole considerably; and, for the rest, the intellectual and theological attainments of the majority of candidates for holy orders depended upon causes which were in reality beyond his reach, and which, vital as is the importance of the subject, cannot be discussed within these limits. But the spiritual, as distinct from the intellectual, preparation for Holy Orders, was a matter perhaps nearer [55/56] than any other to Bishop Hamilton's heart. It seemed to him to be "a pitiable thing" that the three days immediately preceding the most solemn spiritual act in a man's whole life should be spent amid the mental anxieties and exhaustion which belong to an examination in the schools, flavoured by a single administration of the Holy Communion, and by attendance at morning and evening service. At the evening service, it is true, the Bishop addressed the candidates; but, after answering three considerable papers of Questions on Divinity, men are often too fatigued to listen even to the most effective Sermon with sympathy and profit. Such, however, was the practice of the diocese up to 1864, when Bishop Hamilton carried out a partial improvement. Of this the most important feature was that the examination began on Wednesday morning and ended on Friday night; the whole of Saturday being thus relieved of any duties that could interfere with a purely spiritual preparation for the Sunday. Henceforth the Holy Communion was to be celebrated on Saturday as well as on Wednesday morning; and a little work, drawn up under the Bishop's direction, and published with his authority, as "Prayers for use at a Midday Service, during the Four Days preceding an Ordination," supplied an additional devotional element, intended to bring before the minds of the ordinands the real nature of the responsibilities on which they would presently enter, and the kind of preparation which was required of them. At this midday service on Saturday one of the chaplains in attendance was appointed to give an address; while the Bishop himself continued his practice of preaching on each of the four evenings in his chapel, generally taking his text from the service of the day, and insisting upon some one aspect of [56/57] ministerial life and work. In these addresses, at least, of late years, he always took occasion to enforce a practice which he himself scrupulously observed, as being, in his judgment, of binding obligation upon the conscience of the clergy; the practice of saying the Morning and Evening Service daily, in private if not in public, unless a man be hindered by sickness or other urgent cause, according to the plain direction of the Prayer Book. ["And all Priests and Deacons are to say daily the Morning and Evening Prayer either privately or openly, not being let by sickness or some other urgent cause." Book of Common Prayer, Concerning the Service of the Church.] Bishop Hamilton was of opinion that such a habit was practically of great importance in promoting a healthy development of the spiritual side of the clerical character. And he rarely lost an opportunity of saying so. [Charge of the Lord Bishop of Salisbury, in August, 1858, p, 32. Also Charge, 1864, p. 89. Also Charge, 1867, p. 126.]
By these and other changes a considerable improvement was effected in the religious accompaniments of the Examinations for Holy Orders. But, to the last, they fell very far short of the ideal which the Bishop had before his mind. He would have preferred to begin the Examination on Monday morning and to end it altogether on Wednesday night. He would then if it were possible, have devoted, the three last days of the week to a Spiritual Retreat; in which all the great realities of the soul's life, of sin and Redemption, of life and death, might be brought clearly and searchingly home to the conscience of each one of the candidates. In the way of such an arrangement there were difficulties which need not be reviewed here; but the Bishop never abandoned the hope of moving in this direction, and at the same time, of course, of increasing [57/58] the number of celebrations of the Holy Communion, and otherwise providing for the strictly religious side of preparation for the great day of ordination itself.
It was his deep sense of the crying deficiencies of the Church of England in respect of the training of her clergy for their life and work, which led him, at the very outset of his Episcopate, to resolve upon the establishment of a Theological College at the earliest possible date. "Indeed," says the Bishop, "the thought of it was first suggested to me by my beloved predecessor in 1841. But neither he nor I after him ever saw the way of giving effect to it, till in God's good providence an anonymous benefactor enabled me to purchase a house, and so to lay the foundation of an institution, to the effective carrying on of which I hope, as long as I am spared, to give my very best endeavours. It was, I believe, the same merciful Providence to which I owe the college, which brought before me in a remarkable and unexpected manner a person well known to the late Bishop and myself as one of the best candidates for holy orders we had ever examined, and whose tried services as a curate to one of the most distinguished theologians in the diocese marked him out as eminently qualified for the office of Principal." [Charge, August, 1861, p. 18.] The college was thus opened under the auspices of the Rev. E. P. Eddrup, assisted by the Rev. H. T. Kingdon as his Vice-Principal. Upon Mr. Eddrup's acceptance of the vicarage of Bremhill, in the course of 1868, the Principalship was conferred on the Rev. John Daubeny, who became at the same time Chancellor of the Cathedral.
The Chancellor's Stall had been held by Mr. [58/59] Daubeny's predecessor, and on the ground that the ancient statutes of Salisbury, as generally of cathedrals on the Old Foundation, attached to that office the delivery of divinity lectures at stated periods. Bishop Hamilton was particularly anxious to connect his Theological College closely with the cathedral, and thus to make its establishment a first step in the realization of those improvements which he had sketched in his pamphlet on Cathedral Reform. "There are very obvious reasons," he urged, "for placing Theological Colleges in our cathedral cities, where by the constitution of our Church all hearts should meet, and which ought to be a centre of all those good influences to which we should especially desire to subject the minds of those who are hoping to be numbered among the clergy of their Church." [Charge, 1861, p. 19.] On the other hand, it was, perhaps, open to question whether, under our actual circumstances, this determination might not involve some sacrifice of the interests of the college to the claims of the cathedral; whether a heartier worship in a village church and in the college chapel might not practically have been more helpful to the students than the stately, but somewhat cold, services in the cathedral choir; whether the social distractions of a cathedral city would present no difficulties which could be escaped if the college were placed at some little distance in the country. These considerations were present to the Bishop's mind; but they did not appear to him strong enough to outweigh his old and decided feeling in favour of reanimating the spiritual activities of his cathedral church. Yet as time went on he endeavoured to provide for the efficiency of the college more perfectly than was at first possible. In its earlier years [59/60] the students had lodged at various places in the city; the house in the Close being occupied only by the Principal. The natural tendency of this arrangement was to reduce the "College" to a system of divinity lectures, supplemented by a certain amount of required attendance at the cathedral services: and it was difficult to see in what respect such an institution could be said to present higher advantages than might be secured by a prolonged residence at Oxford or Cambridge. Indeed, if this was all that Theological Colleges could effect, the Universities offered attractions to divinity students which, in the long-run, were likely to be much more powerful. No cathedral city could hope to rival the lectures offered by that large staff of Divinity Professors, or those splendid libraries, or those intellectual and literary traditions which make study so natural to University residents. But, on the other hand, it was in the power of a Theological College to do that which no college in the Universities, at least in modern times, has even attempted; it could create a corporate religious atmosphere. Thus its proper work would not merely consist in furnishing its students with an intellectual outfit enabling them to pass a creditable examination. Besides this, and emphatically, its endeavour should be to form in them those spiritual tastes and habits, to accustom them to those religious points of view, to elicit and develope in them that pastoral temper, keen, chastened, and more or less at home with the things of heaven and of the soul, which would make a clergyman's work natural and easy to them. It was clear enough that nothing of this kind could be attempted, with any hope of permanent success, unless the students lived together, in constant intercourse with a Principal who, like the Apostle, "would travail until Christ was [60/61] formed in them." [Gal. iv. 19.] Not merely in the formal capacity and with the authority of a lecturer, but at meals and during walks, and in the hourly casual intercourse of the day, it would be his business, as an equal living with his equals, to endeavour to recommend to each and all of those under his charge, by every means in his power, those solemn truths and duties which too often are only understood in their real aspects and proportions long after men have already undertaken the solemn responsibilities of the ministry. Moreover, frequent services and Communions, together with special instructions, not only in the outward mechanism of clerical work, but in the spiritual life of God's servants; in a knowledge whose very terminology may be a strange language to those who are supposed, as a matter of course, to understand its inmost secrets;--all this and much else of the same kind was needed, if the college was to do more than offer an easy way into holy orders to young men who had not had the advantage of an University education, or who could not pass the examination for the B.A. degree.
The most recent changes then in the administration of the college were carried out by Bishop Hamilton with the specific intention of making it a real training-school, so far as was possible, of "able ministers of the New Testament." [2 Cor. iii. 6.] Full well he knew how many anxieties surrounded his work; how many varieties of failure were only too possible; how largely, if he was to succeed at all, he must draw upon the sympathy and disinterestedness of those who worked with him. But in a case where some effort of the kind was, in his judgment, so altogether necessary, the Bishop would not allow himself to dwell, in a faithless spirit, upon [61/62] the difficulties which he had to surmount. Certainly upon no other part of his diocesan work was his interest directed with more eager intensity; to no other undertaking of his Episcopate did he refer in his last illness so frequently, or with such earnest expressions of a desire for its continued usefulness. He "could have wished sometimes that God had spared him to see the college more firmly established; but, of course, all was well as it was, and the work would be taken care of by God, if it was destined to do Him any good service."
Education, indeed, in all its stages, was a subject upon which the Bishop dwelt with constant anxiety. He was well persuaded that it would be the battle-field upon which, not Church and Dissent, but the Christian and the infidel theories of human life, would engage in a desperate struggle before the end of the present century. He was wont to repeat a maxim of Bishop Denison's that "Education is a Christian calling, a ministration in the Church of Christ." [Charge of the Lord Bishop of Salisbury, 1855, p. 17, where he quotes Bishop Denison's Charge of 1845, p. 23.] It involves so much of the discouragement which is inseparable from monotony, difficulty, and failure, that he felt the necessity of keeping this high, invigorating belief in the real nature of the work steadily in view. On a similar ground he warmly supported the "Prize Scheme" which was set on foot in 1859. "The work of Education," he pleaded, "is one of faith and hope, struggling with much that seems to be dull, disappointing, routine duty; and thus it requires all the aid that we can give it from the external pressure of encouragement." [Charge of the Lord Bishop of Salisbury, 1861, p. 23.] But he would consent, in no shape whatever, to sanction the principle of a Conscience Clause. It was [62/63] better, he thought, in the last resort, to forego the assistance of public money altogether, than to allow truths, which were a part of the Divine treasure committed to the guardianship of the Church, to be treated in any schools under her influence as practically open questions. "We know," he said, "the worst of poverty; but who can say how God will punish the sin of unfaithfulness?"
The Conscience Clause has of late been advocated on the ground that its timely adoption can alone save us from the misery and degradation of a purely secular system of education. In his last public utterance on the subject, Bishop Hamilton states his reasons for anticipating a very opposite result.
"As far as I can judge, though I admit that my judgment may be warped by my fears, the great and pressing question of a National Education for all who require the assistance of the State will eventually be decided in favour of a secular system.....Such an issue will be indeed a deplorable one. But there is another thing which I dread far more than such a conclusion, and this is, the process by which it seems not unlikely that we may reach it. This process may render the Church unfit to deal with the evils which her acts of concession to and co-operation with those who will only use her for their own ends, will have fostered and produced.
"The concession I am specially alluding to is that held in the acceptance of the Conscience Clause. It is proposed to school-builders as an arrangement, which will in no way weaken the religious teaching of the school, but only equitably meet and relieve the scruples of Dissenters, and even through such consideration of them, possibly disarm their opposition, [63/64] and so really in most cases leave the religious teaching of the school where it was.
"But I have no hope that such will be the result. Persons who get legal claims established will most surely and most justly show their value for their rights, and will soon take steps to secure for their children the same privileges of definite religious teaching which the Church is to have, it is said, exclusively; and I for one could not refuse to help them in what I should deem, in their altered circumstances, a righteous effort for their children's well-being.
"Any one, however, who will calmly consider what would be the result of such a further, and, as I think, right and necessary, concession, and what complication of strifes and difficulties would arise, will not have much confidence in the continuance, under those altered circumstances, of a so-called religious Education." [Charge of the Lord Bishop of Salisbury, 1867, pp. 17, 18.]
In the centres of the Higher Education within his diocese, the Bishop felt the liveliest interest; although his relation to them was, necessarily, one of sympathy and encouragement, as distinct from any direct control. But he used to hope that a Confirmation at a great school, besides securing more important results to the souls of the pupils, would give such a moral impulse to the whole work, as to lighten the task of the Head Master and his fellow-labourers. No Confirmation addresses cost him so much forethought as those which he gave to the boys of Marl-borough and Sherborne; and he was convinced that the dearest interests of the Church made it important to raise the teaching standard of all the old Grammar-schools, and, if possible, to inspire them with a more [64/65] Church-like and religious spirit, while invigorating them with a heartier educational enthusiasm.
If Christian Education is nothing less than the instrument by which the Church of Christ maintains her hold upon countries which are already Christian, it is scarcely more important than that other agency, whereby she proclaims the Name and Work of Our Divine Saviour to the millions of our race who are still "lying in darkness and the shadow of death." Bishop Hamilton used to say that he feared people were getting to look upon the duty of supporting Christian Missions as a mere matter of taste. He held that every Christian, as such, was bound to be a missionary. The Truth which each Christian has received has only been received upon the condition of its being communicated to those who do not as yet possess it. If, therefore, a Christian is prevented by other obligations from discharging his natural duty to the heathen in person, he is bound to discharge it by deputy. No man, whose heart has really felt the love of a Crucified Lord, will require the case to be stated in this way; and yet to state it thus, is to put the matter on its true basis. Bishop Hamilton heartily supported both of the great Missionary Societies; but he preferred the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, as being, in his opinion, the more loyal in its practical working, to the principles of the Church of England. At the same time he regretted the tendency--which is perhaps inseparable from all such organizations until they can be placed upon a footing more distinctly religious than is at present the case--to bury the action of one of the highest and purest movements of the Divine Spirit in the heart of redeemed Christians beneath an accumulation of meetings, platform oratory, [65/66] subscription lists, committee elections, deputations, secretaries, and the like. These things are of course necessary to the work; but they are not unlikely, as matters stand, to occupy the whole field of vision, in the apprehension of the people. Although, therefore, the Bishop made the Meeting in support of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel at Salisbury one of the greatest occasions in the diocesan year, by inviting some eminent prelate to preach on the occasion in the Cathedral, and by doing all that he could to procure the attendance of his clergy and laity, he was in truth more anxious for men than for money. He was more anxious to be sure that God was really moving the hearts of His people zealously to forward this work, so deeply affecting His Name and Honour, than to see a larger contribution from the diocese to the funds of the Society; strongly as he felt and urged the importance of contributing. At the desire of the Archdeacons and Rural Deans of the Diocese, he himself prepared a Litany for Missions. It was always used on Friday mornings, at the family prayer in the Palace Chapel, and the Bishop looked anxiously for an answer in a visible increase of the missionary spirit. [Charge, 1861, p. 29.] He took particular pleasure in dwelling on the fact that the Diocese of Salisbury had recently sent forth two eminent pastors to preside over important Colonial; [Dr. Tufnell, Bishop of Brisbane, and Dr. Cotton, late Metropolitan of India, are the Right Reverend Prelates referred to.] and the present writer well remembers his unfeigned delight when two sons of one of his clergy devoted themselves to Missionary work in China. [Rev. H. Moule. See Charge, 1861, p. 29.] "If" he said, [66/67] "there is an increasing difficulty of finding clergy for all our churches and chapels in England, what must be the difficulty, humanly speaking, in supplying the demand abroad? And yet the difficulty must be met; and its very greatness throws us upon the only true grounds of confidence, namely, the workings of God's grace in the hearts of men, drawing them by very special tokens to this more difficult ministry, and the fostering all such operations of God's Spirit, by such appliances as God may place in our hands." [Charge, 1861, p. 28. Accordingly he was warmly interested in the success of the Training Institution for Missionaries, which has been established at Warminster by the vicar, and placed under the care of the Rev. J. R. Madan, in order to act as a feeder to St. Augustine's College at Canterbury. "Many vocations to the missionary life," he thought, "are simply wasted through neglect of making the most of them; and such an estimate of the higher gifts of the Holy Spirit cannot but be very offensive to Him."
In all forms of "doing good" throughout his diocese the Bishop's interest was of that genuine kind which showed itself in the turn of his private conversation, as well as in his official action. Under Bishop Denison he had had a chief hand in establishing a Penitentiary at Salisbury. [Charge, 1855, p. 19.] And he always looked forward to placing that institution under the care of Sisters of Mercy;--an experiment which has worked so well in the dioceses of Oxford, London, Ripon, Exeter, Gloucester, and elsewhere. A glance at the subjects even of his published sermons (and they form but a very small proportion of those which he preached on this kind of occasion) will show how much thought and [67/68] labour he gave to the promotion of various forms of philanthropic activity. Thus we have a sermon for Welsh charity schools preached on St. David's Day in 1855; another, on behalf of the Church Penitentiary Association, in 1857; another, in 1859, for the Lunatic Asylum at Fisherton, a species of institution in the religious conduct of which he always felt the deepest interest; another, in the same year, for the Wilts Friendly Society; another, in 1862, for the Hospital at Dorchester, preached at the opening of its chapel. He was, indeed, an indefatigable preacher; constantly taking vacant turns at the Cathedral, and willingly responding to invitations from all parts of his diocese whenever he could possibly accept them. Thus he has left published sermons on "The Present Claims of the Principle of Tithes," on "Church Music," on "Cathedrals and Church Music," on "The Soldier's Calling," preached to the Volunteers. In it he insists upon a Christian duty, too often, as he thought, and too lightly overlooked, that, namely, of personal loyalty and love to the Queen. There are also sermons to the Charity Children at St. Paul's; and, in 1858, at the special evening service in Westminster Abbey, besides others in Lent courses at Oxford. Perhaps no one of his sermons contains so much of his mind, or expresses it so characteristically, as "Our Founder's Purpose," delivered at the 600th anniversary of the foundation of Merton College, Oxford, and dedicated to the Bishop's old and honoured friend, the Warden; while those on "Henry Drury; his Faith and the End of his Conversation," and on the death of Mrs. Tooke, the devoted and holy wife of the late Rector of St. Edmund's, Salisbury, show how deep and individualizing was the [68/69] admiration he felt for goodness and the sympathy which he felt for sorrow in others,--or rather, how thoroughly all such sorrow was his own.
Fearless as was the Bishop in expressing his own convictions when he was conscientiously satisfied of the duty of doing so, he attached the greatest importance to ascertaining, as accurately as he could, the opinions of his clergy, and of embodying them in his own public utterances. With this view he took the greatest interest in the proceedings of the Ruridecanal Chapters throughout the diocese. He himself always prescribed the subjects for discussion at these meetings. The conclusions arrived at were duly reported to him; and he carefully studied both the average bearings and the prominent eccentricities of clerical opinion within his diocese. Among the subjects which he suggested for consideration are the following:--The chief wants in Elementary Education; the Ministrations of Women in charitable works; proposed alterations of the 29th Canon (March, 1859); services of laymen in the Ministry of the Word; revival of the Offertory, under what restrictions and for what definite purposes; the establishment of Bible or Communicant Classes for the Confirmed; how better to utilize Sunday-schools; how to provide for Disabled Clergy; on proposed alterations in the Burial Service; does the Church of England fulfil her duty as a Missionary Church? how best to promote Missions to the heathen; the establishment of Missionary Studentships; difficulties of Revision of the Prayer Book; should the Authorized Version of the Bible be revised? should laymen attend the Ruridecanal Chapters? how to make preaching effective; the Scriptural doctrine and obligations of Marriage; the [69/70] true idea and functions of a Cathedral. Of all these discussions he tabulated the results with the most conscientious accuracy; and by this means he was able to occupy a double relation towards the opinion of his clergy,--a relation at once governing and representative; he first gave it a direction, and then, so far as he possibly could, he set himself to proclaim and carry out its average verdict. He often expressed the opinion that if the Church's ancient organization in Ruridecanal Chapters were properly worked, there would be no necessity for embarking in the modern, and in some respects perilous, experiment of Diocesan Conferences. He "could not but fear that such Conferences would in time lead to giving the laity a vote upon questions of doctrine." He should be thankful to lay members of the Church if they would manage the economical and charitable affairs of the Diocese as exclusively as possible. But if the Ministerial Commission was in any serious sense of Divine origin; if the authorization to teach and to guard the deposit of Christian truth had really been committed by Christ to an Apostolical order of men; then it was not possible, without ignoring our Lord's ordinance at least, to admit the laity to a vote upon any purely doctrinal questions in a Church Synod. Were the laity ever to be so admitted, it would be a natural and logical consequence at once to beg them to occupy the pulpits of the Church, and to do away with the teaching prerogatives of the ministry altogether: since it was quite clear that a vote on a doctrinal subject in Synod, implying permanent results upon the faith and practice of a province or a diocese, was in reality a more emphatic exercise of a commission to teach, than was involved in a sermon, having no doctrinal consequences [70/71] beyond the deepened impressions of the hour upon a single congregation.
It would, however, be a mistake to suppose that Bishop Hamilton was only the Bishop of his clergy; and that the laity of his diocese were neglected. As he spent his whole time in the diocese, never taking a house in London after the year during which his chaplaincy to the House of Lords obliged him to do so, he was a constant visitor at the homes of laymen in Wilts and Dorset. His frank and genial bearing made him universally popular. One of his maxims was that, whenever it was fairly practicable, a Bishop ought to settle difficulties "on the spot." Accordingly, when differences had arisen in a parish he would, if he could, spend two or three days with either the clergyman or the squire, and "arrange in a friendly conversation a matter which might have been prolonged interminably if it had been left to correspondence." And towards prominent laymen in the diocese, such as the Earl of Shaftesbury, who were notoriously unable to agree with him in some matters of grave importance, his feeling was one of unaffected cordiality. For Lord Shaftesbury, in particular, he always expressed the greatest respect, and deplored the want of an entire sympathy between them. Nor was this feeling by any means unreciprocated. Nothing could be more hearty and sincere than the enthusiasm of a speech in which, some years ago, at Sherborne, that nobleman proposed, within hearing of the present writer, the health of Bishop Hamilton. To the laity, no less than to the clergy, the hospitable doors of the Palace at Salisbury were always open; and while the Bishop abstained most carefully from making any outlay upon objects which might savour of personal ostentation, he carried [71/72] his simple, unrestricted hospitality to the very verge of imprudence, if not beyond it.
But he was, emphatically, the Bishop--not of the upper classes merely, but--of the poor. He thought and felt that they had a first claim upon the servants of Christ, and that the too-aristocratic character of the Church of England was one of her misfortunes. It would be impossible to enumerate his many ministries of mercy to poor people, after the burden of the Episcopate had been laid upon him; but there was one characteristic proceeding which deserves a mention, the "Epiphany dinner," as it was called. It was held every year at the Palace, on a day as near as might be to the Feast of the Epiphany; and one hundred persons, more or less, were invited. They were selected by the clergy of the various parishes in the city from among the poorest of their flocks. The dinner consisted of roast beef, plum-pudding, and other appropriate materials; and the Bishop and his family looked forward to waiting upon their guests on this occasion as one of the pleasures of Christmas-tide.
For this and other similar pastoral relations with his people, the method and simplicity of his life afforded him ample scope. He was never absent from Salisbury, except upon diocesan business, or for a short holiday in the late autumn of the year. His life at Salisbury was marked by great regularity of occupation. He generally attended the early morning prayers in the Cathedral at 7.30 a.m.; he then read until 8.45 a.m., when Prayers were said in the Palace Chapel. This was followed by breakfast; after which the Bishop was continuously occupied until the afternoon service in the Cathedral, either in interviews or correspondence with his clergy. When the service was over, he often [72/73] paid visits, or took a short ride or country walk; but after dinner he would again frequently retire to his study and read or write until 10 p.m., when prayers were said in the Palace Chapel. After that he disappeared, sometimes to rest, not seldom to read and write again until a late hour in the night. No one could be a visitor at his Palace without feeling that its atmosphere was, in no respect that of the house of an English nobleman; every thing bespoke a Chief Pastor of the Church of Christ. And the more intimately he was known, the deeper became the conviction of the entire consistency of his life, and of the strength of its governing principle. His conversation at table, in his study, or during walks, was uniformly related, more or less remotely, to the one interest of his heart and thought. His actions, even when their motives were not apparent to all, were regulated by the supreme consideration of his duty to God and to his diocese; and his expenditure was conducted upon the same principle, with what others might deem excessive indifference to the social aspects of his position. After the first year or two of his Episcopate he gave up his carriage; and he spent nothing whatever upon the Palace, with a view only to its decoration or its enlargement. Certainly, in order to increase the comfort of his servants, he laid down asphalt throughout the whole of the ground floor; and he restored to the Palace Chapel its ancient bell-turret. He always hoped to do something towards beautifying the chapel itself. During the year before his death some friends erected in it a reredos to the memory of his brother-in-law and chaplain, the Rev. Sidney H. Lear. And there were vague intentions of filling the windows with stained glass and of decorating the bare south wall of the chapel with a fresco. A fresco had been offered as a gift to the [73/74] chapel by one of the most spiritual of English artists; but ere the work could begin, the hand which should have traced it was cold in death. [The allusion is to the late Mr. Dyce.]
The extent of the Bishop's correspondence was wont at times to weigh very heavily upon his spirits. He was referred to not merely by persons living in his diocese, but by correspondents throughout the Anglican branch of the Church, at home, in the colonies, and in America, on the most various subjects; his high character and fearless consistency securing for his judgment a wide and deferential attention, little suspected, it may be, until quite of late. His known adherence to primitive and Catholic truth invited the confidence of a class of minds, to which the English Episcopate is generally thought to present itself in a somewhat studiously unsympathetic aspect; and accordingly he was not un-frequently asked and expected to do and say things, with a view to removing individual scruples, which were altogether beyond his power. He used to observe that Churchmen who are not in positions of authority too often betray an inability to appreciate the difficulties of those who are; that where authority is weak, as notoriously in the case of the Hierarchy of the English Church, there must always be a contrast between that which is expected at its hands by zealous Churchmen, and that which it is really able to do; that in the Colenso case, for instance, the delays of the Episcopate, which were attributed either to indifference or to sympathy with unbelief, were really due to causes which the most earnest zeal for the Faith could not rightly ignore; that public attacks upon the Bishops were far less likely to lead them to comply [74/75] with the demands of their assailants than to help forward that general disbelief in and contempt for any claim to wield Apostolical powers, which, in its exaggeration, would be fatal to the very existence of the Church of Christ among us. "We Churchmen should do better," he said, "if we had more patience under difficulties, and a greater willingness to give credit for good motives, until we are obliged to deny it; we need less disposition to see only temporizing and compromise in resolutions adopted under the pressure of circumstances which are not in their entirety before us; and more readiness to believe that, while we ourselves can never be mistaken in adhering stoutly to principle, we may easily make mistakes as to its real applicability to this or that particular case."
The Bishop was occasionally very much perplexed as to the degree in which he ought to allow his diocesan work to be interfered with by duties in the House of Lords. It is unnecessary to say that he regarded the temporal decorations attached to his see by the State as a mere adjunct to the great spiritual commission which he held under Christ our Lord; and that his imagination was never for one moment dazzled by the social and worldly prestige which may attach to a seat in the Legislature. But it was a vexed question with his conscience how far he ought to sacrifice other claims to the opportunities which were thus placed within his reach. As a matter of fact, he seldom or never appeared in the House of Lords except when the interests of religion or morals appeared to him to be at stake. Thus, in 1857, he took an active and earnest part in the discussions which preceded the passing of the unhappy Divorce Bill. He opposed that measure, [75/76] not merely on the lower grounds of social expediency, the force of which has been since demonstrated by a bitter experience, but on the high and true ground of the indissolubility of the marriage tie, according to the plain sense of Scripture and of ancient consent--that is, according to the law and mind of Christ.
On February 15th, 1865, the Bishop had occasion to speak in Convocation on an articulus cleri, complaining of the violence done to the conscience of the Clergy by the change in the law. He thus referred to his own part in the parliamentary debate:--
"I certainly feel myself that I have not the slightest responsibility with regard to any results of this change of the law. I, from the first to the last, did my utmost, by voting in every division against the alteration of the law, to avert the evil results which I believe to have occurred in a great measure from the change. Not that I justified my opposition by any mere forecasting of what the results might be. I rested it on my clear conviction that divorce a vinculo is contrary to the law of the Church of God; that, according to the doctrine of the Church of England, marriage is indissoluble; and that this doctrine of the Church of England is justified by the teaching of God's Holy Word. This is my clear conviction, and it was that conviction which led me to vote against the change in the law." [Chronicle of Convocation, Feb. 15, 1865, p. 1900.]
Six years before he had used equally emphatic language, and in the same place.
"I look upon the Act of last year as a most fatal thing for the Church. The same power might proceed to enact a new Article of the Creed. Unless we resist these encroachments on God's Book, it is hopeless for [76/77] us to expect that God will bless the ministrations of the Church." [Chronicle of Convocation, Feb. 11, 1859, p. 33.]
To this language objections were raised by some right reverend speakers.
"I admit," remarked the Bishop of Salisbury, "that it is our special duty to view with calmness and guardedness any measures that are brought before us, and if I had made use of these expressions for the first time, I might have felt a desire to withdraw them. But I have used them with the utmost deliberation. I have made the same remarks over and over again in Parliament, and to my clergy. And instead of withdrawing them, I venture to repeat them. My opinion is that Parliament, in passing the Divorce Bill, did that which would equally justify it in making a new Article of the Creed. Whatever may be said about the true interpretation of Scripture, there can be no question as to the teaching of the Church on this subject. It was said that the change would not affect more than some half-dozen cases; but almost 400 marriages have been ' dissolved,' and the clergy may be called upon to marry persons who are already married. Now I should advise my clergy to run all risks rather than marry one of these people. The law of the Church of England on this subject was fully recognized by Lord Wensleydale and other eminent lawyers, that marriage is indissoluble; but Parliament has changed the law. And now the law of the State is at variance with the law of the Church." [Chronicle of Convocation, Feb. 11, 1859, pp. 34, 35.]
Bishop Hamilton fully recognized the probability that in coming years the laws of the State would be less Christian than they have been. He thought that [77/78] various and powerful causes, by no means confined to England, were tending to bring about the complete separation of Church and State throughout Christendom. He did not look forward with enthusiasm to the "birthday of the Church's freedom." He felt keenly that it would be a sad and solemn day for England when she formally renounced any national acknowledgment of the Christian name. But regarding the matter from the Church's point of view, he did not dread separation from the State. More to be dreaded, in his opinion, was a prolonged connexion with the State, to the maintenance of which the Church might be tempted to sacrifice her real treasure of Faith and morals. Such a connexion might last just long enough to weaken her fatally by making her an accomplice in the repudiation of some portions of the Revealed Will of Jesus Christ. If Parliament, when enacting the Divorce Bill, could in reality have legislated only for the State, Bishop Hamilton, as a Christian citizen, would have regretted a measure hostile to public morals, and therefore to the best human interests; but h_ would have felt that, in a national assembly, non-Christians and non-Churchmen might form a majority, or at any rate command one, and they would in any case have a right to be considered. He based his uncompromising opposition to the measure upon the fact, that while the present relation between Church and State continues to exist in England, the laws of the State in matters of morals will practically become the laws of the Church, whether they are in accordance with our Saviour's mind or not. The grave question which arose upon the passing of that measure was this:--Are the clergy at liberty to refuse the Holy Communion to persons who, while availing themselves of a licence allowed them by the marriage [78/79] law of the country, disobey a capital enactment of the law of God? To raise such a question at all, was to make a serious step towards disestablishment.
Not to dwell within these limits upon Bishop Hamilton's later appearances in the House of Lords, it may suffice to state that his last vote was given, when his health was already broken, against the Irish Church Suspensory Bill of 1868. He voted against that measure, because he thought that, if passed, it would involve the Church of Ireland in grave practical inconveniences, which a direct measure of disestablishment need not of necessity carry with it.
Writing on April 2nd, 1868, he says,--
"------are of one mind about the Irish Church. But I think it will carry us a long way down the hill with it; and I am often tempted to determine that our course is to seek to share her fate as an Establishment. The principle of establishments is so enfeebled, that the State will be able to squeeze much out of those who hang all their hopes on State connexion." [Letter to the Rev. H. P. Liddon.]
He used at other times to say that his own mind was most accurately expressed, on the whole, by the beautiful lines in the "Lyra Apostolica:"--
"The Church shone brightly in her youthful days
Ere the world on her smiled;
So now, an outcast, she would pour her rays
Keen, free, and undefiled:
Yet would I not that arm of force were mine
Which thrusts her from her awful ancient shrine."
Like the poet, he stood apart--
"Watching, not dreading, the despoiler's hand."
Yet he perfectly understood that a statesman may be the instrument of forces which he cannot resist, but which he can temper and control in their operation; and that the Irish Church might probably be disestablished upon much more favourable terms in 1869 than [79/80] would be granted if the process were delayed until 1879. In Convocation the Bishop defended Mr. Gladstone's motives. Mr. Gladstone, he contended, was loyal to religious truth, and loyal in his intentions towards the Church. "There are times," he said, "when the claims of Divine truth can only be maintained by the sacrifice of Church property, and Gladstone probably sees that we are entering on such a time." The Bishop was himself too keenly alive to the great dangers to be apprehended from Erastian assaults upon the Church's doctrine, and from the appointment of distinguished sceptics to high office within her, at the caprice of irreligious statesmen, to view any measure in the direction of disestablishment with the hostility of a thorough-going Conservative.
The Bishop spoke last on November 22nd, 1867, in reply to a motion of Lord Portman's accompanying the presentation of a petition, having hostile reference to the Charge of May, 1867. Lord Portman had courteously informed the Bishop of his intended motion; and several of the Bishop's friends earnestly advised him to remain away from the House, and to allow the Primate or some other member of the right reverend bench to say in his absence that a question of doctrinal orthodoxy or heterodoxy would be more satisfactorily investigated elsewhere. But he could not accept this advice. It was better, he felt, to "show himself," and to say what he believed; to assert that he had simply done his duty in delivering the impugned Charge, and that he was prepared to stand by it. "He must take the opportunity," he said, "of stating most distinctly that with regard to points of doctrine--such as the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, Absolution, Confession, the ceremonial [80/81] or ritual of the Church--he adhered to every syllable he had expressed in his Charge, after the gravest consideration he could give to the matter, since the notice of the noble lord had been given to bring forward this subject. He most distinctly asserted that he adhered as a strong English Churchman to the whole exposition he had given in his Charge. He withdrew not one single statement." [Guardian, Supplement, Nov. 27, 1867.] He ended by saying that he would, with their lordships' permission, send a copy of the Charge to every member of the House. The discussion was closed by some generous words from the Bishop of London, to which Bishop Hamilton often and gratefully referred. [Now Archbishop of Canterbury.] The petition was ordered to lie on the table.
In Convocation, as the Church's own Parliament, Bishop Hamilton took a more frequent and active part. His public Church politics were sensitively conservative. As far as the customs, laws, and formularies of the Church were concerned, he was for keeping things as they were. Thus he greatly regretted the resolution of the late Primate to throw the Lectionary into the crucible; it was possible enough, abstractedly, that we might have a better Lectionary; but, practically speaking, the probabilities were entirely in favour of our having a much worse one. He had no sympathy whatever with any desire to reduce the number of lessons which are taken from the Deutero-canonical, or Apocryphal Books of the Old Testament. And he was most earnestly opposed to the project of discarding from the list of Sunday lessons those Old Testament narratives in which the Sacred Scripture condemns, with an explicitness unwelcome to [81/82] an increased fastidiousness rather than to any higher purity of our day, those graver offences against the moral law, which are seldom, if ever, condemned in intelligible terms from the pulpit. He thought, moreover, that to accustom people to the idea of altering the Prayer Book, was to enter upon a course which would end in the disruption of the English Church. The first experiment might be confined to the Lectionary; but if it should succeed, the next would probably be made upon the Baptismal Service, or the Ordinal, or the Service for the Visitation of the Sick. There could be no doubt, he thought, that all such changes would be in a downward direction, and for the worse. He was "well convinced that in the present temper of men's minds, the Church had little to gain, and very much to lose, by any attempt to improve her formularies or customs." Thus he would not even sanction an alteration in the appointed lessons on special occasions, such as a harvest home, or the omission of the long exhortation at early celebrations of the Holy Communion. "I am afraid," he said, "of making a false conscience for myself in these matters; the rule of the Church is plain, and if it is once set aside by those who ought to administer it, there is no limit, save that of their own caprice, to the irregularities into which men may rush." In a like spirit he would not allow his chaplains to follow the modern fashion of leaving off bands: "These things are all worth something," he said; "and it is very difficult, where it is not impossible, to restore any thing which has ever been given up."
This habit of mind is observable in all the discussions which he shared in Convocation. And his share was a prominent one in the debates upon the Law of [82/83] Marriage and Divorce, Lay Co-operation, Special Services, Cathedral Statutes, the alteration of the 29th Canon, Missionary Bishops, Hymn-books, Bishop Colenso, the Increase of the Episcopate, Clergy Belief, "Essays and Reviews," Diocesan Synods, the Final Court of Appeal, Ritualism, and other matters. His general attitude as to public Church questions was cautious, conservative, deprecatory of hasty action, yet at the same time unflinching in the statement of his own principles,--not as being his own, but those of the Church of Christ.
The discussions on Ritualism, in which he took part, and at a time when he was already feeling weak and ill, illustrate his generosity not less than his foresight. As a matter of personal taste, he himself never valued ceremonial. He only joined in it or sanctioned it from a sheer sense of duty. Thus, for example, he took particular pains to intone the Ordination Service; and he insisted upon using a Pastoral Staff, which had been presented to the see by a distinguished layman. This symbol was in his eyes a visible assertion of the true and spiritual relation in which as Chief Shepherd he stood to the flock of Christ under his charge. "If, however," he said, during his last illness, "I were to be asked whether high ceremonial is a great religious blessing to me, I should be obliged to say that it is not. I know that it has the sanction of the Church's practice for centuries; I quite understand that it may be of the utmost value to the young, and to the illiterate, and to a number of people who are neither young nor unlettered, but who are differently constituted, as to these matters, from myself. But when I look back on the last ten years of my life, I think I am right in [83/84] saying that at no times has God ever filled my own soul with such a sense of His Majesty, of His love, of the happiness of communion with Him, as during the saying of the Te Deum at the early morning service in the side-chapel of our Cathedral." Often, however, he would refer to this feature of his mind as "probably a defect, showing that I do not yet know what God's perfect service means." A more natural explanation is that in the Church of Christ there is room and provision for souls of very different spiritual tastes, who yet unite in the confession of the one truth. And Bishop Hamilton's interests were too entirely centred upon questions of revealed doctrine and of moral and spiritual life to leave him time or inclination for some lesser matters of the Christian law. But when it was plain that, under pretence of attacking "Ritual," the popular Puritanism was really attacking ancient and Catholic doctrine, the Bishop of Salisbury spoke out. Almost alone among the English Bishops, and in opposition to some from whom a larger and more considerate treatment of the subject might have been expected, he insisted upon the necessity of fair play. He boldly contrasted the lukewarm and timid action of his brethren, in presence of advancing unbelief, with their eager denunciations of the unpopular Ritualists; and he pointed out the moral impossibility of applying to excesses in ritual observance, supposing them to be such, stern measures of repression, while wholesale neglect of the plainest directions of the Prayer Book on the part of large numbers of the clergy, was not merely condoned, but treated as a matter of course, by the authorities of the Church.
In his diocesan administration, Bishop Hamilton made great use of brief pastoral letters to his [84/85] Archdeacons, Rural Deans, and clergy, upon single subjects. Of these no less than fifty are lying before the writer of these lines. Their general purport is to bring some pending question or charitable cause before the mind of the diocese; and in this way they anticipated some of the ordinary functions of an Episcopal Charge. The Bishop set much store upon the jus liturgicum, which, buried out of sight as it has been by Acts of Uniformity among ourselves not less than by the autocratic and centralizing proceedings of the Roman See elsewhere, is, upon ancient principles, inherent in the Episcopate, and, within limits, in every member of it. Thus he issued a Hymn Book for the use of his diocese, a Service for the Consecration of Churches, and Prayers for the candidates at an Ordination. He also put forth, with Episcopal recommendation, for private use, prayers appropriate to the anxieties of his people during the Crimean war, a similar set of Prayers for the Indian mutiny, as well as Prayers for Missions.
Bishop Hamilton's Charges will perhaps in the long-run take a foremost place hi the memories of men, in connexion with his life and work. They were in fact the stimulants and the acknowledgments of that great advance in educational, charitable, and religious activity which has distinguished his Episcopate, and almost every detail of which, as his ample notes and journals show, was watched with the most anxious and sympathizing care by the mind which furnished, often the original impulse to begin a good work, and always the generous encouragement to continue it.
Besides his Primary Charge in 1855, which has been already alluded to, Bishop Hamilton delivered Charges in 1858, 1861, 1864, and 1867. All of [85/86] these have been published, and they form successive and instructive records of the Bishop's thought and work. They often contain interesting allusions to the friends over whose removal by death the Bishop so deeply mourned. Thus, in 1858, he pays a heartfelt tribute to the work and character of Mr. Arthur Troyte (Acland); in 1861, a like tribute to Lord Herbert; in 1864, to Archdeacon Drury and Precentor Heathcote; in 1867, to Ms brother-in-law and chaplain, the Rev. Sidney H. Lear. No one can read these notices without observing that they are as widely as possible removed from the language of official conventionalism; and that in them the Bishop sorrows, before his diocese, it may be with an excess of unreserve, for friends whose loss to himself and to the Church he felt most poignantly. Nor are the two earlier Charges without historical and doctrinal interest. In 1858 the Bishop speaks with earnestness and decision upon the then recent Divorce Bill; it had "placed the law of the land, and the law of our Blessed Lord, as expounded to us by His Church, in antagonism." [Charge of the Lord Bishop of Salisbury, 1858, p. 45.] He holds consistent language upon the kindred proposal to legalize marriage with a deceased wife's sister. [Ibid. pp. 49-52.] In 1861 he reverts to the latter subject at considerable length, and with a plainness of speech. which might well deserve the attention of those who have any, even the slightest, hand in breaking down fences which still protect the moral and Christian side of the social life of England. [Charge of the Lord Bishop of Salisbury, 1861, pp. 32-38.] It is in this Charge that we find the first allusions to the "Essay and Review" case.
 One of his clergy had contributed to that volume an article which appeared to the Bishop to contain propositions clearly at variance with the teaching of the Church. It was for this reason that he felt it to be his duty to take legal proceedings. He was indeed satisfied that, as a whole, the book contained many and powerful solvents which, if received into thoughtful minds, would certainly break up all real and active faith in the fundamental truths of Christianity. But this general conviction did not govern his action towards the particular writer who held a benefice within his jurisdiction, and towards whom, on personal grounds, he entertained every sentiment of esteem and good-will. His hesitation as to the course of duty lasted for several months; and when at length he made up his mind, it was with an amount of pain and reluctance which finds an expression, but only a partial expression, in his Charge of 1861.
For such hesitation the reasons were obvious. The Bishop was afraid of appearing to assign to an ephemeral publication a degree of importance which did not belong to it. He was afraid of adding to its actual importance. He was dissatisfied with the fitness of the courts of judicature "for weighing in the fine balances of truth" the delicate questions which would have to be brought before them. Above all, he feared lest he himself might be acting, however unconsciously, from "any feelings of indignation," and in forgetfulness of "the claims of justice and fair-dealing and charity." [Charge, 1861, p. 62.] It appeared to him that these grave considerations were outweighed by the actual meaning of the language of the particular essay, viewed in the light of solemn engagements into which a Bishop enters at his consecration.
 One who knew him very intimately, but who would have been unable altogether to sympathize with the course which he felt bound on this occasion to take, has observed that "the tenour of his ecclesiastical reading, and probably what he thought was required of him as a Bishop of the Church, bound to maintain the truth, and to 'banish and drive away all erroneous and strange doctrine,' rather inclined him to what is generally termed the 'dogmatic' school in theology. But it was a dogmatism wonderfully free from intolerance. If he was actuated by jealousy, it was jealousy such as influenced the prophet Elijah--for God's honour and truth, not for his own prerogatives or opinions. The single ecclesiastical prosecution in which he ever engaged he undertook under an imperious sense of duty. He failed in it; but I believe that success would have been more painful to him than was the failure. For vindictiveness was no element in his character; nor was his the temper that 'loves to make a man an offender for a word.'" [J. F., in Salisbury and Winchester Journal, Aug. 7, 1869.]
In this admirable statement there is probably only one opinion to which any exception would be taken. Bishop Hamilton's "dogmatism" was not, at least originally, due to his reading any more than it was due to his disposition and temper. It resulted from his direct a?id clear perception of the conditions under which a Divine revelation can be received as such into the human soul. "Undogmatic" Christianity certainly appeared to him to be at issue with the common sense of religion as completely as with all known forms of historical Christianity. But these larger questions had nothing to do with his resolution to act in the case before him. His action was the result of a sense [88/89] of duty brought to bear upon propositions, as to the relation of which to the doctrine of the Church there could, in his opinion, be no mistake. He would have been thankful to convince himself that, in this opinion, he was mistaken. For, as the writer just quoted most truly remarks, "He knew as well as any, how strongly, in our grasp of what we believe to be truth, we are affected by circumstances and antecedent influences,--the traditions of the past, the spirit of the present. His own faith had passed through phases; and though the anchors of no man's soul held firmer than his, he could sympathize with those who are "driven about and tossed." [J. F., ubi supra.] Yet sympathy with the anguish of doubt is one thing, and approval of the self-assertion of scepticism is another. The Bishop was satisfied that he had no right to evade a plain duty, "against the discharge of which his conscience could suggest no motive more serious than the dread of an unsuccessful issue." [Letter to the Archdeacons, Easter Week, 1864.]
Here are some extracts from his letters at this time:--
May 8, 1861: "I feel most oppressed by the sense of the responsibility." May 11, 1861: "I decided yesterday to take legal proceedings." June 4, 1861: "I feel utterly indifferent as to what ------ and ------ say. Now that I am no longer in doubt as to what my duty is, I am quite ready to bear any amount of rebuke and coldness that may be awarded me." [MS. letter to the Rev. H. P. Liddon. MS. letter to the same. MS. letter to the same.]
The case was sent by letters of request to the Arches Court of Canterbury, and the Bishop resolved not to institute proceedings under the 13th of Elizabeth, but under the general law of the Church. [The Rev. J. Keble earnestly advised this course.]
 The Statute of Elizabeth left no discretion to the Court as to the sentence to be pronounced against the convicted clerk. It ordered deprivation "ab officio et beneficio" to be the sentence, unless the clerk should fully retract the heresy of which he was found guilty. But the general Canon Law, or that portion of it which has become the Common Law Ecclesiastical of this realm, imposed no such restriction upon the Court. It permitted the Court to pronounce a sentence of admonition, suspension, or deprivation, according to its discretion. In the present, case, it being open to the prosecutor to adopt either mode of procedure, he with characteristic benevolence, but also with the full approval of his legal advisers, chose the latter and milder course. [Sir R. J. Phillimore, then the Queen's Advocate and the Bishop's leading Counsel, now Judge of the High Court of Admiralty, informs me that this statement is correct.]
The case was thus argued before Dr. Lushington, at that time Dean of the Arches. Of the thirteen articles of charge, Dr. Lushington admitted only four; he required two others to be reformed, and rejected seven. It was at this time open to the Bishop, by appealing to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, either to attempt to re-open the whole case, or simply to endeavour to maintain the sentence of the Archbishop's Court. Legally speaking, the former would have been the prudent course with a view to securing a favourable decision from the Judicial Committee. But the Bishop again waived a legal advantage in obedience to what he believed to be a higher consideration. He shrank from the responsibility of recognizing the present Court of Final Appeal by himself invoking its interference with any part of a [90/91] decision of the Church's Court of Canterbury. He might be dragged before the civil tribunal; he would not, as a Bishop of the Church, appeal to it. For this hesitation he has been censured. But his answer to his critics was that, while, in his opinion, he had no choice about moving in the matter, he could not control the circumstances under which he did so. [Letter to the Archdeacons, 1864.] He had hoped that the Court of Arches might have given such a decision, and on such clear and cogent grounds, as to command general acquiescence, and so to discourage any further legal proceedings. The defendant, however, appealed from the judgment of the Court of Arches to the Privy Council. And that tribunal decided that, having regard to the course which the trial had taken in the Court below, and to the fact that no appeal had been prosecuted from the decision of the Judge of the Arches--a decision by which the Articles of charge were much curtailed and indeed mutilated--it could only consider the mangled portions which were left, and these also without reference to the other parts of the Essay. [See Judgments, Brodrick and Fremantle, p. 289.] Taking this view of the law applicable to the case, the majority of the Judicial Committee found that there was not enough left of the charge to warrant a sentence against the defendant in a criminal suit. From this decision the two Metropolitans formally dissented. For himself the Bishop of Salisbury felt that it was far better to have failed than to have done nothing. "Bad as such an issue is, and terrible as is the thought at times that I have not only been an instrument of placing the majesty of the law on the side of error, but even through [91/92] the confusion which exists in men's minds between what the Church teaches and what it is not penal to teach, have been also a means of enabling men to claim for such error, however mistakenly, the authority of the Church, I am prepared to assert that my present responsibility is nothing to what it would have been, had I allowed myself, by dread of the evil possibly resulting from legal proceedings, to be deterred from the discharge of an act of duty." [Charge, 1864, p. 29.]
It was in the Charge of 1864 that the Bishop recommended "Retreats" to the attention of his clergy. What a "Retreat" might mean,--whether it was any thing material or any thing moral,--was a subject of some grotesque misapprehensions at the time. But it is difficult to understand how any serious Christian, using his common sense, can object to that which it actually does mean. Call it a religious conference, or retirement, and every one will pronounce it to be admirable;--so entirely are we the slaves of phraseology and prejudice. A company of clergymen retire from their usual duties for three or four days or a week. They are addressed some three times during each day by a brother clergyman, upon the bona fide application to their own souls of the great truths which they preach to others. They spend the intervening time in self-examination and reconsideration of their past work and lives. They return to their pastoral labours braced and invigorated to an extent of which those who have never tried the experiment can have little suspicion. This was what the Bishop recommended in a much-canvassed passage of his Charge; and, since 1864, his recommendations have happily been largely ratified by an increasingly wide experience.
 In August, 1865, the Bishop himself attended a "Retreat," which was conducted by the Rev. T. T. Carter, of Clewer. In writing to a friend he says, "I had formed great hopes of what it might be; but the reality far exceeded them: and I heartily wish that all my clergy could have the same opportunity for good. It certainly ministers to the soul the greatest help to a better knowledge of itself and of our God. Whether this good is permanent, of course, must depend upon the after-use made of the stirring and awakening given to all one's powers for good ..... I can truly say that I cannot trace the slightest connexion between such exercises and the forsaking our Church for the Church of Rome. Indeed, I should feel it to be an act of disloyalty to the Church of England to allow that she could not safely use an instrument of such power to bring the soul to a better knowledge of itself and of its God." In the course of each of the years that has followed the Bishop has repeated this experiment, and always with the same, or rather a stronger, conviction of its value. In September, 1868, he was already feeling very ill; but "nothing would induce him to forego such a blessing to his soul."
The subject of that last Retreat was Preparation for Death: the Bishop took the most copious notes of the meditations which were given, and he constantly referred to them during the last months of his life. The clergyman who conducted that Retreat observes, that "the Bishop's way of spending it was very remarkable, and in harmony with all his life and character. He seemed so entirely to realize his office and position amongst his clergy. There was not a particle of stiffness or exclusiveness in his bearing. He was at once the brother and the father of the clergy assembled at [93/94] the Retreat. It was impossible to forget that he was Bishop of the diocese: yet it was as impossible not to feel that he was heart and soul one, in all his interests, and in all his feelings of responsibility, in sympathy and in affection, with all his brother clergy. It was very touching to notice his quiet, simple obedience to all the rules which govern a Retreat, and his absolute submission of the whole conduct of the Retreat to the person whom he had chosen to conduct it. There was only one seeming exception to this, which was in itself characteristic of the Bishop. He requested that at the Daily Celebration the Long Exhortation should be always used. He did not think that he had any authority as a Bishop to dispense with the Church's law on the subject, as he understood it. He held that the law expressed in the rubric bound him, as much as it bound every priest in his diocese. His own earnest attention to the addresses was a thing never to be forgotten. It was the more striking, because he put himself in so childlike a manner into the position of a learner, when in office, in authority, in mental and much more in spiritual attainments, he ought to have been, save by his own voluntary submission, the teacher. Not less remarkable was his tender interest in the individual clergy, whose dispositions, difficulties, and trials, he seemed to know, as a parent would know those of his children ..... It was remarkable that death, and that which follows death, the account which each soul must render to God at the Particular Judgment, were prominent subjects in the last Retreat which the Bishop attended. Perhaps his own precarious state at the time suggested the idea; but it certainly struck one of those present that [94/95] the thought pressed upon us by these subjects took a very strong hold of the Bishop's mind. No one could forget .... the few words in which, at the end of the Retreat, he ascribed to God all that had been done in the souls of those who had met together. He made us feel what was the real object of a Retreat, viz. to turn aside from the world, to present the soul to God, to be alone with Him, and to receive a fresh impress from His Hand in communing with Him. And now he is himself in the calmest, the most secluded, the most blessed of all Retreats, where all outward influences for evil are shut out, and all pure influences intensified for those who have departed to be with Christ." [MS. letter.]
Few, if any, subjects were nearer to the Bishop's heart than the reunion of the divided branches of the Church of Christ. At the time of his consecration he said that he "regarded tin's great object as a tiling to be prayed and toiled for throughout his Episcopate." Certainly for nothing did he pray more earnestly every day of his life. He could not understand how any Christian could read St. John xvii. 11. 21, or Acts ix. 32, or Eph. iv. 4-6, and be satisfied, or not be very much distressed, by the present condition of Christendom. The extension of the Colonial Churches, he thought, would force English Churchmen to face questions of a larger scope than any which only touch the English communion.
"We shall be necessarily led to think of, and as I trust to pray, in communion with Our Blessed Lord, for the unity of the whole Church, and to watch as we pray, any signs which may appear in the horizon of God's Providential government of the world, and [95/96] which may seem to us to betoken the coming restoration of that lost blessing.
"It may be very easy to misinterpret these signs. But such misinterpretations can do no harm, so long as we are not persuaded by them to sacrifice any portion of truth, or by any unecclesiastical act, and so want of faith, to disregard the saying, 'Duties are ours, events are God's,' and thus to try to take into our own hands what God reserves entirely to Himself.
"I quite admit that this horizon at present looks dark. But a ray of light may at any moment appear, and so let us be ever watching for its rising. Such an attitude will not lead us to overlook difficulties, but it will help us to believe, that 'with God all things are possible.' As we watch, we shall hear such words of faith as those which for more than twenty years have kindled in my mind hopes that I might even live to receive the good news which they tell of. 'Omnia ista, quae nunc pro certis et immutabilibus decretis perperam habentur, sponte sua ex infallibilitate ista se dimittent, et particularia fient ex oecumenicis.' 'Non nobis cedet Episcopus Romanus, sed nos, una cum illo, cedemus Deo.' Autw h doxa kai to kratoV en th ekklhsia eiV touV aiwnaV twn aiwnwn. Amhn." [Charge of the Lord Bishop of Salisbury, 1861, pp. 60, 61.]
This was his language in 1861. The direction of ecclesiastical events in England during the next three years strengthened such aspirations for a fulfilment of our Lord's declared Will by a new motive. Bishop Hamilton read in the rapid growth and threatening attitude of recent unbelief a fresh and solemn warning to a divided Christendom, rebuking the sin and demonstrating the misery of its divisions, and bidding all [96/97] whose love of Christ could rise above the level of national or party prejudice, to seek, at least, to minimize, so far as truth would permit, all that helped to perpetuate the mischief. The atrocities of the first French Revolution had forced a similar line of thought upon the mind of Bishop Shute Barrington. In view of the perils of Christian society throughout Europe in 1791-93, that prelate expressed his desires for a reunion of the Western Church in a remarkable Charge to the Clergy of the Diocese of Durham. Undoubtedly since then, Borne has become more exacting as she has become more Ultramontane; and Puritanism has revived destructive passions which at the end of the last century might have been supposed to be nearly extinct. But, without ignoring these difficulties, Bishop Hamilton could not shut his eyes to the perils of continued division among Christians, in face of some giant forms of modern unbelief, which deny all that is most fundamental in Theistic no less than in Christian truth. He longed to see religion again presenting an unbroken front to the world, and all the earnest servants of Christ standing shoulder to shoulder throughout Christendom, in maintenance of the insulted claims and honour of their Lord:--
"Isolation! This, indeed, tells of our condition as a Church, which, however necessary, however appointed for us, is associated with the thought of past corruptions, of some perhaps undue reliance on the arm of flesh, and of present weakness. And the consideration of it ought therefore to cause us sorrow, and yearnings for reunion with our separated brethren."
"And surely we may hope that the finger of God's Providence is, by our present troubles, pointing to this normal condition of the Body of Christ, its Unity, [97/98] as a means of escape from such troubles. Surely we may almost dare to believe that the Saviour's prayer for the Unity of the members of His Body is taking effect through these late assaults on the common inheritance of Christendom, and is preparing the hearts of men for communion with one another in one faith, by placing them side by side in a common defence of some of its Articles."
"I can truly say that this was my own feeling with regard to the Protestant Dissenters, when I received a token from one at Manchester of his readiness to bear part of the burden which he thought was mine." [The generous offer referred to related to the heavy expenses incurred by the Bishop in the Essay and Review case; expenses which he was enabled to meet by the self-sacrifice of his clergy and other friends. See Charge, 1864, pp. 17-19.]
"I think, also, that no one can have read the work of M. Renan, without feeling that he, by his infidel encroachments on the inheritance which we share with the Church of France, has, by creating the sympathy which attends upon a united resistance to a common danger, contributed something towards removing the barriers which have long parted us from that celebrated communion, and so towards reawakening in the Universal Church the blessed Spirit of truth, unity, and concord. Be it ours never to forget the solemn words of Count de Maistre: 'If Christians should ever draw towards each other--and every consideration might urge them to do so--it seems that the first advance would most naturally be made by the Church of England.'" [Charge of the Lord Bishop of Salisbury, 1864, p. 44.]
The Bishop then quotes a very striking passage [98/99] from M. Guizot's Preface to his Meditations on the Essence of the Christian Religion. M. Guizot insists that "when the foundations of the common faith are assailed, differences which may exist between Christian Churches on particular questions or points of contrast in their organization and government, come to possess only a secondary interest; since Churches have to protect themselves against a danger common to each and all." [Quoted, Charge, 1864, p. 45. One illustration of M. Guizot's idea that may be cited is a French Roman Catholic translation of Archbishop Sumner's Records of the Creation, with, however, a prefixed dedication "à la Vierge Immaculée."] The Bishop is careful to observe that "questions which M. Guizot might deem to be of secondary importance,--those, for example, which affect the constitution of the Church of Christ, are in reality more intimately linked with our existing controversies (against unbelief) than M. Guizot would concede." But the broad truth upon which M. Guizot lays stress, is for all sincerely Christian hearts, beyond dispute; and not the less so, because as yet there does not appear to be any very practical disposition to recognize it. The Bishop was not insensible to the magnitude of the obstacles which, especially on the Roman side, discourage the hope of any real reconciliation of the separated Churches. He did not see his way to remove or surmount them. He was by no means prepared to concede whatever the Roman Church might demand. Her assumption of infallibility, at the outset of all discussion, was the natural consequence of her earlier assumption to constitute the whole kingdom of our Lord; and it appeared to make any attempt at 'explanation' little better than chimerical. But this practical consideration did not, in his opinion, justify [99/100] us in putting the whole subject aside; we could not acquiesce in a state of things notoriously very displeasing to our Lord. If Home met the advances of other Churches in a Donatist spirit, that was no reason for imitating her. And there was an imperishable force in the great Law of Unity which would triumph at last, in God's time and way. To reassert that Law again and again; to disown and repudiate the spirit of schism; to disentangle from controversy all the personal and political elements which embitter it more seriously than would be the case if it could be the purely intellectual appreciation of the range and extent of a dogmatic difference; to insist that brothers were still children of one Father, whether they quarrelled or not, and that in their heart of hearts, even at times of the most bitter alienation from each other, there was a mutual sense of this ineffaceable relationship;--thus much, at any rate, it was possible to do, and then to leave the result in His Hands Who is the "Author of peace and Lover of Concord."
The Bishop draws attention to "the attempts which Convocation had sanctioned to enter into friendly relations with the Eastern Church." He was most anxious to encourage any opening in that direction. He willingly furnished clergymen who were travelling in the East with letters of commendation to the Eastern Bishops. He earnestly insisted upon the duty of a deferential bearing on our part towards the representatives of those venerable Churches. His last act of intercourse with the East was to send a respectful greeting to Philaret, then Metropolitan of Moscow, on the occasion of his Jubilee in August, 1867. He did not overrate the value of these courtesies: but [100/101] he did not underrate them. Long before full intercommunion could be re-established, the minds of separated Churches must be penetrated by a spirit of which reciprocal courtesies are the stimulant and the expression; and if moral barriers, such as the pride of race and the pride of a mere material civilization, could be removed, questions of doctrine and discipline would, at any rate, be approached with a much better chance of ultimate adjustment.
The Bishop was not less anxious to cherish the spirit of unity nearer home. He rejoices to think that the common danger, arising from infidelity, "has taught many of the members of our own communion who have ere now looked upon one another with suspicion, to satisfy themselves that much was groundless; that some causes of distrust were capable of such explanation as should satisfy the hearts of brethren; and that it was possible to be loyal to one's own convictions and to the truth itself, and yet make allowance for the natural differences of intellectual and moral organization, and the various expressions given to such differences." [Charge, 1864, p. 46.] Unity was the moral idea which gave interest to what else would have been mere organization. The merit of the Ruridecanal Chapter was that it broke up small party cliques among the clergy, and tended consistently to promote among them unity of conviction and feeling. The charm of the Cathedral lay in its being the natural meeting point of all hearts in the diocese, the holy home in which all had, and ought to feel that they had, a share. [Ibid. p. 47.] Convocation again, he maintained, had upon the whole, in spite of appearances, helped the cause of moral and doctrinal unity: before there is [101/102] agreement there must be explanation, and before explanations are accepted, men must realize the real extent of their misunderstandings and differences. It was for this reason, too, beyond all others, that he took so keen an interest in the Synod which met at Lambeth in the autumn of 1867. That Synod was a practical refutation of theories which treat the Anglican Church as being merely an official form of religion, strictly conterminous with the British Empire, and dependent upon the Government as its one source of life and power. The presence of the American Bishops who voted and sat in council with the English, Irish, and Colonial Prelates was, in the Bishop's opinion, of vital importance to the English Church; and he eagerly seized the opportunity thus presented to him of cultivating relations as intimate as was possible with as many as he could of his Transatlantic brethren. He thought that we had much to learn from closer contact with the faith and vigour of the American Episcopate.
The Bishop's aspirations for the restored unity of Christendom, in his Charge of 1864, drew forth a protest from a small section of the clergy of the diocese. The Bishop pointed out to the memorialists that they had misunderstood him in supposing that he was prepared to accept the whole practical system of the Church of Rome. But, he added, "I must again testify that it is the desire of our Lord that His Church should be one; that it is the duty of all His members to bring their minds into harmony with Him Who is their Head; that those who, whatever be their differences, are in presence of a common danger, though they do not by this acquire, and so should not seek, any condonation for wrong teaching, [102/103] should recognize in this fellowship a claimant for unity, without giving at the same time all those details of an Irenicon which are to guide and control any reawakened feelings for reunion, and are not to be charged with a readiness to sacrifice the truth of God for the indulgence of morbid longings and ill-regulated affections in a communion of error, but should, as far as the inalienable rights of truth allow it, be sheltered from misconstruction by the charity which 'hopeth all things.'"
In the autumn of 1866 the Bishop took part in a public correspondence which was not without its bearing upon the last and best-known of his Charges. It being the dull season of the year, the leading journal opened its columns to a clever writer for the purpose of discussing the reality of the ministerial commission which the clergy of the Church of England claim to hold under Christ our Lord. It might have been natural to examine the grammatical and historical sense of the documents which the Church of England uses at the Ordination of her Ministers, and to which every one of her clergy pledges his assent by a double subscription. But this writer took the line of ascertaining the meaning and sense of the documents by insisting either upon the drift of current and general prejudices on the subject, or upon such aspects of the secular side of clerical life as most readily admitted of being exhibited in grotesque contrast to any spiritual claims. He is describing a clerical procession--and, it will be admitted, not without some brilliant colouring,--in such terms as follow:--
"The clergy never size well; it is evident on the face of the thing that they are not up in this sort of work. As they pass, do the lookers-on feel as men [103/104] would feel who beheld their priests thus engaged in some solemn religious demonstration? Are they so many spiritual fathers, the confessors and directors of the people? Do men look with reverence on this very assembly of men as that of those who have forsaken all else that they may become what they are, the celibate celebrants of awful mysteries, direct descendants of the Apostles, men in whose breasts are the secrets of fathers, wives, sons, and daughters? No, they are for the most part recognized in a very different way--owners of four-wheelers, or even, perhaps, a brougham, the fortunate possessors of glebes, heads of families, the lesser powers of country and town parishes; so-and-so lately married, this one said to be about to marry so-and-so's daughter, or lately refused by her; there is one great as a farmer, another famous as an antiquary, the man who gives such long prices for old oak chairs; then there goes the man who wins prizes for flowers, walking with another who is great on the subject of bees; then there is the man who will never let the farmers alone, and that other who all thought would be the last archdeacon; so on to the last curate. The men are but clergymen after all, doing a kind of holyday demonstration, excellent fellows most of them, with their families making a great part of the staple of the pleasant social life of their respective localities, and as such, more or less respected; but as priests, in the now asserted sense of the word, does one man in a thousand who may look on the exhibition for one moment heed them, or would he do so, even if the bishops wore mitres, and they and all their following were attired according to the fall fashion of the days of Edward VI.?" [S. G. O., in Times, Nov. 1, 1866.]
 This secular side of clerical life presents just as great a contrast to the profession of a dissenting minister to address his brother-men, in the name of God, on the realities of life and death, of time and eternity, of God's mercy and His justice, of redemption and condemnation, as to the further claim of the English clergy to consecrate the Eucharist or to absolve the penitent, according to the directions of the Prayer Book. Nay, there is a secular side to the holiest lives,' and it was long ago urged as a reason for rejecting the most irresistible of claims. "Is not this the carpenter's, son? is not His mother called Mary? and His brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? and His sisters are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? And they were offended in Him." But even if it should be granted that the English clergy, as a body, is somewhat over-secular in its tastes; that the contrast between the ideal presented to us in the Ordinal and the actual lives of the ordained is a very emphatic one; does this prove that the Ordinal is not to be construed in a straightforward and grammatical way, if we wish to ascertain its meaning, and in that meaning, the real mind of the English Church? As well might it be suggested that St. Paul's description of the grace of charity, in 1 Cor. xiii., cannot be regarded as an authoritative proclamation of moral truth, to which Christians are seriously bound to conform themselves, on the ground that, if you take up any ordinary English newspaper, or listen to the current conversation of any English drawing-room, it at once becomes apparent that ninety-nine Christians out of a hundred say and think about other Christians just what their own ill-nature, or that of the world at large, may [105/106] suggest to them. The Christianity of the New Testament is one thing, the Christianity of the vast majority of professing Christians is morally and spiritually quite another; but after all, it is the Divine Ideal of the book, and not the enfeebled and degraded transcript in the life of the multitude, which still decides what Christianity is and means. The question was, whether the documents of the English Church, or certain strong currents of popular feeling, were to decide what she taught upon a matter of serious importance. The writer in the Times was a well-known clergyman in the diocese of Salisbury, bound to the Bishop by ties of personal affection, which were freely acknowledged on both sides. But the Bishop was of opinion that, as the writer's Diocesan, he could not allow such a representation to pass unchallenged. He accordingly published a letter in the Guardian. In that letter the Bishop admits that questions may fairly be raised as to the sufficiency of our usual training for Holy Orders, the prevailing tone of clerical life, the laxity of clerical discipline, the pressure of secular interests upon the time and thoughts of the clergy, the advisability of restraint in the use of "powers committed to them at their ordination." But these questions, he urges upon his correspondent, cannot "affect the meaning of the words with which you and I received our commission to enter upon the office, and to do the work of priests in the Church of God, and which are, I would remind you, as follows:--'Receive the Holy Ghost for the office and work of a Priest in the Church of God, now committed unto thee by the imposition of our hands. Whose sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven; and whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained. And be thou a faithful dispenser of the Word of God and of [106/107] His Holy Sacraments; in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.'" [Ordination Service for Priests.] The Bishop repudiates the suggestion that his clergy care more for secular than for religious interests. He will not admit that they are "merely excellent fellows," who contribute to the pleasantness of English social life; since by their lives, he asserts, they show that "they have in remembrance into how high a dignity, and unto how weighty an office and charge they are called--that is to say, to be messengers, watchmen, and stewards of the Lord, to teach and to premonish, to feed and to provide for the Lord's family, to seek for Christ's sheep that are dispersed abroad, and for His children who are in the midst of this naughty world that they may be saved through Christ for ever." [Ibid.] After some sentences with a more personal reference, the Bishop proceeds:--
"I must add that, although you do not, I am sure, intend to do so, you cut away in your letter no small portion of the ground on which the Church of England rests her protest against the exclusive claims of the Church of Rome; and that so a possible effect of your letter may be to disaffect many thoughtful and still attached members of our Church who have rightly believed that, as the Church of England requires her Bishops, when they admit deacons to the order of priesthood, to use those momentous words of which I have already reminded you, she justifies those who have been so ordained in believing that they have had committed to them the same powers which the Priests of the rest of the Catholic Church, both in the East and West, have ever claimed as their inheritance, and to which the literal and plain meaning of the words points.
 "One word about myself. I most solemnly declare that, if through a more accurate knowledge of my own past motives, or from any doubtings about God's special grace and Providence, I am ever forced to be content to trace back to 'good luck in my profession' (as you say) my having been placed in my present high and responsible position in the Church of God, I shall, without any delay, eagerly seek to be relieved of duties which would be simply intolerable to any man who knows the value of words, has a belief in the judgment of a righteous God, and has any dread of bringing ruin upon his own soul, and possibly on the souls of others." [Guardian, Nov. 7, 1866.]
The publication of this letter at once commanded the attention of the country. The leading journal "had no intention of attempting any thing so futile as a theological discussion;" it took the simpler course of denouncing the Bishop as a teacher of doctrines "contrary to the conceptions of the English people concerning the conscience and liberty of man." [Times, Nov. 11, 1866.] What Our Lord might have ordered, or what the Church of England might teach, were not entertained as being relevant considerations. Two days afterwards, indeed, it admitted that "the High Church theorists have the letter of several formulas on their side, and that there has almost always existed in the Church of England a school which more or less boldly maintained doctrines similar to those now enounced." [Times, Nov. 13, 1866.] But this consideration, it held, did not justify High Churchmen: since their real allegiance was due, not to the doctrinal standards of the Church, but to the feelings of the nation,--of Englishmen who repudiated the Church's teaching as well as of [108/109] Englishmen who accepted it. "The ministers of a national Church," it argued, "are bound to consider the nation. Every clergyman is invested with a political character; he is distinctly a servant of the State; to him is committed by the State the performance of certain duties, and a general superintendence over the teaching and moral guidance of his parish. He is as much bound to zeal and patriotism as a soldier or a civil servant; he is as much bound to study the convictions, the habits, even the prejudices of the country, as if he were a political administrator. The fundamental principle of the Church of England is that every Englishman is a Churchman: the Church is co-extensive with the nation; the portion of the Church with which the clergyman has to deal consists of every inhabitant of his parish. A clergyman, therefore, does not do his duty to the Church, unless he brings himself into moral accord, so to speak, with his parishioners. He may be a sincere theologian; he may be a man of tastes which it is very desirable to cultivate; he may be pure in life and character, and eminent for many virtues; but if he deliberately sets himself against the religious beliefs or the moral sentiment of the nation, of which he is bound to inform himself, he fails in his allegiance to the institution which he has contracted to support, and which can only live as long as it is the religious representation of the nation." [Times, Nov. 13, 1866.]
Upon these principles there could be no doubt as to the justice of the censure with which the Bishop of Salisbury was visited by his anonymous critics. If there is no such thing as absolute Christian truth; or if, at any rate, the Church of England has not been careful to ascertain what it is, and to profess to [109/110] teach it; if the real scope and contents of the Gospel Message of Salvation is an unsolved matter, to be decided, not by the ministers of Christ collectively, not even by a believing laity, but by "the nation," that is to say, by a multitude of Christians and unbelievers combined; then, beyond question, the Bishop had no right to appeal to documents of the Church of England, however solemn and authoritative they might be. But also, if these principles could be admitted, the bare use of the formularies of the Church of England,--the morality of publicly addressing them to Almighty God, or in His Name and Presence, to man,--are matters surely open to challenge. Nor is it difficult to conjecture how long any man who feared God, and respected the sanctities of his own conscience, would care to minister in a Church capable of so prostituting the truth which created it, its very raison d'être, to an ambitious effort to be comprehensive. Doubtless every Churchman must desire to see the Church co-extensive with the nation. But no sacrifices, whether of money or position, would be too great to be accepted, if the nation should insist upon demoralizing the Church, by forbidding her to proclaim truths which are part of her inalienable treasure, or by insisting on her condoning errors which have been condemned by Christ. The Church would never have conquered the world if she had attempted the task in the spirit of a clever newspaper, embarrassed by no fixed principles, and aiming, above every thing, at a large circulation; nor, if in her old age, she could postpone all care for Truth to a reckless determination to be "national," would her "nationality" be worth ten years' purchase.
It would be unjust to class some other forms of [110/111] opposition which the Bishop's letter called forth with the line taken by the Times. An estimable nobleman, who makes no secret of his desire to effect a revision of the Prayer Book, which, if it could be carried out, would, at once, drive from the ministry of the Church of England every sound Churchman of intelligence and self-respect, at once wrote to express his "astonishment" that the words of ordination quoted by the Bishop of Salisbury were still permitted to remain in our Service Book. [Letter of Lord Ebury, Times, Nov. 12, 1866.] The original correspondent of the Times pleaded that the Bishop's commission to the ordinand ought not to be construed more literally than the promises made by the ordinand to the Bishop; and he challenged the right reverend bench to say whether in "nine cases out of ten" the solemn profession by which, in the face of the Church, the Deacon "trusts" he is "moved by the Holy Ghost," and the Priest "thinks" that he is "truly called according to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ," to undertake their respective offices, could be regarded, as any thing more than conventional expressions, having no real relation to the actual fact. [Letter in Times, Nov. 10, 1866.] Finally, it was suggested that the words of the ordinal only conveyed to the ordained the power of preaching the Gospel, which remits the sins of those who believe, and retains the sins of those who reject it. [Letter in Times, Dec. 4, 1866.] If this had really been the meaning of the words, it certainly was a very different one from that which had been assigned to them in the same-connexion for several centuries. It was not, to say the least, their most natural meaning. And it may perhaps be added, a [111/112] more simple and very differently worded form would have done quite as well, and would have been less likely to mislead.
The controversy shaded off, as such controversies do, into a series of memorials and counter-memorials, with more or less appropriate replies. The Bishop took no further part in it; he simply promised to explain his meaning more fully in his next Charge to his diocese. The character of this Charge was moreover determined by his hearing that the honesty of his position was impugned. He was accused of holding doctrines which were not in accordance with the formularies of the Church of England, and to which he dared not give public utterance. It would have been impossible to touch him upon a more tender point: and he determined to make a "clean breast of it." He made up his mind to state fully and explicitly all that he believed on the chief points in controversy; to vindicate the consistency of this belief with the English formularies; and to assert the true grounds and obligations of our allegiance to the Church of England. This latter part of his intention he was obliged to defer until his triennial Visitation of 1870; but he had already collected notes and materials for it, when he was laid upon the bed of death in the winter of 1868.
The subjoined extracts from his correspondence at this time will speak for themselves:--
December 1st, 1866.--"Dr. Pusey's second letter was excellent. But I cannot bear to see his name in the Times ..... Bridges left me this morning: his visit has been such a comfort. He is so good and able a man.....The future seems to me very dark: but God is able to bring light out of darkness. I am anxiously looking for the Bishops of London's and Oxford's Charges." [MS. letter to the Rev. H. P. Liddon.]
 January 7th, 1867.--"All that------says about duty and having simple views I desire to act upon.....This is the year of my Visitation.....The time for reticence is, I am sure, past, and what is needed is an outspoken justification of one's position as an honest man." [MS. letter to the same.]
January 10th, 1867.--"I am rather thinking of having my Visitations early this year, soon after Easter, and of giving up Lent for special preparations for this function. But I must consult my legal advisers how far this would suit them. I have not yet seen Mr.------'s letter, as I have given up the Times, and indeed have given up most of the papers; I feel more and more that the effect of them is certainly not to brace one for duty." [MS. letter to the same.]
January 10th, 1867.--"Since I wrote to you this morning I have read your letter in the Guardian. [This letter was a defence of the change of the line "Not in the hands," into "As in the hands," in the poem for Gunpowder Treason in the "Christian Year:" an alteration which, although it was made in simple obedience to Mr. Keble's written expression of his own intention, provoked considerable objection in some quarters.] I entirely agree with you. Honesty is the best policy; and, moreover, there is something quite distressing in the thought that false doctrine should be justified by any words of Mr. Keble, which he, from fear of misconstruction, desired to be altered." [MS. letter to the Rev. H. P. Liddon.]
January 26th, 1867.--"My Visitation will not interfere with your Scotch duties, as I have fixed it for May. I feel as if I could never get ready in time. I am issuing my questions at once, and shall try at once to draw out a scheme of my Charge..... My idea is to make a clean breast of it about the Real Presence, the Sacrifice, and Absolution." [MS. letter to the same.]
April 5th, 1867.--"I am, I trust, getting on [with the Charge], and have tried to be very exact in my wording, and almost redundant in clearing myself of being misunderstood. I have written about forty printed pages. To-day I am going to begin the part about Honesty, namely, that what I have stated is the Doctrine of 1662." [MS. letter to the same. The italics are in the original.]
It would be easy to multiply quotations to the same effect; but enough has been quoted to show the moral [113/114] animus of the celebrated Charge of 1867. It was, and it was meant to be, a practical answer to the accusation of dishonesty. Certainly the Bishop had not been unmindful of our Lord's words about giving things holy to those who are not prepared to receive them. But a time had come, when the risk of doing this must be encountered, if the Bishop's own moral influence as a Christian teacher was not to be forfeited. At the conclusion of his Charge he thus gently touches upon the motive which had led him to deliver it:--
"And even now possibly some of you may have expected from me a fuller exposition than I have given of the teaching of our Church, as an answer to any complaints which have been publicly made.
"If this be so, I must, in excuse, say, that I have not read any part of these public proceedings which has not been forced upon me by some private communication from some of yourselves; and that in so doing I have been acting upon a general and, I believe, a wise rule.
"I feel sure that many persons say things under the excitement of the moment which they afterwards pray God to forgive them for having said. And I know well, also, that I am too much encompassed with infirmity to trust myself always to think of, and to act towards, those who have so offended, in a spirit of charity, and not, perhaps, to feel some slight wish that the words of the poet may be fulfilled in their case--
glwssh mataia zhmia prostribetai
And so I am content not to know these things, and to feel sure that any thing which really requires notice will be brought before me in some other and less public way.
 "Be, however, this as it may, I have not from any dishonest motive kept back any thing from you, God knoweth. And as I have spent now thirty years of my life in this diocese, I trust that none of those who have known me so long can require this assurance. They, at any rate, know that if my dearest friend and predecessor had discovered this taint in my character, he would not have trusted me as he did.
"It is not, I trust, my habit to speak of myself, and you must forgive me for having to-day broken through my rule, especially as I have only allowed myself to state, what it seemed to me, that those over whom I have, by the Grace and Providence of God, been set, had a claim on me to say, and silence about which might have been misunderstood. I now commend myself to your prayers, and I am ready to give you the Apostolical Benediction." [Charge of the Lord Bishop of Salisbury, pp. 130-132.]
In the Charge which concludes in these terms, Bishop Hamilton asserts with fearless clearness the doctrines of the Real Presence in the Holy Communion, of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, and of Priestly Absolution. He maintains that these doctrines are doctrines of the English Prayer Book, as they certainly were of that primitive Church to which the Church of England makes appeal as a positive and negative rule for the interpretation of Scripture.
A Real Presence in the heart of the believer is recognized by the Calvinistic theory of the Eucharist. But the essential distinction between that theory and ancient teaching lies in the fact that, according to the latter, the Presence depends upon the promise and words of Christ, and is thus attached to the Sacrament [115/116] independently of the faith of the recipient, although, of course, without such faith it cannot be profitably received. According to the Calvinistic theory, the faith of the believer creates the Presence; according to the ancient doctrine, faith is the hand which the soul extends in order to receive that which already exists independently of it, in virtue of Christ's own action, by His Spirit, through a due consecration of the elements.
And this ancient doctrine, Bishop Hamilton maintains is also that of the English Prayer Book. [Charge of the Lord Bishop of Salisbury, 1867, p. 74. "Our Church witnesses that, through consecration, the Body and Blood of Christ become really present, and by this I mean, present without us, and not only 'in the soul of the faithful receiver.'" The italics are in the original.] Upon any other supposition the Consecration Prayer, with its minute directions for the manual action of the consecrator, appears to be an unmeaning, and therefore an irreverent intrusion into the midst of a most sacred service. The historical sense of that prayer was perfectly understood when it was deliberately retained at the Reformation and by the Savoy Divines in the succeeding century. [The manual actions were observed traditionally until 1662, when they were expressly prescribed.] Nor can it be maintained that the ancient form of Consecration was only tolerated among us in an archaeological spirit; and that the present English Church does not attribute to it any specific efficacy. For the Prayer Book enacts that "if the consecrated bread and wine be all spent before all have communicated, the Priest is to consecrate more according to the Form before prescribed," that is, the form of Consecration; and what is more significant, he is directed to begin, not at the beginning of the Prayer of Consecration, but at those particular, and in their form, [116/117] narrative paragraphs, which contain the consecrating formulae for each element respectively. [Rubric in Communion Service.] Such directions are unintelligible, or they are plainly superstitious, if it be really the mind of the Church that the Presence of Christ is to be sought only in the soul of the receiver, or only in the service as a whole, and not strictly in connexion with the elements after the act of Consecration. Moreover, the provisions for "reverently placing what remaineth of the consecrated elements on the Lord's table, covering the same with a fair linen cloth," and also for "reverently" consuming it at the end of the service, are, upon the Calvinistic hypothesis, shreds of puerile and misleading ceremonial. [Rubric at the end of the Communion Service. See Charge, 1867, pp. 72, 73.] In short, no Liturgy in the world, at this hour, embodies the Sacramental principle, as stated by the great Augustine, more fully than does the Communion Service of the Church of England. With us, as of old, "accedit verbum ad elementum, et fit Sacramentum."
What the preposition should be which can best express the relation that supervenes, in consequence of Consecration, between the elements and the Sacred Presence, is a point left open by the Church of England, [Unless the title of the Homily "Under the form of bread," &c, should be pressed.] except in one particular, and that a negative direction; [117/118] she denies that the elements are transubstantiated into Christ's body, by asserting that after Consecration their natural substance remains. This denial Bishop Hamilton most certainly did not impugn; he carefully asserts, with Art. XXVIIIth, that "the substance of the bread and wine is not changed," and as a consequence, that "adoration is not due to the consecrated bread and wine, although Christ our Lord, as Bishop Andrewes says, in or without the Sacrament, is to be adored." [Charge, 1867, p. 88.] The point upon which Bishop Hamilton lays stress, and with the most earnest deliberation, is that the Eucharistic Presence is not merely real, but as Bishop Cosin would say, in words taken from the Lutheran divines, extra usum Sacramenti; that the Presence itself, inseparable from the duly consecrated Sacrament, is to be carefully distinguished from the spiritual benefits which it conveys to the soul of a faithful recipient; that in St. Augustine's phrase, the "res Sacramenti," or "Body and Blood of Christ," is one thing, and the "virtus Sacramenti," or "benefits whereof we are partakers thereby," another. [Church Catechism.] This, the Bishop urges, is proved by the form as well as by the terms of the Eucharistic teaching of the Church Catechism. The Catechism makes a marked distinction between its account of the Lord's Supper and its account of Baptism. In the account of Baptism the instruction falls under two heads; the outward sign, and the inward grace. In that of the Eucharist, it is found impossible, for a document aiming at the excess of conciseness, to dispense with a threefold division; in which besides the outward part, both the inward gift, and the benefits which accompany it, are separately treated, in accordance with the terms of the Augustinian doctrine. Again, the Prayer [118/119] of Access, as it is called, to the effect that in the Holy Communion we may "so eat the Flesh of Christ and drink His Blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by His Body, and our souls washed by His Blood," clearly implies that it is possible to eat that Flesh and to drink that Blood with a different result; and that the res Sacramenti, or Presence itself in the Sacrament, is to be distinguished from its virtus in the recipient. No one will undervalue the importance of this distinction who reflects upon the duty of placing grace as well as truth in our thoughts where God has placed them in fact; that is to say, upon a basis altogether independent of our ever-varying moods of mind and heart towards them. Upon the Calvinistic theory, the humblest souls would be naturally most doubtful of the reality of the blessing of their Saviour's Presence; according to the ancient doctrine, that Presence depends upon an agency which lifts it altogether above the risk of such distressing anxieties,--of such creditable hesitations,--by making it a certainty warranted absolutely by the words of Christ.
The Bishop is careful to insist upon a fact to which attention has often been directed, but which is frequently lost sight of in discussions bearing upon the true sense of the English formularies. It is to the Divines of the Restoration, and not to the Divines of the Reformation period, that we owe our formularies in their present form. Much has been said about the animus of the ecclesia imponens. But the Church which imposes the Prayer Book and Articles upon us is no more the Church of 1559, or 1552, or 1549, than it is the Church of Becket or of Dunstan. It is the Church of 1662, with the animus of which we have really to deal; and, since 1662, the sixteenth century is just as little to the purpose in this matter as are the fifteenth and the [119/120] fourteenth. Now there can be no question, historically speaking, as to the mind of the Divines of 1662 on Sacramental subjects. It is certain that they made the changes which they did make in the English formularies, in full view of the anti-Sacramental Puritanism of their day. Puritanism had recently done its best to destroy the Church of England altogether; it had said all that undeniable ability and earnestness could say against the Ancient Truth. The Savoy Divines were anxious to conciliate it, so far as conciliation was morally possible; but they were still more anxious to be loyal to Jesus Christ, and to that unmutilated Gospel which is the best treasure of His Church. Bishop Hamilton calls attention to the real drift of changes which they made in the Prayer Book. They strengthened the language of the Ordinal; they added to the Baptismal office a prayer for the sanctification of the water; the "pastors" prayed for in the Litany were henceforth "priests." [Charge, 1867, p. 74.] In the Eucharistic Office they modified the language of 1552 in some grave respects. For the statement in the Exhortation that God "hath given His Son our Saviour Jesus Christ not only to die for us, but also to be our Spiritual Food and Sustenance, as it is declared unto us as well by God's Word as by the Holy Sacrament of His Blessed Body and Blood," they substituted the statement that "God hath given His Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, not only to die for us, but also to be our Spiritual Food and Sustenance in that Holy Sacrament." Here the Eucharist is no longer co-ordinated with Scripture as only declaring a general truth; Jesus Christ is said to be "given" in the Eucharist as He was "given" on Mount Calvary. The Eucharist does not merely "declare" that Christ sustains us; it [120/121] contains the gift of His Person, Which does sustain us. In like manner the declaration at the end of the Communion Office had in 1552 disclaimed any adoration as being done "unto any real or essential Presence there being of Christ's natural Flesh and Blood." Omitted in 1559, this Rubric was restored in 1662; but for the words "real or essential Presence" the words "corporal Presence" were substituted. "And so," observes Bishop Hamilton, "by only excluding from the teaching of the Church a corporal or material Presence, a sanction was given to the doctrine of a spiritual and real Presence." As illustrative of the same animus in the Savoy Divines, the Bishop cites their omission of the conjunction, which, between 1559 and 1662, connected the two parts of the form for giving the Holy Sacrament; "I think it likely," he observes, "that this was done with a view of asserting with greater distinctness both doctrines, namely, that of the Real Presence and that of the Commemoration." To 1662 also are due the directions for "reverently" "covering" and "consuming" the consecrated elements, and, what is of more importance, the preservation of the Prayer of Access in its present form. A proposal was made by the Nonconformists to alter the wording of that prayer, with a doctrinal object. It was rejected.
The Bishop will not admit that "the teaching of our great doctors in 1662 was inconsistent with the teaching of the theologians of the previous century." Bishop Geste, who had written the XXVIIIth Article, assured Bishop Cheney, of Gloucester, that the word "only" in that Article "did not exclude the presence of Christ's Body from the Sacrament, but only the grossness and sensibleness in the receiving thereof." [See Charge, 1867, p. 81; Appendix, p. 147.] And, [121/122] as Bishop Hamilton points out, the statement of that Article that Christ's Body is "given" as well as "taken and eaten" in the Supper only after an heavenly and spiritual manner, does not tally with the Calvinistic theory of a Presence that exists only in the heart of the believer; since to be "given," in any sense whatever, the Body of Christ must in that sense first exist independently of the recipient. At the same time it is historically certain that, if the theological formularies of the Savoy period are "not inconsistent" with those of the Reformation, there is a real difference in the spirit of the two epochs. The historian Hallam has recognized the fact that the theological teaching of the great Caroline school was a reaction at least from the tendency of the teaching of the sixteenth century. [Bishop Hamilton quotes a remarkable passage from Hallam's Constitutional History, chap. viii. "In Bishop Andrewes' answer to Bellarmine he says, 'Praesentiam credimus, non minus quam vos, veram: de modo praesentiae nil temere definimus.' And soon afterwards: 'Nobis vobiscum de objecto convenit; de modo lis omnis est. De "Hoc est," fide firmi tenemus quod sit; de "Hoc modo est" ut sit Per, sive In, sive Cum, sive Sub, sive Trans, nullum inibi verbum est.' I quote from Casaubon's Epistles, p. 393. This is reduced to plain terms: We fully agree with you that Christ's Body is actually present in the Sacramental elements, in the same sense as you use the word; but we see no cause for determining the precise mode, whether by Transubstantiation or otherwise." See Charge, 1867, p. 155, Appendix.] The Reformers of 1552 had set their faces towards Geneva, if not towards Zurich. The Divines of 1662 kept their eyes well fixed upon Christian antiquity. They had had practical experience of the revolutionary excesses of modern experimentalists in theology; and, like burnt children, they had a wholesome dread of the fire.
Bishop Hamilton concedes that "the teaching of our [122/123] Church on the subject of the Eucharistic Sacrifice" is "less explicit than on the truth of the Real Presence." He accounts for this by observing that "before the Reformation the doctrine of Sacrifice had been thrown into exaggerated prominence; the idea of Communion being quite overshadowed by it. This exaggeration our Reformers desired to correct, and in doing so, they reversed the order of prominence. They made in our Communion Service, as both the name and structure of it prove, the idea of Communion the leading one, and the idea of sacrifice the accessory and subordinate one." [Charge, 1867, pp. 81, 82.] But the Sacrifice "is inseparable from that act of Consecration which alone makes a real Communion with Christ's Sacramental Life possible:" and to teach it does not involve any approval of the vulgar error, condemned by our Article, which supposed that "the Eucharistic Sacrifice was a reiteration of the Sacrifice on the Cross." [Ibid.] The Eucharist is a presentation of the ever-living and present Christ, once for all sacrificed, to the Eternal Father, as being the all-prevailing Mediator, through union with Whom alone we can hope for acceptance and mercy.
In his teaching on the subject of the Eucharist, the Bishop of Salisbury certainly keeps within the lines traced by so representative a writer as Bishop Cosin, in his "Notes and Collections on the Book of Common Prayer." Cosin's language, for instance, about the efficacy of Consecration, [Cosin, Works, vol. v. p. 106.] the Reality of the Sacramental Presence, [Ibid. p. 121.] its independence of the contingency of reception by the believer, [Ibid. p. 131. He uses language of a different kind in the "Second Series" at p. 345.] and the Eucharistic [123/124] Sacrifice, is even more emphatic than Bishop Hamilton's. [Ibid. pp. 107. 120.] That Cosin says more than would have been said by Cranmer may be true enough. It may be true that he says more than Hooker would have said. Hooker had been so overawed by the imposing strength of the Calvinistic tradition in his day throughout Reformed Europe, as, if not to deny the objectivity of the Sacramental Presence point blank, yet to go so far as to assert that it is "not to be sought in the Sacrament, but in the worthy receiver of the Sacrament." [E. P. v. 67. 6.] It may be true that in the writings of Cosin himself--perhaps in those of Taylor--we may trace two, perhaps three levels, so to call them, of Eucharistic teaching. [The difference of doctrinal tone between the first and second series of his Notes is accounted for by Cosin's Editor. Works, vol. v. Pref. p. xix.] But Cosin, in his most emphatic sacramental teaching represented Overall and Andrewes, as he anticipated Thorndike, and Sparrow, and Hickes, and others who might be named. Brave men lived before Agamemnon; and Bishop Hamilton does but continue that line of English Divines whose effort it has been, neglecting more modern traditions, to make the appeal to Catholic consent a serious reality.
As to Absolution, the Bishop simply insists upon the words of the Ordinal and the Visitation of the Sick in the English Prayer Book, taken in their natural and historical sense. To suppose that "I absolve thee from all thy sins," in the Visitation Service, only means, "I declare that God for Christ's sake is willing to pardon penitent sinners," appears to do considerable violence to the obvious force of language. If the paraphrase had represented the real sense of the [124/125] Church of England, she would have done well to avoid words which had for centuries been used according to the plain tenour of their natural meaning; the meaning which Bishop Hamilton, with Bishop Sparrow and others among the best names in English divinity, attributes to them. In his plea for "Liturgical Revision" Mr. J. Fisher had vindicated, by anticipation, the position assumed by the Bishop of Salisbury; he insists upon the plain natural sense both of the Commission in the Ordinal and of the Absolution in the Visitation Service; he points out the correspondence between the power conferred and the terms of its exercise; and although he utterly dissents from the sense of the Prayer Book, he honestly recognizes it. [Revision of Book of Common Prayer, by J. C. Fisher, M.A., pp. 54, 55.]
"I consider," says the Bishop of Salisbury, "that he who uses the form in the Morning and Evening Prayer, or in the Office of Communion, or in the Office for the Visitation of the Sick, as one who has had special power and authority committed to him to absolve sinners, is not to be charged with dishonesty." [Charge, 1867, p. 83.] "Our Church, whether she uses the declaratory, or optative, or precatory, or indicative form of Absolution, certainly teaches that her priests can exercise powers not entrusted to any layman, however saintly." [Ibid.] Never since the Reformation has she varied in the explicitness of her statements on this head; and she has deliberately retained the late indicative form of Absolution, although the more ancient forms were precatory. [Ibid. p. 84.] "The Son of Man hath power upon earth to forgive sins" are in her estimate words of Christ, as true now when He acts through His [125/126] ministers, as they were when He Himself spoke to the paralytic. The Scriptural evidences of this truth; its relation to our Lord's mediatorial and redemptive work; its analogy with the general provisions of the Divine Providence for the spiritual and temporal well-being of mankind; its bearing upon the dearest interests of the human soul;--these are points of vital importance, which clergymen who accept the historical sense of the Prayer Book may be, at least, presumed to have considered. The point here in question is the honesty, nay, the impregnability of Bishop Hamilton's position with regard to the teaching of the Prayer Book on the question before us; and upon that point, if it be discussed with adequate information and without violent prejudice, there cannot be room for any very serious doubt.
But it was not only to vindicate his own honesty that the Bishop insisted with such earnestness upon portions of the teaching of the English formularies, which are unpopular in England at the present day. Believing the teaching of the English Church to be that of Christ's Revelation, he felt deeply the injury to faith which the disparagement or denial of particular doctrines could not but involve. It seemed to him impossible to play fast and loose with arguments and principles; to appeal to the spiritual sense of antiquity in behalf of Books of the New Testament whose authenticity or genuineness is disputed upon internal grounds, and altogether to repudiate the verdict of antiquity respecting the drift and meaning of Holy Scripture. Nor could he understand the process of reading the first chapter of St. John's Gospel with the eyes of an Athanasius or a Cyril, and the third and sixth with those of Calvin, or even of Zwingli. He felt that some earnest [126/127] Christians who believe with all their hearts in the true Divinity and Atoning work of Jesus Christ, permit themselves to use arguments against the doctrines of Sacramental grace, which, could they be allowed to have serious weight, would be equally fatal to belief in the Incarnation of the Son of God, and in the efficacy of His death. It is sometimes urged that unbelief may be won by abandonment of the outlying, or as they are called, disputed portions of the Christian faith. But the experiments of the last century in this direction are not reassuring, even if they had been lawful. The unbelieving spirit crescit indulgens sibi; and a Christian's duty is, not indeed to "add to the word that" God "commands" him; but assuredly also not "to diminish aught from it," and not to employ arguments against errors, real or supposed, which may be turned by others with equal justice against acknowledged truth. [Charge, 1867, p. 125.] "You may be tempted," pleads the Bishop of Salisbury, "to use and rely upon an argument against Sacramental grace, which some champion of a deeper negation may apply with equal force against the doctrine of the Incarnation; or you may disparage the first centuries, in order to discredit the authority of the teaching of the Church; and you may discover, when it is too late, that you have led him whose doubts you have thus raised to count as naught the all-important acknowledgment of the Church of the first centuries, that the teaching of Holy Scripture was consentient with the mind of the Holy Spirit as working in the Church at that time, and so had this evidence to its being the Word of God." [Charge, 1867, p. 125.]
The Charge of 1867 had other aspects, which can here only be glanced at. Let it suffice to quote the [127/128] independent criticism of a writer who has been already referred to, and whose words are not more generous than true. Speaking of the Bishop, he observes,--
"Some deemed that his theology became narrower and more dogmatic as time went on; and lamented, or seemed to lament, that he attempted to confront the spirit of the age with the theories and maxims of an obsolete scholasticism. What men called narrowness was not narrowness, but intensity. His grasp on what he believed grew firmer; but, with that firmness, there sprang up no desire authoritatively to impose views, of the truth of which he was as convinced as that the sun shines at noonday, on other minds. In his memorable Charge of 1867--a Charge wrung from him to satisfy his conscience, and to meet the taunts of disloyalty and dishonesty which his chivalrous spirit could not brook--a Charge of which, at least, this may be said, that it will be an historical document in the annals of the Church of England, one of the landmarks in the development of religious thought--he expresses a desire for 'a strong Church system,' not that the domain of faith may be narrowed, but that it may be enlarged. ' In a strong system, administered by the courage and gentleness and patience and sympathy of an undoubting faith in God and His truth, the wants of man's moral and intellectual being might be met and relieved; demands for greater liberty might be satisfied, because greater authority to prevent licence would be secured; for more appeals for the judgment of charity might be listened to and favourably answered, because both the limits within which a right faith might exercise itself would be more clearly defined, and the restrictions of it to such enlarged domains might be more easily enforced.' [Charge, 1867, p. 112.]
"And in another no less typical and significant passage, he sketches out as a rule for others what was the governing principle of his own administration of his diocese. Unable to connect with the appointment of a Royal Commission any hopes of a restoration of peace or unity to the Church, he goes on to say,--
"'I have more faith in another and simpler remedy--and that is, the remedy of patience and charity. I would not question the loyalty of those churchmen, be they what is called High, or be they what is called Low; but I would cling to the belief that continued fatherly kindness on the part of those in authority, and the careful abstinence on all sides from bearing false witness, [128/129] would do very much to lessen our difficulties, by constraining with the cords of love all, and especially the young, to deal with others, whether above them or below them, with consideration and sympathy, and to temper zeal for God's truth, even when purified from all dross of mere human passion, with the healing waters of charity.'" [Charge, 1867, p. 100. J. F., in Salisbury Journal, Aug. 7, 1869.]
The excitement occasioned by this Charge was due partly, no doubt, to the vehement anti-sacramental feeling of a section of the clergy and laity, and partly to the various and general elements of religious panic with which the atmosphere of the Church of England has of late years been so heavily charged. Over and above the various forms of the imputation of "Popery," which from the days of Cartwright and Hooker downwards has been steadily urged by Puritanism against all Church of England teaching that might venture off the platform of a "common Protestantism," there were specific charges, clearly due to the excitement of the hour, and unlikely to be advanced by sensible people in their cooler moments. Notwithstanding the plain language of the English Ordinal, one clerical writer went to the length of denying that "the clergy, through their ordination, receive any supernatural power." It was eagerly urged that the Eucharistic language of the Charge agreed substantially with the "Theological Defence" of the Bishop of Brechin; as if the Bishop of Salisbury would have disowned such general agreement, considering the references in his Appendix to the Bishop of Brechin's work, which he also knew to have been largely written and altogether endorsed by the Author of "The Christian Year." It was industriously reported, even in the columns of a respectable newspaper, that the [129/130] Charge had, at least in the main, been really composed by one of the Bishop's chaplains. It was maintained that the teaching of the Charge was inconsistent with "the simplicity that is in Christ;" as if the Lutheran tenet on the subject of Justification, or the Calvinistic Predestinarianism, to say nothing of the Catholic doctrines of the Holy Trinity and of the union of the Divine and Human Natures in the Person of our Blessed Lord, did not inevitably suggest questions to all reflecting persons that could not be in any sense answered without getting into an atmosphere which, to uneducated or untheological minds, must necessarily savour of intellectual subtlety. Public meetings were held, at which even the Bishop's faithfulness to the Church of England was challenged; and his library table was covered with private remonstrances, as to the bulk of which it may perhaps be said generally, that they did more credit to the earnestness of the remonstrants, and often to their kindly personal feeling towards their Diocesan, than to some other qualities which are necessary to the fruitful consideration of theological questions.
Of the various things that were said and done, much was too wide of the mark to do more than raise a friendly smile. But after all deductions on this score had been made, there was undoubtedly a very real opposition on the part of many good and conscientious men to that which the Bishop really meant; they resisted his full and authoritative assertion of primitive and Catholic doctrine as the doctrine of the Church of England. And this opposition the Bishop felt, and felt most deeply. His affectionate nature recoiled from the sense of personal antagonism to those whom he revered and loved. And he mourned over all that such [130/131] opposition implied both as to the convictions of his opponents themselves on matters of grave importance, and as to the spiritual disorganization of the flock under his charge. But from the first he determined to "keep a tight hand upon himself;" to avoid, if it might be, any approach to expressions or feelings of irritation; to recognize for himself, and to insist that others about him should recognize, in those who opposed him, motives as pure and high as any which governed his own conduct; and yet, on the other hand, to guard against any semblance of deprecating conscientious opposition by concessions of Sacred Truth, which as a minister of Christ he had no right to make, and which would certainly not have commanded the respect of those who were opposed to him. A time would come, he said, when some good men, who to the last might be unable to agree with him, would yet feel that in the excitement of the hour they had been betrayed into an unjust estimate of his conduct and motives. Meanwhile it was his duty to work on as faithfully and as lovingly as by God's grace he could, praying our Lord, in His own time and way, to send, together with a fuller and truer understanding of His perfect truth, a message of peace to His distracted Church.
Undoubtedly, at the time and since, he received from Churchmen throughout the length and breadth of England the warmest thanks for words which had cost him so much. The English Church Union was anxious publicly to memorialize him on the subject. But he declined on the ground that no man ought to be memorialized for simply doing his duty. [He expresses his feeling on the subject of such addresses in his Charge, 1867, p. 129.] If he had [132/133] had any misgivings as to the moral strength of his position, his bearing would necessarily have been very different. As it was he was content to "endure as seeing Him Who is invisible." The preposterous idea of his being at heart unfaithful to the Church of England, if it was ever seriously entertained by any one, has been dissipated by his death, and by the terms of that profession of faith which, in full view of his last moments, he dictated to the chaplain who was attending him:--"Throughout the controversies in which during the course of my Episcopate I have been engaged, my aim and object has been to vindicate for the Church of England her true position as a branch of the One Holy Catholic Church of Christ, faithfully holding the whole truth committed to the Church by our Lord and His Apostles. I have done this honestly. I mean to say that I have recognized and do recognize the actual position of the Church of England, as having, at the Reformation, cast aside some 6erious errors which were more or less current in the unreformed Church." [See the Appendix to "Life and Death:" a Sermon, by the Rev. H. P. Liddon. London: Rivingtons, 1869.] It is sometimes supposed, both by friends and opponents, that the position of High Churchmen in the English Communion is essentially a shifting and insecure one; that they have accepted principles, the full consequences of which they either do not see, or are for the time being perversely determined to decline; that they are probably drifting onwards vaguely in the mist, before a gale of passion, panic, sentiment, romance, into submission--sooner or later--individual and unconditioned--to the Church of Rome. Such an impression may or may not be warranted by some particular cases: but it is as far as possible from being [132/133] true of men like the late Bishop of Salisbury. He did not disguise from himself or from others his sense of the grave evils which afflict, and of the graver evils which threaten the Church of England at the present day. He thought it possible that this Church might be tempted in her corporate capacity, whether in obedience to State pressure, or by herself thinking more of the attractive prospects of national "comprehension "than of the stern and simple claims of Truth, to accept errors or to abjure portions of Divine Revelation, so plainly and decidedly, as to forfeit the allegiance of her believing children. The promise of indefectibility is not given to any national Churches: and the temptations to play false to truth which beset the Church of England are sufficiently numerous and powerful. But anxiety for the future is one thing; and present distrust is another. The Bishop believed that, as of old, so now, the Holy Ghost "works in the Church of England;" not merely in the souls of individuals who belong to the English Church, but through her Sacraments and ordinances, and corporate action; not merely preveniently, as He works in heathens whom He is leading on to conversion and communion with the Church of Christ, but efficaciously, as He works in those who are already "very members incorporate of the mystical Body" of the Son of God. With this conviction, he could not but regard the language which Roman Catholics often apply to English Sacraments and Church-privileges as being, if not in intention, yet in fact, sinful and profane; because it involves disparagement and denial of the Presence and power of the Holy Spirit. To Bishop Hamilton it was more than unwelcome to be praised at the expense of the Church which he served; to be described as better than [133/134] his system; to be pointed out as one who without real Sacraments had yet learnt more of the Divine Life of Union with the Incarnate Son than had been learnt by many children of the true mother of Christians. For he knew how much he owed to the gifts of Christ really ministered to him in the Church of England. And he lamented the fact that "much of the work of the Church of Borne in this country appears to be purely destructive;" that, in order to disparage the claims or weaken the influence of the English clergy, her representatives will not scruple, at times, to make common cause with an uninstructed Puritanism, or even with a cynical unbelief; that her polemical activity against the English Church often creates a general unsettle-ment as to the claims of any Church or of any truth whatever, and so actually contributes, however unwittingly, to the cause of infidelity more largely than to her own aggrandizement. For himself Bishop Hamilton determined, while unflinchingly holding his own, to refrain from any of the varieties of controversial violence which only aggravate the wounds of Christ's Body, and which betray a latent sense of weakness in persons who employ them. It would have been morally impossible for the Bishop to cull from the Apocalypse its strongest condemnatory metaphors, applied by the sacred writer to Pagan Rome, with a view to branding the largest and oldest Churches in Western Christendom. He thought with Mr. Keble that "this misapplied language was likely to bring a Nemesis on those who used it, sooner or later;" they would "come to feel its injustice and absurdity, and would perhaps be led by a moral reaction to yield to all the claims of the Church which they had abused." Referring to the opinion of a friend that "every public man in this [134/135] country must make up his mind not to be mealy-mouthed when dealing with the Church of Rome," he observed that, "for his part, he must own he could not act upon it. He did not believe that fierce denunciation of the Church of Rome was the true or necessary measure of love and loyalty to the Church of England. Invective did not dispose Roman Catholics to inquire whether their teaching and practice was really and altogether in accordance with the Will of Jesus Christ. But it did stir up bad passions among our own people; passions which were in fact more political than they were properly religious; and which were as often directed against the English as against the Roman Church." On his death-bed he observed that he "was thankful to reflect that he had, he believed, said and done nothing to widen the breach between the divided Churches."
Such an attitude, maintained consistently, and often under circumstances of great difficulty, throughout his Episcopate, naturally exposed the Bishop to much misrepresentation. But its real merit will be understood by all who have felt that their deepest convictions can willingly dispense with passionate rhetoric; and that it is natural to be calm and generous when you are strong. If, indeed, the English Church had no positive attractions and blessings of her own; if her existence was only intelligible as a standing negation of something else; if souls were really to be saved, not by teaching them to believe in and to love Jesus Christ, but by teaching them to hate the great majority of Christians; then Bishop Hamilton would have failed in his duty to the Church over which he presided. In reality, he was bent upon making the fullest rise he could of the truths and blessings committed to [135/136] him and his; and he could hope and think the best of other Churches, without being ungrateful or unloving towards his own.
The most effective weapon in the armoury of Roman controversialists is, beyond question, their appeal, first to the unity enjoined on the Church of Christ, and then to the actual unity of the Church of Rome. Christ's Church, so the argument runs, must be visibly one; and if you are looking out for the one Church, is there any Church so like it as the Church of Rome? Now, that visible unity is the healthy and normal condition of the Church is beyond question. That it has never been suspended is one of those desperate assertions by which every thing is sacrificed to the exigencies of a theory. To say, for instance, that in the long political struggle between Pope and Anti-pope one half of Europe was cut off from Christ is as necessary to the Roman position as it is impossible to the common-sense of Christian love. The truest moral and spiritual unity may coexist with visible separation; just as the profoundest moral divergences may be buried beneath the smooth surface of public and visible uniformity. It is easy to construct arguments out of the sacred metaphors of Scripture, by straining them beyond their legitimate scope. The Church, says Scripture, is a body. But if a separated Church is always, in virtue of the bare suspension of intercommunion, a limb cut off from the Holy Body, it is useless to endeavour, after the fashion of such efforts as were made at the Council of Florence, to restore it to unity in its corporate capacity; unless, indeed, an arm or a leg, after complete amputation, can be reunited to the parent trunk. The Church is also a family. Certainly any member of a family may commit suicide; but the ties of blood which unite brothers are [136/137] ineffaceable by any quarrels or misconduct which may for a while prevent them from acknowledging each other. Should it be urged that this is to abandon a revealed note of the Church of Christ; it will be remembered that our Lord has made Sanctity as much a mark of His Kingdom as Unity, and that if the fundamental Sanctity of the Church can co-exist with such corporate degradation as was deplored by St. Bernard or by Gerson, her fundamental Unity is not necessarily forfeited by divisions which do not carry with them a surrender of valid sacraments and of Catholic creeds.
To the Bishop of Salisbury the Anglican position that this substantial unity of the Church may be intact, although intercommunion should have been for a time broken off between different dioceses or groups of dioceses, appeared to be logically less imposing, but truer to the history and facts of Christendom than the Roman. "If I were to be convinced that the Church of England is no part of the Church of Christ, and if I were further convinced that the Unity of the Church of Christ admits of no rents in it, I should still be greatly embarrassed, to say the least, as to the course of duty. For, as far as I can see, the Eastern Church has just as good claims as the Roman to be the one visible representative, if there is only one visible representative, of the Primitive Church,--of the Church of the Apostles. Nay, if history is to be allowed to have any voice in the matter, and if continuous identity of teaching is a note of the Church, the claims of the East, especially since the Papal definition of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, are stronger than those of Rome. Numerical preponderance did not prove the truth of Arianism in the days of St. Athanasius; and I am thankful to [137/138] be able to think happily of those who live and die in both Churches, while remaining with a good conscience where I am." These were the words of the late Mr. Keble about two years before his death; and they represent substantially the convictions of Bishop Hamilton. To him, as to others, the Eastern Church seemed like a jetty which broke up the advancing wave of the Roman argument from unity. The real greatness of the Eastern Church, its noble missionary zeal in the most distant Siberia, its extraordinary popular power in Russia, its tranquil confidence in the strength of its position, are facts which Puritanism and Rome conspire to disguise from the English public. [On this see "Exposition de la Doctrine de l'Eglise catholique orthodoxe," par W. Guettée; Paris et St. Petersbourg, 1866, p. xix. Doctrine must be attested "par le témoignage constant d'une société chrétienne, une dans son existence, invariable dans sa foi, immobile comme un rocher au milieu de toutes les élaborations, de toutes les fantaisies de l'esprit humain. Ou trouvera-t-on cette société chrétienne, sinon dans l'Eglise catholique orientale? L'Eglise romaine prétend l'être; mais l'histoire est là qui donne les dates de ses innovations successives dans son enseignement dogmatique comme dans sa constitution. . . . Pour l'Eglise catholique orientale seule le Christianisme a été un héritage reçu et transmis sans interruption de génération en generation depuis Jésus-Christ jusqu'à nos jours. C'est pourquoi son témoignage actuel équivaut a celui du siècle apostolique. Son enseignement est l'écho fidèle des écrits et de la prédication des Apôtres, de l'enseignement des Pères, des décrets des conciles oecumeniques. Elle a assisté à toutes les transformations que l'on a fait subir au christianisme en Occident. Plus vieille que l'Eglise romaine, elle a été temoin de toutes les actes de la papauté et elle en a noté les innovations successives; elle a assisté à la naissance de toutes les Eglises, de toutes les sectes, et, au milieu des mouvements en sens contraires qui agitaient les esprits, elle est restée immobile, fermement attachée à cette recommandation de Saint Paul: Garde le dépôt."] But they are sufficiently familiar to those who have taken the [138/139] trouble to inquire; and they oppose an enormous obstacle, not indeed to a recognition of the Churches of the Roman obedience, as forming part of Christ's Kingdom, but certainly to their pretension alone to represent it, in the Christendom of to-day.
This was a leading consideration in Bishop Hamilton's estimate of a very complex question; but it was only one out of several considerations which pointed in the same direction. The Bishop was constitutionally more Saxon than Latin in his mind and character. He certainly did not set less store on individual responsibility than on corporate organization. He entirely believed that there were many things in the temper and practice of the Church of Rome, which, if we were more intent on doing good than on fighting controversial battles, we might copy with advantage. But, at the same time, there are sides of her practical genius with which he had scant sympathy. The apparent tendency of her popular system to substitute externalized form or habit for the guiding and invigorating force of great moral and religious truths was only noted by the Bishop as being useful to ourselves in the way of warning. "I have seen------lately, and he tells me that Mrs.------spends her time chiefly in distributing blessed sprigs among the Irish in the London alleys, in order to keep them from drunkenness. To make the poor people sober is an excellent work, and Mrs.------ is certainly a devoted woman. But I was amused at the idea, which I suppose------had, that this distribution of sprigs would attract me to the Roman system. I should have thought it better to tell the Irish not to degrade their bodies which Our Lord had consecrated by His Spirit, than to give them the blessed sprigs."
Perhaps, the most distinctive feature in the practice [139/140] of a devout Roman Catholic at the present day is his devotion to the Blessed Virgin. However true it may be that a large number of English Churchmen never would seem to have at all seriously considered the peculiar blessedness of Mary, as Mother of the Incarnate Son, it is not less true that her place in the thought of the modern Roman Church is altogether different from her place in the mind of Catholic antiquity. A Roman Catholic who should think of her, speak of her, and act towards her only as St. Augustine, for instance, thought, spoke, and acted, would be considered disloyal to the spirit of the modern Church and wanting in what is due to Christ's Holy Mother. At the beginning of his last illness the Bishop read, with much interest, a paper which appeared in a French periodical, and which described the last hours of M. Berryer. [It will be found in the Etudes Religieuses for Dec. 1868.] He frequently reverted to it, as illustrating, among other things, the genius of the French Church for creating a peculiarly noble type of Layman. "But one thing in it which struck me," he said, "is that the Blessed Virgin was almost every thing to the dying man; the references to her are just what we should naturally make to our Lord, resting as we do not less upon the tender sympathy of His Manhood than upon His Divine Omnipotence. Of course," he added, "I know the explanations of this language which are put forward; and I am glad to make the most of them, and to try to believe that God is not thought the less of because so much of the little attention that we can give to the things above is given to His servant. And yet the whole narrative makes me thankful to be and to die where I am; it seems to be so much safer [140/141] to keep close to our Lord Himself, at all times, but especially at a solemn time like this." [The date of this conversation is Jan. 20 or 21, 1869.]
It would be easy to give other illustrations of the Bishop's attitude towards the Roman Church. Believing her to be a great province of Christ's kingdom, he always spoke of her with respect, with a studied absence of any prejudice or exaggeration, with hearty recognition of the great graces which God has given her. He certainly did not ignore the corruptions which weaken her, and which few among her own children have the courage to acknowledge and to deplore. He feared however that, in spite of these evils, her ascendency with Catholic-minded Englishmen would practically become irresistible, if the English Church herself should be induced to sacrifice any thing really organic at the demand of popular prejudice. He never concealed his conviction of the strength and truth of the High Church or Catholic interpretation of the present English formularies; and he trusted to time, to God's teaching by His Spirit, to the earnestness and straightforwardness of his fellow Churchmen, for a more general reception of what appeared to be so certain to himself.
There can, however, be no doubt that the mental anxieties and sufferings connected with the Charge of 1867 contributed not a little to lay the seeds of that illness which ended in his death. But there was at least one other subject of public sorrow on which he felt most deeply. The Author of "The Christian Year" was taken to his rest on March 29th, 1866. How deeply that book had influenced the Bishop's life has been stated by a friend who knew him intimately through his whole Episcopate, and who shared his thoughts on such subjects most entirely:--
 "The form of goodness which he specially venerated was the goodness of a simple, sequestered life, dedicated to God. Mr. Keble was his great living ideal of saintliness. Indeed, next to his Bible, and to his constant aim to reproduce in himself what he believed to be 'the mind of Christ,' the two studies by which probably his mind and character were chiefly formed, were the study of Wordsworth's poems, and the study of Mr. Keble's 'Christian Year,' His favourite passage in each author was Wordsworth's exquisite 'poem of the imagination,' beginning with the line, 'Three years she grew in sun and shower,' and the Meditation in 'The Christian Year' on Septuagesima Sunday. He thought these two charming pieces struck, as it were, the keynote of their writers' minds; and it was a note that was in exact harmony with the prevailing temper of his own. To him, as to Wordsworth, nature was a great mystic parable; he recognized and felt her strange, undefined powers. I vividly remember the earnest, impassioned tone in which he recited Wordsworth's lines already referred to, as one day, ten years since, we wended together up the steep ascent of Snowdon; and gladlier still would his spirit soar, as Keble ever and anon would lift the veil from the face of nature, and raise the eye of contemplation from God's footstool to His throne. ' The Christian Year,' in the Bishop's house, was a ' golden treasury;' and it was with him a point of duty, almost as strict as that by which he bound himself to say his daily office of morning and evening prayer, to hear the younger members of his family repeat to him the melodious words in which the Church's poet has set the thoughts that belong to each commemorated day." [J. F., in Salisbury Journal, Aug. 7, 1869.]
Although Bishop Hamilton had seen much less of Mr. Keble. than might have been anticipated from the poet's near neighbourhood to Salisbury, there was no man, it may safely be "said, in the whole Church of England, who looked to Hursley with more reverent and unqualified confidence. For in the Bishop's eyes Mr. Keble was much more than a poet; he was a living saint and doctor of the Church. Three days after Mr. Keble's death at Bournemouth, a few sentences of the Bishop's Easter sermon in Salisbury Cathedral, revealed to the [142/143] diocese something of his sense of the blow which had fallen upon himself and upon the whole Church of England. He was deliberately of opinion that "the death of no Bishop on the bench would have left so terrible a gap," as was caused by the withdrawal of that humble but fearless and comprehensive mind, which, from a quiet Hampshire parsonage, wielded an influence more penetrating and absolute than could be secured by any position whatever joined to lower gifts of sanctity and intellect. On April 6th, in the churchyard of Hursley, the Bishop of Salisbury wept like a child at the grave of Keble; and this "immeasurable" loss, as he deemed it, coloured his whole thought and action, and appeared permanently to depress him during the remainder of his active life.
The first symptoms of the Bishop's last illness showed themselves on Wednesday before Easter, 1868, during a walk in the neighbourhood of Salisbury. He "could not breathe" when mounting Harnham Hill, and the difficulty of breathing was accompanied with "strange feelings unlike any thing he had ever felt before in his life." He thought that this must be a violent cold, and treated it accordingly. He was confined to his bed for some days in Easter week. But he gradually grew better. He took his usual amount of spring work, and his full share in the labours of the Trinity Ordination. At that date, however, there was enough about his look and bearing to rouse the anxiety of his [143/144] chaplains; and they made a united representation to him on the subject, begging him to put off the customary gatherings of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and of the Archdeacons and Rural Deans at Salisbury, as well as some intended Confirmations, and to seek rest somewhere beyond the confines of his diocese. But to this advice he turned a deaf ear; observing that he must do what little work he could while the day of life lasted, since, do what he could, the night when no man could work would come soon enough. Towards the end of the summer, his case created very serious uneasiness. He spent three weeks at the Rev. W. Halliday's beautiful retreat at Glenthorne. But he was unable to feel the refreshment he had generally derived from a change of air and scene. At the September Ordination in 1868, he was "too ill to be at dinner or to take his usual social part;" and the Rev. R. F. Wilson, who was acting as Examining Chaplain, again "endeavoured to persuade him to seek immediate rest and to give up some Confirmations which he had in hand." Mr. Wilson "spoke very earnestly about his health and the absolute duty of sparing himself in order the better to do his work." The Bishop "cheerfully but decidedly put by the advice, saying that the Confirmations were in Dorsetshire, where he should be refreshed by the change of scene, and by the intercourse with his clergy." [MS. letter.]
That Confirmation tour of three weeks was his last. It ended on October 21st. On Sunday, October 18th, he had found the greatest difficulty, from faintness, in continuing the morning service in the church of Piddletown. But he held a Confirmation in the after-noon, at which "he seemed to gather up the whole [144/145] force of his mind and body to give his address" to the candidates; and on Tuesday, October 20th, he reopened the parish church of Broadwinsor, which had been restored by his godson, Captain Malan. "Charles Malan," the Bishop says in his journal, "has done a noble work." This was his last public act. He was with difficulty able to dine with the Mayor of Salisbury on the 23rd; but increasing weakness led him to move on October 30th to Charters, near Sunningdale, the seat of his brother, Mr. E. W. T. Hamilton. He now recognized the serious character of his illness, and went to town to see Dr. Gull. In a letter to the present writer, dated November 11th, the Bishop says, "I was in London for two hours yesterday, and Dr. Gull looked me well over. Weakness of the action of the heart is the cause of all my distressing symptoms. He does not think that going abroad is desirable: Salisbury is just as good a place as any other place. What he insists upon is rest and quiet, the doing nothing for the present but what is absolutely necessary, avoiding all strain of mind or body, and especially long standing. He assures me that if I am obedient I may get well again, as it arises from weakness, and not from organic disease." But, as a matter of fact, his health did not improve; the weakness and depression appeared to gain upon him day by day. On December 5th he returned to Salisbury. His disease rapidly made way, and on the night of December 31st his state inspired the greatest alarm. A consultation was held; and on January 3rd he was removed to Claridge's Hotel, Brook Street, London, in order to be more immediately under the care of Dr. Gull. From this date until the end of July that eminent physician, assisted by S. Sibley, Esq., and J. Plaskett, Esq., did [145/146] every thing for him that could be done by the highest medical science, combined with the most unwearying and affectionate care. On January 14th he had an attack of cardiac-asthma; the organic and fatal nature of his malady became fully apparent to himself as well as to those about him. And henceforth the history of his illness is that of a long struggle, varied by the ebb and flow of life-power, within the narrow margin that still was left to it by the encroachments of disease. As the origin of his malady was a mechanical defect in a vital organ, which implied no general failure of the functions of life, his strong constitution offered a resistance to the advancing and inevitable "enemy," which astonished the experienced physician who attended him. It was said, and with truth, that comparatively few men in a generation leave this world by an illness involving such prolonged and varied suffering. On January 30th he was removed to 33, Grosvenor Street; and again on April 8th to 9, Seymour Street, Portman Square--a house which had belonged to his predecessor, Bishop Fisher, and to which he was invited by the affectionate devotion of one of that Prelate's surviving daughters, Mrs. Mirehouse. Before he left Seymour Street the hand of death was already upon him; but his last wish for any earthly object was gratified, and on July 29th he returned to Salisbury. Once more his eye rested on the spire of his cathedral, on his beautiful home, on the faces of his young children and of his aged mother. He breathed his last at twenty-seven minutes after one o'clock on Sunday morning, August 1, 1869.
He had, in the early part of his illness, wished to live, "partly for the sake of his children; partly that he might bear his part in the trials which he foresaw for the Church in the coming times; and above all, [146/147] that he might deepen and perfect his own repentance." When it was clear that recovery was not to be thought of, he found it, he said, at first "very hard to bring his will into entire harmony with the Will of God." This, together with his deep sense of sinfulness, greatly depressed him; "Other people," he observed, "say that at times like these they are happy and rapturous; for my part I am crushed beneath a sense of my unfitness to appear before the judgment-seat of God." "Some men/' he said again, "appear to have looked at death chiefly as involving separation from their friends. Well, it is hard, very hard, to leave my wife and my children, and my mother, and many others that I love. But this aspect of death does not engross me, at least mainly; nor is it the process of dissolution itself, the parting asunder of soul and body that I chiefly think about. For me death means above every thing else the going straight to Judgment." Not that he was unmindful of the atoning work of our Saviour Jesus Christ, or of the gracious means of real union with Him which are provided in the Sacraments of the Church. But he "feared a sense of safety to which he might have no right from not having really got to the bottom of his own heart, and so throwing something that was less sinful than his real self upon the mercy of his Saviour." He trusted "that God would save him from playing any tricks with himself, and from thinking more of present feelings than of past sins, and from making our Lord's Redemption a reason for thinking lightly of evils which had cost Him so dear." He had, as always, the greatest dread of exaggeration or insincerity, whether in language or feeling; and it seemed to him that mental depression was safer for a sinner than mental exaltation of any [147/148] kind, because truer to his actual condition before God. One day a friend wrote an inscription in a book given to one of his children, and speaking in high praise of himself. When it caught his eye, "That is all very well," he said, "and very kindly meant too; but what I feel bitterly, as I never felt it before, is that man's judgment, whether it be good or evil, is a very different thing from the judgment of God."
He received the Holy Communion constantly throughout his illness; indeed, there were only two weeks in which he was unable to receive it. During Holy Week, as at some other times, it was administered to him daily. He prepared for it with great earnestness, often spending great parts of the preceding night in prayer. When, as would sometimes happen, through excessive pain and weakness, he was unable to keep his attention throughout the Sacred Service, he was greatly distressed. But in that Sacrament of Life he found a consolation and a strength which nothing else gave him; which no commemoration of an absent Saviour--which only the present Redeemer Himself--could have bestowed. He spent his time between the study of Holy Scripture, constant intercession for his diocese, his clergy and laity, and interviews with persons who from time to time came to see him. Among these he deeply felt the kindness of the present Primate, of his old and beloved friends the Bishops of Oxford and Rochester, of the Bishops of London, Lincoln, Gloucester, and others. They generally said prayers with him or gave him their blessing; and when they had left he would dwell with anxious sympathy upon their trials and difficulties, and upon their several claims upon the affection and deference of their clergy and people. Among the laymen who [148/149] visited him were Sir R. J. Phillimore, the present Solicitor-General, Sir Walter Farquhar, and others. But none came more frequently, even at the busiest periods of the late session of Parliament, or gave the Bishop greater pleasure, than the Premier. Very few days passed during the later months of his illness on which either Mr. or Mrs. Gladstone did not call on him.
One great blessing, for which he had prayed earnestly, was vouchsafed him: he retained his full consciousness up to the last moment of his life. And as the end drew near, the great bodily sufferings as well as the mental anxieties of some earlier stages of his illness were removed. On his last day at Salisbury, July 31st, he was without pain; without spiritual agitation of any kind; perfectly conscious; and longing, if it might be, to be summoned away. "Tell me," he said in the morning, "when you think that the time of dissolution is coming near." He warmly pressed the hand of a friend in answer to the question whether the promise, "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee," was realized to him. "The only thing I want," he said, "is to place my whole confidence more and more perfectly in the Precious Blood." Among the last words that escaped him were "Bright, bright," as if sights were already opening upon the eye of his soul, full of heavenly promise and beauty, while his bodily eye was being glazed in death.
His character is to be read in his life and work; and whether as a man or as a Bishop he will not be forgotten. In the words of the writer who has been already quoted more than once,--
"The leading traits in the Bishop's character, as it struck me, were its affectionateness, simplicity, generosity, courage, guilelessness. The petty impulses of meanness, spite, self-seeking, [149/150] cowardice, never lodged, even for a moment, in that large, manly, Christian heart. Those who saw what he was in the circle of his own family, in the precincts of his own home, felt that he who so knew 'how to rule his own house' was not unmeet to 'take care of the Church of God.' 'Given,' by nature, 'to hospitality,' he recognized, with the Apostle, that it was a duty specially incumbent upon a bishop. With a lively inborn sense of humour, delighting in social intercourse and genial conversation, his humour was yet seasoned with the salt of self-restraint; he knew ' the time to keep silence and the time to speak;' and what proceeded out of his mouth seldom failed to minister grace unto the hearers. And this gift was his even in his earliest years. I have it on the authority of a college contemporary that, at an age and in a place in which too much licence is sometimes given to the tongue, he would never tolerate at his table a jest that had the slightest tendency to overstep the bounds of decorum. "His temper, ordinarily even, naturally most affectionate, always placable, had, so far as it was part of his moral nature, to fight frequent battles with a nervous irritability of physical constitution, which sometimes made the cares of his office tell upon him with a weight quite disproportionate to their magnitude. Every one who knew him ever so slightly must have been struck by the winningness of his smile. It seemed at such moments as though the whole heart of the man--loyal, tender, true--beamed out into the countenance. He set a special value upon his friendships, and had a characteristic reverence for goodness. His friends were continually receiving some unexpected token of his munificence or his considerateness. Even in the midst of the physical suffering of his last days, his thoughts were constantly turning to an old friend of his youth, still bound to him by personal and official ties, who was prostrated with a sickness, less painful, but threatening the same fatal termination as his own, and he would order to be sent from London whatever he thought likely to afford him comfort or relief. [The Rev. B. W. Bridges. He was scarcely less anxious about Dr. Waldegrave, Bishop of Carlisle; whose illness had become very serious during the later stages of his own; and of whom a report was sent to him almost daily.] His was the truest type of friendship; loyal and constant, frank and true. If he ever gave pain, it was out of very faithfulness. 'Faithful,' says Solomon, 'are the wounds of a friend.'" [J. F., in Salisbury Journal, Aug. 7, 1869.]
 "He has gone: a bishop, in all the highest conceptions of the character, such as the Church of England has rarely seen. The greatest comfort to those who loved him and survive him is that not one element of bitterness will alloy the tender memories that, in the minds of all good men, will ever associate themselves with his revered name. Those who differed most widely from him in matters of opinion, will be the first to wish to bury those differences in his grave. The supreme thought of him, which will merge all other thoughts, will be the remembrance of a bishop who tried to do his duty." [J. F., in Salisbury Journal, Aug. 7, 1869.]
The path of that duty, as he understood it, was not an easy one. Loving quietness and peace, overflowing in affection to all around, and setting great store on its return, carrying self-distrust to a point at which it might seem to threaten his powers of action; he was nevertheless sincerely loyal in times of great difficulty, and at all costs, to convictions which, to say the least, are not likely to be embraced by any man who is not satisfied of their truth. His Episcopal life was in consequence a long sacrifice of self; his mitre was probably lined with more and sharper thorns than was that of any of his brethren. But it is by the Holy Spirit's work in lives such as his that both the Church and society are braced and sanctified; it is from such lives that a truer, loftier, more disinterested, sterner, yet withal not, most assuredly, less affectionate spirit than that of common men, radiates into and purifies and elevates an entire generation. God Who has summoned him to his rest knows how little, as it must seem to us, such a man could be spared by the Church of England: may He inspire others, Bishops and clergy, with the faithful, heroic, and tender spirit of Bishop Walter Hamilton.