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guides and comforters of the people, will not hesitate to pronounce that he was despicable as an ecclesiastic, and hateful as a man.— While those who are not of this opinion will, like myself, trace the principles of that conduct which has been the theme of such copious invectives, which has heaped on his name, for an hundred years, the charges of spleen, malice, and ingratitude-to an overpowering zeal, and to a fixed determination of maintaining the cause of religion and virtue, through good report and evil report, and of holding nothing so high in policy, as the conscientious discharge of his christian duties.

The truth is, that Burnett had evidently formed to himself a very lofty standard of attainable perfection in the discharge of his episcopal functions; and he seems never to have remitted his exertions to elevate and conform himself to it in every particular. Others of his contemporaries may have brought more precious contributions to sacred literature,-may have fought the battles of orthodoxy better than he,-may have been surrounded with prouder triumphs of authorship,-but his name, associated with the strict and undeviating performance of the primitive and essential duties of his office, will go down to posterity in one of the most glorious pages of ecclesiastical history. I am not afraid, in this respect, to link his claims with those of any one who has worn the mitre since the Reformation.

Thus strongly led to invest the Prelacy with that deep and aw ful responsibility, that nothing in the concerns of earthliness could be compared to it, he yearned for the amendment of the parochial clergy; connecting with their exertions, the renovation of the land. But in bending the whole force of his mind to produce the appa ratus of a preaching, pious, and popular ministry, the proper object and end of the national church, we are not to be surprised, that he should have given as much offence as if he had been attempting some violent reform-as if he had stepped out beyond the direct and conscientious line of his duty. To the superficial eye, a fervent attachment to an institution appears, indeed, perfectly incompatible with a keen and painful sense of its defects. And Burnett at one time, for assuming the intrepidity of a prophet of old, and denouncing, in the ears of royalty itself, all the proffigacies which disgraced

and deformed it, and at another, for telling the clergy of their faults, has passed with many, for an enemy to the established authorities of the country; whereas, those who love truth more than party, may very confidently affirm, that a real and honest principle of Christianity lay at the root of these reproofs, and that it was he, and such as he, who, in the day of national calamity and danger, would be found to diffuse over the whole sphere of his influence, the virtues of order, peace, and loyalty.

It was one of Burnett's favourite sayings, that a bishop in his diocese should be the leader of no particular class of persons, but the head and father of his people. How far his conduct rose into a consistent exemplification of this wise remark, may be deduced from the general spirit and tenor of his episcopal proceedings. Counting it for an undeniable fact, that the pastoral clergy were the instrumental cause of all the vital and substantial christianity in the land, the very fountain heads of national morality,-he spared no pains to acquire a thorough knowledge of the habits, intellect, condition and general circumstances of every clerical individual in his diocese... Family alliances, property, and wide-spreading connexions had no share in his patronage, unless the possessors of them were respectable for their learning, exemplary for their lives, or useful for their ministry. Nor did he keep a scowling front, or view with emotions bordering on exclusion or bigotry, such of his clergy as happened to differ with him on speculative points of religion, or upon grounds merely political, like the Nonjurors; but sought to throw all their differences into the back ground, and only to bring forward those great and substantial points of agreement which might bind them together by a strong feeling of brotherhood. Even to those, too, who were of unconfirmed character or of lax morality, he assumed not a repulsive and hostile aspect, or rebuked their offences in an intolerant tone, as if he were unconscious of his own imperfections; but diffused such gentleness into his judgments, as made it difficult for them to withstand his honest, benignant, and persevering kindness. Yet while acting with all the courtesy of a gentleman, the dignity of a bishop, and the charity of a christian,-and at all times encouraging and heartening the deserving in their career by his cheering smiles of

approbation, and by his animated expressions of applause, has this estimable prelate been represented, by the turbulence of faction and profligacy of party in his own days, as the secret despiser of the majesty of the throne and the sanctity of the altar. Time, however, is most disinterested, and, to vindicate what there has been said amiss, has come with healing on his wings. Dipping his pen

in the colours of truth, he has painted Burnett for the contemplation of a more impartial posterity, as a patriot who understood and venerated the real principles by which different parts of the constitution were adjusted,— —as a churchman who lifted up his protesting voice against unworthy appointments by lay as well as ecclesiastical patrons, who hated nepotism, pluralities, and sinecures in cathedrals,-who declared, that, were he to raise fortunes for his children out of the income of his bishopric, he should consider himself guilty of the greatest crime,-and, lastly, who shrunk not from avowing, that, to suffer himself to be converted into a ministerial tool, was to lower himself from the pare and lofty sphere in which alone he ought to breathe and act. Whatever judgment may be passed on the other parts of this History, and though it may still be with some a fixed article of literary faith, that the author's personal character was a compound of spleen, malice, and ingratitude, these memorable words will be read and remembered with warm approbation by every right-feeling and sound-thinking christian. "The more abstracted that bishops live from the world, from courts, from cabals, and from parties, they will have the more quiet within themselves, and they will, in conclusion, be more respected by all, especially if an integrity and a just freedom appear among them in the House of Lords, where they will be much observed, and judgments will be made of them there that will follow them home to their dioceses. Nothing will alienate the nation more from them, than their becoming tools to a court, giving up the liberties of their country, and advancing arbitrary designs."

It was as natural, however, for those who had hearts as uncharitable as their intellects were narrow, to ascribe these constitutional admonitions to the influence of bad passions and to factious purposes, as for common and every day minds to impute his interference in state matters solely to a sordid love of avarice, and to views of per

sonal aggrandisement; though certainly, of all studied historical misrepresentations, that may be pronounced among the chiefest, which affixes the character of cold, calculating, mercenary self-interest to the name of Burnett,-which makes place and emolument the reigning idols of his soul. Any candid and competent inquirer into the leading events of Burnett's life, must, indeed, regard this accusation with the deepest contempt. For can he be charged with a mean and interested struggle for wealth and patronage, who refused the Archbishopric of Glasgow, and the See of Chichester, disdaining to league himself with a government which, with all the ostentation of loyalty, by manifesting the most bare-faced abandonment of public principle for the sake of private advantage, sapped the very foundation on which loyalty is reared? Nor should his readiness, afterwards, to accept the lucrative Bishopric of Durham tempt us to doubt that the praise due to him for the foregoing refusals is beyond his deserts; though satire, which holds nothing in reverence, attributes his seeking the last rich prize to the un principled desire of raising fortunes for his illegitimate children.

It is not wonderful, therefore, after this preposterous assertion, to find the impugners of this honest, and generally useful, friend of his country, so often apostrophized by them with the scurrilous epithets of state intriguer, factious intermeddler, and pamphleteering bishop.

Now, early conscious of the might that lay within him—for even those who hated him most allowed him to be possessed of a comprehensive understanding-well acquainted with the opinions and sentiments of the best authors-with the maxims of the most profound statesmen-and with the character, views, and resources, of other European nations, besides his own-upon these grounds alone, he was naturally disposed to try his strength in political as well as spiritual warfare. Burnett seems to have entered into the secular politics of the day, as much under the influence of an imperious sense of duty as if some superior being had the items of his political as well as moral and religious existence. It was this wellplaced confidence, therefore, in his mental powers-and not the wish to amass or aggrandize-it was this anxious concern for the liberties of his country, which led him to mix so much in the commerce of the world, and to take such a deep interest and regard October, 1835.—VOL. III. NO. XIII.


in civil affairs. The ambition he had, no doubt, in common with other men of great and commanding intellect, of wishing to raise himself" to high places." But it was the honourable and holy ambition of connecting his own with the promotion of the public welfare, conceiving, and, in my mind, rightly conceiving, that neither his christian vocation nor episcopal office forbad, but, on the contrary, justified and required his political exertions in behalf of a country, which he had ever loved with a patriot's spirit. Yet, for urging his principles and maxims with so much energy and truth-for displaying the most praiseworthy feelings, he has been ridiculed, scorned, and cursed, by many a renegade Whig, and ultra Tory. Undoubtedly it would have been out of place for the servant of the altar, if Jacobitism had then been what it now is, merely a name. But every one who is acquainted with the history and transactions of this period, well knows that this was not the case. At the time of the Revolution, a strong Jacobite party existed in the cabinet itself. And not only in the reign of William the Third, but of Anne, and George the First, the accession of a popish king, especially as foreign powers were then favourable to it, was an event not entertained by the chimerical apprehensions of Burnett alone, but was contemplated as something more than barely possible, by some of the leaders in the conflicting parties of the state.

But here arise two interesting questions, which, at the first glance, it may appear difficult to answer in a satisfactory manner. Why a man, who was thus forward to assist the progress of just and liberal views among his fellow citizens-whose predominant passions were for religion and liberty, in the cause of which he had laboured, sorrowed, rejoiced, prayed, and to which he dedicated his whole life, should be so insufficiently appreciated by those who witnessed these his great merits, as to create in them a dislike bordering on aversion? And why a divine of his eminence, should be irreconcileably repugnant to those, between whose political sentiments and his own opinions there existed the closest bond of union? It may be answered to the first question, that Burnett, as a Scotchman, was hateful to his countrymen, from his decided attachment to the Church of England; the members of which, on the other hand, could not resist the belief from his supposed bigotted nationality, that he sympathized too warmly with the presbyterians, and there

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