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Century XIII, Chapter VII


Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln.

ROBERT} GROSSETESTE was born probably about the year 1175: he seems to have been a person of obscure parentage at Stradbrook in Suffolk. He studied at Oxford, where learning was very zealously cultivated; and there he laid the foundation of his skill in the Greek tongue, the knowledge of which had been introduced from France and Italy. Hence he made himself master of Aristotle, whose works, though idolized, had hitherto been only read through the medium of translation: and at Oxford also he studied the sacred language of the old testament. He afterwards went to Paris, the most renowned seminary then in Europe, where he still prosecuted the study of the Hebrew and the Greek, and became a perfect master of the French language. Here also he became, according to the ideas of the age, a consummate theologian and philosopher. Knowledge was then very rude and inaccurate; but Grosseteste, doubtless, possessed all which Europe could furnish. It is not, therefore to be wondered at, that he should have been looked on as a magician: the same thing happened to the famous Roger Bacon, who flourished something later.

* Cent. Magd. 483. f Id- cent Magd. \ I am obliged principally to Mr. Pegge's late valuable publication of the life of this distinguished prelate for the following account; but I have also consulted Fox the martyrologist and other authors.

Grosseteste was a divine of principal note in the university of Oxford. He associated with Both the mendicant orders, and was the first lecturer in the franciscan school of that seminary. He seems to have been always'serious in religion according to the degree of light which he had: and, as his views were very indistinct, it is not surprising, that he was, for a time at least, captivated by the appearance of sanctity in those deceivers of mankind.

In the year 1235, he was elected, by the dean and chapter, bishop of Lincoln; and king Henry III. confirmed their choice. That see was then much more extensive than it is at this day: and the new bishop, who was of an ardent and active spirit, immediately undertook to reform abuses. For this end he usually went through the several archdeaconries and deaneries, requiring the attendance of the clergy, and admonishing the people likewise to attend, that their children might be confirmed, that they might make their confession, and hear the word of God. Robert himself usually preached to the clergy; and some friar of the dominican or franciscan order lectured the people. The friars of these orders were now his particular favourites; and he encouraged them to hear the confessions of the laity, and to enjoin them penance. The secular clergy were naturally enough offended at this predilection of the bishop: they thought that their own rights were invaded. In the mean time the friars themselves gradually brought the new orders into disrepute by exercising an unlimited dominion over the consciences of the laity, and by enriching themselves at their expense. But Robert, who measured the minds of others by his own honesty and simplicity, and who was pleased with the superior learning.

zeal, and activity of these new instruments of the papacy, saw not as yet the evil tendency of their measures, and, therefore, he encouraged their labours. The days were evil: the zealous bishop could not think of giving countenance to the secular clergy who were ignorant and vicious, in preference to the friars: and, in his zeal for promoting godliness, of which his notions were confused and indigested, he was glad of those assistants, who seemed most cheerfully to cooperate with his own benevolent intentions.

But though he was far more disposed to favour the two new orders than they deserved, he was severe in his censures of the other more ancient orders, and was very strict in his visitations of them. In both parts of his conduct he was influenced by the same upright principle: the hypocrisy indeed of the dominicans and franciscans escaped his penetration; but he could not be deceived by the gross ignorance and dissolute manners of the more ancient orders. Such were the methods by which the prince of darkness seems to have prolonged the reign of antichrist. The orders of ancient times, having filled up their season in supporting the Man Of Sin by a specious appearance of holiness, when this was gone, other orders arose, who undertook the same task, and defended the system of iniquity by a severer course of life and manners. Even such men as the bishop of Lincoln, rigidly conscientious and upright, were seduced, undesignedly, to lend their aid in imposing on mankind. In the mean time, the true cure of these evils, namely, the light of scripture and of its genuine doctrines, was generally unknown in christendom. .

One of the most salutary oflices of the art of criticism is to distinguish the genuine works of the ancients from the spurious. This was unknown in Grosseteste's time: and hence .the laborious bishop was induced to employ his learning,in translating "the Testaments of the twelve Patriarchs" out of Greek into Latin. He thought that he had, by this means, enriched Europe with a valuable monument of sacred antiquity. It is amazing, that the bishop should place so contemptible a performance on an equal footing with the holy scriptures. It scarcely seemed worth while to mention such a circumstance, except as a demonstration that the ignorance of the times was exceedingly great, and that the difficulties of acquiring divine knowledge were then immense beyond our conception.

Let it suffice to mention in general, that the bishop of Lincoln was, partly through his love of justice, and partly through the excessive warmth of his temper, frequently engaged in quarrels with convents, and with other agents of the pope. At one time he was even excommunicated by the convent of Canterbury: but this ecclesiastical sentence was so frequently prostituted to the basest purposes, and was so often pronounced on frivolous occasions, that it had, in a great measure, lost its influence on the minds of men. Grosseteste treated it, in his own case, with scorn and contempt, and continued to labour in the promotion of piety, and in the redress of abuses, with unwearied vigour and activity, but, at the same time, under all the disadvantages, which the darkness of the times and an eager and vehement temper may be supposed to occasion. So long a course of consistent steadiness, integrity, and so much fear of God, attended with so small a degree of spiritual light, as in the case of this bishop, is not a common phenomenon in the church of God. But the work of the holy Spirit in religion is diversified with an endless variety of operations. The instance before us deserves attention. The holy soul of Robert Grosseteste, which was favoured with so much discernment, as just to understand and receive the essentials of godliness, and no more, could not endure with patience the manifold corruptions of the times. He took pains in his diocese to reform various gross abuses, among which was the practice of clergymen acting plays, and maintaining connexion with Jews. The friars were still his favourites: and he rebuked the rectors and vicars of

his diocese, because they neglected to hear them preach, and because they discouraged the people from attending and confessing to them. His devoted attachment to the popedom appears hence in a striking light, and still more so in some other transactions which it is not necessary to particularize. He continued to patronize the friars. These were his most intimate companions: with these he used to hold conferences on the scriptures; and at one time he had thoughts of entering into the franciscan order himself. But however defective he was in doctrine, he was exceedingly strict in his views of morality: and, like all reformers of the merely active class, who labour to promote external good conduct, with low and inadequate ideas of christian principle, he excited great offence and disgust, and produced very little solid benefit to mankind.

Events, however, occurred, which in some measure unfolded to the eyes of the bishop the real characters of the friars. In"1247, two English franciscans were sent into England with credentials to extort money for the pope. They applied to the prelates and abbots, but seem, at this time at least, to have met with little success. Grosseteste was amazed at the insolence and pompous appearance of the friars, , who assured him that they had the pope's bull, and who earnestly demanded six thousand marks for the contribution of the diocese of Lincoln; " Friars, answered he, with all reverence to his holiness be it spoken, the demand is as dishonourable as it is impracticable. The whole body of the clergy and people are concerned in it equally with me. For me then to give a definitive answer in an instant to such a demand, before the sense of the kingdom is taken upon it, would be rash and absurd." The native good sense of the bishop suggested this answer; but the true antichristian character of the pope was as yet unknown to Grosseteste. The blood of our Saviour was about the same time pretended to be brought into England, and he had the weakness to vindicate the delusion. Vol. IV. 9

The bishop continued still to exert himself with the most upright intentions for the good of the church. But, it was his usual infelicity to " * labour in the fire for very vanity," because he had no distinct perception of the fundamental truths of christianity. The value of solid and perspicuous views of evangelical truth was never more forcibly exhibited than in this case. Most bishops or pastors, who have been possessed of this advantage, though inferior to Grosseteste in magnanimity, industry, and activity, have yet, if truly pious, far exceeded him in promoting the real good of the church. He translated the works of John Damascenus, and of the spurious Dionysius the Areopagite, and illustrated them with commentaries; the former author was learned indeed, but was the great patron of image worship; and the latter was a contemptible visionary.

It was in the case of practical evils, not of doctrinal errors, that the bishop of Lincoln showed the strength of his discernment: in regard to these he never failed to act with sincerity and vigour. In 1248, he obtained, at a great expense, from Innocent IV. letters to empower him to reform the religious orders. If he had understood at that time the real character of antichrist, he would have foreseen the vanity of all attempts to reform the church, which were grounded on papal authority. The *ectitude, however, of his own mind was strikingly apparent in the transaction. He saw with' grief the waste of large revenues made by the monastic orders; and being supported by the pope, as he thought, he determined to take into his own hand the rents of the religious houses, most probably with a design to institute and ordain vicarages in his diocese, and to provide for the more general instruction of the people. But the monks appealed to the pope; and Grosseteste, in his old age, was obliged to travel to Lyons, where Innocent resided. Roman venality was now at its height, and the pope deter

» Habak. ii. 13.

mined the cause against the bishop. Grieved and astonished at so unexpected a decision Grosseteste said to Innocent, " I relied on your letters and promises, but am entirely disappointed." What is that to you, answered the pope, you have done your part, and we ' are disposed to favour them: is Your Eye Evil, BeCause I Am Good? With such shameless effrontery can wicked men trifle with scriptural passages. The bishop, in a low tone, but so as to be heard, said with indignation, O money, how great is thy power, especially at the court of Rome! The remark was bold and indignant, but perfectly just. It behooved Innocent to give some answer; and he used the common method of wicked men in such cases, namely, to retort the accusation. " You English, said he, are always grinding and impoverishing one another. How many religious men, persons of prayer and hospitality, are you striving to depress, that you may sacrifice to your own tyranny and avarice!" So spake the most unprincipled of robbers to a bishop, whose unspotted integrity was allowed by all the world.

All that the bishop could do was to leave his testimony at the court of Rome; and he delivered three copies of a long sermon, one copy to the pope, the other two copies to two of the cardinals. In this discourse he sharply inveighed against the flagitious practices of the court of Rome, particularly the appropriation of churches to religious houses, the appeals of the religious to the pope, and the scandalous clause* in the bulls of Non Obstante, which was the great engine of the pope's dispensing power. He observes, that the Son of God submitted to a most ignominious death for the redemption of human souls, which, without mercy, were delivered to wolves and bears. His uprightness and magnanimity were evidenced by this step, but no good effect appeared. To have explained and enforced the doctrines of the gospel itself, and to have proved the whole structure

* See an account of the effect of this clause near the bottom of page 65. •

of the papacy to have been perfectly inconsistent with those docrines, would have been a far more likely method of promoting the edification of the church; but to this task the light and knowledge of the bishop were unequal. He was for some time so dejected with the disappointment which he had met with, that he formed intentions of resigning his bishopric. But, recollecting what ravages of the church might be the consequence of such a step, he felt it his duty to remain in his office, and to do all the good, which the infelicity of the times would permit.

The bishop often preached to the people in the course of his perambulation through his diocese; and he required the neighbouring clergy to attend the sermons. He earnestly exhorted them to be laborious in administering to their flocks; and the lazy Italians, who, by virtue of the pope's letters had been intruded into opulent benefices, and who neither understood the language of the people, nor wished to instruct them, were the objects of his detestation. He would often with indignation cast the papal bulls out of his hands, and absolutely refuse to comply with them, saying he should be the friend of Satan, if he should commit the care of souls to foreigners. Innocent, however, persisting in his plan, peremptorily ordered him to admit an Italian, perfectly ignorant of the English language, to a very rich benefice in the diocese of Lincoln; and Grosseteste, refusing to obey, was suspended. Whether the sentence of suspension was formally repealed, or not, does not appear. Certain it is, that the bishop continued to exercise his episcopal function; and shortly we shall advert to facts, which prove in a still more striking manner, with what impunity he despised the papal mandates.

Observing that churches appropriated to religious houses had not always stated vicars, and that where vicarages existed, they were often meanly endowed, he obtained at length in 1250, a bull from Innocent to empower him to regulate these matters. The evil was indeed enormous; but the persevering zeal of the bishop, supported by the extensive influence of his character, prevailed at length in some degree over the pope's usurpations; and a considerable number of vicarages in his diocese were at length regulated. A pious and upright perseverance in the reformation of abuses, amidst many vexatious disappointments, is seldom altogether in vain; and this wise and encouraging order of the divine government is extremely worthy of the attention of dignitaries of the church in all ages.

Grosseteste united the labours of his pen to those of the episcopal office. He began a comment on the psalter, though he lived not to finish the work; and he seems to have known no other recreation, than what naturally arose from the variety of his religious employments.

In January, 1253, Innocent was desirous of preferring his nephew, an Italian youth, in the cathedral of Lincoln; and for this purpose, he, by letter, directed the bishop of the diocese to give him the first canonry that should be vacant. This was to be done by ProVision; for that was the decent term employed by the pontiff when he undertook to provide a successor to a benefice beforehand, under pretence of correcting the abuse of long vacancies. Innocent seems to have been determined in this instance to intimidate the bishop into submission. He declared, that any other disposal of the canonry should be null and void; and that he would excommunicate every one, who should dare to disobey his injunction. He wrote to two Italians, his agents in England, ordering them to insure and complete the appointment, with his usual clause of Non Obstante; a clause pregnant with the most intolerable abuses; for it set aside all statutes and customs, and obliged them to give way to the present humour of the pope.

Grosseteste, resolute in his disobedience, wrote an Epistle on this occasion, which has made his name immortal. As he advanced in years, he saw more clearly the corruptions of the popedom, which, however, he still looked on as of divine authority. But if we set aside this remnant of the prejudices of education, he argues altogether on protestant principles. Some extracts of the epistle may deserve the reader's attention.* " I am not disobedient to the apostolical precepts. Tarn bound by the divine command to obey these. Our saviour Christ saith, whosoever is not with me, is against me. Our lord the pope appears to be his type and representative. It is impossible then that the sanctity of the apostolical see can be repugnant to the authority of Jesus Christ. The Non Obstante clause overflows with uncertainty, fraud, and deceit, and strikes at the root of all confidence between man and man. Next to the sin of antichrist, which shall be in the latter time, nothing can be more contrary to the doctrine of Christ, than to destroy men's souls, by defrauding them of the benefit of the pastoral office. Those, who serve their own carnal desires by means of the milk and pool of the sheep of Christ, and do not minister the pastoral office to the salvation of the flock, are guilty of destroying souls. Two enormous evils are in this way committed. In one respect they sin directly against God himself, who is essentially good; in another against the image of God in man, which, by the reception of grace, is partaker of the divine nature. For the holy apostolical see to be accessory to so great wickedness, would be a horrible abuse of the fulness of power, an entire separation from the glorious kingdom of Christ, and a proximity to the two princes of darkness.t No man, faithful to the said see, can, with an unspotted conscience, obey such mandates, even if they were Seconded by the high order of angels themselves; on the contrary, every faithful christian ought to oppose them with all his might. It is therefore in perfect consistence with my duty of obedience, that I withstand these enormities, so abominable to the lord Jesus Christ, so repugnant to the holiness of the apostolical see, and so contrary to the unity of the catholicfaith. I say then, this see cannot act but to edification; but your ProVisions are to destruction. The holy see neither can nor ought to attempt any such thing; for flesh and blood, and not the heavenly Father, hath revealed such doctrines."

* See Fox, vol. i. page 365, and M. Paris, page 870t He seems to mean the devil and antichrist.

It is not clear whether this epistle was written to the pope directly, or to some of his agents. It was meant, however, for his inspection; and it affords a marvellous instance of that christian boldness and honesty for which Grosseteste is so justly renowned. Sullied, indeed, were the qualities of this good man with much doctrinal imbecility, but ever animated by a true zeal for the honour of God, and by the deepest sense of the worth of souls.

Innocent, on receiving the positive denial, accompanied with such warm remonstrances, was incensed beyond measure: and " who, said he, is this old dotard, who dares to judge my actions? By Peter and Paul, if I were not restrained by my generosity, I would make him an example and a spectacle to all mankind. Is not the king of England my vassal, and my slave? and, if I gave the word, would he not throw him into prison, and load him with infamy and disgrace?" In so low a light did the bishop of Rome behold the monarch of this island! But king John had reduced his kingdom into a state of subjection to the pope; and the same vassalage continued all the days of his pusillanimous successor. The cardinals. however, who saw the danger which the pope incurred by his arrogance and temerity, endeavoured to moderate his resentment. Giles in particular, a Spanish cardinal, said,* " it is not expedient for you to proceed against the bishop in that violent manner. For what he saith is certainly true, nor can we with decency condemn him. He is an holy man, more so than we ourselves are; a man of excellent genius, and of the best morals; no prelate in christendom is thought to excel him. By this time, it is possible, that the truths expressed in his epistle are divulged among many; and they will stir up numbers against us. The clergy both of France and England know the character of the man, nor is it possible to cast any stigma upon him. He is believed to be a great philosopher, an accomplished scholar in Latin and Greek literature, zealous in the administration of justice, a reader of theology in the schools, a popular preacher, a lover of chastity, and an enemy of simony." Others joined with Giles in the same sentiments. On the whole, the cardinals advised the pope to connive at these transactions, lest some tumult might arise in the church, for they said it was an evident truth, that a revolt from the church of Rome would one day take place in christendom. It seems there were even then some discerning spirits, who could foresee, that so unrighteous a domination would in time be brought to a close. Yet the prevalence of ambition and avarice induced them to support that domination, though they were convinced of its iniquity.

* Fox, vol. i. p. 366. Pegge, p. 248.

But the fury of Innocent was not to be allayed. He pronounced the sentence of excommunication against Grosseteste, and nominated Albert, one of his nuncios, to the bishopric of Lincoln. The bishop appealed to the tribunal of Christ, and paid no regard to the decree. What the cardinals foresaw, came to pass; the pope's commands were universally neglected; and the bishop continued in quiet possession of his dignity.

In the latter end of the summer of the same year, 1253, he was seized with a mortal disease at hig palace of Buckden; and he sent for friar John de St. Giles, to converse with him on the state of the church. He blamed Giles and his brethren the dominicans, and also the franciscans, because, though their orders were founded in voluntary poverty, they did not rebuke the vices of the great. " I am convinced, said he, that both the pope, unless he amend his errors, and the friars, except they endeavour to restrain him, will be deservedly exposed to everlasting death." We may hence collect what was the foundation of that respect which the bishop was wont to pay to the friars; it was the eclat of their voluntary poverty, which he hoped would have enabled them to be faithful dispensers of the word of God, as by it they seemed to be removed above the temptations of avarice. If a man of his understanding was deceived by their feigned sanctity, it ought to be less matter of surprise that the world at large was imposed on by the same cause; and that the institution of these orders proved so convenient a support to the popedom for several generations. The mind of Grosseteste was always more clear in discerning the E N D of true religion than it was in discovering the Means of promoting it. Upright, intrepid, disinterested, and constantly influenced by the fear of God, he yet failed to bring about the good which he had conceived in his heart, because he had too little acquaintance with " the mystery .of godliness," and because he too much relied on moral and prudential plans for that reformation of mankind, which is sought in vain from every thing, except from the knowledge and application of the gospel.

But the bishop was rapidly advancing towards eternity; and he seems now to have had more powerful manifestations of divine truth from the Spirit of God than any with which he had hitherto been favoured. His zeal evidently arose from the purest charity. Superior to selfish considerations, he was absorbed in meditations concerning the church; and we have from a contemporary historian* an account of his last conversations with his chaplains, in which there was probably something still more evangelical than what they or the historian could understand. It is, however, our duty to report it as it is delivered to us; and clergymen at least will find it worthy their attention.

" In October, the bishop, oppressed with a fatal distemper, whatever it was, sent for some of his chap

* Mat. Paris.

Vol. IV. 10

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lains, and conversed with them. Christ, said he, with a sigh, came into the world to save souls: ought not he then, who takes pains to ruin souls, to be denominated antichrist? Our God built the universe in six days, but he laboured more than thirty years to restore man when fallen. Is not then the destroyer of souls, the antichrist and the enemy of God? The pope is not ashamed impudently to disannul, by his clauses of Non Obstante, the decrees of the holy pontiffs his predecessors. Many other popes have afflicted the church; this Innocent has enslaved it more than they." He then recounts their usurious and fraudulent proceedings in England, and inveighs against the arts of amassing money practised by the friars on account of the crusades. I have seen, said he, an instrument, in which it was inserted, that those, who, in their w.ills, devised money for the use of the crusades, should receive indulgence in proportion to the sum they gave. He then exposed the scandalous practice of disposing of ecclesiastical benefices, and lamented that the friars, the devotees of poverty, were now converted into taxgatherers to the pope, belying the habit they wore, while they were made more secular than ever. The bishop, indignant at these and other horrible proceedings, observed, " the church can never be delivered from this Egyptian bondage, but by the edge of the sword;" and while he was scarcely able to speak for sighs and tears, his breath and his voice failed him. He might be sharpened in his accusations by the personal ill treatment which he himself had received; but it must be owned, that he had a distinct knowledge of facts, and a most just abhorrence of hypocrisy and iniquity. And it is only to be lamented, that he had lived so long a time, and remained so little acquainted with the only christian armour of doctrine, which can cut down the powers of antichrist. He died at Buckden, October 9, 1253. Innocent heard of his death with pleasure; and said with exultation, " I rejoice, and let every true son of the Roman church rejoice with me, that my great enemy is removed." He or

dered a letter to be written to king Henry, requiring him to take up the bishop's body, to cast it out of the church, and to burn it. The cardinals, however opposed the tyrant; and the letter was never sent, probably on account of the decline of Innocent's health; for he died the succeeding year.

M. Paris, though most superstitiously attached to the Roman see, and prejudiced against the bishop of Lincoln, on account of his severity towards the ancient monastic orders, was, however, a man of probity and honour; and has left such a testimony to the character of Grosseteste, as will deserve to be presented to the reader.*

" The holy bishop Robert departed this world which he never loved, and which was always to him as a place of banishment. He was the open reprover both of my lord the pope, and of the king, and the censurer of the prelates, the corrector of monks, the director of priests, the instructor of the clergy, the supporter of scholars, the preacher to the laity, the punisher of incontinence, the diligent investigator of various writings, and lastly he was the scourge of lazy and selfish Romans, whom he heartily despised. In the supply of the temporal table, liberal, copious, polite, cheerful and affable. In the spiritual table, devout, humble, and contrite. In the episcopal office, diligent, venerable, and indefatigable." The historian adds to this, " that even in those instances of discipline, in which he seemed to bear the hardest on the monks, he was allowed to have acted always with the purest intentions."

Grosseteste appears to have had no great turn for public business: he neglected it for the most part; nor did he frequent the court. The salvation of souls was perpetually in his thoughts and in his mouth; and it is devoutly to be wished, that many, whose evangelical light is far superior to his, resembled him in tenderness of conscience, in unwearied activity and zeal, and in genuine humility and modesty of spirit, with which, notwithstanding the disadvantage of a temper plainly irascible in a great degree, he was very eminently endowed.

* Mat. Paris, p. 876. Edit. Lond. 1640.

In one of his letters he shows the idea which he had formed of the importance of the pastoral office.* " I dare not, for the love of God," says he, " confer the care of souls on any person, who will not sedulously discharge the office in person. The office itself is of the last importance; itrequifes a governor always Resident, who applies himself to it, with vigilance, prudence, diligence, and fervour; who preaches the word of the Lord in season and out of season; who exhibits himself an example of good works; who, when he gives salutary admonition and is not regarded, can grieve and lament; who shakes his hands from holding bribes; who so evidently applies to pious uses the pecuniary fines, which he receives for the punishment of faults, that he is perfectly free from all suspicion of selfishness and avarice on that account; who is delighted, when he can with a good conscience acquit the accused; whom no prejudice, passion, intreaty, or gift, or partiality can divert from the path of rectitude; who delights in labour, and whose whole desire is to profit souls." He, who in an age of superstition, which afforded so many temptations to venality and corruption, could act according to the spirit of these rules, must have been possessed of the spirit of Christ, and have been superior to the spirit of the world.

To have so much enlarged on the character and transactions of a man, so little distinguished, in regard to evangelical knowledge, as bishop Grosseteste was, from the common herd of papists in his time, might seem to need an apology, were I not sensible, that the eminence of his Practical godliness demonstrates, that he must have been in possession of the fundamentals of divine truth; and, that the candid and intelligent reader may receive edification from a light

* Pegge

which burned with steadiness in the church of God, though in much obscurity.

The evidence, however, of the bishop's knowledge of fundamental truths is not only to be collected by fair inferences, but is also direct and positive. A number of his sermons in manuscript are still extanu* I have examined one of these throughout, which was preached from our Saviour's words in the sixth chapter of St. Luke, " Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God." Let it suffice to condense the ideas contained in this sermon into a narrow compass, by a very short abridgment, which to the best of my power shall be faithful to the sentiments of the author, though I have not thought it worth while to translate accurately the barbarous Latin of the original.

He undertakes to describe the poverty recommended in the text, which, by comparison with another evangelist,f appears to be poverty in spirit. This poverty, he observes, is wrought in the heart of the elect by the holy Spirit. Its foundation, he tells us, is laid in real humility, which disposes a man to feel, that he has nothing, except what he has received from above. But this is not all; for humility in this view belonged to Adam before he fell. But the humility of a Sinner has a still deeper root. The humble man not only sees that he has nothing in himself, but he is also stripped of all desire to possess in himself the springs of selfexaltation. Condemned in himself, and corrupt before God, he despairs of help from his own powers, and in seeking he finds HIM, who is the true life, wisdom, and health, who is all in all, even the incarnate Son of God, who descended into our vale of sin and misery, that he might raise us from their depths. By leaning on Him alone, every true christian rises into true life, and peace and joy. He lives in His life, he sees light in His light, he is invigorated with His warmth, and he grows in His strength, and leaning upon the Beloved, his soul ascends upwards. The lower he sinks in humility, the higher he rises toward God. He is sensible that he not only is nothing in himself, but that he has also lost what he had gratuitously received, has precipitated himself into misery, and so subjected himself to the slavery of the devil; and lastly, that he has no internal resources for recovery. Thus he is induced to place his whole dependence on the Lord; and he is led to abhor himself, and always to prefer others, and " to take the lowest seat" as his own proper place. The humble soul is called on by our author solicitously to examine himself, whether he really demonstrates in his tempers and practice this grace of humility; and tc beware lest, even if he do find some evidences of it in soul, he be inflated with the discovery, because he ought to know, that it is from the Lord alone that he is what he is; and that he ought no more to boast of himself than the shining colours in the glass should glory in that splendor, which they derive intirely from the solar rays. He observes, that the temptations to selfcomplacency are the effect of satanic injections; and that it behooves him, who would be found unfeignedly humble, to see whether he has the genuine marks of humility in practice; whether, for instance, he can bear to be rebuked by an inferior, whether he is not rendered insolent by honours, whether he is not inflated by praise, whether among equals he is the first to labour, and the last to exalt himself, whether he can render blessings for curses, and good for evil. By such methods of selfexamination he is to check the ebullitions of vain glory, with which the tempter is apt to inspire those, who seem to have made some proficiency in grace. If that proficiency be real, let them take care never to conceive of it as something separate from Christ: He alone dwelling in them by his spirit produces al^that is good, and to him alone the praise belongs.

* They are preserved in the cathedral of St. Peter's at York. fMatth.v.

To the directions and cautions concerning humility, which indeed form the most evangelical and most useful part of the sermon, the bishop adds some di

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