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RIGHT REVEREND GEORGE HORNE, D. D.
LORD BISHOP OF NORWICH.
This exemplary prelate was the son of the reverend Samuel Horne, M. A. rector of Brede, in Sussex, and of Otham, in Kent, in the last of which livings he was succeeded, in 1768, by his son William Horne, M. A. formerly demy of Magdalen College, Oxford. The bishop was born at Olham, and baptized in the parish church there, November 1, 1730. His early education was conducted by his worthy father, and next by the reverend Deodatus Bye, master of Maidstone grammar school, who observed, at his admission, that “ he was fitter to go from school than to come to it.” In March 1745-6, he was admitted at University College, Oxford, having been previously chosen to a scholarship from Maidstone school; and, in October 1749, he took his degree of bachelor of arts. The year following, he was elected to the fellowship of Magdalen College, which is appropriated to a native of the county of Kent. He was a very laborious student, and he had an elegant taste in Greek, Latin, and English poetry, of which he gave many admirable specimens, while he was no more than undergraduate in the university. His constant aim, however, was to render the acquisition of polite literature subservient to the study of theology and the illustration of the sacred writings. In the language of the early companion of his literary pursuits, and who became his chaplain and biographer, “he raised his thoughts from the poets and orators of Greece and Rome, to the contemplation of the great Creator's wisdom, in his word and in his works."* While at University College he became enamoured of the Hebrew language, which he studied with dose application, and this brought him acquainted with the writings of the learned John Hutchinson, whose whole life was devoted to the great object of deducing from the Mosaic scriptures the principles of true philosophy.
In 1751, Mr. Horne manifested his attachment to this system, which was at that time exceedingly unpopular in our seats of learning, by publishing without his name, a tract entitled, “ The Theology and Philosophy in Cicero's Somnium Scipionis explained; or a brief attempt to demonstrate, that the Newtonian system is perfectly agreeable to the notions of the wisest ancients; and that mathematical principles are the only sure ones.” The chief merit of this pamphlet lies in its wit, the aim of it being to expose the received philosophy as no other than a revival of what was maintained ages ago by Cicero and the Stoics.
In June 1752, Mr. Horne took his degree of master of arts, and about the same time he engaged in a controversy, through the medium of the Gentleman's Magazine, on the subject of the Cherubim, which he, in common with the followers of Hutchinson, held to be symbolical of the Trinity. The letters of our author were
* Dedication to the Rev. William Jones's Sermon “ on the Natural History of the Earth and its Minerals" 8vo. 1787.
signed Ingenius; but the publisher of the magazine, after suffering the discussion to commence in that work, put a stop to it, by declining to insert the reply which Mr. Horne drew up in defence of the doctrine he espoused, thus exercising an unwarrantable disposition over the privilege of inquiry, and the freedom of the press. The year following, Mr. Horne published a masterly pamphlet, with this title, “ A fair, candid, and impartial state of the case between Sir Isaac Newton and Mr. Hutchinson: In which is shown, how far a system of physics is capable of mathematical demonstration': how far Sir Isaac's, as such a system, has that demonstration; and, consequently, what regard Mr. Hutchinson's claim may deserve to have paid to it.” Of this luminous and closely reasoned production, which was never answered, a new edition appeared in 1795. In the year 1754, our author gave to the world, though anonymously, an ironical piece with this curious title, “Spicilegium Shuckfordianum, or a nosegay for the critics; being some choice flowers of modern theology and criticism, gathered out of Dr. Shuckford's* supplemental discourse on the creation and fall of man, not forgetting Dr. Garnet'st Vatikra."
But religious controversy and philosophical pursuits were far from narrowing the mind and abating the cheerfulness of this amiable man; for at this period we find him corresponding with Mr. Berkeley, son of the excellent bishop of Cloyne, in a strain of playful humour and fervent piety, of which the following letter is an admirable specimen.
Mag. Coll. Oxon. May 10, 1755. MY DEAREST GEORGE,
It was with the greatest pleasure that I set my eyes on your hand-writing, and with no less do I now take up the pen to have some conversation with you upon paper, which is very sweet and comfortable when we are prevented from having it face to face. Without this, the hurry about us, and constant succession of fresh objects, insensibly deface the image of absent friends in our hearts, (such is our weakness and frailty) in spite of all our endeavours to the contrary. How lamentably would this be the case with regard to our best friend, our absent Lord and Master, were it not for those letters full of love, the Holy Scriptures, which come directed to overy soul, though so few take the trouble to open the seals and read them. As he has been pleased (blessed be his holy name for it) to lead us to a knowledge of them, we should be taking all opportunities of comforting and encouraging one another in this our pilgrimage through the land of the dead, to the land of the living. When we cannot do it by talking, we must do it by writing. And those can never want a subject to write upon, who have an interest in him, and are concerned in the increase of his kingdom; who, as members of the same body, have an intimate fellow-feeling, and all suffer or rejoice for the loss or recovery of a limb.
Archdeacon Hamilton I know well, and am happy in calling him my old friend and companion. He is a Christian in head and heart, the one enlightened with knowledge, the other warm with love; equally removed from a dead profession and a groundless enthusiasm, the two baneful plagues of this (I am afraid I must say falling) church. The news of his recovery, since attested by a kind and most excellent letter from himself, we received with great joy. He comes forth like gold tried and brightened in the furnace of sorrows and adversity, to enrich many with the riches of grace, the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, hid in Christ, and manifested by the preaching of the Gospel of God. I rejoice to hear you have other faithful labourers on that side of the water, which confirms to us the truth of that divine maxim, that God will never leave himself without a witness. There is always a call, if men had but ears to hear, which nothing but grace can furnish them with, -"The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made both of them."-I
Samuel Shuckford, D. D. author of the “ Connexions of Sacred and Profane History." and other works of great learning. He was prependary of Canterbury, and died in 1754.
† John Garnet, D. D. who, by going to Ireland with the Duke of Dorset, in 1751, obtained the bishopric of Leighlin and Ferns, from whence he was translated to Clogher. He died in 17.2. Bishop Garnet was the author of a very ponderous treatise on the Book of Job, to which, like Warburton, be assigns a date posterior to the captivity,
shall be glad to hear how Dr. Ellis* goes on, and whether he builds up as well as he pulls down. You surprise me much with the account of bishop Brownt being an admirer of Hutchinson. Let us know a little of your confab together, and how that matter stands. When you see young Mrs. Brown, present my compliments to her, and likewise to the other sister, good Mrs. Breviter, a near relation of Mrs. Quickly of facetious memory. You mention nothing of Mr. Auchmuty, an old friend of mine at Edmund Hall, son, I think, of the late dean of Armagh. If he be in Dublin's own self, touch him up. He knows the truth, but, I am afraid, sleepeth. Give him a jog or so.
Now for a dash at Oxford news. The plantation at Christ Church thrives and flourishes. Little Charles by going to a play, (the Conscious Lovers, I think) and scampering from hence again upon our friend Pie-ball, to dance upon his brother's birth-night, has pretty well got over the imputation of methodism, and things are quiet. I intend to exist with him often in a paradisaical way, in the neighbourhood of the Wheat Sheaf, the prettiest retirement from the noise and hurry of the world that I know. That most excellent youth ille noster, is much better in mind and body, having taken our advice concerning the nature, use and advantages, of an able-bodied servitor, to assist in the education of the Mr. Li's men, more famous than they are likely to be useful in their generations.
I have spent two or three evenings with Dr. Patten,t in whose manner and conversation the spirit of Christianity breathes as strong as ever I saw it. He is quite a spiritual man, and has imbibed Law's piety without his whims. We have had a pretty translation of Psalm cvii. from Ben Wheeler,ll of Trinity, occasioned by reading Romaine, s so that you see we are putting on yon nox.**
Going last Sunday evening to call upon Glasse,tt I found him and Charles Poyntz, it instead of flaunting in our carnival walks, sitting together over the cordial bishop Hall. How acceptable to God are such young converts ! It brought to my mind a sweet passage in the Song; “ I went down into the garden, to see the fruits of the valley, to see whether the vine flourished, and the pomegranate budded."
And now, my dear friend, what shall I say more? It has pleased God to bring you up to an early piety, under the best of fathers, an ornament and honour to the Christian church, to keep you steady in the communion, doctrine, and discipline of that church, committed to the saints by Jesus Christ, the glorious head of it; to lead you to those living fountains of waters, the Holy Scriptures, which to so many are indeed “ a fountain sealed," and not to be opened but by the keys of David, so graciously put into our hands; to give you a noble courage, undaunted perseverance
* Dr. John Ellis, formerly of Brasennose College, Oxford, afterwards beneficed at Chester, and, lastly, in Dublin. He was the author of a very valuable treatise which cuts up infidelity by the roots. This work, entitled, "The Knowledge of Divine Things from Revelation, not from Reason or Nature," appeared first in one volume octavo, in 1743, and has since been re. printed three times.
Dr. Peter Brown, bishop of Cork, and the author of " The Procedure of Human Under. standing :" " Tbings Divine and Supernatural conceived by Analogy;" "Sermons," 2 vols. &c.
1 Thomas Patten, D. D. then fellow of Corpus Christi College, and afterwards rector of Childrey in Berkshire. He was the author of some excellent Sermons, and died in 1790.
& William Law, A. M. He was a nonjuring divine, or one who refused to take the oaths to the reigning family. He was domesticated as chaplain in the family of Mr. Gibbon, the histo. rian, who speaks highly of his piety and genius. It is however to be lamented that the author of " the Serious Call to a devout and holy life," should have fallen into the very dregs of mysti. cism. He died in 1761.
Benjamin Wheeler, of Trinity College, and afterwards fellow of Magdalen College, took his doctor's degree in 1770, and died July 21, 1783. He was professor of poetry in the University; and of whom Dr. Johnson, in a letter to a young clergyman, relates the following anecdote;« My learned friend, Dr. Wheeler of Oxford, when he was a young man, had the care of a neighbouring parish, for which he was never paid; but he counted it a convenience, that it eompelled him to make a sermon weekly. One woman he could not bring to the communion ; and when he reproved or exhorted her, she only answered, that she was no scholar. He was advised to set some good woman or man of the parish, a little wiser than herself, to talk to her in language level to her mind."
The late celebrated William Romaine, M. A. rector of St. Anne, Blackfriars, who had just before published his Discourse on the 107th Psalm. ** The covering of truth.
Samuel Glasse, then a student of Christ Church, D. D. in 1769, and afterwards chaplain in ordinary to his majesty, and rector of Wanstead. Between this excellent divine and bishop Horne the closest intimacy subsisted during life.
11 Charles Poyntz, was M. A. of Christ Church, in 1759, and D.D. in 1769.
of mind, and great readiness of speech; and thus furnished, to throw you into a large acquaintance amongst the heads and rulers of our disordered affairs. Gird close, therefore, the armour of God, pray earnestly for the wisdom of the Spirit to direct; and his almighty power to strengthen you; thus go forth in the name of Jesus Christ, the conqueror of sin, death, and hell, and the Lord prosper you, I wish you good luck in the name of the Lord.” And oh! in your prayers to the throne of grace, remember one, whose ardent desire it is, by giving you any assistance in his power, to prove himself, your sincere and affectionate brother in the faith of Christ,
Love to the Archdeacon who shall hear soon from me. I am just told there is an apology come out for the clergy against Romaine. If we can once make them talk we shall do. “ The dumb spake, and the people wondered!"
To George Berkeley, Esq. Mary-street, Dublin.
About this time our author published two sermons; one preached in Magdalen College Chapel, on the anniversary of St. John the Baptist; and the other, entitled, “Christ the Light of the World." It is very extraordinary, that neither of these valuable discourses should have found a place in the collection of his works; which unaccountable omission leads us to express our regret that a correct and uniform edition of the productions of this sound divine and elegant writer, has not hitherto made its appearance. The publication of the sermon preached in the university pulpit, brought the author into a controversy, in which he distinguished himself not more by his zeal for truth, than by Christian meekness. In 1756, appeared a pamphlet with this title, “ A Word to the Hutchinsonians; or, Remarks on three extraordinary Sermons, lately preached before the University of Oxford, by the Rev. Dr. Patten, the Rev. Mr. Wetherell,* and the Rev. Mr. Horne.” About the same time was published, another tract to the same purpose, but to which the author had the candour of prefixing his name. This last piece bears the title of “The Use of Reason, asserted in matters of Religion; or, Natural Religion the foundation of Revealed. In answer to a Sermon preached before the University of Oxford, on Whit-Sunday, July 13, 1755; and lately published at the request of the Vice-Chan. cellor, and other heads of houses, by T. Patten, D. D. Fellow of Corpus College; by Ralph Heathcote, M. A. of Jesus College, Cambridge, and assistant preacher at Lincoln's Inn." To these violent attacks upon a set of respectable scholars, who had no otherwise rendered themselves the object of censure, than by exerting them selves with peculiar energy in the revival of Hebrew literature; our author replied in " An Apology for certain Gentlemen in the University of Oxford, aspersed in a late anonymous pamphlet; with a postcript concerning another pamphlet lately published by the Rev. Mr. Heathcote." The last of these adversaries had prudence enough to withdraw from a contest into which he had obtruded out of vanity, and to ingratiate himself into the favour of his friend, the redoubtable Dr. Warburton; but the anonymous writer who had provoked the warfare, continued it, though with a feeble hand, in a tract entitled, “ True Censure no Aspersion; or a vindication of a late seasonable admonition, called a Word to the Hutchinsonians, in a letter to the Rev. Mr. Horne.” It is now well known that this piece, and the one which it defends, came from the pen of Mr. Kennicott, the celebrated collator of Hebrew manuscripts, whose learning lay contracted within very narrow limits, but who compensated the want ot genius and judgment by the most indefatigable industry. The illiberality with which this divine treated some of his contemporaries, who were by much his superiors, not only in general knowledge, but even in that branch of study upon which he prided himself the most, very naturally excited their je lousy, when they saw him embark in a concern of such apparent hazard, as that of publishing an improved edition of the Old Testament. Estimating his abilities by what they knew of him, and of his spirit, by these intemperate publications, the persons who were stigmatized as a sect, by the name of Hutchinsonians, regarded
* Nathan Wetherell, of University College, took his Master's Degree in 1750, and those of B. and D. D. in 1764. He became Master of his college, Prebendary of Westminster, and Dean of Hereford.