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BISHOP Wilson has fur- shaken fidelity to the Church nished us with what he calls not only in the season of her “ A short Account of the prosperity, but also in the dark Author of the Following De- days of her adversity, an intelvotions,” and in his letter to the lect holding in vigorous grasp Printer, (page 17,) he gives the great principles of Caus the reason of its brevity. tholic Truth, a moral energy As this reason still holds, no realising these principles deep attempt has been made to in the inner man and exhienlarge his account, though biting them in outward consome additional particulars, duct “beautiful exceedingly," gathered chiefly from works —such are some of the most already published, have been prominent features of his chaannexed to it, in the shape of racter, as drawn in life-like
form by the pen of his EpiThe Bishop's “short ac- scopal biographer. count,” however, is amply Almost all Dr. Sherlock's sufficient to impress us with a published works find a brief wondrous idea of the singular notice in the account of his excellency of Dr. Sherlock's life. Those left unnoticed are, character. Pure and unaffect- | A Visitation Sermon preached piety, charity at once com- ed at Warrington, A.D. 1669, prehensive and discriminating, from Acts xx. 28, and puba daily self-denial and bearing lished in London the same of the cross, a noble superior- year; and a volume of “ Short ity to the world, an ever-burn- | Discourses touching Common ing and ever-active zeal for and Private Prayer, relating his Master's glory, and un
to the Public Offices of the
Church," published at Ox- | discrimination. Of this latter ford, 1684.
class, appear to have been the At page 31 of the Life, we
persons alluded to in Dr. find his biographer alluding Sherlock’s Life, who, having to the
“excellent answers” themselves joined the Romish returned by the author, to cer- Communion, seem to have tain persons of note in the been honestly desirous of inChurch of Rome, who had ducing him to follow their written to him “after they had example, and wrote to him been perverted to that Com- accordingly. His answers howmunion." It was the lot of Dr. ever shewed them, that he Sherlock, as it has been and “no favourer of their still is the lot of many others, errors."
A Catholic he was, who like him have imbibed a Papist he could not be. It the Catholic spirit that per- is much to be regretted vades our Church Liturgy, to that no trace of his answers be accused of being “a Papist to them now remain. They in disguise.”
This was said would doubtless have afforded of him, as Bishop Wilson tells a refreshing contrast to those us, " by both Papists and Dis- sweeping, uncourteous, not to senters, and,” he adds, “ both say unchristian, modes of athad the same end in propagat- tack, with which it has been ing the calumny, the disser- of late the fashion to assail the vice of that Church, which he members of the Romish adorned by his most exemplary Church. life.” One would charitably “ The Practical Christian," hope, that only a few of those the eighth edition of which is who allowed themselves to now submitted to the reader, propagate this calumny, did is by far the most important so knowingly: the majority of all Dr. Sherlock's works. most probably, as in our day, It was a work of gradual were unwittingly deceived into growth and progressive enit, either from ignorance, or largement; and as we have prejudice-some one or more his biographer's testimony to of the idola specus, or, which the fact, that he made it the is more generally the case, model of his own Devotionsfrom a want of the habit of l“ strictly observing himself, what he so earnestly recom- written recommendation of Dr. mended to others," its history Hammond, as being a work becomes at once interesting “ of use and profit;" and so and instructive.
popular did it become, that in Among the many miseries a few years it ran through attending the Great Rebellion, nineteen editions. when the Church had become Having in this little work the prey of her enemies—"ri- furnished his people with what ven and strewn abroad, under he calls “A Summary of the rude and wasteful sky," Christian Doctrine,” feeling not the least was the neglect that the knowledge high it occasioned of systematically and holy doctrines unless acinculcating the principles of companied by a corresponding our holy religion. No sooner high and holy practice, would however was the Church re- he likely to prove a curse rastored, than Dr. Sherlock, who ther than a blessing, his next was now a partaker of her step was to compose for them prosperity, as before he had “ A Summary of Christian been of her sufferings, set him- Practice," and his labours self diligently to remedy this herein ended not until all the evil. For this purpose he com- four parts of his “ Practical posed and published a short Christian” had successively and plain Paraphrase upon appeared. The first edition the Church Catechism, being of this work appeared in 1673, convinced that this excellent under the title “Mercurius formula, though” (to quote Christianus, or the Practical his own words)" by a strange Christian, a Treatise explainfanatic humour it be slighted, ing the Duty of Self-examinand by self-conceited persons ation, &c.” His primary inderided, yet contains all things tention in it, “ being chiefly to both of faith and fact necessary direct his parisbioners for the to. salvation, being rightly, worthy receiving the Holy clearly, and fully understood.” | Communion of the Body and This Tract carries with it the Blood of Christ, whereunto a
* “ The Principles of Holy Ca- the Morning and Evening annex. tholic Religion : or, The Catechism ed.” The 13th edition was printed of the Church of England Para- at London, 1699, and was repriuted phrased ; the Objections against it at Oxtord, 1841. answered ; with Sbort Prayers for
thorough self-examination is teachings, in the rites, above absolutely necessary.” Af- all, in the Holy Sacraments of terwards, being desired to the Church Catholic, heavenenlarge his meditations upon taught souls may realize " the that blessed Sacrament,” he Presence of an eternal lovelidivided the first edition into ness,” even the all-pervading two parts, the first treating of Spirit of Him in Whom self-examination, and the se- “ dwelleth the fulness of the cond, of the Holy Communion Godhead bodily.” Here may of the Body and Blood of those who have implicitly Christ.
yielded themselves to the Though his “Summary" | Church's teaching, thrown was thus enlarged, he still felt themselves confidingly upon it to be deficient and imper-her, here may they see fect. As we have said, he who is invisible," and find made it the model of his own or Him Whom their soul longdevotions, and this led him to eth after.” So at least was it discover its deficiencies. He with Dr. Sherlock. Self-defound that his soul “ gasping nial, the rigid practice of selfunto God as a thirsty land,” examination, and even the deneeded refreshments it con- vout receiving of the Holy tained not,
green pastures" Eucharist, that highest and which it told not of. And best of all the means appointed thus he becomes to us another for making us “partakers of remarkable instance of the the divine nature," left him truth, that when once the soul still restless and unsatisfied. becomes “ athirst for God,” | And why? An important eleits cravings cannot be satis- ment in the Catholic system fied, until it has embraced the had not yet been acted out, Catholic system in the whole the Church's "hours of length and breadth of it. To prayer" had not been kept. He borrow from St. Austin, “ God had been taught however in made us for Himself, and the spirit of obedience, to enour heart is restless until quire after “the old paths ;'' it repose in Him.” In the and led on by the same spirit,
D “Fecisti nos ad Te, et inquietum est cor nostrum, donec requiescat in Te.” Confess. lib. i. c. 1.