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of continuing his studies under the mind, that the author had not guidance of Mr. Hamilton, who fairly stated, or honestly quoted, was appointed to the first fellow- the opinions of the Fathers; and ship in the college.
this suspicion led him to resolve to Still pursuing his studies with scrutinize the matter for his own renewed application and pleasure, satisfaction, and, with this view, he devoted himself to the acquisi- if God should spare his life, to tion of classical and scientific ad the Fathers all over, and knowledge; and at the age of six- trust none but his own eyes in the teen had made such progress in search of them. This stupendous ecclesiastical history, antiquity, undertaking he was spared to acand chronology, that he completed complish. Commencing at twenty the first draught of that great years of age with the Fathers of work, The Annals of the Old and the first century, be read a certain New Testament, which afterwards portion every day in chronological spread his fame throughout Eu- order, till at the end of eighteen rope.
years he had completed this laboThe subjects which principally rious task. occupied his thoughts at this pe- · Writing to his uncle, he gave riod, seemed to shew that he had the following account of the stumade choice of the sacred profes- dies in which he was then engaged. sion of a minister of Jesus Christ, “ The principal part of my study rather than of the law, which his is at this time employed in perufather had wished him to pursue; sing the writings of the Fathers, and on the death of that parent, in and observing out of them the docAugust 1598, being left to decide trine of the ancient church ; wherein for himself, be determined without I find it very necessary that the hesitation to prepare himself for reader should be thoroughly inthe work of the ministry.
formed touching his authors, what • Soon after the loss of his father, time they lived, and what works he gave a striking proof of his dis- are truly, what falsely, attributed interestedness and brotherly affec- to them ; either of which being tion. A considerable estate then mistaken, must of force bring great came into his possession, which he confusion in this kind of study. at once proceeded to share with The authority of the Fathers, his brother and sisters, reserving and the importance of an intimate for himself only so much as would acquaintance with their writings, has maintain him at college, and place recently become a subject of much at his command a small annual discussion : the immense time, sum for the purchase of books. however, which the perusal of their
• Surrounded as he was by po- voluminous productions, must unapery, having relations who adhered voidably consume, may well induce to that faith, and meeting fre- ordinary readers to pause, before quently with books which advo- they enter on so extensive an uncated the Romish 'religion, bis dertaking. Few men have leisure attention was naturally turned to enter on so extensive a field, and towards that subject. A book, fewer still possess that solidity of entitled The Fortress of Faith, judgment, which would enable them written by a Romanist named Sta- to separate the precious from the pleton, was much circulated at vile. The Fathers, be it rememthat time, and came into the hands bered, were only men. Pious men, of our young student, while he was it is true, yet men of very defecan under-graduate of the univer- tive education, living in trying sity. On the perusal of that work times, and often adopting and difa suspicion was awakened in his fusing very crude, hasty, and erroIt appears, how
neous conclusions. As records of inferred from an admission which facts, their writings are highly he afterwards made in one of his important, but their doctrinal, and works. • There came to me once,' even practical statements, must be he says, 'a youth of about eighreceived with much caution and teen years of age, of a ripe wit, with continual reference to the when scarce, as you would think, inspired volume.
gone through his course of philoBefore this period indeed, and sophy, or got out of his childhood, when not yet twenty years of age, yet ready to dispute on the most Mr. Usher had been selected by abstruse point of divinity.' And the Protestants to dispute with a at a later period he confessed that learned Jesuit of the name of Fitz- Mr. Usher was a profound schosymonds. • It was agreed that lar, and pronounced him the most the disputants should meet once a learned person out of the catholic week in a room in Dublin Castle, church.' which should be open to the pub- Mr. Usher took the degree of lic; and the Jesuit entered into Bachelor of Arts at the usual the contest without any apprehen- time, and in the year 1600 prosion of defeat.
ceeded Master. In the same year ever, that after one or two confe- he was appointed Catechist Rearences, he retired from the field ; der in the college, --an office which and, not liking to own himself van- he discharged with advantage to quished, gave out that he did not his pupils and credit to himself. choose to waste his time in dis- About this time also
he was puting with a boy. This came to diligently employed in collecting young Usher's ears, and be wrote and arranging the papers which a letter to Fitzsymonds, in which, were afterwards published in his after making a reference to the body of Divinity. In consequence battle between David and the Phi- of the scarcity of preachers, Mr. listine, he proceeds, “I would Usher with two other young men, fain have you know that I neither were appointed to preach in Christ came then, nor now do come unto Church Cathedral before the State, you, in any confidence of any and he was especially desired to learning that is in me, in which treat of some of the Popish errors. respect, notwithstanding, I thank • But he soon after désisted, God I am what I am ; but I came from a conviction of the improin the name of the Lord of Hosts, priety of thus ministering in pubwhose companies you have re- lic, without having received ordiproached, being certainly persua- nation. His manner, however, of ded that even out of the mouths of performing the duty thus imposed babes and sucklings he is able to upon him, and his lectures as cateshew forth his own praises.” And chist reader, seemed to hold out then, after proposing that the dis- such promise of his usefulness as a cussion should proceed as at first divine, and his character as a intended, he concludes his letter by Christian seemed now to be so “ praying the Lord that both this, well established, that his friends and all other enterprises that we také importuned him to defer no longer in hand, may be so ordered as may
to offer himself a candidate for most make for the advancement of holy orders. He appears to have his own glory and the kingdom of hesitated at first to comply with his Son Jesus Christ.”
their wishes, on account of his The discussion does not appear youth. But after a while he deto have been renewed : but that termined to devote himself to the the Jesuit had not a mean opinion service of his Master and Saviour, of his opponent's talents, may be and was set apart for that sacred
purpose by his uncle, the arch- churches, which have always rebishop of Armagh.'
jected the doctrines of Popery, • Mr. Usher's reputation as a
refused admission to its authority, scholar and a divine was now well and escaped extermination or aposestablished; and his general know- tasy under its persecutions. ledge of literature was so highly Dr. Usher's work was only carappreciated, that when, in 1603, ried down to the latter part of the the English army in Ireland sub- fourteenth century. In a letter scribed £1800. towards the Library written a few years after its publiof the University, he was appointed cation, he speaks of his intention to accompany Dr. Chaloner, ano- of filling up what is wanting to ther of the fellows, to London, and complete the work. I purpose, in conjunction with him to lay out he says, “to publish the whole that sum to the best advantage. work together, much augmented, It is singular enough that, while but do first expect the publication executing this commission in the of my uncle Stanyhurst's answer English metropolis, they chanced to the former, which I hear, since to meet Sir Thomas Bodley, who his death, is sent to Paris to be was also in search of scarce and printed.' The remaining period, valuable books for his newly- however, was never completed, erected library in the university of owing in some measure to the loss Oxford.
of his papers, during the unhappy • This visit he afterwards re- disorders which rent society in the peated about once in three years, latter part of his life.' when he usually passed a month The Protestant church in Ireat Oxford, another at Cambridge, land was at this period in a very and the remainder of his time in feeble state. A large majority of London; and wherever he went, the inhabitants were firmly athe obtained access to the best pub- tached to the Romish faith, and lic and private collections.' as the Irish language then generally
In 1613, Mr. Usher took his prevailed, with which few ProDoctor's degree ; about which time testant ministers had any acquainthe was offered the important office ance, there was very
prospect of Provost of the college, which he of recovering the poor Romanists declined. In the following year to a purer faith. Attempts were he published his first treatise on indeed made to induce English and the state and succession of the Scotch ministers to settle in IreChristian churches, with especial land; but the dangers were reference to the Popish inquiry, great, and the prospects of usefulWhere our religion was before ness so small, that very few were Luther ? In this work he proves induced to engage in so arduous an from authors of undoubted credit, undertaking. Most of those who that even in the darkest and most complied with the invitation were ignorant times, Christ has always Puritan ministers who acceptedhad a visible church, untainted benefices in Ireland, in order to with the errors and corruptions of avoid the difficulties they had to Romanism, and that these islands contend with in England. These do not owe their Christianity to persons were desirous of adopting Rome. This learned disquisition a confession of faith which should has been of great service to all be still more decidedly Calvinistic later writers; its main positions than the Articles of the Church of have never been refuted ; and fur- England, and Dr. Usher, as Dither investigation has confirmed vinity professor at Dublin, assisted many of his opinions,--particularly in its preparation. This confession that there exist several Christian of faith passed both houses of Con
vocation and Parliament with great system less obnoxious to those who
the • that he ordained more than one knave's puritan was
person who was not sufficiently man !'
qualified in respect of learning ; On his return to Ireland, the and this was in so extraordinary a newly consecrated bishop
case, that I think it will not be sidered how he might best promote amiss to give a short account of it. the interests of the Protestant faith There was a certain English mein his new capacity. Union, zeal, chanic' living in his diocese, who and knowledge, were the means of constantly frequented the public effecting this purpose, which he service of the church, and attained wished to combine in his clergy. to a competent knowledge of the His views of episcopacy were very scriptures, and gave bimself to read moderate, and he studied to avoid what books of practical divinity giving offence to those who had he could get, and was reputed been educated in the church of
among protestants thereabouts a Scotland, allowing presbyters to very honest and pious man. This participate with him in ordaining man applied to Dr. Usher, and told them, if they desired to have it so. him that he had a very earnest deNay, he even carried this libe- sire to be admitted to the ministry; rality so far, as not to eject from but the bishop refused him, adtheir benefices those who followed vising him to go home and follow the Scottish system of public wor- his calling, and pray to God to ship, and declined to adopt the remove this temptation. After liturgy of the church. If he had some time he returned again, reacted otherwise, he must have de- newing his request, and saying that clared many livings void, without he could not be at rest in his mind, being able to provide ministers to but that his desires towards that serve them; and even with such calling increased more and more. assistance his diocese was very Whereupon the lord primate disunlike the rest of Ireland, if many coursed with him, and found, upon parishes were not still unprovided examination, that he gave a very with pastors. His views of epis- good account of his faith and knowcopacy certainly were not so ex- ledge in all the main points of realted as those embraced by most ligion. He then questioned him of his brethren ; but he thought further if he could speak Irish; for that the churches which have no if not, his preaching would be of bishops are defective in their go- little use in a country where the vernment, and therefore desired greatest part of the people were by some concessions to render that Irish, who understood no English.
The man replied, that indeed he «3. Meddle with controversies could not speak Irish, but that, if and doubtful points as little as may his lordship thought fit he would be in your popular preaching, lest endeavour to learn it: wbich he you puzzle your bearers or engage bade him do; and as soon as he them in wrangling disputations, and had attained the language, to come so hinder their conversion, which is again, which he did about a twelve- the main end of preaching. month after, telling my lord that • 4. Insist most on those points be could now
which tend to effect sound belief, tolerably well in Irish, and there- sincere love to God, repentance fore desired ordination. Where- for sin, and that may persuade to upon the lord primate, finding, holiness of life. Press these things upon examination, that he spake home to the consciences of your truth, ordained him accordingly, bearers, as of absolute necessity, being satisfied that such an ordi- leaving no gap for evasions ; but nary man was able to do more bind them as closely as may be to good than if he had Latin without their duty. And as you ought to any Irish at all. Nor was the preach sound and orthodox docbishop deceived in his expecta- trine, so ought you to deliver God's tion ; for this man, as soon as he message as near as may be in had a cure, employed his talents God's words : that is, in such as diligently and faithfully, and are plain and intelligible, that the proved very successful in convert- meanest of
may ing many of the Irish papists to understand. To which end it is our church, and continued labour- necessary to back all the precepts ing in that work until the rebellion and doctrines with apt proofs from and massacre, wherein he hardly Holy Scriptures; avoiding all exescaped with life.'
otic phrases, scholastic terms, unTo those who were just about necessary quotations of authors, to engage in ministerial duty he and forced rhetorical figures; since gavě most excellent advice; it was it is not difficult to make easy in substance as follows:
things appear hard; but to render '1. Read and study the scrip- hard things easy is the hardest tures carefully, wherein is the best part of a good orator as well as learning and only infallible truth. preacher. They can furnish you with the best 5. Get your heart sincerely materials for your sermons; the
affected with the things you peronly rules for faith and practice; suade others to embrace, that so the most powerful motives to per- you may preach experimentally, suade and convince the conscience; and your hearers may perceive that and the strongest arguments to con- you are in good earnest; and press fute all errors, heresies, and schisms. nothing upon them but what may Therefore, be sure, let all your tend to their advantage, and which sermons be congruous to them. you yourself would enter your own And it is expedient that you un
salvation on. derstand them as well in the origi- • 6. Study and consider well nals as in the translations.
the subjects you intend to preach • 2. Take not hastily up other on, before you come into the pulmen's opinions without due trial, pit, and then words will readily nor vent your own conceits; but offer themselves. Yet think what compare them first with the ana
you are about to say before you logy of faith and rules of holiness speak, avoiding all uncouth fanrecorded in the scriptures, which
tastical words or phrases, or are the proper tests of all opinions nauseous, indecent, or ridiculous and doctrines.
expressions, which will quickly