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the established church; and he frequently gave me such salutary instructions, as made my heart burn within me, and resolve by the grace of God, to live and act as a christian."
As my father had received a classical education, and a University degree was not at that period considered so essential a qualification for holy orders as at present it is, he was desirous of avoiding the delay which the usual residence at college would occasion. The Honourable Shute Barrington, U.D., then bishop of the diocese, entered with much kindness into his views, and proposed to ordain him, after studying for one year with a clergyman. In consequence of this intimation, my father returned to his former tutor, Mr. Marks, who now resided at Wilcot, distant about twelve miles from Lavington. At the expiration of the appointed time, relying on the encouragement he had received, he applied to the bishop for ordination. The latter, however, now hesitated, on the ground that the probationary time had been so very short; and although he expressed himself satisfied with the attainments of the candidate, he much wished him to continue under Mr. Marks' tuition for another year. With this requisition, though not without some feelings of disappointment, my father complied. He diligently resumed his studies; and without confining himself to those in which he was especially required to be proficient, he took a wide range in many departments of literature, and laid in some portion of that large fund of general knowledge, for which he was in after years distinguished.
At the end of the second year, a similar disappointment awaited him. The bishop, on account of some circumstances, which need not be mentioned, had become much more scrupulous respecting the candidates who applied to him for ordination without a University degree; and now, although he still expressed his perfect satisfaction with respect to the qualifications of the applicant—the short period of his probation was again urged as an objection; and he was pressed to complete the usual term of three years. His lordship added, that as he did not wish to put him to more inconvenience than was necessary, he would allow him to reside at home with his parents, where he might pursue his studies, and ride over occasionally to Wilcot for his tutor's advice and assistance. To this arrangement my father submitted; and spent the year partly at Lavington, and partly with his friends at the Hall. At the conclusion of the third year he passed his examination for deacon's orders, when he secured the distinguished approval of the bishop and of the examining chaplain; the latter of whom, many years afterwards, from the ability displayed by my father on this occasion, spoke of his talents in terms of great praise.
The subject of our memoir was ordained on the 24th of September, 1786, to the cure of the two parishes of Tilshead and Imber; villages situate four miles from each other, and the same distance from his native town, where he, for some time after his ordination, continued to reside. Shortly after his admission to deacon's orders he received the following gratifying communication from the hishop:
"Palace, Salisbury, Oct. 15, 1786. "Rev. Sir,
"As much inconvenience and some expense may be occasioned by your attending my Ordination at Mongewell, I am desirous of preventing the one, and saving the other, by ordaining you here, either on Sunday next the 22nd inst., or the following Sunday the 29th. You must bring the same credentials as when you were ordained deacon; and be with me by six o'clock in the evening on the preceding Saturday. You owe this indulgence to your own good conduct and diligence.
"I am, your sincere friend,
He was, in consequence, ordained priest on the 22nd of October, in the same year, just a month after he had received deacon's orders.
From the commencement of his ministry, my father preached the doctrines of godliness in accordance with scriptural truth; and the recollection of this circumstance in after life afforded him pleasure, and an occasion of gratitude. His sermons contained statements of mans apostacy, and of the atonement made for sin by the Redeemer; yet during the first four or five years which followed his ordination, those statements were presented without the animating feeling of reality which subsequently characterized his preaching. The form of sound words was deficient in life and power. Though doubtless called to the work of the ministry, according to the will of Christ, and set apart to it by the Holy Spirit. that calling was not fully understood or obeyed in all its awakening energies and glorious designs. And it has often been observed, that however clearly the doctrines of the gospel may be explained by a preacher, yet unless they have been cordially received into his own bosom, little effect is produced upon his hearers. Attention to the forms of religion may be evinced, and conformity to its outward observances maintained; but this external service is too frequently unaccompanied by that spirituality of mind, which denotes the conversion of the heart to God. When, however, by the influence of the Holy Spirit, the messenger of divine grace has himself proved that Jesus is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world, set forth by God as the propitiation for sin, the good news of salvation is no longer coldly announced; the Redeemer's promise, "Lo! I am with you," is verified; the Spirit's witness is bestowed; and, though the treasure is still in "earthen vessels," "the excellency of the power" is seen, and felt to be of God.
Such was the change now wrought in the subject of our memoir, and such its corresponding effects. Correct as might hitherto have been his perception of truth, and irreproachable as was his moral conduct in the judgment of the world, yet one thing was wanting—a living faith in the doctrine of the cross, producing holiness of life on a new principle, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. I learn from the Rev. T. Cooke, vicar of Westbury, a highly esteemed friend of my father, and one of the very few survivors of his early connexions, that although not the slightest imputation could be affixed to his moral character, he had not, during the period in review, acquired the holy sensitiveness which shrinks from the touch of an ensnaring world ; and owing to an intimacy that had subsisted for many years with some families in the neighbourhood, he was occasionally induced to join in pursuits and amusements, which might be considered as inconsistent with the high duties of a christian minister.
My father's acquaintance with Mr. Cooke commenced in 1788, on Mr. C.'s becoming curate to Sir James Stonhouse, at Cheverel; and shortly afterwards their intercourse became frequent and regular. In this intimacy was included the Rev. Mr. Thomas, of Steeple Ashton, a clergyman of exemplary piety. They frequently met for the discussion of religious subjects, and the association was productive of the most beneficial effects on my father's mind. The deep feeling, which appears to have been previously awakened, by some awful and alarming events at Lavington, was by this means cherished, and his views of divine truth were expanded. He now saw the character and attributes of the Divine Being, the depravity of our fallen nature, and the wondrous scheme of redemption by Christ, in the light of heavenly illumination; and the discovery he thus made of the grace and holiness of Jehovah* and of his own unworthiness and guilt, overwhelmed his spirit with shame and sorrow. Like one in ancient time, he could say, "I have heard of thee by