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Evergreens at Christmas, use of
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Greenfield, Massachusetts, church at 145
Memoirs of the late Bishop HORNE, extracted from the life of that eminent Prelate, by the Rev. WILLIAM JONES, of Nayland.
DOCTOR George Herne, late Bishop of Norwich, and for several years President of Magdalen College, in Oxford, and Dean of Canterbury, was horn at Otham, a small village near Maidstone, in Kent, on the first of November, in the year 1730. His father was the Rev. Samuel Horne,* M. A. Rector of Otham, a very learned and respectable clergyman, who for some years had been a tutor at Oxford.
Under his father's tuition he led a pleasant life, and made a rapid progress in Greek and Latin. But some well meaning friend, fearing he might be spoiled by staying so long at home, advised the sending of him to school. To this his good father, who never was given to make much resistance, readily consented and he was accordingly placed in the school at Maidstone, under the care of the Rev. Deodatus Bye, a man of good principles, and well learned in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew; who, when he had received his new scholar, and examined him at the age of thirteen, was so surprised at his proficiency, that he asked him why he came to school, when he was rather fit to go from school? With this gentleman he continued two years; during which he added much to his stock of learning, and among other things, a little elementary knowledge of the Hebrew, on the plan of Buxtorf, which was of great advantage to him afterwards.
While Mr. Horne was at school, a Maidstone scholarship in University College became vacant; in his appli cation for which he succeeded, and, young as he was, the master recommended his going directly to college.
Soon after he was settled at Uni versity College, (where he was ad mitted on the 15th of March, 1745-6,) Mr. Hobson, a good and learned tutor of the house, gave out an exercise, for a trial of skill, to Mr. Horne and the present writer of his life, who was also in his first year. They were ordered to take a favourite Latin ode of Boëtius, and present it to the tutor in a different Latin metre. This they both did as well as they could: and the contest, instead of dividing, united them ever after, and had also the effect of inspiring them with a love of the Lyric Poetry of that author.
To show how high Mr. Horne's character stood with all the members of his college, old and young, I need only mention the following fact. It happened about the time when he took his Bachelor's degree, which was on the 27th of October, 1749, that a Kentish fellowship became vacant at Magdalen College; and there was, at that time, no scholar of the house who was upon the county. The senior fellow of University College having heard of this, said nothing of it to Mr. Horne, but went down to Magdalen College, told them what an extraordinary young man they might find in University College, and gave him such a recommendation as disposed the society to accept of him, When the day of election came, they found him such as he had been represented, and much more; and, in 1750, he was accordingly chosen a fellow of Magdalen College, and on the first of
June, 1752, he took the degree of Master of Arts.
If we look back upon our past lives, it will generally be found, that the leading events, which gave a direction to all that followed, were not according to our own choice or knowledge, but from the hand of an overruling Providence, which acts without consulting us; putting us into situations which are either best for ourselves, or best for the world, or best for both; and leading us as it led the patriarch Abraham; of whom we are told, that he knew not whither he was going. This was plainly the case in Mr. Horne's election to Magdalen College. A person took up the matter, 'unsolicited, and in secret: he succeeded. When fellow, his character and conduct gave him favour with the society, and, when Dr. Jenner died, they elected him president: the headship of the college introduced him to the office of vice-chancellor; which, at length, made him as well known to Lord North as to the Earl of Liverpool: this led to the deanry of Canterbury, and that to the bishopric of Norwich.
The time drew near when he was to take holy orders. This was a serious affair to him; and he entered upon it, as every candidate ought to do, with a resolution to apply the studies he had followed to the practice of his ministry; and, above all the rest, his study of the Holy Scripture. Soon after he had been ordained, on Trinity Sunday, 1753, by the Bishop of Oxford, he related the circumstance by letter to an intimate friend, not without adding the following petition, which is well worth preserving: "May he who ordered Peter three times to feed his lambs, give me grace, knowledge, and skill, to watch and attend to the flock, which he purchased upon the cross, and to give rest to those who are under the burden of sin or sorrow! It hath pleased God to call me to the ministry in very troublesome times indeed; when a lion and a bear have broken into the fold, and are making havock among the sheep. With a firm, though humble confilence, do I propose to go forth; not
in my own strength, but in the strength of the Lord God; and may he prosper the work of my hands!" He came to me, then resident upon the curacy of Finedon, in Northamptonshire, to preach his first sermon: to which, as it might be expected, I listened with no small attention; under an assurance, that his doctrine would be good, and that he was capable of adorning it to a high degree with beau tiful language and a graceful delivery. The discourse he then preached, though excellent in its kind, is not printed among his other works. Scrupulous critics, he thought, might be of opinion, that he had given too great scope to his imagination; and that the text, in the sense he took it, was not a foundation solid enough to build so much upon. This was his sentiment when his judgment was more mature; and he seems to me to have judged rightly. Yet the discourse was admirable in respect of its composition and its moral tendency. Give me an audience of well disposed Christians, among whom there are no dry moralists, no fastidious critics, and I would stake my life upon the, hazard of pleasing them all by the preaching of that sermon. With farther preparation, and a little more experience, he preached in a more public pulpit, before one of the largest and most polite congregations at London. The preacher, whose place he supplied, but who attended in the church on purpose to hear him, was so much affected by what he had heard, and the manner in which it was delivered, that when he visited me, shortly after, in the country, he was so full of this sermon, that he gave me the matter and the method of it by heart; pronouncing at the end of it, what a writer of his life ought never to forget, that-"George Horne was, without exception, the best preacher in England." Which 'testimony was the more valuable, because it came from a person who had, with many people, the reputation of being such himself. This sermon is preserved; and if the reader should be a judge, and will take the pains to examine it, he will think it merits