Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

bishop Herring, and Bishop Sherlock, he was appointed, by the Earl of Burlington, on the 26th of Decem, ber, 1749, preacher of the Lecture founded by Mr Boyle ; an appointment honourable from the nature of the institution, and from the distinguished characters of the clergy who had preceded him in the discharge of the duties of it.

Instead of publishing the discourses delivered at this Lecture, as had hitherto been the custom, Mr Jortin judiciously resolved to throw the substance of them into the form of dissertation. He foresaw that, copious as the subject was, a succession of hands would exhaust it, and unavoidably occasion a repetition of the same thoughts in a diversified method and style. Such was the origin of his most celebrated work, “ Remarks on Ecclesiastical History ;” the first volume of which appeared early in the year 1751.

The same year he received from Archbishop Herring, the rectory of St Dunstan in the East, London, worth two hundred pounds a-year ; “ A favour (says “ he) valuable in itself, but made doubly so by the “ giver, by the manner, by being conferred upon one < who had received few obligations of this kind, and

[ocr errors]

“ by settling him among those whom he had great “ reason to love and to esteem.”

The second volume of 6 Remarks on Ecclesiastical History” made its appearance in the Spring of 1752. Mr Jortin dedicated it to his patron, Archbishop Herring, in the language not of " modern politeness, but " of ancient simplicity.” In excuse for not giving a laboured display of the good qualities of his benefactor, he tells him, with true classic purity, that it was a custom among the ancients, not to sacrifice to heroes till after sun-set. That this was not a mere happy thought or bare compliment, he demonstrated after the Archbishop's decease *.

S

amo

es

Jortin, amidst his learned labours, used to unbend bis mind, by listening to the charms of music. He was even himself a performer upon the harpsichord. But he not only considered it as an amusement and relaxation, but attended to it as a science, as appears from his elegant and ingenious “ Letter con“cerning the Music of the Ancients.”

But he did not suffer these inferior studies to divert him from the greater work in which he had engaged. Accordingly the third volume of his “ Remarks on Ecclesiastical History” was published in 1754.

It * See his Life of Erasmus, Vol. I. p. 42..

It was in the year 1755, that Mr Jortin received from his patron, the Archbishop, the degree of Doctor in Divinity. In the same year, he published his " Six Dissertations on Different Subjects.” They are theological, moral, and historical ; and treat on the doctrines of divine assistance and human liberty ; on the controversies concerning predestination and grace; on the duty of judging candidly of others, and of human nature; on the love of praise and reputation ; on the history and character of Balaam; and on the state of the dead, as described by Homer and Virgil ; in which last he gives scope to his talents and fondness for philology and classical learning.

Dr Jortin published the first volume of his “ Life * of Erasmus,” in quarto, in the year 1758 ; and by the publication of the second volume in 1760, he completed a work, which from the subject of it, “ extended (says Dr Knox) his reputation beyond " the limits of his native country, and established his " literary character in the remotest universities of • Europe.” The celebrated Le Clerc who was concerned in publishing an edition of Erasmus's works at Leyden, had drawn up his life in French, and inserted it in his Bibliotheque Choisie. Dr Jortin, who tound Le Clerc's way of thinking and judging for the most part correspondent with his own, informs us

that

that he took this Life as his ground-work. At the same time he made large additions in every part of the work, especially where Le Clerc began to grow remiss.

· In the year 1762, Dr Jortin was appointed chaplain to Dr Osbaldiston, now promoted to the see of London, and was also collated by his Lordship to the prebend of Harleston, in the cathedral church of St Paul's. Within the same year the Bishop gave him the vicarage of Kensington, worth about L.300 a-year ; soon after which he quitted his house in Hatton-garden, and went to reside there. Bishop Osbaldiston gave a still farther proof, about a month before his death, of his determination to patronize our author, by appointing him Archdeacon of London in April 1764 ; and it has been generally said, that the Bishop had offered him the Rectory of St James's, Westminster ; but that he chose to reside at Kensington as a situation better adapted to liis advanced

[merged small][ocr errors]

· Our author testified his zeal for the Reformation, by contributing “ Some remarks” to Dr Neve, who was employed in writing an answer to Phillips's “ His" tory of the Life of Reginald Pole," a laboured,

plausible

plausible insult both upon the civil and ecclesiastical liberties of this country, and “ undertaken, (says Dr “ Jortin) to recommend to us the very scum and “ dregs of popery ; and to vilify and calumniate the “ Reformation and the reformers, in a bigotted, dis“ ingenuous and superficial performance.”

In 1767, he re-published the three volumes of his “ Remarks on Ecclesiastical Ilistory,” in two volumes, reducing not the matter, but the size of the type.

On the 27th of August, 1770, Dr Jortin was seized with a disorder in his breast and lungs. Notwithstanding all medical assistance his trouble continued to increase ; and without suffering much pain in the course of his illness, or his mental faculties being in the smallest degree impaired, he died on the 5th of September, in the 720 year of his age. The last words which he uttered, were to a female attendant who offered him some nourishment, a very short time before his departure, to whom he said, with much composure, “ No! I have enough of every thing."

He left the following direction in writing for his funeral : “ Bury me in a private manner by day“ light, at Kensington, in the church, or rather in the

“ new

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »