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THE BISHOP OF EXETER AND THE…

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THE BISHOP OF EXETER AND THE BLSLTOP OF LICHFIELD. Dr TEMPLE has withdrawn his contribution from "Essays and Reviews" because, for one feason, he con- siders that as a bishop he must be more guarded in everything he does." It might be allowable, he thinks, for FREDERIC TEMPLE to publish One essay amongst several, when it would not be allowable for the Bishop of EXETER. We are not Coin,&, to enquire into the truth or fallacy of this opinion; and most certainly we are not about to join in the almost unanimous cry with which the Press has assailed Dr TEMPLE for what it pleases some people to call his recantation. There are, doubt- less, reasons to regret the decision at which he has arrived, and we should have been better pleased for many reasons, for the sake of Christian truth and liberty, if the "Essays and Reviews" had remained as they were, with reverent and valuable papers like those of Dr TEMPLE and Professor JOWETT bound up with much that almost 'every devout reader must have condemned. At the same time, nobody who has carefully read the Ragby sermons can believe for a moment that Dr TEMPLE has acted unlike himself, either in his speech on Wednesday or his explanation on Friday. The speech was remark- able, no doubt, for its extreme deference and somewhat profuse expressions of gratitude towards men who had, as we and many others think, treated him badly. But Dr TEMPLE, it must be remembered, is a man whose charity very few people can comprehend, who is quick to see the good in others, and slow to believe that attacks upon himself are directed by any but pure and lofty motives. His speech in Convocation was only a repetition of his address to the clergy at Exeter, where he told them that their very opposition to him, springing as it did, in his belief, from a love of what they held to be truth, would tend to bind him and them together. Dr TEMPLE is charitable even to the uncharitable, and such a man will inevitably excite the contemptuous criticism of those who are willing enough to support him as long as he is the representative of religious liberalism, and goes to no extreme lengths in the greatest of the Christian graces. Amongst the leading ideas running through his sermons, courage in forming and following our own convictions, blended with a tender respect for the opinions, and even the prejudices, of others, is visible on almost every page; and the man who, speaking in Convocation last week, showed such a deep sense of the value of individual thought, and at the same time such a deep regard for the welfare of those who may be emphatically called the weaker brethren," is the same Dr TEMPLE who preached at Rugby, and not, as some of our contemporaries bit- terly say, only another Bishop of Exeter." Perhaps there is something in lawn sleeves, or the atmosphere of the episcopal chamber, which tends to make men bishopy," and we cannot deny that Dr TEMPLE has acted more like a conventional bishop than we anticipated; but we utterly refuse to adopt the silly theory of some of the dailies, and believe that, because Dr TEMPLE has rather disappointed us all for once, his fine nature is per- manently deteriorated by his elevation to the Bench. He has suffered enough already for his-courage or weakness, whichever we choose to call it; and it is mean to throw stones at him after his brother bishops have patronized, and Archdeacon DENISON has forgiven, him. Dr TEMPLE, however, is another proof of the fact, which has been made so plain in the political world of late years, that it is the men who live the greatest lives whose little faults receive the loudest blame, In this very discussion in con- vocation, for instance, the Bishop of LICHFIELD committed an offence incomparably graver than Dr TEMPLE'S, but the papers have passed it over in silence. The reason, of course, is obvious enough. Dr SELWYN is an excellent person, and makes an active, careful, kindly prelate, but the country takes very little interest in a man simply because he is a good bishop. Many of our readers, how- ever, reside in his diocese, and watch his sayings and doings; and some of them perhaps are influenced by his example. If so, we trust they may not look for guidance to his lordship's conduct in this debate. Dr SELWYN was not ashamed to speak in the most extravagant terms of the "evil results" of "Essays and Reviews," and to confess* at the same time that he had not read the book and did not intend to read it The right rev. prelate, we should think, unlike Dr TEMPLE, has very little sense of the weight attaching to a bishop's words, or else fails to recognize the serious nature of a prevalent fault amongst theologiansâthat of condemning one another without evidence, on no other foundation than common rumour, which, inmatters like these, is more often wrong than right. We had supposed that one important episcopal function wasto study the controversies of the day with an impartial mind, so as to be able to advise and assist the clergy committed to the bishop's care, and this seems to be Dr TEMPLE'S opinion. He says he has made up his mind to withdraw the essay from publication because, with good reason or without, it has been the cause of very much distress, anxiety, and perplexity, to very many good people; but he proceeds, I do not mean to people like ourselves, who, of course, must face distress and anxiety of this kind." We wonder whether Dr SELWYN felt the unintentional satire of the remark, followed as it was soon afterwards by these words-" He did not set himself up as a judge of others, but he confessed that he did not think the Bishop of LICHFIBLD was quite justified intheparthe took the other day, when he said he had not read the book, and did not intend to read it. Itseemed to him in such cases that the duty of those who acted at all was to act with a full knowledge of all the circumstances." Dr SELWYN, whose genial nature could not fail to be at- tracted by the nobility of Dr TmpLzls, had some cordial words of welcome to say to his brother prelate; but we cannot regret too much that he was betrayed into the very reprehensible practice of condemning a book of this kind which he had never read. Not to have read the volume was, to say the least, a blunder in a bishop; but to con- demn it from his place in convocation, and in condemning it to sanction one of the worst faults of controversialists, shows only too plainly that Dr SELWYN is wanting in some of the most important qualities which go to make up a spiritual overseer. Of course the lack of these qualities is thrown into strong relief in contrast with the far more perfect character of the Bishop of EXETER, to whose chivalrous sense of honour and generous fear of hurting other men's feelings must be attributed much of any ap- parent weakness or inconsistency that may have character- ized his conduct. It is not given to every diocese, however, to be directed by a TEMPLE, and, in spite of some very obvious defects, Dr SELWYN is a man whom it is impossible not to like and admire. But for that very reason, we hope all the more earnestly that he will be more careful in future how he encourages in his clergy what we must call an unfair and ungenerous treatment of their opponents. Oswestry Advertizer.

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