Lightfoot "probably the most important apologetic work of the Early Church." "So that everything compels us to agree that the fulfilment has only been in the way I have described, and at no other time than that of the appearance of Jesus our Saviour, in Whose day I have proved that the things aforesaid were fulfilled." (Demonstratio Evangelica is "probably the most important apologetic work of the Early Church." (D.C.B. ii.331.)
"In fact, one of the finest intellects of the Westminster Assembly was a strong preterist: John Lightfoot."
AND THOUGH HE SAW A FINAL "GREAT ASSIZE" , MATTHEW 24 WAS FULFILLED IN FIRST CENTURY
"Was not the judgment and sad conflagration of Jerusalem, and destruction of the Jewish church and nation, an assurance of the judgment to come ; when the expressions whereby it is described are such as, you think, meant nothing else but that final judgment? As, ' Christ's coming: coming in clouds, in his glory, in his kingdom : the day of the Lord; the great and terrible day of the Lord : the end of the world ; the end of all things : the sun darkened ; the moon not giving light: the stars falling from heaven, and the powers of heaven shaken: the sign of the Son of man appearing in heaven: heaven departing as a scroll rolled together, and every mountain and hill removed out of its place,' &c. You would think, they meant nothing but the last and universal judgment; whereas their meaning, indeed, is Christ's coming in judgment and vengeance against the Jewish city and nation; but a fore-signification also of the last judgment." Works, Vol. vi., p. 354.
9:24-27 - "Weeks Prophecy")
1. Seven sevens, or forty nine years, to the finishing of Jerusalems
(On Matthew 3:9)
(On Matthew 3:10)
(On Matthew 3:12)
(On Matthew 4:17)
(On Matthew 12:36)
(On Matthew 16:28)
Perhaps it will not repent him that reads the Holy Scriptures, to observe these few things : '
1. That the destruction of Jerusalem and the whole Jewish state, is described as if the whole frame of this world were to be dissolved. Nor is it strange, when God destroyed his habitation and city, places once so dear to him, with so direful and sad an overthrow ; his own people, whom he accounted of as much or more, than the whole world beside, by so dreadful and amazing plagues. Matt. xxiv. 29, 30 ; "The sun shall be darkened, &c. Then shall appear the sign of the Son of man," &c.; which yet are said to fall out, within that generation, ver. 34.2 Pet. iii. 10; " The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat," &c. Compare with this, Deut. xxxii. 22 ; Heb. xii. 26 : and observe, that, by elements, are understood the Mosaic elements, Gal. iv. 9 ; Col. ii. 20 : and you will not doubt, that St.~ Peter speaks only of the conflagration of Jerusalem, the destruction of the nation and the abolishing the dispensation of Moses. '
Rev. vi. 12, 13 ; " The sun became black as sackcloth of hair, &c., and the heavens departed as a scroll, when it is rolled together," &c. Where, if we take notice of the foregoing plagues, by which, according to the most frequent threatenings, he destroyed that people, viz. the sword, ver. 4,famine, vs. 5, 6, and the plague, ver. 8 ; withal comparing those words, " They say to the mountains, Fall on us and cover us," with Luke xxiii. 30 ;it will sufficiently appear, that, by those phrases, is understood the dreadful judgment and overthrow of that nation and city. With these also agrees that of Jer. iv. from ver. 22 to 28, and clearly enough explains this phrase. To this appertain those and other expressions, as we meet with, 1 Cor. x. 11, " On us the ends of the world are come:" and 1 Pet. iv. 7, " The end of all things is at hand." 2. With reference to this, and under this notion, the times, immediately preceding this ruin, are called the " last days," and the "last times," that is, the last times of the Jewish city, nation, economy. This manner of speaking frequently occurs; which let our St. John himself interpret, 1 John ii. 13 ; " There are many antichrists, whereby we know it is the last time : " and that this nation is upon the very verge of destruction, when as it hath already arrived at the utmost pitch of infidelity, apostasy, and wickedness. '
3. With the same reference it is, that the times and state of things, immediately following the destruction of Jerusalem, are called, a " new creation," " new heavens," and a " new earth " Isa. lxv.l7; "Behold I create a new heaven and a new earth." When should that be ? Read the whole chapter; and you will find the Jews rejected and cut off; and from that time is that new creation of the evangelical world among the Gentiles. Compare 2 Cor. v. 17, and Rev. xxi. 1,2: where, the old Jerusalem being cut off and destroyed, a new one succeeds ; and new heavens and a new earth are created. '
2 Pet. iii. 13; "We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth ;" The heavens and the earth of the Jewish church and commonwealth must be all on fire, and the Mosaic elements burnt up : but we, according to the promise made to us by Isaiah the prophet, when all these are consumed, look for the new creation of the evangelical state. '
4. The day, the time, and the manner, of the execution of this vengeance upon this people, are called, "The day of the Lord," " The day of Christ," "His coming in the clouds, in his glory, in his kingdom." Nor is this without reason ; for from hence doth this form and mode of speaking take its rise : ' Christ had not as yet appeared but in a state of humility; contemned, blasphemed, and at length murdered by the Jews : his gospel rejected, laughed at, and trampled under foot: his followers pursued with extreme hatred, persecution, and death itself. At length, therefore, he displays himself in his glory, his kingdom, and power; and calls for those cruel enemies of his that they may be slain before him. ' Acts ii. 20 : " Before that great and notable day of the Lord come." Let us take notice, how St. Peter applies that prophecy of Joel to those very times ; and it will be clear enough, without any commentary, what that " day of the Lord " is. ' 2 Thess. ii. 2: "As if the day of Christ was at hand," &c. To this, also, do those passages belong, Heb. x. 37, " Yet a little while, and he, that shall come, will come: " James v. 9 ; " Behold, the judge is at the door:" Rev. i. 7; "He cometh in the clouds : " and xxii. 12 ; " Behold, I come quickly." With many other passages of that nature, all which must be understood of Christ's coming in judgment and vengeance against that wicked nation : and in this very sense must the words, now before us, be taken, and no otherwise, " I will, that he tarry till I come:""For thy part, Peter, thou shalt suffer death by thy countrymen the Jews ; but as for him, I will that he shall tarry till I come and avenge myself upon this generation : and if I will so, what is that to thee ? " The story that is told of both these apostles, confirms this exposition ; for it is taken for granted by all, that St. Peter had his crown of martyrdom, before Jerusalem fell; and St. John survived the ruins of it.' (Exerc. in John xxi. 22.)
(On Matthew 24:27 ;
The Nature of Christ's Return)
1. That the destruction of Jerusalem is very frequently expressed in Scripture as if it were the destruction of the whole world, Deuteronomy 32:22; "A fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell" (the discourse there is about the wrath of God consuming that people; see verses 20,21), "and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains." Jeremiah 4:23; "I beheld the earth, and lo, it was without form and void; and the heavens, and they had no light," &c. The discourse there also is concerning the destruction of that nation, Isaiah 65:17; "Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered," &c. And more passages of this sort among the prophets. According to this sense, Christ speaks in this place; and Peter speaks in his Second Epistle, third chapter; and John, in the sixth of the Revelation; and Paul, 2 Corinthians 5:17, &c.
2. That Christ's taking vengeance of that exceeding wicked nation is called Christ's "coming in glory," and his "coming in the clouds," Daniel 7. It is also called, "the day of the Lord." See Psalm 1:4; Malachi 3:1,2, &c.; Joel 2:31; Matthew 16:28; Revelation 1:7, &c. See what we have said on chapter 12:20; 19:28.
The meaning, therefore, of the words before us is this: "While they shall falsely say, that Christ is to be seen here or there: 'Behold, he is in the desert,' one shall say; another, 'Behold, he is in the secret chambers': he himself shall come, like lightning, with sudden and altogether unexpected vengeance: they shall meet him whom they could not find; they shall find him whom they sought, but quite another than what they looked for." (Lightfoot, vol. 2, p. 319).
"The destruction of Jerusalem is phrased in Scripture as the destruction of the whole world; and Christ's coming to her in judgment, as his coming to the last judgment. Therefore, those dreadful things, spoken of in Matt. 24:29,30 and 31, are but borrowed expressions, to set forth the terms of that judgment the more.. v.30 - "then shall they see" - not any visible appearance of Christ, or of the cross, in the clouds (as some have imagined); but, whereas Jews would not own Christ before for the Son of Man, or for the Messias, then by the vengeance that he should execute upon them, they and all the world should see an evident sign, and it was so. This, therefore, is called "his coming," and his coming in his kingdom." [A Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, ed. Rev. John Rogers Pitman (London: J.F. Dove, 1825), p.141]
(On Mark 9:1)
Two things are demanded of our Saviour, verse 4: the one is, "When shall these things be, that one stone shall not be left upon another?" And the second is, "What shall be the sign of this consummation?" To the latter he answereth throughout the whole chapter hitherto: to the former in the present words. He had said, indeed, in the verse before, "Heaven and earth shall pass away," &c.; not for resolution to the question propounded (for there was no inquiry at all concerning the dissolution of heaven and earth), but for confirmation of the truth of the thing which he had related. As though he had said, "Ye ask when such an overthrow of the Temple shall happen; when it shall be, and what shall be the signs of it. I answer, These and those, and the other signs shall go before it; and these my words of the thing itself to come to pass, and of the signs going before, are firmer than heaven and earth itself. But whereas ye inquire of the precise time, that is not to be inquired after; for of that day and hour knoweth no man." (vol. 2, p.442)
(On Luke 16:19)
The main scope and design of it seems this to hint the destruction of the unbelieving Jews, who, though they had Moses and the prophets, did not believe them nay, would not believe, though one (even Jesus) rose from the dead. For that conclusion of the parable abundantly evidenceth what it aimed at: If they hear not Hoses and the prophets, &c." (Heb. and Talm. Exerc. in Luke xvi. 19.)
(On Luke 21:24)
(On John 21:22)
(On Acts 3:19)
(On I Corinthians 3:13)
(On I Corinthians 7:29)
(On 1 Corinthians 16:22)
(On 2 Thessalonians 2:8)
(On Hebrews 10:39)
(On Hebrews 12:25-29)
(On 1 Peter 3:20,21)
(On 1 Peter 4:17)
(On 2 Peter 3:7-10)
New Heavens and Earth)
"With the same reference it is, that the times and state of things immediately following the destruction of Jerusalem are called 'a new creation,' new heavens,' and 'a new earth.' When should that be? Read the whole chapter; and you will find the Jews rejected and cut off; and from that time is that new creation of the evangelical world among the Gentiles.
Compare 2 Cor. 5:17 and Rev. 21:1,2; where, the old Jerusalem being cut off and destroyed, a new one succeeds; and new heavens and a new earth are created.
2 Peter 3:13: 'We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth.' The heaven and the earth of the Jewish church and commonwealth must be all on fire, and the Mosaic elements burnt up; but we, according to the promise made to us by Isaiah the prophet, when all these are consumed, look for the new creation of the evangelical state" (vol. 3, p.453)
"That the destruction of Jerusalem and the whole Jewish state is described as if the whole frame of the world were to be dissolved. Nor is it strange, when God destroyed his habitation and city, places once so dear to him, with so direful and sad an overthrow; his own people, whom he accounted of as much or more than the whole world beside, by so dreadful and amazing plagues. Matt. 24:29,30, 'The sun shall be darkened &c. Then shall appear the 'sign of the Son of man,' &c; which yet are said to fall out within that generation, ver. 34. 2 Pet. 3:10, 'The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat,' &c. Compare with this Deut. 32:22, Heb. 12:26: and observe that by elements are understood the Mosaic elements, Gal 4:9, Coloss. 2:20: and you will not doubt that St. Peter speaks only of the conflagration of Jerusalem, the destruction of the nation, and the abolishing the dispensation of Moses" (vol. 3, p. 452).
WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID
C. Jonathan Seraiah
Westminster Assembly of Divines
A Commentary of the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica
EXCERPTS ON THIS PAGE:
with a prefatory note by Brooke Foss Westcott, D.D.
ALL the friends of Bishop Lightfoot must be grateful to Mr. Murray for allowing the striking sketch of the Bishop's character and work which appeared in the Quarterly Review in January, 1893, to be republished separately. Though the writer has not thought fit to reveal himself, it is clear that he had exceptional advantages for fulfilling the task which he undertook; and the description of the life in Durham shows throughout personal and intimate knowledge. Though my own intercourse with the Bishop during this period was necessarily less close and continuous than during earlier years, I recognise the student, the colleague, the friend whom I knew at Cambridge in every trait, but presented, so to speak, on a larger scale; and I can well believe that while Dr. Lightfoot loved his College and his University with perfect devotion, the busy episcopate, full of great designs and great achievements, was his happiest time. Cambridge, as I often said to him, seemed to be forgotten, and wisely forgotten, in the new interests of Durham; and even I, who was the chief loser, felt that I could rejoice in a greater gain.
In Bishop Lightfoot's case the works were the man. What he did was a true expression of himself; and if I may venture to speak from my experience during the last three years, I believe that his greatest work was the brotherhood of clergy whom he called to labour with him in the Diocese, and bear his spirit to another generation--greater than his masterpieces of interpretation and criticism, greater than his masterpieces of masculine and yet passionate eloquence. I could wish indeed that there was some adequate record of his part in University affairs. When I returned to Cambridge in 1870 I found him possessed of commanding influence, trusted and revered alike by all. But from that time he withdrew more and more from public business, though his authority was never found to be less when he was pleased to use it. If he could persuade another to take up what he had prepared, that seemed to be his chief delight.
I have often spoken of the circumstances which attended my own recall to Cambridge; and perhaps I may repeat the story here, for I think that it reveals the man. As soon as it was known that the Regius Professorship of Divinity would shortly become vacant, he bade me lose no time in arranging for my candidature. I naturally replied that the office was his by right: that his past work led up to it by universal consent: that I might then aspire to be his successor as Hulsean Professor. He acknowledged the force of what I said, "but" he added, "I could not retain my fellowship with it, and that consideration is decisive: I must not give up my place on the Governing Body of the College." I could not resist the argument, so in due time I was appointed. About three months after Dr. Lightfoot came to my rooms and put in my hands a very remarkable letter from Mr. Gladstone containing the offer of the Canonry at St. Paul's. "What could be better," I said, "if it were possible? But, unhappily you cannot hold your fellowship with it." "Ah," he replied, and I can see now his merry smile at my discomfiture, "I have done all I can for the College."
Bishop Lightfoot's works, I have said, show what he was, and this sketch seems to me to add just those touches of life which give to his writings a personal interest. It tells a stranger how he grew and moved among his fellows and won them, and, from a stranger, makes him also in some sense a friend.
B. F. DUNELM.
SUCH is the inscription encircling the monument which was disclosed to view in the Cathedral Church of Durham on Thursday, the twentieth day of October, 1892, when, in the presence of the Lord Chancellor of England, the Archbishop of the Province, the Bishop of the Diocese, the Speaker of the House of Commons, and a large congregation of dignitaries and commoners of all classes, lay as well as clerical, the Lord-Lieutenant of the county unveiled the effigy of the late Bishop Lightfoot. The monument itself is said to be in every way worthy of the place near the sanctuary which has been assigned to it, of the great prelate whom it commemorates, and of the great artists who devoted to it of their best. Sir Edgar Boehm is known to have worked at the model in the last hours of his life, and Mr. Gilbert has generously completed the unfinished task with a result which reflects honour alike on his master and on himself. It is not, however, with the monument but with the thoughts which the inscription suggests that we propose to deal. It is said to have come from the hand of Bishop Lightfoot's friend and successor, and may be intended to indicate that, as while he was with us so now that he has been taken from us, the retiring man is to be known only by his works. We have seen no announcement of any forthcoming biography, but we cannot help thinking that to a large circle of readers some presentation of the main facts of this great life would be welcome; and in the absence of a fuller record we believe that such a brief sketch as the limits of an article can afford will not be unacceptable. We shall find the chief lines of this sketch in the Bishop's works; but let us look for a moment at the boy who was father to the man. Joseph Barber Lightfoot was the younger son of Mr. John Jackson Lightfoot, a Liverpool accountant, and was born at his father's house, 84 Duke Street, in that city, on April 13th, 1828. His mother was a sister of Mr. Joseph Vincent Barber, a Birmingham artist of considerable repute, who had married the only daughter of Zaccheus Walker, eldest son of the "wonderful" Walker of Seathwaite, who is immortalised in Wordsworth's Excursion. Of the three other children an elder brother became a good Cambridge scholar, and was for many years Master of the Grammar School at Basingstoke. The younger brother was indebted to him for many acts of kindness which removed difficulties from his early course. One sister was married to the Rev. William Harrison, of Pontesbury, and left an only son, who is a curate in the Diocese of Durham. The other survives, and is the only Lightfoot of this branch now remaining. It has been not unnatural to seek to establish a connexion between this family and that of Dr. John Lightfoot, the seventeenth-century theologian and Hebraist, but there is, we believe, no true ground for doing so. The young ' Joe,' as he was familiarly called at home and at school, was a delicate lad, and was privately educated until he was about thirteen. His first year of school life was under the care of Dr. Iliff, at the Royal Institution in Liverpool, which claims also among its distinguished pupils Dr. Sylvester the mathematician and the present Bishop of Ripon. He soon found his way to the "First Class," which consisted of boys far beyond his own years, and among the more or less legendary stories which have gathered around the early boyhood--such as "How is Joe getting on with his German?" "Oh! he has finished German! he is now doing Anglo-Saxon"--one stands out on clear evidence. The boy's health gave way, and under medical advice the anxious and now widowed mother had all books removed from his room. The little patient grew rapidly worse, and pleaded so earnestly for his books that the mother's heart could not refuse to grant them. They naturally proved the best tonic for the restless mind, and the lad grew as rapidly better.
But the chief step in the boy's education was taken in 1844, when the mother, attracted by the advantages of the Birmingham Grammar School, determined to move to the neighbourhood of her relatives in that town. The picture of the great High Master, Dr. Prince Lee, afterwards first Bishop of Manchester, surrounded by his group of brilliant pupils, has often been drawn, and we must look at it only in connexion with our immediate subject. The streams of influence which have flowed from this centre have, however, been so important in their effect upon our subject and upon the history of religious thought and action during the last and the present generations, that we must forisf one of them of whom we are now writing, he is reported to-have said, in the winter of 1869, a few days before his n death, "I should lik to livehf the three became a great teacher, and each has given a record of the way in which he was himself taught, which has all the strength of the experience of minds that have had not many equals either as learners or as teachers. The influence of Dr. Prince Lee are the following:--
Such was the master who sent from a school small and undistinguished as compared with our present great public schools, five Senior Classics and eight Fellows of his own beloved Trinity in a period of nine years, and of whose thirteen First Classmen twelve became clergymen. Such were the powers which in master and in pupil moulded and throughout his life influenced the character and the work of Joseph Barber Lightfoot.
The Cambridge life commenced in October, 1847, when Lightfoot went up to Trinity and was placed on Thompson's side. From the end of his first year he read with his old schoolfellow Westcott, who had preceded him to Trinity, and was Senior Classic in 1848. He obtained a Trinity scholarship in 1849, and though he is said to have been some way behind in the University scholarship examinations, his steady devotion to work and his great development of power placed him easily first in the Tripos, and men talked commonly of papers which had not been equalled and were absolutely free from mistake. In addition to being Senior Classic of his year (1851) he was thirtieth wrangler and first Chancellor's medallist. A Fellowship of Trinity came naturally in the following year, and the Norrisian Prize was gained in 1853. It was gained but not claimed for with characteristic modesty he was dissatisfied with an essay which the examiners had decided to be first, and he never fulfilled the condition of publishing it. In 1854 the young Fellow was ordained by his old master, Dr. Prince Lee, who had now become Bishop of Manchester, at St. John's Church, Heaton Mersey. In February, 1857, when only twenty-eight years of age, he became Tutor of the College. The impression left upon his pupils is told by such words as these, which some of them have furnished:--
During the early years of the Trinity Fellowship the four volumes of the Journal of Classical and Sacred Philology appeared (1854-9), and they contained frequent contributions from the pen of Mr. Lightfoot, who was one of the founders and editors. Now he writes a minute criticism of the editions of Hyperides; now short notices of Schaff's History of the Apostolic Church, and of Falkener's "A Description of some important Theatres and other Remains in Crete;" now an article on "The Mission of Titus to the Corinthians;" now notes on Mόller's Denkmaler der Alten Kunst, or Webster and Wilkinson's Greek Testament, or the translations of the American Bible Union; and in immediate contiguity with these last, a notice of Mr. Blew's Agamemnon. To the third volume he contributes, two months before his election to the Tutorship, the remarkable article on "Recent Editions of St. Paul's Epistles," a review of Paley's edition of Mschylus, and another article "On the Style and Character of the Epistle to the Galatians." The fourth volume contains articles from the same hand on "They that are of Caesar's household," "On some corrupt and obscure passages in the Helena of Euripides," "On the Long Walls at Athens," and a review of Conybeare and Howson's Life and Epistles of St. Paul. These exercises of the young giant in the first freshness of his full and free strength are in some respects of permanent value as contributions to their subjects; and they are of special interest both as a harvest of the seed sown by Dr. Prince Lee's teaching, and as themselves seeds to bear a more abundant harvest of developed fruitfulness in Dr. Lightfoot's later work. The unwearied but concealed labour, the investigation of all available sources of information--inscriptions, MSS., topography--the minute acquaintance with the literature of the subjects, foreign as well is English, the exact scholarship present everywhere and felt especially in emendations of texts, the firm grasp of the laws of language and the laws of mind, the wide outlook on the whole field, the very choice of the subjects, at once recall the schoolroom at Birmingham, and foreshadow the magna opera of the life. He is already entering on the field in which he is to gain such marked eminence. Qualis fuerit antiquitatis investigator, evangelii interpret--even these works do testify.
The ease with which the writer passes in these articles from one subject to another, from a review of commentaries on St. Paul's Epistles to an emendation of the text of Euripides, from an investigation of the meaning of "Caesar's household" to the position of the "Long Walls at Athens," represents the work of the Senior Classic and Private Tutor, who at the same time, in the spirit of his own early lessons, regards the New Testament as the goal of all his studies. These articles created so profound an impression in the University that when a vacancy occurred in the Hulsean Professorship of Divinity in 1860, many of Mr. Lightfoot's friends earnestly hoped that he might be appointed to the Chair. He consented at their entreaty to become a candidate, but he felt it was natural that one who, as he modestly said, had done much more for the interpretation of the New Testament than himself should be selected. At the same time the decision seemed to him to bring with it another decision. The time had come for his studies to concentrate and shape themselves in a definite form. The Orestean trilogy of Aeschylus had fascinated him as it has fascinated many great minds. He resolved that night to edit it. Some progress was made in this work, when in 1861 the Hulsean Chair was again vacated, and Mr. Lightfoot was chosen to fill it. We regard this selection as one of the turning-points not only in the history of the University of Cambridge, but also in the wider history of Christianity in this country, and from this country throughout the world. Few persons with competent knowledge will be disposed, we think, to challenge this opinion. If any are, we invite them to compare the attendance on the Divinity Professor's Lectures before and after this appointment; to consider the influence on Cambridge life and work of the movements initiated by the young Professor himself, developed later on in union with his friends Dr. Westcott (who returned to Cambridge in 1870) and Dr. Hort who joined them in 1872), and carried into their present state of progress by the band of younger men whom they gathered round themselves; to estimate the effect on English thought of the works enumerated at the head of this article, and of the band of men who have gone forth year by year touched by the spirit and power of the living man who wrote them; to think of this Cambridge movement having its true source in the constant appeal to the Biblical writings as the correlative of the Oxford movement of an earlier generation, and of its sobering effect upon the agitated state of theological thought.
Among the subjects of the earlier courses of the Professor's lectures was the Gospel according to St. John, and he for some time thought of publishing an edition of this Gospel, an intention which he abandoned only when he found it was entertained by one whom he considered more competent to carry it into effect.
But in the beginning of the year 1865, that is, within four years of his appointment to the Professorship, Dr. Lightfoot published his edition of St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians. Eight years before he had intimated in the article on 'Recent Editions of St. Paul's Epistles,' not only where previous editors had signally failed, both in design and in execution, but also where they had succeeded, and he thus incidentally discloses what in his own view an edition of St. Paul's Epistles should be.
When the man who had sketched this ideal of a Commentary, and had been afterwards appointed to the Hulsean Professorship, and had delivered courses of lectures which filled the lecture-rooms to overflowing, announced his intention to publish " a complete edition of St. Paul's Epistles," and issued the first instalment of the work, the attention of Biblical students was naturally aroused, and very high expectations were widely formed. We venture to think that no expectation was raised which has not been more than fully realized. The complete plan of the edition has not, indeed, been carried out. It was from the first stated conditionally,--"If my plan is ever carried out,"--and it was so arranged that each part should be complete in itself. We are glad to be able to hope, from hints which have from time to time reached the public ear, that a large portion of the whole field was covered by Dr. Light-foot's labours, and that some of the MSS. which are in the care of his literary executors will in due course be published; for even if they are only posthumous fragments, the student of St. Paul's Epistles will thankfully welcome them. But the editor's final preparation for the press was given to three volumes only,-- the Galatians, which appeared in 1865, the Philippians in 1868, the Colossians and Philemon in 1875; and thus upon these volumes that any claim to have filled the ideal standard which he had himself set for the critic and commentator on St. Paul's Epistles must ultimately rest. The verdict has been given, after most thorough examination, by the most competent judges, and in the most definite form. As each of these volumes appeared it at once took, and has ever since maintained, a recognized position as the standard work on the subject. Grammatical criticism, philological exegesis, historical presentation, philosophical perception, are combined in them as they were never before combined, as they have not been since combined. They have furnished models for others, but they have themselves remained models. With the growth of knowledge in the future they may become obsolete, and some pupil may arise to excel his master; but the present shows no signs of this, and we may safely predict that any greater commentary on these Epistles of St. Paul will owe part of its greatness to the volumes now before us. It is moreover remarkable as showing the fulness of the editor's early knowledge, and the fixity of his principles, that while edition after edition of these volumes have appeared in quick succession for now many years, they have undergone no material change. The essays reprinted since the author's death, in the volume entitled Dissertations on the Apostolic Age, are the essays of the early editions. In one respect important change is here noted. In the earlier editions of the Philippians it was assumed in the essay on "The Christian Ministry," that the Syriac version, edited by Cureton, represented the original form of the Epistles of Ignatius. Later and more complete investigations of the writings of this Father, led to the conviction that the shorter Greek form is genuine, and that the Syriac is only an abridgment. An extract from the edition of The Apostolic Fathers, to which we shall presently refer, is now added, giving full reasons for the change of opinion. A full note on another subject does not, indeed, express any change of opinion, but protests against imputations of opinion which Dr. Lightfoot never held, and which are inconsistent with a fair interpretation of his essay as a whole. It is not easy to see how an essay which contained from the first such passages as these, could be interpreted as in favour of the Presbyterian as opposed to the Episcopal view of the Christian ministry. But it was natural that controversialists should endeavour to support their arguments by the authority of so great a man; and as advocates will always select their facts, we cannot think it is a matter of surprise that some of the statements have been used, perhaps even understood, in a sense which is opposed to that of the author. A great writer on such a subject is sure to be misunderstood if to be misunderstood is possible, and he should take care to make it impossible. When the sixth edition of the Philippians was published, in 1881, the Preface contained the following explanation:--
Even after this statement the misrepresentations continued, and soon after the close of the Lambeth Conference of 1888, Bishop Lightfoot felt it to be his duty to collect and print a series of extracts from his published writings bearing on this subject. There is nothing new in them. Their value is that they show distinctly what the author's opinion was and had been throughout; and that they were collected by himself. His trustees have done good service in reprinting them together with the Essay and the following note:--"It is felt by those who have the best means of knowing that he would himself have wished the collection to stand together simply as his reply to the constant imputation to him of opinions for which writers wished to claim his support without any justification." It is perhaps hardly to be expected that such misrepresentations will cease, but every vestige of justification, if any ever existed, is now removed.
We have been led by the fact that these editions of the Epistles of St. Paul could be regarded only as part of one whole to anticipate some of the events of Dr. Lightfoot's life, and it will be convenient to depart further from chronological order so that we may have such a connected view of his literary work as is possible within the scope of this article.
Between the date of the Philippians (1868) and the Colossians (1875) are to be placed the first editions of the St. Clement in 1869, and the Revision of the New Testament in 1871. Each of these volumes represents the beginning of a stream which flowed on and gathered force until it became an important river.
The Clement was the first-fruits of Dr. Lightfoot's studies of the sub-apostolic age, which were afterwards to yield such an abundant harvest. In 1877 followed an Appendix, giving the chief results of the discoveries by Bryennios and Prof. Bensly. Meanwhile much of the editor's attention had been given to a contemplated edition of Ignatius, for some portions of this work were already in print, and the "whole of the commentary on the genuine epistles of Ignatius, and the introduction and texts of the Ignatian Acts of Martyrdom .... were passed through the press before the end of 1878." Dr. Lightfoot was called early in 1879 to undertake the manifold responsibilities of the See of Durham. "For weeks, and sometimes for months together," he tells us, "I have not found time to write a single line." But he snatched minutes from his days of work and travel, and hours from his days and nights of rest, and it was at length published in 1885.
We invited the attention of the readers of this Review to the importance of this great work at the time, and we must now limit ourselves to a few words of comment. These shall be the words of Professor Harnack of Berlin, which are of the greater interest as he writes in part from an opposite camp:--
These three bulky volumes were no sooner out of hand than the editor returned to the Clement with the intention of supplying introductions and essays which should place it in form and matter on a level with what were intended to be the companion volumes of Ignatius. He devoted to this work hours that many of his friends felt were robbing the Church of his life, but as with the early days, so with the last, his books were really his strength, and up to and during his final illness, as long as consciousness lasted, the Clement was constantly in his hands. The second edition of the work was published after his death. It is not as complete as he would have made it, but, to use the language of another great teacher, who, if he writes from the same camp, writes also with fulness of knowledge and exactitude of balanced judgment:--
The Bishop had also made considerable progress with an edition of the Apostolic Fathers, in one volume, which was intended for the use of students. He had himself studied some of them in his own school-days in the edition of Jacobson, and he wished to leave as a legacy to the young an edition which should be more complete than any which had yet appeared. This he was enabled to do by the assistance of his friend and chaplain, Mr. Harmer, whose services as general editor the trustees have been fortunate enough to secure since the Bishop's death.
But in the opinion of Dr. Lightfoot the Ignatius was the magnum opus of his patristic studies, and indeed of his life. This he tells us, "was the motive, and is the core, of the whole." He was not unaware that in the prosecution of this work he was necessarily breaking through another, and, as many thought, a still more important plan.
"I have been reproached" he writes, "by my friends for allowing myself to be diverted from the more congenial task of commenting on St. Paul's Epistles; but the importance of the position seemed to me to justify the expenditure of much time and labour in 'repairing a breach' not indeed in 'the House of the Lord' itself, but in the immediately outlying buildings."
Nor did he overrate the importance of the position. It was nothing less than the chief foundation of the Tubingen school. "To the disciples of Baur," as he expresses it in terms which are not too strong, "the rejection of the Ignatian Epistles is an absolute necessity of their theological position. The ground would otherwise be withdrawn from under them, and their reconstruction of early Christian history would fall in ruins on their heads."
There are probably many of the Bishop's friends who still hold the opinion that nothing can compensate for the interruption of the cherished plan of a complete edition of St. Paul's Epistles. What would they not give for a commentary on the "Romans" and the "Ephesians," on a scale commensurate with those on the "Galatians" and the "Colossians"? With much of this feeling all students of the New Testament will have the deepest sympathy, but we are nevertheless of the opinion that the obligations which the Bishop has conferred upon the Church are still greater than they would have been if he had confined himself to a narrower course which he might have completed. It is now with the Pauline Epistles as with the works of the writers of the second century, as with a wished-for opportunity of writing the history of the fourth century, as with many a line of thought, and with many a course of action--if he has not done all he intended, he has at least shown how it should be done. He has left the legacy of an ideal greater even than the actual which he made so great.
The Fresh Revision of the English New Testament had its origin in a paper read before a clerical meeting just before the Company appointed for the Revision held its first sitting, and it had beyond question a considerable effect both upon the work of the Revisers and upon the attitude of the public towards that work. Among the criticisms which it drew forth was one by Mr. Earle, afterwards Professor of Anglo-Saxon in the University of Oxford, which attacked what Dr. Lightfoot considered to be the impregnable position of his book. He had "laid it down as a rule (subject of course to special exceptions) that, when the same word occurs in the same context in the original, it should be rendered by the same equivalent in the Version." He had indeed laid down the same rule in one of his early criticisms. Mr. Earle in opposing this principle, cleverly described it as substituting the "fidelity of a lexicon" for the "faithfulness of a translation," and Dr. Lightfoot, while regarding this as a misinterpretation of his principle, replied, "My objection to the variety of rendering which Mr. Earle advocates is that it does depart from 'the faithfulness of a translation,' and substitutes, not indeed the fidelity of a lexicon, but the caprice of a translator." Dr. Lightfoot's reply was generally admitted to have established the principle--and indeed, as stated by him, it can hardly be questioned, and yet the Revised Version must have often recalled Mr. Earle's phrase, "the fidelity of a lexicon," which is said, we know not how truly, to have been varied by a learned scholar, who retired from the work of revision on the ground that he had been invited to "translate," and was expected to "construe."
To discuss the merits or demerits of the Revised Version is no part of our present subject, and the readers of this Review are not likely to have forgotten the very full and plain-speaking criticism which has already occupied its pages. Nor have we any available means of determining the extent of Dr. Lightfoot's influence on the work. The history of the deliberations of the Revisers has not been written, and will probably never be fully known, but the glimpses afforded by Dr. Newth and others of the method of voting are not very encouraging when we think of the inequality of the voters. Surely here, if anywhere, was there place for the principle that votes should be weighed and not counted. It does not appear that Dr. Lightfoot was immediately concerned in the formation of the Company of Revisers, nor was he at the time a member of the Convocation of either Province; but it is clear that from the first nomination of the Company he was among its chief leaders; that he was consistently loyal to his colleagues, and that he was always ready to defend their common work. Perhaps indeed the most uncertain of his contests was that in which he undertook to defend against Canon Cook the rendering, "Deliver us from the evil one." The fresh investigations of Mr. Chase go far in our opinion to confirm the view which Dr. Lightfoot championed, but our readers will remember that there is much to be said on the other side, and we can but regret that Dr. Lightfoot himself did not supply a further reply to Canon Cook's arguments. But while the advocates of the Revised Version are fully justified in claiming Dr. Lightfoot's strong support, we cannot help thinking that if he and a small body of men of like gifts and like knowledge of English as well as of Greek had formed the Company of Revisers, we should have now had a version practically accepted by the English-speaking peoples. It is impossible to read the notes in Dr Lightfoot's editions of the Epistles of St. Paul without feeling that we are in a different atmosphere from that of the Revised Version, and we believe that if the Version is to gain general acceptance it will have to be again revised on the more conservative model of the work of the Revisers of the Old Testament. If that task is ever attempted, the new Revisers will find no more fitting words to express their principle than these which Mr. Lightfoot wrote as early as 1857:--
"If, then, the English of former times speaks more plainly to the heart than the English of the present day, and at least as plainly to the understanding, surely we should do well to retain it, only lopping off a very few archaisms, not because they are not a la mode, but because they would not be generally understood."
Except indeed in the third of "The Fundamental Resolutions adopted by the Convocation of Canterbury on the third and fifth days of May, 1870:"--
"That in the above resolutions we do not contemplate any new translation of the Bible, or any alteration of the language, except where in the judgement of the most competent scholars such change is necessary."
During the early years of the work of revision Dr. Lightfoot was engaged also upon literary work of another kind. In 1874 a writer, whose name has never been authoritatively disclosed, but is widely known, published a work entitled Supernatural Religion: an Inquiry into the reality of Divine Revelation. He professed to show that there is no miraculous element in Christianity; that miracles are indeed antecedently incredible; that the evidence which is obtainable from the apostolic period is not trustworthy; and that the Four Gospels have no sufficient warrant for their date and authorship. Many reasons combined to give the work an unmerited notoriety, the chief of them being its anonymity and the widely circulated but wholly unwarranted rumour that the author was one of the most learned and venerable of the English prelates. Dr. Lightfoot was led to examine the work publicly, not because of its merits or importance--he thought indeed "that its criticisms were too loose and pretentious, and too full of errors, to produce any permanent effect"--but because he "found that a cruel and unjustifiable assault was made on a very dear friend to whom "he" was attached by the most sacred personal and theological ties." This accounts for a certain tone of severity which is never undeserved, but is present here only in the course of Dr. Lightfoot's writings. The first part of the examination appeared in the Contemporary Review in December, 1874; the last in the same periodical in May, 1877. The whole covers to a considerable extent--and the author had intended that it should completely cover--"the testimony of the first two centuries to the New Testament Scriptures;" and it is in our opinion not too much to assert that if the author of Supernatural Religion had been the cause of no other investigation than the remarkable articles by Dr. Lightfoot, he would have been the indirect means of contributing the most valuable addition to apologetic literature which has been made during this generation. There was naturally a strong desire in many quarters that the articles should be collected and published in a permanent form. Year after year this was postponed because the writer designed further additions to them, and it was only in 1889, when "life was hanging on a slender thread," that the collection was issued. We could wish indeed that the designed completion had been made, we could wish that the author had been able to abandon the polemical form and to recast the whole; but no course remained but that which has been followed. The work is a legacy as from a death-bed, and it is a legacy of permanent value.
The limits of our space forbid us to refer at greater length to Bishop Lightfoot's literary work, the extent and variety and quality of which would have been remarkable even in a life of learned leisure. Here we have an article or rather the most complete treatise which is known to us on "Eusebius" in the Dictionary of Christian Biography; here a similar treatise on the "Acts of the Apostles" in the recently published edition of the Dictionary of the Bible; here, courses of lectures on "Christian Life in the Second and Third Centuries" and "Christianity and Paganism" delivered at St. Paul's Cathedral; here, a speech at a meeting of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, which has become a standard authority on "The Comparative Progress of Ancient and Modern Missions;" here, an edition of Dean Mansel's treatise on The Gnostic Heresies; here, lectures delivered to artisans at Rochdale or students at Edinburgh on "Simon de Montfort and Edward I." or "The Architecture of the Period and the University life, with special reference to Roger Bacon;" now it is the Inaugural Address to the British Archaeological Association; now it is that of the President of the Co-operative Society. Here there is the formal "Charge" delivered to his Clergy; here, the address on some public or diocesan question which formed part of his daily work. All are marked by the same characteristic features. The matter is everywhere that of the painful investigator, the principle is that of the Christian philosopher, the form is that of the artist in words.
But the four volumes of sermons mentioned at the head of this article claim at least some words of notice. Archbishop Tait, when walking with a friend one morning, said, "We have made Lightfoot a preacher;" and when asked to explain the process by which such preachers were made, added, "We have given the finest pulpit in the world to a man to whom God has given the power to use it," and expressed his conviction that better use of it had never been made. What Canon Lightfoot himself thought of the opportunity may be read in the dedication of his Ignatius:--
"To Henry Parry Liddon, D.D., to whom God has given special gifts as a Christian Preacher and matched the gifts with the Opportunities, assigning to him his place, beneath the great dome of St. Paul's, the centre of the world's concourse "; and what use he made of it is to be seen in part in the volumes before us. We confess that they have taken us by surprise, and we think that our surprise will be shared by many who often heard Dr. Lightfoot preach and were fully impressed by his sermons. Very rarely have we known sermons which were so good to hear prove so much better to read. We shall not quote from them, because no quotations could adequately represent them. We commend them to any of our readers into whose hands they have not fallen, as models of what sermons should be. They are learned, they are philosophical, they are wide in grasp and firm in tread; but from first to last of these four volumes there is not a passage which is technical and not a sentence which the ordinary reader cannot understand. Their logical clearness satisfies the highest intellect, their deep pathos moves the humblest soul.
It was of course obvious that a man of Dr. Lightfoot's remarkable gifts, and still more remarkable devotion in the use of those gifts, should appear to many persons to be specially qualified to hold many offices, and from time to time offers of preferment were made to him; but his heart was in the work of his professorship, and no suggested honour was acceptable to him which would in any way interfere with the most complete discharge of the duties of that office. He became naturally a select preacher at his own University, and also at Oxford and at Whitehall. He was appointed Chaplain to the Prince Consort, Honorary Chaplain to the Queen, and Deputy Clerk of the Closet. He was for seventeen years Examining Chaplain to Dr. Tait as Bishop of London and Archbishop of Canterbury. But the canonry of St. Paul's was accepted with much hesitation, and only when it was seen that arrangements could be made for his London "residence" which would not break in ,upon the Cambridge terms. When the Regius Professorship of Divinity fell vacant, in 1870, he practically declined it, in order that he might bring Mr. Westcott back to Cambridge, but in 1875 he was elected to the Lady Margaret Chair. More than one Deanery, more than one Bishopric, were offered to him on the advice of more than one Prime Minister. In 1879 came the offer of the See of Durham, which, after much hesitation and much pressure from friends, he at length, and with great diffidence, accepted. He was trembling beneath the conviction that he was not fitted for the work to which nevertheless, after prayer and counsel, he felt that he was called of God; the Church was giving thanks for a decision which all men felt to be the dawn of a bright day. For more than two centuries there had been no direct nomination to the throne of the Prince Bishops of Durham, and yet such was the public estimation in which Dr. Lightfoot was held that there was probably no Churchman who did not rejoice in this nomination, except Dr. Lightfoot himself, and a band of Cambridge friends, who thought the loss to the University would be irreparable. There have always been men who thought their own circle was greater than the world.
We now enter upon the last period of Dr. Lightfoot's work, and it is a period in which we trace the signs of an eminence which is higher even than that of his earlier course. Great he was as antiquitatis investigator, great he was as evangelii interpres, and yet greater when he united and applied the principles and continued the studies of his earlier life in the practical work of the ecclesiae rector. And here, too, qualis fuerit. . . . testantur opera ut aequalibus ita posteris profutura.
Dr. Lightfoot was consecrated in Westminster Abbey on St. Mark's Day, 1879, and °ne sentence in the sermon, which was preached by Dr. Westcott, at once linked together the three old schoolfellows and re-stated for the Bishop then to be consecrated, the principle which his own heart had dictated for the third of the friends exactly two years before. Who is sufficient for these things? was the preacher's and yet more the listener's question. The answer now given at Westminster had been given at St. Paul's when Dr. Lightfoot occupied the pulpit, and Dr. Benson was consecrated to be the first Bishop of Truro:--" He who lays down at the footstool of God his successes and his failures, his hopes and his fears, his knowledge and his ignorance, his weakness and his strength, his misgivings and his confidences--all that he is and all that he might be--content to take up thence just that which God shall give him."
The new Bishop was enthroned, the first instance of this ceremony being performed in the person of any Bishop of Durham since the enthronement of Bishop Trevor in 1752, and preached in his Cathedral Church on the 15th day of May. The first words strike at once the dominant note of his life:--
"And what more seasonable prayer can you offer for him who addresses you now, at this the most momentous crisis of his life, than that he--the latest successor of Butler--may enter upon the duties of his high and responsible office in the same spirit; that the realization of this great idea, the realization of this great fact, may be the constant effort of his life; that glimpses of the invisible Righteousness, of the invisible Grace, of the invisible Glory, may be vouchsafed to him; and that the Eternal Presence, thus haunting him night and day, may rebuke, may deter, may guide, may strengthen, may comfort, may illumine, may consecrate and subdue the feeble and wayward impulses of his own heart to God's holy will and purpose!"
The same sermon indicates two of the immediate objects which the preacher set before himself. One is the division of the Diocese, the other is the duty of the Church in social and industrial questions.
In such devotion, such resolves, such stating and strengthening of principles, passed the first day in the Diocese. The succeeding days were forthwith devoted to carrying these principles into practice. The Bishop lived at first in the Castle at Durham, the ancient home of the Prince Bishops, which had become part of the University through the munificence and foresight of Van Mildert, but in which a suite of rooms had been reserved in perpetuity for the Bishop's use. Here the Visitor of the University was heartily welcomed alike by graduates and students, and these early weeks strengthened the attachment which he brought with him, and laid the foundations of a warm and never broken affection for what he was wont to call the University of his adoption.
It is said that among Dr. Lightfoot's last words to some of his Cambridge friends when he took leave of them was the charge, "Send me up men to the North." As soon as Auckland Castle was ready to receive him, he carried out his cherished project of forming a clergy-house under his own roof. Here a band of University men, seven or eight in number, were trained under his own immediate guidance for their future work in the Diocese. They were instructed by himself, by his archdeacons, and by his chaplains. The intellectual work followed the lines of a college course in theology, the practical work in Auckland itself and the pit villages which encircle the castle-grounds enabled the students to test their theories by the realities of life; but their chief lesson was the constant influence of their true Father in God, We have referred to Dr. Prince Lee's affection for his pupils, and those who know best assert that it is at least equally true that Bishop Lightfoot loved nothing on earth more devotedly than those who were in a special sense his spiritual sons. His strong love strengthened theirs, and men in the vigour of their young manhood learned to love him, and through him to love afresh their God. To love him was to learn from him, to assimilate him, to reproduce him; and not the least of the permanent influences for good which the Bishop left to his Diocese and his Church, was the band of young men numbering more than seventy who had looked upon a life which in the power of its intellect, the devotion of its soul, the humility and self-sacrifice of its whole being was to them a daily ascension into heaven; and who, as they looked upon it had caught something at least of its spirit. Loving them and knowing them as he did, he expected them and always found them to be ready to work with entire singleness of aim and entire devotion to duty. They knew they had no claim to preferment unless to a post of unusual poverty or unusual difficulty, and to such a post only when prepared for it. Some words from an "In Memoriam" sketch in a college magazine and signed J. B. D., will show how the Bishop looked upon his sons and their work, and what manner of men they were:--
"A new district was to be formed in a much-neglected neighbourhood in ----. There was neither church nor endowment nor parochial appliances of any kind. Everything must be built up from the foundation. Only a modest stipend for a single curate-in-charge had been guaranteed. It was necessary to rely on youthful zeal, even at the cost of some inexperience I asked C----, who was still curate at ----, to undertake the task of building up this new parish, and he accepted the call. To my great joy, B---- offered to accompany his friend as a volunteer without remuneration, though he might have had an adequate stipend elsewhere. ...
"I spoke of this offer then as an inspiration, and so I regard it now. Though doubtless the work there hastened his death, who shall regret his decision? Certainly not those who loved him best. . . .
"I cannot but regard this splendid unselfishness as a chief corner-stone, on which the edifice of the new parish was raised. . . . Excellent congregations were gathered together; generous donors came forward with liberal offerings; and within two years and a few months from the time when they commenced their work in the district, a large and seemly church was finished and consecrated.
"I have had placed in my hands some extracts from a private diary which he kept. . . . I give this relating to the night before his ordination: Hn dianuktereuwn en th proseuch tou Qeou. If He, how much more I needed. So in the end I remained praying in my own room till daylight, about 3.15. It was broad day, and I went to bed.'
"Of the day itself he writes:--
"'Sunday, Matins at 8.15. I felt calm and at peace. . . . Just broke fast and nothing more. I had no fixed idea about fasting, but thought it better to err in too literal a following of the Apostles than too free a departure from them.'
"'The service at South Church was full of a depth of peace and love to me, such as I have never known. The Veni Creator began the climax. My heart was full of an overpowering sense of my own unworthiness and Christ's deep love and trust in one who had done nothing but what deserved the withdrawal of love and trust; and at the actual imposition of hands the surge of mingled regrets and hopes, joys and fears, the sense of being at once infinitely humbled and exalted, broke out in lacrimas super ora surgentes [et] defluentes. Gaudebam, quia contristabar; contristabar, quia gaudebam.'"
The Bishop adds, "A ministry" [may we not add, "an episcopacy"?] "so supported, could not be otherwise than fruitful."
With this sketch drawn from the sanctuary of the home life at Auckland Castle, it will be interesting to compare a pendant drawn from without. Among the guests entertained by the Bishop in 1882 was the Rev. Robert W. Barbour, a gifted young Free Church Minister. From a memorial volume printed for private circulation after his early death, which shows what a loss this brought to his church and his friends, we are permitted to print the following extracts:--
April 28, 1882.
"10.45.--The evening worship was very uniting. The servants came in, and we sang the psalms and hymns, and Dr. Lightfoot and a chaplain read and prayed (from the new version and the prayer book) in his own voice and with his own devout, simple soul uttering itself in all. His after talk in the drawing-room was even more charming [than that in the afternoon]. You know how a mastiff will lie down (out of sheer love for the canine race) and let a crowd of small dogs jump and tumble over him, and put them off, and egg them on with great pawings and immense 'laps' of his broad tongue. Even so did Dr. Lightfoot. ... It is good for me to be in the midst of so much informal earnestness and Christian manliness."
April 29, 1882.
"Then I suppose it is not taking her past out of the hands of time, to say that Butler's seat is now filled by his nearest successor; a man as great in his work and in his day, as his great namesake (for they both are written 'Joseph Dunelm'). I know not if there be any better test of true lastingness in any man who is yet living, than when, knowing his written works, one is able to compare them with his person, and to say that these correspond. The same judgment which you admire in Dr. Lightfoot's commentaries meets you in his conversation. He seems, like justice in her statues, always to give his sentences, holding meantime a pair of other scales. Indeed, the analogy might be extended. Justice is but badly described in stone as being blind-folded in her decisions. But there is in the Bishop a strong cast of eye which enables him, when he speaks, to address himself to nobody in particular; although immediately after speaking, he turns on you a glance that conveys an impression of the most absolute impartiality. . . . He calls these lads (and I can imagine worse things than to feel myself, for the nonce, one of them) his family, and they treat him as frank, ingenuous English gentlemen's sons would treat their father. He is accessible to their difficulties and their doubts, if they have any; but, a thing more remarkable, he is open to all their kittenhood of mirth and fun. To hear him alone with them is to feel you are on the edge of a circle, which tempts you almost to stand on tiptoe and look over and wish you were inside. It is a searching trial of true homeliness, to observe how it comports itself when there are strangers present. But I assert my coming in has not bated one jot of all this family joy. Last evening, after prayers, they were poking fun at the bishop. One man was asked how he was getting on with Hebrew. The fellow boldly turned the weapon round by inquiring whether his lordship was prepared to teach him. Dr. Lightfoot was gently demurring, when somebody else burst in, as if with a child's impatience and fear of some older imcompleted promise: ' No, not before we have had these lectures on botany.' Then, assuming the air of someone to whom that study was even as his necessary food, he went on to report his observations, taken daily on his walks to and from the district, of two interesting weeds. It sounded like a clever parody upon Darwin and his climbing plants trained up the bed-post. I have written all this in order to show--if it is within the power of words to show a thing which lies more in the feeling of the whole, than in any enumeration, however complete, of the details--how happy an example one has here of the spirit and the action of the English Church. Within, you have a home and a beehive both in one; without everything is plain, and simple, and strenuous. The Bishop preaches such sermons as the one I sent you. His chaplains teach, and visit, and preach. The students an earnest, and healthy set of men. Nothing is allowed in the Castle which speaks of pomp or pretension. You go down morning and evening to prayers in the chapel; I suppose it is about the finest palace chapel in Britain. A simple service is held. The Bishop and a chaplain read the lessons and lead the prayers. Another chaplain has trained a choir of boys from the neighbouring town. Behind these choristers sit the students; the bishop and servants (eight I counted) are in the back seats. One or two from the outside also seem to attend. The psalms and hymns are simply but sweetly sung. So anxious is Dr. Lightfoot that nothing should be unused, nothing rest in an empty name, that I believe he is fitting up the chapel with seats, so as to have a service every Sabbath. Much of what I have seen here, the earnestness and the manliness of the men, the order of the household, the thoroughness of the instruction, the devoutness of the prayers, the sweetness of the singing, the beauty, the learning, the goodness, the simplicity, make me hang my head for shame, both as a man and as a minister; for my whole heart consents to these things that they are right. . ."
Arrangements having been made for a supply of living agents for the work of the Diocese, two heavy tasks at once confronted the Bishop; the division of the Diocese, and the provision of additional churches and mission-rooms.
The first of these he had inherited. As long ago as 1876 Bishop Baring had submitted the question to his Ruridecanal Chapters, and "the judgment was almost unanimous as to the advisableness of creating the See." A year later Mr. Thomas Hedley bequeathed the residue of his estate, from which some .£17,000 was ultimately realized, as the nucleus of the necessary fund. In 1878 the Act for the creation of the four Sees-- Liverpool, Newcastle, Southwell, and Wakefield--was passed, and was characterized by Archbishop Tait as "one of the greatest reforms proposed by the Church of England since the Reformation." Bishop Baring spoke for the last time in the House of Lords in favour of this measure, but he did not regard the Newcastle scheme as one which was likely to be realized at an early date. "The prospect of the accomplishment of this good work is, I fear, far remote," he said in his Charge, which was delivered later in the same year. Soon after Bishop Lightfoot's appointment he had an interview with the Duke of Northumberland, who promised the munificent gift of £10,000 to the fund. The Bishop thereupon pledged himself to use every endeavour to accomplish the scheme; but by the counsel of all competent advisers he for a time withheld his hand. A deep cloud of dark ness then hung over the commerce and industries of the north-eastern counties, and it seemed to be hopeless to ask for subscriptions. In December, 1880, it was possible to organize a committee. Men soon caught what one called the " electric enthusiasm" of the Bishop's ideas, and in nine months the work was practically done. At the Church Congress of 1881, which was held in Newcastle, the Bishop of Manchester appealed for subscriptions to complete the fund, which had reached the critical stage of near accomplishment that is often so difficult to pass. The appeal was liberally answered, but still the last thousands did not come, and the question of a house was becoming an additional difficulty, when the most happy solution offered itself through the liberality of Mr. J. W. Pease, a member of the Society of Friends, and a banker in Newcastle. It was on the i5th of October, 18 81, that the following letter was received by the Bishop through the then Archdeacon of Northumberland* We quote it as showing both the widespread influence of the Bishop and the noble spirit of the generous donor:--
" DEAR MR. ARCHDEACON,--So many people tell me that Benwell Tower is the most suitable place for the new Bishop that I think you ought to have it. Funds do not come in very quickly, and the purchase of such a house as you require must therefore be a difficulty. This being the case, I have concluded to hand the place over to the Committee, and as it is not occupied, they are very welcome to the possession at once, so that any alterations which may be considered needful may be made without loss of time, and their solicitor can communicate with mine as to the conveyance.
"Churchmen and Quakers used not to get on very well together, but these times are past, and I most sincerely trust that the important step about to be taken may be in every way successful. What I propose to instruct my solicitor to convey is the Tower, with its garden, old burial-ground, stables and lodge, and as many of the cottages near the stables as you may require. . . . Yours very truly, JOHN PEASE."
This gift was followed by another munificent offering of ^10,000, made by Mr. Spencer of Ryton, and by a gift of the furniture for Benwell Tower through a Committee of Ladies. The fund required was thus more than realized, and the task which the Bishop had undertaken was more than accomplished. On St. James's Day, 1882, Dr. Ernest Roland Wilberforce was consecrated in Durham Cathedral as the first Bishop of Newcastle.
When the great work of the division of the See was accomplished, the Bishop was more free to mature his plans for Church Extension in the county of Durham. Along the banks of the Tyne, the Wear, and the Tees, and in so-called "pit villages," through a large part of the county, new and vast populations had been called into existence by the development of the coal, iron, and shipping industries. A country road, such as that along which the Bishops of Durham had driven from their castle at Auckland to the Cathedral Church, and by the side of which one house stood some fifty years ago, had become for a considerable part of its course a street, with a network of houses on either side. A seaside village, like Stranton, had developed into a great port like Hartlepool. Efforts had been made, and with much success, by former Bishops, and notably by Bishop Baring, to keep pace with this abnormal growth; but the fact remained, and stared Bishop Lightfoot in the face, that in almost every part of his Diocese the church accommodation was far from adequate to the needs of the people. The measure of the people's need was for him the measure of the Church's duty, and the Church's duty was the motive power of his own immediate action. He had learnt to the full both in school and in life that Virtus in agenda constat. Cautious men pleaded now that " times were bad," but so they had pleaded before when the Newcastle Bishopric Fund was commenced. There was the added plea that this fund had deeply drained all available resources, but the Bishop's one answer was in effect, "Look at these sheep: as their shepherd I must in the name of God try to provide folds for them, and in the name of God I must call upon you to help me."
In January, 1884, a meeting was held in the Town Hall at Durham under the presidency of the Lord-Lieutenant of the county, for the purpose of hearing from the Bishop a statement of the needs of the Diocese. The Archbishop of York had generously come to help him. The nobility and gentry of the county were well represented, but the meeting was not a large one, for not a few had learned to fear the influence of an address from the Bishop. He pleaded in simple and earnest terms for funds to provide twenty-five churches and mission-rooms which he felt to be urgently needed, and supported his plea by a generous gift. Again the contagion of his enthusiasm and his munificence spread, and a sum approaching £30,000 was subscribed in the room. "Why, the Diocese has gone mad!" said a well-known layman after the meeting; but it was a madness the results of which are now written in deeds for which the most sanguine could not then have hoped, and for which thousands do and will bless God. At the end of five years--and these years a period of deep and continued commercial depression--the Bishop was enabled to report, not that the twenty-five buildings for which he had pleaded were in progress but that "no less than forty-five churches and mission-chapels had been completed, or will shortly be so, through the instrumentality of the fund." Nor did the force of the wave spend itself there or then. It sent its impetus into many parishes, where no immediate work of church-building was needed, and its direct force can be traced to the present day. The Bishop himself offered, in thanksgiving for the completion of the decennium of his episcopate, the noble building which probably is the only instance in our own country of a dedication--and in this case a peculiarly appropriate one --to S. Ignatius the Martyr. Another church now being built in the same town of Sunderland owes its existence to his forethought and his gifts, and will be a memorial of his name and work. Gateshead also will, under similar conditions, soon have its Bishop Lightfoot Memorial Church, and these, the two largest towns in the Diocese, are but examples of the spirit and work of the whole.
Another practical scheme to which the Bishop gave much attention and which was a natural supplement to his Church Building Fund, was a Diocesan Fund. This was intended to form a combination of all the various funds in the Diocese for Churches, Schools, Provision for Insurance and Pensions for the Clergy, and so on, and in addition was to provide a fund under the direction of a representative committee, which should aid any one or more of the allied funds in case of need, and should itself provide for any special work--a mission clergyman here, a parish room there, a temporary endowment in a third place--which may from time to time arise.
"I propose the present effort," wrote the Bishop, "to be wholly different to anything which has preceded it, both in kind and magnitude. It ought not only to supplement existing organizations, but also to plant and to maintain living agents in districts with which the Church would otherwise be unable successfully to deal. In short, as I have said on a previous occasion it will be the handmaid of the Diocese, stepping in at times and places where the need is sorest. Above all, it will teach us to feel the high privilege of acting as members of a great spiritual community, by stepping outside the limits of parochial efforts, and taking a larger conception of our responsibilities."
Here, as in all other cases, his appeal to others was strengthened by his own munificence. Five hundred pounds was the annual subscription which he proposed to contribute personally, and it was natural that the Diocese should support him nobly, as it did. In addition to the large gifts of rich men and the apparently small gifts of poor men, came the annual collections in churches, which were made in all the parishes of the Diocese--with exceptions so few that they do but emphasize the unanimity.
It will seem, perhaps, that more than enough has been written to show how fully the Bishop's time and thought were given to the details of his Diocesan work; but the contents of the two quadrennial Charges which fall within the period of his episcopate are so fully illustrative of this, and at the same time so suggestive, that we cannot refrain from quoting them:--
1882. I. THE DIOCESE.
(2) Diocesan Institutions and Associations.
(4) Retrospective and Prospective.
II. THE CHURCH.
(1) Burial Laws Amendment Act.
I. THE DIOCESE.
(1) Church Extension.
(2) The Services.
(3) The Clergy.
(4) Lay Ministrations.
(6) Diocesan Finance.
(7) Diocesan Societies.
II. THE CHURCH.
(1) Church Patronage.
These Charges were a cause of disappointment to many of the Bishop's friends. They had hoped that he would follow the example of some other learned men who had been called to Bishops* thrones, and had thence addressed the Church and the world on questions of the day. But he deliberately chose his line. In his opinion:--
"A visitation is a great audit time, when the Bishop and clergy alike render an account of their ministrations--the clergy by their answers to the questions of their diocesan--the Bishop by his charge summing up the work of the diocese during the few years past. It is a foreshadowing and a forecast of the great and final visitation, when the Master Himself returning shall demand an account of His talents, when the Chief Shepherd shall reappear and require His flock at our hands."
Not that he failed to feel constantly the pulse of great movements. He never forgot that he was a Bishop of the Anglican Church, but he always remembered that he was the Bishop of Durham. The Church and the wider questions which affect the Church at large have their place in both the Charges, but the Diocese had the primary claim at a visitation of the clergy of the Diocese. And what a picture of the work of a diocese do these Charges give! In almost every detail is there ground for humble thankfulness for the progress of the past, and ground for hopeful counsel for the work of the future. What a picture, too, do we get incidentally of the work of a Bishop!
"I am thankful to say," he writes in 1886, "that there are now only a few churches in my Diocese in which I have not officiated, and I hope before long to complete the circuit. I have preached "--and the volumes before us tell us of what kind these sermons were--"in all the churches in Gateshead, Darlington, Stockton, and Sunderland (including Bishopwearmouth and Monkwearmouth), and in nearly all in Durham, South Shields, and the Hartlepools--in the principal churches in these towns several times."1
Some of the Bishop's friends were also disappointed, and perhaps with more show of reason, that his voice was seldom heard in the House of Lords. But here, too, he was guided by the same principle. He never forgot that he was a lord of Parliament, but he always remembered that he was primarily Bishop of Durham. He was indeed never absent from the House of Lords at a critical division, though his presence involved the sacrifice of an important Diocesan engagement and two nights in a railway carriage; his counsel was always at the command of the leaders of the Episcopal Bench; no man was more in touch with every movement for the social as well as spiritual welfare of his countrymen; but he naturally did not attach to his own utterances the weight which others did, and he felt that the interests of the Church and the people were most safely guided by the great Archbishops, upon whom this burden naturally fell.
Nor did he shrink, when it came clearly in the path of his own duty, from expressing his opinion or offering his counsel on questions which were of universal interest. In 1881 he presided over the twenty-first meeting--the coming of age--of the Church Congress at Newcastle-on-Tyne, The British Association had just kept its jubilee in the metropolis of the Northern Province. Here is the Bishop's happy and characteristically hopeful reference to the coincidence:-- .
"The President availed himself of the occasion to sum up the achievements of the half-century past--untrodden fields opened out, fresh sciences created, a whole world of fact and theory discovered, of which men had hardly a suspicion at the beginning of this period. In this commemoration we are reminded of the revolution in the intellectual world which has taken place in our own time, as in the other, our attention was directed to the revolution in the social and industrial world.
Here again we are confronted with a giant force, of which the Church of Christ must give an account. If we are wise we shall endeavour to understand and to absorb these truths. They are our proper heritage as Christians, for they are manifestations of the Eternal Word, who is also the Head of the Church. They will add breadth and strength and depth to our theology. Before all things we shall learn by the lessons of the past to keep ourselves free from any distrust or dismay. Astronomy once menaced, or was thought to menace, Christianity. Long before we were born the menace had passed away. We found astronomy the sworn ally of religion. The heresy of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries had become the orthodoxy of the nineteenth. When some years ago an eminent man of science, himself a firm believer, wrote a work throwing doubt on the plurality of worlds, it was received with a storm of adverse criticism, chiefly from Christian teachers, because he ventured to question a theory which three centuries earlier it would have been a shocking heresy to maintain. Geology next entered the lists. We are old enough, many of us, to remember the anxiety and distrust with which its startling announcements were received. This scare, like the other, has passed away. We admire the providential design which through myriads of years prepared the earth by successive gradations of animal and vegetable life for its ultimate destination as the abode of man. Nowhere else do we find more vivid and striking illustrations of the increasing purpose which runs through the ages. . . . Our theological conceptions have been corrected and enlarged by its teaching, but the work of the Church of Christ goes on as before. Geology, like astronomy, is fast becoming our faithful ally. And now, in turn, Biology concentrates the same interests, and excites the same distrusts. Will not history repeat itself? If the time should come when evolution is translated from the region of suggestive theory to the region of acknowledged fact, what then? Will it not carry still further the idea of providential design and order? Will it not reinforce with new and splendid illustrations the magnificent lesson of modern science-- complexity of results traced back to simplicity of principles--variety of phenomena issuing from unity of order--the gathering up, as it were, of the threads which connect the universe, in the right hand of the One Eternal Word?
"Thus we are reminded by these two celebrations of the twin giants, the creation of our age, with which the Church of Christ has to reckon-- foes only if they are treated as such, but capable of being won as trusty allies, by appreciation, by sympathy, by conciliation and respect."
In 1885 the Bishop presided at a meeting of the Diocesan Conference at Durham. Disestablishment was in the air and to many persons seemed nearer then than it does now. He was led to speak at some length upon it. We extract a few sentences:--
"But I cannot blink facts. The question is not sleeping; it has been definitely raised; and I should hold it culpable in anyone in my position not to express, and express definitely, his opinion on the issues involved. . . . The only schemes which are before us involve a wholesale alienation of property, a disregard of personal and corporate rights, and a violation of all the most sacred associations and feelings, such as, in the words of an eminent living statesman, would leave England "a lacerated and bleeding mass." Of any such scheme of disestablishment I say deliberately, having carefully weighed these words and feeling the tremendous responsibility of over-statement, that it would be not only a national disaster, but also a national crime, to which it would be difficult to find a parallel in the history of England since England became a nation. I believe that a moral blow would be inflicted on this country, under which it would reel and stagger for many generations to come, even if it ever recovered."
In October, 1889, just two months before his death, the Bishop presided over the Conference of his Diocese in Sunderland. He addressed it on many subjects, and especially on the Lambeth Conference, Christian Socialism, the White Cross Movement, the Brotherhood of the Poor. How touching in the light of what followed, how firm in the strength of faith, is this reference to himself:--
"While I was suffering from overwork, and before I understood the true nature of my complaint, it was the strain, both in London and at home, in connexion with this Pan-Anglican gathering, which broke me down hopelessly. I did not regret it then, and I do not regret it now. I should not have wished to recall the past, even if my illness had been fatal. For what after all is the individual life in the history of the Church? Men may come and men may go--individual lives float down like straws on the surface of the waters till they are lost in the ocean of eternity; but the broad, mighty, rolling stream of the Church itself--the cleansing, purifying, fertilising tide of the River of God--flows on for ever and ever. A gathering of Bishops, so numerous and so representative, collected from all parts of the globe, is an incident quite unique in the history of this Diocese. . . . For to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, what does it all mean? What activities does it not suggest in the Anglican Church of the present? What capacities and hopes for the Anglican Church of the future? What evidences of present catholicity? What visions of future diffusion? ... I hold that God has vouchsafed a signal blessing to our generation in this demonstration of the catholicity of the English Church, and I consider myself happy that in my chapel at Auckland will be preserved for future generations a memorial of this chief event of my episcopate."
How full of wisdom is this comment on the work of the Lambeth Conference:--
"But it may be said: this was a very important and very suggestive gathering, but what was the outcome? Did it leave behind any result at all proportionate to the imposing spectacle? What questions did it settle, disposing for ever of the relations between Christianity and science, or between religion and politics or social life--questions of infinite perplexity, which are troubling the minds of men in our own generation?
"Heaven be thanked, it did not lay down any formal dogma or infallible decree on any of these points. There is such a thing as hastening to be wise, even in Church Councils and Conferences. Of all the manifold blessings which God has showered on our English Church, none surely is greater than the providence which has shielded her from premature and authoritative statements, which soon or late must be repudiated or explained away, however great may have been the temptation from time to time. The Church of England is nowhere directly or indirectly committed to the position that the sun goes round the earth; or that this world has only existed for six or seven thousand years; or that the days of creation are days of twenty-four hours each; or that the scriptural genealogies must always be accepted as strict and continuous records of the descent from father to son; or that the sacred books were written in every case by those whose names they bear; or that there is nowhere allegory, which men have commonly mistaken for history. On these and similar points, our Church has been silent; though individuals, even men of high authority, have written hastily and incautiously."
The above extracts are all taken from addresses which the Bishop delivered within the limits of his own Diocese, but it would entirely misrepresent him if the impression should be formed that his sympathies and work were confined to these limits. If space were at our command, we should like to quote other passages, which show how fully he was in touch with the work of the Church far and near. Now he gives an address at meetings of the Church Congress at Leicester and Carlisle; now he preaches the Congress Sermon at Wolverhampton; now and again he crosses the Border to show his warm sympathy with his brethren in Scotland. His voice was constantly heard in London on behalf of this or that philanthropic society; and here and there throughout the country, clergymen whose only claim was their need, asked for and obtained his help. To Cambridge he was bound by many ties, and the series of "Cuddesdon Addresses" shows that to Oxford he was no less generous.
Nor was it in public only that this help was given. Auckland Castle was almost constantly filled, as with the sons of the house who were being prepared for their future work, so with the clergy and laity from the Diocese, and from afar, who were welcomed to his hospitality and to his counsel. Few perhaps realize what the burden is which the post-bag adds to a Bishop's daily life, and in his case it brought the scholar's burden too; but even this was cheerfully borne, and no letter remained unanswered, whether it was that of the Southern farmer who wished to know if the Bishop could supply him with Durham cows, or that of a lady who felt sure he could find time to read a theological work in MS. before she sent it to the press--and " may she say in her preface that it had his approval?"--or that of the student in the far West who had just begun the Greek Testament, and would like a solution of his many difficulties, and had " heard that the Bishop was a good scholar." In small matters, as in great, no one asked for anything which he felt that he could give, and asked in vain. And so, year after year, the hard work was done, and the noble life was lived. The mental and physical strength seemed equal to every strain. No engagement ever fell through, no weariness was ever apparent. Ignatius was refreshment from the work of the Diocese: the work of the Diocese was refreshment from Ignatius. The face was always bright; the heart was always glad. The happiest years of his life he thought these Durham years to be; and he thought that he had never been so strong. It was towards the close of the spring confirmations in 1888, when the pressure of work had been unusually heavy, and falls of snow had more than once blocked the roads by which he tried to travel, that this strength seemed for the first time to be strained. He thought, and his friends thought, that a short summer holiday would completely restore him; but the Lambeth Conference came and the visit of the Bishops to Durham came. Both brought to him great happiness, but both brought much work. The autumn holiday was too late, and the Bishop returned to his Diocese only to leave it again, under positive medical orders, for a winter in Bournemouth. He at once thought of resigning the Bishopric. It was foreign to his whole thought to have personal interests distinct from his office. He could not conceive that any man could accept an office in the Church of Christ without identifying himself with it, or would hold it a day longer than he could fully discharge its duties. One of the burdens which weighed on his soul was that instances to the contrary were not wholly wanting in his Diocese. He at least would do the one thing which was right. But he was still comparatively young; hopes of restoration to health, and strength, and work, seemed to be well grounded; and those to whom he was bound by every tie of allegiance absolutely forbade the step he wished to take. An Assistant Bishop, first welcomed and soon beloved by himself and by his Diocese, was found in the person of Bishop Sandford, and he somewhat doubtingly acquiesced in a course about which others had no doubt. The spring of 1889 seemed to bring a fulfilment of the hopes which had been formed. The Bishop was able to return to his Diocese, and on Ascension Day the Cathedral Church was crowded by a vast assembly who joined with him in a special Service of Thanksgiving. He was able to fulfil the ordinary Diocesan duties, and to devote a large amount of time to literary work during the months of the summer and autumn; and he took part in three public events of special interest. On July 2nd he consecrated the Church of S. Ignatius the Martyr, Sunderland, his own noble gift of thanksgiving; on October 17th he presided over the Diocesan Conference, and delivered the remarkable address to which we have referred; on October the 29th he received in a public meeting, at the hands of the Lord-Lieutenant, the beautiful Pastoral Staff, which, together with a portrait by Mr. Richmond, it was determined to present to him on the completion of the tenth year of his episcopate. He thanked the donors in his usual happy, cheerful, tone, and took his farewell with tender words of blessing. It was for the last time. He left for the purpose of wintering again in Bournemouth a few days afterwards. For a time he continued to make progress. He was able to work regularly at the Clement up to Tuesday, December 17th. The local papers of the following Saturday morning contained a note from Archdeacon Watkins, "asking the clergy and other ministers of religion to make special supplication for our beloved Bishop on Sunday and other days." The evening papers of the same day contained a telegram from Bournemouth --"The Bishop of Durham passed peacefully away this afternoon, at a quarter to four o'clock."
The sorrow of the Church and of the nation, and the expression of that sorrow in the pulpit and in the press, is still fresh in the memory. The death and buriall were the natural sequence to the life. True goodness and true greatness are honoured by men of every opinion and by men of every rank.
Some estimates of the work of Bishop Lightfoot which were uttered under the influence of strong feeling immediately after death, contained perhaps some expressions and some comparisons which history will not justify. We are writing from the vantage-ground of three years' distance, and with access to many papers and references which have been kindly placed at our disposal, and have endeavoured at every point to follow in the spirit of the inscription which has formed our motto: Quails fuerit . . . testantur of era. For this reason we have largely quoted the Bishop's own words, and if we try to express our own estimate of his work we shall still have recourse to words which he used of another, and which with little change may be as truly said of himself:--
"But after making all allowance for the fond partiality of a recent regret, we may fairly say that as a Bishop of Durham he stands out preeminent in the long list of twelve centuries; as a man of letters, greatest of all save De Bury; as a restorer of the fabric and order of churches, greatest of all save Cosin; as a profound thinker, greatest of all save Butler; as a munificent and patriotic ruler, greatest of all save Barrington; but as uniting in himself many and varied qualifications which combined go far towards realizing the ideal head of a religious and learned foundation, the just representative of a famous academic body, greater than these or any of his predecessors. Vast and varied mental powers, untiring energy and extensive knowledge, integrity of character and strictness of example, a wide and generous munificence, a keen interest in the progress of the Church and the University, an intense devotion to his own Diocese, a strong sense of duty, a true largeness of heart, a simple Christian faith; the union of these qualities fairly entitles him to the foremost place among the Bishops of Durham."
It is natural that men should have attempted not only to portray this great life, but to analyse it; and the Church and the nation would owe a deep debt of gratitude to the writer who could show us how in any degree other men can learn the principles, of which the life and character of Joseph Barber Lightfoot were the product. Two statements among the many which lie before us are of special value in themselves, and derive a special interest from the widely-different sources from which they come.
Canon Westcott, preaching in Westminster Abbey two days after the funeral, said:--
Lord Durham, speaking on two occasions separated by three years, said:--
It seems to be certain that the two great secrets of the Bishop's power are here--strength and sympathy. And yet they were veiled in a modesty which men thought amounted to shyness. They were held in reserve; they were ready for fullest use whenever occasion demanded. But his very sympathy was strong, and he could not understand some forms of weakness. One of his early pupils has told us " . . . he was kindness itself. ... I once offended him ... by telling him, when I got my Fellowship that he might have saved me many gloomy misgivings as an Undergraduate, if the Cambridge system had dealt a little more freely in words of encouragement." One of his clergy, whom he had placed in several difficult posts, said to another after some years of service, " It would remove a burden from my mind if I felt sure that my work was being done as he wished it, but he has never said to me a single word of encouragement." The second replied, "I have had a larger experience, but I should never look for such words from him. He expects strong men to do their work, and would as soon think of encouraging such men as of seeking encouragement in words for himself. They must do all and bear all in the light of the Divine Presence, as he himself does." And yet this second speaker received from the Bishop, not long before his death, a note which contained the following words: " I have never ceased to be thankful for the inspiration which led me to invite you to assist me in the work of the Diocese. May God give you every blessing."
Strength and sympathy! But the secret principle lies deeper still; and here again the Bishop's own words must guide us. The text of his enthronement sermon was "And they shall see His face," and we have already quoted words which tell the secret of which we are in quest. The prayer which from the first he asked his Diocese to offer for him was--
"That the Eternal Presence, thus haunting him night and day, may rebuke, may deter, may guide, may strengthen, may comfort, may illumine, may consecrate and subdue the feeble and wayward impulses of his own heart to God's holy will and purpose!"
The "consciousness of an Eternal Presence"--that was the principle of his life. That made him strong; that made him sympathetic; that gave him absolute singleness of aim and simplicity of life; that filled him with a buoyant optimism which expressed itself in constant joyousness; that was the source of an almost unparalleled generosity which in life gave to God and the Church every gift which God gave him, and at death made his chaplains his executors, and his Diocese his residuary legatee; that was the strength which nerved the mind to think and the hand to write in the solitary room before the hard day of public life began and after it ended; that was the wondrous power of personality which made itself felt in Cambridge, in London, in Durham, by men of every degree. He was ever conscious of the Eternal Presence. He ever went to men from God, and the human presence was illumined by the Divine.
Did boys at school wonder that Light-foot never spoke an ignoble word, or did an ignoble deed? The secret finds its explanation in the spirit which led him and a younger schoolfellow, afterwards not less eminent than himself, to arrange a form of prayer for the hours of the day for their common use. Did men marvel at the influence of the young Fellow and Tutor of Trinity? They would have marvelled less had they known that his life was strengthened by the following among other prayers:--
Or if they had known that in the pressure of that busy life he found time to write to schoolboys such words as these:--
Did peers and pitmen, rich and poor, old and young, in the Diocese of Durham feel that a strange influence of sympathy and strength had come among them and had touched their hearts? Had they followed the great Bishop of Durham to his inner chamber they would have found him resting, for the too few hours he gave to sleep, on a simple iron bedstead which the pitman would have spurned; and they would have seen hanging close by the side of it a simple German engraving of Albert Dόrer's Crucifixion, with the legend "ES IST VOLLBRACHT."
Among the last words which the Bishop addressed to the public from the very brink of the grave were these: --
The first words of the Will and Testament by which he spoke from beyond the grave, were these:--
Such were the principles of this great life--Qualis fuerit .... testantur opera; qualis fuerit testantur ....
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
Imagine becoming the best Hebrew scholar in your nation without once speaking to a Jew. That is what John Lightfoot did. He may never even have seen a Jew, for they were barred from England until late in his life.
John Lightfoot was born on this day, March 29, 1602 in an England which was only just regaining the knowledge of Hebrew. Four hundred years before, King Edward I had kicked the Jews out of his nation. Many left manuscripts behind, which allowed scholars such as Roger Bacon to understand the ancient tongue. However, Hebrew studies were frowned upon by the church. Bacon himself was accused of using Hebrew to communicate with the devil.
Even as a youngster, John proved to be a natural-born scholar, especially good with Greek and Latin. However, he had only the minimum acquaintance with Hebrew. That changed after the twenty-year-old became a Church of England curate (a minister in charge of a parish) in Shropshire, England.
One man who came every week to hear him preach was Sir Rowland Cotton. It happened that Sir Rowland had a good knowledge of Hebrew. He challenged John to learn it, saying that he could not really understand the Old Testament without understanding the language that it was written in. John felt embarrassed that a layman had more Bible knowledge than himself, a minister.
Helped by Sir Rowland, he quickly mastered the basics of Hebrew. Through incessant, diligent study, he surpassed his teacher and eventually became the greatest Hebrew scholar in all of England.
Studying Jewish writings, he showed from rabbinic teachings that Jesus was clearly identifiable as the Messiah. "Even the Lord's prayer is derived from expressions that had long been familiar in the schools and synagogues of Judea." His book Horae Hebraicae explained the New testament in light of knowledge he had gleaned from the writings of rabbis. Many later commentators consulted it. John was also prominent in the formulation of the Westminster Confession of Faith.
John never forgot the debt he owed Sir Rowland. "He laid such doubled and redoubled obligations upon me by the tender affection, respect and favor, that he showed towards me, as have left so indelible an impression on my heart, of honor to his name and observance to his house of Bellaport, that length of time may not wear it out nor distance of place ever cause me to forget it."
He died in 1675, leaving behind a body of work which filled nineteen volumes.
What do YOU think ?
Proves again that natural intelligence differs markedly from spiritual intelligence. Lightfoot failed to see that, unlike God's OT judgments where judgment and destruction were simultaneous (as in the flood and the Red Sea), his first-century judgments (first of Israel and later of the world) were SPIRITUAL and were separated from subsequent natural destruction by an intervening period of GRACE. Thus, the spiritual judgment of Christ-rejecting Israel occurred in the moment of Christ's resurrection in the spring of AD 30 and the nation's natural destruction occurred in autumn of AD 70, after 40 years of GRACE. The major theme of Revelation is the spiritual judgment of the Christ-rejecting world that occurred in the moment of the resurrection of the dead in Christ at his parousia at the end of the first century and that was followed by this present, symbolically described "thousand years" of GRACE.
Date: 01 Nov 2005
Date: 20 Feb 2013
Email PreteristArchive.com's Sole Developer and Curator, Todd Dennis
(todd @ preteristarchive.com)
Opened in 1996