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soon rendered it impossible for him to take that active part in the affairs of his diocese, which otherwise he was perfectly well disposed, and perfectly well qualified to take. Yet under all these disadvantages he found means to exert himself effectually in one remarkable instance, and to render himself most eminently useful, not only to his own diocese, but to the whole church of England, and to religion at large. I mean, the noble stand he made against the validity and legality of general bonds of resignation. By his perseverance and firmness in combating the received doctrine respecting these bonds, he finally annihilated them; and thus rescued the clergy and the church of England from that oppression, and that disgrace in which they had so frequently been involved by those shameful and collusive contracts between the patron and the incumbent.
It is with difficulty I restrain myself from entering more minutely into the various excellencies of this distinguished prelate, with whose friendship I was honoured, and whose memory I shall always reverence ; but I must
not detain you any longer from the business in which we are all more immediately interested.
Now the first thing that presents itself in your answers to the queries is that most important article on which my thoughts have long been anxiously engaged, and which indeed must be the foundation of
ministerial duty, the article of residence.
It is with singular pleasure I observe that there are in this diocese
parochial clergymen, who reside constantly on their benefices; who enter with zeal and ardour into all the various duties of their profession, and give up their whole time and thoughts to the instruction, the edification, and the salvation of their respective flocks. Most honourable is it for them, and most happy for their people, when this is the case. But this, alas! is not always the case! There is much too large a proportion (especially in some districts), who live. at a distance from their cures, and whose parishioners must of course be deprived of those various and important benefits which result, and which can only result from the personal care and constant attention
of the principal himself. To lessen this evil as much as possible is an object of such unspeakable magnitude and importance, and will so materially contribute to the credit of our order, to the success of our labours, to the advancement of religion, and the welfare of the community, that I cannot allow myself to doubt your readiness to assist me in removing every difficulty and
obstacle to the attainment of an end which it is our common interest, and our common duty, to promote.
There are indeed two impediments to constant residence which cannot easily be surmounted; the first is (what unfortunately prevails in some parts of this diocese) unwholesomeness of situation; the other is the possession of a second benefice. Yet even these will not always justify a total and perpetual absence from your cures. The unhealthiness of many places is of late years, by various improvements, greatly abated, and there are now few so circumstanced as not to admit of residence there in some parts of the year, without any danger to the constitution. .
In the case of two benefices, where the livings are held by dispensation, the very
strument of dispensation requires that the incumbent shall, on that benefice from which he is most absent, preach thirteen sermons in the year, and exercise hospitality for two months. But though that instrument requires no more than this, yet where it can be done with any convenience, it will be highly useful for the incumbent to divide his time equally between his two benefices; or rather to distribute it in such proportions as the size and magnitude and importance of each seems to de mand. It was on this ground, I apprehend, that dispensations to hold two benefices were originally granted. They were granted as rewards to men of extraordinary talents, learning and piety; and it was presumed that clergymen of this description might, by dividing their care between two parishes, render their abilities, their zeal, their activity, more extensively useful, than if they had been confined entirely to one.
Whoever then possesses this privilege, will feel himself bound in conscience to act up to the spirit and the conditions of it. He will, if possible, reside alternately on both his be nefices. But if there should be any real and
unavoidable impediment to this, he will at least fix his abode constantly on one, and will most clearly see that an entire desertion of both his benefices is a violation of duty which nothing can justify, and which cannot be endured.
But the greater part consists of those who have only one benefice; and as there is then no other to draw off the incumbent's attention from that one object, it is evident that nothing but extreme ill health, or some other equally just and powerful impediment, can excuse him from that residence which is required by the laws of the land both civil and ecclesiastical, as well as by every motive that can bind the conscience, or influence the conduct of an honest man.
These motives will, if I augur right, have their full force on minds such as yours, and will lead you even to anticipate my wishes in this instance. You will yourselves feel much more forcibly than I can represent to you, the propriety, the decency, the duty of living in the midst of your parishioners, and of making that your principal home, where the scene of your principal business lies; and you will not, I' persuade myself, allow your