Occasional Papers eBook

Richard William Church
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 447 pages of information about Occasional Papers.
the different kinds and the soils which suited them; especially he was greatly pleased with his horse.  There comes a slight dip in the smooth turf; the horse stumbles and recovers himself unhurt; but in that short interval of time all has vanished, all things earthly, from that quick eye and that sensitive and sympathetic mind.  It is indeed tragic.  He is said to have thought with distress of a lingering end.  He was spared it.  He died as a soldier dies.

A shock like this brings with it also a shock of new knowledge and appreciation of things.  We are made to feel with a new force what it is that we have lost, and to understand more exactly what is the proportion of what we have lost to what we still retain.  To friends and opponents the Bishop of Winchester could not but be, under any circumstances, a person of the greatest importance.  But few of us, probably, measured fully and accurately the place which he filled among us.  We are better aware of it now when he has been taken away from us.  Living among us, and acting before us from day to day, the object of each day’s observation and criticism, under each day’s varying circumstances and feelings, within our reach always if we wanted to see him or to hear him, he was presented to our thoughts in that partial disclosure, and that everyday homeliness, which as often disguise the true and complete significance of a character, as they give substance and reality to our conceptions of it.  As the man’s course moves on, we are apt to lose in our successive judgments of the separate steps of it—­it may be stops of great immediate interest—­our sense of its connection and tendency, of the true measure of it as a whole, of the degree in which character is growing and rising, or, on the other hand, falling or standing still.  The Bishop of Winchester had many admirers—­many who deeply loved and trusted him—­many who, in the face of a good deal of suspicion and hostile comment, stoutly insisted on the high estimate which they had formed of him.  But even among them, and certainly in the more indifferent public, there were few who had rightly made it clear to their own minds what he had really grown to be both in the Church and the country.

For it is obvious, at the first glance now that he is gone, that there is no one who can fill the place which he filled.  It seems to us beyond dispute that he has been the greatest Bishop the English Church has seen for a century and a half.  We do not say the greatest man, but the greatest Bishop; the one among the leaders of the English Church who most adequately understood the relations of his office, not only to the Church, but to his times and his country, and who most adequately fulfilled his own conception of them.  We are very far from saying this because of his exuberant outfit of powers and gifts; because of his versatility, his sympathetic nature, his eager interest in all that interested his fellows, his inexhaustible and ready resources of thought and speech, of strong

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Occasional Papers from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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