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writers in a popular, and at the same time exact form, is still wanting in England, and would, we believe, by Dean Alford's commentary have been supplied.
The sad reflection forced upon us by the thought of these interrupted labours, and of the long future that seemed still open to the lamented writer, leads us to another characteristic which marked his career. He was a “scholar” in the sense of constantly learning. Few ecclesiastical writers of our time have gone more steadily forward in a wider appreciation of Christian truth ; and few high dignitaries had obtained a clearer view of the duty of placing the Church on a truly national basis. His relations to the Nonconformists were such as would have led as much as any other single cause to the mitigation of the “watchful jealousy” with which so many even of the best members of the Nonconformist Churches have of late years regarded the Church of which Dean Alford was unquestionably a faithful representative, at once by his tolerance and his culture. It is by such an attitude as that which he took up towards these estranged brethren, far more than by idle predictions of the imminent danger of “disestablishment,” that we look, on the one hand, for the preservation of the Church of England amongst us, and, on the other hand, for the sweetening of those streams of bitterness which unfortunately poison our religious life even now, but which the disintegration of the Established Church would unquestionably aggravate and swell. The gathering of distinguished Nonconformist ministers round his grave, and the genuine expressions of sympathy that his death has called forth, are cheering pledges that his kindly relations to them were fully appreciated, and will bear a lasting fruit.
One of the latest projects of his life was one which singularly united his ecclesiastical predilections and his Biblical studies. It may truly be said that to him, more than to any one man, may be traced the scheme for the Revision of the Authorized Version of the Scriptures. He advocated it whilst it was still deemed rash and premature. He pressed it forward the moment that others had taken it up. He gave himself to it with all his energy when its necessity was recognised. He was, perhaps of all the members of the Company for the Revision of the New Testament translation, the one who could least be spared. There was no one in that Company who had more thoroughly explored the whole subject in its different aspects; and though he never presumed on his superior knowledge, and was always ready to receive suggestions from those of his colleagues who were less instructed, there was none who was so sure of having brought to the consideration of each text the learning that was most essential in any particular case. And, looking at the project in its wider range, as the meeting-point of the various sections of English Christians, no
one rejoiced more heartily than he did in the co-operation which it necessarily involved with the various ministers of the Presbyterian and Nonconformist Churches. No one defended and justified this co-operation more unequivocally in Convocation, and no one more enthusiastically approved (as appeared in the pages of this journal) the gathering together of the different representatives of all the Churches around the grave of Edward VI. in Westminster Abbey, to inaugurate their labours by the one ordinance common to them all.
It would be taking an inadequate view of Dean Alford's literary career, were we to omit that sphere with which it began—his poetry. It may
be that there will not be many of his poems, graceful as they are, which will live beyond the present age, yet it is no light service to have contributed at least one hymn which has almost become the Baptismal canticle of the English Church.
“In token that thou shalt not fear
Christ crucified to own,
And stamp thee His alone.
To glory in His name,
His glory and His shame.
Christ's quarrel to maintain,
Firm at thy post remain;
The path He travelled by,
And sit thee down on high;
We seal thee for His own;
Hereafter share His crown.” And it was but a just tribute to his poetic fire that when he was buried amidst the mourning of the whole population of Canterbury, two hymns were selected from his volume, not unworthy of the stately pile in which his obsequies were celebrated, or of the sacred hill of St. Martin's Churchyard, whence from beneath the venerable yew tree his grave looks out on that historic prospect which he knew so well.
With one poem, too, we would fain conclude, which rises beyond a mere hymn, into a fine expression of that noble independent spirit, needed with the most crying need for all ecclesiastics, for all religious men, and truly expressing the direction in which, amidst whatever stumbles and failures, his own face was steadily set.
Speak thou the truth. Let others fence,
And trim their words for pay :
Let others bask their day.
Guard thou the fact: though clouds of night
Down on thy watch-tower stoop:
Borne from thee by their swoop.
In shelter to abide :
The safe must first be tried.
Cry not, “The way is plain :"
Is paved with toil and pain.
Into thy spirit burned,
And by thine interest turned.
Set not thy bushel down :
O’er hamlet, tower, and town.
Who creeps to age from youth,
Because he fears the truth.
And as thy thought, thy speech :
Presume thou not to teach.
Hold on, hold on-thou hast the rock,
The foes are on the sand :
Scatters their shifting strand :
We now see darkly through,
The true, in Him that's True.
A. P. STANLEY.
the following lines attempts to express his own sense of what the Church has lost in losing him so suddenly, when it might have seemed that many years of even riper usefulness were before him.
Henry Alford, born October 7th, 1810, was the eldest son of the late Rev. Henry Alford, a member of a family long settled and owning property at Curry-Rivell, in Somersetshire. His father was a man of highly cultivated mind and considerable ability, formerly Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford. He for some time practised under and at the Bar, and was beginning to be known as a good
lawyer, when a great sorrow changed the whole tenor of his life. He had married in 1809 Sarah Eliza, daughter of Mr. Paget, a banker at Tamworth, and sister of the late Rev. T. B. Paget, formerly curate of St. Martin's, Leicester, and in later life successively minister of Long Acre Chapel, and Vicar of Evington, Leicestershire. His wife died in February, 1811, shortly after the birth of her only child, the late Dean. The widower soon afterward withdrew from the Bar, and was ordained Deacon at Quebec Chapel, London, on Trinity Sunday, 1813. After holding several curacies, he was presented, in 1826, by his friend Lord Calthorpe, to the living of Ampton, in Suffolk. In 1836 he was appointed by Mrs. Barber to the vicarage of Aston Sandford, Bucks, once the home of Scott, the venerable commentator. This Mr. Alford held until 1849, when he finally ceased to have any ministerial charge. He had married a second time, in 1831, and in 1837 became the father of a second son, the Rev. Bradley H. Alford, M.A., now Vicar of Holy Trinity, Hoxton, London.
Henry Alford the younger grew up without knowing a mother's love; but his father's gentlejand affectionate care did what could be done to make the want unfelt. He was educated at first by his father; and when in due time he was sent to school, his father wrote constantly to him, and in his holidaysjtreated him always as a friend and trusted companion, read with him, carefully formed his mind and habits of judgment, and was loved by him as devotedly as ever son loved a father. The last school to which Henry was sent was the Grammar School at Ilminster, where his father was then living. In 1827 he became a private pupil of the late Rev. John Bickersteth, at Acton, in Suffolk, and in October, 1828, commenced his residence as a freshman at Trinity College, Cambridge.
There his varied gifts began to shew themselves. His "year" at Trinity was an unusually able one; but in the severe examination in the following May he gained (it was understood) the second place in the first class. In April, 1829, he gained a scholarship at Trinity, and in March, 1831, one of the Bell's University Scholarships, accidentally rendered vacant. In May, 1831, he gained one of the undergraduates' “Member's Prizes,” for a Latin essay; the other being gained by his friend Dr. Thompson, now Master of Trinity College. And in January, 1832, he graduated with the double honours of 34th wrangler and 8th in the first class of the Classical Tripos. His honours were crowned in October, 1834, by his election to a Fellowship at Trinity College, in company with Professor Lushington and Dr. Thompson.
Throughout his course at Cambridge many of the same qualities which marked his after-life were conspicuous: simplicity and purity of character; affection both warm and lasting; quick sensibility; unusual powers of acquiring and reproducing knowledge; much freshness of thought, combined with singular felicity of expression whether in
speech or in writing; not a little of that undefinable something which distinguishes the man of genius from the merely clever or able man. His versatility was wonderful. Outdone by many of his competitors in each department, he could do more things very well than any of them, and succeeded accordingly. His father's early care and prayers had not been in vain. His inner life was always that of a truly religious man, and his outer life morally blameless.
While an undergraduate, in 1831, he had published a small volume of detached poems, some of which gave great promise. He and his friends (among whom Alfred Tennyson, Arthur Hallam, and R. C. Trench must be mentioned) were devoted admirers of the poetry (not yet fashionable) of Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, and Coleridge, and eager readers of our great dramatists of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In 1835, he published two small volumes under the title of “The School of the Heart, and other Poems," including those which had been printed in the earlier volume. These became favourably known in England and America. The larger and more elaborate poem, which gave a title to the volumes, was defective as a work of art, but full of tender thought and feeling and fresh imagery. One or two of the shorter poems rose to a far higher level. The "Ode to the Sea" has always seemed to me one of the finest lyric poems in our language. The third edition of his poems, published in 1845, contained a considerable number of original hymns, adapted to the course of the Church year, with short poems drawn forth by the events of his own family life. After that year he wrote little verse, and that little less successfully. As he told the writer of these lines, who had asked him in 1862 to write a hymn on a subject on which he thought one greatly wanted, "the Greek Testament had long ago killed Pegasus.” The real work of his life lay wholly in another direction.
At the end of the long vacation of 1833 he rather surprised his friends by leaving Cambridge, seeking ordination, and settling on his father's curacy at Ampton. He was ordained at Exeter (by letters dimissory from the Bishop of Norwich) in the autumn of 1833. Twice during that autumn and the following winter I stayed with him in the little parsonage on the edge of Lord Calthorpe's beautiful place. I have the most delightful remembrance of rambles with him by the lake and through the woods, vocal in the depth of a mild winter with innumerable rooks. He was throwing all his heart and mind into his new ministerial duties, his sermons, and his pastoral intercourse with the simple villagers, in which already he seemed to find a happiness more congenial to his true self than the restless intellectual activity of the circle in which he had lived at Cambridge. But he was as diligent in study as ever. He was thinking and feeling much on the political and religious questions of the day. He was taking pupils, tooyoung men preparing for college, a work which occupied a large share of his time from thenceforth to the year 1849, when he gave it up finally