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when, as his strength increased, he was induced to take an active part in the political discussions on the Roman Catholic question. Firmly convinced that his duty as a Christian bishop obliged him to oppose the measures then in agitation, he devoted his time and his pen to the exposure of the dangers which such changes threatened. The exertion was too much for his feeble frame; and, in the ensuing summer, a second paralytic attack put an end to every hope of permanent recovery. While the body was thus crippled, the mind remained in all its vigour, in full possession of
Whate'er of mental grace,
had adorned it in his days of health. The Bishop pursued his studies of the sacred Scriptures; read with avidity the literary productions of the day; gave assistance to several authors in their theological publications, which has been acknowledged with the gratitude it deserved ; and prepared for publication one of his earlier works, which appeared under the title of “ Practical Theology.” He edited Dr. Townson's “ Discourses,” and Dr. Phelan's “ Works,” to which are prefixed memoirs of the authors; also Bishop Burnet's “ Lives," and a selection of practical tracts, under the title of “ Piety without Asceticism.” The energies of the mind never seem to have sunk for a moment under bodily suffering ; to use a quotation applied on another occasion by the Bishop himself, “ Nunquam fuit ex toto otiosus, sed aut legens aut scribens aut orans, aut meditans aut aliquid utilitatis pro communi laborans.” His religion, indeed, was such as became a Christian prelate -- it was unobtrusive, but influencing the whole man ; it was to be witnessed in private, not forced upon the public notice; it was truly piety without asceticism, devotion without superstition, seriousness without hypocrisy. During six years of disease and suffering, no expression of impatience, no murmur of discontent, escaped his lips: it was his heavenly Father's will, and he submitted.
At length the earthly tabernacle mouldered away; exhausted nature gradually sunk to rest. His death took place on the 7th of December, 1833, at East Hill, Wandsworth; in the 59th year of his age. The words of Doane's Requiem over Bishop Ravenscroft may well be applied to his kindred spirit:
The wise old man is gone!,
His honoured head lies low,
And his voice's manly flow;
Is still and soulless now.
The brave old man is gone!
With his armour on he fell :
When his spirit fled to tell;
Had no power his heart to quell.
The good old man is gone!
He is gone to his saintly rest,
And no trouble can molest;
And the dead in the Lord are blest.
Although Bishop Jebb's original works are not numerous, they are all of sterling merit. The great charm of his sermons is the spirit of love breathing in every line; he remonstrates as a father with an erring child — he advises as a brother to a brother he reasons as a friend with a friend. His “ Essay on Sacred Literature” is his most finished and valuable performance; it is one of the finest specimens of sacred criticism in our language. The discovery of a metrical structure in the hymns and discourses preserved by the Evangelists at once affords a key to the interpretation of difficult passages, and establishes their genuineness beyond all question. The learning displayed in the work will remind the reader of Usher, Hooker, and Taylor; nor does the resemblance stop there : in the rare union of rich fancy with simplicity of
language, Jebb attained as high an eminence as those ancient worthies.
The following verses by Bishop Jebb were sent to Mary Viscountess Bernard (now Countess of Bandon), on her marriage, March 13th, 1809, with a copy of Cowper's poems:
Such joys be thine - be his; and still,
In heart united as in hands,
The glorious task your place demands.
Lights of this world, may each dispense
New lustre through your ample sphere,
To shine through heaven's eternal year.
The Bishop was never married.
For nearly the whole of the materials of the foregoing little memoir we are indebted to the “ Athenæum ” and the “ Dublin Christian Examiner.” The following character of this excellent man is from “ The British Magazine: ” —
“ The death of the Bishop of Limerick cannot be passed over in silence; yet nothing can be said which will do justice to him, or to the feelings of those who knew and loved him. The lofty, uncompromising, unswerving integrity which never trifled with principle in the veriest trifle, the noble contempt of every rule but the rule of right, the generous disdain of every thing like meanness in the guise of prudence, the free expenditure of money (looked on only as a means of doing good) on every thing which became a man, a gentleman, and a Christian bishop, the holiness of the life, the affectionate kindness of the heart, its warm, earnest, true piety, its thorough devotion to the cause of Christ's church, who can tell these things as they ought to be told ? These, however, were things that belonged to his whole life. Graces of another character adorned that part of it which might seem
a common observer to be clouded and melancholy. Happy, indeed, may they account themselves who had the privilege of seeing how such a Christian can suffer. For four or five years, under a paralytic affection, so severe as to deprive him nearly of the use of one side, no one approached him who did not find him, not uncomplaining and patient merely, but cheerful, industrious, active for himself and others, never without a pen or a book in his hand, and so speaking that you might fancy that the confinement and the employments to
which his affliction condemned him were the natural and happy choice of his own free will. Who besides him, under such affliction, would have taught himself not only to write in the most exquisite and beautiful manner with the left hand, but to publish several volumes of his own, expressly for the service of the Gospel ; and, never slow at the call of friendship or distress, to correct the manuscripts of friends, and to write the memoirs and publish the works of a deceased friend for the benefit of his family ? It was a picture so peculiar, so beautiful, so impressive, that none who had the happiness of conversing with him for the last three or four years will ever lose their remembrance of it, or their admiration and wonder at the man. For him none can mourn. The righteous is taken from present evil, and from evil to come. His whole life had been a preparation for eternity. Happy is he that the struggle is over, and the warfare accomplished; the body released from suffering, and the patient, holy, heavenly spirit in that haven where it would be.”
At a meeting held at the palace, Limerick, on the 5th day of July, 1834, for the purpose of considering the best means of perpetuating the memory of the late Bishop Jebb, the Hon. and Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Limerick having been called to the chair, the following resolutions were agreed to:
“ RESOLVED, That it is the wish of many persons, resident within the united diocese of Limerick, Ardfert, and Aghadoe, to mark, by some public and lasting memorial, their respect for the late lamented Bishop Jebb, who, by his learning, piety, and virtues, conferred lasting benefits not merely on this portion of the realm, but on the universal church of Christ.
“ Resolved, — That a committee be now appointed, with liberty to add to their number, whose duty it shall be to promote the erection of a monumental statue of the late Bishop, in the cathedral of Limerick, by inviting the co-operation of all the friends of religion and literature throughout the United Kingdom.”