페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

He sued for mercy all in vain,

For pity loud appeal'd;

No favour may the wretch obtain—
His fate on earth is seal'd.

"Yet, rajah, hear," at last he cries,
"And to my tale incline;
A wondrous treasure, fitting prize
For kings to win, is mine.

"Transcendent in its virtue rare
This little twig behold;

If planted right, 'twill sprout, and bear
A crop of purest gold.

"Now be it thine, dread potentate,
Its wondrous work to prove;
And let that proof avert my fate,
And these my chains remove."

The rajah grasps it in delight,

Thus offer'd to his hand;

Nor less o'erjoy'd the pardon'd wight Unchain'd before him stands.

[ocr errors]

Now, rajah, be the secret known

Of this gold-bearing tree:

'Tis by an honest man alone

The twig must planted be.

"None other need the trouble take; "Twere labour all in vain ;

A laughing-stock of such 'twould make,
Without a hope of gain."

The rajah's thoughts on worldly pelf
And gold unbounded ran,
Yet something bade him ask himself,
"Am I an honest man?

"And can I plant this precious root,
And hope to see it grow,
Yielding its store of golden fruit?"

Stern conscience answered, No.

He turned him to his prime vizier :
""Tis thine to plant the tree;
An honest man, of conscience clear,
I've still considered thee."

The vizier winced: "Great sir," he cried,
""Tis honour all too high;
The mufti here, the church's guide,
Deserves it more than I."

The mufti cried, "Forbear, forbear" (For he too felt compunction);

"To meddle in a state affair

Ill suits my sacred function.

"The captain of your royal guard Has higher claims by far."

The captain begg'd he might be spar'd:
His business lay in war.

From peer to peer the honour sped,
Each had his different views;
And one and all, in modest dread,
The honour did refuse.

Each courtier from the rajah's call
Confus'dly slunk away;

And thus it chanced among them all
The twig unplanted lay.

The wily rogue enjoy'd the sport,

As round the titter ran:

"What, cannot all my sovereign's court Produce one honest man?

[blocks in formation]

"GOOD night, good night," the Christian cried. When, on her couch of death,

She bless'd her friends that stood beside,
And, sorrowing, watch'd life's ebbing tide
With latest, prayerful breath.

"Good night, good night." The plaintive tone Fell sadly on the ear

Of those whose hearts felt low and lone,
As, gazing on their dying one,

They knew her summons near.

"Good night, good night," she softly said,
And on her pillow prest,

With gentle sigh, her placid head;
When, lo, the immortal spirit fled,
To mingle with the blest.

And thus from earth she pass'd away,
Unstruggling, painlessly,

To wing, with seraph-guides, her way
To realms of everlasting day,

Jehovah's face to see.

"Good night, good night."

Thy last adieu

Shall oft to memory rise; Our thoughts shall oft the theme pursue, And pensively the scene review,

That fill'd our tearful eyes.

And with such thoughts a hallowed spell
Will o'er our spirit steal;

And whispering angels seem to tell
Of heaven's high glories, and "the well
Of life" to us reveal.

And we shall seem awhile to be

Set free from earthly leaven,

To share, with ransomed souls and thee,
The splendours of eternity,
And blessedness of heaven.
Martin Rectory.

J. B. S.

London: Published for the Proprietors, by JOHN HUGHES, 12, Ave-Maria Lane, St. Paul's; and to be procured, by order, of all Booksellers in Town and Country.

PRINTED BY ROGERSON AND TUXFORD, 246, STRAND, LONDON,

[merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small]

DEATHS OF EMINENT CHRISTIANS.

No. XXI.

REV. GEORGE HERBERT*.

(Died 1632).

He was rector of Bemerton, near Salisbury, author of "The Temple," &c., and a divine emi

nent for his ardent devotion.

About a month before his death, his friend, Mr. Farrert, hearing of Mr. Herbert's sickness, sent the rev. Edward Duncon, rector of Friern given by Izaak Walton of this meeting, at which Barnet, to see him. An interesting account is Mr. Duncon prayed with him. The next morning Mr. Duncon left him, and took a journey to Bath, but with a promise to return back to him within five days.

According to his promise, he returned the fifth day, and then found Mr. Herbert much weaker than be left him, and therefore their discourse could not be long; but at Mr. Duncon's parting

From "Last Hours of Christian Men; or an Account of the Deaths of some eminent Members of the Church of England;" by the rev. H. Clissold, M.A. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

†This Mr. Farrer is the Mr. Nicholas Ferrar, the memo. rial of whom, by Dr. Peekard, succeeds the present narrative.

No. 943.

with him Mr. Herbert spoke to this purpose: "Sir, I pray, give my brother Farrer an account of the decaying condition of my body, and tell him I beg him to continue his daily prayers for me; and let him know that I have considered that God only is what he would be, and that I am, by his grace, become so like him as to be pleased with what pleaseth him; and tell him that I do not repine but am pleased with my want of health; and tell him my heart is fixed and that I long to be there, and do wait for my on that place where true joy is only to be found; appointed change with hope and patience." and with a thoughtful and contented look say to Having said this, he did, with so sweet a humility as seemed to exalt him, bow down to Mr. Duncon, him, "Sir, I pray, deliver this little book to my dear brother Farrer, and tell him he shall find in it a picture of the many spiritual conflicts that have passed between God and my soul, before I could subject mine to the will of Jesus my Master, in whose service I have found perfect freedom: desire him to read it; and then, if he can think it may turn to the advantage of any dejected poor soul, let it be made public; if not, let him burn it; for I and it are less than the least of God's mercies."

Thus meanly did this humble man think of this excellent book, which now bears the name of

[ocr errors][merged small]

"The Temple, or Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations," of which Mr. Farrer would say, "There was in it the picture of a divine soul in every page; and that the whole book was such a harmony of holy passions as would enrich the world with pleasure and piety." And it appears to have done so; for there have been more than 20,000 copies of them sold since the first impression. At the time of Mr. Duncon's leaving Mr. Herbert (which was about three months before his death), his old and dear friend, Mr. Woodnot, came from London to Bemerton, and never left him till he had seen him draw his last breath, and closed his eyes on his deathbed. In this time of his decay he was often visited and prayed for by all the clergy that lived near him, especially by his friends the bishop and prebendaries of the cathedral church in Salisbury, but by none more devoutly than his wife, his three nieces (then a part of his family), and Mr. Woodnot, who were the sad witnesses of his daily decay, to whom he would often speak to this purpose: "I now look back upon the pleasures of my life past, and see that the content I have taken in beauty, in wit, in music, and in pleasant conversation, are now all past by me like a dream, or as a shadow that returns not, and are now all become dead to me, or I to them; and I see that, as my father and generation hath done before me, so I also shall now suddenly, with Job, make my bed also in the dark and I praise God I am prepared for it; and I praise him that I am not to learn patience now I stand in such need of it, and that I have practised mortification, and endeavoured to die daily, that I might not die eternally; and my hope is, that I shall shortly leave this valley of tears, and be free from all fevers and pain, and, which will be a more happy condition, I shall be free from sin, and all the temptations and auxieties that attend it: and, this being past, I shall dwell in the new Jerusalem, dwell there with men made perfect, dwell where these eyes shall see my Master and Saviour Jesus, and with him see my dear mother, and all my relations and friends. But I must die, or not come to that happy place: and this is my content, that I am going daily towards it, and that every day which I have lived hath taken a part of my appointed time from me, and that I shall live the less time for having lived this and the day past." These and the like expressions, which he uttered often, may be said to be his enjoyment of heaven before he enjoyed it. The Sunday before his death he rose suddenly from his bed or couch, called for one of his instruments, took it into his hand, and said,

"My God, my God!

My music shall find thee,

And every string

Shall have his attribute to sing."

And, having tuned it, he played and sung

"The Sundays of man's life,

Threaded together on Time's string,
Make bracelets, to adorn the wife

Of the eternal glorious King:

On Sundays heaven's door stands ope;
Blessings are plentiful and rife,
More plentiful than hope."

Thus he sang on earth such hymns and anthems as the angels, and he and Mr. Farrer, now sing in heaven. Thus he continued meditating, and

praying, and rejoicing, till the day of his death and on that day he said to Mr. Woodnot, "My dear friend, I am sorry I have nothing to present to my merciful God but sin and misery; but the first is pardoned, and a few hours will now put a period to the latter; for I shall suddenly go hence, and be no more seen;" upon which expression Mr. Woodnot took occasion to remember him of the re-edifying (rebuilding) Layton church, and his many acts of mercy, to which he made answer, saying, "They be good works if they be sprinkled with the blood of Christ, and not otherwise."

After this discourse he became more restless, and his soul seemed to be weary of her earthly tabernacle: and this uneasiness became so visible, that his wife, his three nieces, and Mr. Woodnot, stood constantly about his bed, beholding him with sorrow, and an unwillingness to lose the sight of him whom they could not hope to see much longer. As they stood thus beholding him, his wife observed him to breathe faintly, and with much trouble, and observed him to fall into a sudden agony, which so surprised her that she fell into a sudden emotion, and required of him to know "how he did"? to which his answer was, "That he had passed a conflict with his last enemy, and had overcome him by the merits of his Master, Jesus;" after which answer he looked up, and saw his wife and nieces weeping to an extremity, and charged them, "If they loved him, to withdraw into the next room, and there pray every one alone for him; for nothing but their lamentations could make his death uncom fortable," to which request their sighs and tears would not suffer them to make any reply; but they yielded him sad obedience, leaving only with him Mr. Woodnot and Mr. Bostock.

Mr. Bostock, "Pray, sir, open that door; then Immediately after they had left him, he said to look into that cabinet, in which you may easily find my last will; and give it into my hand;" which being done, Mr. Herbert delivered it into the hand of Mr. Woodnot, and said, "My old friend, I here deliver you my last will, in which you will find that I have made you my sole executor, for the good of my wife and nieces; and I need it. I do not desire you to be just, for I desire you to show kindness to them as they shall know you will be so for your own sake; but I charge you, by the religion of our friendship, to be careful of them." And having obtained Mr. Woodnot's promise to be so, he said, "I am now ready to die." After which words he said, “ Lord, forsake me not now my strength faileth me, but grant me mercy for the merits of my Jesus; and now, Lord, Lord, receive my soul." And with those words he breathed forth his divine soul, without any apparent disturbance; Mr. Woodnot and Mr. Bostock attending his last breath, and closing his eyes.

66

Thus he lived, and thus he died, like a saint, unspotted of the world, full of alms-deeds, full of humility, and all the examples of a virtuous life; which I cannot conclude better than with this borrowed observation :

"All must to their cold graves; But the religious actions of the just Smell sweet in death, and blossom in the dust."

Mr. George Herbert's have done so to this, and will doubtless do so to succeeding generations.

PART OF A LETTER WRITTEN BY MR. GEORGE

HERBERT, TO COMFORT HIS MOTHER, IN

HER SICKNESS.

MADAM,-I beseech you to be cheerful, and comfort yourself in the God of all comfort, who not willing to behold any sorrow but for sin. What hath affliction in it, more than for a moment? or why should our afflictions here have so much power or boldness as to oppose the hope of our joys hereafter? Madam, as the earth is but a point in respect of the heavens, so are earthly troubles compared to heavenly joys: therefore, if either age or sickness lead you to those joys, consider what advantage you have over youth and health, who are now so near those true comforts. I have always observed the thread of life to be like other threads or skeins of silk, full of snarls and encumbrances. For myself, dear mother, I always feared sickness more than death, because sickness hath made me unable to perform those offices for which I came into the world, and must yet be kept in it; but you are freed from that fear, who have already abundantly dis. charged that part, having both ordered your family, and so brought up your children, that they have attained to the years of discretion and competent maintenance; so that now, if they do not well, the fault cannot be charged on you, whose example and care of them will justify you both to the world and your own conscience; insomuch that, whether you turn your thoughts on the life past, or on the joys that are to come, you have strong preservatives against all disquiet. And for temporal afflictions, I beseech you consider, all that can happen to you are either afflictions of estate, or body, or mind. For those of estate, of what poor regard ought they to be! Since, if we had riches, we are cominanded to give them away so that the best use of them is, having, not to have them.

But, perhaps our credit and estimation, being above the common people, calls on us to live in a more splendid fashion; but, O God! how easily is that answered, when we consider that the blessings in the holy scripture are never given to the rich, but to the poor! I never find, Blessed be the rich, or, Blessed be the noble; but, "Blessed be the meek, and blessed be the poor, and blessed be the mourners; for they shall be comforted." And yet, O God! most carry themselves so, as if they not only not desired, but even feared to be blessed. And for afflictions of the body, dear madam, remember the holy martyrs of God, how they have been burnt by thousands, and have endured such other tortures as the very mention of them might beget amazement; but their fiery trials have had an end; and yours (which, praised be God, are less) are not like to continue long. I beseech you, let such thoughts as these moderate your present fear and sorrow; and know that, if any of yours should prove a Goliath-like trouble, yet you may say with David, "That God who hath delivered me out of the paws of the lion and bear will also deliver me out of the hands of this uncircumcised Philistine." Lastly, for those afflictions of the soul: consider that God intends that to be as a sacred temple for himself to dwell

in, and will not allow any room there for such an inmate as grief, or allow that any sadness shall be his competitor. And, above all, if any care of future things molest you, remember those admirable words of the psalmist, "Cast thy care on the Lord; and he shall nourish thee" (Ps. lv.); to which join that of St. Peter, "Casting all your care on the Lord; for he careth for you" (1 Pet. 7). What an admirable thing is this, that God puts his shoulder to our burden, and entertains our care for us, that we may the more quietly intend his service!

v.

66

[ocr errors]

To conclude, let me commend only one place more to you: Phil. iv. 4. St. Paul saith there, Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice." He doubles it, to take away the scruple of those that might say, What, shall we rejoice always in afflictions?" "Yes, I say again, Rejoice." So that it is not left to us to rejoice or not to rejoice; but, whatsoever befals us, we must always, at all times, rejoice in the Lord, who taketh care for us. And it follows in the next verses, "Let your moderation appear to all men : the Lord is at hand: be careful for nothing." What can be said more comfortably? Trouble not yourselves; God is at hand to deliver us from all, or in all. Dear madam, pardon my boldness, and accept the good meaning of your most obedient son, GEORGE HERBERT*.

Trin. Coll., May 25, 1622.

In the appendix to the "The Life of Mr. Nicholas Ferrar," by Dr. Peckard, we read the following interesting narrative and prayer: "On Friday (date not mentioned) Mr. Mapletoft brought us word that Mr. Herbert was said to be past hope of recovery, which was very grievous news to us, and so much the more so, being altogether unexpected. We presently, therefore, made our public supplication for his bealth in these words:

"O most mighty God and merciful Father, we most humbly beseech thee, if it be thy good pleasure, to continue to us that singular benefit which thou hast given us in the friendship of thy servant, our dear brother, who now lieth on the bed of sickness. Let him abide with us yet awhile, for the furtherance of our faith. We have indeed deserved, by our ingratitude, not only the loss of him, but whatever other opportunities thou (bast given us for the attainment of our salvation. We do not deserve to be heard in our supplications; but thy mercies are above all thy works. In consideration whereof we prostrate ourselves in all humble earnestness, beseeching thee, if so it may seem good to thy divine majesty, that thou wilt hear us in this, who hast heard us in all the rest, and that thou wilt bring him back again from the gates of death, that thou wilt yet awhile spare him, that he may live to thy honour and our comfort. Lord, thou hast willed that our delights should be in the saints on earth, and in such as excel in virtue; how, then, should we not be afflicted, and mourn, when thou takest them away from us! Thou hast made him a great help and furtherance of the best things amongst us; how, then, can we but esteem the loss of him a chastisement of thy displeasure! O Lord, we * Izaak Walton's Life of G. Herbert, in Wordsworth's Biog

beseech thee that it may not be so: we beseech thee, if it be thy good pleasure, restore unto us our dear brother, by restoring to him his health so will we praise and magnify thy name and mercy with a song of thanksgiving. Hear us, O Lord, for thy dear Son's sake, Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.'"

REFLECTION FROM THE HOLY SCRIPTURES. "Thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor. xv. 57).

THE PEACE OFFERING*.

as the atoning sacrifice, is anew presented to us. Jesus Christ, in his holy character as a Lamb without blemish, in his mediatorial relation, as the substitute for the sinful, and as bearing their transferred iniquities, and in the great oblation of himself for sin, as pouring out his blood, and dying for us, to make reconciliation and to atone, fills in the outline here given, and completes this portion of the type. And we are anew reminded that the blessed sacrifice of our Redeemer is the foundation of our brightest hopes, and encircles all our joys.

But Christ Jesus as the atoning sacrifice is here presented to us in a new relation, and in connexion with other truths. It is exhibited in connexion with the church's praise and peace: it is

"This is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which the basis of them both. No praise is acceptable he shall offer unto the Lord."-LEV. vii. 11.

THE cries of sorrow and the groans of anguish are ever falling on our cars. Mourning and lamentation are ever in our streets; and where there seems to be no mourning, where feasting, merriment and songs prevail, yet even there sadness has place. It is in the heart. Man's soul is wearied-wearied with the unsatisfying joys on which it feeds, and with the ceaseless gaieties on which it dares not build a hope of immortality. The wearied heart needs a resting place, even the living and true God.

How cheering, then, are the realities of that heavenly truth which brings a lasting peace and a satisfying rest with God, and which produces hymns of gladness amidst deepest outward misery. Such truth is brought before us in the peace offering the last in the series of the Mosaic sacrifices; for it symbolizes the happy work of praise in which God's people should abound, and the blessed state of peace and friendship into which he brings them.

Let us, proceed, then, to meditate upon this offering; noticing it first in reference to the work, and, secondly, in reference to the privilege it symbolizes. And may the Holy Spirit enable us to realize the blessedness of the truth here brought

before us.

Now concerning the offering itself, we observe, that the animals for sacrifice might be taken from the herd, or from the flock. In Lev. iii. the directions for it are given. The verses 1-5 refer to the oxen, the verses 6-11 to the lamb, and the verses 12-16 to the goat. From these verses we learn that the directions respecting the victim were very similar to those given in the other sacrifices; we shall therefore only briefly mention them. The animal had to be "without blemish." The offerer had to lay his hand on the head" of the victim. The victim had to be killed. The priests had to "sprinkle the blood of the victim upon the altar round about."

In this offering, then, we have the great truth of atonement again symbolized. Our blessed Lord, *From "Lectures on the typical Character of the Jewish Tabernacle, Priesthood, and Sacrifices." By the rev. F. G. Simpson, B.A., curate of Ickworth, Suffolk. London: Thompson. 1852. We expressed ourselves pleased with the

first view of this book, and a further examination has confirmed our favourable opinion. Ordinary readers are apt to confuse the purport of the various offerings of the Mosaic law. Mr. Simpson, we think, clearly distinguishes these; and there is a tone of earnest exhortation running through his volume, which we cordially approve.-ED.

to God but that which proceeds from those who are in Christ, and which is offered through his blood.

This truth is indeed a rock of offence to man.

Man is sometimes willing to be thankful, and to bring some gift as an acknowledgment for the temporal mercies he receives; but he rejects the humbling truth that he is unworthy to present a gift, and that in presenting it he must own himself a sinner, and hope for its acceptance through the expiation of Christ Jesus. Through pride he will not confess his fall, his demerit, his desert of wrath, and his need of the righteousness of another; but he comes to God with his praise as if unfallen, and as if meet in himself to draw nigh and offer it. Cain is the expressive type of man in this respect. He rejected in proud unbelief the expiatory "firstling of the flock," and brought his "fruit of the ground" for a thank offering. But every such offering is, like that of Cain, rejected. Glory unto God is only given in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages. The sufferings and the sorrows of the Lamb of God alone give value to the joyous hymns men sing. His death alone gives life unto their thankful songs, that they may rise to heaven and be accepted as a tribute of thanksgiving. The atoning sacrifice is needed as the basis of their praise.

It is equally needed as the basis of their peace and of their life of friendship with God. Little as we might have expected to find death in an offering such as this, wherein thanksgiving and life with God are symbolized, yet even here death is. Sin must be remembered, sin must be atoned for, when the church draws nigh to her eternal Father. She must take her place with him only by means of the atoning sacrifice, and with the blood of sprinkling upon her. In what other way, indeed, could she draw nigh? for is not God all light, and the church by nature darkness? Is not God the holy infinite love? and is not the church by nature full of unholy enmity? Only in Christ is her darkness removed, and she made light. Only as she is in Christ does enmity give place to love. The depths of Christ's humiliation alone raise her to her high position. The anguish of his soul alone brings her true peace with God, and leads her to her rest in God's own presence. "What are these which are arrayed in white robes ?" said the elder, speaking of men near unto God, even before his throne. They are those," he replied to St. John, "who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the

« 이전계속 »