Page images

for which end he often gave this God would prepare him and his rule ; " If a good sense can be for sickness and death. For put upon what another 'says or many years he performed bis does, never take it in a bad one." hard, but pleasing work, under He was always serious, though distressing pain from a stone in frequently cheerful, and was re- his reins, which at last brought markable for sanctifying the Sab- him to his end. After preachbath. It was his usual practice, ing his last sermon, he endured for many years, as soon as he a week of extreme pain night was out of his bed on the Lord's and day, in which he possessed day, with a cheerful heart and his soul in singular patience. voice to sing part of a psalm or When his pains were sharpest, hymn, or to repeat the acclama- he said, " I am in an agony,

but tion of the heavenly host ; "glo- not a bloody one ; what are all ry to God in the highest ; on my pains to what Christ under: earth peace, good will toward went for me !" The evening bemen;" in order to put himself fore his death he was asked, how into a spiritual frame for the he did; he answered, “I have work of the day. In his family been under a very sharp rod, but his heart was greatly raised in it was what my heavenly Father singing psalms. He used often laid upon me for he has said, to say to his wife and other rela- as many as I love, I rebuke and tives, “ Don't you find a sweet- chasten.? This is a paradox tó ness in this day ? Certainly it is the world ; but everlasting arms the sweetest day in all the week.", are under me; and, I bless God, He was mighty in prayer, and he hath taken all the terror of often admonished his friends to death away from me." To Mr. watch for opportunities to seek Parsons, his fellow labourer, he God in private. In all his rela: said, all my self-righteousness I tions he was greatly beloved and disown; and trust only in Christ, singularly useful.

hoping I have a gospel rightWhen he was ejected, the la- eousness.'! When those about mentations of the people would him pitied his agonies, he rehave melted any compassionate peated that' text, “the heart heart. At 'their desire, he knoweth its own bitterness, and preached privately to one con- a stranger intermeddleth not gregation at Newington, and to with its joy.” ** “ You know what another at Theobalds, by turns, my pains are, but you know not without taking any salary from what my consolations are. Oh, either. He afterwards had' á how sweet will my glory and fixed congregation at Southwark. triumph be 'after these sharp His charity to his distressed pains !” When his relations wept brethren in the ministry was about him, he was displeased, great. He made collections for saying, “ What! are you trouthem both at Southwark and bled, that God is calling home Theobalds, having a singular fac- his children? If you think I am ulty for disposing his hearers to afraid of death, you mistake ; give liberally. When in perfect for I have no fear of death upon health he was thoughtful of me.” Under his sharpest pains, changes, and often prayed that no other language escaped his



lips, than this ; “ Father, pity in substance, than in show. It thy child.” He died on Lord's consisted, not in finding fault day, Oct. 29, 1696, aged only 46. with others, but in the due gor,

ernment of his own life and ac

tions; exercising himself always OF REV. THOMAS to have a conscience, void of of:

fence toward God and man; in Thomas Gouge, M. A. of which he was such a proficient, King's College, Oxford, was son that, after long and familiar acof the eminent Dr. William quaintance with him, it was not Gouge. After taking his de- easy to discern any thing in him, grees, he left the university and that deserved blanie. Such was his fellowship, being presented his modesty, that he never apto a living in Surry, where he peared, by word or action, to put continued two or three years, any value upon himself. In reand then removed to St. Sepul: gard to the charities he procurchre's in London, in 1638, a ed, he would rather impute them large and populous parish, in to any, who had the least conwhich with solicitude and pains cern in obtaining them, than as; he discharged all the duties of a sume any thing to himself. faithful minister 24 years, i. e, When he quitted his living at till the act of uniformity in 1662, St. Sepulchre's, upon some disBeside his constant preaching, he satisfaction about the terms of was diligent and charitable in vis conformity, he forbore preachiting the sick; not only minis- ing, saying, “there was no need tering spiritual counsel and com- of him in London, and that he fort to them, but liberally reliev- thought he could do as much ing the necessities of the poor. good in another way, which would Every morning through the year, give no: offence.” Afterward he catechised in the church, however he had licence from chiefly the poorer sort, who were some Bishop to preach in Wales, generally the most ignorant, and when he took his annual journey especially the aged, who had thither; where he saw great need most leisure. To encourage of it, and thought he might do it them to come for instruction, he with great advantage among the once a week distributed money poor, on account of his charities among them; but changed the there. He was clothed with day, to secure their constant at: humility, and had in a most emis tendance. The poor, who were nent degree the ornament of a able to earn their own living, he meek and quiet spirit. His con: set to work, buying heinp and versation was affable and pleasant. flax for them to spin ; paying A wonderful serenity of mind them for their work, and selling was visible even in his counteit, as he could, among his friends. nance. Upon all occasions he In this way he rescued many appeared the saine ; always from idleness, poverty and vice. cheerful, and always kind ; ready

His piety toward God, the nec- to embrace and oblige all men ; essary foundation of all other vir- and, if they did but fear God and tuesy was great and cxcmplary, work righteousness, he heartily yet still and quiet ;, much more loved them, however distant from


him in judgment about things tenth of their estates to this less necessary, and even in opinions, that he held very dear.

When he was between 60 and But the virtue, which shone 70 years of age, he used to travel the brightest in him, was his into Wales, and disperse concharity to the poor. God blessed siderable sums of money, both him with a good estate, and he his own, and what he collected was liberal beyond most men in from other persons, among the doing good with it. This in- poor, labouring, persecuted mindeed he made the great business isters. But the chief designs of of his life; to which he applied his charity were to have poor himself with as much diligence, children taught to read and write, as other men labour at their and carefully instructed in the trades. He sustained great loss principles of religion; and to by the fire of London, so that furnish adults the necessary (when his wife died, and he had means of religious knowledge. settled his children) he had but with a view to the former, he 1501. per ann, left; and even settled in Wales three or four then he constantly disposed of hundred schools in the chief 1001. in works of charity. He towns ; in many of which wopossessed singular sagacity in men were employed to teach devising the most effectual ways children, and he undertook to of doing good, and in disposing pay for some hundreds of chilof his charity to the greatest ex

dren himself. With a view to tent and best purposes ; always, the latter, he procured them Biif possible, making it serve some bles, and other pious and devoend of piety; e. g. instructing tional books, in their own lanpoor children in the principles guage; great numbers of which of religion, and furnishing grown, he got translated, and sent to the persons, who were ignorant, with chief towns, to be sold at easy the Bible, and other good books; rates to those, who were able to strictly obliging those, to whom buy them, and given to such as he gave them, to read them dili- were not. In 1675 he procured gently, and inquiring afterward, a new and fair impression of the how they had profited. His oc- Welch Bible and liturgy, to the casional relief to the poor was number of 8000; one thousand always mingled with good coun- of which were given away, and sel, and as great compassion for the rest sold much below the their souls, as their bodies ; common price. He used often which, in this way, often had the to say with pleasure, that he had best effects. For the last ten two livings, which he would not years of his life, he almost whole exchange for the greatest in Engly applied his charity to Wales, land ; viz. Christ's Hospital, where he thought there was most where he used frequently to cateoccasion for it; and he took chise the poor children ; and great pains to engage others in Wales, whither he used to travel his designs, exciting the rich, in every year, and sometimes twice whom he had any interest, to in a year, to spread knowledge, works of charity in general; piety, and charity. urging them to devote at least a While Mr. GOUGE was doing all this good, he was persecuted be better applied, that “ he went even in Wales, and excommuni- about doing good.” He died cated, for preaching occasionally, suddenly in his sleep, Oct. 29, though he had a licence, and 1681, aged 77. His funeral serwent constantly to the par- mon was preached by Abp. Tillotish churches and communicated son, from which the above ac. there. But, for the love of God count is principally extracted. and men, he endured all difficul. Mr. Baxter says, ties, doing good with patience heard any one person speak a and pleasure. So that, all things word to his dishonour, no not considered, there have not been, the highest prelatists themselves, since the primitive times of Chris- save only that he conformed not tianity, many among the sons of to their impositions." men, to whom that glorious char

ORTON. acter of the Son of God might

« He never

Religious Communications.

ON C!!RISTIAN ZEAL. ly effects. It may not be unimFew, subjects in religion have portant then to inquire into the been viewed in lights so diverse nature, properties and obligations and opposite, as that of zeal.

of truly Christian zeal. Some seem to consider it as cons

Zeal is opposed to torpor and stituting the very essence and

indifference. It may be denomisum of all goodness ; the found nated an ardour and impetuosity dation of Christianity, and its su

of mind; or a lively, vigorous, perstructure too. Other's treat

flowing state and exercise of its every kind and degree of it as so

affections. From this general much fanaticism or hypocrisy.

definition it appears that zeal is While a third class affect to con

either virtuous or criminal, benesider it as a thing indifferent ficial or noxious, according to the innocent perhaps--but yet a

object and the manner of its exmere appendage, or rather ex

ercise. By way of ascertaining, crescence of Christianity ;

therefore, the nature and quali

ties of that zeal which may properperliuous, unimportant and useless. To neither of these opin. ly be styled Christian, we will ions does the word of God afford consider it as a personal duty, any countenance. It faithfully and as a duty we owe to the warns us that there is a zeal

cause of God, and to the best inwhich is false and noxious. And

terests of our fellow men. it informs us that there is a gen that true zeal, like charity, be

It has been justly remarked uine and holy zeal, not indeed so properly constituting a dis- gins at home. Its prime office tinct virtue by itself, but rather is to correct what is wrong in pervading the whole spirit and ourselves ; to see to it that our character of a Christian, and

own hearts be right, and our lives

producing the most useful and love. exemplary. Its most vehement

[ocr errors]

indignation should be directed right eyes, and cut off right hands, against our own sins; its most if these be the occasions or invigorous efforts, to our own struments of transgression. It reformation and improvement will inspire and fortify us for the Can that man be much concerned painful, but necessary work of for the salvation of others, who crucifying the flesh, with its affecis careless of his own ? Can he tions and lusts ; of mortifying our be deeply grieved and pained for earthly members ; of keeping unothers' sins, who is little affected der our bodies, and bringing them with his own corruptions, follies into subjection; yea, it will arm and vices ?

us with courage and resolution Christian zeal has a place and to pull down strong holds, and influence in every other Chris. cast every proud imagination into tian grace and virtue. It im- the dust. It will not permit us parts a tenderness and ardour to to indulge our ease, as long as holy love ; a strength and activi- we have one base passion unty to faith. It renders reverence subdued ; one criminal propensiand godly fear more awful ; and ty unmortified.

Here is one gives wings to the Christian's pi- capital trial of the genuineness ous desires.

While it infuses of our zeal. Are we engaged a sting into penitential sorrow, it and anxious to reform, not only adds vigour and confidence to a sinful world without us, but a hope; and sublimates joy in God world of iniquity within into transport and triumph. Does the habitual exemplariness

It has likewise an important of our temper and conduct deplace and use in every act of de- clare that our love to holiness, votion. It will lead us, in pray- and hatred to sin, are genuine er, to pour out, not words only, and impartial ? Are our lives asbut devout breathings, intense siduously filled up with duty to desires, and, as it were, our very God, and active beneficence to souls, to our Father in heaven. man? Do we not only walk humIn praise, it will fill us with a sol- bly with our Maker, but do justemn and delightful sense of his ly, and love mercy, to our fellow adorable excellencies, and infia creatures ? Are we rich in good. nitely varied benefits. In confes. works ? Do we abound in them? sion, it will melt our hearts into Do we so live,as that an important ingenuous and unutterable grief. chasm would be realized, and It will cause us to enter the the best interests of society sus. sanctuary longing for God, as the tain a shock, should our exerhart panteth for the water brooks. tions cease ? Alas ! that is but a It will engage us, while we hear spurious zeal which spends itself and meditate his word, to hunger in complaints of the badness of for the bread of life, and thirst the times, and the degeneracy of for its precious waters.

the age, while no substantial exFurther, genuine zeal, if we ertions are made to increase the possess it, will operate in the sum of virtue and beneficence, mortification of our sins and cor- and while of course the comruptions, and engage us in a plainer himself is but a cumberer course of holy obedience. It will of the ground, a nuisance in so. lead us resolutely to pluck out ciety. No 12. Vol. II. Xxx

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »