« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Yet, tho' thou troublest me, I must be meek;
In weakness must be stout :
Some other master out :
About this time of Mr. Herbert's attendance at Court, all his expectations of preferment were ddenly defeated by the death of his two most obliging and powerful friends, the Duke of Richmond and the Marquis of Hamilton ; and not long after James himself died, and with him all the ambitious hopes of our author, who now betook himself to the study of Divinity, preparatory to his taking Holy Orders, to which his mother persuaded him. Great was the conflict between the pride of life, and the sincere desire he had of devoting himself to the work of the Ministry; but the latter at last prevailed.
Acquainting a Court friend of his resolution to enter into Orders, he urged him to alter his intentions, alleging the employınent was too mean for a person of his birth and abilities, to which he replied, " It hath been formerly judged, that the domestic servants of the King of Heaven, should be of the noblest families on earth, and though the iniquity of the late times have made Clergymen meanly valued, and the sacred name of Priest contemptible; yet I will labour to make it honorable, by consecrating all my learning, and all my poor abilities, to advance the glory of that God that gave them; knowing, that I can never do too much for him, that hath done so much for me, as to make me a Christian. And I will labour to be like my Saviour, by making humility lovely in the eyes of all men, and by fillowing the merciful and meek example of my dear Jesus."
He maintained his resolution, and was accordingly made Deacon; soon after which the Bishop of Lincoln
gave him the Prebend of Layton. Ecclesa in that diocese!! But the Parish Church being in a ruinous state, he made; such exertions by his own bounty, and by his applica-. tion to his noble relations and other friends, that he soon raised it out of its ruins, and re-edified it in a' handsome manner. “ By his order (says Mr. Walton) the Reading-pew and Pulpit were (erected) a little diftance from each other, and both of an equal height; for he ? Herbert) would often say, “ They should neither have a precedency or priority of the other; buti that Prayer and Preaching being equally useful, might agree like Brethren, and have an equal Honor and Efti-i mation."
Whether the refined and metaphysical Divinity of those days juftly exalted the Pulpit above the ReadingDelk, or whether Mr. Herbert was perfectly justifiable in reducing it to the standard of its neighbour, or whether it ouglit now to be brought lower than the Desk, we shall not presume to determine, but give place to, Mr. Walton while he relates a pleasing auecdote cona nected with this part of our author's history:
Before I proceed farther, I must look back to the time of Mr. Herbert's being made Prebend, and tell the, Reader, that not long after, his mother being informed of his intentions to rebuild that Church, and apprehendo, ing the great trouble and charge that he was like to draw upon himself, his relations and friends, before it could be finished; fent for him from London to Chelsea (where she then dwelt), and at his coming said, “ George, I sent for you, to persuade you to commit Simony, by giving your patron as good a gist as he hath given to you; namely, that you give him back his Prebend; for, George, it is not for your weak body, and empty. purse, to undertake to build Churches." Of which, he desired hc ght have a day's time to consider, and then make her an answer : and at his return to her at the next day, when he had first desired her blessing, and
she given it him, his next tequest was; " That she would at the age of thirty-three years allow him to become an undutiful fon; for he had made a vow to God, that if he were able, he would rebuild that Church ;" and then Mewed her fuch reafons for his resolution, that she presently subscribed to be one of his benefactors ; and undertook to folicit William Earl' of Pembroke to become another, who subscribed for soli and not long after, by a witty, and persuasive letter from Mr. Herbert; made it 501 more.
Having in the former part of this sketch intimated his regard to his mother, the following letter sent her by him may not be unacceptable :
" MADAM, " AT my last parting from you I was the better content, because i was in hope I should myself carry all sickness out of your family; but since I know I did not, and that your share continues, or rather increaseth, I wish earnefly that I were again with you; and would quickly make good my with, but that my employment does fix me here, being now but a month to our Commencement : wherein, my absence by how much it naturally augmenteth suspicion, by so much shall it make my prayers the more constant and the more earnest for you to the God of all consolation In the mean time I beseech you to be cheerful, and comfort yourself in the God' of all comfort, who is 1100 willing to behold' any sorrow but før sin-What hath affliction grievous 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 com,
forts----Your laft letter gave me an earthly preferment, and kept heavenly for yourself : But would you divide and chose too? Our College cuftoms allow not that, and I should' account myself most happy, if I: might change with you; for I have always observed the Thread of Life to be like other threads or skeins of filk, full of snarls and incumbrances : happy is he, whose bottom is wound up and laid ready for work in the New Jerusalem. For myself, dear Mother, I always feared fickness 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 discharged 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 affli&tions! I beseech you consider all that can happen to you are either afflictions of estate, or body, or mind -For those of eftate, of what poor regard ought they to be, since if we had riches we are commanded to give them away? So that the best use of them is, having, not to have them.But perhaps being above the common people, our credit and estimation calls on us to live in a more splendid fashion :
-Buty, Oh God! how easily is that answered, when we consider, that the blessiogs in, the Holy Scripture are never given to the rich, but to the poor. I never find blessed be the rich, or blefledi 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, õh God! most carry themselves to, as if
they not only not desired, but even feared to be bleffed 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 longi beseech you let such thoughts as these moderate your present fear and sorrow; and know, that if any of yours should prove a Goliah-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.-Laitly, for those afflicti. ons 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 moleft you, remember those admirable words of the Psalmist, Pfa. 55. Caft thy care on the Lord and he shall nourish thee. Το which join that of St. Peter, 1 Pet. ve 7. Casting all your care on the Lord, for he careth for you. What an ad. mirable thing is this, that God puts his shoulder to our burthen, and entertains our care for us, that we may the more quietly intend his service. To conclude, let me commend only one place more to you, (Phil. iv. 4.) St. Paul saith there, Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice. He doubles it to take away the scruple of those that might say, What shall we rejoice in afflicti. ons ? Yes, I say again rejoice; so that it is not left to us to rejoice or not 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 verse; 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