« VorigeDoorgaan »
The following epitaphs were written at the request of the Rev. Mr. Fernandez of Dinagipore, Bengal, for the tombs of two of his children, who lie interred in his garden, by Rev. Mr. Fountain, deceased, late missionary at Serampore.
On the death of Master Fernandez, aged 2
REST my sweet babe; beneath these silent bowers
Where thou hast play'd and prattled with delight!
Here may thy parent in his pensive hours Behold thy tomb, and profit by the sight. Here may he learn how transient and how rain
I WEAVE not now the cypress-wreath
To deck the bust of hero dead;
Nor mourn that, in the dust beneath,
A son of science rests his head. The humbler work of death I tell,
Who snatch'd this menial drudge away, How into earth at last he fell,
Who earth'd up many a lump of clay. Fifteen long years his delving spade
Had pierc'd Old Bunhill Fields around. And many a nonconformist laid
Beneath unconsecrated ground. From death he earn'd his daily bread,
And liv'd midst monumental stones; To their last home had thousands led,
And heap'd the sod above their bones. Ye men of blood, ye warlike train,
Less honour'd your employ is found; Ye strew the crimson'd earth with slain; He hid the dead beneath the ground. At length his mortal hour was come,
Nor death would his old servant spare; But from the ambush of a tomb
Pour'd on him pestilential air.
Till dust and ashes live again. Thus all must follow, soon or late;
But how or when we cannot know; That each might death's approaches wait; Prepar'd to triumph o'er the foe!
REV. WILLIAM GRIMSHAW,
[From Middleton's Biographia Evangelica.]
THIS humble, laborious, and ardent Minister of Christ, WILLIAM GRIMSHAW, was born on September the third, in the year of our Lord 1708, at Brindle, six miles south of Preston, in Lancashire, Eng.; and was educated at the schools of Blackburn and Heskin, in that county. While he was a school-boy, the thoughts of death and judgment, the torments of hell, the glories of heaven, and the sufferings of Christ, often made some transient impressions upon him, owing probably to the religious care taken of him by his parents. In the eighteenth year of his age, he was admitted a member of Christ's College in Cambridge: And here (as is but too usually the case) bad example deplorably prevailed to seduce him from that decent manner of life and those serious reflections, which had been inculcated upon him; for, at this time, having no real change wrought upon him, and consequently having no root in himself, the prevalent impiety of the college carried him away so far, that, for the space of more than two years, he seemed utterly to have lost all sense of religion and seriousness; nor was there any revival of his former impressions, till on the day he was ordained deacon, in the year 1731. On this occasion, he was much affected with a sense of the importance of the ministerial office, which he was taking upon him, and the diligence which ought to be used in the discharge of it. Yet these convictions were but slight and soon carried away, like the chaff by the wind of temptation; though, for a little time, they were promoted by an acquaintance with some religious people at Rochdale, who used to meet VOL. II. X.x
together, once a week, for religious exercises. But, upon his removal thence, very soon after, to Todmorden, though not far distant from Rochdale, instead of acting up to the good motions he had felt in his soul, and which had been encouraged by his pious acquaintance, he pursued a different course and went no more amongst them. He conformed to the vain and thoughtless world; he followed all its stupid and trifling diversions; and endeavoured to satisfy his conscience with "doing his ministerial duty" (according to the common phrase) on a Sunday, without attending any farther, either to the improvement of his own mind by study, or to the improvement of his people as an effect of his own. He was, in a word, what but too many of the modern clerical profession are, an easy companion for easy men, who give themselves no trouble about their own souls, or about God, or any thing else, but, what Leviathan is represented to be doing in the world, taking their pastime therein. Give them the pleasures of the earth, if not of direct sin too, for a season; and the honour of Christ, and the salvation of sinners, are those subordinate affairs, which may be taken care of, at any time or no time, by any man or no man, just as they please. They comprehend no more of spiritual good, than the luxurious epicure who said, that he did not understand what great happiness there could be in heaven, where folks were to sit upon a bare cloud to eternity, singing hallelujahs, and having nothing to eat or to drink.' There are thousands who would be ashamed perhaps to utter the words, but who are living in the spirit of the worldliness they imply from day to day. Mr. Grimshaw, to his compunction afterwards, was numbered too long among this ungodly fraternity. It was for several years before he was enabled to emerge from the low debauchery of the times. However, it is said, he refrained as much as possible from gross swearing, unless in suitable company, and, when he got drunk, would take care to sleep it out before he came home. O what a scandal to religion are swearing, drunken, horse-racing, gambling, and ungodly priests; and what a jest, or stumbling block, to the world!
About the year 1734, and in the twenty-sixth of Mr. Grimshaw's life, God was pleased to bring upon him an earnest concern for his own salvation, and consequently for that of his flock at Todmorden. This immediately became visible by his reformation. He quickly left all his diversions; his fishing, card-playing, hunting, &c. And he now began to catechize the young people, to preach up the absolute necessity of a strict and devout life; to visit his people, not in order to drink and be merry with them as before,
but to exhort and press them to seek the salvation of their souls, and to enforce what he had delivered to them from the pulpit.
At this period also, he began himself to pray in secret four times a day. A blessed practice, which there is reason to believe, he never left off. The God of all grace, who had now prepared his heart to pray, soon also gave the answer to his prayer: not indeed in the way in which he expected; not in a complete victory over his corrupt nature, nor at that time in the joy of a conscience bearing him witness, that in simplicity and godly sincerity he was walking before him; but by bringing upon him very strong and painful convictions of his own guilt, and helplessness, and misery; by discovering to him, what he did not suspect before, that his heart was deceitful and desperately wicked; and, what was more afflicting still, that all his duties, and labours, and goodness, could not procure for him pardon, or gain him a title to eternal life. Very painful apprehensions therefore now seized his mind, of what must become of him; in the midst of which, he was often ready to accuse God, as dealing hardly with one, who was now no more a profane or careless liver, but seeking in earnest o obey him. But this was the work of the law upon his conscience, and the preparation of his soul for the gospel of peace. Under this, he was indeed exceedingly miserable, being buffeted with blasphemous thoughts and horrid temptations: And about this time also two of his parishioners attempted to make away with themselves, though their lives were remarkably preserved. Being sent for to one of them, the thought struck him, that very possibly he might ere long do the same, for aught he knew or could do to the contrary.
In this state of great trouble, he continued more than three years, not daring to acquaint any with the distress he suffered, lest they should report that he was either mad or melancholy. But by these lasting and deep convictions being brought to a deep acquaintance with the corruptions of his own heart and to the knowledge of its sin by the law of God, enforced upon him by the spirit of God, and being therefore made willing to receive salvation freely, and to consider himself humbly as a brand plucked out of the burning; the day of his consolation and knowledge of Christ, infinitely precious to his soul, graciously drew near. The bible began now to appear quite a new book. He found the rich import of those scriptures, which declare the sacrifice and righteousness of Christ to be the whole atonement and justification of a sinner before God; and which testify the remission of sins to believers on his name, and sanctification as the blessed effect of this
believing in growing evidence of that remission. "I was now (says he) willing to renounce myself, with every degree of fancied merit and ability, and to embrace Christ only for my all in all. O what light and comfort did I now enjoy in my own soul, and what a taste of the pardoning love of God!"
As he was thus taught of God in his own experience, so his preaching, in the year 1742, began to be clear and profitable. He dwelt much in representing the nature and excellencies of christian faith, and salvation by Christ alone. All this time he was an entire stranger to serious persons, or to those who were the occasion under God of the revival of religion among us. He was also an entire stranger to their writings, except a single sermon upon Gal. iii. 24. and a letter to the people of England, published by the reverend Mr. Seagrave, in which he was surprised to find the nature, life, spirituality, and power of truth and doctrine, in all material points, to be the very same with what he now saw clearly in the word of God, and from which his peace had entirely flowed. Dr. Owen's book on justification was also of great use to him about this time.
In the month of May, in the same year, instructed in this manner, Mr. Grimshaw came to the people and church at Haworth near Bradford, in Yorkshire, and very soon the good effects of his preaching became visible among a people ignorant and brutish, as the face of the country is wild and rugged. Many of his careless flock were brought into deep concern for the salvation of their souls, and were filled with peace and joy through believing. And as in ancient times, before preaching was debased by modern refinement, and alas! to such a cold and languid exercise, that generally one can scarce observe a decent attention to the minister in the pulpit; his people felt in their hearts a deep conviction of sin; and the whole congregation have been often seen in tears, on account of their numerous provocations against God, and under a sense of his goodness in yet sparing them, and waiting to be gracious unto them. This lively, powerful, manner of representing the truths of God could not fail of being much talked of, and bringing, out of curiosity, many hundreds to Haworth church: And there they received so much benefit by what they heard, that when the novelty was long over, the church continued to be full of people, many of whom came from far, and this for twenty years together. Indeed, nothing but this will draw souls heartily together, or (according to the prophet's language) as doves to their windows. Mere morality, derived from man's ability, neither comes warni from the heart, nor goes warmly to it. With the trash of human