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a reverent study of the bible and habitual “love and fear of the Divine Majesty.” As in childhood, so throughout life, Ferrar was surrounded by many who still live in our remembrance. Among his college associates were Butler, Linsell, Ruggle, Williams: and when afterwards he directed that noble company, which secured to Virginia free trade, free trial, free government, and Christian education, his coadjutors were the pupil of Hooker and the patron of Shakespeare. And well does the performance of these riper years fulfil the promise of his infancy. At Clare Hall, in that age of hard students, “his chamber might be known by the last candle put out and the first lighted in the morning.” When his tender frame sunk under incessant toil, he sought relief in the education of his sister's children, who even then began to acknowledge him “as their true spiritual friend and father;" and when at last the ague and Butler warned him that change of climate could alone save his life, after addressing his family in a farewell unsurpassed for pathetic beauty, he found in foreign travel a new supply to his intellectual cravings, and a new school of virtuous principles. Then it was that he gained that familiarity with the arts, institutions, and literature of Europe, which, combined with rarer endowments, made him so incomparable a teacher: then too he learnt (no easy lesson in those days) to be charitable to members of a church whose corruptions he abhorred, and even to discover something worthy a protestant's regard in Romish treatises and practices of mortification. Nor was opportunity wanting to draw out yet higher energies : in the soothing cure of Garton's wounded conscience and in the cool self-possession which was proved in more than one deadly peril, we see the two sides of his character, who was to be his friends' chosen “confessor,” and, in parliament or at the Virginia board, a foremost champion of right against might.
Memorable, however, as are the traditions of Ferrar's childhood, youth, and public life, his last years of retirement bespeak our chief attention, as being most characteristic of the man and of his times'. Here also we meet with famous names. Laud and Williams, whose rival ambition was discreditable to them as it was disastrous to the
i Compare the resolution of Worthington (infra,27 n.), the practice of Crashaw and of lady Falkland (Life by John Duncon, London, 1649, where we read of her nursing the sick, p. 160, her hours of prayer, 166 seq. 188 seq., fasting, 169, 179, her alms, 176 seq., conning of Psalms without book, 189, her plan for a widows' college, 196), Cosins's Hours of Prayer, with the answers of Prynne and Burton, [Sir George Wheler's] Protestant Monastery : or Christian Economicks, Containing Directions for the Religious Conduct of a Family. But as for me, &c. Josh. xxiv. 15. 1698. sm. 8vo. (St. John's College Library. V. 20. 64).
church, were at one in their esteem for Ferrar; the first “rejoicing to lay hands on such a man," and continuing to favour the precocious genius of the nephew, on whom his mantle descended; the other careless for once of popularity in his determination to protect those, whose scrupulous honesty, no less than their devotion, “was an example to all the gentry of England:” George Herbert, who, having shared all his “brother’s” thoughts while living, at his death bequeathed the “Temple” to his care : Crashaw, the frequent partner of the Gidding “watchings”: Charles himself, who at most critical moments forgot his state anxieties in inspecting and regulating the labours of a household as remote, as any could then be, from the stir of civil and religious embroilment :-all these, and others who might be added, such as Jackson, Cosins, Oley, Hill, rise in our estimation by what we here read of them. The inner life of the family itself has come down to us perhaps in greater fulness of detail than that of any other private family of the time : from which circumstance alone, irrespective of its intrinsic value, it must be not a little attractive to the historical student. A nearer view may convince us, that those who have spared these memorials, while they have suffered so many others to perish, were guided in their preference by a just instinct. For where shall we look for a finer model of a Christian matron than “old Mrs. Ferrar;" obeying to the last every prescription of a strict rule, and thereby retaining every faculty unimpaired; so zealous for the honour of God's house, as not to rest from a wearying journey, until she had seen it cleansed from profanation ; presiding over the studies of her grandchildren, who nightly knelt to ask her blessing? Where, for a more honest chronicler than John Ferrar, whose simple records of the brother whose superiority he felt are as free from envy as from exaggeration? Where, for a wiser exercise of a mother's authority, or more touching expressions of a mother's love, than in Mrs. Collett's letters to her children? If we turn to the sisters, we see in them expert housewives, patient nurses, gentle surgeons, "none of them nice of dressing with their own hands poor people's wounds, were they never so offensive;" handy artists, who accounted it an honourable occupation to reduce to harmony, to illustrate, even to bind, the sacred volume ; eager students, now instructing the country children, now committing to memory those dialogues in which their uncle had enshrined the brightest examples of history, and which to them supplied the place of the misrule customary at the high-tides of the Church. In Nicholas Ferrar himself, “the Levite in his own house," we have the rare spectacle of a man whose one end in
life“ was to make himself or others better;" by his veneration for saints and martyrs entitling himself to like veneration; “spending eighteen hours out of the twenty four in useful business, serious study, devout prayers, or heavenly meditations;" comforting and supporting his companions in every trial; on his death-bed “passing the days and nights in heavenly counsels to all the family;" reprobating the fatal and still prevalent delusion that literary power atones for an author's want of moral purpose, or exhorting his young charge to persevere in those pursuits, which had hitherto depended on his guidance; in the last scene of all crowning the witness of his life by that practical evidence of religion, which to those who behold it is still the strongest, “ the death of the righteous.”
Such being the character of the man, we cannot marvel that much pains' have been bestowed to preserve his memory from oblivion. It must
i See the Appendix. As further proofs of interest in the subject may be mentioned three transcripts of the Arminian Nunnery (Harl. MS. 7055, art. 6, by Wanley; Middle Hill MSS. 6829, 9527), Dr. Woodward's Fair warning to a careless world, ed. 3, p. 120, Knight's Life of Dean Colet. The reader may remark for how many of these remains we are indebted to men who made no noise in the literary world. Wm. Robinson, for instance; who ever heard of him ? yet he gave many documents a new chance for life, whilst few perhaps of those whose eyes will fall on these words have rescued even one.