« ForrigeFortsett »
ways and course of life, as they had chosen with the advice and assistance of their good uncle N. F.; whom he most tenderly affected, and highly esteemed of) that they should be stedfast and commit them selves to the good guidance of their gracious Lord God and Master Jesus Christ, to whom they had, more than in an ordinary manner, given themselves, each in their station; assuring them, that they should in the end have cause to rejoice in their good resolutions.
90. Being demanded, if the ministers should be called? who not long before were gone out of the chamber, all supposing he had been asleep, he said, Entreat them to come in and pray together. Which being done, he desired them to say that prayer for
had in the present, should be in their will, without repentance, to their life's end. Let the younger women marry, was the best advice, that they might not be led into temptation. And that they might not forget what he taught them, he drew up his judgment in three sheets of paper, and sent it them home, that they might dress themselves by that glass, and learn not to think of human nature above that which it is, a sea of flowings and ebbings, and of all manner of inconstancy. The direction of God was in this counsel : for one of the gentlewomen afterwards took a liking to a good husband, and was well bestowed." Hacket, ii. 52. “For the nunnery; he said that the name of nuns was odious. But the truth... was, that two of his nieces had lived, one thirty, the other, thirty-two years, virgins, and so resolved to continue (as he hoped they would), the better to give themselves to fasting and prayer: but had made no vows.”—Lenton in Peckard, 289.
a dying man; which ended, he being by them demanded, How he did? said, Pretty well, I thank my God and you, and I shall be better. And then he lay very still above half an hour and more, all standing by him, supposing him to be in a fine slumber. But afterwards he, on a sudden, casting his hands out of the bed with great strength, and looking up and about, with a strong voice and cheerful said : Oh, what a blessed change is here ! What do I see? O let us come and sing unto the Lord, sing praises to the Lord, and magnify His Holy Name together. I have been at a great feast : O magnify the Lord with me. One of his nieces said presently, At a feast, dear father! I', replied he, at a great feast, the Great King's feast. And this he uttered with as sound and perfect voice, as in time of his health. While all stood somewhat amazed, and loath to interrupt him, if he should say more, he laid himself down most quietly, putting his hands into the bed, laid them by his side, and then shut his eyes, and in this posture laid his legs stretched out most sweetly and still. The ministers went again presently to prayers, and after a while they said that prayer again, (That God would be pleased to send His angels to carry his soul to heaven), all kneeling round about his pallet. While these words were saying, he opened his lips and gave one gasp, and so not once moving or stirring hand, foot, or eyes, he rendered up his soul, to be carried in
their hands unto his Lord Jesus Christ's bosom, which was that he so often prayed for. And at that instant the clock struck one', the hour that he constantly rose up every morning to praise God and to pray unto Him. That very hour and time God, you see, called him to His heavenly kingdom, to praise Him everlastingly with the blessed angels and saints above, and as one of the company said, He ended the sabbath here upon earth, to begin the everlasting in heaven".
91. His body was kept till the Thursdays after; in which time it never smelled or purged at all, but was most fair and sweet. It was observed that his right hand and fingers were so lithe and flexible, as if they were of a living man, and so continued also at his putting into his coffin; whereas his arms and the rest of his body were stiff and not to be bended, as those were, which one might turn like a living hand; at which many did marvel. A friend said, Well may that hand not grow stiff, that was so often day and night lifted up to God, and was so liberal in continual giving alms to the poor and needy in several kinds.
1 Monday, Dec. 4, 1637.
2 “It was about five o'clock on the Lord's day, but to him an everlasting sabbath. He never (by his good will) rested that day, since God was truly known unto him until now; God gave him therefore now an everlasting rest." Clarke's Lives (1677), 113. Compare ibid. 123, 127, 130.
3 Dec. 7.
92. There was a vault of brick made where he appointed his grave to be, wherein he was laid at the west end of the church, before the entering into the church. Mr. Robert Mapletoft', his good friend and cousin, and one that had a long and special intimate acquaintance with him, and one whom he loved exceeding well, who often came to Gidding and was most welcome to him ;-he, I say, was pleased to preach his funeral sermon, and buried him. Whose sermon— that it may be annexed to this story of N. F.'s life, is the earnest request of the whole family of Little Gidding, and they shall esteem it a very great obligation to them.
93. N. F. had an offer”, with importunity repeated, from a rich citizen, of his daughter, with
i Fellow and (June 1664) master of Pembroke Hall, dean of Ely 1667, buried 20 Aug. 1677.—See Wood's Fasti, ü. 313 note (ed. Bliss), his will in Baker's MS. xxvi. 239– 245, Bentham's Ely, i. 235, 6, Echard's Hist. iii. 437.
Ferrar's niece, Susanna Collett, married Joshua Mapletoft (Ward's Gresham Professors, 274), brother of Robert. John, the issue of this marriage, “upon the death of his father in 1635, was brought up at Gidding, in the devout family settled there by Nicholas Ferrar, who was his godfather.”— Ward (ib. 277, is another notice of N. Ferrar). A harmony of the gospels and concordance and other books of Ferrar's were religiously preserved by his godson.
2. “[He was] till some few years before his death never without proffers of wives, much beyond his deserts, as the markets go in Smithfield, &c.” Pope's Life of Seth Ward, 84. Cf. 85. When Barrow was made master of Trinity, he caused
a fortune of £10,000: which N. F. thankfully and modestly declined, first alledging, that he had disposed of all the estate his father left him, and should be an unequal match; and, when further pressed, declaring himself, that he was resolved not to marry at all, if God gave him grace so to continue as he was, &c.
the clause of the patent which allowed him to marry to be erased, that he might not have “perpetually to stand upon his guard against the sieges, batteries, and importunities, which he foresaw that honourable and profitable preferment would expose him to.”—Ibid. 165. Pope's slight error in this matter is thus corrected in a MS. note by Thomas Baker. “That patent was once mine (now lord Oxford's) where the marrying clause is erased, without the trouble or expense of taking a new one."
i Baker ends with a very brief account of the harmonies described at large in the following pages. The only sentence which is peculiar to him is given in a note below. He says that the MS. ended with two blank leaves which may have been intended for a history of the king's visits to Gidding. Peck (in Peckard, 307) writes : “I have now got the account of king Charles I. being three times at Gidding, in 1633, 1640, and 1646.” See Appendix.