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the vulgar errors evil surmises or worse practices of this sinful age and nation, notwithstanding the many forms and visors of godliness in which the men and women of all conditions and qualities disguise themselves to themselves as to others;—and then, to represent and press upon his family the true knowledge and practice of things truly Christian, however disused and decried, that is in one word, the great comprehensive duty of mortification, especially of the affections and appetites, meaning by affections all kinds of pride, ambition, envy, covetousness and anger; and by appetites all inordinate pleasures, as gluttony drunkenness lust and sloth.
65. Upon his expressing a hearty detestation he conceived against the Roman mass out of his pure affection to God's honour and worship, which he (having been many years conversant in popish countries) sadly observed to be mortally wounded by many of them, adoring what he thought they could not, and did not, believe to be the Body and Blood of Christ, he chanced to say, that such a sacrifice profaned the very place where it was celebrated. Whereupon one of the company replied, Why, sir, what if a mass should be celebrated in your house without your leave or knowledge ? what would you do? I will tell you a story, said he: a peer of France, that had long been a pensioner of Spain, being discovered and flying to the Spanish court for refuge, the king upon his arrival instantly dispatched his secretary to a certain duke and
grandee of Spain, entreating him to lend a palace of his for the fugitive nobleman's accommodation. “ Tell the king,” said he, “my house shall ever be at his majesty's service;" and when the secretary was returning to court with this obliging answer,— “Nay,” said he, “stay and hear me out. As soon as ever the house is mine again, to do what I will in it, I will purge it with such a vengeance that all the world shall ring of it; for I will burn it down to the very ground, rather than it shall be said hereafter, there I harboured a traitor under my roof.” But, sir, said one that administered to Mr. Ferrar the occasion of such a warm discourse, do you account the mass so great a traitor, that you would burn your house, if it was said there? I say not so, said he, for I have not a purse to build another. But I tell you, since you put me to it, I would pull down that room, though I build another. This was a sally of his zeal', and I would not omit it, as it is one confutation of that obloquy, which malice as impotent as virulent endeavoured to fasten upon him, because he was so much a friend to a retired way of living, that he was no enemy to popery,
66. And though it was bruited abroad, that I know not how many of his nieces had by their uncle's advice entered into a formal and solemn vow of perpetual virginity', which was reported only to
1 Above, 80, 81.
2 Above, 105.
brand him and them with the character of monkery and a nunnery (names odious and dishonourable in this country merely because of papal abuses among us heretofore, and still in our neighbour countries), yet this was so perfect a forgery, that I find him in some of his papers declaring himself against such vows of single life with such earnestness as I did not expect in him. Nay, when their reverend diocesan had declared himself, without anybody's seeking to him, ready to accept a vow (not absolute and unconditional, as it were in spite of heaven and hell, but) a vow of sincere endeavour, if God should continue to them the grace, in a single state to withstand the temptations of the world the flesh and the devil, the foremost of them all in any of their generous and religious undertakings was not forward to take any such engagement upon her, but kept the middle way betwixt vowing and slackness, arriving at that which St. Paul' calls stedfastness of heart and power over her own will. But as all (except two or three of them, who resolved to spend their lives in a severer retirement and mortification) were intended one day to be matched unto the clergy", so they were bred accordingly, with so many dictates given them and received by them relating to the duties of humility and obedience to their husbands, of industry and pure devotion, to keep their souls always on the wing,
1 1 Cor. vii. 37.
2 § 35.
that they were rare examples to all who lived in view of them.
67. His friends would often say, he knew them a good deal better than they knew themselves. If he conversed but a few days with any, that did not disguise themselves on purpose, he would see far into their dispositions and find how to work upon their passions; and then he would gently ply them with such effectual persuasives to better things, and would use such apt medicines to dissuade and reclaim them if they were out of the way, that, though minds are as different as bodies and several kinds of physic are as necessary for those as for these, yet, either in their temporal or in their spiritual affairs, he seldom failed in some measure to gain his point and his good ends upon them. Besides he was a man without fear in an honest cause and without any partial affection, and would not strain his conscience, though all the world might immediately be applied to heal it. In these he used, not the greatest and weightiest, but the most proper and effectual arguments that could be brought.
68. If any one attended him for his advice in a thing of moment (as he was the oracle of his friends), if the time and place would bear it, he would write down in brief the substance of what they propounded; then he would set down his answer, his advice and reasons, why he liked or disliked the proposition. He found by experience, delivering his mind in a short written note, especially to his country tenants, when they came to treat with him, saved a great deal of time, preventing impertinent talking and passions and misunderstandings.
69. And as for his letters of any consequence, though addressed to an ordinary friend, such was his extraordinary care and diligence, that he wrote out a copy of them and kept it by him. Such a master he was of insinuation for the good of souls, that he would scarce indite a letter, though a very short one, without something in it tending to promote the most excellent ends; and that with such a prudence and civility, besides weight and seriousness, as must needs be very obliging. He would usually say, the world was in a great errour in not taking the right way to do itself good by a diffusive charity; that it was our Saviour's proverb', 'Tis better to give than to receive, but that the devil was the author of the selfish proverb (in the sense 'tis commonly spoken), Charity begins at home.
70. Their alms, besides their charity upon casualties and at the door, were so much every day to poor housekeepers in the towns round about the lordship, who all were admitted into a lower room, whither Mr. Ferrar himself came to see them served, to administer ghostly as well as bodily comforts to them all, and to inquire who were sick in any of the neighbouring villages, that he might send to relieve them. As he had a singular dexterity in reproving, which he commonly did by telling
-1 Acts xx. 35.