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Christian Magazine, I have been compelled to derive my knowledge of this life from the Brief Memoirs of Nicholas Ferrar, M.A. and fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge, founder of a protestant religious establishment at Little Gidding, Huntingdonshire; collected from a narrative by the right reverend Dr. Turner, formerly bishop of Ely; now edited with additions and biographical notices of some of Mr. Ferrar's contemporaries. By a clergyman of the established church. Bristol, Chilcott, 1829. 12mo. Again in 1837 appeared Brief memoirs of Nicholas Ferrar, M.A. founder &c. Chiefly collected from a narrative by the right rev. Dr. Turner, formerly lord bishop of Ely. And now edited, with additions, by the Rev. T. Macdonogh, vicar of Bovingdon. Second edition. London, Nisbet.
These editions are burdened with unnecessary reflections, and no less unnecessary accessions of well known facts. Turner's memoir may be read in a better form in the second life printed above. This is now in the possession of the Rev. Dan. John Hopkins, vicar of Hartford near Huntingdon, grandson to Wm. Robinson, “rector of Hammerton, Hunts. 1743,” a laborious but forgotten scholar, who was also rector of Gidding, where he copied out the older entries (beginning with N. F.'s burial) from the original parish registers now lost. Mr. Hopkins has many of his grandfather's MSS., all most correctly written in a small neat hand, paper the time resting on the knee.” In the same volume with the memoir are several curious papers, e.g. the correspondence between the nonjurors and the eastern patriarchs. I have called it Life of N. F. by Dr. Jebb, after the heading of the MS. which states that it came by a member of the Cotton family (whose seat is in the county) from Dr. Jebb; who Dr. Jebb was I have not yet ascertained there was a nonjuror of the
What is certain is that the life is in substance and generally in expression, Turner's. If partiality do not deceive me, it yields to few English biographies in vigour of style or interest of subject, and seems well adapted for general circulation in a cheap form ; I throw out the hint, in the hope
that it may meet the eye of some influential member of the Christian Knowledge Society.
3. The Collett Letters, 153 in number, written chiefly by Mrs. Collett, between the years 1600 and 16451. These are well and forcibly expressed, often applying proverbs and metaphors with great effect. The advice given is judicious and kindly administered ; strong affection and deep religious earnestness pervade every line. They are preserved (in a hand of the latter part of the 17th or beginning of the 18th century) in a small 4to volume, now in the possession of Samuel Buckle Esq. of Leamington, by whom, through the kind offices of Mr. Hopkinson, I was liberally allowed to make a transcript of the whole. Some five and twenty years ago an old house in Midgate Street, Peterborough, was pulled down : the workmen, knowing Mr. Buckle to be “a curious gentleman,” brought him some papers, which they had found in a recess in the wall: these turned out to be the Collett letters together with a transcript in a different hand) of Fuller's Holy and Profane State, of which Peckard had a copy (Wordsw. Eccl. Biogr. iv. 183, 184). Other papers were destroyed as rubbish.
Lenton's letter to sir Thos. Hetley. See it together with the explanatory note to John Ferrar in the preface. This has been several times printed in the editions of Hearne's Caius and Langtoft, in Peckard, and in the four editions of Wordsw. Eccl. Biogr. 2
5. Oley's Preface to Herbert's Country Parson.
I see a list of these letters below.
2 MSS. copies in Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 5506. fol. 157, Harl. 4845, art. 1, Lansd. 209, art. 3, 213. art. 29.
3 Hacket’s account of the restoration of glebe by the Ferrars, Kennett:(Of Impropriations, 237 n.) thus characterizes : "though not strictly true in every circumstance, it is so in the substance of it.”
4 Walton's errors are noticed by Hearne (Caius, 689) and Peckard (Pref.
9. The king's visit to Gidding (Rushworth, ii. 178. See below).
Account of N. F.'s first years : from a paper MS. of Dr. Worthington's1 (Hearne's Caius, 684 seq.).
Wills of Nicholas and Mary Ferrar, the father and mother. See below.
Funeral certificate of N. F. the father (Hearne's Caius, 683).
13. Letters of John Ferrar to Dr. Basire, (ib. 697 seq.)
14. Concordances of various parts of scripture, three of which are in the British Museum, and one at St. John's College, Oxford. See below. The concordance to the evangelists, which N. F. presented to Susanna Mapletoft", was in the possession of Dr. John Mapletoft's great-nephew, Mr.
I "Whence my father transcribed this paper I cannot imagine, unless from a funeral sermon, or a little book entitled A token for Children ; which was printed, I think, not long before my father's death.” Mr. John Worthington in a letter to me dated 11 Nov. 1735 (Note by Peck in Middle Hill MS. 9527. Peck suggests that the paper may be Dr. Robert Mapletoft's).
2 Referred to in the following notes (Peckard, 273, 274): “Mr. Nicholas Ferrar to his married niece Mrs. Susanna Mapletoft.
“My dear and worthy niece, The equal joy and benefit which I have in and by you, make me as gladly give you my part, as your sisters have done theirs, of this book, and to add my farther promise (which their joint consent doth ratify) that, of every good thing which God shall impart to us, you shall have as free and liberal a communication as we can possibly make you; which not only our love, but your own desert binds us to, whilst you continue (what you are by the performance of your duty) the great comfort and ornament of our family. God make you to encrease in all his graces and blessings. Amen!"
N. Ferrar.” “In the Harmony was this memorandum. *This book was presented by my great grandmother, by my honoured mothers two sisters (the daughters of John and Susanna Collett and by their uncle Nicholas Ferrar (who was my godfather) to my ever honoured mother Susanna Mapletoft, the same year in which I was born (1631). And I desire my son (to whom I do give it, with the great Concordance, and other story books) that it may be preserved in the family as long as may be.
Heming of Hillingden. (J. H. M. [Mr. Markland of Bath] in Notes and Queries, ii. 445).
15. The maiden-sisters' exercises. Conversations repeated during Christmas-tide and other holy seasons ; each was intended to enforce both by argument and by example some lesson of virtue. The matter certainly, and probably to some extent the form of the various arguments and stories, were derived from N. F. Some of these may be seen in Hearne's Caius, 713—794 ; or, in a more complete form, together with many unknown to Hearne, in the Middle Hill MS. 9527 ; which comprises, amongst other things, what remains of “J. H. S. Ascetic conversations interspersed with sundry admirable examples and tales in honour of virtue and piety ; as discoursed and related (in the times of k. Ch. I.) in the sisters' chamber by the seven virgin ladies and others of the first and second combination1 of the religious academy at Little Gidding in Huntingdonshire : first drawn up for their use by their Visitor, the pious Mr. Nicholas Ferrar, Gent., and now collated with several manuscript copies and revised throughout by Francis Peck, M.A. rector of Godeby near Melton in Leicestershire. Ecclus. vi. 35. Vol. I.2 The volume has the book-plate and arms of “ John Broadley.” Extracts will be given below.
This is explained by a scrap which has been preserved near the beginning of the MS. volume. “... [at first] four, but afterwards all the seven daughters of Mr. John Collett. ... The sisters of the first combination, as they were called, were four, who were thus named : 1. The Chief, that is, the lady abbess or prioress ; her name was Mary Collett, alias Ferrar, the eldest daughter of Mr. John Collett. 2. The Patient; her name was Anne Colleti, alias Ferrar, the second daughter of Mr. John Collett. 3. The Cheerful ; her name was ... the third daughter of Mr. John Collett. 4. The Affectionate ; her name was... the fourth daughter of Mr. John Collett.”
The first introduction. The first conversation, as discoursed on Ash-Wednesday, 1630. 1. That it is the utmost folly to procrastinate in the point of repentance : Pyrrhus and Cineas.
16. Portrait of Nicholas Ferrar the father, by Cornelius Janssen. One, doubtless an original, is in the possession of
2. That we ought never to defer doing justice to any one, when it is in our power to perform it : Trajan and the widow.
3. That we ought to do as much as we can for the poor, whilst we are yet well and in health, and not leave it to be done when we come to die : a great lady (called the lady of the light) and her son the bishop.
4. That errors are often multiplied by pretending to excuse them: the penny or the blemished traveller.
The second introduction.
5. That everything which this world affords is vanity: the last words and death of king Philip III. of Spain.
6. That true joy is here nowhere else to be found but in God's service: strange forebodings which (even in the midst of the highest worldly delights) king Henry IV. of France had of his own death, and of his thereupon retiring often to prayer.
7. The same : the epitaph of Pope Adrian VI, and the discourse of Pope Marcellus II.
Part of the third conversation as discoursed on Easter Tuesday, 1631.
8. That humility toward God is highly becom ng every one : first story of the Emperor Charles V.
9. That moderation towards our equals and our enemies is likewise very beautiful : second story of the Emperor Charles V.
10. That the patient bearing of provocations is one of the greatest ornaments of a Christian : story of the emperor Charles. Part of the fourth conversation as discoursed on Wednesday in Easter
Week, 1631. 11. That charity and equanimity adorn both sexes : Mary, Queen of Hungary, and her brother the Emperor Charles V. Part of the fifth conversation as discoursed on St. Stephen's day,
26 Dec, 1631. 12. That no man can be a true Christian, who cannot forgive injuries : Sapritius and Nicephorus.
13. That the desire of revenge is the cause of anger : father Sisois and the stranger.
14. That meekness is the very badge of a Christian : Macarius and the idolatrous priest.
15. That we must overcome evil with good : John the patriarch of Alexandria and the vintner.
16. The same: king Henry IV. of France and the assassin. 17. The same : king Alphonso XI, of Castile and the Moorish soldier.