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as they sat not long at them. It was not by fits, but by constancy, that they subdued their bodies by sobriety. Their bread was coarse, their drink small, and of ill relish to the taste: that it was sure they strived for nothing, that a dainty appetite might long for: as alms and fasting were frequent with them, so prayers and watching, with reading and singing psalms, were continually in their practice. Note the word continually : for there was no intermission, day nor night. Four times every day they offered up their supplications to God, twice in the words of the Common-Prayer in the church : twice in their family, with several petitions for their own needs, and for such as desired, upon some special occasions, to be remembered by them to God. At all times one, or more, by their constitutions were drawn aside to some private holy exercise. By night they kept watch in the house of the Lord, and two by turns did supply the office for the rest, from whence they departed not till the morning. Their scope was to be ready like wise virgins with oil in their lamps, when the bridegroom came. This was the hardest part of their discipline, that they kept sentinel at all hours and seasons, to expect the second coming of the Lord Jesus. Archbishop Spotswood tells us of the like, Anno 510, p. 11.
That St. Mungo founded a monastery in Wales, and took order that the monks had day and night divided among them, one company succeeding another: so that there were some always in the church praying, and praising God. In which, and in all the rest, what was there offensive ? Nay, what not to be admired ? To leave it off, or to lessen it for the girds of lavish tongues, were like the man in the Dutch epigram, that would eat nothing but spoon-meat for fear of wearing out his teeth. God be glorified for such, whose prayers were powerful and incessant to pierce the heavens. The whole land was the better for their sanctity. They fasted, that famine might not be inflicted upon our common gluttony. They abridged themselves of all pleasures, that vengeance might not come down upon the voluptuousness of this riotous age. They kept their vigils all night, that the day of the Lord might not come upon us
like a thief unawares, that sleep in security. The whole world was the better for their contempt of the world. As Philostratus says of the Hylobii, [of the Brachmanes. Apoll. iii.,15. $ 1], οικούντες επί της γης, ουχ απ' αυτής. They were in the world, not of the world. All their practice was heavenly; a great deal of it had some singularity, by the custom of our corrupt ways, who do not strive to enter in at the strait gate, to come to blessedness.
The fame of the dispensations of this worthy family, the further it was heard abroad, the more it sounded like popery. Envy or ignorance could guess no better at it, but that it was a casa professa, a convent packed together of some superstitious order beyond seas, or a nunnery, and that the sufferance of it looked towards a change in religion. After the sentence of Sallust(C.7. $2), ‘Boni quam mali suspectiores sunt: semperque aliena virtus formidolosa est,' a crew of bawds and gamesters might have set up a standing with less prejudice than these devotionaries. But God help us, if the best Protestants (for these may be called so) do look like papists. Had they been hired with gold, that so mistook them, they could not have done more credit and honour to our adversaries. Speak sir Censurer, we the true children of the Church of England, were we not, without departing from our own station, capable of mortification ? of vowing ourselves to God? of renouncing the world ? of fasting ? of vigils ? of prayer limited to canons, and hours, as any that say, and do not, that call themselves from St. Basil, St. Bennet, or such other institution ? Not our reformation, but our slothfulness doth indispose us, that we let others run faster than we, in temperance, in chastity, in scleragogy, as it was called. The diocesan, and their neighbour to this family in a few miles, was ashamed at these scandals, which he knew to be spiteful and temerarious. He knew the occurrences of his precincts; as Apelles was wont to sit behind the pictures hung up in his shop, to hear what passengers that went to and fro did approve, or discommend. These were known to the bishop by right information, from the time that they sealed a charter among themselves, as it
were, to be constant and regular in their spiritual discipline.”Hacket's Life of Williams, ii. 50, 51. Page 69. line 1. then. the. MS.
“But their heavenly-mindedness was best discovered to him, when two sons of Mrs. Farrar, the mother and matron of the household, treated with the bishop, to endow the church with the tithes, which had been impropriated: this was in Sept. 1633, as appears by a smack of that which fell from the pen of the donor, as followeth : 'Right reverend father in God,
The expectation of opportunities, having some years wheeled me off from the performance of this business, I now think it necessary to break through all impediments, and humbly to present to your lordship the desires and the intentions of my heart. Beseeching you on God's behalf, to take them into your fatherly consideration, and to give a speedy accomplishment to them, by the direction of your wisdom, and the assistance of your authority.'
The rest is too much to be rehearsed, save a little of her prayer to God in the end of the papers.
‘Be graciously pleased, Lord, now to accept from Thy handmaid the restitution of that which hath been unduly heretofore taken from Thy ministers. And as an earnest and pledge of the total resignation of herself, and hers to Thy service, vouchsafe to receive to the use of Thy church this small portion of that large estate, which Thou hast bestowed upon her, the unworthiest of Thy servants. Lord redeem Thy right, whereof Thou hast been too long disseized by the world, both in the possessions, and in the person of Thy handmaid. And let this outward seizure of earth be accompanied with an inward surprisal of the heart and spirit into Thine own hands : so that the restorer, as well as that which is restored, may become and be confirmed Thine inheritance, &c.'
The bishop prayed to God that many such customers might come to him: 80 commended her free-will offering to God, and confirmed it. To make them some amends for their liberality to the church, he devised how to give them reputation against
all detraction. Therefore in the spring that came after, he gave them warning on what Sunday he would preach in their church: whither an extreme press of people resorted from all the towns that heard of it. In his sermon he insisted most what it was to die unto the world: that the righteous should scarce be saved: that our right eye, and our right hand, and all our fleshly contentments must be cut off, that we may enter into life. All tended to approve the dutiful and severe life of the Farrars, and of the church that was in their house. After sermon the bishop took their invitation to dine with them. But they were so strict to keep that day holy, that they left not a servant at home to provide for the table. Yet it was handsomely furnished with that which was boiled, and baked, that required no attendance, to stay any one from church to look to it. By this visit the bishop had the means to see their
way of serving God; to know the soundness of doctrine which they maintained, to read their rules which they had drawn up for fasts, and vigils, and large distributions of alms : in which he bade them proceed in the name of God, and gave them his blessing at his departing. From thenceforth these faithful ones flourished in good opinion.”—Hacket, ii. 51, 52.
In Middle Hill MS. 6803. art. 38. is a “Case for Mr. Morris's opinion,” from the MSS. of “Jno. Caley, Grey's Inn.” Here it is said that Gidding appears by a survey taken in pursuance of an act of 26 H. VIII, to have belonged to a religious house, then to have been vested in the crown, and by it granted to lay persons. When the Ferrars1 wished to restore the church to its proper use, they had “an information filed against them by the Attorney General, to shew cause why the king should not present by way of lapse, the church be repaired, and rectory endowed.” They submitted”, and set
i The MS. wrongly says that they bought Gidding late in Elizabeth's or early in James's reign.
2 Neither the information nor answer could be found, so that the whole case is rather uncertain.
out a glebe of 301 acres, and charged their estate with £20 a year by way of tithes.
Since then the king had presented to the living and £20 a year only paid as tithes; this was stated in the purchase deeds, and during Arthur Annesley's ownership £20 only had been claimed (1767—1791). Mr. Clough, a new incumbent, had demanded tithes in kind.
Page 72. n. 2. See Lenton's letter in the preface.
Page 74. line 1. 1641. 164. MS. See however Articles to be enquired of within the diocese of Lincoln, in the generall and trienniall Visitation of the right Reverend Father in God, John, by God's providence, Lord Bishop of Lincoln, to be held in the year of our Lord God 1641. London. Printed by M. F. 1641. 4to. King's pamphlets, Brit. Mus. Page 77. line 10. bolder. more bolder. MS.
n. proba. read probra. Page 78. line 2. that this gentleman. this g. that. MS.
Page 80. $ 68. From [His answer-&c.] is Baker's summary.
Page 82. last line. on. by. MS.
Woodnoth’s son Ralph was educated at Gidding. He seems to be alluded to by the Cheerful in the eighth Conversation (Circumcision, 1632. Middle Hill MS. 9527). “I have a story very suitable to that holy calling which he [our good cousin and guest] intends, and which I presume may be very useful both to him and other such young persons in these corrupt times.”
Page 85. line 12. requested. required. MS.
last but one. of which. which. MS. Page 89. line 15. it was. was. MS.
6 from foot. friends. now friends. MS.
1 An exaggeration : see Jebb, § 59 with Robinson's note. The larger glebe is now nearly 18, the smaller, near 6 acres. The tithe commutation is now £135. The statement about the purchase deeds is false.