« ForrigeFortsett »
But, for all these things, yet he never lost their love nor friendship one inch, but, having better considered of it, would merrily put it over and pass it off. He would never for love or fear, in a right matter and just thing, step one jot out of the way, to give way to a wrong business. His tutor Linsell would often say of him to the rest of the fellows, God keep Nick in a right mind and way; for if he should turn schismatic or heretic he would make work for all the world; such a head, such a heart, such prevalent arguments he hath, and such a ready tongue and pen, such a memory, with that indefatigable pains (for, said he, I think he is made up of industry), that I know not, who will be able to grapple with him. And what respect his tutor (who was since bishop of Peterborough and Hereford) carried towards him to his day of death, all men know. Who would profess solemnly, in all companies where he came, that N. F. was both a better scholar and abler divine, than he himself was; that since he came from travel, he never came from N. F.'s company but, before they parted, he learned some new, profitable, good thing, that he never before knew of; and would constantly affirm that, of all men he knew, he would have him to be his confessor, and then he should be a happy man in such a thing. It is true, he loved and honoured his tutor exceedingly, and bore great reverence to him; yet it was well known, that he never heard his tutor say or do amiss at any time, but he would, before they parted, in some sweet good way let him know his mind, which was commonly, in way of story'. And he would beg of his tutor and friends to tell him also in what he did amiss at any time. His tutor, when he saw him, towards the last seven years of his life, betake himself to so temperate a diet and sparing, to that fasting and watching, would pleasantly say to him: Nick, whither will you go? What example will you give us ? He would pleasantly reply: Nay, tutor, you are to answer to God for this. Why did you commend unto me, and made me (being so young at college, as I was) to read the lives of all the holy men of old time, and saints of God, the good fathers of the Church, and of those good men in our later times, even in the Church of England, the saints and holy martyrs ? Was it that I might only know the good things that they did ? and what was that to me, if you intended not, or that I should not endeavour to fit and frame my life, in all I could, by the assistance of Almighty God's good grace and Spirit, to do and to live as they did, as much as was in my poor power to do? The bishop would say: Nick, thou wilt ever be too hard for me, I must give you the bucklers?. God bless thee, God bless thee, and give thee a long life, to His further glory and good of His Church, and thy
i Cf. Jebb, $ 70.
2 “It goeth against his [the cock’s] stomach to yield the gauntlet and give the bucklers.”-Holland's Pliny, 279 (x. 21), cited with other examples by Steevens on Much ado about nothing, v. 2. Compare Nares's Glossary.
family, whom I see thou wilt never leave to do good to, for their spiritual and temporal happiness and welfare.
77. Dr. Francis White and Dr. Aug. Linsell (ut antea) one day talking of N. F. (the same doctor' which was lecturer at N. F.'s father's parishchurch) said of N. F. that whereas you and I and other scholars are, as I may say, like good tailors, we can take measure of a man, if he come to us and bring us cloth, and shall fit him well and cut it out for him. But N. F. I may compare to one of those Burchin-lane tailors”, that, go but into their shops, they will without delay find you a fitting suit of apparel, ready-made, for cloth and colour and trimming as you would have it, and to sit neatly on your back: he will never let you go, till you are contented in all kinds and fitted to your mind; for he hath that variety of choice apparel, as will please all that come to him at an instant.
78. About the second of November, 1637, being Friday, N. F. began to find some weakness and debility in his body, yet he went that morning to
1 i.e. White.
3 “It had not been amiss if we had gone to Burchen-lane first to have suited us; and yet it is a credit for a man of the sword to go thread-bare.” Royal King. Anc. Dr. vi. 235. “His discourse makes not his behaviour, but he buys it at court, as countrymen their clothes in Birchin-lane.” Overbury, Char. 17 of a fine Gent. (cited by Nares). See other passages in Cunningham's Handbook.
3 Friday was the third.
church and officiated as he used to do: but coming home, he sat himself down, and said, he was somewhat faint, but felt no pain in any part; but his friends about him demanding, how he found himself? said, he was faintish, and, there being a fire in the room, he there reposed himself, they having brought him some broth to drink, of which he took some. And when some said, they hoped in God's mercy it would pass away, he said, he thought, not 80. Then said he, send for Mr. Groose the minister of Great Gidding. Who when he came, he told him, he was glad to see him; and after some questions and answers about his health, N. F. said, he was to entreat him, that he would come now daily to Little Gidding and officiate for him. For, said he, that's my first care, that the service of my God be not one day neglected by those that can go to church. We owe much more than any our continual serving God; for His favours to us are above what we can express, and the performances of our dutiful thankfulness can have no end. I shall not, I know, be any more able to perform my duty to Him at church, but come, I pray you, daily, and perform there my part. (Which he did). After some discourse of sickness and mortality and of the joys of heaven, Mr. Groose took his leave, N. F. heartily praying him, to beg of God to fit him more and more every
1 Luke Gross of Gt. Gidding, clerk, is mentioned in the title deeds of the Gidding estate as having had tenure of a meadow in that estate.
hour for the good and happy honour, which he desired in God's good time to enjoy.
79. His friends' minds now began to be full of sorrow (as just cause they had) in regard of their own conditions, if God should take away such an instrument of their happiness. He, discerning their looks to be sad and thoughts troubled them, did in a comfortable manner use such exhortations to them, as he thought needful in such a case, and willed them with all patience to submit unto God's good will and pleasure, as he was resolved to do, knowing that the time of his life here was at an end. They told him that they hoped God would yet spare him for their future good. Well, said he, I will not forbid you to pray so, yet let me tell you, I am persuaded it will not be so, but my time is come. So some urging him, upon what reasons he seemed to be so confident of it? Well, said he, I shall, the more to satisfy you, tell you one. In all former sickness I have had a strong desire to live, and an earnestness to pray to my God to spare me, which He hath to this day done, when all hopes of life were past, by the judgements of the most skilful physicians, and, according to human opinion, impossible ; yet my fervent desires have continued to God to spare me, which He hath done, and, as they would say, in a miraculous manner was my life prolonged; and I may say it, to shew the infinite mercy and graciousness of my God, Who out of His mere goodness hath heard my prayers and granted me my request and given it me. And I may further say, to the glory of His great name,