Page images
PDF

I (oppose it would be superfluous to trouble you on those heads. However, give me leave not to be wholly silent upon this occasion: so extraordinary an example, in so degenerate an age, deserves for the rarity, and 1 was going to say, for the incredibility of it, the attestation of all that knew him, and considered his worth. The Christian world is a witness of lib great learning; that, the works he published would not suffer to be concealed: nor could his devotion and piety be hid, and be unobserved in a college where his constant and regular assisting at the cathedral service, never interrupted by sharpness of weather, and scarce restrained by downright want of health; shewed the temper and disposition of his mind. But his other virtues and excellent qualities, had so strong and close a covering of modesty and unaffected humility, that though they shone the brighter to those who had the opportunity to be more intimately acquainted with him, and eyes to discern and distinguish solidity from shew, aud «steem virtue that sought not reputation; yet they were the less taken notice and talked of by the generality of those to whom he was not wholly unknown. Not that he was at all close and reserved, but on the contrary, the readiest to communicate to any one that consulted linn. Indeed he was not forward to talk, nor ever would be the leading man in the discourse, though it were on a subject that he understood better than any of the company; and would often content himself to sit still and hear others debate, in matters which he himself was more a master of. He had often the silence of a learner, where he had the knowledge of a master: and that not with a design, as is often, that the ignorance any one betrayed, might give him the opportunity to display his own knowledge with the more lustre and advantage, to their shame; or censure them when they were gone. For these arts of triumph and ostentation, frequently practised by men of skill and ability, were utterly unknown to him; it was very seldom that he contradicted any one: or if it were necessary at any time to inform any one better, who was in a mistake, it was in so soft and gentle a manner, that it had nothing of the air of dispute or correction, and seemed to have little of opposition in it. I never heard him say any thing that put any one that was present the least out of countenance; nor ever censure, or so much as speak diminishingly of any one that was absent. He was a man of no irregular appetites; if he iodnlged auy one too much, it was that of study, which his wife would

often complain of (and, I think, not without reason) that a due consideration of his age and health could not make him abate. Though be was a man of the greatest temperance in himself, and the farthest from ostentation and vanity in bis way of living; yet he was of a liberal mind, and given to hospitality: which, considering (be smallness of his preferments, and the numerous family of children he had to provide for, might be thought to have out-done those who made more noise and shew. His name, which was in treat esteem beyond sea, and that deservedly, drew on him visits from all foreigners of learning, who came to Oxford to see that university. They never failed to be highly satisfied with his great knowledge and civility,which was not always without cxpence. Though at the restoration of King Chiirles, when preferment rained down upon some men's beads, his merits were so overlooked, or forgotten, that he was barely restored to what was his before, without receiving any new preferment then, or at any time after; yet I never beard him take any the least notice of it, or make the least complaint in a case that would have grated sorely on some men's patience, and have filled their months with murmuring, and their lives with discontent. But he was always unaffectedly cheerful; no marks of any thing that lay heavy at his heart for bis being neglected, ever broke from him. He was so far from having any displeasure lie concealed there, that whenever any expressions of dissatisfaction for what they thought hard usage broke from others in his presence, he always diverted the discourse: and if it were any body with whom he thought he might take that liberty, he silenced it with visible marks of dislike.

Though be was not, as I said, a forward, much less an assuming talker, yet he was the farthest in the world from sullen or morose. He would talk very freely, and very well of all parts of learning, besides that wherein he was known to excel. But this was not all; he could discourse very well of other things. He -was not unacquainted with the world, though he made no show of it. His backwardness to meddle in other people's matters, or to enter into debates, where names and |persons were brought upon the stage, and judgments and censures were hardly avoided, concealed his abilities in matters of business and conduct from most people. But yet I can truly say, that I knew not any one in that university, whom I would more willingly consult in any affair that required consideration, nor whose opinion I thought better worth the hearing than bis, if he could be drawn to enter into it, and give his advice.

Though in company he never used him»elf, nor willingly heard from others, any personal reflections on other men, though set off with a sharpness that usually tickles, and by most men is mistaken for the best, if not the only seasoning of pleasant conversation; yet he would often hear his part in innocent mirth, and by some apposite and diverting story, continue and heighten the good humour.

I know not whether you find amongst the papers of his, that are, as you say, put into your bands, any Arabic proverbs, translated by him. He has told me that he had a collection of 3000, as I remember; and that they were, for the most part, very good. He had, as he intimated, some thoughts of translating them, and adding some more, where they were necessary to dear any obscurities; but whether he ever did any thing in it before he died, I have not heard. Bnt to return to what I can call to mind, and recover of him.

I do not remember, that in all my conversation with bim, I ever saw him once angry, or to be so far provoked, as to change colonr or countenance, or tone of voice. Displeasing accidents and actions would sometimes occur; there is no help for that: but nothing of that kind moved bim, that I saw, to any passionate words; much less to chiding or clamour. His life appeared to mc one constant calm. How great his patience was in his long and dangerous lameness, (wherein there were very terrible and painful operations) yon have, no donbt, learnt from others. I happened to be absent from Oxford most of that time; but I have heard, and believe it, that it was suitable to the other parts of bis life. To conclude, I can say of him, what few men can say of any friend of theirs, nor I of any other of my acquaintance; that I do not remember I ever saw in bim any one action that I did, or could in my own mind blame, or thought amiss in him *.

* " As a country clergyman, he set himself, with his utmost diligence, to a conscientious performance of all the duties of his cure; labouring for the edification of those committed to his charge, with the zeal and application of a man, who thoroughly considered the value of immortal souls, and the account be was to give. He was, constant in preaching, performing that work twice every Lord's Day. And because the addition of catechizing, which he would not neglect, made this a burthen too heavy to

Sir, If I bad been put npon this task soon after his death, I might possibly have

be always borne by himself, he sometimes procured an assistant from Oxford, to preach in the afternoon. His sermons were so contrived by him, as to be most useful to the persons that were to bear them. For though such as he preached in the University were very elaborate, and full of critical and other learning; the discourses he delivered in his parish were plain and easy, having nothing in them which he conceived to be above the capacities even of the meanest of his auditors. He commonly began with an explanation of the text he made choice of, rendering the sense of it as obvious and intelligible as might be : then he noted whatever was contained in it relating to a good life; and recommended it to his hearers, with a great force of spiritual arguments, and all the motives which appeared most likely to prevail with them. And as he carefully avoided the shews and ostentation of learning, so he would not, by any hicans, indulge himself in the practice of those arts, which at that time were very common, and much admired by ordinary people. Such were distortions of the countenance and strange gestures, a violent and unnatural way of speaking, and affrcted words and phrases, which being out of the ordinary way, were therefore supposed to express somewhat very mysterious, and, in a high degree, spiritual. Though nobody could be more unwilling than he was to make people uneasy, if it was possible for him to avoid it, yet neither did his natural temper prevail with him, nor any other consideration tempt bim, to be silent, where reproof was necessary. With a courage, therefore, becoming an ambassador of Jesus Christ, he boldly declared against the sins of the times, warning those who were under his care, as against all profane and immoral practices, so against those schisms and divisions which were now breaking in upon the Church, and those seditions which aimed at the subversion of the State. His whole conversation too was one continued sermon, powerfully recommending to all that were acquainted with bim, the several duties of Christianity. For as be was "blameless and harmless, and without rebuke," so his unaffected piety, bis meekness and humility, his kind and obliging behaviour, and great readiness, upon every occasion, to do all the good he was capable of, made him shine as " a light in the world."

A minister that thus acquitted himself,

sent you a paper better furnished than this is, and with particulars fitter for your

one would think, should have met with much esteem, aud all imaginable good usage from his whole parish; but the matter was otherwise; he was one of those excellent persons, whom the brightest virtue hath not been able to secure from an evil treatment; yea, that upon account, even of what was highly valuable in them, have been contemned, reproached, and injuriously handled. Some few, indeed, of those under his care, had a just sense of his worth, and paid him all the respect that was due to it: but the behaviour of the greater number was such as could not but often much discompose and afflict him. His care not to amuse his hearers, with things which they could not understand, gave some of them occsaion to entertain very contemptible thoughts of his learning, and to speak of him accordingly. So that one of his Oxford friends, as he travelled through Childry, inquiring, for his diversion, of some people, who was their minister? and how they liked him? received from them this answer : " Our parson is one Mr. Pococke, a plain, honest man; but master," said they, «• he is no Latiner."— Life, by Dr. Twellt. "Should 1 begin," says Dr. Marsh, (some time ago Primate of Ireland) to speak any thing of the rare endowments of this admirable man (Dr. Pococke) with whom I had the honour to- be very intimately acquainted for many years, I should not be able to end his character under a volume: his rare learning appears in bis writings; his exemplary piety, meekness, self-denial, and candour, were visible to all that conversed with him; his patience and resignation to God's will were discernable to all who visited him in the time of his long aud painful sickness; and his profound humility was well known and admired by all his acquaintance."—From lite Same.

The following it the Inscription on Dr. Pococke'$ Monument in the Cathedral Church of Christ, at Oxford.

EDOARDUS POCOCKE, S. T. D.

(enjus si Noinen audias, nihil hie de Kama desideres)

Natus est Oxouise, Nov. 8. A. D. 1604.
Socius in Collegium Corpus-Christi cuoptatus 1628.
In Linguam Arabics Ijecturam Publice habendam
Primus est institutes, 1636.
Deinde etiam in Hehraicam Profes. Regio snecessit, 1648.
Desideratissimo Marito, Sept. 10, 1691.
in Caelum reverso,
MARIA BURDET,
Ex qua covenant suscepit sobolem, tumulum
banc interests posiiit.

purpose, to fill up the character of so good and extraordinary a man, and so exemplary a life. The esteem and honour I have still for him, would not suffer me to say nothing; though my decaying bad memory did ill second my desire to obey your commands. Pray accept this, as a mark of my willingness, and believe that I am,

Your most humble servant,

John Locke.

LETTER II.

Oates, 23 July, 1703. Silt,—I cannot hut think myself beholden to any occasion that procures me the honour of a letter from you. I return my acknowledgments for those great expressions of civility and marks of friendship I received in your's of the eighth instant; and wish I had the opportunity to shew the esteem I have of your merit, and the sense of your kindness to me, in any real service. The desire of your friend in the inclosed letter you sent me, is what of myself I am inclined to satisfy: and am only sorry, that so copious a subject has lost, in my bad memory, so much of what heretofore I could have said, concerning that great and good man, of whom he inquires. Time, I daily find, blots out apace the little stock of my mind, and lias diaabled me from furnishing all that I would willingly contribute to the memory of that learned man. But give me leave to assure you, that I have not known a fitter person than he, to be preserved as an example, and proposed to the imitation of men of letters. I therefore wish well to your friend's design, though my mite be all I have been able to contribute to it. I wish you all happiness, and am, with a very particular respect,

Sir,
Your most humble servant,
John Lock*.

MISCELLANEOUS.

Preface by Bishop Pearson, to Dr. Daniel Stokes's Commentary on the twelve Minor Prophets. 1659.

If the eunuch in the Acts, having a prophet in his band, and being asked this question, Understandest thou what thou readest? could give no better answer than that, How can I, except some man should guide me? If this were the best account which could there be given where the original language was familiarly understood; what need of an interpreter must they have, who, far distant both intimeaud place, can read the Prophets in no other than their mother language, and that most different from the tongue in which those holy authors wrote? As therefore the generality of Christians could not read the scriptures at all, except they were first translated, so when they are, many parts of them cannot yet be understood until they be interpreted. And, as of all the holy writers the Prophets are confessedly most obscure, so amongst them the smallest must necessarily be most intricate: brevity always causing some obscurity. - Now, though there be many commentators which have copiously written on the Prophets: ye we shall not find that light which might be expected from them, because some have undertaken to expound those oracles, being themselves either altogether ignorant of their language, or very little versed in it. Others enlarge themselves by way of doctrines or common-place, which may belong as well to any authors as to those to which they are applied. Wherefore if any man hath really a desire to understand the scriptures, I commend him unto those interpreters, whose expositions are literal, searching and declaring the proprieties of the speech of the author, and the scope and aim which he that wrote had in the writing of it.

Of these literal interpreters, useful to all Readers, those are most advantageous to the unlearned, who contrive their expositions by way of paraphrase, and so make the author speak his own sense plainly, and perspicuously; which is the greatest life that can be given unto any writing originally obscure. For if the interpreter truly understand the mind of the author, then without any trouble or circumlocution it becomes the same thing as if the writer had clearly at first expressed himself. And therefore proportionably to our opinion of the knowledge of the Paraphrase, we

may rely npon the understanding of the author.

Thus in these smaller Prophets acknowledged by all, especiuliy by such as know most, to be obscure, that interpreter which shall be able to deliver their mind, and contrive the same as if it proceeded immediately from themselves, must necessarily be confessed the best expositor. And no man can be able to perform this but he which is exactly knowing of all the idioms of the Hebrew tongue, and familiarly acquainted with, and constantly versed in the Prophets themselves, and the writings of the Jews.

Now Bitch a person as this is, bath taken the pains to benefit the church of God with a paraphrase of this nature— the reverend and learned Dr. Stokes, who hath from the happy beginning of bis studies been known most industriously to have prosecuted that of the Oriental Languages, and hath for more than forty years constantly made remarks npon the Hebrew text, from which he hath raised unto himself a body of critical observations ready and most fit for public view. Amongst many advantages accruing especially to the understanding of the scriptures, he bath made choice to publish this paraphrase of tiic small Prophets: a work of more real than seeming value. Which I cannot sufficiently commend to the reader, neither in respect of itself (it is of so great use and benefit), nor in reference to his other works, which we may hope to see according to the entertaiumeut given to this. And that (Christian reader) he desires may be found correspondent to the desert thereof; who is the author's Most affectionate friend, but in this more thine,

John Pearson.

To the Editor of the Remembrancer,

Sir,

Actuated alone by pure and con. scientious motives, as a Minister of the Church of England, I beg leave most respectfully to call your notice to a subject, which has lately much engaged my attention. Truly happy shull I be, if any of your learned and numerous Correspond* ents will condescend to favour roe with their candid and unreserved opinion on it

If we consult the Rubric prefixed to the Office for the Administration of the Lord's Supper, or Holy Communion, we may observe, that the Curate is expressly enjoined not to suffer " any one who is an open and notorious liver to presume to come to the Lord's table, until he hath declared himself to have truly repented and amended his former naughty life, that the congregation may thereby be satisJied, which before were offended." Provided, " that every Minister so repelling any, as is specified in this Rubric, shall be obliged to give an account of the same to the Ordinary within fourteen days after at the farthest,"

Thus saith the Rubric, whereby • it evidently appears, that the command given to the Curate, or officiating Minister, is of an imperative nature. To any Minister whatever, the rejection of a person from bis appearing at the Lord's table must be distressing, and truly painful to his feelings. But there are some cases, particularly those of murder, in which the Minister finds himself involved in much difficulty; for his humanity and compassion for the condemned criminal will induce him not to refuse the Holy Sacrament to him, previous to his falling a victim to the violated and offended laws of his country. But can the murderer be said to be filled with contrition and truly penitent, merely by confessing his guilt, and acknowledging the justice of his sentence? Very little reliance is surely to be placed on the sincerity of this man's repentance. On the contrary, I am of opinion, that it may more properly be called attrition, arising from the dread of punishment only. But would not the Minister, without being unjustly charged with want of feeling and humanity, be fully justified, and act a conscientious part, if he refuses to administer the Holy Sacrament to the wretched murderer, unless he discloses the whole of the horrid

transaction in which he was concerned, and deliver up the names of all his wicked associates, so that they may be detected and brought to justice? However, should the worthy Clergyman be involved in doubt how to act consistently with his duty, and his own conscience, would it not be prudent, would it not shew that he was conimendably cautious, in hesitating to administer the Holy Sacrament till he had time to consult with his Diocesan on this important subject? I think, that his mind would then be more at ease, and that he would tread on safer and surer ground.

By many condemned criminals, I am afraid, that the Holy Sacrament is by them taken under the Roman Cathojic idea of a passport into heaven, and that it will inspire them with manly fortitude at the awful and agonizing moment of their execution. If credit is to be given to reports in our public papers of the behaviour of some criminals of late, it is evident that they made no full confession of their guilt. Their chief object seems to have been to act the part of hardened bravery, and shew a courage more worthy of a better cause; and in this, I am sorry to think, they are frequently confirmed and strengthened by the delusive advice and consolation of the enthusiast and evangelical preacher. I remain respectfully,

Sir,
Your humble Servant,

Candidus.

To the Editor of the Remembrancer. Sir,

I Have lately had the good fortune to see the copy of Henry the VIH.'s Book on the Seven Sacraments, presented by the King to Archbishop Cranmer, containing his name "Thomas Cantuariefi," and marginal notes in the Archbishop's own hand-writing. These latter are

« PreviousContinue »