« ZurückWeiter »
let the Church suffer by his negligence, that he got the Bishoprick of Westminster to be re-united to the see of London, and so many other valuable manors, that the advantage of the exchange was considerably on his side.
And now it might reasonably have been expected, that no more attempts of this nature would have been made upon him, after so ill success in this. And yet, at the instance of one William Thomas, a clerk of the council, he was called before them, and importuned to make over one of his best prebends to this Thomas and his heirs for ever. This is that William Thomas, who in the following reign, was condemned for attempting to assassinate Queen Mary, and to avoid the shame of a public execution, stabbed himself in prison ; but his wounds not proving fatal, he was hanged, drawn, and quartered at Ty. burn. Bishop Ridley made a vigorous opposition to that unreasonable request; and though he was used in a very rough and angry manner by the council, yet he could not be persuaded to comply any farther with their demands, than barely to promise, that whenever it should chance to be vacant, he would not dispose of it without first acquainting the King. When the prebend was vacant, Bishop Ridley, had a mind to bestow it on Mr. Grindall, who was afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, then one of his chaplains. But it was not long before he received a letter from the council informing him, that they intended to apply the profits of it to the furnitureof the King'stables. This most shocking and detestable impiety and sacrilege pierced the good Bishop to the heart, and he forth with dispatched a letter to Sir John Cheke, the King's preceptor; in which, with a pious zeal, he expostulated against so heinous a wickedness, set before him the ill consequences of such scandalous proceedings, and the great reproach they would derive on the whole reformation; and begged him, for God's sake, to speak in God's cause, and to prevent this, and all other such pernicious counsels from taking effect. After this he never had any further trouble of the like nature.
Bishop Ridley, being settled at Fulham, employed all the time which remained after the discharge of the important duties of his high function, in the studies of religion, and the instruction of his domestics. As soon as he was up in the morning, he employed near an hour in his closet, in prayer and meditation ; then he betook himself to his studies till ten ; at which hour, the public service for the morning was always read in his family. When prayers were ended he used to read them a lecture on some part of the New Testament, beginning at the Acts of the Apostles, and so going on through all St. Paul's epistles. He also used often to expound to his servants the hundred and first psalm, and thence to admonish them what they ought to be, and what he expected from all who continued in his service; and on such of them as could read, he bestowed New-Testaments, hiring them to get some of the principal chapters by heart. When his lectures were ended, he went to dinner; and within an hour after that, returned to his study: where he continued, unless called away by business, till five, the usual hour for afternoon ser. wice. When that was finished, he supped; an hour after he return
ed the third time to his studies; and at eleven, as soon as he had performed his private devotions, he retired to rest. This was his constant way of living; and his family was so well ordered that it seemed a nursery of piety and virtue, and an exemplary pattern of religion, sobriety and industry, to all whom they conversed with.
In June, this year, Bishop Ridley visited his diocese, and made a strict enquiry into the lives and conversation, the regularity and sound doctrine of his clergy; and also, whether they resided on their cures, and kept their chancels and parsonage houses in good repair. He inquired farther of all unlawful conventicles of Anabaptists, and other enemies of the Church ; of all opposition to the Book of Common Prayer ; of marriages within the prohibited degrees; of the neglect of catechising, the observing Popish super. stitions, and the abuse of charitable legacies : he took great pains to rectify every thing which he found amiss, and to suppress all re, mains of the Popish ceremonies and fooleries.
He had not long before, received a letter in the King's name, en joining him to see that all altars in his diocese were taken away, and tables put in their room: and believing that this might be a very serviceable expedient towards bringing the people off from the Po pish notions of the corporeal presence, and propitiatory oblation of the natural body and blood of Christ, for the sins of the dead and living; he complied with this order without the least reluctance. And afterwards, when a contest arose concerning the form of the Lord's board, whether it should be made in resemblance of an altar, pr like a table, he declared for the latter form, and gave a precedent of it in his own Cathedral of St. Paul's.
In September, 1552, being at his house at Hadham, in Hertfordshire, he went to wait on the Lady Mary, who was then at Hunsden, about two miles off; and offered his service to preach before her the next Sunday. At this her countenance changed, and she continued silent for some time: and when at last she had recovered herself, she told him, that the doors of the parish Church should be open, and he might preach if he pleased; but, neither herself nor any of her family would come to hear him. The Bishop replied, “ I hope madam, you will not refuse to hear God's word," "I cannot tell,” answered she, “ what it is which you call God's word: that is not God's word now, that was God's word in my father's day."
“ The word of God," replied the Bishop, is the same in all times; but it is now better understood and practised, than in some former ages." At this time she few into an immoderate passion; and told him, with a great deal of warmth, “ You durst not for your life have vouched that to be God's word in my father's days, which you now preach; and as for your new books, I thank God I never read any of them, nor ever will." She added a great many bitter reproaches on the reformed Church of England, and on the laws made in her broth, er's minority: and said, “ she did not think herself bound to obey shem, till the King was of age and enjoined her.” After this, she asked the Bishop, if he was one of the privy-council; and he an. swering in the negative, she replied, " you might well enough, as she
council goes now." And then she took her leave in this manner, « My Lord, for your kindness in coming to see me, I thank you: but for your offering to preach before me, I give you no thanks at all.” Then the Bishop was conducted into the hall, and desired to drink; which he had no sooner done, but he immediately corrected himself, and with great concern cried out, “ surely I have done amiss, for I have drank in that place where God's word hath been rejected; whereas, if I had remembered my duty, I ought to have departed instantly, and to have shaken off the dust of my shoes, for a testimony against this house." These words he uttered with such vehemence, that some of the hearers afterwards confessed, that their hair stood upright on their heads through terror. The Bishop returned home very melancholy; and from this interview seems to have contracted such a prejudice against the princess, as made him, afterwards concur the more readily with the measures taken for her exclusion.
[To be continued.]
AN ESSAY ON THE NATURE OF THE HUMAN BODY:
[Continued from page 354.] COME we now to the Israelitish and Judaical nation, where we shall find some strong and pointed proofs of that singular respect and veneration shewn to the bodies of mankind after death ; of that natural and commendable desire, which people entertain for being buried in the sepulchre of their ancestors, or in that of some dear friend ; and of the want of burial denounced against wicked men as a curse and heavy judgment upon em, even after death: which last particular must strengthen the argument greatly.
With what a strong affection, backed by a solemn imprecation upon herself, does Ruth declare her resolution, that even death itself should not wholly make a separation between her and Naomi; for that she would be buried in the same grave with her? Where thou diest will I die, and there will I be buried; the Lord do 80 to me, and more also, if, ought but death part thee and me-chap. i. 17.
Lest all other reasons should not prevail, how earnestly does good old Barzillai beseech King David not to press him to go further; but suffer him to enjoy that which all mankind, particularly old men, naturally desire; to die in the place where they have lived; and to be buried with their ancestors? And that there might be no appearance of rudeness in refusing the King's gracious offer he requests him to translate his kindness to his son, and bestow upon him what he pleased. The loyalty and affection which the old father shews to David, is truly admirable. He adhered to him in his lowest estate, and provided him and his army with sustenance; yet now refuses any other recompense of his great and faithful services, but the pleasure and satisfaction of having done his duty. He only begs leave to retire, that he may die at home. Let thy servant, I pray thee, turn back again, that I may die in my own city, and be buried by the grave of my father and my mother; but bchold thy servant Chimham, let him go over with my lord the king, and do unto him what shall secm good unto thee 2 Sam. xix. 37.
Rizpah is a remarkable instance of maternal affection and reverence for the dead; her love for her children continues the same even after death. Their bodies, which are now no more than the miserable remains of a shameful death, yet are guarded with the same watchful care, as she had expressed towards them in life. How notable, and well worthy of imitation is the example! Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest, until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.-2. Sam. xxi. 10.
Moreover, when David heard of the pious respects of Rizpah, towards the dead, he was not only pleased with the action, but thought it an example worthy of imitation. Therefore, he gave directions for taking the bones of Saul and Jonathan, as well as the bones of them that were hanged, and burying them in the sepulchre of their ancestors. And by the immediate remark which follows, that, Aj. ter this God was entreated for the land, it seems plainly intimated to us, that God approved these honors that were done to the dead: That therefore the place and manner of our burial is not so wholly indifferent, as our modern sceptics pretend. The light of grace, as well as nature, shews, in this instance, and likewise in that of Ja. cob, Joseph and others, as already represented, that to be buried near our friends, yea, to be decently buried, is a thing lawfully desirable ; and that an honourable interment is a real act of kindness to the dead, and highly acceptable unto God. And it was told David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, Saul's concubine, had done, And David went and took the bones of Saul, and the bones of Jonathan, his son, from the men of Jabesh-gilead, who had stolen them from the street of Beth shan, where the Philistines had hanged them, when the Philistines had slain Saul in Gilboa. Arid he brought up from thence the bones of Saul, and ihe bones of Jonathan his son: and they gather. ed the bonçs of them that were hanged. And the bones of Saul and Jonathan, his son, buried they in the country of Benjamin in Zelah, in the sepulchre of Kish his father; and they performed all that the King commanded : and after that God was entreated for the land.—%. Sam. xxi. 11, 12, 13, 14.
An old seducer of a prophet could manifest so much faith and courage, as to fetch the carcase of the prophet, whom he had deceived, from the lion; so much piety and compassion, as to weep for the man of God, and to inter him in his own sepulchre ; so much love as to wish himself joined in death to that body, whose death he had procured; for few men are so absolutely wicked, as not to shew some marks of grace, some tokens of humanity. And he went and found his carcase cast in the way, and the ass and the lion standing by the carcase : the lion had not eaten the carcase, nor torn the
And the prophet took up the carcase of the man of God, and laid it upon the ass, and brought it back: and the old prophet came to the city to mourn, and to bury him. Aud he laid his carcase in his own grave, and they mourned over him, saying, alas any brother. And it came to pass after he had buried him, that he spake to his sons, saying,
When I am dead, then bury me in the sepulchre, wherein the man of God is buried ; lay my bones beside his bones.--1. Kings xiii. 28, 29, 30, 31.
The impious Jehu, though he had given orders for the casting down of Jezebel, out of her own window, into the street, and had trampled her under foot with his horses, yet he likewise gives orders to go and take care of the body of this cursed woman, and to see it decently buried, as she was a King's daughter. She was also the wife and the mother of a King, which perhaps moved him to have this regard to her remains, as all men naturally have to royal dignity. And he said, throw her down. So they threw her down : and some of her blood was spirinkled on the wall, and on the horses ; and he trod her under foot. And when he was come in, he did eat and drink, and said go, see now this cursed woman, and bury her; for she is a King's daughter..-2. Kings, ix. 33, 34.
The Hebrews looked upon the lying neglected, without any interment, as a great judgement, which is a thing very well known, and can be established by many proofs ; but let one suffice from Solomon, the wisest of Kings and men, and made so by experience. He pronounces, that an abortive, which came into the world before its time, is not so despicable as that man, who, though he enjoys some of the greatest worldly blessings, such as a numerous offspring, and such firm health, that he lives to a great age, and the days of his years be abundantly sufficient, insomuch that he cannot reasonably expect, or desire more, yet is deprived of a decent funeral. If a man beget an hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he have no burial, I say, that an untimely birth is better thún he.--Eccles. vi. 3.
Let us here awaken our attention, and seriously consider the punishment denounced by God himself against that idolatrous and oppressive King, Jehoiakim, a punishment that could not take place till after his decease. Therefore, thus saith the Lord concerning Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, King of Judah, they shall not lament for him, saying, ah, my brother, or, ah, sister : they shall not lament for him saying, ah, lord, or, ah, his glory. He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn, and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem.-Jer. xxii. 18. 19.
Our modern free-thinkers may, if they please, deride such a punishment as this, and count it of no concern, or signification, to the party deceased, because the body is quite insensible, and cannot feel what is done to it after death. But it is plain from this, and other parts of scripture, that what the body suffers after death, although it be insensible, is not an indifferent thing to the person it belongs to. It appears from many passages in holy writ, and was consonant to the sentiments of heathen antiquity, that mourning and lamentation for the death of friends, as well as decent funerals, was not only a custom agreeable to the dictates both of reason and religion; but that the want of such funeral rites and mourning, was accounted some diminution, at least, of the deceased person's repose and happiness, if not real disquiet. That this was agreeable to the heathen theolo