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I remember seeing five or six clergymen that day, my lord, all out of their own parishes upon the bowling green. Poh! said his lordship, I tell you, you have no right to preach out of your own parish; and if you do not desist from it, you will very likely be sent to Huntingdon gaol. As to that, my lord, said I, I have no greater liking to Huntingdon gaol than other people; but I had rather go thither with a good conscience, than live at my liberty without one. Here his lordship looked very hard at me, and very gravely assured me, that I was beside myself, and that in a few months I should either be better or worse. Then, said I, my lord, you may make yourself quite happy in this business; for if I should be better, you suppose I shall desist from this practice of my own accord; and if worse, you need not send me to Huntingdon gaol, as I shall be provided with an accommodation in bedlam.
His lordship now changed his mode of attack. Instead of threatening he began to entreat. Berridge, said he, you know I have been your friend, and I wish to be so still. I am continually teased with the complaints of the clergymen around you. Only assure me that you will keep to your own parish, and you may do as you please there. I have but little time to live; do not bring down my grey hairs with sorrow to the grave.
At this instant two gentlemen were announced who wished to speak with his lordship. Berridge, said he, go to your inn, and come again at such an hour, and dine with me. I went; and on entering a private room, fell immediately upon my knees. I could bear threatening, but knew not how to withstand entreaty; especially the entreaty of a respectable old man. At the appointed time I returned, and at dinner was treated with great respect. The two gentlemen also dined with us. I found they had been informed who I was, as they sometimes cast their eyes towards me in some such manner as one would glance at a monster. After dinner his lordship took me into the garden. Well, Berridge, said he, have you
considered of my request. I have, my lord, said I, and have been upon my knees concerning it. Well, and will you promise me, that you will preach no more out of your own parish? It would afford me great pleasure, said I, to comply with your lordship's request, if I could do it with a good conscience. I am satisfied that the Lord has blessed my labours of this kind, and I dare not desist. A good conscience! said his lordship: do you not know that it is contrary to the canons of the church? There is one canon, my lord, I replied, which says, 'Go preach the. gospel to every creature.' But why should you wish to interfere with the charge of other men? One man cannot preach the gospel to all. If they would preach the gospel themselves, said I, there would be no need for my preaching it to their people; but as they do not, I cannot desist. His lordship then parted with me in some displeasure. I returned home, not knowing what would befal me, but thankful to God that I had preserved a conscience void of offence.
I took no measures for my own preservation, but divine providence wrought for me in a way that I never expected. When I was at Clare hall, I was particularly acquainted with a fellow of that college; and we were both upon terms with Mr. Pitt, the late lord Chatham, who was also at that time at the university. This fellow of Clare hall, when I began to preach the gospel, became my enemy, and did me some injury in reference to ecclesiastical privileges, which I had before enjoyed. At length however, when he heard that I was likely to come into trouble, and to be turned out of my living at Everton, his heart relented. He began to think, it seems, within himself, We shall ruin this poor fellow amongst us. This was just about the time that I was sent for by the bishop. Of his own accord he writes a letter to Mr. Pitt, saying nothing about my 'methodism,' but to this effect: Our old friend Berridge has got a living in Bedfordshire, and I am informed he has a squire in his parish that gives him a deal of trouble. He has accused him to the bishop of
the diocese, and it is said, he will turn him out of his living. I wish you could contrive to stop these proceedings.' Mr. Pitt was at that time a young man; and not choosing to apply to the bishop himself, spoke to a certain nobleman, to whom the bishop was indebted for his promotion. This nobleman, within a few days, made it his business to see the bishop, who was then in London. My lord, said he, I am informed you have a very honest fellow, one Berridge, in your diocese, and that he has been ill treated by a litigious squire who lives in his parish. He has accused him, I am told, to your lordship, and wishes to turn him out of his living. You would oblige me, my lord, if you would take no notice of that squire, and not suffer the honest man to be interrupted.
The bishop was astonished, and could not imagine in what manner things had thus got round. It would not do however to object; he was obliged to bow compliance and so I continued ever after uninterrupted in my sphere of action. The squire having waited on the bishop, to know the result of the summons, had the mortification to learn, that his purpose was defeated. On his return home, his partisans in this prosecution fled to enquire what was determined on; saying, 'Well have you got the old devil out? No, said the squire; nor do I think the very devil himself can get him out!'
Mr. Fuller adds, "I greatly admired that divine savour which all along mingled itself with Mr. Berridge's facetiousness, and sufficiently chastised it. His conversation tended to create a frequent but guiltless smile, accompanied with a tear of pleasure. His love to Christ appeared to be intense. When he had gone through his narrative, I asked him to pray for us. He said he was so faint that he could not yet, and requested me to pray. I prayed, and concluded as usual, by asking all in Christ's name. He, without rising from his knees, took up the prayer where I had left it, in some such manner as this. 'Oh Lord God, this prayer has been offered up in the name of Jesus; accept it I beseech thee;' and for five or
six minutes he continued his supplications in a most solemn and savoury manner. We then took leave, with solemn prayer for blessings on each other, as if we had been acquainted for forty years, and were never to see one another again in this world. The visit left a long and lasting impression on my heart, of the beauty of holiness almost matured."
1. Is not the whole that is meant by the infinite evil of sin, that, on account of the Object against whom it is committed, it is so great an evil as to involve consequences without end.-2. Is not the whole that is meant by the infinite value of Christ's sufferings, that, on account of the dignity of the sufferer, they also involve in them consequences without end.-3. Is not the first of these questions consistent with different degrees of guilt, and consequently of punishment in the sinner; and the second with a finite degree of suffering in the Saviour.-4. Does not the merit of obedience sink, and the demerit of disobedience rise, according to the excellency of the Object.
ANECDOTE OF THE CELEBRATED ROBERT ROBINSON.
WHEN a young man of the city of Norwich, about eighteen years of age, he was walking one morning with a party of young men, who had all agreed to make a holiday. The first object that attracted attention was an old woman, who pretended to tell fortunes. They immediately engaged her to tell theirs; and that she might be duly qualified for the undertaking, they made her thoroughly intoxicated with spirituous liquor. Robinson was informed, among other things, that he would live to a very old age, and would see his children and grandchildren growing up around him. And though he had assisted in producing intoxication, he had credulity enough to be struck with those parts of her predictions which related to himself. If I live to a great age, said he to himself, I shall be a burden to the young people. What shall I do? There is no way for an old man to render himself more agreeable to youth, than by sitting and telling them pleasant and profitable stories. I will then, during my youth, endeavour to store my mind with all kinds of knowledge. I will see and hear, and note down, every thing that is rare and wonderful, that I may sit, when incapable of other employment, and entertain my descendants. Thus shall my company be rendered pleasant, and I shall be respected rather than neglected in old age. Let me see, what can I acquire first? Oh, here is the famous methodist preacher WHITFIELD! He is to preach to-night, they say and I will go and hear him.
From these strange motives, Robinson went to hear Whitfield, who preached that evening from Matt. iii. 7. 'But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, Oh generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to