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speedily a changed man, and regularly attended the means of grace. He had been a jovial companion, a good singer, and a most gay and cheerful member of the corporation. The change was soon perceived. His brethren, at one of their social parties, rallied him upon his Methodism. But he stood firm by his principles, and said,-" Gentlemen, if you will listen patiently, I will tell you why I go to meeting, and do not attend your card table. I went one Sunday evening to hear Mr. Cooke. He took for his text-' Behold he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him.' YOUR EYE! shall see him." In short, he gave them so faithful and powerful an epitome of the sermon, and applied it so closely to them individually, marking the words "every eye shall see him, "-with such emphasis, and pointing to them said, "your eye," and "your eye"-that they were satisfied with his reasons for going to meeting, and never again durst speak to him upon the subject.
This fact is intimately connected with another, to which, indeed, the conversion of the individual above referred to, soon after led. It may be entitled
A MALICIOUS ENEMY BROUGHT TO CONFESSION.
Mr. was a most violent and malicious enemy to Mr. Cooke, and all his dissenting neighbours. One sabbath afternoon, the gentleman alluded to in the preceding anecdote, was going to meeting, and happened to come up with this person. He invited him to Mr. Cooke's chapel. At first the malicious enemy scorned the proposal, and resolutely refused. Mr. G., then an alderman of the town, said, "why not? You really don't seem to know what to do with yourself, why not go?" He was at length constrained. He heardthe word was blessed-he became a warm, affectionate, steady friend to Mr. C., and the cause of Christ, till his death.
A few weeks after he had attended the chapel, he called to see Mr. Cooke-he said, he wished to see him alone. He commenced his address as follows:-"Sir, you have received from me some infamous anonymous letters. I cannot make reparation for the pain which they may have occasioned you, but I am come to confess that I was the writer, to beg your pardon, and to make the only restitution in my power,
if you will tell me what the postage of them cost you. In my wicked madness of hatred to you, I had taken pains to put you to expense, by getting persons going to distant places, or by feeing coachmen, to put them into the post as far off as possible.'
This confession, so honorable at once to the individual, and to the word of God, which had wrought the change, greatly affected and delighted Mr. Cooke. He thus saw the gospel frequently made, under his ministry, "the power of God unto salvation."
Having now supplied the reader with as full a detail of the incidents of Mr. Cooke's life, as seemed desirable for the purpose of embodying our recollections of the man, the Christian, and the minister, it only remains to complete the historical portion of this work, by an account of the closing scenes of the life of this great and eminent man. But before I do so it may be expected, that I should make some reference to an event which took place in the latter part of his ministry, and which is well known to have occasioned him much pain-not, indeed, on his own account; but on account of the public profession of Christianity. I refer to the separation of some individuals from the church and congregation, and the consequent origination of a society in the town of Maidenhead, now in the connexion of the Countess of Huntingdon.
As it regards this whole affair, nothing should have induced me to refer to it in any way, but a sense of duty, as the biographer of the deceased; and all I wish to put on record is, the occurrence of the fact in the year 1815, and the general opinion of the integrity, purity, and faithfulness of my friend. I wish to pass no censure upon the parties who opposed him in the exercise of church discipline. To their own Master-a righteous and just Master-I leave them. All I am concerned in, as his biographer, is to state my conviction, obtained from a diligent perusal of the documents relating to this affair, and the opinion of I believe-all his ministerial brethren in the County Association, that whoever acted wrong, John Cooke, at least,
passed through the trial in a manner highly becoming the holy minister of Jesus Christ, and the faithful pastor of a Christian church. Hereafter it may appear that, in this, as well as in many other instances, the wrath of man has been made to praise God; and that the agitation and laceration of a Christian church have been the means of extending the cause of the Redeemer, and promoting the glory of his name. Then, though we cannot cease to regret the cause, we may be allowed to rejoice in its results.
From the period when our friend buried his last surviving daughter, which took place in the year 1822, he displayed an increasing spirituality of mind, and a pre-eminent devotedness to his sacred work. His thoughts seemed wholly detached from earthly things, and concentrated upon that heavenly work which now formed his only remaining care. His studies, his conversation, his very recreations, all had usefulness and heaven in view. He said about this period to one of his brethren, "I now seem as if I had nothing to attend to but my ministry. I am delivered from many interruptions and vexations which the connexions and affairs of my family brought upon me, and now my work is all in all."" To another friend he observed, "I seem to have gathered all my family before me into my father's house; and it now only remains for me to follow them."
He realised and exhibited the spirit of this remark in a singular degree; for his work seemed uppermost in his thoughts; and, in season and out of season, he stood prepared to serve the great cause of the gospel wherever providence called him. The last year of his ministry was signally laborious and lively. His services were required in many neighbouring, and not a few distant, places. In the August preceding his death, he assisted at a public service at Worcester, on occasion of the settlement of the writer of this memoir. His conversation and preaching savoured much of heaven. Many who saw him, for the first time, were charmed and edified by his company; the Christian and the gentleman were sweetly blended; and while walking with the writer a whole morning, to survey whatever might be interesting to a stranger, he kept up a continued strain of interesting narrative and remark, full of piety and wisdom.
During this and the succeeding month, it was remarked that he seemed to be making a sort of apostolic circuit among his friends, as if to take a final farewell, and
leave a parting blessing. He was remarkably cheerful and interesting, although his deafness seemed to be increasing, and he was of course thereby deprived of a large measure of enjoyment from the society of his friends. He engaged in several settlements of pastors and ordinations of ministers. Indeed, through the months of August and September, his labours were more abundant than usual, and many of his friends remarked, that his conversation was signally interesting and edifying. He had resolved to lose no favourable opportunity of serving the cause of Christ, and feeling his time of labour drawing to a close, had expressed his determination to preach wherever he could, in consistency with the duties which demanded his attention at home.
The last sabbath but one allotted to him on earth, he spent at Reading, in the pulpit of his beloved and intimate friend and brother, the Rev. A. Douglas. This day is believed to have been one of great spiritual enjoyment to his own soul, and, it is hoped, was not without profit to his hearers. The same evening, after preaching thrice, he returned home, a distance of fourteen miles, for the purpose of attending the sick bed of an esteemed member of the church.
The sabbath immediately preceding his decease, he spent with his own flock. In the services of that memorable day, he displayed a full measure of physical and mental energy. There was no decline of feeling or of power-nothing to indicate that his race was run all was ardent and vigorous, and many have been inclined since to remark, that like the sun, his setting radiance was most glorious. On the morning of that last sabbath, which his people wish never to forget, he discoursed from Matt. xiii. 18, on the parable of the sower. His manner was unusually impressive, and the tone of affectionate earnestness with which he cried "Hear! hear! hear! the parable of the sower," will not soon be forgotten.
His last testimony for Jesus and his gospel was delivered in the evening, from the 16th verse of the same chapter, "Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear." Some who had heard him preach his first sermon in Maidenhead, forty-three years before, enjoyed the privilege of listening to his final testimony. It was a season of peculiar refreshment to them and to many others: "they glorified the grace of God in him;" but distant indeed was the expectation, that they should see his face, and hear his voice in that pulpit no more. It was hidden from their thoughts and their fears,
how near their friend and prophet was to his celestial translation. They heard his parting testimony-saw him close the book of God-joined in his last supplications, and said amen to his final benediction; but minister and people were alike unconscious, that their union was dissolved, and that it only remained for both to meet the final account. Unforeseen and affecting as were the events which formed the sequel to this last religious service, many have thought that, had they been distinctly anticipated, they could hardly have heightened the impression of that last discourse: certain it is, that the premonition would not have disturbed the composure, or shaken the steadfastness of our friend's faith, nor have induced the slightest wish to unsay the great subject of his ministry, and of this his last address.
On the Tuesday immediately following, he was in the possession of his usual health, and went to High Wycombe, to meet his brethren of the County Association of Independent Ministers and Churches. They spent the day in the customary manner: the morning was devoted to a public service, and the afternoon to a free conversation upon a given subject. His brethren in the ministry had great pleasure in meeting him on this occasion. It was a farewell interview, and but a few days anticipative of the painful duty of attending him to the grave. On his return from this engagement, our friend caught cold in the face and head, and passed the night in much pain and uneasiness.
The following day was appointed for the funeral of an endeared friend and member of his church, Mrs. John Cooper. He was fully sensible of the danger he must incur by engaging in such a service, under the symptoms of cold with which his head was affected; and he would gladly have remained in the house. Although he never consulted his own convenience in the discharge of duty, yet he was free from the rashness and imprudence which some good and zealous men have evinced. He knew the worth of health, and he would not unnecessarily risk it. But in the present case, he could not have consulted his own welfare without disappointing the relatives of his departed friend, nor without depriving himself of an opportunity of bearing testimony to her christian excellence, and to the grace of God, in her joyful triumph over death. He accordingly went to the burial ground, committed the body of his friend to the tomb, and afterwards addressed the relatives and other