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friends in the Meeting-house. At his special desire, the 18th Hymn, 1st Book, Dr. Watts,' was sung
"Hear what the voice from heaven proclaims
For all the pious dead,'" &c. &c.
At the close of this service he said, "I shall improve the death of Mrs. Cooper next sabbath evening, if spared."
He spoke no more in public. The improvement to the family of Mrs. C. and his friends at large, was to be his own removal-a sermon louder, more affecting, and, it may be hoped, not less successful with some, than the discourse he had premeditated, and intended to deliver on the ensuing Sabbath evening. A friend from High Wycombe, who had been present at the funeral, accompanied him to his house. He turned the conversation to the solemn service in which they had been engaged, and said, "Soon such a service may be required for one of us: but it will be going home." cannot come to us, nor do we wish it, but we shall go to her." His friend added, "I am sorry I cannot be at Maidenhead next Lord's-day evening, to hear you preach the funeral sermon." "Well then," said he, "I will tell you something about it. If I am spared to improve the death of Mrs. Cooper, my text will be this, Phil. iii. 8, And be found in him.' I cannot find any passage that will suit better, for she preached to me from that text. Yes, when I visited her, several times her hand was put out, and the expression was, and be found in him-and be found in him.' She is with him, safely landed in his embrace." After a little pause, he said, "What fiery indignation will await those who are not found in him ; fearful! fearful! fearful!-I intend to tell them so-and I shall say to them, recollect! recollect! recollect! while I am speaking it is penning-there is a record in heaven, and this record will stand for or against you. The books will be opened, of commendation and of condemnation-God will be your judge! Awful day for sinners-glorious day for saints! Saints will be found in Christ. Oh, what an office is the ministerial one, to watch for souls! We may lose opportunities of doing our Master's work, if we do not watch. How many of those I have been addressing many years will be at the right hand of God? Lord, thou knowest.
think and look on many with pleasure, on others with grief, on none with indifference. No; a minister of Christ cannot be indifferent to the souls of men. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; it is the power of God to salvation.""
About eight o'clock in the evening, a violent and oppressive pain in the head came on. At this juncture, a friend called, who inquired particularly respecting the pain in his head. He said it was not one of the bilious head-aches, to which he had been subject, but he feared it was something worse-he thought the brain was affected. The medical attendant was immediately sent for. He advised Mr. C. to retire to bed. While undressing, he was seized with a violent fit, which deprived him of speech. He could hold no intercourse with his friends, and all he uttered from this moment was No," when asked if he objected to a blister on his back. The blister was accordingly applied, and he soon after appeared to fall into a profound sleep. About two in the morning, he put forth his hand, to his old servant, and to several of his friends. He affectionately expressed by his grasp, farewell! then shook his head very significantly, and closed his eyes on the mournful scene. They were sealed by the heavy sleep which supervened, and which continued till about noon, when his spirit departed from the frail tabernacle of flesh.
His end was pre-eminently peaceful. He had finished his work, and his Master called him to receive his reward. The stroke was sudden, but it was not on that account to be regretted. He had been permitted recently to visit most of his christian friends, and to refresh the hearts of some of his most intimate friends in the ministry. Many of his private papers, as will be seen in the sequel, bear evidence that sudden death had been the subject of frequent anticipation, if not even of desire.
His remains were conveyed to the grave, on Thursday, the 26th of October, 1826, and laid in the same tomb which contained those of all his beloved family; and although localities are of no consideration in reference to the great resurrection of all the dead, yet it had doubtless often engaged the thoughts of our departed friend, that he should repose in the grave yard of his Meeting-house, beside the slumbering dust of his affectionate partner and beloved children.
On this affecting occasion, a sensation of public and general grief was felt, not only through the town and neighbourhood, but in the religious communities throughout the county, and in many distant places where his name and his labours were known. A vast concourse of sincere mourners followed, some their friend, and others their pastor, to the grave. Twenty of his brethren in the ministry attended to pay their last tribute of respect to the memory of the man whom each
counted a brother, and of whom many were ready to say, "My father! my father!" The Rev. W. Wilkins, of Abingdon, read suitable portions of the Sacred Scripture, and offered up prayer from the pulpit; the Rev. Alexander Redford, of Windsor, addressed the congregation and church in sentiments of affectionate condolence and Christian sympathy; the Rev. W. Judson, of High Wycombe, delivered an impressive oration at the grave; and the Rev. John Fryer, of Langley, concluded this most affecting service with solemn prayer at the tomb.
On the succeeding Lord's-day, the Rev. A. Douglas, of Reading, improved the event by a discourse in the morning, addressed to the church and congregation, from Hebrews xiii. 7, "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God; whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation." The Rev. John Griffin, of Portsea, addressed a large and deeply affected congregation in the afternoon, from Ephesians vi. 21, “A beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord." On both these occasions, the Meeting-house was crowded to excess, and many were obliged to retire, unable even to approach near to the entrances. A tribute to his worth when living was paid on this occasion, by multitudes collected from the town and neighbourhood, and by his Christian brethren who were able to be present, as well as by many in different, and some in distant places, who bore their public testimony to his
The tears of hundreds who wept over his grave, and the regrets of thousands who exclaimed, "a great man is fallen in Israel," throw a lustre around his memory, which would be degraded by comparison with escutcheoned nobility. It is a cold pageantry, and an ostentatious pomp with which kings are committed to the tomb. How much more illustrious, more truly and substantially, because morally, dignified, were the obsequies of this beloved minister of Christ. The fragrance of his good name, and the fruits of his usefulness to immortal souls, are more rationally desirable, than all the fame which philosophers ever won, and all the laurels which conquerors ever wore. "They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever."
The following is the inscription upon the tablet erected to the memory of Mr. Cooke, by the Church, over which he so long and so successfully presided.
IN MEMORY OF
THE REV. JOHN COOKE,
FORTY-THREE YEARS MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL IN THIS PLACE,
HIS VARIED TALENTS AND HIS LIFE WERE CONSECRATED
THE PEOPLE OF HIS CHARGE, FROM AN AFFECTION
TO EXPRESS THEIR GRATEFUL RECOLLECTION
OF HIS CHARACTER, HIS LABOURS, AND HIS SUCCESS.
Publications by Mr. Cooke.
1. Five Letters to a Friend, occasioned by the death of the Rev. W. B. Cadogan. 8vo. pp. 42. 1797.
2. A Sermon before the London Missionary Society. 1801. 3. Reflections on the Tendency of Plays, in a Letter to a Friend. 1797.
4. Reason Paying Homage to Revelation, in the Confession of a Deist at the Gates of Death, &c. 3d edit. 1820. 5. Celestial Glory dawning on the Young Christian at the Gate of Heaven; a Memorial of Mrs. M. Westbrook, &c. &c. 1820.
6. The Child's Monitor, or the Dying Experience of Mary Jones, &c. 2d edit. 1806.
MR. COOKE was a man altogether sui generis-as unique in his aspect, and the general impression of his countenance and person, as in his character. His stature was tall, his person erect and graceful, and his frame masculine and well formed. There was an admirable agreement between the man and the character. His bodily frame wore the appearance of great firmness. It seemed to be the castle, and, at the same time, the personification of a spirit of high decision and vigour. There was an admirable adjustment of flesh and bone-enough of the latter to give his frame the character of strength and firmness, and enough of the former to prevent any disagreeable impression of sharp points and angles. Such a mind and such a manner, both in conversation and preaching, would neither have suited a diminutive nor a slender frame.
His countenance, however, was, by far, the most singular, and, at the same time, the most interesting part of his personal appearance. It may be said to have been composed of nature's least polished, yet by no means of her unsightliest materials. It was not at the first glance pleasing, yet it was impressive. It indicated thought, and calm dignity. Its general effect upon strangers was fear; but, as his voice gave welcome to a nearer approach and closer inspection, fear subsided into respect, and respect grew into esteem, and esteem ripened into affection. His countenance was susceptible of the most settled and penetrating expression of decision and uprightness. It wore a subduing sternness that made insincerity betray its secret, and immorality feel its weakness, while both seemed to crouch before him, under a sense of uneasiness and fear. His forehead, nose, and eye, were all singular-and either of them might have bespoke a man without a fear; but in their combination they might have represented incorruptible integrity and decision. His eye was capable of great expression. Though generally, and when quiescent, it was intellectual and penetrat