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attained but a scantling of that theological knowledge which distinguished his maturer age. It is not improbable, that the strain of Mr. C.'s preaching then, though far enough from the conceits and lawless interpretations of Mr. H., was yet more exclusively doctrinal, than it afterwards became. It was probably his reputation as a powerful preacher of the free and sovereign grace of the Gospel, that induced Mr. H. to invite him to his pulpit. This brief explanation seemed necessary, first, to account for the fact of his having been connected with a character, from whom he was in most respects so dissimilar; and, secondly, for the sake of introducing the anecdotes which refer to the final disruption of their friendship. The following statement I had many years ago from Mr. C. himself.
He had been preaching for Mr. H. one sabbath-day, while he was employed elsewhere, but was engaged to remain in town to spend some part of the ensuing day at Mr. Huntington's house. They accordingly met. Our young friend was in many respects interested in Mr. H.'s society. His conversation was in the main religious, and is generally allowed to have been ingenious and striking. Mr. Cooke had already been startled somewhat by several of his notions, but listened with deference to a man of so high a character, and of so great pretensions to superior knowledge.
At length Mr. Cooke asked the dogmatical divine, his opinion of the tenth commandment, particularly he meant as to its extensive application to the indulgence of desires and wishes for various thmgs, which the Providence of God had denied us. He especially asked Mr. Huntington, whether he did not think that Christians frequently violated that commandment, by wishing for what they did not possess, or by being discontented with their lot? Mr. Huntington, who was by nature a master of sarcasm, at these words of the inquiring youth, drew himself up in his seat into that kind of stiff, erect position, which the body assumes when it wishes to act disdain, and turning his head aside, with a sneer, as unworthy of his pretensions to superior knowledge, as it was of his ministerial character, he said, "you fool! you fool! You know nothing at all about it-that commandment, Sir,-why, that, Sir, is God the Father speaking to Christ the Son!"
At this extraordinary discovery, Mr. C. could not refrain from expressing his astonishment, and begged to know, how this infallible dogmatist could make this sense plausible. The explanation he received was this "I tell you it is God
the Father, speaking to Christ the Son:-thou shalt not covet'—that is, none of the reprobate-thou shalt be satisfied with the elect!" This was quite sufficient for Mr. Cooke. He found it hopeless to argue with such an opponent; but as speedily as possible, he wished his oracle "good day."
From this interview he wisely concluded, that it would be desirable for him to forego all further intercourse with Mr. Huntington. He could have no brotherly communion with a man, who could thus abuse the plainest and least disputable portions of the word of God, to make them countenance his favourite doctrine. This, however, was a fair specimen of the outrageous distortions, or spiritualisings, as they would be called, of the Word of God, which constituted one principal cause of the popularity of that strange man. How long Mr. C.'s acquaintance with him lasted, I cannot say, but I am disposed to think, it was but short. The following circumstance, however, which occurred some time after, totally separated the parties. Mr. Huntington wrote to Mr. Cooke, requesting his services at Providence chapel, for a certain Sunday, on which he was to be absent. Mr. Cooke replied respectfully, but stated, that it was not convenient to him to leave his own congregation on that day. Mr. Huntington wrote a second, if not a third letter, in which he employed some strong expressions of indignation at the refusal; and in a tone of most extraordinary arrogance and presumption, literally commanded him in the name of the Lord, to obey the
John Cooke was a man to be won by kindness, or persuaded by reason, but not to be commanded by a fallible mortal in God's name; and nothing could have tended more effectually to defeat Mr. Huntington's intentions than such a style of dictation. Of course it produced a peremptory refusal, with a suitable reproof of the insolence which had dictated the command. Thus terminated their intercourse; friendship it cannot be called. Mr. Cooke had previously enjoyed but scanty means of judging of Mr. Huntington's sentiments. But what little specimens had come before him, were far from approving themselves to his judgment by the supreme standard. He had, indeed, at first, and while at a distance, formed an exalted opinion of Mr. Huntington's talents and knowledge. He had looked up to him as a master in Israel, and stood prepared, as a youth, to be in
structed by his superior wisdom and experience. But a nearer view convinced him that report is no safe guide. He soon perceived that if Mr. Huntington's Gospel was true, that which he had been taught must be false. Our friend had acquired too profound a veneration for Scripture and commonsense, and too conscientious a regard to practical godliness, to lend his sanction and his influence to flatter an individual, and support a system, which makes men ten-fold more the children of the devil than they were before. It was, however, a valuable lesson which he had learned, and it was not lost upon him. If there had been previously any lack of discrimination in applying the promises, or any possibility of unholy persons taking comfort from his strong statements of scriptural truth, or any lack of practical exhortation, this occurrence led him to see the abyss of delusion into which the Antinomian plunges, and, it is probable, inclined him to pay special attention to the mental and experimental deliquencies of that fatal system. Few who have heard him touch upon the delusions of the Antinomian heresy can have overlooked the fact, that he had formed peculiarly powerful apprehensions of its opposition to holiness, and of its tendency to foster the worst vices of an unregenerate heart. He dealt in none but powerful blows against the system, and all his thrusts were aimed at the joints of the harness. He meddled little with the theological and metaphysical subtleties of the subject, because these are little fitted for popular conviction, and are too refined for the apprehension of the party; but he grappled with the error as it exists in the heart, and works in the life and character. He stripped it successfully, and at once, of all affinity with that gospel, which is holiness and peace, by placing it by the side of Jesus Christ and his Apostles.
Four years after his ordination he entered into the marriage state. Wisdom and piety had directed his choice to Mary, eldest daughter of Walter Shropshire, Esq., of Hendon, Middlesex. This important event took place on the 16th October, 1788. The pious reflections which the event excited in his mind, as well as the memorial of the manner in which the day was spent, are worthy of insertion here, and will supply an interesting example for the imitation of young Christians.
"October 16, 1788. This day was one of the most im
What his mature and deliberate judgment was I shall be able to show in his own words, in a paper to be hereafter introduced; but which appeared too long for insertion at this place.
portant of days to me, relative to temporal affairs. At St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, I was married to one who was given to me in answer to prayer. The preceding evening I felt in family prayer a prelude to a good day. The morning prayer was equally precious, under a sense of the great importance of the connexion I was about to enter. From prayer we went to the church: the ceremony was, to me, peculiarly solemn. My very soul breathed out the petitions for our mutual felicity. From the church we rode to Hendon, round by Whetstone; and with three other friends sung very happily seven Psalms. After dinner we again joined in prayer, to the God of our life, and sung two hymns. I was carried through the day with a serenity and spirituality of mind, far exceeding my expectations. I feel a real desire to render the life of my dear partner really happy, by using every means of directing her soul to God. O, that I may so live with her, and be an help-meet to her, as to bear the recollection of our union in a dying moment with real pleasure. May the Judgment-day bear witness to our mutual fidelity, and spiritual felicity in God and in each other!"
This important connexion formed, and consummated in the fear of God, became, through twenty-five years, a source of great joy and comfort. His partner proved a pious, prudent, and amiable woman; a most affectionate and anxious mother; a fit companion, in every respect, for a laborious preacher of the word of God; able to encourage him in his trials, to advise with him in his difficulties, and to pray for, and with him, in his weaknesses, and afflictions. Shortly after the marriage, Mrs. Cooke was united to the Church, at Maidenhead. This was a source of great satisfaction to his mind. In the month of June, 1789, Mrs. Cooke became the mother of twins. The elder of them he named Mary, but she died at an early age. Her removal was a severe stroke to the affectionate father. In a letter written upon the occasion, we have an interesting development of his feelings, and an instructive display of the triumph of faith.
"No, Miss Sally, my dear little daughter, Mary, is no longer mine, for the Lord has taken away the desire of mine eyes with a stroke.' Her age and capacity-her tender and affectionate disposition-her being a twin and the first born-connected with many engaging expressions to fond and partial parents-and especially of late, her increasing tender regard to us, discovered in almost every word and action, tended to lay her too near our hearts.
Her death was sudden; and till her breath was evidently departing, I never understood the meaning of the word Father. I have sympathized with others under a trial something like my own; but never, never conceived what their expressions meant. Our constitutions and our attachments differ. A friend often feels more for the death of a child than the parent; and some marble-hearted beings are happy to lose their children, that their care and expense may be lost with them. I neither envy their stoical apathy, nor am I capable of imitating it. The exquisite anguish of my soul, for a season after her death, I can never describe; and if I could, tenderly as you loved her, and deeply as you may feel the event, you could not conceive my sensations. I could but associate her with every object I saw or heard. Morning, noon, and evening, brought her image to my view. The parlour, the study, the kitchen, the garden, the town, and the field, had lost a charm. Her past health, her late, though short sufferings, her words, her looks, her actions, her affections, all supplied my mind with fuel to feed the flame of my anguish. Some might say, I also have lost a child, but I did not feel to such a degree; this may be, and has often happened, even in the experience of good men. But what is this, but saying that such an event to them was no trial, or a small one. To me, however, it was 'grievous for the present;' and God designed it should be so. Another might wonder that I felt so much pain; but 'my heart knew its own bitterness.' Perhaps you may say, where was your faith all this time? Truly, if I am any judge of the exercises of my own mind, I never found it, altogether, in such vigorous. exercise in my life. This was the Lord's fidelity, who has declared to his believing people, as thy day (of trouble or duty) so shall thy strength be.' My mind, under the smart of the separating stroke, was fully assured of this truth, as many as I love, I rebuke and chasten,' and that whom the Lord loveth, he correcteth.' Never was my spirit more sensible of its interest in the unchangeable friendship of God towards it, than under this trial. But this did not destroy the feelings of the man or the parent; but it restrained and regulated both. Not to feel, in such a case, may prove a person a stoic, but not a Christian; not a follower of that Redeemer who dropped the tear of sympathy and friendship at the grave of Lazarus, and wept with them that wept.' I bless the Lord, that I did not find myself easy with a bare submission to his will; but longed and waited