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wisdom in every action of his providence, whether seen by us or not. He has taken away the desire of my eyes with a stroke.' The shock was felt in a manner inexpressibly strong; it seemed to dissolve my strength, cast a cloud over the whole world, and leave me sitting solitary;' although the sympathy of my friends is expressed from morning till night, by visits, inquiries, or presents, and my two affectionate girls are allowed to stay with me. But under my bereavement, I call on the Lord for strength! strength! strength! equal to my day.' My day of trial and of duty; as a widower, as a father, witnessing the anguish of my very dear daughters, and as a Christian minister, under obligations to do and bear, as I have exhorted others to perform their duties, and endure their trials; lest any should say, as Job's unfeeling visitors, called friends, said to him, Thy hands have upholden him that was fallen, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees; but now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.' Indeed, Christian friends and ministers often expect us to feel as they feel, who never had our trials, nor exercised grace in our depths. It is no difficult task for a person who never had a child, to give cold advice to a bereaved parent, and to expect resignation, without pain or grief. The husband who never lost a wife, or felt relieved rather than pained by the death of one, is an entire stranger to the bitterness of heart which a husband of tender and strong affections suffers. In vain, almost, has the wise man said to many persons, the heart knows its own bitterness,' for they imagine themselves capable judges of the bitterness of hearts, not their own, without passing through similar trials. Equally wrong is the decision of such persons on the supernatural power the deeply-tried Christian enjoys under the heaviest pressures. These strangers do not meddle with his Joys. Indeed, it is too plain that such Christians and ministers do not even perceive the substantial support of the believer, because they never felt the reality or necessity of it in an equal degree."
In November, 1819, died his daughter, Mary, who had married Mr. Z. Westbrook, the second son of one of the deacons of the church, and one of Mr. Cooke's earliest friends at Maidenhead. A short account of the experience and happy death of this beloved daughter, Mr. C. published in a pamphlet, intituled "Celestial Glory dawning upon the Young Christian at the Gates of Death." The very decisive and satisfactory evidences of piety which Mrs. Westbrook gave on her
death-bed, greatly relieved the severity of the stroke to her afflicted father. She left one child, a boy of great promise, to whom Mr. C. was most tenderly attached. Indeed, it proved a source of great consolation to him, that the remaining parent was willing to commit the boy entirely to the care and instruction of his grandfather. An attention to his education occupied Mr. Cooke's mind in his leisure hours, while by the child's cheerful and engaging company, he served in some degree to fill up the places of those whom death had summoned away.
In May, 1822, after a painful and lingering illness, he lost his only surviving daughter, Sarah. But in her also he had hope. Her protracted illness was blessed to her spiritual advantage; and the now solitary father was cheered in the midst of his repeated losses and afflictions, by the hope of meeting again all the dear members of his family, in that kingdom where neither pain, death, nor separation will be able for ever to intrude. After the last inroad of death, he said to one of his friends, "I seem to have gathered all my dear family before me into my Father's house, and it now only remains for me to follow them."
Thus this good man was taught, year by year, to bear the chastisement of the Lord, and thus meekly did he sustain the strokes of his Father's rod. How singularly the painful exercises of domestic and public trial contributed to improve his Christian and ministerial character, those well know who enjoyed the privilege of his public instructions and private friendship. From every one of his troubles he seemed to come forth only the more vigorous for divine service, the more refreshed for spiritual duties, and the more stedfastly set upon the pursuit of that glory which no adversity can sully, and no time consume.
FACTS AND ANECDOTES CONNECTED WITH
MR. COOKE'S PUBLIC LIFE.
From the references already made to Mr. Cooke's Diary and Memoranda, it will probably be inferred, that he left a regular narrative of his life. But before I enter upon this section of the Memoir, it is necessary to state that, after the period of his settlement at Maidenhead, his diary ceased to be a history, and became more strictly a religious work. I
consists almost entirely of pious meditations and exercises of religious feeling. These writings were continued only at intervals, and in his later years are very scanty. But from detached papers, letters and memoranda, in most instances destitute of dates, I have been enabled to make a selection of anecdotes and facts, which will both illustrate Mr. Cooke's character, exhibit a portion of the distinguished success which attended his labours, and instruct, while they gratify, the reader. I am under the necessity of giving most of these narratives without dates.
'REASON PAYING HOMAGE TO REVELATION.'
Many years ago, Mr. Cooke published a very interesting pamphlet containing the dying confessions of a Deist, with the above title. Soon after its publication, a great commotion was excited in Maidenhead and its neighbourhood. The ungodly seemed goaded by it to great madness. The brother of the deceased gentleman conceived himself injured, and sent a messenger to Mr. Cooke, demanding the satisfaction. of a gentleman. Mr. Cooke replied, "I am quite prepared to give Mr. the satisfaction of a Christian gentleman; and, according to the laws of honour, as he has sent the challenge, it rests with me to choose time, place, and weapons. I do not choose to fight with pistols; my weapon is a sword; and if he will meet me in this parlour to-morrow, at noon, with any witnesses he may desire, I shall be prepared to meet him with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. My character, my principles, my office, forbid my using any other weapons." It need not be added, that his opponent did not admire this method of meeting the challenge, and in consequence Mr. C. heard no more of him. But the pamphlet was made extensively useful. Mr. Cooke says, "Several Deists were led to discern the absurdity of their speculations, and to renounce them: some who halted between two opinions, were brought to a happy decision; and several merely nominal professors, induced to receive the truth in the love of it.' An inn-keeper who feared God, hearing some person condemn my pamphlet, opened it, and requested him to read the page on which he placed his finger. He read it, and exclaimed, I do not like it. For the same reason,' replied the inn-keeper, 'others dislike it--because they see their own picture.'
The following anecdote, among others, was certified to
Mr. C., by the best authority, and he inserted it in a third edition of the book.
"The late Rev. Mr. Foster (Clerkenwell), an eminently useful and popular minister of the Establishment, took occasion to read several extracts from this work to his congregation, and recommended the whole to their perusal. An individual who was present, mentioned Mr. Foster's earnest recommendation to a friend, who was a Deist. The author subsequently received from the Deist the following statement. The recommendation of my friend, led me to various reflections; and I exclaimed, Reason paying homagehomage to Revelation! in the confession of a Deist too, and at the gates of death! After a pause I added, with self-confidence and self-complacency, my understanding is too strongly fortified to be shaken by a pamphlet: I will read it.' He accordingly gave an evening to the examination of its contents, and remarked, after a very attentive and serious perusal, I resolved to give it a second reading; hoping to find some fallacy in its arguments, to relieve my mind from the uneasiness it had produced.""
"On the second reading, I felt the force of its appeals; it had reached my conscience, and pierced my heart, as I had no shield for either. And, indeed, the truth had become a witness in myself,' to the guilt, depravity, and misery within me; and to the suitableness of the atonement and grace of the SAVIOUR it revealed."
He received" the TRUTH in the love of it," openly avowed the change of his sentiments, heard Mr. FOSTER constantly, and DIED in the Faith he had embraced.
"A physician, who was a professed Deist, and had frequently attended me, was confined to his bed by disease. When reminded of his danger by an apothecary, his mind was tortured by despair, bordering on derangement. 'What,' said he, if I should repent and recover? I shall be laughed at by my friends. If I were sure I should not recover, I would repent.' He vainly supposed that he could repent at any moment of his disease, instead of depending on the grace of God to give him repentance'-imagined, that momentary grief, instead of a change of his views and affections, constituted repentance and dreaded the ridicule of his infidel companions, more than the displeasure of God.-He died raving mad!"
"Another eminent physician, who gloried in his disbelief of the sacred Scriptures, invited me to dinner, with another dissenting minister. After dinner, he asked me what he must do, after reading all the proofs of the divine authority of the Bible he could procure, and not being convinced by them? I have read,' said he, Archdeacon Paley, without conviction.'
I answered-You have rejected arguments, stifled conviction, renounced the Bible as a revelation of God,-and what substitute have you for the Bible?
"Reason, Reason!" he exclaimed, "which is sufficient to direct me in duty, and support me in distress."
Mr. Cooke. Have you ever apprehended yourself under mortal disease?
Physician. Yes, and felt firm as a rock, from the supports of reason.
Mr. C. May I ask your Lady? (who was present).
Yes, and welcome (she replied). Never, never, Doctor, did I see such hopeless despair as I have, in such circumstances, seen in you.
The case is decided, I rejoined. Your "reason failed with all its powers," where "faith prevails and love adores."
Phy. Do not you believe that I possess a portion of understanding?
Mr. C. To an extraordinary degree.
Phy. Do you believe I consider it my interest to be right? Mr. C. No, sir. Your happiness is your interest, and you persuade yourself that the indulgence of criminal passion is your happiness.
Phy. You think, then, I am living in some sin?
Mr. C. I certainly do; as my Bible mentions "the lusts of them that live in error." Error is the refuge of sin. Phy. What sin?
Mr. C. It is not in my power to name it.
Phy. Try, sir, as you seem to be confident.
Mr. C. This is an unfair demand; but I conceive an infidel
open to any temptation which presents itself, being without "the truth," which is the only "shield and buckler."
Phy. Pray name one.
Mr. C. Adultery, or any other sin.
Phy. Thank you, sir.
The minister present added-You have brought this on yourself, Doctor.
Phy. What do you think my motives for such conduct? Mr. C. The doctrines of grace are too humbling for the