« EdellinenJatka »
death,-nor inspire me with an expectation of Heaven. But the Word and Spirit of God have done all this for me. In the Word of God I have learnt my lost condition, the salvation of Christ, and the mercy of God towards me. 'Before I was afflicted I went astray;' not in immoral conduct, but in the disposition of my heart. I was moral in my conduct; but indifferent towards God, my soul, and the salvation of Christ. While confined to my bed my eyes were openedmy heart was opened to speak to God. I thought of him day and night. I had many sleepless nights, in which, 'I communed with my own heart on my bed, and was still; and my spirit made diligent search.' I wept, and watered my couch with my tears,' in reviewing my unprofitable life, under great religious advantages. I cried to the Lord in my trouble, and he heard me and delivered me from all my distresses,—from all my fears.' My dear friends, pity and pray for me; and I will bless God that I have been afflicted. Yes, my dear Sir, 'It is good for me that I have been afflicted.' Good for my soul, good for me now, and good for me for ever. This is no matter of doubt to me, although it may seem a judgment to be cut off in my youth. But, I know,-Yes, 'I KNOW, O Lord, that thy judgments are good; and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.' This is a great thing to know. I never knew it before. I thought that health and life and prosperity were good; but this is a new lesson, to learn that affliction is good. None but God can teach this lesson. 'None teacheth like him,' Youth do not even expect affliction; but It is good for me to bear the yoke of affliction in my YOUTH.' I never was so happy in health, and I have no wish to return to it. I possess the one thing needful;' and now I can say,- The will of the Lord be done.' """ In this frame of mind she died.
-But, myself! Beholding the condescension and grace of God, in blessing my feeble efforts in conversation and preaching, why is not my heart more deeply impressed, more constantly excited, to "the labour of love," and more "rejoicing in hope?" With such confirmation of revealed truth -such ample encouragements to activity-such grateful love returned from those to whom I have been "made a blessing," what ought I to be and to do? If I sin, if I am negligent, if I am lukewarm, if I am ungrateful or unbelieving, what "shame and confusion of face belong to me!"
Yet these instances of usefulness are not sufficient to keep alive my heart towards God. No! "I need the influence of
thy grace, to speed me in thy way." The religion of office may become mechanical, and be made a substitute for personal godliness. Oh, what need of the exhortation, take heed "unto THYSELF!" My office, my knowledge, my advantages, my experience, my success, my obligations aggravate my sins. My convictions of sin are more clear, more extensive, more fixed, more permanent than ever. I feel more need of the blood and spirit of Christ-more need of the life of faith in the mercy of God. I am more sensible of the darkness and hardness of my heart, compared with what I ought to perceive and feel. I dread the thought of resting in sound sentiments, without holy affections." Lord, increase my faith."
When Mr. C. first planted the standard of the Cross at Burnham, in the year 1791, Satan's agents were in an uproar-the house was surrounded-the hearers were pelted with rotten eggs, &c.; and, so great was the malice of the enemies, that the stock of rotten eggs being exhausted, they actually used good ones. Mr. C. was burnt in effigy by an immense crowd one evening when preaching there, and after service, having to pass through the crowd, there was a general outcry, and when he was getting over the stile at the church-yard, some wretch endeavoured to throw a band of straw, which had been well pitched and formed into a ring of fire, over his head, that it might fall on his shoulders and injure him! Providentially, it went beyond its object. The cruel are cowards, and the trembling hand of guilt could not take a steady aim. The wretch ran to hide his guilty head among the crowd. Mr. C. stood coolly and calmly on the stile, and, with a firm and exalted voice, exclaimed, "Why does he run away? why is he afraid? the guilty alone are cowards-I do not run." He then addressed the multitude in a strain of kind, bold, and winning eloquence-they were ashamed-melted away, and opposition so public and noisy ceased. Still the devil was not quiet; the present place of worship was built, and the children of darkness could not bear to see the light of Gospel truth beaming and the day advancing. Petty malice now vented itself in paltry interruptions. Birds were let loose
to put out the candles, &c. One circumstance I have heard him relate, which was highly characteristic. On one occasion, a young man disturbed the worship by the barking of a dog. This was repeated again and again. Mr. C.'s keen eye detected the offender. He closed the Bible, came out of the pulpit, went directly to the young man, and said, "Sir, I desire you will take that dog out of your pocket, whose ears you have been pinching to make him disturb the worship of God." At first the youth denied. Mr. C. said, "I insist, sir, on your standing up." The little dog was found in his pocket, and he was overwhelmed with confusion. Mr. Cooke then addressed him to this effect: "You are by profession a gentleman, and the son of a magistrate, and I am sure your father would be greatly grieved at your illegal conduct. You have broken the laws of your country, by which we are secured in the peaceable worship of God, agreeably to the dictates of our own consciences, and your offence is highly aggravated by your station and profession: it is not, however, our wish to punish or to exact penalty; we only desire to be permitted quietly to worship God; and, on one consideration, I will overlook your offence-that is, that you and your companions sit quietly there till the service is closed, that you promise solemnly never to disturb us again-and that you beg pardon of the congregation by saying, that you are sorry that you have interrupted them." The terms were gratefully accepted, and no material interruption was ever afterwards attempted.
THE EFFECT OF MR. COOKE'S ZEAL IN VILLAGE PREACHING, UPON THE MIND OF A NEIGHBOUR
A highly interesting incident stood connected with Mr. Cooke's early and zealous village labours. The late Rev. E. Townsend, the former Vicar of Bray, mentioned to more than one of Mr. Cooke's friends, that he was first led to serious thought by noticing Mr. Cooke's zealous and ardent labours in the villages. Mr. Townsend, at the time alluded to, was quite a man of the world; much engaged in cricket and other sports. He was led, as he expressed himself, to ask such questions as these :-What does this young minister see in religion, and in the souls of men, that I do not see?
thy grace, to spee may become godliness.
Important to him than it villages, through the darkpel, and he receives nothing
Sites were the germ of that clergyman's
HIS TREATMENT OF TWO GENTLEMEN WHO BROKE Many years ago, about midnight, he happened to be reading in his study: Mrs. C. had retired to the bed-room, which through the window, and fell upon the bed where she was getting into bed, when suddenly a very large stone came
about to repose.
Mr. C. alarmed by the noise, started from
uninjured, and that the outrage had been committed from the his seat, and ran to the bed-room. Finding that Mrs. C. was street, he hastened down, and went quietly out; and from his own door proceeded towards the town. He had not gone far before he perceived, by the light of a lamp, at a little distance, two persons walking away from him. On silently approaching nearer, he saw symptoms of intoxication, and discerned that they both wore a genteel appearance. He followed them at a little distance, until they entered one of the principal inns in the town. Having watched for a short time, and found that they remained in the house, he proceeded no further with his investigation, but returned home, and quietly retired to rest. At a suitable hour in the morning, he went to the inn; and being well known to the proprietor, he readily obtained all the information that he needed, respecting the parties in question. He ascertained that one of the individuals was a captain, then residing in the town, and that the other was the officiating clergyman of a parish in the neighbourhood. Having thus prepared himself by what information he could collect, he went forthwith to the gentleman of the sword, and found him just preparing to take his breakfast. He commenced the interview in words to the following effect:"Sir, my name is John Cooke: last night, at a very late hour, a window was broken in my house, by a large stone, which endangered the life of my wife. I have some reason to think that you can give me such information as will enable me to bring the offender to justice."
At first the captain appeared exceedingly indignant, and rudely desired Mr. Cooke to begone, for that he knew nothing of him or his window. Mr. Cooke, however, was not to be frowned away, he persevered in assuring the gentleman that he should not have troubled him, if he had not possessed strong reasons for thinking that he could impart some information upon the subject. He therefore appealed to his feelings, as a man of honour and a gentleman, to say candidly, whether he could assist him in this painful business. The military gentleman, however, persisted in denying all knowledge of the affair, and, at length, appeared wrought up to great wrath he again ordered Mr. Cooke to begone, but he remained like a rock, in the presence of the warrior, unterrified by his anger, and unmoved by his resolute denial. At length he said, "It is of no use, sir, for you to put yourself into a passion, and to storm at me. If you will sit down and hear me calmly, we will soon bring this business to a close."
The captain found that he had no ordinary man to deal with; and at last seated himself on a chair, while Mr. Cooke took one, and placed himself before him. He then said, Now, sir, since you will give me no information respecting this business, I must inform you of what I know, and can prove. It was yourself, in company with the Rev. Mr., who broke my window last night.' At this disclosure, the captain was silent, and gave symptoms of conscious guilt and fear, which Mr. C.'s keen eye soon detected. He then proceeded :-Now, sir, I have nothing more to say, but merely to inform you of the conditions on which I shall overlook and forgive this outrage; they are three-1. You must repair the injury done to the window-2. You and the Rev. must offer an apology to me, before a few of my select friends-And, 3. You must each of you consent to receive an address for five minutes, upon the subject, from me, in my house, before those friends. You will inform Mr. these terms, and let me know your determination before such an hour this evening."
The captain, finding that Mr. Cooke was in the possession of all the facts, now appeared completely calmed, and very polite. He replied, that he could say nothing to it, until he had consulted his friend, which he should do immediately. Mr. C. then withdrew.
The appointed hour came, and passed, bringing no answer from the parties concerned. Mr. C. then went to his solicitor, in the town, and began to tell him the story. He soon per