« EdellinenJatka »
for power to triumph and be thankful for the dispensation; a disposition of mind always becoming a living man,' much more a redeemed sinner. And sure I am, that I shall review the present scene with lively joy and praise to him who afflicts his people for their profit (profit unknown to the wisdom of this world), that they may be partakers of his holiness.' The Lord wounds' as deeply and extensively as he thinks best; but he never makes a wound too deep for his own cure; and therefore he declares 'I wound and I heal.' I find these words true; the Lord is healing our wound; but this is not the work of a moment. But the Lord gave' my dear child, and the Lord hath taken her away' from us and our friends, and from a world of sin, snares and sorrows. He hath taken her from the evil to come; and I can truly say blessed be the name of the Lord,' who might have taken them all-have taken my wife. So sensibly did I feel the sovereignty and equity, the wisdom and kindness of the dispensation, that if my touching her hand would have saved her life, contrary to the Divine pleasure, I could not, I dare not, I would not have done it. The man and the parent cried, Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from my child, and from me;' but as a Christian, I could heartily add, nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.' His will is done. I loved my child, and was fond of her company; her heavenly Father loved her better, and has taken her to himself. We have trusted her with Mrs. S-, and were going to do it again, for three or six months. In such hands we could trust our child at the distance of twenty-six miles; and shall we not trust her with our covenant God, who made her, gave her, has the greatest right to her? To that God, whose mercy we entreated for her before she was born, and to whose compassionate care we daily surrendered her, she is gone; but not lost. Lost! no I have not lost my child: but only parted with her for a season,' that I might enjoy her for ever! Compassionate Redeemer, thy words cheer my spirit—' suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.' Cheering truth! of such as my dear little Mary, is the kingdom of glory!
'Death did the bands of life unloose,
But can't dissolve Christ's love;
Millions of infant souls compose
The family above;
Their feeble frames his power shall raise,
He'll give them tongues to sing his praise,
And hands to do his will.'
"Had she lived, she would have thanked you for your kindness towards her in the Tontine, and in many other instances; but now let others share it; she needs it not, for the Lord is her portion!' a portion which neither moth nor rust can corrupt, nor thief break through and steal.' I have supposed (and the supposition has given me a mixture of pain and pleasure), that you had brought some token of love to her while absent from home. But ah!' whilst you was busy here and there, she was gone, gone to her long, to her eternal home.' We set our eyes upon that which is not; for God has given her wings to fly away, as an eagle towards heaven; beyond our reach, beyond our sight, yea beyond our thoughts. We have another reason to love this world less, and heaven better. Let us wipe our eyes: or if we weep-weep not for her but for ourselves, our children and friends on earth. Had she lived, could we have wiped all tears from her eyes? No; we have wiped away many tears, but God has wiped them all away; the days of her mourning are ended, and everlasting joy is upon her head.' She is gone to her Father, and my Father-to her God, and my God.' She is departed to be with Christ-' with an innumerable company of angels (herself an angel), to the spirits of just men made perfect,' herself as perfect as they! She is now nearer to God than any of her earthly friends; may her death be sanctified to bring them nearer to him. Time is short; but our lives are still shorter. Our health is precarious, and the moment of our death uncertain, and may be as sudden as my dear child's. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord,' whether young or old. And whatever we think, only such are blessed in death. When 'small and great stand before God, and the judgment is set and the books opened,' may it appear, that my Mary's death was greatly blessed to you, to her friends in general, to her affectionate mother, and to your's with grateful sincerity, her affectionate father,
Mrs. Cooke subsequently became the mother of three more children. The next born was a son, a child of great interest and promise, but he died at the age of five. The affections of Mr. Cooke were intensely bound to this child. He had already lost both the twins, and, like most affectionate parents who have but a solitary shaft in their quiver, he valued it the more, and hoped it might be spared: but divine wisdom saw meet to sever it from the parent's heart. This event occurred about the year 1796. Mr. Cooke's sufferings were still more poignant than under the loss of his two first-born. He continued to grieve bitterly for some time after the loss of the child, and was relieved from his anguish in a somewhat singular way. It happened that at this crisis he was called by Divine Providence to supply the pulpit at the Tabernacle, Bristol. A friend who observed the melancholy state of his feelings, called upon him, and proposed to take him to hear a noted speaker among the Quakers, who was expected at their meeting-house that day. Willing to satisfy the kind solicitude of his friend, and ready to go any where to engage his thoughts profitably, or assuage the bitterness of his grief, he consented, and they accordingly went. There were several well-known speakers of that society present; but after a long space, no one appeared disposed to rise and address the assembly. He took out a small pocket Bible, to engage his mind in the midst of the silence. After reading for some time, a shrill female voice saluted his ear; which, having awakened attention by several groans and sighs, at length uttered these words, and no more: "Verily, I perceive that children are idols!" The speaker sat down: no other arose. Mr. Cooke and his friend withdrew his heart was full, and he hastened to express his resignation and submission, under the pointed reproof which, in so singular and unexpected a manner, the Spirit of God had addressed so simply, yet so effectually, to his conscience. There was no possibility of this female friend knowing the state of his mind. He has frequently remarked since, when relating this anecdote to his friends, "whether inspired or not, she was a messenger of God to my soul the cloud was dispersed, the chain was broken, and peace and joy returned.'
Since it is impossible to preserve a very accurate arrangement of the facts and circumstances which I have been able
to collect, I shall here suspend the narrative of his domestic history, to detail an interesting occurrence relative to the property which had belonged to his mother, and which I mentioned, in the early part of this Memoir, as having been illegally alienated from him by his father. I introduce the fact here, because it occurred at or near to the period at which we have now arrived.
A gentleman of very respectable appearance called at his house rather early one morning, and requested to see the Rev. Mr. Cooke. As soon as Mr. C. entered the room, he said "Sir, I am an entire stranger to you; and it is business of no very pleasant or ordinary kind that has brought me to Maidenhead. Some years ago, an estate was purchased, situated (the name of the place is forgotten, and also whether the applicant or his father was the purchaser), for which an adequate value was given at the time. But," continued the gentleman, "I find, on looking over the deeds, that, although it has been in the possession of my family for many years, the sale is not valid, nor my title good, until it is signed by one John Cooke, who was, at the time of sale, a minor. After much search, by the aid of my legal advisers, I have ascertained that you are that John Cooke and now it depends on you, whether what my (father) honourably purchased, but your father dishonestly sold, shall continue in the possession of my family or not. The gentleman then most frankly opened and exposed to Mr. Cooke a bundle of parchments containing all the particulars of the sale, with the deeds that had been executed. It is believed that the estate had greatly increased in value, and at the time of this application was worth between three and four hundred pounds per annum.
Mr. Cooke, after looking over the writings, and ascertaining that all was open and honourable on the side of the purchaser, replied to the following effect. "Sir, I feel for the situation in which you are placed. The estate is the just right of myself and family; and in point of law I could dispossess you and yours: but as I am satisfied, whatever injustice has been practised on the part of the seller, you have acted honourably in the purchase, and have actually paid to another the price of what is mine-to set your mind at rest, I will affix my signature, although by doing so, I shall alienate from my family what they ought to possess. I do so, Sir, under the influence of those principles, which the gospel teaches me, and humbly depending on the care
and wisdom and bounty of that heavenly Father, who took me up from my youth, who has always supplied my necessities, and on whose promise I rely, that he will give me all things needful for life and godliness." He then affixed his signature and seal to the title deeds. The gentleman went away amazed at his nobleness of mind, and admiring those principles which had induced him, so generously to concede all he could have desired, without even hinting at the necessity of a compromise or asking any compensation.
As we are now engaged in what may be properly designated his domestic history, it may be advisable to complete this section of our Memoir, before we enter upon a detail of events more immediately connected with his public character.
After the death of his only son, in 1796, it pleased God to spare to him two daughters, Sarah and Mary, who both lived to mature age. But from the period of his son's death, an interval of almost uninterrupted peace and enjoyment was granted to him in his family. His qualities were eminently social, and his mind fitted both to receive and impart in a high degree the quiet but refreshing joys of home. His family received much of his attention, and though public engagements pressed upon his time, and his services were often sought in distant places, yet he neglected not the interest of his own household.
His two daughters were grown up nearly to the estate of womanhood, when Mrs. Cooke was suddenly snatched away from her partner and family. After his usual morning studies, he went forth to take a short ride. Mrs. C. helped him on with his great coat. He was not absent more than half an hour. As he approached the house he saw his daughter anxiously looking out for him: her countenance soon told him that something alarming had occurred, he flew to the room-his beloved partner was stretched on a sofa-the surgeon applying leeches and assiduously employing every means to give relief. But Mr. C. soon perceived that
the mortal blow was struck. She died on the 13th of November, 1813, aged 46. He bowed with devout submission and glorified God. Mrs. C. never spoke or noticed any one after her first seizure. A short period sufficed to release her happy spirit. At the request of her mourning partner, her removal was improved by the Rev. A. Redford, of
A few days after this afflictive visitation, he wrote thus in his private memoranda: "The only wise God" displays his