Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

old dispensation was only open to the high-priest, and that but once a year, was, from that moment, open to us all, and open for all times and all occasions—a consecrated way, in which we are exhorted to enter with all boldness, in full assurance of faith; having our hearts first sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.'

“Genesis ii. 23, 24. Under the figurative language contained in these two verses is a concealed representation of the whole mystery of the gospel—the union of Christ with the church, the glorious bride, that in the fulness of the times he will present to himself, free from spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish. St. Paul expressly tells us, Eph. v. 30, 31. that this momentous fact is here referred to, and spoken of in veiled or esoteric language. It is the first reference in the Old Testament—the earliest history of man, therefore, opens with it; it was the mystery of Paradise ; the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world, unto his own glory.'”

GENESIS iii. 7. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig-leaves,” &c.

“It is so in every age and every part of the world. The moment a man becomes consciously guilty, his eyes are opened to the knowledge of evil ;-he feels himself naked, and seeks a cover or a hiding-place: he is full of shame, and cannot endure to be looked at even by his fellows;-he endeavours by some flimsy pretext, some apron of fig-leaves, to skreen either himself or the deed he has committed from their eyes. But most of all does he feel his nakedness before God, and endeavour to hide from his presence. Happy,

indeed, is he, who, with this consciousness of guilt and shame, is able by any means to discern a covering that may conceal the naked deformity of his person from the penetrating eye of his Maker. One such covering there is, and but one, and blessed is he who is permitted to lay hold of it, and to put it on-it is the robe of the Redeemer's righteousness.”

At this period of his life, Mr. Good, as he informed me, read with the most intense interest, Jeremy Taylor's Holy Living: and one of his common-place-books evinces the state of his own feelings during the perusal. Under the bead of Apophthegms from Bishop Taylor, are several of great value, of which I shall quote but two or three.

“No man is a better merchant than he that lays out his time upon God, and his money upon the poor.”

“Let every man that hath a calling be diligent in the pursuance of its employment :--yet ever remembering so to work in his calling as not to neglect the work of his higher calling, but to begin and end the day with God.”

Holiness of intention or purpose. This grace is so excellent that it sanctifies the most common action of our lives; and yet so necessary, that without it the very best actions of our devotion are imperfect and vicious. That we should intend and design God's glory in every act we do, whether it be natural or chosen, is expressed by St. Paul, whether we eat or drink, do all to the glory of God:' which rule, when we observe, every action of nature becomes religious, and every meal is an act of worship. Holy intention is to the actions of a man, that which the soul is to the body, or form to matter, or the root to the tree, or the sun to the world,

or the fountain to a river, or the base to a pillar. For without these the body is a dead trunk, the matter is sluggish, the tree is a block, the world is darkness, the river is quickly dry, the pillar sinks into flatness · and ruin, and the action is sinful, or unprofitable and vain."

Mr. Good's thoughts and meditations being thus set into the right current, it pleased God, by the afilictive dispensations of his providence, to confirm and preserve them in that direction. For a considerable period Mrs. Good's health was very indifferent; and at a season when she had been longer than usual well, both their daughters were afflicted almost simultaneously, with protracted and dangerous indispositions. The family were then on a visit to Mr. Good's son-in-law, at South End, a few miles from London; and Mr. G. was, for six or seven weeks in succession, engaged during the days in his profesional pursuits, and during the nights most sedulously and solicitously watching the sick-beds of his afflicted children. At this season of parental anxiety he scarcely got any sleep, except as he travelled from South End to the house in town: yet, though often worn down with fatigue and watching, and depressed with the most painful apprehensions, his spirits and his hopes never entirely forsook him. He seems, indeed, to have “HEARD the rod, and him who appointed it;" to have understood its voice, and rightly improved it; deriving from this affliction a deeper sense of the uncertainty of life and its enjoyments, of the sovereignty of God, as well as of his merciful forbearance, of the efficacy of faith, and the delight of resignation upon Christian principles, than on occasion of any former trial.

In the short interval between the recovery of one daughter, and the commencement of the severe indisposition of the other, he thus expressed himself in a letter to his valued relative, Dr. Walton.

“I receive her again from the hand of her Creator as one raised from the dead, and given to me a second time. ... I hope I shall never forget this great and signal interposition of the Divine favour, in the solemn vows I have voluntarily undertaken. How difficult is it to bring one's mind, in the prospect of so severe a loss, to repeat with seriousness and an unfeigned heart what we are every day saying, with too little attention and solemnity, “Thy will be done!'* I tried as earnestly as I was able, and I even now dare not trust myself to inquire whether I attained all the spirit of resignation which ought to have been manifested. He who knoweth how to pity our infirmities, has had mercy at least upon the effort, and has graciously accepted the imperfect attempt; and has not overwhelmed me with a similar bereavement to the heavy affliction I suffered many years ago, and upon which I never, to this hour, dare suffer myself to think. Yet I know that even that was attended with benefit to myself, heavy as it descended upon me."

After his death, there was found on the opening page of his interleaved Pocket Bible, a most gratifying token, not merely of his affection for his daughters, (of which, indeed, they needed not this proof, but of a devout and grateful permanent recognition of the mercy of God vouchsafed in their recovery.

* Nothing, I am informed, could be more touchingly impressive, than the solemn pause, resulting from the struggle between paternal affection and humble submission to the Divine will, which in domestic worship during these afflictions, always succeeded his utterance of this petition.

“My dear Margaret's dangerous sickness, from a bilious fever, commenced July 4th, 1818, and only began to decline about July 24th.

My dear Susanna's still more dangerous sickness, from an inflammation of the brain, commenced about the ensuing August 10th: she was given over about August 16th; and began to recover about August 27th. For this double recovery I feel myself called upon to keep an annual day of thanksgiving to Almighty God, as long as it may please him to spare me. “August 8th, 1819.

J. M. G.”

I ought previously to have mentioned, that nearly three years before the occurrence of the severe indispositions whose favourable termination is thus gratefully recorded, Dr. Good's eldest daughter had married a gentleman, then distinguished by his singular attainments, and subsequently by his ardent piety, the Rev. Cornelius Neale. The union took place with the brightest anticipations of extensive and permanent happiness. anticipations fully realized, except with regard to permanency. Mr. Neale, who had with extraordinary industry as well as talent, and commensurate success, gone through his academical course at Cambridge, (leaving that University in 1812, with the honour of Senior Wrangler, Chancellor's Medallist, and the gainer of Dr. Smith's first mathematical prize,) possessed but a delicate constitution of body, which became gradually more enfeebled by intellectual exertion, and the sedentary habits too common amongst studious men. Afterwards, on his taking orders, and devoting himself most sedulously to the duties of the clerical office, his frequent visits to the poor in damp and comfortless houses in a

« FöregåendeFortsätt »