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particulars; as those of your readers and endeavoured to conceal hima who do not recollect the pathetic self. But bis conduct presently scene of his last hours, may refer struck him with remorse. '. What;' to your Review of Benson's Memoir, said he, · do I run away from my already mentioned, or to the ex- father? Perhaps I shall live to tracts from Southey's Life of Wes- have a son tbat will run away from ley, in your vol. for 1820, p. 756. me.'" This was a remark which,
There is an anecdole related of in a mere child, discovered a spirit him, which conveys a high idea of reflection and a sense of duty of the expressiveness of this good betokening no ordinary character man's countenance. When he was in after life. The language of Dr. at Dublin, during the latter part of Price respecting bim speaks a his life, he preached at the French volume, when we consider the Church there, to the descendants person from whose lips it came. of the persecuted Huguenots. He is said to have expressed “bis Amongst his bearers were some, satisfaction at being introduced who were totally unacquainted with to the company of one whose the French language. Being asked' air and countenance bespoke him why they went to hear a sermon fitted rather for the society of which they could not understand, angels, than for the conversation they replied, “We went to look at of men.” bim; for heaven seemed to beam Mr. Cox rightly attributes the from his countenance.”—The por- unabated influence of his devotrait prefixed to Mr. Cox's Memoir, tional spirit to “the power which certainly justifies, in some degree, le so pre-eminently possessed, of this sentiment of admiration. It is living as in the presence of God, the countenance of a man intent by habitual recollection.” It is upon heavenly things, and mingling pot perhaps sufficiently considered all the charities of the Gospel of how difficult of attainment is such Christ with its ennobling princi- a degree of piety among Christians ples and glorious prospects. engaged in the ordinary concerns
Having detailed as much of the of life. The faithful minister of outline of the life of this remarkable the sanctuary has in this respect person as was necessary to my pur. a manifest advantage over most of pose, I propose cursorily to examine the laity, by the general bearing some of the principal features of and tendency of bis studies and his cbaracter.
pursuits; though very few indeed, The most striking peculiarity of even amongst this highly favoured Mr. Fletcher's character was doubt- class of individuals, are found to less his uniform and exalted piety; approach the standard of Mr. that devotional spirit which seems Fletcher's spirituality of habit. In bardly ever to have abandoned him, the case of Christians busied and which threw a sort of unearth- about their worldly occupations, ly and angelic lustre over the whole such an attainment is still more current of his life. It made its difficult. The constitution of the appearance in childhood; was per- buman mind admits but of one haps a little impaired during the train of ideas at the same time : first years of youth, but soon burst consequently, wherever an elevatforth with new vigour, and continu- ed spirit of piety is maintained in ed to burn with a bright and steady the soul, it must be kept up, under flame throughout the remainder of the needful influences of Divine his days. One anecdote, mention- grace, by a frequent recurrence of ed by Mr. Cox, I shall relate. the thoughts to God and religious “ One day, while quite a child, considerations. This is indeed having displeased his father, he rau truly difficult amidst the common away from him to avoid correction, occupations of life; but it is not
impracticable. There are examples tempers and babits, than at first to be found, rare examples in sight appears. deed, of men who can carry a
I should be much concerned, if highly devotional spirit along with these observations, naturally sugthem, even into the counting-house gested by the subject under reor the exchange, and who contrive view, should be construed into any to preserve a steady frame of cheer- apology for indifference with reful piety in the transaction of tbeir gard to the cultivation of a high worldly affairs, without, at the tone of piety and devotion. Truly same time, betraying any want of would I say, God forbid that this prudence, management, or dex- should be their effect. On the terity. Their talent is truly envia- one hand, let the highly devotional ble ; and their happy art must Christian, imitate the conduct of have been taught them by a Divine Fletcher, and of one far greater Instructor ; whose influences how- thau Fletcher, in being careful not ever, for our encouragement be it to break the bruised reed, or to remembered, will not be withheld quench the smoking flar; and froin any who humbly endeavour let him mavisest the influence to copy iheir bright example, and of his charity, 'in not judging to follow them as they followed harshly of those sincere believers Christ Jesus.
who fall short of his own attainAgain; the characteristic quali- ments. And, on the other, let those ties of the mind and heart may weaker Christians, who perceive perhaps be of such a nature as to in themselves a great want of the afford some individuals an advan- spirit of habitual and constant tage over others, in the cultivation piety, cease to think it an imposof this habitual piety. A feeling sible acquisition, and be encouheart and a lively imagination give raged, by the example of such men a certain impulse and development as Fletcher, to seek after continual to religious principle ; which im- advances in the Divine life. pulse will be found less operative Great humility in his intercourse in a cold and calculating disposi- with others was another striking tion. Were it true that any of the peculiarity of this extraordinary fallen posterity of Adam are formed person. Some amusing instances by nature to feel the steady influ. of this are produced by his biograence of piety, it might be said with phers. He refused io visit the apparent propriety, that Fletcher poor Protestants of the Cevennes was one of these bright instances ; on borseback, saying to his fellowyet even, he, pre-eminent as were traveller, who had objected to his his Christian graces, possessed an pedestrian propensities; “Shall I evil nature at war with the spirit of make a visit on horseback, and at his mind, and wbich required the ease, to those poor cottagers, whose renewing and sanctifying influences fathers were hunted along yonder of the Holy Spirit. Still we may rocks,like partridgesupon the mounperbaps allowably conjecture, that tains ?” Ai another time, his friend, the soil, when once impregnated the Rev. Mr. Gilpin, perceiving a with the seed of Divine grace, was funeral waiting at the church gate, aided, in some small degree, by the took thesurplice,andcommenced the liveliness and elevation of bis fancy, service : but he had hardly entered and the warm sensibility of his the desk, when Mr. Fletcher, who heart; though at the same time it had been visiting a sick person, may be fairly replied that these came into the church ; and gently qualities were equally open to the drawing away a lad, who was officiinfluence of the world and of sin; · ating in the absence of the clerk, so that after all, the balauce is more took his place, and acted as clerk equal among Christians of different to Mr. Gilpin.-Nothing seemed bard, nothing wearisome, which lent Bishop Pearson was more distended to promote the good of his tinguished for exertion in his study, neighbours. Mrs. Fletcher was fre- than in his diocese. I am not about quenily grieved to call him out of to compare Fletcher with Bisliop his study two or three times in an Pearson in point of learning and hour; especially when she knew he judgment. The latter was far suwas engaged in some importantwork. perior in these respects. But perBut on such occasions he would haps, in return, ibis good prelate answer, with his usual piety, “Oh, might have been able to derive a never mind. It matters not what useful lesson from Fletcher's unis the employment if we are but ready wearied assiduity in his pastoral to meet the will of God. It is con- office, had he lived to witness it. formity to his will alone that makes Here he was “instant in season, any employment excellent." If he and out of season.” He may be overtook a poor person on the road, said to have strictly followed the with a burden too heavy for him, advice of St. Paul to Timothy, in he would offer to bear a part of it, “
“ giving himself wholly” to his miand would not easily take a denial. nisterial labors. “In his daily To a person unacquainted with the walks through bis parish," says whole of his character, these in- Mr. Cox, “ there was hardly an instances might seem to border upon dividual who escaped his notice; a voluntary and ostentatious humi- and he had for each a word in seahty. But I do not suspect him of son, adapted to his character, cirhaving been, at any time, actuated cumstances, and capacity. Always by those motives of ambition, which in his work, he was never out of may sometimes bave influenced the bis way. Whole nights he waited Franciscan Friar in his professions on the humblest and most infectious of poverty, whether of purse or sick. If he heard the knocker in spirit. If there was one feature the coldest winter night, bis winwhich predominated above another dow was instantly opened; and in Mr. Fletcher, it was simplicity. when he understood either that But, though the instances just men- some one was burt in the pits, or tioned do not impeach his sincerity that a neighbour was likely to die; of beart, they detract a little from no consideration was ever paid to the credit of his judgment, and the darkness of the night, or the are parts of his character savour- severity of the weather; but this ing ioo much of needless singula- answer was uniformly given, I rily to be proposed as a model for will attend you immediately.'” He imitation. There were, however, at last fell a sacrifice to zeal in his idany circumstances in which his public ministrations, when a little humility slone to more advan- seasonable prudence would proba. tage.
bly have lengthened his life. But It does not always happen that per- it is not given to any human being sons of a studiousand devotional tem. to possess wisdom at all times ; per are distinguished for bodily ex- and those great and daring spirits, ertion and active usefulness. Some, who have performer more in twenty who have been too much addicted to years of exertion, than ordinary men what is called Mysticism in religion, do in fifty, have not unusually bemay be said to have wasted their come thevictims of an ardour uiterly days amidst the clouds of abstract disproportionate to the short spau contemplation, when they might of human existence. have been more properly employed conviction of its shortness has in discharging their duties upon sometimes cut them off before the the level of active life. We are ordinary term of life, by stimulatinforined by Burnet, that even the ing them to a career of exertion learned, argumentative, and excel. beyond their strength. But, with
Their very is an
out any wish to detract from expressive of the pecuniary liberFletcher's zeal, something must be ality of this excellent iudividual: attributed likewise to his physical but it is not my object to tres. powers. He is represented as a pass too much with details; and it man of a constitution naturally will be easily believed, that a man vigorous, which, if it were injured, who was benevolent and disinterat one time, by an excess of night- ested in so remarkable a degree, study, was, on the other hand, would not be wanting in almsimproved by the most rigid tem giving, or any other duty of Chrisperance. The man, who, in his tian charity, so far as he had the youth, more than once swam five opportunity. Indeed be carried miles at a stretch, must have been the practice of this virtue to an gifted with great muscular strength, extremity of self-denial and perand with a texture of animal fibre soval privation, which reminds one not easily disordered.
more of the days wlien the disciples I come next to his disinterested- had all things in common, and no ness. This was a very striking fea- man called any thing his own, than ture of his character. When offered of the ordinary dispositions or althe living of Dunham, in Cheshire, lotments of modern Christians. which was worth about 4001. a His courage and intrepidity were year, he thanked his patron, and very remarkable. There replied, “Alas! sir, Dunham will anecdote related by his biographers not suit me: there is too much on this subject so striking, that I money, and too little labour.” He cannot resist the temptation of preafterwards accepted Madeley, on senting it to your readers. Mr. the ground of its being a wider Fletcher had a very profligate nefield of exertion, though without phew, a nilitary man, who had been half the pay. On some of his tracts dismissed from the Sardinian service being shewn to the King by the for base and ungentlemanly conChancellor, an offer of preferment duct. He had engaged in two or was immediately made him : but he three duels, and dissipated his reanswered, with his characteristic sources in a
career of vice and simplicity, that“ he wanted nothing extravagance. This desperate youth but an increase of grace.”—This waited one day on his eldest uncle, reply will perhaps remind some of General de Gons, and, presenting your readers of the anecdote of a loaded pistol, threatened to shoot Pere Bernard; a man who was him unless he would immediately constant in his unpaid attendance advance him five hundred crowos. upon the unfortunate persons of The general, though a brare inan, his time at Paris, who suffered by well knew what a desperado he the hands of the executioner. He had to deal with, and gave a draft refused a rich abbey offered him for the money, at the same time by Cardinal Richelieu ; and when expostulating freely with him on theCardinal, upon another occasion, his conduct. The young madman desired him to say what he could role off triumphantly with his illdo for him, the father replied, gotten acquisition. In the evening, “All I want, my lord, is a better passing the door of his younger tumbril to conduct my penitents to uncle, Mr. Fletcher, he determined their place of suffering." The tub to call on him, and began with of Diogenes was a poor and paltry informing him wbat General de subject of contentment, when com- Gons had done; and as a proof, pared with this benevolent ambition exhibited the draft under De Gons's of the good Pere Bernard.
own hand. Mr. Fletcher took the Several anecdotes are related in draft from his nephew, and looked Mr. Cox's work, and the other at' it with astonishment. Then, memoirs of Mr. Fletcher, strongly after some remarks, putting it
« is secure
into his pocket, said, -" It strikes principle, together with its influence me, young man, that you have in overcoming the wildest and most possessed yourself of this note by desperate profligacy, were never some indirect method; and in ho- more finely illustrated than by this nesty I cannot return it, but with anecdute. I deserves to be put my brother's knowledge and ap- into the hands of every self-styled probation.” The nephew's pistol " man of bonour," to shew him was immediately at his breast. how far superior is the courage “My life," replied Mr. Fletcher that dares to die, though it dares with perfect calmness,
not sin, to the boasted prowess of in the protection of an Almighty a mere man of the world. How Power; nor will be suffer it to utterly contemptible does the desbe the forfeit of my integrity and peration of a duellist appear, when of your rashness." This firmness contrasted with the noble intredrew from the nephew the observa- pedity of such a Christian soldier tion that his uncle De Gons, though as the humble Vicar of Madeley! an old soldier, was more afraid of If Mr. Fletcher's reply to his death than his brother. “ Afraid nephew, as given by his biographers, of death!" rejoined Mr. Fletcher : be correct, it exhibits a specimen “ do you think I have been twenty- of indignant eloquence which was five years the minister of the Lord never perhaps surpassed, and has of Life, to be afraid of death now? not often been equalled. Here No, sir : it is for you to fear death. indeed was a dignus vindice nodus ; You are a gamester and a cheat, an occasion worthy of the man. yet call yourself a gentleman! You Of Mr. Fletcher's force and vi. are the seducer of female innocence, vacity in writing, many instances and still say you are a gentleman! might be produced ; but for these You are a duellist, and for this you I must refer the reader to his publistyle yourself a man of honour! cations. It is, however, but just Look ibere, sir; the broad eye of to add, that some of his most spiritHeaven is fixed upon us. Tremble ed passages are by no means equal. in the presence of your Maker, who ly remarkable for exactpess, power cao in a moment kill your body, and of discrimination, or refinement of for ever punish your soul in hell." taste. It should be remembered, The unhappy man turned pale, and in abatement of any literary defects, trembled alternately with fear and that he was writing in a language rage. He still threatened his uncle not his own; and, for a foreigner, with instant death, Fletcher, his prompt command of our vernathough thus menaced, gave no
cular tongue is often surprising. alarm, sought for no weapon, and
Mr. Fletcher was certaioly not attempted not to escape.
He free from some tincture of enthucalmly conversed with his profili- siasm, properly so called. When gate relation ; and, at length per-, quite a youth, his remonstrance ceiving him to be affected, address with a widow lady, who had been ed him in language truly paternal, provoked, by the ill conduct of her till he had fairly disarmed and profligate sous, to utter a sort of subdued him. He would not re- basty imprecation against them, turn his brother's draft, but en- looks perhaps too much like the gaged to procure for the young presumption of denouncing a judg. man some immediate relief. He ment upon her for her impiety. tben prayed with him, and, after Awful to relate, however,-though fulfilling his promise of assistance, certainly not in consequence of parted with him, with much good Fletcher's prediction, - all her advice on one side, and many fair three sons shortly met with an un: promises on the other. The power timely grave, and she called Fletof courage, founded on piety and cher ever afterwards her young
CHRIST. OBServ. No. 244. 2 D