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notice of those hungry informers who prowled from one church to another, for the purpose of detecting matter of accusation against obnoxious Preach
The State Papers of Thurloe, and other contemporary correspondence, exhibit an extensive system of espionage, which was then encouraged among the good people of England. That the church in Milk-street was one of the chief places of worship in the city for many respectable loyalists, was a fact important enough to render the officiating Clergyman an object of suspicion ; and the most harmless expressions, uttered either in preaching or in prayer, might be easily construed into treasonable disaffection by a jealous and arbitrary Government, which liad not then obtained even the semblance of consolidation.
Farindon took leave of his congregation in Milk-street, in a sermon, the seventh of a series on James i. 25: “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” The subjoined extracts from it will afford a fair specimen of his spirit and manner :
“And here I must set a period to my discourse, as the present power that is over us hath to the exercise of my ministerial function. And I could not better conclude than in blessedness. I might here wish you (and what good thing would I not wish you ?) the blessings of the basket, the blessings of the right hand and the blessings of the left, all the blessings promised in the law, and those blessings which are the glory of the Gospel. I might here wish you those fourteen parts of blessedness reckoned up by the Father ; whatsoever is blessedness, or whatsoever tendeth to it. But here they all meet and are concentred. Seek it not in your fancy, in a forced and false persuasion that you have attained it, when you run from it; that you are in a Paradise, when you are seeking death in the error of your life,' and are even at the mouth of hell. For blessedness will not lie wrapped up in a thought: that hath made many thousands of saints who shall never see the face of God. What is an imaginary saint? What is a painted heaven? What is blessedness in conceit? Next, seek it not in formalities, in the ceremonious diligence of hearing, and fasting, and loud profession. All the formalities and ceremonies in the world will not make a ladder to reach it; all this noise will not call it down. But then seek it not in a faction, in a discipline, in this or that polity or government ; for it will not be found in the rents and divisions which we make. It is tied to no place ; it may be found in any. This law of liberty' never made Papist, or Calvinist, or Lutheran, or Presbyterian. It is the Christian law, and maketh Christians; and maketh Christians, to make them blessed. Cùm omnes felicitatem expetant, vix centesimus quisque eam a Deo expectat : • All desire blessedness, and not one of a hundred will take it from God, or that which he offereth ; but they make one of their own, such a blessedness as leaveth them miserable. They do that which is evil, and comfort themselves with a thought. They neglect the law, and bless themselves in formalities; in hearing, when they are deaf to every good work ; in fasting, when they fast to blood and oppression ; in praying, when they deny themselves what they pray for ; in loud profession, which is as loud a lie. When they swim in their own gall, in the gall of bitterness, they think themselves in the rivers of Canaan, which flow with milk and honey. They applaud themselves in their malice and deceit, in every evil work. They are what they should not be, and yet are blessed, because they are of such a faction, of this consistory, of this classis, of this conventicle ; that is, they are blessed because they are not so ! O that men were
wise! O that they would be blessed! Then would they look for it where it is, in this law of liberty, and obedience to it; in this law, which doth purge the ear, and sanctify a fast, and give wings to our prayers ; which plucketh the visor from the face of the hypocrite, and strippeth him of his formalities; which "scattereth the people that delight in war,' and is a killing letter to them that first displease God by their impiety, and then please and bless themselves in a faction ; which is, rem quietissimam inquietudine quærere, 'to seek for a sad, serious, quiet thing in distraction,' to seek for constancy in a whirlwind, reality in a shadow, life in a picture, peace in tumult, and joy and blessedness in hell itself !”
The Preacher concludes this very eloquent discourse by saying, “ To the true love of this law, to this blessedness, I commend you. It is my gift, my last wish, that the grace of God may dwell in you plenteously, and strengthen you to every good work. It is the blessing of him who is ready to die, and must speak no more in this place. And may it have the impression and force of the words of a dying man; and let it come up into the presence of that God who boweth the ear, and hearkeneth to the groans, and sighs, and prayers of them who cannot speak : that so this truth, this essential and necessary truth, may abide in you, and bow you to the obedience of that law which shall bring you to bliss. Then shall I magnify God in your behalf, and you shall bless God in mine. Then shall we meet, and be present together, when we are divided asunder; and this truth remaining in you, and you in it, I shall speak when I am silent. Your prayers shall ascend for me, and mine for you ; and they shall both meet before the throne of God; and God shall hear, and join us together in the blessing, who were so united in our devotion. And in this holy contention, and blessed emulation of blessing one another, of praying for one another, we shall pass through this wilderness, where there be so many serpents to bite us ; through this Aceldama, this field of blood,' through the manifold changes and chances of this world ; and at the last day meet together again, and receive that blessing which the Judge shall then pronounce to all that love and fear him ; to all that look into this perfect law of liberty, and remain in it: 'Come, ye blessed of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you, where there is joy, and peace, and fulness of all blessings, for evermore." *
Upon the occasion of Farindon's forced retirement from his ministry in Milk-street, a clerical friend, whose name does not appear, twice occupied his pulpit ; and the people expressed their deep sympathy with their injured Pastor. The first text which this stranger selected was Jer. xii. 1: “Righteous art thou, O Lord, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments ;” (or, “ Let me reason the case with thee :”) “Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper ? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously ?” At the close of this religious service the congregation voluntarily contributed a liberal sum of money as a token of their respect for Farindon, and as a means of his subsistence. On the following Sunday this Clergyman selected as his text Phil. iv. 17 : “Not because I desire a gift : but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.” Referring to the former liberality of the people, and the impression which their kindness had made upon the grateful spirit of Farindon, the Preacher said, at the close of his second sermon, “ And now, having done with my text, sure I need not make any application, or
* Farindon's “ Sermons," vol. iii., sermon Ixxx., in this edition.
tell you how by St. Paul I meant your Minister all this while, and you yourselves by these liberal Philippians. I know to whom I preach : and because it hath pleased God to make me the happy instrument first to strike this rock, at which your charity gushed out in streams, I am obliged to tell you what I have heard him say that is concerned in it :-How that now he glories more than ever in his sufferings and afflictions, because they have yielded you so fair an opportunity to express your faith ; how he rejoices not so much in your gift, as in your Christianity; and more in your love to God, than in your affection to himself. “For now,' says he, * I see I have not spent myself in vain. I dare trust them now amidst a perverse and crooked generation : and if in this dispersion I shall hear they stand fast and steady in the doctrine of Christ, I shall live; for what else befalls me is impertinent, and drops quite besides me. But for this,' says he, ‘I will pray night and day, make supplications without ceasing to Him who is the Author and Finisher of every good work, that He will strengthen them against all temptations, that they may run on till they have won the prize, fight on till they have gotten the day, and then receive the reward of those who shall endure unto the end.' Thus much are his own words. But it is fit that I should conclude with something of mine own.
“Seeing, then, that this golden candlestick is to be removed from you ; seeing that light which hath made such a blaze about this city, is now to return again into its corner; methinks I could acquaint you whom you lose, that you may be more satisfied, if possible, how well you have placed your charity ; but I spare him. For I could ask, When he desired a gift who received this not without some violence ? I could ask you, Whose houses hath he crept into ? like those that come with a tale coloured even with Scripture misapplied, and grow at last to be masters of your family! I could say, that if I would have a school-question unriddled, I would name him ; or a text soberly interpreted, I would choose him; and if I desired to see a sin riveted, as it were with thunder, into hell, you yourselves would then direct me unto him. I could speak more, and thus, and thus, and thus, and so begin another sermon. And if St. Paul did boast himself, sure I might commend another. Or if he lay here before you in a coffin, then you would never think I had said enough. At parting, give me leave to praise you at least, to commend the congregation, if I may not the Preacher. Then I tell you I have seen such persons, when they were in town, frequent this place, as were able to create a temple wheresoever they went ; men each of whom, single and alone, made up a full congregation, nay, a Synod : so as some have not unfitly named this church, THE SCHOLARS' CHURCH.
“But I shall wave this, and pass to what shall more profit you : which is to desire you, in the bowels of Jesus Christ, to consider, and lay it to heart, that the last judgment which God spent on the obstinate Jews was the destruction of the temple, and the turning out of his Priests. Bethink yourselves what it should be which makes God's vengeance so implacable against you, that He threatens you not with cleanness of teeth, but the famine of the word. Examine your consciences; and if you find your crying sins have put these Ministers to silence, you ought in conscience to maintain them; to give them, as the Philippians here did, once and again ; to seek them out and relieve them.'
* Farindon's “Sermons," vol. iii., after sermon lxxx. of the present edition.
When this second religious service was concluded, it was apparent that the resources of the people were not exhausted, nor was their generosity diminished; for they again presented their free donations at the door of the church, making their entire contribution somewhat more than four hundred pounds: * a sum which was equally honourable to Farindon, and to the persons who had attended his ministry. Considering the relative value of money, it was probably equal to more than twice that amount in the present times. It is therefore clear, that he had not in vain inculcated upon his hearers the duty of practical religion, and that he lived in their affections. The humiliation to which Farindon was subjected at this period of his life, in being suspended from his ministry, and made dependent upon private kindness for his support, was unhappily not peculiar to him : he suffered in common with others of his Episcopal brethren. Under the date of Feb. 23d, 1658, Evelyn says in his diary, “ There was now a collection for persecuted and sequestered Ministers of the Church of England, whereof divers are in prison. A sad day! The Church now in dens and caves of the earth.” +
In the margin of the anonymous sermon from which a quotation has just been made, where it is said that persons of the highest distinction had occasionally attended Farindon's preaching, the initials H. H. and R. S. are given ; which unquestionably denote Dr. Henry Hammond, and Dr. Robert Sanderson ; the latter of whom was afterwards raised to the bishopric of Lincoln. That the pulpit of Farindon should be an object of attraction to them, as well as to Pearson, Gunning, and others of the Episcopal Clergy, is a substantial proof of the superiority of his talents, and the purity of his reputation ; for in theological learning Hammond, Sanderson, Pearson, and Gunning, were not inferior to the most eminent of their brethren; and they were all men of a devout spirit, addicted to prayer, as well as to patient and laborious study. VIII.-FARINDON'S RESTORATION TO HIS PASTORAL CHARGE.
HIS SERMON ON
During this second suspension from preaching, Farindon most probably was compelled to apply to Woodward, who had succeeded Brice in the ricarage of Bray, for his fifths, to which by one of the new laws of the Commonwealth he was entitled. But the earnest application of his wife to the fresh Incumbent was unavailing ; for “ he thought it a sin to pay her, being the wife of one of the antichristian crew of the Church of England.” Deprived of his rights in that quarter, Farindon seems to have been mainly indebted for maintenance to his numerous and opulent friends; and, among the rest, to Sir Orlando Bridgman, who after the Restoration was promoted to be Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, and Keeper of the Great Seal. The silence imposed on him could not have been of longer continuance than three years. His second sequestration occurred either at the close of 1651, or early in 1652 ; and in December, 1654, we find him preaching a sermon “at the funeral of the Right Worshipful Sir George Whitmore, Knight, sometime Lord Mayor of the City of London,” Ş who was fatherin-law of his best friend, John Robinson, Esq., and of whom he gives a noble character. It is not to be believed that he would have been allowed
* Walker's “ Sufferings of the Clergy,” Part Second, p. 96.
See Sermons, vol. ii., p. 189.
the exercise of his ministry only on that special occasion ; such courtesy was then unknown: and a perusal of the sermon will convince every reader, that he was as intrepid and fearless as ever in the public enunciation of his sentiments. He must have been previously restored to his ministry in Milk-street, through the powerful influence of his friends in the city, whose favour Cromwell was inclined to propitiate, after the death of Ireton ; that every party in the state, if not wishful to lend its aid to the establishment of his rising greatness, might at least not operate as a hinderance. In the delightful employments of the pastoral office Farindon appears to have remained, without molestation, from 1654 to 1658, the year of his death.
In the third volume of his printed Sermons, there is on his being restored to the exercise of his ministry.”* On this occasion some of his hearers expected him to animadvert on the unjust treatment which he had recently suffered ; but in this they were disappointed. He had learned to suffer wrong in the spirit of meekness, repressing every feeling of malignity, and remembering that vengeance belongeth to God, not to man, and least of all to a disciple of Jesus Christ. The commencement of that sermon is too fine a manifestation of forgiveness and charity, to be passed over in silence. It suggests an exalted apprehension of Farindon's magnanimity, discretion, and gentleness.
“After so long a pause," says he, “after such an interruption as the unhappiness of the times has made, (for I will not put it upon any other score,) I am returned to the execution of my ministerial function, by the providence of God, by the favour of some of the highest, and, as I hope, beloved brethren, by your loving consent, and (for I will presume it so, because I wish it so) your unanimous approbation. Otherwise (give me leave, I beseech you, to enlarge myself, and open my heart to you) far better were it for me to return to my dust, and to my former condition, there to sit down and pray for my enemies, to possess my soul in patience and silence, to struggle with all those temptations which poverty, scorn, and contempt commonly bring along with them, than to embroil myself in an odious and loathsome contention with those whom I am bound to count my brethren, though they think themselves bound to be my enemies ; whom if I do not love, I shall hate my own soul; and whose salvation if I do not seriously tender, I shall forfeit my own. Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God is, that all mis-conceit, prejudice, jealousy, suspicion, which are the winds that blow the coals of contention, may be bound up for ever.” “That I may walk circumspectly, and not cast the least shadow of offence in the course I am to run, I so far drive it out of my thoughts to accuse any, that I would not give them leave to frame any apology or defence for myself; which peradventure may be thought expedient, and some may expect. But in this I must take leave to deceive their expectation, and to follow the rules of discretion and spiritual prudence, which will teach us that thriving lesson,-to lose something, that we may gain the more ; to yield, that we may overcome ; not to be overjust to ourselves, that others may be won at last to do us the more right ; not to stand upon credit and reputation when we plead for peace.”
The same spirit of gentleness and holy love pervades the entire sermon, which is founded upon Gal. iv. 12: “Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am ; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all.”
* See sermon lxxxi. of the present edition, vol. iii.