صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

well as all his hearers; and that every one of those who only are such from mere curiosity, or a worse motive (as some, I fear, are) may be pricked in their hearts by the power of the word, and, instead of asking, What shall we do to depreciate a preacher whom we cannot confute? cry out, What shall we do to be saved? We have gone through Doddridge's Sermons to our mutual satisfaction, and read three more single ones of his we picked up at Frederick's; which, with that book of his Lady H. gave John, was all we could meet with. The sermons are very fine on the occasions they were preached. He has a most wonderful propriety and choice of words, and great power in his Scripture applications...... Poor dear Johnny............. Thank God the other dears are well. My love truly to them. Tell me what sort of colour dear sweet Thomas is like a damask rose, I fancy......I have begun the waters, which agree charmingly. Tell Mrs. F., with my love, that I think she would like the new street, at the end of the North Parade; 'tis a very pretty one, and convenient for all things. I must no more, but that I am, my dearest friend, yours ever, H. B."


As the name of the Countess of Huntingdon is introduced into the above letter, I shall transcribe, in the next place, from my original stores, a letter from that celebrated peeress, addressed to Mrs. Fitzherbert, Sept. 17, 1744-5. "What shall I say to my dear friend, for her goodness to me, who could let so many weeks pass (after such a testimony given me of her kindness), without one single acknowledgment made by me of it? I know my heart is deeply interested for your happiness; and, were it yet enlarged by Divine love, as that of Archbishop Cambray's, I make no doubt it would be able to say to you as his did to the Duke of Burgundy, ‘that had I a thousand lives, I would give them as a drop

of water to see you as God would have you to be;' but, alas! how miserably short do I feel these sentiments of Divine charity in my soul. Nothing but weakness and vanity and self seem to abide there; but, as at a distance, I view it as the purchased possession of us poor mortals, that everlasting righteousness brought into every Christian heart by that adorable Sacrifice. Look not at me, my dear friend. True, I am a miracle of mercy; but when I behold the riches of the Gospel, and the inheritance of his saints, I lothe myself, even as in dust and ashes. A few gifts ill exercised is not the more excellent way. The real love of God flows like a stream of joy and heavenly consolation......So far has been wrote this three weeks, in which time I have been greatly out of order. My weak body is still struggling on, I hope only for an increase of spiritual blessings. The journey often seems long*, which is the effect only of a mind not yet resigned to all dispensations; for it is through sufferings the love of God is perfected in us. I should greatly rejoice with but the thought of seeing you in this part of the world. Let me know in your next if I may hope. Employ me, I am sure you think you may, in any way that I can be useful. My compliments to Mr. Fitzherbert, and Mrs. Boothby; and believe me to be your most affectionate friend, and faithful humble servant,

[ocr errors]

"S. Huntingdon."

From Miss Boothby to Mr. L.† Tişsington, July 12, 1755.-Dear

Yet Lady H. survived the date of this letter forty-six years; dying in 1791.

+ Mr. L. was an excellent person, connected with the Fitzherbert family, as steward and justice clerk, and appears to have been in habits of correspondence with Miss B. during his occasional visits to London, which he valued as affording him an opportunity of attending the ministry of Mr. Romaine and other pious clergymen having been a zealous and consistent of that day. He is yet remembered as Christian.

friend in the household of faith, for those only can all be of one heart and mind, united in the adorable and blessed Jesus,-I rejoice and am truly thankful for what our friend John Dean says of you in a letter to Molly Hurd. Oh may you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prosper. eth. Thanks be to the Lord, I can say that I have no greater joy than to hear of God's children; and that they walk in the truth amidst this crooked and perverse generation. Be assured that when once we have set our face towards Zion, the Lord will lead us on the way, and wherever we are he will be with us. It is sweet to walk with fellow-pilgrims on the way; but if this is denied us for a time, 'tis sweet and more refreshing to meet them again afterwards. The Lord prepares manna for his children in the wilderness, as I trust you find. Though we cannot but tenderly mourn over them who are in bondage and the most servile of all slavery, led captive by their own lusts, living without God in the world, and at enmity with him, mourn and grieve for them; yet this deplorable sight shews us more strongly the great deliverance from sin and Satan by Jesus Christ, and our own vileness; for who hath made us to differ but He who came to seek and to save the LOST; what have we, or can we have (except sin), that we have not received by faith in Jesus? Seeing and feeling this, what may we not hope for, for others, from the same infinite fountain of mercy and grace? Let us then go boldly unto the Throne of Grace for them; and with humble thanksgivings that we are most mercifully shewn the way of salvation in and through Christ Jesus alone, cleave to our dear Saviour, and by his grace follow Him our way, and truth, and life. I have great confidence in the Lord touching you, that he will direct your

heart into the love of God and into the patience of Christ. Look to

his sure and gracious promise, Ask, and you shall have; seek, and you shall fiud; KNOCK, and it shall be opened to you. Pray for faith to lay hold on this faithful word: for faithful is He who has promised. And see what is said by the Spirit in the Revelation to the church of Philadelphia, Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it, for thou hast a little strength. Oh, what a comfortable word is this! what love and mercy! An open door which no man can shut is there promised to but a little strength; promised by Him that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth.But as soon as the Spirit has convinced us that all our whole self is sin and misery, and stripped us of all, then will he enable [us] to go to Jesus, and find in Him all mercy, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and eternal redemption.— We have had another preacher here, who clearly proclaimed the everlasting Gospel to as many as the gardener's house would hold, all quiet and attentive. They talk and fright poor Mr. Gra*, whom

The person whose name is thus abbreviated was the Rev. Graves, the clergyman of Tissington, and brother of the Rev. Richard Graves, rector of Claverthe literary world as one of the minor ton near Bath. The latter is known in poets who haunted the Leasowes in the days of Shenstone. He resided about the year 1740 in the Tissington family, and appears to have preceded his brother as pastor of the parish. He had, however, in his principles more of Rousseau than of St. Austin, as is too evident from his anti-Christian romance, called the Spiritual Quixote, published in 1773, the year succeeding the death of his earliest patron. In this work he has characterised Mr. and Mrs. Fitzherbert and Miss Boothby under the names of Sir William and Lady Forester and Miss Sainthill. His description of the localities of Tissington is very accurate; and, whatever were the motive, he has referred to the ladies in question in terms generally reinto the grave without leaving behind him spectful. It is feared that he descended a single expression of regret for having polluted the clerical name with a perfor

at times I have great hopes for. While he is encouraged and spoke plainly to, he seems to forget the fear of man; but, alas! it returns again upon any opposition. With the Lord's leave and help I am labouring to have some spiritual society here. We have prayers at

[ocr errors]


mance which directly attacked Christianity, under the shadow of a pretence, merely to display the human weaknesses of such persons as Whitfield and Wesley, or as Mrs. Fitzherbert and Miss Boothby. Of the two last Dr. Johnson's opinion is already recorded. Of Whitfield he thought indeed less highly than of Wesley, although he confessed, I never treated Whitfield's ministry with contempt; I believe he did good. He devoted himself to the lower classes of mankind, and among them he was of use." (Boswell, vol. iii. p. 439.) It is evident that the Tissington ladies were strongly attached to the founders of Methodism. Mrs. 1rs. Piozzi accuses Miss Boothby by the insinuation, that "those people of course obtained most of her confidence who professed superior warmth of devotion or affected peculiar sanctity of manners."(Letters to and from the late Samuel Johnson, LL.D., &c. vol. ii. p. 380). But this is a charge invariably brought against religious persons by such as cannot estimate their anxiety to receive and communicate spiritual edification. Among Miss Boothby's associates were probably individuals of an inferior rank to herself; and this was generally the case in her days, when the profession of religion was less common and easy than it has been since: The Sir William Forester of the Spiritual Quixote is accused however of having a low taste in his society. "Some of his wise neighbours were a little scandalized at his admitting people of inferior rank so frequently to his table: but Sir William (like Swift's virtuoso, who could extract sun-beams from cucumbers) had the skill of extracting entertainment from the most insipid companions; of discovering humour in the most phlegmatic divine, or solid sense in a country dancing-master." This statement, while it confirms Dr. Johnson's account of Mr. Fitzherbert's passion for social varieties, may in some degree explain or defend the conduct of Hill Boothby, whose mind, however ca pable of intellectual luxuries, was obedient to such principles as led her to value the converse of religious persons in the lower

walks of life. She could also tolerate the preaching of itinerants in cottages, and could circulate books which Dr. Johnson misapprehended, and which ostensibly formed the only cause of disunion between him and his most cherished friend.

church every Wednesday evening, and every Friday night prayers and a lecture, and I trust shall advance farther. Opposition I fear not; I bless God. I know the enemy will raise it always: but the NAME of the Lord is a strong tower, into which I know, blessed be hisName, the poorest and weakest of his servants may flee and be in safety. Poor Quawco* is sadly reprobate and regardless to all I can say to him; but I will not cease to admonish and pray for him. All here are well, blessed be God: Miss never better, nor all the dear ones. Mr. James Fitzherbert is ill of a fever, of which several have died at Ashbourne: the Lord grant it may work upon his heart. Poor creature, he says preaching here shall be stopped when his brother comes. I beg you to get me two sets of Mr. Whitfield's Sermons, and a dozen of his last books for the Sacrament, and half a dozen of Mr. Wesley's Society Hymn-books; for the people who meet at Sandy Brook want some; and likewise four of Mr. Wesley's Extract of the Pilgrim's Progress, and of the Life of Mr. Halyburton two; and a book of his called, Lessons for Children, in three parts. Mr. Wesley's books are to be had at the Foundry. Mrs. Mott promised to send me any thing of Mr. Romaine's that should be published. If you see her, pray with my love put her in mind of this promise; and I beg you to give my love to and inquire after all our dear Christian friends, and bring us all the tidings you can concerning all of them......I am much better in had a vast deal of heavy rain and health, thank God; but we have cold winds this week. The grass before the house was mowed on Saturday last, but no making it

Probably a Negro servant from Barbadoes. Mr. Fitzherbert's mother was the daughter of Mr. Alleyne of that island, from whom Lord St. Helens derived his The present Sir Henry F. pos sesses estates in Barbadces.


into hay yet....all send love to you. Pray for us: and may the Lord of peace give you peace always by all means, prays your loving friend in our Lord, H. B..........................I do trust the Lord will raise up poor Mr. Gra. and heal his backslidings, to the sense of which he is much awakened."

The last letter in my possession, from Miss Boothby, is addressed to the same correspondent, and dated July 30, 1755: "Dear friend in the Lord,-Your letter gave me great comfort for you: for I know all who seek will find; and that he who now goes on his way mourning shall surely come again with joy and bring his sheaves with him. The soul that sees and deeply feels its misery will be athirst for Christ; and he who waits to be gracious, will in due time pour in the spirit of peace and consolation. 'I waited patiently for the Lord,' says David, and you know what followed. He heard the voice of his complainings: He inclined unto me, and heard my calling,' &c. Psal. xl. 1,2,3. Would to God all I know in an unconverted state were as you: how should I praise the Lord for them! Watch and pray, and at an hour that thou thinkest not of, thy Lord will come and heal all thy wounds. 'Tis love that opens them and searches them to the bottom, and love will heal them to the bottom; so that the bones which are broken shall rejoice. Jesus is a Saviour to the uttermost. Believe in Him, and you shall be saved, and blessed here and for ever. Lord, give us all faith, and increase it. All is thy gift; and we cannot know in whom we believe till we first know and feel that we are wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. No; they only who have nothing possess all things: for Christ is all in all; and who that has but in the least drop tasted of his precious love, would not gladly leave all for the adorable CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 349.

Saviour of poor lost sinners.I have daily attacks from without; and am told these wrong things will be remedied when you come; for, as a magistrate, Mr. F. must drive these lay preachers away, &c. I bless the Lord he gives me steadiness and calmness. We had a sweet sermon at the gardener's last night: fewer hearers than before. Some who always had come had been persuaded not to come. The Lord convince and convert gainsayers: they know not what they do. In Him I trust alone, and fear not man. All are well, I bless God. My hoarseness is returned upon me, but not much, and my side bad. Poor Quawco worse and worse, audaciously wicked...... I have not time to say more than love to you from all here, and the Lord be with you ever. I am your true friend, H. B. ..... In two years you, Thos. Tom"., and Mr. Hurd are to preach; and they say I do preach: what poor nonsense!"

In less than six months after this was written Miss Boothby died; but among the manuscripts I find a letter addressed to a nameless correspondent from Miss Judith Beresford; and which, as connected with the loss sustained in the Tissington family by the death of Hill Boothby, is here transcribed :—

[ocr errors]

April 24th, 1756.-I received your last letter with great satisfaction, and bless God for the comfortable hope I now have that the poor dear children are in a fair way of recovery, though slowly. Indeed one cannot expect it should be otherwise..... I trust when they are able to move, the journey to Tissington and the fresh air there may be a means of restoring them to their former health and strength. I long to see them all, yet it will be a great trial to me. Many tender sensations must arise in my heart, and my own great loss be more sensibly felt by beholding theirs, which is indeed unspeak


able. But the Lord is sufficient for all things, and never faileth those who wait upon him for grace and support: a ready help in all time of trouble both inward and outward. All our care must be cast upon Him, and we shall want no manner of thing that is good. The inward cross is indeed by much the heaviest: but no cause have we to despair, be its burden ever so great; for we know He that shall come will come! God will not contend for ever, lest the spirit should fail before Him and the souls which He hath redeemed. Oh, I trust He will in a short time give you the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, and you will cry out, My Lord and my God, I have redemption in thy blood. But if this be not in a short time, yet wait patiently, and distrust not his power or his love. He has various methods of dealing with his children; and who shall say, What dost thou ? Only commit your way to him, and your footsteps shall not slide. The little Golden Treasury* is a most comfortable book. I do not know any equal to it. Wherever one opens there is something for edification or comfort. I find it so, and I hope you do. Alas! I am a poor weak soul, and have many enemies still to encounter, though perhaps you may not think so. Let us present each other at the Throne of Grace, and still press forward to the mark for the prize of our high calling. Pray give my love to dearest Miss F., and send me the hymn-book you mention. Mrs. Han. is pretty well. She always meets the little society, and seems very earnest. She desires her love to you all; and I am, dear friend, your truly affectionate,


"J. Beresfordt." There is another letter from this

• By Bogatzky, a book then recently published, and which has ever since been popular among religious persons.

This lady is the Miss Forester of the Spiritual Quixote.

lady of a previous date (March 10, 1756), in which she thus alludes to her departed friend: "You tell me of dear M". Wesley and Whitfield being in great friendship; but oh I cannot tell you what satisfaction it gave me. I always wished for it, and thought it would be some time. So did that dear soul who was all love to all, and desired nothing so much as that the breaches in Sion might be healed.”

Having now brought these extracts to a conclusion, I beg you, sir, to afford room for one more letter from Dr. Johnson to Miss Boothby, already indeed before the public; but, as previously mentioned, to be found only in a scarce collection, and probably known to very few of your readers :

[ocr errors]

"Jan. 3, 1755.-Dearest Madam,-Nobody but you can recompense me for the distress which I suffered on Monday night. Having engaged Dr. Lawrence to let me know, at whatever hour, the state in which he left you, I concluded when he staid so long that he staid to see my dearest expire. I was composing myself as I could to hear what yet I hoped not to hear, when his servant brought me word that you were better. Do you continue to grow better? Let my dear little Miss inform me on a card. I would not have you write lest it should hurt you, and consequently hurt likewise, dearest Madam, your, &c."

I much regret that, among the original papers now lying before me, nothing is found from the pen of Mrs. Fitzherbert. She is indeed most advantageously known from the letters and recorded conversation of her friends and appears to have been a woman of extraordinary piety, under circumstances very unfavourable to its growth.

To the above papers I now add, with much pleasure, extracts from the letter of a female friend, who

resided with her mother at Tis

« السابقةمتابعة »