網頁圖片
PDF

when they expostulated with him, he said, “Be not afraid. The Lord God ruleth over all. If God may be glorified, and his truth propagated, God's will be done concerning me.” Thus he assured them, that if his discourse answered the purpose he intended, he was regardless what might befall himself. Upon his going to the bishop, to pay his compliments before he went home, the bishop said, “ Sir, I purpose to wait upon you home myself;” and so accompanied him to his house. As soon as Mr. Gilpin had conducted him into the parlour, the bishop suddenly turned round, and seizing him by the hand, said, “Father Gilpin, “I acknowledge you are fitter to be the Bishop of Durham, “ than I am to be the parson of your church. I ask “forgiveness of past injuries. Forgive me, father. I know. “you have enemies; but while I live Bishop of Durham, “be secure: none of them shall cause you any further . % trouble.” - The benevolence and hospitality of Mr. Gilpin were the admiration of all the country. Strangers and travellers found a cheerful reception at his house. All were welcome that came : and every sabbath, from Michaelmas to Easter, he expected to see all his parishioners and their families. For their reception, he had three tables well covered : the first for gentlemen, the second for husbandmen and farmers, and the third for the labouring poor. This kind of hospitality he never omitted, even when losses or scarcity rendered its continuance rather difficult. He thought it was his duty; and that was a deciding motive. Even when he was from home, the poor were fed, and strangers entertained, as usual. Every Thursday throughout the year, a very large quantity of meat was dressed wholly for the poor; and every day they had as much broth as they wanted. Twentyfour of the poorest were his constant pensioners. Four times in the year a dinner was provided for the poor in general, when they received a certain quantity of corn and a sum of money; and at Christmas they had always an ox divided among them. Whenever he heard of any persons in distress, whether in his own parish or any other, he was sure to relieve them. As he walked abroad, he frequently brought home with him poor people, and sent them away clothed as well as fed. He took great pains to acquaint himself with the circumstances of his neighbours, that the modesty of sufferers might not prevent their relief. But the money best

* Wood says, that Bishop Barns was a constant favourer of puritanism. -Athenae Oron. vol. i. p. 607.

Haid out, in his opinion, was that which encouraged industry. He took great pleasure in making up the losses of those who were laborious. If a poor man had lost a beast, he would send him another in its room; or if the farmers had at any time a bad harvest, he would make them an abatement in their tithes. Thus, as far as he was able, he took the misfortunes of his parish upon himself, and, like a true shepherd, exposed himself for his flock. * In the distant places where he preached, as well as in his own neighbourhood, his generosity and benevolence were continually manifested, particularly in the parts of Northumberland where he preached. Upon the public road, he never passed an opportunity of doing good. He was often known to take off his cloak, and give it to a poor traveller. “When he began a journey to those distant places,” it is said, “he would have ten pounds in his purse; and at his coming home, would be twenty nobles in debt, which he would always pay within a fortnight after.” Among the many instances of Mr. Gilpin's uncommon. benevolence, was the erection and endowment of a public grammar school. His school was no sooner opened, than it began to flourish; and there was so great a resort of young people to it, that in a little time the town could not accommodate them. For the sake of convenience, however, he fitted up his own house, where he had seldom fewer than twenty or thirty children. The greater part of these were poor children, whom he not only educated, but clothed and maintained. He was also at the expense of boarding many poor children in the town. He sent many of his scholars to the university, and devoted sixty pounds a year. to their support during their continuance there. The common allowance for each scholar was ten pounds annually; which to a sober youth was at that time a sufficient support. And he not only procured able teachers for his school, but took a very active part himself in the constant inspection of it. To increase the number of his scholars, one method which he used was rather singular. Whenever he met with a poor boy upon the road, he would make trial of his abilities by asking him questions; and if he was pleased with him, would provide for his education. Among those educated at his school, and sent to the university, were Dr. George Carleton, afterwards bishop of Chichester, who published Mr. Gilpin's life; Dr. Henry Airay, and the celebrated Mr. Hugh Broughton. Towards the close of life, Mr. Gilpin went through his laborious exercises with great difficulty. By extreme fatigue for many years, his constitution was worn down, and his health much impaired. He thus expressed himself in a letter to a friend: “To sustain all these travels and troubles, I have a very weak body, subject to many diseases; by the motions whereof, I am daily warned to remember death. My greatest grief of all is, that my memory is quite decayed: my sight faileth; my hearing faileth; with other ailments; more than I can well express.” While he was thus struggling with old age and an impaired constitution, as he was one day crossing the market-place at Durham, an oxiran at him, and pushed him down with such violence, that it was thought it would have occasioned his death. Though he survived the shock and bruises he received, he was long food to his house, and continued lame as long as he ived. During his last sickness, he made known his apprehensions to his friends, and spoke of death with happy composure of mind. A few days previous to his departure, he requested that his friends, acquaintance, and dependents, might be called into his chamber; and being raised in his bed, he delivered to each of them the pathetic exhortation. of a dying man. His remaining hours were employed in prayer, and broken conversation with select friends, speaking often of the sweet consolations of the gospel. He finished his laborious life, and entered upon his rest, March 4, 1583, aged sixty-six years. - Such was the end of Mr. Bernard Gilpin, whose learning. piety, charity, labours, and usefulness, were almost unbounded. He possessed a quick imagination, a strong memory, and a solid judgment; and greatly excelled in the knowledge of languages, history, and divinity. He was so laborious for the good of souls, that he was usually called the No RTHERN Apostle; and he was so universally benevolent to the necessitous, that he was commonly styled. the FAthen of the Pooh. He was a thorough puritan in principle, and a most conscientious nonconformist in practice, but against separation. Being full of faith and good works, he was accounted a saint by his very enemies; and was at last gathered in as a shock of corn fully ripe. By his last will and testament, he left half of his property to the poor of Houghton, and the other half to a number of poor scholars at the university.” - -

* Wood's Athenae Oxon. vol. i. p. 703.

Mr. Gilpin, from the earliest period, was inclined to serious thoughtfulness. This was discovered by the following circumstance. A begging friar coming on a Saturday evening to his father's house, was received, according to the custom of those times, in a very hospitable manner. The friar made too free with the bounty set before him, and became thoroughly intoxicated. The next morning, however, he ordered the bell to toll for public worship; and from the pulpit, expressed himself with great vehemence against the debauchery of the times, but particularly against drunkenness. Young Gilpin, then a child on his mother's lap, seemed for some time exceedingly affected by the friar's discourse; and at length, with the utmost indignation, cried out: “Oh, mamma, do you hear how this fellow “ dares speak against drunkenness, and was drunk himself “ last night !” The disinterested pains which Mr. Gilpin took among the barbarous people in the north, and the great kindness he manifested towards them, excited in them the warmest ratitude and esteem. One instance is related, shewing ow greatly he was revered. Being once on his journey to j. and Tyne-dale, by the carelessness of his servant, he had his horses stolen. The news quickly spread through the country, and every one expressed the highest indignation against it. While the thief was rejoicing over his prize, he found, by the report of the country, whose horses he had stolen; and being exceedingly terrified at what he had done, he instantly came trembling back, consessed the fact, returned the horses, and declared he believed the devil would have seized him immediately, if he had o them off, when he found they belonged to Mr. ilpin. - - The hospitality of this excellent person was not confined in its objects. Strangers and travellers found the *indest entertainment in his house. And even their beasts were so well taken care of, that it was humorously said, “If a horse was turned out in any part of the country, he would immediately make his way to the rectory of Houghton.”—The following instance of his benevolent spirit, is preserved. As he was one day returning from a journey, he saw several persons crowding together in a field; and supposing some disaster had happened, he rode up to them, and found that one of the horses in a team had suddenly dropped down, and was dead. The owner bemoaning the greatness of his loss, Mr. Gilpin said, “Honest man, be not discouraged; I'll let you have that horse of mine,” pointing at his servant’s.” “Ah! master,” replied the countryman, “my pocket will not reach such a beast as that.” “Come, come,” said Mr. Gilpin, “take him, take him; and when I demand the money, then shalt thou pay me;” and so gave him his horse. The celebrated Lord Burleigh being once sent into Scotland, embraced the opportunity on his return to visit his old acquaintance at Houghton. His visit was without previous notice ; yet the economy of Mr. Gilpin's house was not easily disconcerted. He received his noble guest with so much true politeness, and treated him and his whole retinue in so affluent and generous a manner, that the treasurer would often afterwards say, “he could hardly have expected more at Lambeth.” During his stay, he took great pains to acquaint himself with the order and regularity of the house, which gave him uncommon pleasure and satisfaction. This noble lord, at parting, embraced his much respected friend with all the warmth of affection, and told him, he had heard great things in his commendation, but he had now seen what far exceeded all that he had heard. “If Mr. Gilpin,” added he, “I can “ever be of any service to you at court or elsewhere, use “me with all freedom, as one on whom you may depend.” When he had got upon Rainton-hill, which rises about a mile from Houghton, and commands the vale, he turned his horse to take one more view of the place, and having fixed his eye upon it for some time, he broke out into this exclamation: “There is the enjoyment of life indeed “Who can blame that man for refusing a bishopric What “ doth he want, to make him greater, or happier, or more. “ useful to mankind ** Dr. Richard Gilpin, an excellent and useful divine, ejected by the Act of Uniformity in 1662; and Mr. William Gilpin, author of “The Lives of eminent Reformers,” were both descendants of Mr. Gilpin's family.t

John CoPPING.—This unhappy man was minister near Bury St. Edmunds, a zealous puritan of the Brownist persuasion, and a most painful sufferer for nonconformity. In the year 1576, he was brought into trouble by the commis

• Biog. Britan, vol. vii. Sup. p. 75.

+ Palmer's Noncon. Mem. vol. i. p. 388.-Granger's Biog. Hist. vol. i. p. 163.

« 上一頁繼續 »