MR. PEPYS’ RELIGION BY C. H. SPURGEON.
WHO has not heard of Mr. Pepys, whose Diary has introduced us to the court of Charles II, to the every — day life of a seventeenth century gentleman, and what is far more interesting, to his own proper self, his foibles, his schemes, and private thoughts, He has left us a chronicle of his daily doings, written as though he thought aloud and then turned reporter to himself manifesting all the frank unreserve in which one may safely indulge in a book of private memoranda written in short-hand; but which no man would venture upon if he had a presentiment that chiefs in after days, would decipher the MS. and send it forth to the world, Lord Braybrooke, in the Life which is prefixed to Bohn’s edition of the Diary, tells us, that “with respect to the religion of Pepys, these volumes supply conclusive information. He was educated in the pure faith of the Church of England. To that he adhered through life, and in that he died.” As we believe him to be a type of thousands now bearing the Christian name in our land, we shall hold up his portrait as drawn by himself, that others may trace the family likeness in themselves, and that all the world may see what are the heights and depths of grace to which the pure faith of the Church of England conducted its adherent two hundred years ago. A writer in Chambers’ Book of Days, calls Pepys “an average Christian;” we suppose he was; but God grant that our readers may be found far above such an average. We shall confine our attention to his Sundays, for then his religion is in its full bloom. His first Sunday’s entry is significant of the manner in which his religion is performed as a matter of duty, and then laid on one side to make room for more congenial occupations. “ Jan. 1st. 1659 . (Lord’s day.) This morning, I rose, put on my suit with great skirts, having not lately worn any other clothes but them. Went to Mr. Gunnin’s chapel at Exeter House, where he made a very good sermon upon these words: — ‘That in the fairness of time God sent his Son, made of a woman,’ etc.; showing, that by ‘made under the law’ is meant the circumcision, which is solemnized this day, Dined at home in the garret, where my wife dressed the remains of a turkey, and in the doing of it she burned her hand. I staid at home the whole afternoon, looking over my accounts; then went with my wife to my father’s.”
The same mixture of engagements during the day is evident in other entries: — “ August 5, 1660 . After dinner, to St. Margaret’s; the first time I ever heard Common Prayer in that church. At Westminster stairs a fray between Mynheer Clinke and a waterman made good sport.” “ May 5, 1661 . Mr. Creed and I went to the red-faced parson’s church, and heard a good sermon of him, better than I looked for. Anon we walked into the garden, and there played the fool a great while, trying who of Mr. Creed or I could go best over the edge of an old fountain well, and I won a quart of sack of him. Then to supper in the banquet-house, and there my wife and I did talk high, she against and I for Mrs. Pierce till we were both angry.”
A part of the Sunday is usually given to make up accounts. We read, “stayed at home the whole afternoon looking over my accounts,” or “casting up my accounts, I do find myself to be worth £40 more, which I did not think.” His conscience occasionally pricks him for this, as is plain in the following entry: — “ All the morning at home, making up my accounts (God forgive me) to give up to my Lord this afternoon.” And, again, “Took physic all day and God forgive me, did spend it in reading of some little french romances.” But his inward monitor was not very exacting, for, on other occasions without so much as the confession of a single qualm, he records his trading on Sunday with sailors who were probably smugglers or thieves. “ Sept. 24, 1665 . Waked, and up, and drank; and then, being about Grayes, and a very calm, curious morning, we took our wherry, and to the fishermen, and bought a great deal of fine fish, and to Graves end to White’s, and had part of it dressed; and, in the mean time, we to walk about a mile from the town, and so back again; and there one of our watermen told us he had heard of a bargain of cloves for us, and we went to a blind alehouse at the further end of the town, to a couple of wretched, dirty seamen, who, poor wretches! had got together about 37lb. of cloves, and 10lb. of nutmegs, and we bought them of them — the first at 5s. 6d. per lb, and the latter at 4s, and paid them in gold; but, Lord! to see how silly these men are in the selling of it, and easy to be persuaded almost to anything.”
What his conscience lacked in force, it possessed, in discrimination; for, to most men, the following note would appear to contain a moral distinction without a difference. “ Jan. 30, 1667 . Fast-day for the King’s death. At night, it being a little moonshine and fair weather, into the garden, and, with Mercer, sang till my wife put me in mind of its being a fast day; and so I was sorry for it, and stopped, and home to cards.”
His dress occupied no mean place in his thoughts: “The barber having done with me I went to church.” “To church, and with my mourning, very handsome, and new periwig made a great show.” “My Taylor’s man brings my vest home, and coat to wear with it and belt and silver-limted sword; so I rose and dressed myself, and I like myself mightily in it, and so do my wife.” He was greatly agitated at times as to the manner in which any novelties in his dress might strike others who attended at the same place of public worship. In November, 1663 , he began to wear a peruke, and writes, “To church, where I found that my coming in a periwig did not prove so strange as I was afraid it would, for I thought that all the church would presently cast their eyes upon me, but I found no such thing.”
Desiring to cut a good figure himself, he is not indifferent to the outward adornment of others; and even goes to churches with the view of seeing the dress and admiring the beauty of the ladies. “ April 21, 1667 . To Hackney church. Sat with Sir G. Viner and his lady — rich in jewels, but most in beauty — almost the finest woman that ever I saw. That which I went chiefly to see was the young ladies of the schools, thereof there is great store.” “ August 11, 1661 . To our own church in the forenoon, and in the afternoon to Clerkenwell church, only to see the two fair Botelers; and I happened to be placed in the pew where they afterwards came to sit, but the pew by their coming being too full, I went out into the next, and there sat, and had my full view of them both, but I am out of conceit now with them.”
He takes a look at a lady he calls Peggy Pen, and describes her as very fine in her new colored silk suit, laced with silver lace.
On another occasion he notes, “There was my pretty black girl;” and, on December 11, 1664 , he jots down, “To church alone in the morning. In the afternoon to the French church, where much pleased with the three sisters of the parson — very handsome, especially in their noses, and sing prettily.
I heard a good sermon of the old man, touching duty to parents. Here was Sir Samuel Morland and his lady very fine, with two footmen, in new believers, the church taking much notice of them, and going into their coach after sermon with great gazing.”
Mr. Pepys was not, at Church, the best behaved man in the world, at least his own report does not accord him a very lofty position. He amuses himself at times with an opera-glass. “ May 26th, 1667 . After dinner I by water alone to Westminster to the parish church, and there did entertain myself with my perspective glass up and down the church, by which I had the great pleasure of seeing and gazing at a great many very fine women; and what with that, and sleeping, I passed away the time till sermon was done.” He even turns the time of worship into a season for conversation, and treats the pew as if it were a counting house: “In the pew both Sir William and I had much talk about the death of Sir Robert, which troubles me much.” As a man of fashion may look in at a succession of parties during the London season, so he drops into various places for a few minutes; observe this memorandum: “ March 16th, 1662 . This morning, till churches were done, I spent going from one church to another, and hearing a bit here, and a bit there.”
Although one would fancy that his own religious fervor might have been the subject of question, he reserves his suspicions for others, and we find observations of this kind — “ The winter coming on, many of the parish ladies are come home, and appear at church again: among others, the three sisters of the Thornburys, very fine, and the most zealous people that ever I saw in my life, even to admiration, if it were true zeal The good man frequently sleeps during the sermon, but usually attributes his drowsiness to the dullness of the discourse. Surely sleeping was very excusable in an age when the singing of the psalm occupied an hour, so as to enable the sexton to make a collection from seat to seat on his own account. When wide awake he is not always quite certain as to the subject; hence he writes one Sunday, “Heard a good sermon upon ‘Teach us the right way,’ or something like it.” criticizes the preacher’s appearance; in one instance it is the “red-faced parson,” in another, “the little doctor.” The discourse is “a good sermon,” “a poor, dry sermon,” “a gracy sermon,”” an impertinent sermon,” or very frequently “a dull sermon.” He tells us in one place, “the same idle fellow preached;” and in another, “a stranger preached like a fool.”
Mr. Mills delivers a lazy sermon upon the devil’s having no right to anything in this world, which ought to have been a racy discourse, for the subject is suggestive enough. In St. Margaret’s, Westminster, heard a young man play the fool about the doctrine of Purgatory; we fear he was not the last young man who has done so.
At Christ Church, June 17th, 1666 , he writes, “I heard a silly sermon.” He must have grown accustomed to hear the same matter repeated, for he notes, “I heard a good sermon of Dr. Bucks, one I have never heard before.” Now and then he enjoys a laugh during service, as for instance, September 23rd, 1660 : “Before sermon I laughed at the reader, who in his prayer desires of God that he would imprint his words on the thumbs of our right hands, and on the great toes of our right feet;” but his mirth is suddenly cut short, for some plaster fell from the top of the Abbey, that made him and all in his pew afraid, so that he wished himself out.
The Lord’s-day was usually wound up with prayers, at least after the date, July 22nd, 1660 , where we read: “Home, and at night had a chapter read; and I read prayers out of the Common Prayer Book, the first time that ever I read prayers in this house. So to bed.” There were, however, exceptions to the rule, for one evening the Diary has it, “To bed with out prayers, it being cold, and to-morrow washing-day.” During Sunday, Mr. Pepys generally contrived to indulge himself with a tolerable share of good eating, and a sufficiency, at the least, of drinking; on one occasion this last a little interfered with the prayers: — “ 29th September, 1661 . What at dinner and at supper I drink, I know not how, of my own accord, so much wine, that I was even almost foxed, and my head ached all night; so home and to bed without prayers, which I never did yet, since I came to the house, of a Sunday night: I being now so out of order that I durst not read prayers, for fear of being perceived by my servants in what case I was.”
This portrait of one nourished in the pure faith of the Church of England, needs not a touch from our pencil, it is so well drawn in every part; neither will we make further remark upon it, but content ourselves with quoting the Savior’s warning: “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven,” Of Mr. Pepys it is sufficient to say in closing, that we have a certificate of his eternal security, from the hand of one of the successors of the apostles, and therefore are bound to raise no further question. What more is needed? He was buried in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life. Can the Church mislead us? There are some who would like to ask, Where was the poor sinner’s faith as to the merit and the blood of Jesus? Was the promise of God personally applied with power by the Holy Ghost? Was he a man renewed and sanctified by the Divine power? Of these things we have no information, but the inquirer must content himself with the warrant of an Episcopalian divine. If not satisfied with this, we ask indignantly, What, more can be required? “ June 5th, 1703 . “Last night, at 9 o’clock, I did the last office for your and my good friend, Mr. Pepys, at St. Olaves’s Church, where he was laid in a vault of his own making, by his wife and brother. “The greatness of his behavior, in his long and sharp trial before his death, was in every respect answerable to his great life; and I believe no man ever went out of this world with greater contempt of it, or a more lively faith in every thing that was revealed of the world to come. I administered the Holy Sacrament twice in his illness to him, and had administered it a third time, but for a sudden fit of illness that happened at the appointed time of administering it. Twice I gave him the absolution of the Church, which he desired, and received with all reverence and comfort; and I never attended any sick or dying person that died with so much Christian greatness of mind, or a more lively sense of immortality, or so much fortitude and patience, in so long and sharp a trial, or greater resignation to the will, which he most devoutly acknowledged to be the wisdom of God; and I doubt not but he is now a very blessed spirit, according to his motto,MENS CUJUSQUE IS EST QUISQUE. “GEORGE HICKES.”
ACHURCH OF ENGLAND MONK in the costume worn by Father Ignatius, and his crew! Has it come to this, that monkery is to be revived in a professedly Protestant Church? Who would have believed it had it been foretold ten years ago? Can it be true that altars are consecrated by these monks to the Virgin and to the saints, and that they are still tolerated in the Establishment? Yes, it is even so. Ignatius was introduced to a congress of clergy as a minister of the Church, and all his doings are strictly within her pale. Monkery is therefore reestablished in the Anglican body. We are not at all surprised at this, nor should we be much astonished if high-mass were publicly celebrated in our parish Churches, and shrines set up to the Virgin, and the saints, within the communion-rails. These would be only legitimate displays of the festering corruption of that part of Antichrist which dominates over this country. But what we are astounded at above measure is, the way in which believers in the Lord Jesus and evangelical Christians continue to countenance all this Popery by remaining in communion with it! The Popish party sneer at them, the Dissenters denounce their dishonesty, and many of them feel uneasy in the organs which once were their consciences, but still they “abide by the stuff” without complaining of it! Verily some persons can eat a large amount of dirt! We wish we could say a word kindly but forcibly in the ear of our brethren, who are still in fellowship with the works of darkness practiced in the Anglican denomination of Romanists. When will you come out? How far is the cannot element to prevail before you will separate from it. You are mainly responsible for the growth of all this Popery, for your piety is the mainstay and salt of what would otherwise soon become too foul to be endured, and would then most readily be swept from the earth. You hinder reformation!
You protect these growing upon trees which drip with death to the souls of men! You foster these vipers beneath your goodly garments! You will be used as a shield to protect the agents of the devil, until they need you no longer, and then they will cast you away! For the love you bear to your Redeemer, be duped no longer, and by your own hatred of monkery and priestcraft, come ye out from among them, be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing.
MANY a time the shepherd called the sheep, but it would not obey his voice; at last taking up the lamb he carried it away, and the mother followed him at once. Full many a woman has been deaf to the Lord’s gracious Word until the angel of mercy has been sent to bear away her darling babe, that it might tempt her to the skies. Then, under the divine leading of the Holy Spirit, the sorrowful parent has looked up to the God of heaven, and desired that through Jesus Christ she might be taken up to see her child again in the better land.
Perhaps this little tract may fall into the hand of a bereaved mother. “The shadow is on the cradle — the little chair is vacant — -the child’s dress is no more to be worked on. Alas, alas! the cooing, chirping voices, and the pattering feet, and the eyes of wondering, and the finger-clasping ‘wee’ hands — gone, all gone. Home is very empty, very, very lonely, very still.”
Dear friend, will you not learn God’s lesson? Will you not learn it now? Is he not evidently beckoning you to the skies by the tiny finger of your own sweet babe? Why should you be smitten any more? Is not this enough?
Does not this touch you in a tender place and move you to hearken to your God? Can you not hear your child-angel as it whispers, “Mother follow me to glory!” Can you bear to be divided from your babe for ever? Have you no desires after heaven and the dear ones who are gathering there? Will you make your bed in hell far off from those who are now in the Savior’s bosom? Jesus crucified must be your hope; turn now your weeping eyes to him. He is able now to save you, and if now you trust him, you are saved, and shall meet in glory with those who have gone before.
THE FOLDED LAMBS ARE ALL SAFE —ARE YOU SAVED?
WORK OF THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE THE College has now become the most important of all the Institutions connected with the Church at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. The place which it once held in the heart of the pastor alone, it now holds in the hearts of the elders and deacons with him. It is indeed a part of the whole Church. It is not only sustained by it, but its students are chiefly from its own members, or have subsequently become united with it. The influence of this one Church upon this and other countries by this means is incalculable. The effects of its piety, and prayerfulness, and zeal upon the College, united with the wisdom, and example, and familiar friendship of the pastor, comprise one principal part of the educational process, and supply that practical knowledge of Church discipline and of the whole compass of pastoral duties which similar institutions have failed to impart.
The interest which the Church takes in its Pastor’s College, could not be better evinced than in the following address to the students by Mr. John Olney, after a tea meeting to which they had been invited by the deacons and elders.
Gentlemen — It gives the deacons and elders of the Church great pleasure to meet you in this friendly manner. We are by no means unmindful of you, or indifferent to your welfare. Rather are you like a noble vessel, chartered and freighted with our hopes and expectations, for which we desire a fair wind and a prosperous voyage. Called to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ, we are anxious for your success. One thing less than this will satisfy our heart’s desire. The burden Of life has been removed from you that you may bear the burden of souls and the gospel. May this retirement fit you for service in the Lord’s vineyard. As by keeping the flocks of Jethro for forty years, Moses was prepared and qualified to bring forth out of Egypt the chosen people like sheep, so may your studies qualify you as good pastors, to lead and feed the sheep of Christ May this College prove to you as Arabia did to Paul, wherein you may more perfectly learn the doctrines of grace, and be enabled to plant Churches in many cities, We pray this may prove as Patmos did to the beloved disciple, Wherein you may have glimpses of glory and visions of God, the revelation of which may be for the comfort and establishment of the people of your charge.
That you may be successful, “Take heed to yourselves.” The Church expects much from you. While all are to witness for Christ, ye are to be our witnesses. Bravery is expected from every soldier, much more from generals. Christ is willing that you should share with him the honor of being examples to the flock. “Be ye holy, who bear the vessels of be Lord.” An unholy minister, neither the world nor the Church will approve. Emphatically, “for you to live is Christ.” Yours be it to imbibe his spirit, copy his example as well as preach his truth, The fish was regarded as an emblem of Christ; among other reasons, because living in the sea, It contracted none of its saltiness. So Jesus Contracted none of the sin of this evil world, but remained in heart and life, as pure as if he had never left the paradise of God. Like the master, you must be unearthly, heavenly. Leaving the pleasures of the world to the worldly, yours must be the joy of communion With God. Like Patience in The Pilgrims Progress, you must be content to wait, to have your pleasures last, because then you will have them everlastingly. As fishes die in foul and muddy waters, but thrive well in the pellucid stream, so, to be carnally minded, will be death to your piety and Usefulness; while to be spiritually minded, will prove life to your labors and peace to your souls. Sin will weaken your powers, grieve the Holy Spirit, mar your communion, and disappoint your hope. To be holy, then, will prove your highest philosophy, your truest interest, and your most solemn duty. “Take heed to your Ministry.” “Aim to become good preachers.” You serve the best master, advocate the best cause; do so in the best manner.
Be orators. The better speech, like the better wine, is the more preferred your chief aim and study be the Christian Ministry. “Do not read your Sermons.” Though some ministers may have decided in their wisdom that reading is preaching, the people in their simplicity have decided otherwise. But one instance occurs of large success attending the reading of a written sermon. The exception in the case of President Edwards, only proves the rule. It is the extemporary oration, the speaking from the heart, that God blesses. Written sermons and written prayers, lie open to the same objection. Both practically ignore, confine, and partially supersede the free, independent, yet most necessary operations of God the Holy Spirit. One can hardly imagine Whitfield confining himself within the bounds of a written discourse. God worked wonders by him. The Spirit was there and spoke through him. It was rather the Spirit preaching, doing his own work in calling and converting souls. So be you on the watch for the Holy Spirit, expect his aid, yield to his influence. “Be energetic” Buxton has described energy as constituting the chief point of difference between one man and another. Energy will make a giant of a man. Almost anything is possible to a determined will. Demosthenes has described energy to be the chief part of oratory. Preach with energy. Put on strength. Let your hearers see that you are in earnest, that you fully believe yourself, and wish they should believe the truth. As an electric battery when charged will send a shock through a whole assembly, so, if you have this spark of energy, you will awaken the latest and secure the attention of your audience. Pray also that the Spirit may make your words the depository and conductor of that vital spark of grace, by which alone the spiritually dead are quickened, souls new born, and sinners saved. “Be original.” Imitate the spider, who spins her web from herself. Use no man’s talent as the ladder whereon you may climb. Trust only in the Spirit and in yourselves. The noblest thoughts of others, will be apt to fall powerless from. your lips. If oft detected in borrowing, your hearers will give way to criticizing and appropriating. Thus Henry, Gill, and Scott, will recover their own, and the works of Baxter and Bunyan be rendered “complete” by the restoration of borrowed paragraphs. Depend on your own powers. Men may read like you the same books, but will. hardly think the same thoughts. Original and independent thought will become easy when the habit is fully formed. “Be experimental.” After the example of the Apostles, preach what you have tasted, handled, and felt of the Word of life. Hahnemann first tested upon himself the medicine he prescribed for others. What you have fed upon and experienced in your own soul during the week, that give to your people on the Sabbath. Thus you will preach less from the head than from the heart, and be more likely to reach the heart, As the bread that has nourished you, will nourish others; so, spiritually, what has blessed and nourished your souls, will benefit your hearers. What has conduced to your growth in grace, may do so in the experience of your fellow Christians.
TO OUR READERS WE hope to be able to find interesting matter for a few letters upon our travels, and if we should succeed, our friends may. hope for the first letter next month. We take the liberty of adding that the circulation of “The Sword and the Trowel” is exceedingly encouraging, but by a little effort on the part of our friends, it might be doubled. We do our best to make it interesting and practically useful. Will friends aid us by increasing the company of our readers?