« PreviousContinue »
with prayer. Mr. Knight preached the funeral sermon on the next morning, at Tottenhamn Court Chapel, from Acts xii. 36." For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers.” In the evening, Mr. Wilks preached at the Tabernacle, from Acts xx. 24. “ That I night finish my course with joy."
“ The Saint's entrance into Peace," a funeral sermon, occasioned by the death of the rev. Thomas Adams, was the only piece he ever published.
JUNIUS, FRANCIS, descended from a noble family in France, was born at Bourges in that kingdom, May 1, 1545, His mother had a most difficult labour; and her life, together with that of her son, was for some time despaired of He was long afterwards so infirm that his friends never expected his continuance to manhood ; though, as it proved, he survived most of his family. His constitutional in: firmity was increased by an excessive and over-weening care in nursing; and, al length, the morbid matter, either the cause of his incessant disorders, or the consequence of them, terminated in an ulcer of the leg, which, though healed, was always affected by any occurring ailments to the end of his days. . Under a kind and learned father he received the rudiments of his education. His parents did not choose to venture him at a public school, on account of his weakness. Yet, with all this weight of disorder, in bis most tender age he discovered great wit and parts, and a certain hilarity of disposition, which often created much amusement, as well as expectation to his friends. He discovered early, a high sense of honour and love of fame, a great quickness of temper, and for his age a solid judgement in matters which came before him, insomuch that his mother used jestingly to say of him, “ that he certainly would be another Socrates." He had likewise such an invincible modesty, that, throughout his life, he appeared to common observers under a peculiar disadvantage, and could scarcely speak upon the inost common subjects with strangers without a suffusion in his countenance. About his twelfth year he quitted the private education of his father for the public one of a school ; as a preparation for the study of the civil law, for which he was designed. His friends, indeed, wished for him to prosecute his fortune at P 2
court; but his love of learning and the bashfulness of his temper soon diverted that design. He had the unhappiness of impetuous and tyrannical preceptors, who, if his love of letters had not been uncommonly ardent, were sufficient to have extinguished it; as hath been too often the case in many others. After some time, he was removed to Lyons for his farther improvement. Here he had great leisure, and as many books as he could desire, which he began to read with avidity ; not selecting his authors, but taking them indiscriminately as they fell in his way. The presi dent of the college, Bartholomew Anulus, observing this wild pursuit, took an opportunity of hinting to him its impropriety and waste of time, assuring him, “ that he would rather injure than inform his mind by that inode of read. ing; that, on the contrary, he should have some proposed end before his eyes in the course of his studies, to which they should be principally directed; and that neither the life of man, nor the inind of man, would suffice for all kinds of learning at once, but the attempt inight shorten the one while it only confounded the other." This caution he never forgot, but found it of use to him ever afterwards.
Lyons was then, as well as since, a very dissolute city; and the placing a raw youth there, without the authority of parents or guardians, who could take care of his morals (as was the case with Junius), was exposing him to a torrent of temptations. Two women, in particular, having conceived a regard for his person, haunted him with oblique testimonies of their affection, and, forgetting the modesty of their sex, pursued him with their solicitations. Whether from aversion to their indecent conduct, or from the natural bashfulness of his temper, God's providence how. ever preserved him from seduciion; and he overcame ihis temptation. But he fell under a sad temptation of another kind, till the mercy of God restored him. This evil was downright Atheism, into the espousal of which he was drawn by the sophistry of a bad companion, and his own indiscretion or inexperience. Junius was reading Tully's books upon Laws, in which the vile proposition of Epicurus is cited, “ That God is withont all care both for his own affairs, and for those of other beings *." His evil counsel.
• This passage is cited by Marcus, in Cic. de legibus, lib. 1.
los lor had adopted this maxim, and by every arguinent of a wicked wit inculcated it upon Junius. He had so imbibed it, that his young friend becaine rooted in the principle, and as complete an Atheist as hiinself. For more than a year, Junius maintained his profession, and with so much openness, that it appears to have been known by all who knew him. A tumult that occurred at Lyons, first stag. gered him in his new opinion. He was wonderfully preserved in the commotion; and he began to see, that there was something more than mere chance in the case, and something that looked like an over-ruling providence. About the sanie time, his father, having been informed of the alarming state of his son's mind, sent for him, and, with the utmost tenderness, learning, and piety, invited him to read over the New Testament with attention, and confer with him upon it. He obeyed his father's direction; and it pleased God to open his eyes to a full view of the aboininable notions, which he had adopted. The first chapter of St. Jobn's Gospel, which he began upon, was made the happy means of this revolution of inind. He was struck with the dignity of the expression, and the weight of the matter *.
From that time, the world and its pursuits appeared vain and insipid 10 Junius; and the things of God and of hea. ven engaged his whole concern. His father was rejoiced at the happy change, but still intended hiin for the civil law and buman affairs. The inclination of the son soared bigher; and, by perinission and consent of his father, he went to Geneva, with a view of studying divinity and the languages, abont the time of the first breaking out of the civil war in France. He was disinissed with a supply of money, sufficient for his present occasions; and his father
• He says of himself, “I read part of the chapter, and was so im. pressed with what I read, that I could not but perceive the divinity of the subject and the authority and majesty of the Scriptures, to surpass greatly all human eloqueuse. Ishuddered in iny body with horror at myself ; 1dy soul was astonished; and I was so strongly affected all that day, that I scarcely knew who, or what, or where I was. But thou, O Lord my God, didst remember me in thy wonderful mercy, and didst receive a lust and wandering sheep into thy flock! From that time, when the Lord had granted me so great a portion of his lloly Spirit, I began to read the Bible, and treat other books with more, coldness and indifference, and to reflect more upon, and be much more conversant with, the things that relate to salvation."
promised to remit hiin in future, what might be necessary, but was not able through the public commotions. Thus ill-provided with subsistence, he could only purchase four books; and these were, the Holy Bible, Calvin's Institutes, Beza's Confession, and Cevalierius's Hebrew Grammar; which engaged him for a year. Within this space, he was prevailed upon to accompany a party, who were inaking an excursion into Switzerland, just when his little stock was almost exhausted. In this tour, which lasted three weeks, Junius made an acquaintance with Musculus, Haller, Peter Martyr, Bullinger, Farrel, &c. who were all at that time in the cantons. When he returned to Geneva he had scarcely any money left, and for seven or eight months afterwards he received none from his friends. His excessive modesty forbade him to borrow, and therefore he formed a scheme of living hard. He deterinined with himself to employ one day as a labourer in the fortifications, for his subsistence, the other to engage in his studies. But if Providence tried Junius's faith upon this account, it did not leave him long without a testiinony of its care. For a countryman of his was put in his way, whose mother, being left a widow with a numerous offspring, had often been assisted in her necessities by Junius's parents; and this man gratefully embraced the opportunity of acknowledging his obligation. Here indeed was a bread sown upon the waters, and found again after inany days." He lodged, he boarded, and did for his benefactor's son, all thai was in his power to do. On the other hand, Junius, feeling for the burden and inconveniences which his grateful friend chearfully underwent upon his account, endeavoured to inake that burden as light as possible, and, out. of a quick sense of delicacy, alınost wholly abstained from the food, procured by the laborious industry of his host. He lived with him near seven months; and, for four of the seven, constantly took care to be from home at dinner time, which he spent in walking, meditation, and prayer, In the evening, he ate a couple of eggs, and drank a small cup of the petit vin, or low wine, which is the common beverage of that country, as beer is with us; and all this, that he might not be too chargeable to his kind benefactor. His modesty and extreme delicacy, however, cost hiin dear; for by this over abstemious kind of life, he contracted a decline, which almost destroyed his tender frame. Provi
dence again interposed in this emergency; for, by the assistance of his friends, and, at length, by the remittance of a sum of money from his father, he was enabled to adopt a better regimen and to use such means as wholly recovered tim.
Mr. Leigh, in his “ Treatise of Religion and Learning," quotes from Junius himself, that he received a most coure teous entertainment from a countryman (and perhaps the countryınan abovementioned) in the time of his distress, and adds another circumstance which is wholly omitted by Melchior Adam and other biographers. He relates it in Junius's own words : “ Here (O the wonderful wisdom of God!) my Master had prepared for me the best school of true religion I ever found in my life. For God so wrought upon my soul by the ardent and zealous piety of this poor good man, that a portion of the same divine fervour was imparted through him to me; while I, in the comparison, a very indifferent Christian, was made useful to him in the communication of other knowledge. Upon both of us, at one and the same time, the Lord bestowed an increase of his inercy and grace ; upon my siinple countryman, by enabling me to enlighten his head; and upon me, by enabling him to kindle a flame of zeal in my heart.” The transparent piety, humilily, and modesty of this acknowledgement needs no comment. This inan of learning had, through grace, followed the apostle's rule, and “ became a fool” in his own eyes, " that he might be wise indeed,” not for the puny concerns of time and the world, but to everlasting salvation.
It being contrary to the plan of life, which Junius's father had intended, that he should study divinity, he wrote for him to return horne. He wished his son might be religious; but he did not wish him to be a preacher. This reduced Junius to a disagreeable dilemma, out of which he was much relieved by the interposition of a pious and learned friend of his father, who explained to hiin the necessity of his son's remaining longer at Geneva, for the sake of his studies. In the interim, an aweful providence determined the affair. At Issoudon in Aquitain, a murdering banditti sel upon Junius's father, and barbarously bereaved bim of his life *.
Upon • On Corpus Christi day, the Roman Catholics of Issoudon, regard. less of the treaty of peace, that had been concluded just before, com