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and I now say, with the blessed Virgin, 'Be it with thy servant as seemeth best in thy sight;' and so, blessed Jesus, I do take the cup of Salvation, and will call upon thy name, and will preach thy Gospel."
With Donne the answer to the solemn question put by the Church of England at the very entrance of her Ordination Service, respecting the inward movement of the Holy Spirit to the work, was not a matter of form. He prayed with fasting, and examined himself, and only then consented when he felt that God did indeed call him. We shall not be surprised, therefore, to find him, in the exercise of his ministry, thus speaking on the subject: "If we take God's word into our mouths, and pretend a commission, a calling, for the calling of others, we must be sure that God hath shined in our hearts." He then refers to pious parents, with “ a holy intention, dedicating their children to this service of God, in the cradle," and bringing them up suitably. This he calls vocatio intentionalis: while the solemn acceptance of it he calls vocatio virtualis. But he adds, "The calling that is the root and foundation of all," without which, therefore, no other calling is lawful, "is vocatio radicalis; that we have this light shining in our hearts, the testimony of God's Spirit with our spirit, that we have this calling from above." To this may be added the language of the inscription drawn up for his monument by himself: "By the instinct and impulse of the Holy Spirit, and monished and exhorted by King James, he embraced holy orders in the year of his Saviour 1614, and of his own age, 42." * Thus rightly did he understand the doctrine of our Reformers, that a man cannot be a Minister of Christ, unless he be inwardly moved to the office by the Holy Ghost. He must have a direct, personal calling, heavenly light shining on his mind, the Holy Spirit bearing testimony to his spirit, that a dispensation of the Gospel is committed to him. And till he felt that he could conscientiously answer this question in the affirmative, no prospect of "church preferment " had any weight with him. Had he said, yes, to the solemn inter
* "Instinctu et impulsu Sp. Sancti, monitu et hortatu Regis Jacobi, ordines sacros amplexus anno sui Jesu 1614, et suæ ætatis, 42."
rogatory, as a mere matter of form, because it was put down in the book that he was to say so, he would have obtained ordination by an impious lie, equal in guilt to the lying of Ananias and Sapphira, by a lie against the Holy Ghost; and the office that is thus impiously obtained is in the sight of God utterly invalid. He may, in mercy to the hearers, bless his own truth, when that happens to be preached; but the labours of the man are unblessed, unowned. Such are truly "false Prophets,” taking the honour to themselves without being called of God, as was Aaron; running without being sent; self-called, man-made Ministers, intruders into the sacred office. Of such false Prophets our Lord commands us to beware; and in times like the present, nothing should be done by which they are recognised as Ministers of Christ's truly catholic church, to whatever human society they may belong, or whatever ecclesiastical designation they may have received. The church that does not take the utmost care to guard against the entrance of these self-called Ministers, is unfaithful in a point on which, almost above all others, fidelity is required; and were everything else right, this single instance of unfaithfulness would justify secession from her communion, or refusal to conform to it. "What is the chaff to the wheat, saith the Lord?" And he who exposes himself to the danger of being choked with the chaff, instead of being fed with the finest flour of the wheat, hath sinned against the Lord; and let him be sure that his sin will find him out. Secession in such case is not merely not unlawful, but a positive duty.
"And now," says his biographer, "his studies, which had been occasionally diffused, were all concentrated in divinity. Now he had a new calling, new thoughts, and a new employment for his wit and eloquence. Now, all his earthly affections were changed into divine love; and all the faculties of his own soul were engaged in the conversion of others, in
* For the full expansion of this solemn argument, our readers will pardon us for directing their attention to the following sermon: "Beware of false Prophets. A Discourse for the Times." By George Cubitt. 8vo., pp. 39. John Mason.
preaching the glad tidings of remission to repenting sinners, and peace to each troubled soul. He was a Preacher in earnest, weeping sometimes for his auditory, sometimes with them; always preaching from heaven, like an angel from a cloud, but not in one; carrying some, as St. Paul did, to heaven in holy raptures, and enticing others, by a sacred art and courtship, to amend their lives. And all this, with a most particular grace, and an inexpressible addition of comeliness."
Dr. Donne-for the University of Cambridge had conferred on him the degree of D.D.—shows himself in his sermons to have mixed together the doctrines of the Reformation with those Papistic views which were then coming into fashion, and which ultimately led to so sad a departure from the simplicity and power of the martyrs and fathers of the Church. He was thus oftener in a cloud than Walton supposed. The cloud, indeed, is often radiant with the light that shone behind it, and whose brightness penetrated the mass of earthly and obscuring vapours; and it was seldom other than gorgeous with his own learning, fancy, and wit. But still it was a cloud; and in the case of others who had not his light, a cloud spread over the midnight sky, producing the "darkness that might be felt."
Donne is also numbered among the English poets. verses were often very rough, as though the requisite number of syllables were all that was needed; and his sentiments were often obscured by a misty philosophy, and spoiled by the farfetched conceits of a fancy which was sometimes unbridled, sometimes pushed beyond the limits of its own strength. Hence, like Cowley's, whom in many points it resembles, Donne's poetry will never be what is called popular. By the student of English poetry it will always be read as worthily belonging to the entire series; and by those who can distinguish beauty from defects, it will be found that the ore is from a rich vein, and that if in the collected heap there is much of the earthly admixture, there is many a lump of the precious metal, giving a sparkling lustre to the entire mass.
In the fifty-fourth year of his age, he was made Dean of St. Paul's, and became Vicar of St. Dunstan's. These preferments, however, he did not long enjoy. He preached as
long as he had strength, and even when the consumption, (of which he died soon after he had completed his fifty-eighth year,) according to its usual symptoms, afforded him occasional seasons of seemingly reviving vigour, he embraced them that he might lose no opportunity of preaching the holy word of God. His last sermon was delivered in January, 1631, only a few weeks before his death; and what with his faded appearance, and the solemnity and deep feeling of his address, (the text being, "Unto God the Lord belong the issues from death,") the hearers said, "Dr. Donne has preached his own funeral sermon.” After the service, he was taken to his own house, from which he never departed alive. In his will, (December 13th, 1630,) according to the good old custom of referring to things spiritual as well as temporal, he said, "I give my gracious God an entire sacrifice of body and soul, with my most humble thanks for that assurance which his blessed Spirit now imprints in me of the salvation of the one, and the resurrection of the other." To a friend who visited him, among other things he said, “I cannot plead innocency of life, especially of my youth. But I am to be judged by a merciful God. And though of myself I have nothing to present to him but sins and misery, yet I know that he looks not upon me now as I am in myself, but as I am in my Saviour, and hath given me at this time some testimonies of his Holy Spirit that I am of the number of his elect. I am therefore full of inexpressible joy, and shall die in peace."
But the time he had long, and with holy joy, anticipated, at length came. For fifteen days did he lie, patiently, but earnestly, expecting his change. His last hours were remarkably blessed his last hour especially so. : "As his body melted away, and vapoured into spirit," says Walton, "his soul having, I verily believe, some revelation of the beautiful vision, he said, 'I were miserable if I might not die;' and after these words, closed many periods of his faint breath by saying often, 'Thy kingdom come, thy will be done!' His speech left him not till the last minute of his life; and then, being speechless, and seeing heaven, he did look steadfastly into it, and saw the Son of Man, standing at the right hand
of God his Father: and being satisfied with this blessed sight, as his last breath departed from him, and his soul ascended, he closed his own eyes, and disposed his hands and body into such a posture as required not the least alteration by those who came to shroud him." He died on the 31st of March, 1631.
THE building of the ark was a most extraordinary undertaking, not only on account of its novelty and the amazing difficulties and discouragements encountered in its construction and in its completion, but it was a work of far greater magnitude than any would venture to imagine who had only read the Mosaic statement in a cursory manner. In this, as in the argument concerning the deluge, the scale of things is lost sight of, and wrong deductions are the certain consequence. Many infidel writers have raised objections to the sacred narrative on the supposition that Noah's ark was inadequate for the accommodation required. But how opposite was the conclusion to which the learned Bishop Wilkins was brought, after faithful calculation, who observes: "Upon the whole, of the two, it appears more difficult to assign a number and bulk of necessary things to answer the capacity of the ark, than to find sufficient room for the several species of animals supposed to have been there."
As much of our representation and argument depends upon our idea of the actual size of the ark, it may be well to have its dimensions strongly fixed in our imagination. The measurement is exactly stated by Moses in the following words:-"The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits." The cubit was a measure used by all the most ancient nations. The Hebrews called it mother, as being the mother or first of measures. Its length was the distance from the elbow to the extremity of the middle finger, which was about the fourth part of a well-proportioned man's stature. The Hebrew cubit ordinarily employed in measurement, according to Bishop Cumberland and M. Pelletier, is twenty-one