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and says, "his discourse was so pious, and his motion so genteel and meek, that after almost forty years, yet they remain still fresh in his memory."

The next morning Mr. Duncon left him, and betook himself to a journey to Bath, but with a promise to return back to him within five days; and he did so: but before I shall say any thing of what discourse then fell betwixt them two, I will pay my promised account of Mr. Farrer.

Mr. Nicholas Farrer-who got the reputation of being called Saint Nicholas at the age of six years-was born in London, and doubtless had good education in his youth; but certainly was, at an early age, made Fellow of Clare-Hall in Cambridge; where he continued to be eminent for his piety, temperance, and learning. About the twenty-sixth year of his age, he betook himself to travel in which he added, to his Latin and Greek, a perfect knowledge of all the languages spoken in the Western parts of our Christian world; and understood well the principles of their Religion, and of their manner, and the reasons of their worship. In this his travel he met with many persuasions to come into a communion with that church which calls itself Catholic: but he returned from his travels as he went, eminent for his obedience to his mother, the Church of England. In his absence from England, Mr. Farrer's father-who was a merchant-allowed him a liberal maintenance; and, not long after his return into England, Mr. Farrer had, by the death of his father, or an elder brother, or both, an estate left him, that enabled him to purchase land to the value of four or five hundred pounds a year; the greatest part of which land was at Little Gidden, four or six miles from Huntingdon, and about eighteen from Cambridge; which place he chose for the privacy of it, and for the Hall, which had the Parish-Church or Chapel, belonging and adjoining near to it; for Mr. Farrer having seen the manners and vanities of the world, and found them to be, as Mr. Herbert says, a nothing between two dishes," did so contemn it, that he resolved to spend the remainder of his life in mortifications, and in devotion, and charity, and to be always prepared for death. And his life was spent thus:


He and his family, which were like a little College, and about

thirty in number, did most of them keep Lent and all Emberweeks strictly, both in fasting and using all those mortifications and prayers that the Church hath appointed to be then used; and he and they did the like constantly on Fridays, and on the Vigils or Eves appointed to be fasted before the Saints' days: and frugality and abstinence turned to the relief of the poor: but this was but a part of his charity; none but God and he knew the rest.

This family, which I have said to be in number about thirty, were a part of them his kindred, and the rest chosen to be of a temper fit to be moulded into a devout life; and all of them were for their dispositions serviceable, and quiet, and humble, and free from scandal. Having thus fitted himself for his family, he did, about the year 1630, betake himself to a constant and methodical service of God; and it was in this manner :-He, being accompanied with most of his family, did himself use to read the common prayers-for he was a Deacon-every day, at the appointed hours of ten and four, in the Parish-Church, which was very near his house, and which he had both repaired and adorned; for it was fallen into a great ruin, by reason of a depopulation of the village before Mr. Farrer bought the manor. And he did also constantly read the Matins every morning at the hour of six, either in the Church, or in an Oratory, which was within his own house. And many of the family did there continue with him after the prayers were ended, and there they spent some hours in singing Hymns, or Anthems, sometimes in the Church, and often to an organ in the Oratory. And there they sometimes betook themselves to meditate, or to pray privately, or to read a part of the New Testament to themselves, or to continue their praying or reading the Psalms; and in case the Psalms were not always read in the day, then Mr. Farrer, and others of the congregation, did at night, at the ringing of a watch-bell, repair to the Church or Oratory, and there betake themselves to prayers and lauding God, and reading the Psalms that had not been read in the day: and when these, or any part of the congregation, grew weary or faint, the watch-bell was rung, sometimes before, and some. times after midnight; and then another part of the family rose, and maintained the watch, sometimes by praying, or singing lauds

to God, or reading the Psalms; and when, after some hours, they also grew weary or faint, then they rung the watch-bell and were also relieved by some of the former, or by a new part of the society, which continued their devotions-as hath been mentioned -until morning. And it is to be noted, that in this continued serving of God, the Psalter or the whole Book of Psalms, was in every four and twenty hours sung or read over, from the first to the last verse: and this was done as constantly as the sun runs his circle every day about the world, and then begins again the same instant that it ended.

Thus did Mr. Farrer and his happy family serve God day and night; thus did they always behave themselves as in his presence. And they did always eat and drink by the strictest rules of temperance; eat and drink so as to be ready to rise at midnight, or at the call of a watch-bell, and perform their devotions to God. And it is fit to tell the Reader, that many of the Clergy, that were more inclined to practical piety and devotion, than to doubtful and needless disputations, did often come to Gidden-Hall, and make themselves a part of that happy society, and stay a week or more, and then join with Mr. Farrer and the family in these devotions, and assist and ease him or them in their watch by night. And these various devotions had never less than two of the domestic family in the night; and the watch was always kept in the Church or Oratory, unless in extreme cold winter nights, and then it was maintained in a parlour, which had a fire in it; and the parlour was fitted for that purpose. And this course of piety, and great liberality to his poor neighbours, Mr. Farrer maintained till his death, which was in the year 1639.*

* The extraordinary course of life pursued at Gidding, the strictness of their rules, their prayers, literally without ceasing, their abstinence, mortifications, nightly watchings, and various other peculiarities, gave birth to censure in some, and inflamed the malevolence of others, but excited the wonder and curiosity of all. So that they were frequently visited with different views by persons of all denominations, and of opposite opinions. They received all who came with courteous civility; and from those who were inquisitive they concealed nothing, as indeed there was not any thing either in their opinions, or their practice, in the least degree necessary to be concealed. Notwithstanding this, they were by some abused as Papists, by others as Puritans. Mr. Ferrar himself, though possessed of uncommon patience and resignation, yet in

Mr. Farrer's and Mr. Herbert's devout lives were both so noted, that the general report of their sanctity gave them occasion to renew that slight acquaintance which was begun at their being contemporaries in Cambridge; and this new holy friendship was long maintained without any interview, but only by loving and endearing letters. And one testimony of their friendship and pious designs, may appear by Mr. Farrer's commending the "Considerations of John Valdesso"- -a book which he had met with in his travels, and translated out of Spanish into English,to be examined and censured by Mr. Herbert before it was made public: which excellent book Mr. Herbert did read, and return back with many marginal notes, as they be now printed with it; and with them, Mr. Herbert's affectionate letter to Mr. Farrer.

This John Valdesso was a Spaniard, and was for his learning and virtue much valued and loved by the great Emperor Charles the Fifth, whom Valdesso had followed as a Cavalier all the time of his long and dangerous wars: and when Valdesso grew old, and grew weary both of war and the world, he took his fair opportunity to declare to the Emperor, that his resolution was to decline his Majesty's service, and betake himself to a quiet and

anguish of spirit complained to his friends, that the perpetual obloquy he endured was a sort of unceasing martyrdom. Added to all this, violent invectives and inflammatory pamphlets were published against them. Amongst others, not long after Mr. Ferrar's death, a treatise was addressed to the Parliament, entitled, "The Arminian Nunnery, or a brief description and relation of the late erected monastical place called the Arminian Nunnery at Little Gidding in Huntingdonshire: humbly addressed to the wise consideration of the present parliament. The foundation is by a company of Ferrars at Gidding," printed by Thomas Underhill, 1641.

Soon after Mr. Ferrar's death, certain soldiers of the Parliament resolved to plunder the house at Gidding. The family being informed of their hasty approach, thought it prudent to fly; while these military zealots, in the rage of what they called reformation, ransacked both the church and the house; in doing which, they expressed a particular spite against the organ. This they broke in pieces, of which they made a large fire, and at it roasted several of Mr. Ferrar's sheep, which they had killed in his grounds. This done, they seized all the plate, furniture, and provision, which they could conveniently carry away. And in this general devastation perished the works which Mr Ferrar had compiled for the use of his household, consisting chiefly of harmonies of the Old and New Testament.

contemplative life," because there ought to be a vacancy of time betwixt fighting and dying." The Emperor had himself, for the same, or other like reasons, put on the same resolution: but God and himself did, till then, only know them; and he did therefore desire Valdesso to consider well of what he had said, and to keep his purpose within his own breast, till they two might have a second opportunity of a friendly discourse; which Valdesso promised to do.

In the mean time the Emperor appoints privately a day for him and Valdesso to meet again; and, after a pious and free discourse, they both agreed on a certain day to receive the blessed Sacrament publicly; and appointed an eloquent and devout Friar to preach a sermon of contempt of the world, and of the happiness and benefit of a quiet and contemplative life; which the Friar did most affectionately. After which sermon, the Emperor took occasion to declare openly, “That the Preacher had begot in him a resolution to lay down his dignities, and to forsake the world, and betake himself to a monastical life." And he pretended, he had persuaded John Valdesso to do the like: but this is most certain, that after the Emperor had called his son Philip out of England, and resigned to him all his kingdoms, that then the Emperor and John Valdesso did perform their resolutions.

This account of John Valdesso I received from a friend, that had it from the mouth of Mr. Farrer. And the Reader may note, that in this retirement John Valdesso writ his Hundred and Ten Considerations, and many other treatises of worth, which want a second Mr. Farrer to procure and translate them.*

After this account of Mr. Farrer and John Valdesso, I proceed to my account of Mr. Herbert and Mr. Duncon, who according to his promise returned from the Bath the fifth day, and then found Mr. Herbert much weaker than he left him; and therefore their discourse could not be long: but at Mr. Duncon's parting with him, Mr. Herbert spoke to this purpose: "Sir, I pray you give my brother Farrer an account of the decaying condition of my body, and tell him I beg him to continue his daily prayers for me; and let him know that I have considered, that God only is

* Valdesso died at Naples in 1540.

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