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On, step by step, they bend their way with fear,
The history of good and holy men of other days can never be perused but with advantage and profit.
The contemplation of their many sufferings, and trials, and noble conquests over all, fires our souls with noble devotion, teaches us to bestir ourselves to follow their goodly examples, to rise with Christ, and to seek those things that are above. We are thus taught to seek for no peace nor security on earth, but to place our hopes upon those glories which shall hereafter be revealed in the day of Christ's coming.
Amongst the number of those who, by patient continuance in well-doing, have won their reward, was Dr. Sanderson, Bishop of Lincoln ; a Bishop and a man of most sound judgment, of most deep learning, of a vast apprehension, of a holy and unspotted life, of an unsuspected integrity: a great friend, a faithful servant, a valiant champion of the Church. In tracing the events of his life, we shall use our old friend Isaac Walton, and a book entitled, Reason and Judgment; or, Special Remarks of the Life of the renowned Dr. Sanderson. Printed at Oxford, 1663, in Quarto.
Robert Sanderson, the son of Robert Anderson, of Gilthwait Hall
, in Yorkshire, was born the 19th of September, 1587. Blessed with the teaching and example of pious parents, he began to show, even in early years, the germs of that Christian character which was afterwards perfected in him. During the time that he spent in the Grammar School of Rochdale, he was distinguished for unwearied application to his studies, for a remarkable seriousness beyond his years, and for a more than common modesty. His gentle conduct won him the love and affection both of his masters and fellow pupils.
In his thirteenth year he was entered at Oxford, being intrusted to the care of Dr. Kilbie, the then Rector of Lincoln College. Having taken his degrees, and been elected fellow of his college, he became a tutor and reader of logic, and finally sub-rector.
Whilst at the university he was a model of industry and perseverance. He generally spent eleven hours a day in study. He disposed himself and time to perpetual industry and diligence ; not only avoiding, but perfectly hating, idleness, and hardly recommending any thing more than this : Be always furnished with somewhat to do, as the best way to innocence and pleasure. There was not a minute of the day he left vacant from business of necessity, civility, and study; you would hardly see him without his book, or meet him without his plodding thoughts and meditations. A clear and calm way he had of weighing duly what he should do, in designing what he had considered, and soberly performing what he had designed. His mind was wholly inward, where lay his scenes of discreet, prúdent, and pious undertakings. He had, in a word, thoroughly learnt how to redeem the time.
He had been admitted into holy orders by John King, then Lord Bishop of Lincoln, and was subsequently preferred to the Rectory of Boothby Pannel, in the County of Lincoln, and was afterwards made Prebend of Southwell and Lincoln. He resolved to devote himself to the discharge of his functions as the overseer of the flock which the Lord had committed unto him; and so, though not without many a pang and regret, he quitted the calm and peaceful cloisters of Oxford, and took up his residence at Boothby Pannel.
And here "he either found or made his parishioners peaceable and complying with him in the decent and regular service of God; and thus his parish, his patron, and he lived together in a religious love and contented quietness-he not troubling their thoughts with useless notions, but preaching such plain truths as were necessary to be known, believed, and practised, in order to their salvation. And their assent to what he taught was testified by such a conformity to his doctrines, as declared they believed and loved him ; for he would often say, 'that, without the last, the most evident truths (heard as from an enemy, or evil liver,) either are not, or are, at least, the less effectual, and do usually rather harden than convince the hearer.'” In his public administrations,-in carefully preparing and guiding his people beforehand for the faithful receiving of the Holy Communion of the Body and Blood of Christ, he was pre-eminent. Nor did he neglect any duty by which he might be useful and serviceable to all. He was the friend and spiritual adviser, the counsellor and guide of rich and poor, reconciling differences, preventing law
suits ; visiting the sick, the poor, the widow, and the fatherless. His joy it was to pour the balm of consolation into the wounded heart, and to lighten the burthens of those who were oppressed. One pleasing instance, out of many, must suffice :-Meeting with a poor dejected neighbour, that complained he had taken a meadow, the rent of which was £9 a year, and when the hay was made ready to be carried into his barn, several days' constant rain had so raised the water, that a sudden flood carried all away, and his rich landlord would abate him no rent; he consoled the poor man, and bade him return home, with the assurance that the utmost exertions
would be used to procure an abatement, and if not, that he (Dr. S.) and a friend would
it. Accordingly he went to the landlord the next day, and represented to him the sad condition of the distressed tenant, telling him how God is pleased when the poor are remembered, and that God delighteth in mercy. He moreover laid before him in a plain manner the duties of the rich towards those who are dependent upon them; and that the improper use of riches would prove like gravel in his teeth at the day of death. These and other weighty reasons which he adduced had suc an influence upon the landlord, that he forgave the tenant his rent. It was with no little joy that this message was conveyed by the good doctor, and received by the half hoping, half despairing tenant.
When he was living here in the peaceful discharge of his duties, the holy Laud made mention of his name to Charles, the Martyr-King, and solicited for him the appointment of chaplain. This was readily granted ; and whenever it was Sanderson's turn to preach, the king invariably attended, saying, "I carry my ears to hear other preachers, but I carry my conscience to hear Mr. Sanderson, and to act accordingly. In the first parliament of Charles' reign, Sanderson was elected a member of the Convocation for the Diocese of Lincoln. In the year 1636 his Majesty paid a visit to Oxford, where he met with a reception suitable to his dignity. On this occasion he was attended by Sanderson, who proceeded to the degree of Doctor of Divinity.
In 1639, a discontented party of the Scotch Church panted eagerly for a new reformation, and drew up a covenant, to which they pretended to petition the king's consent. It was, however, intended that many thousands of persons should take part in presenting this petition. The king would not permit this; but still they advanced as far as Newcastle, which they took and plundered. Here the king met them, and permitted them to return without bloodshed. But the peace of the kingdom was now disturbed, and many deeds of fearful name were to be done before it would be restored again. The party in question gained so much additional strength, that, whilst many who advocated
their views were elected into the Long Parliament, the masses of the people were also won over. And again, in 1643, the Scotch covenanters came marching into England with this motto upon their hats--"For the crown and covenant of both kingdoms." “This,” says dear old Isaac, “I saw, and suffered by it; but when I look back upon the ruin of families, the bloodshed, the decay of common honesty, and how the former piety and plain dealing of this now sinful nation is turned into cruelty and cunning --when I consider this, I praise God that He prevented me from being of that party which helped to bring in this covenant, and those sad confusions that have followed it. And I have been the bolder to say this of myself, because, in a sad discourse with Dr. Sanderson, I heard him make the like grateful acknowledgments."
W. B. F.
A TALE OF THE TIME OF KING JOHN.
CHAPTER II. Rhoda and Mary looked desirous that their mother should direct them further. Blessed by ber kind affection, each all in all to each, and loved by all around them, they had as yet had little to mar the innocent gaiety of their lives. True, they could speak of sorrow; but while they viewed the calm peace and joy of their holy mother in the midst of trial, it was to them a word whose force they could not feel. But bright days could not last for ever; and however we may have striven to prepare and discipline the mind for trial, it is sorrow alone that can teach us how to bear sorrow. And while these two children, devoted to God by a mother's love and prayer, were raising bright dreams for their future life, and fancying the pleasures of days to come, and the joy of a life spent as hers was whom they loved best on earth,—their holy mother,—they knew not that a task far different was appointed to them; nor could they then see that the dashing to the ground of their fondest hopes, would be the means of correcting those corruptions and faults which had crept into their hearts. Yet so it was. During the years that her lord had been absent from his home, his broad lands, situated in one of the most lovely spots of this isle, had not been beheld unenvied by those who, impoverished by war or imprudence, or weakness, longed to requite on those weaker than themselves wbat they had suffered from others more powerful. The lands of the Baron of Severnside, stretching to the water's edge, had often been plundered by bands of robbers, who, stealing down the Severn, had landed at some unguarded point, and driven away the flocks of the knight, or overpowered and murdered those who guarded the outposts. The valour and vigour of the guard stationed round the lady, had hitherto usually repulsed these lawless bands, or at least regained what had been unjustly plundered. But things were now to be altered, and sorrows were to flow fast and thick round the heads of the Lady Elfira and her children. Many years of uninterrupted happiness had been the lot of the ladies Rhoda and Mary, and a brighter joy was to succeed, ere the dark cloud of sorrow lowered upon them.
It was a bright morn in early spring; the sun shone clear and warm, and the earth, lately so cold and barren, was covered with young plants and flowers; the trees were putting forth their tenderest and freshest green, when the Lady Elfira, with her two daughters,—whom, as they had passed the age of childhood, she admitted to approach her as companions and friends,--were walking in the plesaunce in front of the keep, before the chapel bell had tolled the hour of prime; that a horseman was seen riding at full speed up to the gate of the castle. The long cloak which he wore concealed his orders and his cognizance; but the high plumed cap with feathers, and the glittering spurs which adorned his feet, denoted that he must be of knightly rank. In an instant he rang a blast, long and loud, on the horn of the castle; and at the same moment, the bell of the castle tolling the hour of prayer, the lady and her daughters repaired to the chapel, after that she had given directions to the warder that if the business of the knight were urgent, and required her personal appearance, he should wait within the castle walls till she returned from her morning devotions; but that till his intentions were well ascertained, none of his followers should be allowed to pass the drawbridge. As soon as the first challenges had passed, the knight declared that he was recently arrived from the Holy Land, and would see the Lady Elfira, and give her news of her lord.
“ The lady,” replied the warder, “ has even now repaired to the chapel; it is the hour of matins, and those only are absent who watch over the safety of her dwelling : therefore hath she been pleased to ordain that Ronald, who overlooketh her household, should receive the commands of all who at this hour shall approach. Naithless, if your business be of so great weight that it must be communicated only to her private ear, then wills she that you should wait within these walls, till the time when she shall herself have the leisure to speak to you."
“Is the castle, then, of the Lord of Severnside turned into a convent or nunnery, that she cannot for one hour leave her devotions, when a noble knight, who can give her tidings of her lord, wills to speak with her ?”
“Sooth, my lord, she knoweth not what ye bring; and yet I much misdoubt me, much as she honoureth him, if she would leave the service of a mightier lord to hear tidings of him."