« PreviousContinue »
Ejas With respect to the other Duties of the Christian Life, his Justice was unshaken, his Integrity unsuspected. Interest lost all Power where Duty was concern'd; and he was afTauited by it as a Rock is by the Sea, its Waves are broken, but the Rock stands firm and uninov’d. His Hands were never fully'd with disputable Gain, nor his Heart infected with any kind of Fraud. Slander and Detraction bore no part in his Conversation; and he put the best Constructions upon Actions they were capable of bears ing.
He had a true Christian Concern for the Souls and Bodies of Men, and did all that in him lay, to supply the Wants of Both. He was Zealous for the Church, whereof he was a Member, yet charitable to those who differ'd from him: And his very Enemies shar'd in his Love, his Compallion, and his Prayers. It was his daily Study to be useful to the World, and to do Good to Mankind; and he never rejoyced more, than when Providence gave him an Opportunity of comforting any in Distress, or relieving any in Want.
As to his Relations, there could not be a more dutiful obliging Son, a more tender and indulgent Husband, a more faithful and zealous Friend ; making his Friends Concerns, in the kindest manner, his own; sharing in their Sorrows and Joys, and declining no Pains to do them Good in their Fortunes, their Characters and Souls. Our
Governours cou'd not desire a better Subject, nor our Church a better Member ; submitting to her Authority, waiting upon her Service, and reverencing her Laws, and adorning all by a Heavenly Example.
And tho he always study'd to be little known, yet such Excellencies cou'd not be hid ; he was known and justly valu'd ; he was honour'd by the Bad, and belov'd by the Good of every Perswafion. He was regarded by the Great, and consulted by the Wise. A general Love attended him in his Life, and as general Sorrow waited on him to his Grave.
And now from the preceeding Account of Mr. Bonnell's Life and Character, I leave it to all Competent Judges to deterinine, if he was not a truly Great Man, according to all just Notions of Greatness, which can never be separated from Piety and Goodness? And whether many, who are reckon'd Heroes in the Records of Time, don't fall short of him, in many Instances of Substantial Virtue. For wherein did their Greatness principally conlist, but in raising a Duft, and making a Noise in the World ? In commanding Armies, and laying Countries waste? In committing Acts of Violence and Cruelty, and doing much Mischief to Mankind? Whereas his Principles led him on to make All rejoyce, but None mourn; to do Men Good in their Valuable Concerns, in their Fortunes, their bodies, but chiefly in their Souls, He study'd to transcribe in his Life,
all the imitable Perfections of God; and to be truly Great by resembling, as much as possible, that infinite Fountain of Greatness and Goodness.
And from the fame Account of Mr. Bonnell's Piety, and the several Instances given of bis Virtues, we may fee how glorious Christianity appears, wben it duły influences our Lives, and governs our Actions: when it smooths our native Roughness, and foftens us into Love ard good Nature, Huinilicy and Meekness, Gentleness and Charity : When it enlightens the Head with exalted Thoughts of God, and warms the Heart with his Love and Fear : When it opens our Mouths in Prayers and Praises, our Hands to the Poor, and our Doors to Strangers : When it plants a firm Faith in the Soul, which is fruitful in producing all Graces and Virtues there : When it arms us with steady Justice and Truth, un laken Constancy, and invincible Patience: When it exalts us abova the World ; gives us just Sentiments of its Vanity, and strong Desires after unseen Dea lights: When it enlarges our Prospect be. yond the Grave, and presents the Spiritual World to our View, and fills us with enlivening Hopes of being for ever happy there : When thefe Hopes so powerfully act upon our Souls, that we can be uoconcern’d Spectators of human Greatness, and desire filently and calmly to pafs thro’this World: In a word, when Christianity makes us live, converse and act here, as this great Example of Piety before us did : It is then, that it shines with an irresistable Beauty, and ravishes all who attentively behold it, with its Charins.
May we not likewise learn from what has been said, of Mr. Bonnell's strict Life, and constant Discharge of every Religious Duty ; that Religion is no impossible Work, when we in earnest fet about it: And that the Difficulties of Piety, and Pressures of Temporal Affairs are no reasonable Excuse for neglecting the Duties of it. For here, we have jan Instance of One who reconcil'd a Life of Religion and Business together; who omitted no Office of Civil Life, nor Ad of Devocion ; who liv'd in the midst of Temporal Affairs, yet had his Conversation in Heaven Here we may see what mistaken Notions they have, who think a Wilderness or a Cell the only Scenes of true Devotion: For what is that, but putting our Candle under a Bushel, and not letting it fine before Men ? Whereas Mr. Bonnell, like Enoch, walked with. God amidst the Throng of daily Business; the private Cares of a Family, and the conscientious Discharge of a weighty Employment. Let this then filence our Complaints of Religion, and turn them all against our selves, and make us own, that we want not Time to serve God, but Zeal; and that we have not too much Busine's, but too little Grace.
And is it not for the Honour of the Reo form'd Religion, that it can give such an InItance (and blefled be God, that many others
Throny lv, ana mployme Religion
that can be given likewise ; ) of all that strict and a severe Piety, which the Romanists pretend rithi to, as only to be found in their Religious
Houses ? Sure I am, that were the Lives of hat's their most Celebrated Saints, compar'd with Fe, as this Gentleman's Character, (If they can be Durf callid Lives, which are so full of Fable,) a ak manifest difference wou'd soon appear. Here ne di all that Strictness in Reality, to which mapy Elpore of them were only Pretenders: But withal, ez a Piety, that was Rational and Sober; Pruve i dent and Intelligible ; Meek and Charitable; of A Useful to the World, and charming in it mitral, self: A Piety, that was not clouded by tion: Melancholy; nor disturb'd with Superstition, Fairs Enthusiasm, and other foolish Passions: A Hor Piety, that was not Supercilious and Proud ; hare : Cruel and Designing : But was. Temper'd onli with the Meckness and Lowliness of Chrift; chem and that Love and Foy, Peace, Long Suffering,
. Goodness and Faith, which are the Genuine Ball Fruits of the Spirit of God..
Must it not also, be matter of great Joy, Late to the Church of England; to see all its r! Principles and Laws, so truly Transcrib'd that in the Life of one of its Excellent Sons ? urt! Here is all that generous Piety, that unboundL ed Charity and Love, which are fo Remark
I. able in our Church. Here is Religion in its of Native Beauty, and most charming Dress ;
as it bears the greatest Resemblance to its Divine Founder; and has most of God and
Christ, and Heaven in it. And wou'd we * behold a Church of England Man, who has