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Mr. Ferrar's and Mr. Herbert's devout lives were both so noted, that the general report of their fanctity gave them occasion to renew that night 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. Ferrar's commending “ The Confiderations of John Valdesso m” (a book which he had met with
" To th'new-founded College came I
Of this congregation of saints, fee“ Hacket's Life of Archbishop Williams," p.50–53. During the civil commotions, their religion and loyalty exposed them to danger. The whole family “ fled away and dispersed, and took joyfully the spoiling of their goods.” Heb. x. 34. All that they had restored to the church, all that they had bestowed-upon sacred comeliness, all that they had gathered for their own livelihood and for alms, were seized upon as lawful prey, taken from superstitious persons.
m The version of this celebrated work of John Valdesso is printed in octavo, and contains 311 pages. It is entitled, “ The Hundred and Ten Considerations of Signior John VALDESSO, treating of those Things which are most profitable, most necessary, and most perfect in our Christian Profession. Written in Spanish, brought out of Italy by Vergerius, and first set forth in Italian at Bafil, by Cælius Secundus Curio, Anno 1550 : afterward translated into French, and printed at Lyons, 1563, and again at Paris, 1565, and now translated out of the Italian Copy into English, with Notes : Whereunto is added an Epistle of the Author's, or a Preface to his divine Commentary upon the Romans. I Cor. ii. "Howbeit we speak Wisdom amongst 'them that are perfect, yet not the Wisdom of this world.' Oxford: Printed by Leonard Lichfield, Printer to the University. Ann. Dom. 1638.”
Of the nature of this work we may form an idea from the Address of the Editor, the learned Dr. Jackson, to the Reader:
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
6* Spain (who dice colius Secundus Curio, and the original spanish copy,
- These truly divine meditations or considerations of Signior John Valdello, a nobleman of . « Spain (who died almost an hundred years agoe), having been so acceptable to pious Vige“ rius, to learned Cælius Secundùs Curio, and to many others both french and italian pro« testants, that they have been translated o:it of the original spanish copy, and printed three “ or four times in those languages; it seemeth to me a reasonable and charitable design to “ print them now in English, without any alteration at all from the Italian copy, the Spanish “ being either not at all extant, or not easy to be found. It is certain that the book containeth “ many worthy discourses of experimental and practical divinity, well expressed, and elegantly “ illustrated, especially concerning the doctrines of justification and mortification : and yet, " notwithstanding, there be some few expressions and similitudes in it, at which not only the “ weak reader may stumble, and the envious quarrel; but also the wise and charitable reader “ may justly blame. To have removed these few stumbling-blocks, or offensive passages by « leaving them out, or by altering them, had not been the work of a translator, but of an au“ thor; besides the ill example of altering ancient authors, which is one of the greatest causes “ of the corruption of truth and learning. Therefore, it hath been thought fit to print the « book according to the author's own copy, but withall to give particular notice of some suf“ picious places, and of some manifest errors which follow, particularly expressed in the en« suing pages; referring the rest, if any there be, to the judgment of the reader. He lived “ where the scriptures were in no reputation; and, therefore, no marvel that he should speak “ so slightly of them ; but rather, on the contrary, it may seem a marvellous thing in our « ages to have a statesman in those parts at that time so far illuminated and taught of God « as he was.—May it please the divine Goodness, that every reader may reap the like com“ fort and profit to his soul, as the translator and publisher humbly and thankfully acknow“ ledge that they have done, and they have their main scope and aim in publishing it!”
Prefixed to “ The Confiderations” is also an Address from Cælius Secundus Curio to the Reader, in which we have the following account of Valdeslo : “ These Confiderations, as “ many well know, were first written by the author in the spanish language ; but afterward, “ by a certain pious and worthy person, translated into Italian. Yet have they not been able' " altogether to quit those forms of speech which are proper to Spain. - John Valdello was by “ nation a Spaniard, of noble kindred, of an honourable degree, and a resplendent Chevalier “ of the Emperor, but a much more honourable and resplendent Chevalier of Christ. True « it is, he did not much follow the court after that Christ had revealed himself to him ; but “ abode in Italy, spending the greatest part of his life at Naples, where with the sweetnesse of “ his doctrine, and the fanctity of his life, he gained many disciples unto Clirit; and espe“ cially among the gentlemen and cavaliers, and some ladies, he was very eminent and praise
book Mr. Herbert did read, and returned back with many marginal notes, as they be now printed with it: and with them, Mr. Herbert's affectionate letter to Mr. Ferrar.
This John Valdesso was a Spaniard, and was for his learning and virtue much valued and loved by the great Emperor Charles V. whom Valdeslo 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 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 Valdeslo to consider well of what he had faid, and to keep his purpose within his own breast, till they two might
“ worthy in all kinds of praise. It seemed that he was appointed by God for a teacher and “ pastor of noble and illustrious personages : although he was of such benignity and cha« rity, that he accounted himself debtor of his talents to every rude and mean person, and “ became all things to all men, that he might gaine all to Christ: and not this alone, but he “ gave light to some of the most famous preachers of Italy, which I very well know, having 6 conversed with them themselves.
“ He never had wife, but lived most continently; nor did he attend to ought else, as “ much as he could, than unto mortification, in which death overtaking him, he became per« fectly mortified, so as to be perfectly quickened in the resurrection of the just, and to enjoy « our Lord Christ. He died in Naples about the year 1540. He hath left behind also cer“ taine other good and pious compositions, which, as I hope, fhall by Vergerius his meanes “ be communicated unto you.”
Subjoined to “The Considerations” is an Epistle written by Valdeffo “ to Lady Dona Julia de Gonzaga,” to whom he dedicates “ A Commentary upon the Epistle to the Romans.” It appears, that along with this Commentary he sent to her all St. Paul's Epistles, translated from the Greek into the ordinary Castilian language. He says, that he had before translated the Psalms of David from the original Hebrew, for her use; and he promises to furnish her with “ The History of Chrift," in the same language, “ at such time and manner as it shall please the “ Divine Majesty."
Mr. Isaac Walton in his “ Complete Angler," p. 26, introduces a remark of Valdesso, whom he calls an ingenious Spaniard, “that rivers, and the inhabitants of the watery element, were made for wise men to contemplate, and fools to pass by without consideration.”
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 Valdeslo 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 Valdeslo to do the like; but this is most certain, that after the Emperor had called his fon 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. Ferrar: And the reader may note, that in this retirement John Valdesso wrote his “ Hundred and Ten Considerations,” and many other treatises of worth, which want a second Mr. Ferrar to procure and translate them.
After this account of Mr. Ferrar 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 give my brother Ferrar 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 what he 3 H
• Charles V. was desirous of expiating the many disorders of a life spent in continued wars, by devoting his last years to the service of God. He retired to the monastery of Saint Juft, ftuated near Placentia, on the frontiers of Castile and Portugal. Is it not to be regretted that after his retirement he often expressed his forrow for having observed the safe conduct, that he had formerly given to Luther, lamenting that he did not seize that reformer, to whom he had solemnly promised security? That bigotry must have been great indeed, which impelled a Christian Prince to lament that he had not violated the most sacred engagement.
“ would be; and that I am, by his grace, become now so like him, as to be “ pleased with what pleaseth him; and tell him, that I do not repine, but “ am pleased with my want of health; and tell him my heart is fixed on " that place where true joy is only to be found; and that I long to be “ there, and do wait for my appointed change with hope and patience.”— Having said this, he did, with so sweet a humility as seemed to exalt him, bow down to Mr. Duncon, and, with a thoughtful and contented look, say to him, “ Sir, I pray deliver this little book to my dear brother Ferrar, and 6 tell him, he shall find in it a picture of the many spiritual conflicts that “ have passed betwixt God and my soul, before I could subject mine to the “ will of Jesus my Master; in whose service I have now found perfect free“ dom ; desire him to read it; and then, if he can think it may turn to the “ advantage of any dejected poor soul, let it be made public; if not, let “ him burn it ; for I and it are less than the least of God's mercies.”—
Thus meanly did this humble man think of this excellent book, which now bears the name of “ The Temple ; or, Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations ;” of which Mr. Ferrar would say, “ There was in it the picture of “a divine foul in every page; and that the whole book was such a har“ mony of holy passions, as would enrich the world with pleasure and “ piety." And it appears to have done so; for there have been more than twenty thousand of them sold since the first impression.
And this ought to be noted, that when Mr. Ferrar sent this book to Cambridge to be licensed for the press, the Vice Chancellor would by no means allow the two so much 'noted verses
Religion stands a tip-toe in our land,
Ready to pass to the American strand, to be printed'; and Mr. Ferrar would by no means allow the book to be
• In“ Peckard's Memoirs," &c. is inserted a prayer drawn up by Mr. Ferrar, on the particular occasion of the dangerous illness of his dear friend, Mr. George Herbert.
p« Religion stands on tiptoe on our land,
“ Ready to pass to the American strand.