Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Baxter on Simeon Ash

In his autobiography Baxter writes about the nonconformist Simeon Ash as follows:

Good old Mr Simeon Ash was buried the very even of Bartholomew's Day and went seasonably to heaven at the very time he was to be cast out of the Church. He was one of our very oldest Nonconformists (of the old strain; for now [1662] conforming is quite another thing than before the wars): he was a Christian of the primitive simplicity; not made for controversy, nor inclined to disputes, but of a holy life and a cheerful mind, and of a fluent elegancy in prayer, full of matter and excellent words: his ordinary speech was holy and edifying: being confined much to his house by the gout, and having a good estate, and a very good wife, inclined to entertainments and liberality, his house was very much frequented by Ministers: he was always cheerful, without profuse laughter or liberty, or vain words: never troubled with doubtings of his interest in Christ; bat tasting the continual love of God, was much disposed to the communicating of it to others, and comforting dejected souls: his eminent sincerity made him exceedingly loved and honoured: insomuch as Mr Gataker, Mr Whittaker, and others of the most excellent divines of London, when they went to God, desired him to preach their funeral sermons. He was zealous for bringing in the king; having been chaplain to the Earl of Manchester in the wars, he fell under the obloquy of the Cromwellians for crossing their designs: he wrote to Colonel Sanders, Colonel Barton, and others in the army, when General Monk came in, to engage them for the king. Having preached his lecture in Cornhill, being heated, he took cold in the vestry, and thinking it would have proved but one of his old fits of the gout, he went to Highgate; but it turned to a fever. He died as he lived, in great consolation and cheerful exercise of faith, molested with no doubts or fears, discernible: exceeding glad of the company of his friendsand greatly encouraging all about him with his joyful expressions in respect of death and his approaching change; so that no man could seem to be more fearless of it. When he had at last lain speechless for some time, as soon as I came to him, gladness so excited his spirits that he spake joyfully and freely of his going to God to those about him. I stayed with him his last evening, till we had long expected his change (being Speechless all that day), and in the night he departed.

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