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MEMOIR OF THE REV. JOHN COOKE, LATE PASTOR OF THE INDEPENDENT CHURCH AT MAIDENHEAD, BERKSHIRE.
An authority not to be disputed his mother, brought to her hushas aftirmed, “ they that turn many band, by marriage, several valuto righteousness shall shine as the able estates, all of which, with stars for ever and ever.” That such the exception of one, were sold. was the success attending the la- Out of three children, John, the bours of the eminent individual, subject of this memoir, was the whose memoirs we bave now to only one that grew up. Both the record, abundant witnesses on earth others died while young. At the and in heaven can testify; and that age of five Mr. Cooke lost his mosuch is the resplendent and eternal ther, for whom, though then scarcehonour to which his spirit is now ly sensible of his loss, he appears advanced, none can doubt who to have formed a remarkable affecknew his character, or who believes tion, so as to have been able, many the God of truth. If, then, such years after, to recollect her love is the rank he has attained among for him, and the circumstances of the glorified witnesses that sur- her last sickness and death. The round the throne of God, it were dying mother committed her two assuredly not befitting that the sons to the care of an only sister, church below should be left with- who promised to act the part of a out some memorial, however im- mother by them, but who entirely perfect and inadequate, of excel- betrayed the trust reposed in her. lencies which heaven had long Soon after the death of his mother designated, and has at last appro- he lost his younger brother, and, priated to itself. To withhold the owing to the unkindness and nerecord of his virtues were to inflict glect of his father, was taken under a second stroke, and incur another the care of an uncle and aunt, who loss, more severe than that felt by resided near his father's house. his removal. Death has torn from From this period, his lot was scarceus the living image of the man, ly better than that of an unprothat Eternity might perpetuate the tected orphan. His father took fruits of grace, and Immortality little care of him, and at one peinvest them with undecaying youth; riod he was nearly starved to death, but it would be both an infamy and through the cruelty of a woman to a loss to the church, if she suffered whom he had been committed. At oblivious Time to rob ber of the in- this crisis, it appeared there still spiring recollection of his name. remained a small landed estate,
Mr. Cooke was born in London, which could not be alienated by in the year 1760. His father was the father from his son Jolin. It a tradesman in respectable circum- was but too evident, by his neglect stances, and lived in St. George's of his child, that he would have in the East. Mrs. Sarah Cooke, rejoiced in the removal of every N. S. No.25.
obstacle to his appropriation of this than a brother-closer than a moproperty. But the motherless babe ther's sisters, or even a father. The found a Protector on high, who Lord gave me favour in the sight watched over his tender years, and of this man, and in him, as God's raised up friends for him on earth, agent, ‘ the fatherless' John Cooke although basely forsaken of his • found mercy.' My God,
reward now profligate father. John Cooke his paternal kindness, by answering was sent by his aunt and uncle to my prayers for him—the prayers Letchingden, in Essex. It appears of grateful anguish for his salvato have been while he resisled there tion. If I forget thee,' my best that a kind Father in heaven raised earthly friend, • let my right hand him up a most unexpected protec- forget its cunning.'” During his retor and guardian. The estate which sidence at the farm, which was for he inherited was copyhold. Upon the purpose of bringing him up to this a fine of £40. became due; the farming business, he expebut the child had no friend to pay rienced many singular deliverances it. A gentleman in the neigh- from danger and death, which he bourhood hearing that there was has recorded in his Memoranda. a friendless child to whom it be- We are constrained, however, to longed, and who had no guardian pass over these occurrences. One but a sottish father, who had vir- remarkable event which he wittually forsaken him, voluntarily nessed, and which made a deep came forward and paid the fine. impression upon his mind while yet Unless this kind act had been done a boy, may be found related, in by this unknown friend, the estate his own impressive manner, in our must have been sold, and conse- Magazine for FEBRUARY 1818, quently alienated from him. While signed Veritas, and entitled Re. John was kept at school, this gen- markable Judgment. tleman often sent for him on the His father died in a fit of intoxicaSabbath days, and endeavoured to tion, a year or two after he had been console and encourage him, and sent to the farm in Essex-a death afterwards paid annually a sum of truly awful, the circumstances of money for his board. The person which he records with deep anguish. to whom he had been committed After having lived about twelve was a Mr. Laver, who rented and years with his kind friend at the farmed the estate which belonged farm, and enjoyed the advantages of to John in virtue of his mother. education afforded at the neighHere he continued till he was bouring town of Malden, it was eighteen years of age. Mr. Laver, proposed by his uncle and aunt in the person with whom he lived, London, that he should leave his formed for him a singular affection, master. This was a great and difand treated bim as his own child. ficult task to accomplish, as their His kindness made the deepest im- mutual attachment was so great, pression in the heart of Mr. Cooke. that it seemed almost impossible Referring to this period, he says, to shake it. However, at length “ I wished to live and die with it was effected, and the youth was him. Thus, when my father and persuaded it was for his benefit mother forsook me, the Lord took and improvement that he should me up. Mr. Laver's affection grew leave the farm, and see a little with my growth, and strengthened more of business and the world. with my strength; and he spared The real intention of his relatives me as a man spareth his own son seems to have been widely
different that serveth him. I found in Mr. from the pretended one. His uncle, J. Laver a father and a mother, instead of becoming his protector, and a friend that sticketh closer had fallen into his father's courses,