Thomas Jackson.

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by his last imprisonment ; for want of which,
liis distempers increased much upon him all the
winter after, and the next spring more ; yet not
so as to take him fully off from his work, but he
preached, and kept many days, and administered
the sacrament frequently.

But going up to the waters in July, 1667, they
had a contrary effect upon him from what they
had at first. For after three days taking them,
he fell into a fever, which seized on his spirits,
and decayed his strength exceedingly, so that
he seemed very near death. But the Lord then
again revoked the sentence passed upon him,
and enabled him in six weeks to return again to
his peo()le, where he nmch desired to be. But
findiuij, at his return, great decay of his strength,
and a weakness in all his limbs, he was willing
to go to Dorchester, to advise farther with Dr.
Lose, a very worthy and reverend physician,
from whom he had rect-ivcd many medicines ;
but never conversed with him, nor had seen him,
which he conceived might conduce more to his
full cure


The doctor, soon perceiving my husband's
weakness, persuaded him to continue for a fort-
night or three weeks there, that he might the
better advise him, and aUer his remedies, as he
should see occasion; which motion was readily
yielded unto by us.

But we had not been there above five days,
before the use of all his hmbs was taken away
on a sudden ; one day, his arms wholly failing,
the next his legs, so that he could not go, nor
stand, nor move a finger, nor turn in his bed,
but as myself and another turned him night and
day in a sheet. All means failing, he was given
over by physicians and friends, that saw him lie
some weeks in cold sweats night and day, and
many times for some hours together, half his
body cold ; in our apprehensions, dying ; re-
ceiving nothing but the best cordials that art
can invent, and almond milk, or a little thin
broth once in three or four days. Thus he lay
from September 28th to November 16th, before
he began to revive, or it could be discerned that
remedies did at all prevail against his disease.
In all this time he was still cheerful ; and when
he did speak, it was not at all complaining, but
always praising and admiring God for his mer-
cies. But his spirits were so low, that he spake
seldom, and very softly. He still told us he had
no pain at all; and when his friends admired
his patience, he would say God had not yet
tried him in any thing, but in layfhg him aside
from his work, and keeping him out of heaven ;
but through grace he could submit to his plea-


sure, waiting for him. It was pain he ever
feared, and that he had not yet feh, so tender
was his Father of him, and lie wanted strength
(as lie often told us) to speak more of his love,
and to speak for God, who had been, and was
still, so gracious to him. Being often asked by
myself and others, how it was with his spirit in
all this weakness, he would answer, that he had
not those ravishing joys that he expected, and
that some believers partake of, but he had a
sweet serenity of heart, and confidence in God,
grounded on the promises of the Gospel, and
did believe it would be well with him to all

In all this time I never heard one impatient
word from him, nor could upon my strictest ob-
servation discern the least discontent with this
state ; though he was a pitiful object to all that
beheld him, being so consumed, besides the
loss of the use of his limbs. Yet the Lord did
support and quiet his spirit, that he lay as if he
had endured nothing ; breaking out often most
alVectionalely in commending the kindness of
the Lord to him, saying that goodness and
mercy had followed him all his days.

And indeed the loving-kindness and care of
(lod was singular to us in that place, which I
cannot but mention to his praise.

\Vc came strangers thither, and being in our
inn, we found it very uncomfortable, yet were
fearful to impose ourselves on any private house.
But necessity enforcing, we did inquire for a
chamber, but could not procure one ; the small-


pox being very hot in most families ; and those
that had them not daily expecting them, and so
could not spare rooms, as else they might. But
the Lord, who saw our affliction, inclined the
heart of a very good woman, (a minister's wi-
dow,) Mrs. Bartlet, to come and invite us to a
lodging in her house ; which we readily and
thankfully accepted of; where we were so ac-
commodated as we could not have been any
M'here else in the town, especially in regard of
the assistance I had from four young women
who lived under the same roof, and so were
ready, night and day, to help me ; I having no
servant nor friend near me : we being so un-
settled, I kept none, but had always tended him
myself to that time. The ministers and Chris-
tians of that place were very compassionate to-
ward us, visiting and praying with and for us
often ; and Dr. Lose visited him twice a day
for twelve or fourteen weeks, except when he
was called out of town, refusing any fees that
were tendered to him. The gentry in and about
the town, and others, sent to us whatever they
imagined might be pleasing to him, furnishing
him with all delicates that might be grateful to
one so weak ; so that he wanted neither food
nor physic, having not only for necessity, but
for delight ; and he did much delight himself in
the consideration of the Lord's kindness to him
in the love he received ; and would often say,
" I was a stranger, and mercy took me in ; in
prison, and it came to me ; sick and weak,
and it visited me." There were also ten young


women, besides the four in the house, that took
their turns to watch with him constantly : for
twelve weeks' space I never wanted one to help
me. And the Lord was pleased to show his
power so in strengthening me, that I was every
night (all these weeks in the depth of winter)
one that helped to turn him, never lying out of
the bed one night from him, but every time he
called or wanted any thing, was waking to as-
sist her in the chamber ; though, as some of
them have said they did tell, that we did turn
him more than forty times in a night ; he sel-
dom sleeping at all in the night in all those
weeks. Though his tender affections were
such as to have had me sometimes lain in an-
other room, yet mine were such to him, that I
could not bear it ; the thoughts of it being worse
to me than the trouble or disturbance he ac-
counted I had with him ; for I feared none
would do any thing about him with such ease ;
neither would he suffer any one all the day to
touch him but me, or to give him anything that
he received : by which I discerned that it was
most grateful to him, and therefore so to me ;
and I never found any want of my rest, nor did
get so much as a cold all that winter, though I
do not remember that for fourteen or fifteen
years before I could ever say I was one month
free from a most violent cough, which if I had
been molested with then would have been a
great addition to his and my affliction. He
was not a little taken with the goodness of God
to me in the time of all his sickness, but espe-


cially that winter ; for he being not able to
help himself in the least, I could not be from
him night nor day, with any comfort to him or

In this condition he kept his bed till Decem-
ber 18th, and then, beyond all expectation,
though in the depth of winter, he began to re-
vive, and go out of his bed ; but he could neither
stand nor go, nor yet move a finger, having
sense in all his limbs, but not the least motion.
As his strength increased, he learned to go, (as
he would say,) first by being led by two of us,
then by one ; and when he could go one turn
in his chamber, though more weakl}' and with
more fear than the weakest child that ever I
saw, he was wonderfully taken with the Lord's
mercy to him. By February he Avas able, with
a little help, to walk in the streets ; but not to
feed himself, nor to go up or down stairs with-
out much help.

When he was deprived of the use of his
limbs, looking upon his arms, as I held him up
by all the strength I had, he lifted up his eyes
from his useless arms to heaven, and with a
cheerful countenance said, " The Lord hath
given, and the Lord hath taken away ; and
blessed be the name of the Lord."

Being asked by a friend how he could be
contented to lie so long under such weakness, he
answered, " What ! is not God my Father, Jesus
Christ my Saviour, and the Spirit my Friend,
my Comforter, and Sanctifier, and heaven my
inheritance ? Shall I not be content without


limbs and health ? Through grace I am fully
satisfied with my Father's pleasure."

To another that asked him the same, he an-
swered, " I have chosen God, and he is become
mine ; and I know with whom I have trusted
myself; which is enough. He is an unrcason-
abk^ wretch that cannot be content \vith God,
though he had nothing else. My interest in
God is all my joy."

Some of his Taunton friends coming to Dor-
chester to see him, he was much revived, would
be set up in his bed, and have all the curtains
drawn. He then desired them to stand around
the bed, and would have me take out his hand
and hold it out to them, that they might shake
him, though he could not them, as he used for-
merly to do, when he had been absent from
them. As he was able, thus he spake to them :
" O how it rejoices my heart to see your faces,
and to hear your voices, though I cannot speak
as heretofore to you ! Methinks I am now-
like old Jacob, with all his sons about him.
Now you sec my weak estate : thus have I been
for many weeks since I parted with Taunton ;
but God hath been with me, and I hope with
you. Your prayers have been heard and an-
swered for me many ways : the Lord return
them into your own bosoms. My friends, life
is mine, death is mine. In that covenant which
I was preaching of to you is all my salvation
and all my desire. Although my body do not
prosper, ! hope, through grace, my soul doth.

" I have lived a sweet life by the ppomises ;


and I hope, through grace, that I can die by a
promise. It is the promises of God, which are
everlasting, that will stand by us. Nothing but
God in them will support us in a day of affliction.

" My dear friends, I feel the power of those
doctrines that I preached to you on my heart.
Now the doctrines of faith, of repentance, of
self-denial, of the covenant of grace, of content-
ment, and the rest ; O that you would live them
over, now that I cannot preach to you !

" It is a shame for a believer to be cast down
under afflictions, when he hath so many glori-
ous privileges, such as justification, adoption,
sanctification, and eternal glory. We shall be
as the angels of God in a little while. Nay, to
say the truth, believers are, as it were, little
angels already, that live in the power of faith.
O my friends ! live like believers ; trample this
world under your feet. Be not taken up with
its comforts, nor disquieted with its crosses.
You will be gone out of it shortly."

When they came to take leave of him, he
would pray with them as his weak state would
suffer him ; and in the words of Moses, and of
the apostles, he blessed them in the same man-
ner that he always used to do after a sacrament.
" The Lord bless you, and keep you ; the Lord
cause his face to shine upon you, and give you
peace. And the God of peace, that brought
again from the dead our Lord Jesus, through the
blood of the everlasting covenant, make you per-
fect in every good work to do his will, working
in you that which is well pleading in his sight


through Jesus Christ ; to whom be glory, for
ever and ever. Amen."

He then spake thus : " Farewell, farewell,
my dear friends. Remember me to all Taunton.
I beseech you and them, if I never see your
faces more, to go home and live over what I
have preached to you ; and the Lord provide
for you when I am gone. O let not all my la-
bours and sufferings, let not my wasted strength,
my useless limbs, rise up in judgment against
you at the great day of the Lord."

Another time, some friends coming to visit
him there, he spake thus to them : "0 my
friends, let your whole conversation be as be-
comes the gospel of Christ. Whether I am
present or absent, live according to what I have
spoken to you in the name of the Lord. Now that
I cannot preach to you, let my wasted strength,
my useless limbs, be a sermon to you. Behold
me : 1 cannot move a finger. All this is come
upon me for your sakes, and the gospel. It is
for Christ and you that I have thus spent myself.
I am afraid of you, lest some of you, after all
that 1 have spoken to you, should be lost in the
world. There are many professors who can
pray well, and talk well, Avhom we shall find
at the left hand of Christ another day. You
have your trades, your estates, your relations :
be not taken up with these, but with d'od. O live
on liim ! For the Lord's sake, go home and
take heed of the world, of worldly cares, worldly
comforts, worldly friends.

" The Lord having given authority to his


ministers to bless his people, I accordingly bless
you in his name." He used the same words,
as before, and so parted with them; uttering
many other expressions of hi? love to them and
to the town.

And thus he used to converse with all that
came to visit him, as he was able, looking always
cheerfully upon them, and never complaining of
any affliction that he was under, except it were
to excite his Taunton friends to their several

In February, being very desirous to return
among his people, he proposed it to his doctor,
who consented to it, fearing that the air might
be too keen for him in March ; and hoping that
it might much conduce to his cure, to satisfy
his mind.

In a horse-litter I removed him. He was
much pleased at the sight of the place, and of his
people, who came flocking about him ; and he
seemed to increase in strength, so that he was
able to feed himself in a week after he came
home But I, fearing that the frequent visits of
his friends might be prejudicial to him, per-
suaded him to remove to Mr. Mallack's house,
which he was again. invited to, and where he
was most courteously entertained.

Thus he continued increasing in strength, till
the beginning of April, when he began to decline
again ; and was taken, after some days, wdth
convulsive fits, as he sat in his chamber one
afternoon, and had three or four more fits that
night. But in the use of means, through God's


blessing, he had no more in three \veeks. One
evening, being in his chamber, he desired me
to leave him awhile alone, which I was very
unwilling to do, yet his importunity made me
go down from him. But in less than half a
quarter of an hour, he was fallen to the ground
in one of his former fits, and had hurt his face.
From his nose came much blood, which was
clotted and corrupt. The physicians, seeing
this, concluded (though it was grievous to me,
that under such weakness, he should have so
sad an accident) that the fall had saved his life.
For had not that blood come from his head, he had,
so far as they could rationally judge, died in that
fit, which took away his senses for the present;
but he went to bed and slept so w ell that night,
as he had not done in many weeks before, that
myself and friends feared that he was in an
apoplexy. But he awoke about six in the
morning, much refreshed, and full of the praises
of God lor his mercies to him ; being very sen-
sible how suddenly he was surprised the eve-
ning before. After this he lived always expect-
ing death, saying often to me and his friends,
" It is but a pufT, and I am gone." He there-
fore would every night after he had been at
prayer bid all the family farewell ; telling them
he might be dead before the morning ; and,
dropping some holy counsels to them, would
depart to his chamber. All the while that I
was undressing, he would be discoursing of
spiritual things, it being his delight ; and when
he lay down to rest, his last words were usually,


" We shall shortly be in another bed ; therefore
it is good to mind it, and provide for it apace.
Farewell, my dear heart ; the Lord bless thee !"
and so he would go to rest. In his health and
sickness, his first speeches in the morning
would be, " Now we have one day more ; here
is one more for God ; now let us live well this
day ; work hard for our souls ; lay up much
treasure in heaven this day ; for we have but
a few to live."

After this the strength of his limbs, which
were decayed, returned again ; and he was, be-
yond all expectation, so far recovered that we
had no fears of his relapsing again. His appe-
tite and rest were repaired. But about the 6th
of May he began again to find weakness in his
stomach, which in a few days so grew upon
him that he lost his limbs again ; and on the
12th of May, in the morning, having lain some
days and nights in cold sweats, as heretofore at
Dorchester, he was again seized with convul-
sions ; first lying four hours with his eyes fixed
on heaven, not speaking one word, nor in the
least moving himself ; myself and friends weep-
ing by him : at last he spake to us with a very
audible voice, " Weep not for me, my work is
done." He seemed to be full of matter, which
he desired to utter to us, but was immediately
seized with a terrible convulsion which was sad
to behold. It so altered his countenance, and
put him into such sweats, that it was strange to
see how the drops lay and ran down his face,
handSj and whole body. This held him two


hours or more, and then ceased ; but he Avas
left by it without any sense ; and in a quarter
of an hour, or a little more, he fell into another,
in which he rattled, and was cold ; so that we
apprehended every breath would be his last.
The physician, who was then by him, accounted
his pulse to be gone, and that he would be dead
in a few minutes. But the Lord showed his
power once again in raising him up ; so that
many who came and saw him, and who heard
the next day that he was alive, would not be-
lieve it till they came and saw him again.
These violent fits went oif about twelve o'clock,
and he revived, but had no sense to converse
M-ith us till the next day ; nor did he perfectly
recover them for four days after. He then was
as before, and so continued very weak till July,
no strength coming into his hands or legs. For
the most part he was confined to his bed ; but
was still cheerful in his spirit, and free to dis-
course with any that came to visit him as long
as he was able.

The Lord had yet more work for him to do.
Seeing him lie so hopeless, as to his life or
limbs, and considering the winter was coming
on apace, I proposed to the doctors to remove
him to liath : some were for it, others against
it. Acquainting my husband with the subject,
he was much pleased with it, and so eaniest in
it, that I sent immediately to Bath for a horse-
litter ; and the Lord was pleased strangely to
appear in strengthening him for his journey ;
so that he that had not in manv weeks been out


of his bed and chamber was able in two days to
travel nearly forty miles. When he came to
Bath, the doctors there seemed to be much
amazed to behold such an object, professing
that they never saw the like ; much wondering
how he was come alive such a journey, and
doubted much whether or not they should put
him into the water. But he having tried all ar-
tificial baths, and ointments, and plasters before,
he resolved, against their judguient, to adventure

At his first appearance in Bath, being wasted
to skin and bone, some of the ladies were af-
frighted, as if death had come among them, and
could not endure to look toward him.

The first time he went in, he was able to stay
but a little while ; but was much refreshed, and
had no symptom of his fits, which he feared the
bath might have caused again. Through the
blessing of the Lord upon this means, without
any thing else, except his drinking of goats'
milk, he that was not able to go nor stand, nor
move a finger, could in three weeks' time walk
about his chamber, and feed himself. His im-
paired appetite was again restored ; and his
strength so increased, that there seemed no
doubt to the physicians of his full recovery ; he
having not the least sign of any inclination to
his fits, from the 12th of May till his death
drew nigh.

In this time of his being in Bath, his soul
was far more strengthened with grace ; so that
myself and all that beheld him, and conversed


вЦ†with him, discerned sensibly his growth ; and
he was in the nights and days so frequently
with God. and often in such ravishment of spirit,
from the joys and consolation that he received
from the Spirit of God, that it was often more
than he could express, or his bodily strength
could bear ; so that, for my own part, I had less
hopes of his continuance on earth than ever be-
fore. For I perceived plainly that the Lord had
spared him but to recover strength of grace, and
to make him a more evident instance of his sin-
gular love, before he took him hence.

He being now more cheerful than formerly,
and more exceedingly affectionate in his con-
duct toward me, and to all his friends, especially
with those that were most heavenly, the Lord
Avas pleased to order it in his providence that
there were many such then who came to use
the bath ; as Mr. Fairclough and his wife ; Mr.
Howe, of Torrington ; Mr. Joseph Barnard and
his wife ; and several of our Taunton friends,
and of Bristol ministers and others ; which was
a great comfort to us.

His mind seemed to bo more quick in conver-
sation, whatever he was put upon, either by
scholars, or by those that were more inferior.
He had n^any visiters there, both of strangers
and friends, who were willing to see him, and
discourse with him, having heard what a monu-
ment of mercy he was : and he would to all of
them so expatiate upon all the passages of God's
dealings with him, as was very pleasant to all
tliat heard him ; and did affect manv that were


Strangers to God, and to religion, as well as to

He found so much favour even among the
worst, that both gejiiry and others (such as
would make a scoff at religion, or holy discourse
from others) would hearken to him. Though
he did often faithfully reprove many for their
oaths, and excess in drinking, and their lascivious
conduct, which he observed in Bath ; and there
was none of them but did most thankfully ac-
cept it from him, and showed him more respect
after, than they had done before. In this he
observed much of God*s goodness to him, and
would often say to me, " O how good it is to be
faithful to God!" The vilest of these persons,
as I was by several informed, said to him that
he never spake to such a man in his life.

His reproofs were managed with so much re-
spect to their persons, and the honourable es-
teem he had of their dignity, that they said,
they could not but accept his reproofs, though
they were very close and plain. His way was,
some time before he intended to reprove them,
often in the bath to converse with them of things
that might be taking with them ; and he so en-
gaged their affections that they would willingly
every day converse with him : he being furnish-
ed (from his former studies) for any company,
designing to use it still for holy ends. By such
means he caught many souls.

While he vras in this place, though he had
many diversions, by his using the bath every
day, and his frequent visits, besides his weak-


ness, he kept his constant seasons, four times
a day, for holy retirement ; waking in the morn
ing" constantly at or before live o'clock, and
would not be disturbed till about seven, when
he was carried to the bath. Having the cur-
tains drawn close, he spent his time in holy
meditation, and prayer, and singing ; and once
again before dinner ; but then he spent less
time ; and about half an hour before two in the
afternoon, just before he went abroad.

Though he never attained to so much strength
as to be able to walk abroad in the streets with-
out my leading him, or some other, yet he would

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Online LibraryThomas JacksonChristian biography .. → online text (page 11 of 18)