[From Letters & Memoir of Bishop Shirley, 1849]
THE Bishop adhered to his resolution of crossing the Channel on the 3rd of March, and the next day joined his wife and parents at Brailsford, who were both surprised and rejoiced at the improvement in his health and looks. On Sunday the 7th he preached at Shirley and also at Osmaston, where he addressed the school children for the last time. On the following evening he received from his Shirley parishioners the gift of a handsome clasped Bible and Prayer-book, for his chapel of St. Nicholas. After paying one or two visits on the road, he proceeded to the Vice-Chancellor's, at Oxford, whom lie had known for many years, and who had kindly insisted on receiving him as a guest whenever the lectureship brought him to the University. He delivered the two first lectures on the 14th and 21st, * besides preaching each day, " quietly," as he said, and more to his mind, at a parish church in the evening. He thus writes to his friend, Mr. Cheney, on the subject of the lectures.
* These two lectures, all he lived to preach, were published after his decease, accompanied by two others ; the rest not being in a sufficiently advanced state for publication. To these were added the two sermons preached by him at Oxford on Whitsunday, 1845.
Oxford, March 17th, 1847.
1 think my first lecture was so far approved of that it will secure me hearers for the rest. There was a very large con gregation. I shall be glad to know what you think of my No. 3. I incline to think that I ought, if possible, to give more prominence than I intended to Rationalism; for men's minds seem just now to be running that way. They germanize and talk of Myths. I cannot give more than one sermon to the subject. If you are at Badger at the end of April, I should very much like to spend a few days with you, to talk over these matters. Next year, I hope to have time to tire my friends with my company.
On the 22nd he again joined his wife in town, and, accompanied by her, spent a few days with his friend and relation, Mr. E. P. Shirley, in Eaton-square. He was in high spirits, and apparently good health, though the more than once said to his wife that he had never felt so strong since his last illness, and that he had been fagged by his excursion to Oxford. His state of mind was as usual placid and devout ; and he appeared deeply to feel the services of the solemn fast which was so remarkably observed on the 24th. Two days after, accompanied by Mrs. W. A. Shirley, he went to visit his old and valued friend, Mrs. Bishopp, in Northamptonshire, and on the evening of his arrival, attended and spoke at a meeting held at Naseby for the Pastoral Aid Society. Whether he caught cold at this meeting, or on the previous journey, is uncertain ; but the next morning he complained of feeling unwell, and of suffering from a bad cold. He preached on the following day, notwithstanding his indisposition, at Naseby, on 2 Cor. vi. 1. This, as it proved, was his last sermon. The texts upon which he then dwelt with most force, recurred frequently to his mind during his last illness, as a strong ground of consolation, to which he had not fled in vain. On his return from church he complained much of pain in the limbs, and all the symptoms of a heavy cold. But the day, one of pouring rain, was very unfavourable to an invalid, and he did not appear at all worse than under the circumstances might be expected. He soon got warm at his fire-side; and when Mrs. Shirley went into his room to see how he was, he begged her to kneel by his side, and prayed, at considerable length for his family and friends, the parishes he had just left, and above all, for the diocese to which lie was going ; that he and the partner whom. God had given him, might both go there in a missionary spirit, willing to spend and be spent in their Master's service. On the next morning, when he was to continue his journey, there blew a piercing March wind, accompanied by occasional storms of sleet and. snow; an unfortunate delay at the station kept the travellers in no very pleasant situation for more than an hour, with the choice only of a very uncomfortable waiting-room, or the platform ; they preferred the latter; and the Bishop, whilst walking up and down, though the sleet was driving in his face, was particularly animated and cheerful, and really seemed almost well. But on getting into the train he complained of a great chill, and suffered from icy coldness more or less all day, until at length the warm reception he met with from some relations, at whose house he slept at Liverpool, appeared completely to restore him; and further cheered by the arrival of his son, he seemed to be quite himself again. On the morrow he crossed to Douglas; the day was sunshiny and fine, and the Bishop walked a good deal on deck, entering into conversation with several of the passengers, and occasionally playing with some of the children on board.
At Douglas he was met by Sir M. Blakiston, at whose house the party were lodged; he felt unwell that evening, and was not in his usual spirits. No change for the worse, however, occurred in his state whilst there ; and on Thursday, April 1 st, the family party removed to Bishop's Court. On arriving, he was most anxious to go over every part of it with his wife and son, asking the former continually, if she did not think they might be very happy there. The day was fine and sunshiny, and all looked smiling, but the mountains were still covered with snow, and the wind was bleak, and though the house had been well aired, yet it felt cold and looked desolate. Towards the evening it was evident that the Bishop was not so well, and lie was persuaded to take a warm bath, and to use some other remedies. How little did those who had seen him that morning by the side of the carriage on foot, climbing up the hills, and afterwards almost running over the grounds at an animated pace,-how little did they think that he had gone up those stairs that night for the last time ! The next day (Good Friday) the apothecary, usually employed at Bishop's Court, was called in. The opinion he gave was not such as to excite alarm, but the patient grew evidently worse from day to day, until the 9th, when Mrs. Shirley and her son being seriously uneasy, sent for a physician, Dr. Young, from Peel, a measure which they would have taken sooner had they known, in that strange land, to whom to apply. Dr. Young, on seeing his patient, immediately pronounced his disease to be pneumonia in an already advanced stage, attended with very alarming symptoms. The countenance wore an anxious expression, the pulse was rapid and fluttering, and there was an extreme prostration of strength, accompanied by a disposition to drowsiness. He immediately insisted on the necessity of giving up the Bampton Lectures ; and accordingly a medical certificate of the Bishop's state was drawn up and forwarded to the Vice-Chancellor.
The following account is selected, with slight omissions, to render it fit for the public eye, from memoranda kept at the time of the Bishop's illness, by those who had full opportunity of hearing and seeing all that passed in the sick-room.
On Sunday, the 11th, he said to his wife, "It is such a relief to think I have quite done with the Bampton Lectures ; I shall now be quite free, and can give myself up to my family and my diocese; only think how much more I shall see of you, dearest!" After a pause, " Yes," he added, " I can now be content to live, and, if it be God's will, to die here; do you not feel the same?" Mrs. S., being much overcome, from feeling how very probable it was that the latter part of his sentence would be fulfilled, he gently reproved her for her want of a missionary spirit, not understanding the real cause of her sorrow.
On the 13th, another physician, Dr. Kemp, was called in and entirely confirmed Dr. Young's view of the case. From this time Dr. Young took up his abode in the house, and continued to render every service to his patient which unwearied attention, medical skill, and christian sympathy, could devise. Dr. K.'s opinion was so unfavourable that, after a long consultation together, the medical men thought it right to inform Mr. W. Shirley of the state of the case, requesting him to break to his mother the cruel truth, that possibly his father had not many hours to live. Inflammation on the lungs had already taken place. The expectoration was now strongly tinged with blood, and it was apprehended that in coughing he might rupture a blood-vessel, which would put an immediate end to his existence. Meanwhile the Bishop had earnestly requested his wife not to conceal the result of the consultation, adding, " I should wish to know it, whatever it may be." Accordingly, when sufficiently recovered from the dreadful shock to be able to speak, Mrs. Shirley, accompanied by her son, went into the room, and asked if she should read to him a chapter from the Bible. John xiv. was proposed; when he immediately said, "Why do you choose that chapter, Walter read it to me yesterday ?" It was then changed to 2 Cor. v. He listened with great attention, repeating after his wife parts that particularly struck him, especially the fourteenth verse, " For the love of Christ constraineth us," which he dwelt on with great emphasis ; making, however, no remarks, excepting on the vividness and earnestness of feeling displayed by the apostle in that chapter, so different from our own lukewarmness. Prayer was then offered up, his wife and son both kneeling by his bed-side; after which he was told that the chapter and prayer had his case in view, and that the fatal termination of his illness was but too probable. The look of earnestness which he turned on his wife and son can never be forgotten by them, but he said nothing, and showed no signs whatever of emotion, excepting that a slight perspiration appeared on his forehead. In about a minute after he said, " What a very happy and blessed life I have had!" After this, some necessary allusions were made to his worldly affairs, and he became too much exhausted to converse. His daughter, it was settled, should be sent for by the first packet, and his parents and friends informed of his state of danger. In the evening, the same members of his family being present, he was asked whether he felt happy. " Perfectly," was his reply, " perfectly happy ; `the Lord knoweth them that are his;'* and if we are constrained by the love of Christ, to live to Him, we may take the comfort of that passage to ourselves. `The Lord knoweth them that are his;' if we really are constrained by his love, we need not go from text to text, we may rest on that."
The next morning, the 14th, he questioned Dr. Young about his case; and on his expressing his fears as to its issue, he calmly replied, " I could wish, if it were God's will, to live, for the sake of my dear wife and children, but not my will but His be done." In the course of the afternoon Mrs. Shirley asked him if he had any directions to give her, either with regard to her future path or their children's? " No," he said, more than once; " W.'s is so clearly marked out for him that there is nothing to say ; and about A., you are the best judge; I should have liked to have lived a little longer on her account, but God's will is best. The will of my will is God's will; how could I take to myself the title and privileges of a child of God if my will were not His will? Oh ! M., how many anxieties you will save yourself, if you will but submit yourself to God's will!"2 Tim. ii. 19.
On this day, the 14th, he talked a good deal separately both to his wife and son, and to Dr. Young, repeating the same idea, more especially in reference to his daughter; adding, " Yet for myself, my own longing desire is to depart. 'I. am. in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better ; nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for' my family." To his son he said very little. He named one or two matters of business, and then added, " I have nothing to tell you but what I have always told you. I may yet live to see you a useful and christian man, and if not, your course is plain before you. You have lived long enough to understand me and to enter into my feelings." He seemed absorbed in reflection for a minute or two, then added, " I feel more anxious about A. I might have been of use to her. When will she be able to be here?" His son replied, " not till Saturday." "I should have wished to have seen her once more before I die." He only added his blessing, as it proved his last. On being asked, subsequently, how he felt; " Quite happy ;" and then he repeated the verse, 1 Pet. i. 8, " Whom having not seen ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory," changing ye into we as he repeated the verse. He afterwards saw his old servants and thanked them for their affectionate services, especially during his preceding illness, adding, "I can never forget your kindness, and desire to thank you for it from my heart. I hope you will lead christian lives, and then you will not be afraid to die." To the servant who was going the next day for his daughter he said, "Tell her, with my most tender love and blessing, that I could have wished to have seen her before my death, but I fear I shall not. But Jesus says we must bear the cross; and Jesus is saying to me, `Can you bear this cross, to die without seeing your child ?' and I say, , Yes, Lord.' Tell her how her father dies, will you ? Promise me you will. Tell her I submit cheerfully to * Phil. i. 23, 24.
God's will, because I know His will to be the best." To the butler he said, " You and I did not expect to part so soon when I lately engaged you, neither did I expect to come here only to die. It is a lesson to us all, and I hope you will learn to be a christian man." To the coachman he spoke on the importance of maintaining a holy and consistent profession ; and to a lad, who had been at school at Shirley, he said, " Be a good lad, my boy, and pray to God to impress on your mind the lessons you have been taught at the Sunday-school."
Dr. Young, who was present at this scene, said afterwards, more than once, " The calmest man there ! I could not have conceived it. I have been by hundreds of death-beds, and never saw anything like it. Not a look-not a tone! and they seem to have loved him so!" In the evening, preparation was made for administering the sacrament to him, which he had told the doctor he should gladly receive. As it was thought he might not outlive the night, he was asked whether he had any messages to send to his parents or friends. To the former he sent his tender love, desiring they might be thanked for their love to him. One friend, Mr. Cheney, to whom many of the letters in the preceding correspondence are addressed, he mentioned no less than three times, expressing an anxious desire that be should be informed of his state, and asking if he had been written to. Of his daughter too he spoke very often, sending her his love and blessing. Mr. Brown of Kirk Michael having arrived, the sacrament was duly administered, first to the invalid in both kinds, on account of his weakness, and then to those present; Dr. Young, Mrs. Shirley, her son, and all the household, excepting two young persons who had never before communicated. After the conclusion of the service, just as Mr. Brown was going to pronounce the blessing, the Bishop touched his arm to stop him, and pronounced it himself in a firm and solemn tone. The servants were then rising to depart, when he said, " My kind, christian friends, I wish to say a few words before we part. Can you doubt, you, who have seen me find such comfort in this sacrament-who are witnesses of the joy I have in believing, that there is laid up for me a rest in heaven ? If you love God's service, you may hope for the same joy, the same rest. Do not think for a moment that He for whom I have laboured so long will forsake me now in this my hour of need. No ! He will never leave nor forsake those who trust in Him. Whilst on earth I have worked; yes, as you know, I have worked hard in my Saviour's service. I am now ready to go whenever He sends for me. It is better to be with Jesus than to remain here. I am now entering on my reward, which will be to join with saints and angels in heaven, in singing the praises of God and the Lamb for ever, and ever, and ever! Which of you would have thought that I had come to this island only to die? Remember, each one of you may be the next. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. Oh ! how mean and little this earth is!" To this effect the spoke to them for about ten minutes, then, with deep earnestness and affection, bade them all farewell; again shaking each by the hand, including this time the recently hired servants and the two who had been excluded from the sacrament on account of their age. We asked him, when they were gone, if he felt tired. " Yes, rather; but it is worth being a little tired, if my last sermon may do any good." The same night, at about twelve o'clock, two of his oldest friends arrived, Sir Matthew and Lady Blakiston. On their names being mentioned, he gave then a smile, so peculiarly his own, of affectionate reception and welcome ; and upon their expressing their deep regret at finding him so unwell, he said, " I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day."
Thursday, 15th.-This morning he felt decidedly better, and seemed sanguine as to his own recovery, for he said to his old housemaid who came into the room, " Mary, the dear servants will be glad to hear that the crisis is over." He also said to his wife, " What reason have I to be thankful for being spared during the past night; what a signal mercy it has been!" Ile was answered, " Certainly, a great mercy ; but why more last night than any other ?" He paused, the same thought evidently being.uppermost ; and then with considerable difficulty said, "Because you, clearest, have still a home." In the course of the following day he said to his wife, " Oh! M-, I have had during this illness such an insight into the eternal world, that death seems a mere transition. I believe heaven to be only an expansion of that intense happiness which I am now enjoying in communion with God. Oh ! what a bauble is this world! What a mere bubble to be caring about ! "2 Tim. i. 12.
Early on Friday morning, 16th, Mr. R. accidentally set the bed on fire, whilst giving his patient some barley water, and the whole furniture above his head was instantly in a blaze; but happily it was soon extinguished by the exertions of Mr. R. and Sir M. Blakiston, who were then in the room. Meanwhile the Bishop was perfectly calm and placid, and did not speak or move a muscle. When the fire was put out he said, "You should never hold a candle inside a bed, it should be put upon a table near it." To Dr. Young, who inquired, on coming into the room, if he had not been agitated by the frightful accident, he replied "No; I am in God's bands; it would not certainly have been a pleasant death ; but if it were His will that I should die so, what have I to say ? I cannot help myself. Nothing can happen to me without God's permission." Dr. Young immediately felt his pulse, and declared that not the slightest alteration in it had been occasioned by this strange and alarming occurrence. Every morning he had a chapter from the Bible read to him, and afterwards a prayer offered up suitable to his state. Ile always chose a passage of the chapter on which to make a short practical comment. When Mrs. Shirley was reading to him I John iv., he stopped her at the 18th verse, and repeated, "Yes, perfect love casteth out fear; he that feareth is not made perfect in love." In the course of the afternoon he illustrated the meaning of the passage by saying, in answer to her question whether he was happy and comfortable, "Yes, I am quite content to live or die. I am in perfect peace. Yes, `perfect love casteth out fear.' I have no little scruples ; a child who loves its father is not always thinking whether he is offending him. He does his best to please him, and feels assured of His love." At another time he exemplified the same text thus to Dr. Young: on a female servant's entering the room he addressed her in terms of great kindness; when she left it he said, " I cannot treat servants as some people do ; I could not bear to be served with fear; where there is fear there is no love, ` perfect love casteth out fear.' "
He was much better on Friday afternoon. Dr. Kemp called in unexpectedly, and was so much pleased with the improvement, that he said his case was not without hope. Whilst the medical men were consulting together he said to his son, " I may recover; I am much better to-day; but I feel that even if I recover from this attack I cannot live long. At every turn, from the least cause, I get an illness. I should never have had that illness when I was made Bishop, if I had not been very much broken in health, and again now; but I have never been so strong since. My constitution is gone ; the fact is, I have done two days' work in one. You know what my maxim has always been-better to wear out than to rust; but I have been drawn two ways all my life." After having heard the more favourable report of the medical men, he talked of the possibility of his travelling abroad for the recovery of his health, and seemed to find a pleasure in calling to mind the many places he had desired to visit. He mentioned Spain, the Levant, and even Jerusalem, saying, " The journey is so short now." He appeared to take pleasure in conversation, and when his attendants were silent he would occasionally quote passages from the classics, and more frequently texts from the Bible. He asked Dr. Young the nature of his disease, and took great pleasure in having it explained. He also talked of the Bampton Lectures; and both to Mrs. Shirley and his son he said at different times, " The great mistake of my life has been taking the Bampton Lectures: it has taken me out of my own line; it has drawn me two ways, and been too much for me."
On Saturday, 17th, Sir M. and Lady Blakiston were to take their departure from Bishop's Court. The latter accompanied by Mrs. S. went into his room together, and found him on the sofa, where he had been placed whilst his bed was making, and as he seemed rather better, he was allowed to remain there a little. He talked a good deal, and repeated his conviction that death to the believer was a mere transition; that now he could understand the meaning of there being" in his Father's house many mansions."*[John xiv. 2] We were each occupying our abode in it. He should soon be occupying another room (as it were) in it, even a heavenly. He added, " It is a matter of perfect indifference to me to live or die-I am quite indifferent." Seeing his wife much affected he shook his head playfully, and exclaimed, " ' What mean ye to weep and break mine heart ?'[ Acts xxi. 13.] death is but a little change from time to eternity-to the Christian, I mean, to one who has endeavoured to live as a Christian ought." His wife replied, " I wish I could feel as you do, but I cannot." He fixed his eyes earnestly on her and said, evidently meaning it for both, " Is not my God your God, my hope your hope ? hope on to the end, and ye shall I receive the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. "[ 1 Pet. i. 9] As he was speaking, his countenance assumed quite a heavenly smile. When Lady B. left the room Sir M. B. came in, and at Mrs. S.'s request, prayed by his bed-side. The Bishop thanked his friend, and said, " My dear friend, we have walked together for many years as friends on earth, may our friendship be continued throughout eternity!" . Something having occurred to delay their departure, Sir M. and Lady B. went up stairs once more to take a final leave. He said to them, " We shall, at all events, meet in Christ's glorious kingdom, in an eternal world of peace and joy. There is nothing in this world worth living for." With these words they parted, to meet no more in this world. Mrs. S. afterwards observed, alluding to some rather uncomfortable arrangements in the room, " Lady B. and I have been agreeing that men may be good doctors, but that women must be called in to nurse." He replied immediately with much earnestness, " Oh ! never say that, dearest M. ; just see how I am nursed, and how I have been attended to by my kind doctors. I often think no creature ever had such comforts and attendance as I have had during this illness: how thankful I ought to be !"
In the course of this afternoon, he became very anxious about his daughter's arrival, and asked many times when she might be expected. He was told it would be late, but he desired to have the curtains withdrawn, that he might look out of the window whilst daylight lasted, and continued to inquire from time to time whether she was come. At last, to the great relief of all, the carriage drove up, containing his daughter, his parents, and another relation and dear friend. It was immediately settled that he should see no one but his daughter that night. When she went into his room he embraced her most tenderly, and told her how he had longed to see her, that she had much to be thankful for, for she had been sent for to see him die, and now she came to see him live. But still, had it been God's will that he should not have seen her again, he should have been quite content, knowing that God's will must be best. He also told her that his wsh would have been to form her mind himself; and he hoped she would be a Christian child. He afterwards expressed great happiness at having seen her.
On Sunday, 18th, he saw his parents at an early hour in the morning, Dr. Young having previously prepared him for the meeting, which passed off more calmly on, both sides than might have been anticipated ; and after breakfast he had an interview with the other friend, whom he loved as a sister, and to her he observed, "' It is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting."* [* Eccles. vii. 2].She answered, " It can hardly now be called a house of mourning." He replied, °` It has been one of great anxiety ;" but, after a pause, " Perfect love easteth out fear." He then dwelt on the love of Christ in dying for us, and on the glory that should be revealed to those who are waiting for it ; expressed the pleasure he had in feeling he was now surrounded by his dearest friends, and added the believing hope that all might be together hereafter in heaven. She only saw him again to receive his dying blessing.
Between seven and eight o'clock his son came in to wish him good morning. After some inquiries had passed about the state of his health, he asked to have the curtains drawn aside, and when he saw the bright morning sun shining across the trees and hills, " What a beautiful prospect?" he exclaimed, " what a beautiful world God has given us to live in; and yet," he added after a pause, "it is nothing to the glory which shall be revealed. Can you repeat me that hymn of Heber's, Walter?" His son then repeated to him Bishop Heber's Hymn, beginning " I praised the earth in beauty seen." On his coming to the last verse, his father took up the lines and repeated them after him with great emphasis
" If thus Thy meaner works are fair If thus Thy bounties gild the span Of ruin'd earth and sinful man, How glorious must the mansion be Where Thy redeem'd shall dwell with Thee !"
On hearing that his father would have service in the chapel, he became very anxious that a congregation should be assembled to hear him, and desired the groom might be sent for one person whom lie named particularly, as he thought he would like to come. He requested Dr. Young to stay with him alone during the morning service, that he might read it to him. The doctor at first objected, thinking the exertion would be too great for him, but the Bishop was so anxious on the subject, saying it would compose him, that he consented at last to read the litany; and when he came to the petition for "all sick persons," the patient, laying his hands on Dr. Y.'s shoulder interposed, " especially thy servant, the Bishop of this diocese." He joined in the service with much fervour, and at the conclusion pronounced the blessing in a firm voice.
Mrs. S. remained with him alone in the afternoon, whilst the rest of the party, including the medical men, were at chapel. In the morning, after breakfast, she had read to him 2 Pet. i., dwelling on some of the most striking passages ; she afterwards asked him if the prayer offered expressed what he wished; when he replied, with one of his affectionate epithets, " Yes, thank you." At another time she inquired if he were able to enjoy private prayer; to which he answered, " 1 sometimes find a difficulty in collecting my thoughts and finding words to express them, but I often pray with the heart; and I should like to pray now, if you will leave me quite quiet for a short time."
During the early part of his illness, before the doctors were in constant attendance, he had frequently asked to be left quite alone, doubtless for the purpose of meditation and prayer, as from the earliest beginning of the attack he was unable either to read or write, or amuse himself in any way, though mercifully preserved from much suffering throughout ; his answer being invariably to all questions relating to his bodily state, " I am quite comfortable." This afternoon Mrs. S. read to him, at his own request, the last chapter of the 1st Epistle of John, having on previous days read the other chapters of that epistle. When she came to the eighteenth verse, "he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked onetoucheth him not," she was much struck with the look of horror he gave her as he repeated with emphasis, that " wicked one toucheth him not," and dwelt on the mercy and infinite comfort of being wholly freed from temptation; but, after a pause he added, " God's people, even here, are so in a measure, and might be more so, if they were more diligent in resisting "the wicked one." When she had done reading to him, he said, "I wish they would let me get up." " What for?" " That I might preach to the people at St. George's." (A church still without an incumbent, and about which he was very anxious.) " But you are not strong enough to think of such a thing, even if you might get up." He replied, very calmly, " No, I know I am not; but what would I not give to be able to tell that congregation what my feelings now are, what baubles they are living for." His manner during the conversation of this afternoon was even more affectionate than usual. In answer to some remark of his wife, he said, " Yes, M., I do indeed love you tenderly, but I love Christ far better; and `my desire is to depart and be with Him;' do you not feel the same? You must ` be steadfast, unmoveable,'* I and hope to the end," I and you shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."'[1 Pet. i. 13.] In the course of the day he saw his daughter, and questioned her about the text and sermon of the morning. He often thanked the doctor for his attention to him, and declared his intention and wish to take anything he thought right for him, always saying something playful when his medicine was given to him. To the end of his days, it may truly be said that his bright happy disposition, and constant consideration for the feelings of others, gilded even the "valley of the shadow of death."§[§ Psalm xxiii. 4.]* 1 Cor. xv. 58. + 1 Pet. v. 4.
But, alas! the sad scene to his family and friends was drawing to a close. The hopes which had been excited by the improvement on Friday, had been gradually diminishing, and early on Monday, 19th, new and alarming symptoms manifested themselves. It was necessary to change the whole mode of treatment; the room was darkened; he was ordered to be kept as quiet as possible; he seldom spoke, and when he did, his mind shewed symptoms of wandering. The next day he talked a good deal in an over-excited way about his probable recovery, but towards the evening became more calm, whilst signs of approaching dissolution were manifest. At eleven o'clock at night the whole family, with some of the servants, were summoned to the room, in the belief that his end was rapidly drawing near. His wife, who had gone down stairs, and had been suddenly called to the chamber of death, found him in the act of talking to a nephew who was deeply attached to him, and had hurried from Cambridge to see him. He reminded him, earnestly and affectionately, of all the serious conversations he had held with him in times past, and concluded by saying, "this is no sham, boy, no sham, you will now believe the truth of what I have urged upon you be fore." The sufferer was lying in the middle of the bed with the agonies of death evidently upon him, calmly contemplating its advances without a fear, or a pang, the only unmoved person present. He evidently knew all his family. To the inquiry, how he felt? his answer was, "I am quite passive, but I wish to go to Jesus." He then sent messages of exhortation and love to several friends, after which, all present knelt around the bed whilst his poor father offered up a prayer for him and his family, for which he thanked him by his looks, though he said nothing. Soon after which, as it appeared likely he might live through the night, it was thought better that all should disperse, with the exception of his wife; his son, and his nephew, who never left him until the last sigh was drawn; the apothecary remained for a time, as long as there was a hope of sustaining the patient's sinking strength by cordials. But even this resource failed at three o'clock, and at six all were once more assembled in the dying man's room. His father again prayed, and again he received a look of unutterable thanks. An expression of individual tenderness and love was also directed to all around, as he evidently bade them each farewell in his heart. He also gave his blessing to one or two present, and again sent affectionate messages to friends. His last conscious act was to reprove his wife for weeping by shaking his head. Soon after, he became quite insensible whilst she was endeavouring to repeat to him Cowper's hymn beginning,
-To Jesus, the crown of my hope, My soul is in haste to be gone;"
and at eight o'clock A.M., 21st of April, 1847, after three deep sighs, he exchanged time for eternity.
On the following Tuesday, exactly the day four weeks on which he had crossed to the island for the last time, his mortal remains were conveyed across the channel on the most tempestuous day there had been that season. They were brought from Liverpool to Derby. On the morning of the 29th, the Bishop of the diocese, the Archdeacons of Stafford, Derby, and Man, a large body of clergy, a few of the country gentry, and the personal friends of the deceased, met the body. Before the procession moved, prayer was offered up by the Archdeacon, at the request of the Bishop. All the shops in Derby, in the streets through which it passed, were shut ; the bells of the churches tolled; the clergy accompanied the hearse to the limits of the borough. At the villages through which it passed, especially those belonging to his own parish, many weeping cottagers stood on the road, whilst at Shirley the scene in the church was deeply affecting. The procession was there met by other friends from the Ashbourn side of the village. The Bishop of Lichfield performed the last solemnities, and the coffin was lowered into the family vault which Bishop Shirley himself had built under the north aisle of the church, and which his remains were the first to occupy.