Friday, January 18, 2008

I ran across this account of a rector of a church who showed great bravery during the times of the plague. I will set the stage by adding some correspondence made concerning the horror and virulence of the plague.

“The condition of the place hath been so dreadful, that I persuaded myself it exceedeth all history and example. I may truly say our town has become a Golgotha, a place of skulls; and had there not been a small remnant of us left, we had been as Sodom, and like unto Gomorrah. My ears have never heard such doleful lamentations, my nose never smelt such noisome smells, and my eyes never beheld such ghastly spectacles. Here have been seventy-six families visited within my parish, out of which died two hundred and fifty nine persons.”

So virulent was the contagion, that ninety one years after, in 1757, when five laboring men, who were digging up land near the plague-graves for a potato garden, came upon what appeared to be some linen, though they buried it again directly, they all sickened with typhus fever, three of them died, and it was so infectious that no less than seventy persons in the parish were carried off.

“The rector of the parish, the Rev. William Mompesson, was still a young man, and had been married only a few years. His wife, a beautiful young woman, only twenty-seven years old, was exceedingly terrified at the tidings from the village, and wept bitterly as she implored her husband to take her and her two children, who were three and four years old, away to some place of safety. But Mr. Mompesson gravely showed her that it was his duty not to forsake his flock in their hour of need, and began at once to make arrangements for sending her and the children away. She saw he was right in remaining, and ceased to urge him to forsake his charge; but she insisted that, if he ought not to desert his flock, his wife ought not to leave him; and she wept and entreated so earnestly, that he at length consented that she should be with him, and that only the two little ones should be removed while yet there was time.”

“Day and night the rector and his wife were among the sick, nursing, feeding, and tending them with all that care and skill could do; but in spite of all their endeavors, only a fifth part of the inhabitants lived.”

In the end his wife became ill – “She lay peacefully, saying, “she was but looking for the good hour to come,” and calmly died, making responses to her husbands prayers even to the last….He himself had never been touched by the complaint; nor had his maid-servant.”
The reason I posted this heroic account is that it dovetails with an earlier post of mine, about how we influence our spouses.
"The more affectionate and doting, a woman is the worse for her husband, unless he be a saint. Were she a termagant (loud and violent), he could harden himself against her, but when she coaxes and cries like Sampson's wife, in the nine cases out of ten he will do what Lygate did when he married Rosamond Vincy--give up all his ambition for study, stifle the voice of his conscience when it demands sacrifice, and devote himself to gaining the wherewithal to keep sunshine at his fireside by the unlimited indulgence of a frivolous woman's fancy." -Author Unknown
"My heart is stirred by a noble theme" Ps. 45:1


fcb4 said...

Frightening and tragic.

fcb4 said...

oh...his kids probably wished he listened to his wife for once.

fcb3 said...

Yes, I'm sure they did and no doubt his wife had been better off from a worldly perspective had he listened, but he knew the voice of the Lord, and she also, after her fears calmed, knew it and followed it beside her husband. They are all long dead now, but the echos in heaven still resound, and countless lived for their sacrafice. I wonder if the life-blood running through our veins was from one of the families they helped save?
Love Dad