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for the office of class-leader would have led to her appointment, could her health have been depended upon. But her husband always felt the impropriety of laying such a charge on her, well knowing how greatly it might increase the pressure upon an already enfeebled constitution. In other directions she was ever active; and she exercised a fostering influence on each part of the Circuit economy. In one instance, she entered with great earnestness into a movement for providing garments for native African children. In another, we find her thanking God that she has enough of this world's goods, and something to spare, to feed the hungry, and clothe the Sabbath-scholars. “ This,” she says, “I have done to a considerable extent; many a blessing being poured into my bosom from the widow and the fatherless in the Circuits where we have resided,—which I value more than gold.” It was a custom with her to visit the sick, to read and pray with them, and to relieve their wants as her judgment and her means warranted. Thus we read :-“Knaresborough, February 24th, 1846. --Since coming here, I have felt quite at home, and my soul has been more alive to the promotion of my Master's cause. Faith, love, and zeal have been quickened ; so that I have gone a great deal among the people, and, in my humble way, have endeavoured to stir them up to flee from the wrath to come; I hope, not without some success. I think I never [before] saw such unbounded love in my Saviour to poor perishing sinners; and this love has enkindled mine, so that I feel such love and pity for them that I would be willing to do or suffer anything, if I might be instrumental in promoting their present and everlasting salvation."
In the Otley Circuit she writes :-"My bodily strength has generally been so feeble, during the last ten or twelve months, that I have seldom been able to visit the sick and dying; and I feel much at being thus laid aside. However, by conversation, correspondence, lending books, &c., I trust I am of some use to the people here. The Lord being my Helper, I intend to spend and be spent in the service of my Redeemer.” In this sphere, being unable to follow her usual habits, she interested herself on behalf of a good brother who had been extremely useful in visiting the sick. That he might be in part liberated from daily labour, in order to pursue his course of Christian benevolence more successfully, she raised for him a weekly sum of seven shillings; thus conferring a boon upon a worthy disciple of Christ, and, through him, on many families in which sickness and poverty prevailed. In Ripon, also, she raised a weekly subscription of five shillings, to enable another person to devote himself more fully to the same task. So that, when unable herself to follow her Lord's example, and to go about doing good, she yet found means whereby the same end might be accomplished.
To all the religious ordinances of our church she maintained an undying attachment. In their simplicity and fervour she hailed the
renewal of primitive purity and power. And her heart bounded with joy when she witnessed them in full efficiency, renovating character, and affording successive proofs of the energy of saving grace. Her esteem for the elder class of Wesleyan ministers amounted to veneration. She records her admiration of them, in glowing terms, on more than one occasion of attending the public services of the Conference.
One of her characteristic qualities was great firmness of purpose. She studied to do right, and was upheld in her resolutions by a sense of the integrity of her motives. At the sarze time, in carrying her plans into effect, she avoided severity, and cultivated a suavity of manner which recommended her to others, and precluded all appear. ance of obstinacy. The tone of piety which she maintained, during the whole of married life, was full and harmonious. It may suffice to say, that she enjoyed, as the rule, great peace, unwavering confidence, and increasing consolation. Her fellowship with the Father, and with Jesus, was both intimate and abiding; and her prospect of a heavenly inheritance became more vivid and inspiring as age advanced.
The last entry in her journal, written at Whitby, (to which place Mr. Ash had retired as Supernumerary,) is as follows :—“My dear husband laboured with much acceptance three years in the Colne Circuit, leaving it in great prosperity. The dear people presented him with a very elegant Bible, value ten guineas, as a memorial of their affection.
After itinerating upwards of forty-eight years, with an unblemished character, he became Supernumerary at Whitby, where he continues to preach, lead classes, &c., as he is able. May his last days be his best and happiest !” That this was no empty sentiment, but a most earnest wish, was shown by the industry and constancy with which, in his growing infirmities, she anticipated his wants, promoted his comforts, and seconded his still successful efforts to spread the saving knowledge of the Redeemer's name. In furtherance of these pleasing duties, and, doubtless, with the expectation of being the surviver, she secured the purchase of a most commodious residence on the West Cliff, Whitby, and furnished it with every appliance needed to make the evening of life desirable. But to how short a distance in the future can even the best penetrate! Her designs, conceived in a spirit of true generosity, she was not permitted fully to carry out; nor did she herself long enjoy the fruit of her well-timed care. A wiser Mind than ours saw good to remove her hence, and to call her to the rewards of her steadfastness, and of her abounding in the work of the Lord. She enjoyed her usual health till within a few days of her death. That event was, consequently, quite unlooked for. She rose on the morning of February 26th, 1862, at six, and proceeded, as was her wont, to call the servant. On returning to her room, she was seized with syncope, and fell on the floor. Prompt measures were used, and a physician was immediately in attendance. She regained consciousness, but never fully her mental power; and, after lingering till March 6th, she closed her earthly career, and passed away to the enduring mansion prepared for her by a loving Saviour, whose footsteps she had followed, and whose nature she had partaken.
To say that it would have been desirable for her to die in the full possession of her faculties, and proclaiming with her last lisping accents the efficacy of the Saviour's blood, would be improper and unwise. He who knows all things knows best when and how to take His children to Himself. And surviving friends may confidently rely on a life well spent in holy and devout obedience, as the pledge of a believer's beatitude following upon mortal dissolution.
In thankfulness we pen our concluding sentence. Mrs. Ash lived the life of the righteous; and she is not, for GoD TOOK BER.
XIMENES DE CISNEROS.
II. PATRON OF LEARNING, AND BIBLICAL EDITOR.
No monarch ever exerted a greater personal influence than Isabella of Spain : nor, in making this statement, do we forget the Virgin Queen of our own happy land. A Spanish courtier knew no greater ambition than to stand high in the favour of his royal mistress. Her presence on the tented field was hailed as a sure augury of triumph; and, when that augury had been fulfilled, Isabella had only to spread her ægis over the Temple of the Muses, and the whole nation crowded to cover the albar with their gifts. No sooner was it whispered that the Queen was learning Latin, than every loyal courtier felt that polite letters were the only worthy pursuit. The Marquis of Denia, whose head was hoary with the snows of sixty winters, conned his rudiments with the ardour of a youthful student, and the steady perseverance of a veteran soldier. Peter Martyr had come to trail a pike in the Spanish service, but he bade" farewell to the plumed troop and the big wars," that, as he says in one of his letters, he “might feed the Castilian nobles from his literary breasts." Blue-stockings abounded : Erasmus, king of the schools, gave Catharine of Aragon the title of “ learned ;” and her unfortunate sister Joanna would pronounce a Latin oration without premeditation. Tennyson's picture, in the “ Princess," seems borrowed from the history of these times :
“On the lecture-slate,
Spanish historians preserve the names of these literary ladies. In their records we read, also, how seven thousand students flocked to Salamanca, and a cousin of the King's was professor ; while another tutor was so popular that his more athletic pupils had first to force a way for the professor into his crowded class-room, and then to carry him home, as the good man tells one of his distant friends, “in a kind of Olympic triumph.” Thus, in the sunshine of royal favour, and amidst the breezes of national good-will, the Spanish Athens stood foremost in the land.
But Ximenes determined to throw Salamanca into the shade. As the site of his new University, he chose Alcala de Henares, the ancient Complutum : for here, in a modest grammar-school, he had thumbed his primer. In 1500 the foundation-stone was laid ; and so little does this ceremony alter by the lapse of time, that the account of Gomez, written in the sixteenth century, might be sent to any modern newspaper, and, with needful changes in the names of the actors, there would be no violation of probability. The archbishop preached an eloquent discourse, and offered a prayer for the completion of the work, and the preservation of the workmen. His friend, Gonsalvo de Zegri, a Moorish prince, and a distinguished convert to Christianity, placed in the stone gold and silver coins, a copy of the deed of foundation, and a brasen image of a Franciscan monk: after which, the stone was declared to be duly laid.
Ximenes entered on his labours with an energy that deserved success. For years he devoted to this end the vast revenues of his see; he obtained the services of the most eminent architect in Spain ; he impressed crowds of workmen; and often, leaving the busy scenes of the court, and his duties as Chancellor, he would personally superintend the work. Then he might be seen with a plummet and rule in his hand, fitting from one part of the building to another, testing walls, measuring heights, rewarding diligent artisans, and breathing his ardour into all who surrounded him. People said, with a quiet joke, that “Toledo never had so edifying a bishop before !”
Eight years the work went on; and on July 26th, 1508, the walls of the central college were finished. The other colleges and hospitals were now rising above the ground; the fellows were blazing through the streets in long red gowns, with a scarf thrown over the left shoulder ; the King of Castile, and the great state-officers, were perpetual patrons ; thirty-three tutors awaited their students; and twelve chaplains expected their flocks. By the order of Ximenes, seven of the students were brought from Salamanca ; and thus the first who trode these halls of learning, like the Moorish converts in the fold of the church, owed their introduction to the passion for commanding which distinguished this patron of learning. But so well did the Chancellor play this part, that Complutum ran an even race with Salamanca, and even far-off Paris trembled for her laurels. The college was very dear to the founder ; nor did he ever lose an opportunity of advancing its interests. A prince was born at Alcala ; this Ximenes considered a good ground on which to beg for new privileges from the King. A town was sacked in Africa; from its spoil the warrior-priest rescued rare manuscripts for the Complutensian library. While the Archbishop augmented the resources of his University, he watched over the students with a father's care. And this they seem to have needed ; for, occasionally, their pursuits were interrupted by the precursors of our “ town and gown” riots. These juvenile freaks are worthy of notice in one sense only; namely, as they show that a spirit was abroad in Spain very different from that slavish deference to royalty which afterwards gave the court and nation a punctiliousness at once oppressive, absurd, and servile. The seeds of liberty were germinating there, to be cruelly crushed under the political and religious intolerance of the next few years. One of the said riots occurred during a royal visit. It was the first that Ferdinand paid to the University. He was met by the beadles, who refused to lower their maces before a King. In vain did the King's attendants cry, “Shame!"—the maces were not lowered. A bon mot rescued Ferdinand from his difficulty : “ This is the seat of the Muses,” said he ; “and only those have a right to reign here, who are initiated in their mysteries.” But this rudeness of " little brief authority ” was only a sample of what was to follow. For, as it grew dark before the King had finished his inspection, his pages came to the door of the principal church, and waited for their master. The students opened on these torch-bearers a regular fire of undergraduate badinage ; and, as the uncourtly wit of the gown was very galling, the pages struck at their tormentors. A general battle ensued, with stones and fists, and the clamour brought out the King. He turned angrily to Ximenes, and said, “This is the reward I gain for my kindness. Had those scholars of yours been properly punished for their first offence, they would not have dared to attack my servants in my presence." Ximenes made the best excuse he could, and no one was punished; but the King continued in a peevish humour. “How flimsy a wall you have built !” he said, pointing to a party-wall that was stuccoed. “Mortal man should hasten to the end of his labours," very naturally replied Ximenes, then seventy-eight years old : " but what is now clay will one day be marble.” In a few years, on that wall was a tablet with the inscription,—"OLIM LUTEA, NUNC MARMOREA.” It was of this University that Francis I. said, with a strange mixture of pride and naïveté, “Your Ximenes has undertaken and accomplished a work which I myself could not attempt. The University of Paris, the pride of my kingdom, is the work of many sovereigns ; but Ximenes alone has founded one like it.” For many years this magnificent home of learning was frequented by earnest students, and one of the works which issued from it has given it undying fame. But at the time of the French invasion it was dissolved and sup