Dead Ferrett, Esq

At Holy Trinity Church at Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, is a stone tablet commemorating a former member of the congregation, such as old parish churches are wont to accrue. He departed this life in 1770, and a couplet at the bottom declares:

There needs no epitaph this good man’s worth to raise

Name him but only and you record his praise

The chap in question is one John Ferrett, which, under normal circumstances, we might consider to be an unfortunate name. Yet the little verse indicates that he was so well known for his goodness that merely saying his name would bring back sufficient recollection of his merits, on which no stone tablet need elaborate. All who remember him are now themselves gone, forgotten and obscure. Yet the great God recalls him, his deeds, his words and that for which he was blamed or praised. I cannot vouch for Mr Ferrett’s virtue, but I can observe my own lackage in that regard. Thankfully, God the Father will recall Christ’s merit while before Him I stand. Clothed in His righteousness, as Jacob once stood in animal furs, God will look at me but behold all the merits and aroma of Christ:

There needs no epitaph this bad man’s guilt to raise

Name but Christ only and you enter then His gates

How can ye hope, deluded souls,

To see what none e’er saw,

Salvation by the works obtained

Of Sinai’s fiery law?


There ye may toil, and weep, and fast,

And vex your heart with pain;

And, when you’ve ended, find at last

That all your toil was vain.


Only by faith in Jesus’ wounds

The sinner finds release;

No other sacrifice for sin

Will God accept but this.


-Joseph Hart, Gadsby’s Hymns, No 45