« PreviousContinue »
ever I knew in the world; and I am put into the greatest condition of outward state that ever I was in, or hoped ever to be, or desired.
December 2. Abroad with my wife, the first time that ever I rode in my own coach, which do make my heart rejoice, and praise God, and pray him to bless it to me and continue it. So she and I to the King's playhouse, and there saw The Usurper; a pretty good play, in all but what is designed to resemble Cromwell and Hugh Peters, which is mighty silly. The play done, we to Whitehall; where my wife staid while I up to the Duchesse's and Queene's side, to speak with the Duke of York: and here saw all the ladies, and heard the silly discourse of the King, with his people about him.
1669, April 11. Thence to the Park, my wife and I; and here Sir W. Coventry did first see me and my wife in a coach of our own; and so did also this night the Duke of York, who did eye my wife mightily. But I begin to doubt that my being so much seen in my own coach at this time may be observed to my prejudice; but I must venture it now.
May 1. Up betimes. Called by my tailor, and there first put on a summer suit this year; but it was not my fine one of flowered tabby vest, and coloured camelott tunique, because it was too fine with the gold lace at the bands, that I was afraid to be seen in it; but put on the stuff suit I made the last year, which is now repaired; and so did go to the Office in it, and sat all the morning, the day looking as if it would be fowle. At noon, home to dinner, and there find my wife extraordinary fine, with her flowered tabby gown that she made two years ago, now laced exceeding pretty; and indeed, was fine all over; and mighty earnest to go, though the day was very lowering; and she would have me put on my fine suit, which I did. And so anon we went alone through the town with our new liveries of serge, and the horses' manes and tails tied with red ribbons, and the standards gilt with varnish, and all clean, and green reines, that people did mightily look upon us; and, the truth is, I did not see any coach more pretty, though more gay, than ours, all the day. But we set out, out of humourI because Betty, whom I expected, was not come to go with us; and my wife that I would sit on the same seat with her, which she likes not, being so fine: and she then expected to meet Sheres, which we did in the Pell Mell, and against my will, I was forced to take him into the coach, but was sullen all day almost, and little complaisant the day being unpleasing, though the Park full of
coaches, but dusty, and windy, and cold, and now and then a little dribbling of rain; and what made it worse, there were so many hackney-coaches as spoiled the sight of the gentlemen's; and so we had little pleasure. But here was W. Batelier and his sister in a borrowed coach by themselves, and I took them and we to the lodge; and at the door did give them a syllabub, and other things, cost me 12s., and pretty merry.
ROBERT SOUTH: 1633-1716.
Dr South was one of the most eminent of those clergymen who in the reign of Queen Anne defended the English Church against dissenters. His Sermons are remarkable for their pithy arguments and racy idiomatic language.
THE STATE OF MAN BEFORE THE FALL.
The understanding, the noblest faculty of the mind, was then sublime, clear, and aspiring, and as it were the soul's upper region, lofty and serene, free from the vapours and disturbances of the inferior affections. It was the leading, controlling faculty; all the passions wore the colours of reason; it did not so much persuade as command; it was not consul, but dictator. Discourse was then almost as quick as intuition; it was nimble in proposing, firm in concluding; it could sooner determine than now it can dispute. Like the sun, it had both light and agility; it knew no rest but in motion; no quiet but in activity. It did not so properly apprehend as irradiate the object; not so much find as make things intelligible. It arbitrated upon the several reports of sense, and all the varieties of imagination; not, like a drowsy judge, only hearing, but also directing their verdict. In short, it was vegete, quick, and lively; open as the day, untainted as the morning, full of the innocence and sprightliness of youth; it gave the soul a bright and full view into all things; and was not only a window, but itself the prospect. Adam came into the world a philosopher, which sufficiently appeared by his writing the nature of things upon their names; he could view essences in themselves, and read forms without the comment of their respective properties; he could see consequents yet dormant in their principles, and effects yet unborn in the womb of their causes; his understanding could almost pierce into future contingents, his conjectures improving even to prophecy, or
the certainties of prediction; till his fall, he was ignorant of nothing but sin; or at least it rested in the notion, without the smart of the experiment. Could any difficulty have been proposed, the resolution would have been as early as the proposal; it could not have had time to settle into doubt. Like a better Archimedes, the issue of all his inquiries was an 'I have found it, I have found it!' the offspring of his brain, without the sweat of his brow. Study was not then a duty, night-watchings were needless; the light of reason wanted not the assistance of a candle. This is the doom of fallen man, to labour in the fire, to seek truth in profundo,2 to exhaust his time, and to impair his health, and perhaps to spin out his days and himself into one pitiful controverted conclusion. There was then no poring, no struggling with memory, no straining for invention; his faculties were quick and expedite; they answered without knocking, they were ready upon the first summons; there was freedom and firmness in all their operations. I confess it is as difficult for us, who date our ignorance from our first being, and were still bred up with the same infirmities about us with which we were born, to raise our thoughts and imaginations to those intellectual perfections that attended our nature in the time of innocence, as it is for a peasant bred up in the obscurities of a cottage to fancy in his mind the unseen splendours of a court. But by rating positives by their privatives, and other acts of reason, by which discourse supplies the want of the reports of sense, we may collect the excellency of the understanding then by the glorious remainders of it now, and guess at the stateliness of the building by the magnificence of its ruins. All those arts, rarities, and inventions, which vulgar minds gaze at, the ingenious pursue, and all admire, are but the relics of an intellect defaced with sin and time. We admire it now only as antiquaries do a piece of old coin, for the stamp it once bore, and not for those vanishing lineaments and disappearing draughts that remain upon it at present. And certainly that must needs have been very glorious the decays of which are so admirable. He that is comely when old and decrepit, surely was very beautiful when he was young. An Aristotle was but the rubbish of an
Adam, and Athens but the rudiments of Paradise.
1 Archimedes, of Syracuse, the most famous of ancient mathematicians, discovered, when in a bath, the solution of a problem, which so pleased him that, forgetting to put on his clothes, he ran home, shouting: 'I have found it.'
2 In the deep.
GILBERT BURNET: 1643-1715.
Burnet, Bishop of Salisbury, is eminent as a theologian, politician, and historian. His History of the Reformation is the standard work upon the subject. He wrote, besides, A History of My Own Times.
DEATH AND CHARACTER OF EDWARD VI.
From The History of the Reformation.
In the beginning of January this year , he was seized with a deep cough, and all medicines that were used did rather increase than lessen it. He was so ill when the parliament met, that he was not able to go to Westminster, but ordered their first meeting and the sermon to be at Whitehall. In the time of his sickness, Bishop Ridley preached before him, and took occasion to run out much on works of charity, and the obligation that lay on men of high condition to be eminent in good works. This touched the king to the quick; so that, presently after the sermon, he sent for the bishop. And after he had commanded him to sit down by him, and be covered, he resumed most of the heads of the sermon, and said he looked upon himself as chiefly touched by it. He desired him, as he had already given him the exhortation in general, so to direct him to do his duty in that particular. The bishop, astonished at this tenderness in so young a prince,1 burst forth in tears, expressing how much he was overjoyed to see such inclinations in him; but told him he must take time to think on it, and craved leave to consult with the lord-mayor and court of aldermen. So the king writ by him to them to consult speedily how the poor should be relieved. They considered there were three sorts of poor; such as were so by natural infirmity or folly, as impotent persons, and madmen or idiots; such as were so by accident, as sick or maimed persons; and such as, by their idleness, did cast themselves into poverty. So the king ordered the Greyfriars' Church, near Newgate, with the revenues belonging to it, to be a house for orphans; St Bartholomew's, near Smithfield, to be an hospital; and gave his own house of Bridewell to be a place of correction and work for such as were wilfully idle. He
1 The king was sixteen years of age.
also confirmed and enlarged the grant for the hospital of St Thomas in Southwark, which he had erected and endowed in August last. And when he set his hand to these foundations, which was not done before the 5th of June this year, he thanked God that had prolonged his life till he had finished that design. So he was the first founder of those houses, which, by many great additions since that time, have risen to be amongst the noblest in Europe.
He expressed, in the whole course of his sickness, great submission to the will of God, and seemed glad at the approaches of death; only the consideration of religion and the church touched him much; and upon that account he said he was desirous of life. His distemper rather increased than abated; so that the physicians had no hope of his recovery. Upon which a confident woman came, and undertook his cure, if he might be put into her hands. This was done, and the physicians were put from him, upon this pretence, that they having no hopes of his recovery, in a desperate case, desperate remedies were to be applied. On the 6th of July, his spirits and body were so sunk, that he found death approaching; and so he composed himself to die in a most devout manner. His whole exercise was in short prayers and ejaculations. The last that he was heard to use was in these words: 'Lord God, deliver me out of this miserable and wretched life, and take me among thy chosen; howbeit, not my will, but thine be done; Lord, I commit my spirit to thee. O Lord, thou knowest how happy it were for me to be with thee; yet, for thy Chosen's sake, send me life and health, that I may truly serve thee. O my Lord God, bless my people, and save thine inheritance.' Seeing some about him, he seemed troubled that they were so near, and had heard him; but with a pleasant countenance, he said he had been praying to God. And soon after, the pangs of death coming upon him, he said to Sir Henry Sidney, who was holding him in his arms: 'I am faint; Lord have mercy on me, and receive my spirit;' and so he breathed out his innocent soul.
Thus died King Edward VI., that incomparable young prince. He was then in the sixteenth year of his age, and was counted the wonder of that time. He was not only learned in the tongues, and other liberal sciences, but knew well the state of his kingdom. He kept a book, in which he writ the characters that were given him of all the chief men of the nation, all the judges, lord-lieutenants, and justices of the peace over England; in it he had marked down