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parts of it, and recalling to Your Thoughts SERM. at once the several Excellencies and Perfections of which it was compos'd: which made her belov'd and reverenc'd by You while Living, and will make her Memory ever Dear and Defirable to You, now she is Dead; and which rais'd her above the greatest part of her Sex, much more than any Outward Marks of Rank and Distinction.
It is now, after her Decease, a fit time to speak of her in those Terms of Respect which she deferv'd: for in her Life-time fhe would not fuffer it, and took fome pains to avoid it; hiding as many of her Virtues as she could from Publick Obfervation, and fo behaving herself in the practice of those she could not hide, as fhew'd, fhe had no mind to be told of them: discountenancing, as far as lay in her power, that odious and designing Flattery, which, through the wicked Fashion of an Infincere World, is now thought to be a kind of Customary Debt due to her Sex, and almost a neceffary part of good Breeding.
But tho' the Living can feldom be prais'd with Decency, yet the Dead certainly often may; especially fuch of the Dead, as had a very unusual Degree of indifference and unconcernedness for what was faid to their Advantage, while they were Living.
There is a publick Homage due to Desert, if we take a proper Season of paying it; and the Ministers of the Gofpel, who are entrusted with fo many Methods of promoting Piety in the World, are, among the rest, entrusted with This, of giving Honour where Honour is due; and of truly representing to the Minds of men fuch fhining Patterns of Virtue, as are most likely to engage their Attention, and provoke their Imitation: It is our immediate and particular Employment to Praise God; and it doth, no doubt, in some measure also belong to us, to praise those that are Like him.
And now how fhall I enter upon this fruitful Argument? What Particular of her
her comprehensive Character fhall I first SER M. chuse to infist on? Let us determine our selves to begin there, where fhe always began, at her Devotions. In These she was very Punctual and Regular: Morning and Evening came not up more conftantly in their Courfe, than her stated Hours of Private Prayer; which she ob ferv'd not formally, as a Task, but return'd to them always with defire, delight, and eagerness. She would on no occafion dispense with her self from paying this Duty; no Business, no common. Accident of Life could divert her from it: She esteem'd it her great Honour and Happiness, to attend upon God; and fhe refolv'd to find Leifure for That, for whatever else she might want it.
How fhe behav'd her felf in these Secret Tranfactions between God and her own Soul, is known to Him alone whom She worshipp'd: but, if we may guess at her Privacies by what was seen of her in Publick, we may be fure, that she was full of Humility, Devotion, and Fervency; for fo fhe remarkably was always,
SERM. during the time of Divine Service. Her Behaviour was then very devout and folemn, and yet the most decent, easy, and unaffected, that could be; there was nothing in it either negligent and loose, or extravagant and ftrain'd: it was throughout fuch, as declar'd it self not to be the work of the Paffions, but to flow from the Understanding, and from a clear knowledge of the true Grounds and Principles of that her Reasonable Service.
This Knowledge fhe attain'd by early Inftructions, by much Reading, and Meditation, to which fhe appear'd from her Childhood to be addicted) and, give me leave to add, by a very diligent and exact attendance on the Leffons of Piety which were utter'd from the Pulpit; which no one practis'd better, because no one delighted in, liften'd to, or confider'd more. For, at these Performances fhe was all Attention, all Ear; fhe kept her Heart fix'd and intent on its holy Work, by keeping her Eye from Wandring.
It was her Misfortune indeed, that the Exemplarinefs of her Behaviour call'd off the Eyes of feveral to obferve it; but more Her, and Their Misfortune, that, when they had seen it, and fatisfy'd their Curiofity, they did not go on alfo to imitate it. She often exprefs'd her dif fatisfaction at that Indecency of Carriage which universally prevails in our Churches; and wonder'd that They fhould be most careless of their Behaviour towards God, who are most scrupuloufly nice in exacting and paying all the little Decencies that are in ufe among Men.
When the Bread of Life was diftributed, fhe was fure to be there, a devout and never-failing Communicant; and the strictness of her Attention, and the reverence of her Behaviour were, if it were poffible, rais d and improv'd on those Occafions: The lively Image of a crucify'd Saviour, then exhibited, could not but make very moving Impreffions on a Mind that abounded with fo much pious warmth and tenderness.