Page images


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 Desirable 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.

[ocr errors]

It is now, after her Decease, a fit time to speak of her in those Terms of Respect which she deserv'd : for in her Life-time she would not suffer it; and took some pains to avoid it ; hiding as many of her Virtues as she could from Publick Observation, and so behaving herself in the practice of those she could not hide, as Thew'd, she 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 necessary part of good Breeding



But tho’ the Living can seldom be prais'd with Decency, yet the Dead certainly often may ; especially such of the Dead, as had a very unusual Degree of indifference and unconcernedness for what was said 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 Gospel, who are entrusted with so 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 such shining 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 comprehensive Character shall I first SERM. chuse to insist on ? Let us determine our selves to begin there, where she always began, at her Devotions. In These she was very Punctual and Regular : Morning and Evening came not up more constantly in their Course, than her stated Hours of Private Prayer ; which she ob. serv'd not formally, as a Task, but return’d to them always with desire, delight, and eagerness. She would on no occasion dispense with her self from pay. • ing 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 the resolv'd to find Leisure for That, for whatever else she might want it,

How she behav'd her self in these secret Transactions 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 sure, that she was full of Humility, Devotion, and Fervency; for so lhe remarkably was always,



SERM. during the time of Divine Service. Her

Behaviour was then very devout and solemn, and

yet the most decent, easy, and unaffected, that could be; there was nothing in it either negligent and loose, or extravagant and strain'd: it was throughout such, as declar'd it self not to be the work of the Passions, but to flow from the Understanding, and from a clear knowledge of the true Grounds and Principles of that her Reasonable Service.

This Knowledge she attain'd by early Instructions, by much Reading, and Meditation, ( to which she appear'd from her Childhood to be addicted) and, give me leave to add, by a very diligent and exact attendance on the Lessons of Piety which were utter'd from the Pulpit ; which no one practis'd better, because no one delighted in, listen’d to, or confider'd more. For, at these Performances she was all Attention, all Ear ; she kept her Heart fix'd and intent on its holy Work, by keeping her Eye from Wandring.


VI. It was her Misfortune indeed, that the Exemplariness of her Behaviour calld off the Eyes of several to observe it ; but more Her, and Their Misfortune, that, when they had seen it, and satisfy'd their Curiosity, they did not go on also to imitate it. She often express'd her dirsatisfaction at that Indecency of Carriage which universally prevails in our Churches; and wonder'd that They should be most carcless of their Behaviour towards God, who are most scrupulously nice in exact ng and paying all the little Decencies that are in use among Men.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

When the Bread of Life was distributed,
she was sure to be there, a devout and ne-
ver-failing Communicant; and the strict-
ness of her Attention, and the reverence of
her Behaviour were, if it were possible,
rais d and improv'd on those Occasions:
The lively Image of a crucify'd Saviour,
then exhibited, could not but make very
moving Impressions on a Mind that a-
bounded with so much pious Warmth
and tenderness.
P 2


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »