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Church by his power and providence, in peace, truth, and godliness, evermore to the world's end : which doubtless he will do, if the wickedness and security of a sinful people—and particu. larly those sins that are so rife, and seem daily to increase among us, of unthankfulness, riot, and sacrilege-do not tempt his patience to the contrary. And I also further humbly beseech him, that it would please him to give unto our gracious Sovereign, the reverend Bishops, and the Parliament, timely to consider the great danger that visibly threatens this Church in point of Religion by the late great increase of Popery, and in point of revenue by sacrilegious inclosures; and to provide such wholesome and effectual remedies, as may prevent the same before it be too late.”
And for a further manifestation of his humble thoughts and desires, they may appear to the Reader by another part of his Will which follows.
“As for my corruptible body, I bequeath it to the earth whence it was taken, to be decently buried in the Parish Church of Buck. den, towards the upper end of the Chancel, upon the second, orat the furthest the third day after my decease; and that with as little noise, pomp, and charge as may be, without the invitation of any person how near soever related unto me, other than the inhabitants of Buckden ; without the unnecessary expence of escutcheons, gloves, ribbons, &c. and without any blacks to be hung any where in or about the house or Church, other than a pulpit cloth, a hearse-cloth, and a mourning gown for the Preacher; whereof the former-after my body shall be interred—to be given to the Preacher of the Funeral Sermon, and the latter to the Curate of the Parish for the time being. And my will further is that the Funeral Sermon be preached by my own household Chaplain, containing some wholesome discourse concerning Mortality, the Resurrection of the Dead, and the Last Judgment; and that he shall have for his pains 51. upon condition that he speak nothing at all concerning my person, either good or ill, other than I myself shall direct; only signifying to the auditory that it was my express will to have it so. And it is my will, that no costly monument be erected for my memory, but only a fair flat marble stone to be laid over me, with this inscription in legi. ble Roman characters, DEPOSITUM ROBERTI SANDERSON NUPER LIN
COLNIENSIS EPISCOPI, QUI OBIIT ANNO DOMINI MDCLXII. ET ÆTATIS SUÆ SEPTUAGESIMO SEXTO, HIC REQUIESCIT IN SPE BEATÆ RESURRECTIONIS. This manner of burial, although I cannot but foresee it will prove unsatisfactory to sundry my nearest friends and relations, and be apt to be censured by others, as an evidence of my too much parsimony and narrowness of mind, as being altogether unusual, and not according to the mode of these times: yet it is agreeable to the sense of my heart, and I do very much desire my Will may be carefully observed herein, hoping it nay become exemplary to some or other : at least however testifying at my death—what I have so often and earnestly professed in my life time—my utter dislike of the flatteries commonly used in Funeral Sermons, and of the vast expenses otherwise laid out in Funeral solemnities and entertainments, with very little benefit to any; which, if bestowed in pious and charitable works, might redound to the public or private benefit of many persons.
I am next to tell, that he died the 29th of January, 1662 ; and that his body was buried in Buckden, the third day after his death ; and for the manner, that it was as far from ostentation as he desired it; and all the rest of his Will was as punctually performed. And when I have to his just praise-told this truth, “that he died far from being rich,” I shall return back to visit, and give a further account of him on his last sick bed.
His last Will of which I have mentioned a part—was made about three weeks before his death, about which time, finding his strength to decay by reason of his constant infirmity, and a consumptive cough added to it, he retired to his chamber, expressing a desire to enjoy his last thoughts to himself in private, without disturbance or care, especially of what might concern this world. And that none of his Clergy–which are more numerous than any other Bishop's—might suffer by his retirement, he did by commission impower his Chaplain, Mr. Pullin,* with Episcopal power to give institutions to all livings or Church-preferments, during this his disability to do it himself. In this time of his retirement he longed for his dissolution : and when some that loved him prayed for his recovery, if he at any time found any amendment, he seemed to be displeased, by saying, “His friends said their prayers backward for him : and that it was not his desire to live a use. less life, and by filling up a place keep another out of it, that might do God and his Church service.” He would often with much joy and thankfulness mention, “ That during his being a housekeeper-which was more than forty years—there had not been one buried out of his family, and that he was now like to be the first.” He would also often mention with thankfulness, “ That till he was three score years of age, he had never spent five shillings in law, nor—upon himself—so much in wine: and rejoiced much that he had so lived, as never to cause an hour's sorrow to his good father; and hoped he should die without an enemy."
* Mr. John Pullin, B. D. and formerly Fellow of Magdalen College, Cambriage. His name is subscribed to a copy of commendatory Latin verses prefixed to “Duport's Greek Version of Job.” He was a Prebendary, and also Chancellor of Lincoln.
He, in this retirement, had the Church prayers read in his chamber twice every day; and at nine at night, some prayers read to him and a part of his family out of “ The Whole Duty of Man.” As he was remarkably punctual and regular in all his studies and actions, so he used himself to be for his meals. And his dinner being appointed to be constantly ready at the ending of prayers, and he expecting and calling for it, was answered, “It would be ready in a quarter of an hour.” To which his reply was," A quarter of an hour! Is a quarter of an hour nothing to a man that probably has not many hours to live ?” And though he did live many hours after this, yet he lived not many days; for the day after—which was three days before his death, he was become so weak and weary of either motion or sitting, that he was content, or forced, to keep his bed : in which I desire he may rest, till I have given some account of his behaviour there, and immediately before it.
The day before he took his bed,—which was three days before his death,-he, that he might receive a new assurance for the pardon of his sins past, and be strengthened in his way to the New Jerusalem, took the blessed Sacrament of the Body and Blood of his and our blessed Jesus, from the hands of his Chaplain, Mr. Pullin, accompanied with his wife, children, and a friend, in as awful, humble, and ardent a manner, as outward reverence
After the praise and thanksgiving for it was ended, he spake to this purpose : “ Thou, O God! tookest me out of my mother's womb, and hast been the powerful protector of me to this present moment of my life : Thou hast neither forsaken me now I am become grey-headed, nor suffered me to forsake thee in the late days of temptation, and sacrifice my conscience for the preservation of my liberty or estate. It was by grace that I have stood, when others have fallen under my trials: and these mercies I now remember with joy and thankfulness; and my hope and desire is, that I may die praising thee.”
The frequent repetition of the Psalms of David, hath been no ed to be a great part of the devotion of the primitive Christians; the Psalms having in them not only prayers and holy in. structions, but such commemorations of God's mercies, as may preserve, comfort, and confirm our dependence on the power, and providence, and mercy of our Creator.
of our Creator. And this is mentioned in order to telling, that as the holy Psalmist said, that his eyes should prevent both the dawning of the day and night watches, by meditating on God's word : Psal. cxix. 147, so it was Dr. Sanderson's constant practice every morning to entertain his first waking thoughts with a repetition of those very Psalms that the Church hath appointed to be constantly read in the daily Morning service: and having at night laid him in his bed, he as constantly closed his eyes with a repetition of those appointed for the service of the evening, remembering and repeating the very Psalms appointed for every day; and as the month had formerly ended and began again, so did this exercise of his devotion. And if his first waking thoughts were of the world, or what concerned it, he would arraign and condemn himself for it. Thus he began that work on earth, which is now his employment in Heaven.
After his taking his bed, and about a day before his death, he desired his Chaplain, Mr. Pullin, to give him absolution : and at his performing that office, he pulled off his cap, that Mr. Pullin might lay his hand upon his bare head. After this desire of his was satisfied, his body seemed to be at more ease, and his mind more cheerful ; and he said, “ Lord, forsake me not now my strength faileth me; but continue thy mercy, and let my mouth be filled with thy praise.” He continued the remaining night and day very patient, and thankful for any of the little offices that were performed for his ease and refreshment: and during that time did often say the 103rd Psalm to himself, and very
often these words, “ My heart is fixed, O God ! my heart is fixed where true joy is to be found.” His thoughts seemed now to be wholly of death, for which he was so prepared, that the King of Terrors could not surprise him as a thief in the night: for he had often said, he was prepared, and longed for it. And as this desire seemed to come from Heaven, so it left him not till his soul ascended to that region of blessed spirits, whose employments are to join in concert with him, and sing praise and glory to that God, who hath brought them to that place, into which sin and sorrow cannot enter.
Thus this pattern of meekness and primitive innocence changed this for a better life. 'Tis now too late to wish that my
may be like his; for I am in the eighty-fifth year of my age: but I humbly beseech Almighty God, that my death may; and do as earnestly beg of every Reader, to say-Amen.
Blessed is the man in whose spirit there is no guile, Psalm xxxii. 2.