Page images
PDF
EPUB

al CHAP. XXI. !???

Serious Dying, as well as Living, TESTIMONIES. $. 1, Solomon. Ø: 2. Chilon. $. 3. Ignatius. $. 4.

Justin Martyr. $. 5. Chrysostom. $. 6. Charles V. §. 7. Michael de Montaigne. §. 8. Cardinal Wolsey, $. 9. Sir Philip Sidney. $. 10. Secretary Walfingham. $. 11. Sir John Mason. §. 12. Sir Walter Raleighs. 13. H. Wotton. $. 14. Sir Christopher Hatton. $. 15. Lord chancellor Bacon. §. 16. The great duke of Momerancy: $. 17. Henry prince of Wales. $. 18. Philip III. king of Spain. . 19. Count Gondamor. $. 20. Cardinal Richlieu. $. 21. Cardinal Mazarine. $. 22. Chancellor Oxcistern. $. 23. Dr. Dun. S. 24. Jo. Selden. §. 25. H. Grotius. §. 26. P. Salmasius. §. 27. Fran. Junius, §. 28. A. Rivetus. S. 29. The late earl of Marlborough. $. 30. Sir Henry Vane. $. 31. Abraham Cowley. $. 32. Late earl of Rochester. §. 33. One of the family of Howard. $. 34. Princess Elizabeth of the Rhine. §. 35. Commissioner Whitlock. $. 36. A fister of the family of Penn. $. 37. My own father. $ . 38. Anthony Lowther of Malk. $. 39. Seigneur

du Renti, III. The serious Apprehensions and Expressions of several Aged and Dying Men of Fame and Learning.

OLOMON, than whom none is believed to

have more delighted himself in the enjoyments of the world, at least better to have understood them; hear what he says, after all his experience; I

faid in my heart, Go to now; Į will prove thee with

Mirth; therefore enjoy Pleasure: And behold, this • also is Vanity. I said of Laughter, It is mad; and

of Mirth, What doth it? I made me great Works, • builded Houses, planted Vineyards, made Gardens (and Orchards, planted trees in them of all kind of fruit: I got me Seryants and Maidens; also great

* poffef.

$. 1. to

[ocr errors]

poffefsions; I gathered me Silver and Gold, and the

peculiar treasures of Kings and Provinces; alfo Men • and Women Singers, and the delights of the sons of 'men; as Musical Instruments, and that of all sorts: ! So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem; and whatsoever mine eyes

desired, I kept not from them; I with-held not mine heart from any joy. Then I looked on all the works which my hands had wrought, and behold, All was

Vanity and Vexation of Spiric! The reason he gives in the 18th and 19th verses is, that the time of enjoying them was very short, and it was uncertain who should be benefitted by them when he was gone. Wherefore he concludes all with this; Fear God, and keep his • commandments, for this is the whole duty of man: ! For God shall bring every work into judgment, whe

ther it be good, or whether it be evil. O that men would lay this to heart !

$. II. Chilon (one of the seven wise men of Greece, already mentioned upon another occasion,) affords us a dying testimony of great example: It is related thus by Agellius: When his life drew towards an end, ready to be seized by death, he spoke thus to his friends about him: "My words and actions, in this long term of

years, have been (almost all) such as I need not repent of; which, perhaps, you also know. Truly, even at this time I am certain,' “ I never committed

any thing, the remembrance of which begets any « trouble in me, ” o unless this one thing only; which, 6

whether it were done amiss, or not, I am uncertain. < I sat with two others, as judge, upon the life of my

Friend; the law was such, as the person must of ne

cessity be condemned; so that either my Friend must • lose his life, or some deceit be used towards the Law.

Revolving many things in my mind, for relief of a condition fo desperare, I conceived that which I put in practice to be of all other the most easy to be borne: Silently I condemned him, and persuaded

.

[merged small][ocr errors]

those others, who judged, to absolve him. Thus I • preserved, in so great a business, the duty both of a

Judge and Friend. But from that act I received this s trouble ; that I fear it is not free from perfidiousness • and guilt, in the same business, at the same time, and • in a public affair, to persuade others contrary to what

was in my own judgment best *' O tender conscience! Yet an Heathen's! Where dwells the Christian that excelleth ? Hard to be found among the great Rabbies of Christendom.

$. III. IGNATIUS, who lived within the first hundred years after Christ, and was torn in pieces of wild beasts at Rome, for his true faith in Jesus, left this, amongst other things, behind him: 'There is nothing better

than the Peace of a Good Conscience :' Intimating, there might be a peace to wicked consciences, that are past feeling any thing to be evil, but swallowed

up

of the wickedness of the world. And in his epistle to the churches at Ephesus, Magnetia, Trallis, and Rome, upon his martyrdom, faith, Now. I begin to be a dif<ciple; I weigh neither visible nor invisible things, so “ that I may gain Chriftti? O heavenly-minded man! A blessed martyr of Jesus indeed.

§. IV. Justin Martyr, a philosopher, (who received Christianity five and twenty years after the death of Ignatius) plainly tells us, in his relation of his conversion to the Christian faith, " That the power 'of

godliness in a plain simple Christian had that influence and operation on his soul, that he could not but

betake himself to a serious and strict life:' And yet, before, he was a Cynick; a strict fect. And this gave him joy at his martyrdom, having spent his days as a serious teacher, and a good example, And Eufebius relates, “That though he was also a follower of Plato's

doctrine; yet, when he saw the Christians piety and courage, he concluded, no people so temperate, less

• Severus, Apop. p. 175. + Ignatius Epist. ad Ephes, Mag. Trall. Rom. Eus, l. 3. C. 32.

volup

1

voluptuous, and more set on divine things:' Which first induced him to be a Christian I.

$. V. CHRYSOSTOM, another father, so called, lays this down for necessary doctrine, "To facrifice the whole • soul and body to the Lord, is the highest service we

can pay unto him. God promiseth mercy unto peni

tent sinners; but he doth not promise them they shall o have so much time as to-morrow for their repentcance.'

$. VI. CHARLES V. emperor of Germany, king of Spain, and lord of the Netherlands, after three and twenty pitched fields, fix triumphs, four kingdoms conquered, and eight principalities added to his dominions (a greater instance than whom can scarce be given) religned up all his pomp to other hands, and betook himself to his retirement; leaving this testimony behind him, concerning the life he spent in the honours and pleasures of the world, and in that little time of his retreat from them all: "That the fincere

study, profession, and practice of the Christian religion, had in it such joys and sweetness, as Courts were Strangers to.'

§. VII. MICHAEL DE MONTAIGNE (a lord of France, famous with men of letters for his book of Effays) giveth these instructions to others, and this character of himself, viz. Amidst our banquets, feasts and plea• sures, let us have ever this restraint or object of « Death before us; that is, the remembrance of our ' condition : And let not pleasure so much mislead or

transport us, that we altogether neglect or forget how many ways our joys, or our feastings, be subject'unto

Death, and by how many holdfasts The threateneth us ' and you. So did the Egyptians, who in the midst

of their banquetings, and in the full of their greatest cheer, caused the Anatomy of a Dead Man to be

brought before them, as a memorandum and warning • to their guests. I am now, by means of the mercy

of God, in such a taking, that without regret, or

| Euseb. Ecc. Hift. 1. 4. c. 8.

'grieving

[ocr errors]

.

grieving at any worldly matter, I am prepared to dislodge, whensoever, he shall please to call me. I

am every where free: My farewell is foon taken of • all my friends, except of myself. No man did ever

prepare himself to quit the world more simply and

fully, or more generally lay aside all thoughts of it, • than I am fully assured I fall do. All the glory I • pretend in my life, is, that I have lived Quietly: • Quietly, not according to Metrodorus, Arcesilaus, • or Aristippus; but according to Myself. Since phi

losophy could never find any way for tranquillity, • that might be generally good ;'“ Let every man in “ his own particular seek for it.”. Let us not propose • fo fleeting and so wavering an end unto ourselves, as • the World's Glory: Let us constantly follow Reason: • And let the Vulgar Approbation follow us that way, • if it please. I care not so much what I am with ' others, as I respect what I am In Myself: I will be • rich in myself, and not by borrowing. Strangers see

but external appearances and events: Every man can ' set a good face upon the matter, when within he is

full of care, grief and infirmities: They see not my

heart, when they look upon my outward counte• nance. We are nought but Ceremony; Ceremony • doth transport us, and we leave the Substance of things : We hold fast by the boughs, and leave the • trunk or body, the Substance of things, behind us.'

§. VIII. CARDINAL WOLSEY, the most absolute and wealthy minister of state this kingdom ever had, that in his time seemed to govern Europe as well as England, when come to the period of his life, left the world with this close reflection upon himself; Had I been as dili

gent to serve my God, as I was to please my king, · he would not have left me now in my grey hairs.' A dismal reflection for all worldly-minded men; but those more especially who have the power and means of doing more good than ordinary in the world, and do it not; which seems to have been the case and reflection of this great man,

§. IX. Sir

« PreviousContinue »