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Great Monarch and Universal King of the world!
I have seen an end of all perfection; but thy com« mandments, O God, are exceeding broad.--Whatever other knowledge a man may be endued withal, could he by a vast and imperious mind, and an heart as large as the sand upon the sea shore, command all the knowledge of art and nature, of words and things; çould he attain a mastery in all languages, and found the depth of all arts and sciences; could he discourse the interest of all states, the intrigues of all courts, the reason of all civil laws and constitutions, and give an account of all histories; and yet not know the • Author of his being, and the preserver of his life, « his sovereign, and his judge; his fureft refuge in < trouble ; his best friend, or worst enemy; the sup
port of his life, and the hope of his death; his future happiness, and his portion for ever; he doth but Sapienter defcendere in infernum, with a great deal of wisdom
down to hell.' $. XV, Francis Bacon, lord high chancellor of England, some time before his death confessed, " That
to be religious, was to live strictly and severely:
For if the opinion of another world be false, yet the
If it be true, there be none so wretched and misera-
$. XVI. The great duke of MOMERANCY, colleague to the duke of Orleans, (brother to the French king Lewis the thirteenth) in the war by them agitated against the ministry of cardinal Richlieu, being taken and convicted at Lyons, a little before his beheading, looking upon himself, then very richly attired; "Ah!
(says he) this becomes not a servant of the crucified
He was poor, despised, and naked, when he went to
$. XVII. HENRY, Prince of Wales, eldest son to king JAMES the First, of whom others say many excellent things, hear what account he gives of himself at ląst: A person whom he loved, and that had been the companion of his diversions, being with him in his fickness, and asking him, How he did? Was, amongst many other fober expressions, answered thus, " Ah
Tom! I in vain wish for that time I lost with thee,
and others, in vain recreations. So vain were recreations, and so precious was time to a Prince, and no ordinary one neither, upon a dying-bed. But why wished he, with others, for more time, but that it might be better employed? Thus hath the Just Princi, ple and Holy Spirit of God in men, throughout all generations, convinced them of their vanity and folly upon their dying-beds, who before were too much taken up to mind either a dying-bed, or a vast eternity; but when their days were almost numbered, when mortality haftened on them, when the revelation of the righteous judgment was at the door, and that all their worldly recreations and enjoyments must be parted with, and that eye for ever shut, and felh turned to worms meat, that took delight therein; then, oh, then it was, the Holy Witness had room to plead with conscience: Then nothing but a holy, strict, and severe life, was valuable; then : All the world for a • little time, who before had given all their time for a little of a vain world. But if fo short a representation of the inconsistency of the vanities of the world with the Christian life could make so deep an impresfion; oh! to what a noble ftature, and large proportion, had they been grown in all pious and heavenly knowledge, and how much greater had their rewards been, if they contentedly had foregone those perishing entertainments of the world betimes, and given the exercise of their minds to the tuition and guidance of that Universal Grace and Holy Spirit of God, which had so long shined in darkness, uncomprehended of it, and was at last but just perceived to give a fight of what they had been doing all their days.
$. XVIII. Philip VII. king of Spain, seriously reflecting upon the life he had led in the world, cried out upon his death-bed, 'Ah, how happy were I, had " I spent these twenty-three years that I have held my
kingdom, in a retirement. Crying out to his confeffor, · My concern is for my soul, not my body : · I lay all that God has given me, my dominion, power, " and my life, at the feet of Jesus Christ my Saviour.' Would kings would live, as well as die so!
§. XIX. Count GONDAMOR, ambassador in England for that very king, and held the ablest man of his time, who took great freedom as to his religion in his politicks, serving his ends by those ways that would best accomplish them. When towards his latter end, he grew very thoughtful of his past life; and after all his negotiations and successes in business, said to one of his friends, I fear nothing in the world more than sin.' Often professing, 'He had rather endure hell than sin.' So clear and strong were his convictions, and so exceeding sinful did fin appear to him, upon a serious consideration of his ways.
§. XX. Cardinal RICHLIEU, after having been first minister of state of Europe, as well as of France, confeffed to old Peter du Moulin, the famous Protestant of that country, · That being forced upon many irregu
larities by that which they call REASON OF STATE, • he could not tell how to satisfy his conscience for « feveral things; and therefore had many temptations < to doubt and disbelieve a God, another world, and
the immortality of the soul, and thereby to relieve • his mind from any disquiet, but in vain : So strong, « he said, was the notion of God on his soul, so clear
the impression of him upon the frame of the world, <fo unanimous the consent of mankind, so powerful ( the convictions of his own conscience, that he could (not but “ Taste the power of the world to come,
and so live as one that must die, and so die as one that ( must live for ever.' And being asked one day, Why he was so sad? answered, Monsieur, Monsieur,
the foul is a serious thing; it must be either fad here. for a moment, or bę fad for ever.'
$. XXI. Cardinal MAZARINE, reputed the cunningest ftatefinan of his time, and who gave great proofs of it in the successes of the French crown under his ministry: his aim was the Grandeur of the world, to which he made all other considerations fubmit: But, poor man! he was of another mind a little before his death: For being awakened by the smart lashes of conscience, which represented his soul's condition very dismal, with astonishment and tears he cried out, ‘Omy poor soul,
what will become of thee! Whither wilt thou go?" And spoke one day thus to the queen mother of France, . Madam, your favours have undone me: Were I to • live again, I would be a Capuchin, rather than a 6 Courtier.'
§. XXII. Count Oxcistern, chancellor of Swedeland, a person of the first quality, station, and ability in his own country; and whose share and success, not only in the chief ministry of affairs in that kingdom, but in the greatest negotiations of Europe, during his time, made him no less considerable abroad. After all his knowledge and honour, being visited in his retreat from public business by commissioner Whitlock, ambassador to queen
Christina, in the conclusion of their discourse, he said to the ambassador, • I have seen much, and en
joyed much of this world ; but I never knew how to · Live till now. I thank my good God that has given “me time to know Him, and to know Myself. All " the comfort I have, and all the comfort I take, and which is more than the whole world can give, is
Feeling the Good Spirit of God in my heart, and reading in this good book, (holding up the bible)
that came from it.' And farther addressed hiinself thus to the ambassador: “You are now in the prime of
your age and vigour, and in great favour and business; but this will all leave you, and you will one day better understand and relish what I say to you; and then you will find that there is more wisdom,
.- truth, comfort, and pleasure in retiring and turning 's your heart from the world, to the good Spirit of God, . and in reading the bible, than in all the courts and • favours of princes.' This I had, as near as I am able to remember, from the ambassador's own mouth more than once. A very edifying history, when we consider from whom it came; one of the greatest and wiseft men of his age; while his understanding was as sound and vigorous, as his experience and knowledge were great.
§. XXIII. Dr. Donne, a great poet, taking his farewell of his friends, on his dying-bed, left this saying behind him, for them to measure their fancies and their actions by: ' I repent of all my life, but that part of it " I spent in cominunion with God, and doing good.'
g. XXIV. SELDEN, one of the greatest scholars and antiquaries of his time; one who had taken a diligent survey of what knowledge was considerable amongst the Jews, Heathens, and Christians; at last professeth this, toward the end of his days, in his conference with bishop Usher, · That notwithstanding he had been so ( laborious in his enquiries, and curious in his collec• tions, and had poffeffed himself of a treasure of - books and manuscripts upon all ancient subjects; yet « he could rest his soul on none, fave the scriptures :' And above all, that passage lay most remarkable upon his spirit, Titus ii. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. For the grace
of God, that bringeth salvation, hath appeared unto • all men; teaching us, that denying ungodliness, and (worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; looking for that blessed
hope, and glorious appearing of the great God, and Tour Saviour Jesus Chrift; who gave himself for us,
that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works: These things speak and exhort, and
rebuke with all authority. And indeed it is one of the most comprehensive passages in scripture ; for it comprises the End, Means, and Recompence of Christianity.