Imágenes de páginas

holds a worse place in the world. Yet without doubt to be borne of ancestors truely worthy, is a great blessing of God: but a mervailous mercy to be brought up of true christian parents. For such God makes the meanes of their being, and of their wel-being; and the instruments not onely of their naturall generation, but also of their spirituall regeneration, when they bring them up in the faith and feere of the Lord. Of such parents was this noble Lord descended, who as they were inferior to few or none of their honourable rancke in noblenesse of their family: so did they goe before most of them, if not all, in true christian pietie, zeale of religion, love of their countrey, loyaltie to their princes, true care of their honour, and unfayned desire to doe good to all.

“ And therefore to passe over the valour, bounty, piety, many good services of his country, and other resplendent vertues of the right honourable Lord, John Russell, Earle of Bedford, grand-father to this Lord departed, all which made him truely glorious in the memory of our grand-fathers, and have left him famous in our chronicles : What greater honour can any great man hope for here, then that which the right honourable father of this worthy Lord, Lord Francis, Earle of Bedford, did purchase and injoy for his many excellent christian vertues, which was, to be stiled and truely surnamed, The good Earle of Bedford. Surely even herein, vox populi

, vox Dei, the voyce of the people, was the voyce of God : for none have deceived all, neither have all deceived any. And it is a token that God approved this title, when hee blessed this truely honourable and good Earle, with such a goodly race of most godly children.

“For whereas Petrarch is of opinion, that seldome doth the sonne of an excellent man, prove an excellent man: yet this great Earle, truely great for his goodnesse (for we must hold with Demosthenes, that not that which is great, is good; but that which is good, is great,) had many excellent and great children, no less good and worthy, then great and honourable. Not to speake of his three most honourable daughters, married to three great and noble Earls, (the Earle of Cumberland, the Earle of Bath, and the Earle of Warwicke,) all which were such peerelesse ladies for pietie and vertue, that even detraction itselfe dare not denie them the highest praise, he had besides foure sonnes, all noble Lords, of high resolution, and excellent parts : and in a word, every one a sonne worthy of so worthy a father, all of them being men that truly feared God, and were eminent above their equals, for their true zeale of God's trueth and glory, and the good of his church. Metellus Macedonicus, held by the ancients an instance of extraordinarie happinesse for his three daughters so nobly married, and his four sonnes so honourably qualified and highly dignified, came short of our good and christian Earle in all true happinesse, as farre as a faithlesse heathen comes behind a blessed christian. This our worthy Baron was a beautifull starre in this honourable sphere, so illustrious in all parts of true honour, that I hold it needlesse to fetch ornaments from so noble a roote, to beautifie this our excellent branch withall: who was no lesse noble then the noblest of his progenitors in all true noblenesse; and even in that chiefly that makes all men truely noble, the true fear of God, and faith in Christ; as that which makes us all the sonnes of God; yea kings and priests unto God in this world. And therefore did Theodosius, Nazianzene, Basil, yea, so do all christians esteeme the title and state of a christian more honourable, then all the stiles of earthly emperours, and more profitable then all the kingdomes of the world.

“ His education was also right christian : the house of his honourable father was a very schoole of vertue to him; where after his infancie had been trayned, he was sent to the habitation of the muses, the Universitie of Oxford; where he was brought up with his brethren in Magdalene College, at the feete of that most excellent divine Doctor Humfreyes.

“ After his younger yeeres had been there seasoned with religion and learning, he spent divers yeeres in travelling thorow France, Germanie, Italy, Hungarie, and other countries. Heere have I good cause to praise God's goodnesse, and mercy towards him: and to propound him for an example to most of our young travellers. For (which is strange) travell did not infect him, nor strange fashions marre his manners. But as gold, howsoever it bee fashioned to divers formes, yet it alwais abides gold; so was this honourable Lord, in all estates, offices, callings, and countryes, ever the same, that is, vertuous, noble, and christian. And as the river Alphæus, though it runne thorow the sea, yet doth it keepe it's sweetnesse: and as Tigris, though it pass thorow the Lake Arethusa, yet it mingles not streames ; even so this worthie Lord, though he passed thorow many places, infectious for manners, and pestilent for religion, yet did hee hold out without being corrupted in his honest living, or sub

verted in his true religion. And which is much, hee returned thence not onely furnished with the tongues, but also beautified with the best fashions. And like Ulysses hee became both #olút potoc and folúuntıs, skilful in fashions, and wary in affaires, and marvelously fitted for the service of his prince and country: both which had afterward good proofe and use of his abilitie. He had not only Pallas ever at his elbow, as Homer fables of Ulysses, that is, wisdome to direct him; but he had chiefly God's grace in his heart, to keep him alwaies in God's waies of faith and obedience. O that our gallants would imitate the example of this noble Lord, and would have care to keepe the bit of God's grace, and the bridle of his feare, to governe their unbridled affections. Verely then they should not rush headlong, as now they doe, into all vice and irreligion. Neyther should they returne from travell, as they doe too commonly, like Jewes' proselites, two-fold more than they went out the children of hell.

“ After his returne, he mispent not his time idlely in the pleasures of the court, but most-what painfully, in the labours of the campe; following the warres in Hungarie, in France, in Ireland, and the Low Countries; where he left many notable proofes of his valour and wisedome; being strenuus miles, & prudens imperator, A hardie souldier, and a warie commander, both which Sallust supposes can hardly be found in one man. And so came he to be a generall of an armie, not because he was noble, but because he was worthie, taking his degrees in the armie, like a scholler in the Universitie, orderly and for his sufficiencie, not per saltum, and by way of favour. For hee had been at the oare, before he sate at the sterne, that is, been a souldier and a captaine, before he was trusted with the leading of an armie. For he did ever detest those mushrums, that rise up in a moment, as it were in one night, to great and high places, like the giants that the poets fable of, which were simul sati & editi, sowne and came up at one instant. Which suppose themselves sufficient for any place that they can purchase, as if authoritie would give ability and worthinesse.

It would make up an history to speake of his valiant feates of armes, his brave services, his many imployments, and his great places of commaund : his wise and worthy governments, his love and liberalitie to souldiers of best desert, which he often complained had little respect. The gracious letters of Queen Elizabeth, of most honourable memory,

written to him with her own handwriting, which I have seene, wherein she doth acknowledge his good services abroad, and doth encourage him with her high commendation; are plentifull witnesses of his worth in the high discerning judgement of that Queene, the wisest and worthiest of her sex that ever swayed scepter in the world.

“ What shall I speake of his government of Ireland, for those three yeeres that hee was deputie there? Who knowes not with what good justice and wisedome he governed that kingdome? how careful and industrious hee ever was to establish justice, to settle God's true religion, to banish all superstition and rebellion? And how bravely he vanquished open rebels, and with what resolution and patience hee hunted them thorow bogs, woods, and fastnesses, and that in the midst of winter, sometime, for a whole quarter of a yeere together, himselfe always leading the Queene's army; (for as he was primus in ordine, so he was ever primus in opere ;) all the counsellors, captaines, and souldiers, of that kingdome that were then there can well witnesse; and must needs give him the due praise of a right, wise, valiant, just, and worthy viceroy. Yea, the castles and forts that he wonne from the rebels, the forts that he builded upon them, the overthrows that he gave the enemies, the heads of the head-rebels that hee brought in, the countries that he quieted, and his other many excellent and brave actions, are all fresh and full witnesses of his worth, even among his enemies, to whom his name was ever terrible.

“ But the greatest argument of his upright life, in his great places and employments, was this: that he never increased his wealth, or bettered his estate by the same. For hee spent sometime an hundred pound a weeke in his government of Flushing, when his entertainment in all from the Queene and the States, was but about threescore pound a weeke, and that was laid out in house keeping, in magnificent entertayning of nobles, captains, gentlemen, and in his other ever honourable expences: so that he sold of his own land to beare him out in the service of his prince, but never purchased foote again, that ever I could hear of. I may well say of him, as Hierome spake of another, Non ditior rediit, sed gloriosior; he returned from the service of his country, not richer, but more renowned. And as brave Scipio brought no other riches, but the glorious surname of Affricanus, from his conquest of Affrique; no more did this valiant Lord bring any other bootie from his enemies countryes, but an honourable name for his excellent services.

Neyther was this brave Baron more resolute abroad among his enemies, then he was religious at home among his neighbours. Pectus suum Bibliothecam fecerat Christi: as Hierome saith of Nepotian,-his memory was Christ's library, his heart was a warehouse of God's grace. His house was a very church of God, in which God was duely served twise a day, in reading of the word, and in praying, the whole family together, unto God. And besides his owne daily morning and evening sacrifice of private prayers by himselfe, which he did most devoutly and duely offer, hee did, of late especially, retyre himself extraordinarily every day to his private prayers in his inner-chamber, as some of his servants can testifie, vbi lachrymas non hominibus offerebet, sed Deo, where he offered his teares not to men, but to God. And to omit his reading of history, and stratagems and policies of warr, and of divers authors de militia Romana, and de re militari, which he hath most-what employed himselfe in at home, since hee was no more employed in action abroad: and by which he did merveilously enable himselfe in his profession of a commander in the warres : I must needes tell you, (and I would to God all noblemen would imitate him herein) that he was a very diligent reader of the Bible, the holy word of God, that makes the man of God wise unto salvation, and absolute and perfect unto all good workes.

And this, a Bible of his, noted throughout with his owne hand, doth well witnesse: besides that, he did usually marke certain places which he did not fully understand, and would ordinarily aske (when he had the first opportunitie) the meaning of them.

· For his carefull resort to the church of God, with all his house every Sunday, both at morning and evening prayers, which he never missed upon any occasion, if he were at home, and able to come: and for his reverent attention in hearing the word, his zeale in praying, his chearefulnesse in singing with the church, and all his other actions of devotion: I verily thinke that as hee was second to none, so may hee justly be a patterne to all his peeres and inferiours in the kingdome. Besides, hee would usually talke at his table of what had been taught in the church; and help his memory with repetition: and did also by conference engrave it in the minds and memories of his servants.

“ And what care hee had to have honest servants and such as feared God, who onely do their masters faithful service, because they doe it in faith and with a good conscience, as hee well observed and often affirmed: and how provident hee

« AnteriorContinuar »