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lent men, the right reverend my lord bishop of Oxford, and Dr. Marshall, for their charitable and frequent visits to him, and prayers with him ; and Dr. Burnett, who came on purpose from London to see him,. who were all very serviceable to his repentance.
His extraordinary duty and reverence to his mother, with all the grateful respects to her imaginable, and kindness to his good lady, beyond expresfion, (which may well enhance such a lofs to them,) and to his children, obliging them, with all the endearments that a good husband or a tender father could bestow.
To conclude these remarks, I shall only read to you his dying remonftrance, sufficiently attested and signed by his own hand, as his truest sense, (which I hope may be useful for that good end he designed it,) in manner and form following:
FOR the benefit of all those whom I'may have
drawn into fin by my example and encouragement, I leave to the world this my last decla" ration, which I deliver in the presence of the
great God, who knows the secrets of all hearis,, « and before, whom I am now appearing to be “ judged.
“That, from the bottom of my soul, I'détest 66. and abhor the whole course of my former wicked.
“ life; that I think I can never fufficiently admire " the goodness of God, who has given me a true " sense of my pernicious opinions and vile practices,
by which I have hitherto lived without hope and 66 without God in the world; have been an open “ enemy to Jesus Christ, doing the utmost despite “ to the Holy Spirit of Grace. And that the " greatest testimony of my charity to such is, to
warn them, in the name of God, and, as they u regard the welfare of their immortal fouls, no “ more to deny his being, or his providence, or " despise his goodness; no more to make a mock “ of fin, or contemn the pure and excellent reli“ gion of my ever blessed Redeemer, through “ whose merits alone, I, one of the greatest fin“ ners, do yet hope for mercy and forgiveness. " Amen.”
DECLARED and signed in the presence of ANNE ROCHESTER.
June 19, 1680. ROBERT PARSONS.
And now I cannot but mention, with joy and admiration, that steady temper of mind which he en. joyed through the whole course of his fickness and repentance ; which must proceed, not from a hurry
perturbation of mind or body arising from the fear of death or dread of hell only, but from an ingenuous love to God, and an uniform regard to virtue, (suitable to that folemn declaration of his, I would not commit the least fin to gain a kingdom,) with all possible symptoms of a lasting perseverance in it, if God should have restored him. To which may be added, his comfortable persuasions of God's accepting him to his mercy, saying, three or four days before his death, I shall die, but oh, what unspeakable glories do I see! what joys, beyond thought or expreffion, am I sensible of! I am aflured of God's mercy to me through Jesus Christ. Oh how I long to die, and be with my Saviour !
The time of his sickness and repentance was just nine, weeks ; in all which time he was so much master of his reason, and had so clear an understanding, (saving thirty hours, about the middle of it, in which he was delirious,) that he had never dictated or spoke more composed in his life : and there. fore, if any shall continue to say his piety was the effect of madness or vapours, let me tell them, it is highly disingenuous, and that the affertion is as silly as it is wicked. And, moreover, that the force of what I have delivered may be not evaded by wicked men, who are resolved to harden their hearts, maugre all convictions, by saying, this was done in a corner; I appeal, for the truth thereof, to all forts
of persons who, in considerable numbers, visited and attended him, and more particularly to those éminent physicians who were near him, and converfant with him in the whole course of his tedious fickness ; and who, if any, are competent judges of a phrenfy or delirium.
There are many more excellent things in my abfence which have occasionally dropt from his mouth, that will not come within the narrow compass of a fermon; there, I hope, will sufficiently prove what I produce them for And, if any shall be ftill unsatisfied here in this hard-hearted generation, it matters not, let them at their coft be unbelievers Atill, so long as this excellent penitent enjoys the comfört of his repentance. And now, from all these admirable signs, we have great reason to believe comfortably, that his repentance was real, and his end happy; and accordingly imitate the neighbours and cousins of Elizabeth, (Luke i. 58.) who, when they heard' how the Lord had thewed great mercy upon her, came and rejoiced with her.
Thus his dear mother should rejoice, that the son of her love and of her fears, as well as of her bowels, is now born again into a better world ; adopted by his Heavenly Father, and gone before her to take poffeffion of an eternal inheritance:
Il. His truly loving confort should rejoice, that God has been fo gracious to them both, as.at, the
same time to give him a fight of bis errors in point of practice, and herself (not altogether without his means and endeavours) a fight of hers in point of faith. And truly, considering the great prejudices and dangers of the Roman religion, I think I may aver, that there is joy in heaven, and should be on earth, for her conversion as well as his.
III. His noble and most hopeful issue should rejoice, as their years are capable ; not that a dear and loving father has left them, but that, fince he must leave them, he has left them the example of a penitent, and not of a finner ; the blessing of a saint; in recommending them to an all-sufficient Father, and not entailing on them the fatal curse that ate tends the posterity of the wicked and impenitent.
IV. All good men should rejoice to see the triumphs of the cross in these latter days, and the words of divine wisdom and power. And bad men certainly, whenever they consider it, are most of all concerned to joy and rejoice in it, as a condemned malefactor is to hear that a fellow-criminal has got his pardon, and that he may do so too if he speedily fue for it.
And this joy of all will ftill be the greater, if we compare it with the joy there is in heaven in the case of just persons that need no repentance, viz. that need not such a folemn extraordinary repentance, or the whole change of heart and mind, as