Imágenes de páginas

So, till he went from London, which was in the beginning of April, 1 waited on him often. Asfoon as I heard how ill he was, and how much he was touched with a sense of his former life, I writ to him, and received from him an answer, that, without my knowledge, was printed fince his death, from a copy which one of his servants conveyed to the press. In it there is so undeserved a value put on me, that it had been very indecent for me to have published it: yet that must be attributed to his civility and way of breeding; and indeed he was particularly known to fó few of the clergy, that the good opinion he had of me is to be impured only to his unacquaintance with others.

My end in writing is fo to discharge the last com: mands this lord left on me, as that it may be effectual to awaken those who run on to all the excessesof riot; and that, in the midst of those heats which their lusts and paflions raise in them, they may be a little wrought on by so great an initance of one who had run round the whole circle of luxury; and, as Sólomon says of himself, IV:satsoever his eyes defored, he kept it not from them; and withheld his heart from no joy. Eat when he looked back on all that on which he had wasted his time and strength, he esteemed it vanity and vexation of spirit: though he.


had both as much natural wit, and as much acquired by learning, and both as much improved' with thinking and study, as perhaps any libertine of the age; yet, when he reflected on all his former courses, even before his mind was illuminated with better thoughts, he counted them madness and folly: But, when the powers of religion came to operate on him, then he added a detestation to the contempt he formerly had of them, suitable to what became a fincere penitent, and expressed himself in so clear and so calm a manner, fo sensible of his failings towards his Maker and Redeemer, that, as it wrought not a little on those that were about him, so, I hope, the making it public may have a more general influence, chiefly on those on whom his former conversation might have had ill effects.

I have endeavoured to give his character as fully as I could take it : for, I who saw him only in one light, in a fedate and quiet temper, when he was under a great decay of strength and loss of spirits, cannot give his picture with that life and advantage that others may who knew him when his parts were more bright and lively; yet the composure he was then in may perhaps be supposed to balance any abatement of his usual vigour, which the declination of his health brought him


under. I have written this discourse with as much care, and have considered it as narrowly as I could. I am sure I have said nothing but truth.; I have done it slowly, and often used my second thoughts in it, not being fo much concerned in the censures which might fall. on myself, as cautious that nothing should pass that might obstruct my only design of writing, which is the doing what I can towards the reforming a loose and lewd age. And if such a signal instance, concurring with all the evidence that we have for our most holy faith, has no effect on those who are running the same course, it is much to be feared they are given up to a reprobaie sense.

[merged small][ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

OHN WILMOT, earl of Rochester, was

born in April, Anno Dom. 1648. His fa. ther was Henry earl of Rochester, but , best known by the title of the lord Wilmot, who bore so great a part in all the late wars, that mention is often made of him in the history, and had the chief share in the honour of the preservation of his majesty after Worcester fight, and the conveying him from place to place till he happily escaped into France : but, dying before the king's return, he left his son little other inheritance but the honour and title derived to him, with the pretensions such eminent servi. ces gave him to the king's favour: these were care


fully managed by the great prudence and discretion of his mother, a daughter of that noble and ancient family of the St. Johns, of Wiltshire; fo that his education was carried on in all things suitably to his quality.

When he was at school, he was an extraordinary proficient at his book; and those shining parts, which since have appeared with so much luftre, began then to few themselves. He acquired the Latin to such perfection, that to his dying day he retained a great relish of the fineness and beauty of that tongue, and was exactly versed in the incomparable authors that wrote about Augustus's time, whom he read often with that peculiar delight which the greatest wits have ever found in those studies,

When he went to the university, the general joy which overran the whole nation upon his majesty's restoration, but was not regulated with that fobriety and temperance that became a serious gratitude to God for fo great a blefling, produced some of its ill: effects upon him : he began to love these disorders. too much. His tutor was that eminent and pious die vine, Dr. Blandford, afterwards promoted to the fees of Oxford and Worcester; and, under his inspection, he was committed to the more immediate care of Mr. Phineas Berry, a fellow of Wadhamcollege, a very learned and good-natured man, whom he afterwards ever used with much respect,


« AnteriorContinuar »