Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

yet all t e pleasures he had ever known in fin were not worth that torture he had felt in his mind. He considered he had not only neglected and dishonoured, but had openly defied, his Maker, and had drawn many others into the like impieties; fo that he looked on himself as one that was in great danger of being damned. He then set himself wholly to turn to God unfeignedly, and to do all that was possible, in that little remainder of his life which was before him, to redeem those great portions of it that he had formerly so ill employed. The minister, that attended constantly on him, was that good and worthy man, Mr. Parsons, his mother's chaplain, who hath fince his death preached, according to the directions he received from him, his funeral sermon; in which there are so many remarkable passages, that I shall refer my reader to them, and will repeat none of them here, that I may not thereby leflen his desire to edify himself by chat excellent discourse, which hath given fo great and lo general a satisfaction to all good and judicious readers.. I Thall speak cursorily of every thing, but that which I had immediately from himself. He was visited every week of his fickness by his diocefan, that truly primitive prelate, the lord Bishop of Oxford : who, though he lived fix miles from him, yet looked on this as so important a piece of his pastoral care, that he went often to him, and treated bim

D5

with that decent plainness and freedom which is so natural to him; and took care also that he might not, on ternis more easy than safe, be at peace with himself. Dr. Marshall, the learned and worthy rector of Lincoln College in Oxford, being the minister of the parish, was also frequently with him; and by these helps he was so directed and supported, that he might not on the one hand satisfy himself with too superficial a repentance, nor on the other hand be out of measure oppressed with a forrow without hope. As soon as I heard he was ill, but yet in such a condition that I might write to him, I wrote a letter to the best purpose I could. He ordered one, that was then with him, to assure me it was very

welcome to him ; but, not satisfied with that, he sent me an answer, which, as the countess of Rochester, his mother, told me, he dictated every word, and then signed it. I was once unwilling to have published it, because of a compliment in it to myself, far above my merit, and not very well suiting with his condition.

But the sense he expresses in it, of the change then wrought on him, hath upon second thoughts prevailed with me to publich it, leaving out what concerns myself.

[ocr errors]

« Woodstock

[ocr errors][merged small]

6 My most honoured Dr. Burnett,
MY

Y spirits and body decay fo equally toge

ther, that I shall write you a letter, as " weak'as I am in person. I begin to value church

men above all men in the world, &c. If God “ be yet pleased to fpare me longer in this world, I “ hope in your conversation to be exalted to that as degree of piety, that the world may see how “ much I abhor what I so long loved, and how “ much I glory in repentance and in God's service. " Bestow your prayers upon me, that God would

spare me (if it be his good' will) to thew a true

repentance and amendment of life for the time to as come : or else, if the Lord pleafeth to put an end “ to my worldly being now, that he would merciw fully accept of my death-bed repentance, and “ perform that promise that he hath been pleased " to make, that, at what time foever a finner 66 doth repent, he would receive him. Put up “ these prayers, most dear doctor, to Almighty « God, for

YOUR MOST OBEDIENT,
LANGUISHING SERVANT,

ROCHESTER.
June 25, 1685.

He told me, when I saw him, that he hoped I would come to him upon that general infinuation of the desire he had of my company; and he was lothe to write more plainly, not knowing whether I could easily spare so much time. I told him, that, on the other hand, I looked on it as a presumption to come so far when he was in such excellent hands; and, though perhaps the freedom formerly between us might have excused it with those to whom it was known, yet it might have the appearance of so much vanity to such as were strangers to it; so that, till I received his letter, I did not think it convenient to come to him; and then, not hearing that there was any danger of a sudden change, I delayed going to him till the twentieth of July. At my coming to his house, an accident fell out not worth mentioning, but that some have made a story of it. His servant, being a Frenchman, carried up my name wrong, so that he mistook it for another who had sent to him that he would undertake his cure, and he, being resolved not to meddle with him, did not care to see him: this mistake lasted some hours, with which I was the better contented, because he was not then in such a condition that my being about him could have been of any use to him; for that night was like to have been his last. He had a convulsion fit, and raved; but, opiates being given

him,

him, after some hours reft, his raving left him so entirely, that it never again returned to him.

I cannot easily express the transport he was in when he awoke and saw me by him ; he broke out in the tenderest expressions concerning my kindness in coming so far to see such an one, using terms of great abhorrence concerning himself, which I forbear to relate. He told me, as his strength served him at several snatches, for he was then so low that he could not hold up discourse long at once, what sense he had of his past life; what fad apprehenfion for having so offended his Maker and dishonoured his Redeemer; what horrors he had gone through, and how much his mind was turned to call on God and on his crucified Saviour, so that he hoped he should obtain mercy; for he believed he had sincerely repented, and had now a calm in his mind after that storm that he had been in for fome weeks. He had strong apprehensions and perfuafions of his admittance to heaven, of which he fpake once, not without some extraordinary emotion. It was, indeed, the only time that he spake with any great warmth to me; for his spirits were then low, and so far spent, that, though those about him told me he had expressed formerly great fervor in his devotions, yet, nature was so much funk, that these were in a great measure fallen off. But he made me pray often with him, and spoke of his conversion to

God

« AnteriorContinuar »