Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

nor, Colonel Witchcot, the Committee's order for permitting Mr. Herbert and Mr. Mildmay to bury him, the late King, in any place within Windsor-castle that they should think fit and meet. In the first place, in order thereunto, they carried the King's body into the Dean's house, which was hung with black, and after to his usual bed-chamber within the palace. After which, they went to St. George's chappel to take a view thereof, and of the most fit and honourable place for the royal corps to rest in. Having taken a view, they at first thought that the tomb-house built by Cardinal Wolsey would be a fit place for his interment; but that place, tho' adjoyning, yet being not within the royal chappel, they waved it: for, if King Henry VIII. was buried there (albeit to that day the particular place of his burial was unknown to any), yet in regard his Majesty King Charles I. (who was a real Defender of the Faith, and as far from censuring any as might be,) would, upon occasional discourse, express some dislike in King Henry's proceedings, in misemploying the vast revenues the suppressed abbeys, monasteries, and other religious houses, were endowed with, and by demolishing those many beautiful and stately structures, which both express'd the greatness of their founders and preserved the splendour of the kingdom, which might at the Reformation have in some measure been kept up and converted to sundry pious uses. “Upon consideration thereof, those gentlemen declined it, and pitched upon the vault where King Edward IV. had been interr'd, being on the North side of the choir, near the altar, that King being one his late Majesty would oftentimes make honourable mention of, and from whom his Majesty was lineally propagated. That therefore induced Mr. Herbert to give order to Mr. Harrison and Hen. Jackson to have that vault opened, partly covered with a fair large stone of touch, raised within the arch adjoyning, having a range of iron bars gilt, curiously cut according to church-work, &c. But, as they were about this work, some noblemen came thither, namely, the Duke of Richmond, the Marquis of Hertford, the Earl of Lindsey, and with them Dr. Juxon, Bishop of London, who had license from the Parliament to attend the King's body to his grave. Those gentlemen, therefore, Herbert and Mildmay, thinking fit to submit and leave the choice of the place of burial to those great persons, they in like manner viewed the tomb-house and the choir, and one of the Lords beating gently upon the pavement with his staff, perceived a hollow sound, and thereupon ordering the stones and earth to be removed, they discovered a descent into a vault where two coffins were laid near one another, the one very large, of an antique form, and the other little. These they supposed to be the bodies of King Henry VIII. and Queen Jane Seymour, his third wife, as indeed they were. The velvet palls that covered their coffins seemed fresh, tho' they had lain there above 100 years. “The Lords agreeing that the King's body should be in the said vault interr'd, being about the middle of the choir, over against the eleventh stall upon the Sovereign's side, they gave order to have the King's name, and year he died, cut in lead; which whilst the workmen were about, the Lords went out and gave Puddifant, the sexton, order to lock the chappel door, and not suffer any to stay therein till farther notice. The sexton did his best to clear the chappel, nevertheless Isaac, the sexton's man, said that a foot-soldier had hid himself, so as he was not discerned, and being greedy of prey, crept into the vault, and cut so much of the velvet pall that covered the great body as he judged would hardly be missed, and wimbled also a hole thro' the said coffin that was largest, probably fancying that there was something well worth his adventure. The sexton at his opening the door espied the sacrilegious person, who being searched, a bone was found about him, with which he said he would haft a knife. The Governour being therefore informed of, he gave him his reward; and the Lords and others present were convinced that a reall body was in the said great coffin, which some before had scrupled. The girdle or circumscription of capital letters of lead put about the King's coffin had only these words: “King Charles, 1648.'

“The King's body was then brought from his bed-chamber down into St. George's hall; whence, after a little stay, it was with a slow and solemn pace (much sorrow in most faces being then discernible), carried by gentlemen of quality in mourning. The noblemen, in mourning also, held up the pall, and the Governor with several gentlemen, officers and attendants, came after. It was then observed that, at such time as the King's body was brought out from St. George's hall, the sky was serene and clear, but presently it began to snow, and the snow fell so fast, that by that time the corps came to the west end of the royal chappel, the black velvet pall was all white (the colour of innocency) being thick covered over with snow. The body being by the bearers set down near the place of burial, the Bishop of London stood ready with the service-book in his hands to have performed his last duty to the King his master, according to the order and form of burial of the dead set forth in the Book of CoMMON PRAYER, which the Lords likewise desired; but it would not be suffered by Col. Whitchcot, the governor of the castle, by reason of the Directory, to which (said he) he and others were to be conformable. Thus went the White King to his grave, in the 48th year of his age, and 22d year and 10th month of his reign. To let pass Merlin's prophecy, which some allude to the white sattin his Majesty wore when he was crowned in Westminster-abbey, former kings having on purple robes at their coronation, I shall conclude this narrative with the King's own excellent expression, running thus: “Crowns and kingdoms are not as valuable as my honour and reputation. Those must have a period with my life, but these survive to a glorious kind of immortality, when I am dead and gone; a good name being the embalming of princes, and a sweet consecrating of them to an eternity of love and gratitude amongst posterity " " "

* Sir Thomas Herbert's Memoirs.

CHAPTER VII.

PIETY OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH OF ENGLAND CONTRASTED WITH THE SPIRIT OF PURITANISM – PRESBYTERIAN AND PAPAL PERSECUTION – HISTORIANS – CONCLUDING REFLECTIONS.

"Oora TpoorptAm et ris aperm, kat et ris etrauvos,

Tavra Aoyuzea 6e.
St. Paul to Philippians, chap. iv. verse 8.

We have given an historical sketch of some of the chief circumstances — and of some scarcely noticed by historians — which led, in the seventeenth century, to the downfall of the Episcopal Church of England.

We shall now take a moral view of the same period, connecting it with miscellaneous information illustrative of this view, and concluding with an application to some peculiar circumstances of the present day.

Without speaking with disrespect of the learning or the piety of many of the exemplary Presbyterians, but merely of their want of common chARITY, I would request any serious reasoner to examine the state of piety under the sober episcopal polity of the Church of England, when Andrewes, and Felton, and Usher, and Hall, were as much exposed to obloquy and odium as those called ARM1NIAN prelaticks! Did these men fill the world, as the “Smectymnuus " asserted, with “LAMENTATIONS, AND MoURNING, AND woe?” Did the courtly ambition of one (Laud) bring down destruction on all?

Among the higher characters in Cromwell's “praying" host, how few — and here let me except the pattern of pure and holy connubial love in Colonel Hutchinson, and that accomplished and interesting lady who has recorded in so touching a manner, that love — how few indeed among the Presbyterians or Independents exhibited lives and characters as amiable or pious as those they reviled !

Beautifully has St. Paul, with equal discrimination, tenderness, and eloquence, in the language of inspiration, set before us a picture of the true apostolic Christian: — “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are TRUE, whatsoever things are HoNEST, whatsoever things are JUST, whatsoever things are PURE, whatsoever things are LovELY, whatsoever things are of Good REPORT, if there be any virtue, and if there be any PRAISE, think of these things" Did they “think of these things,” who talked of nothing but of the Lord's “wonDERFUL DEALINGs witH THEIR souls". Did they “think of these things,” who, rapt in doctrinal and metaphysical subtleties —

Found no end, in wandering mazes lost

How few thought of “whatsoever things were lovely,” when “faith was all,” and claimed by all! When the “Lord's Prayer” was, in many congrega

« AnteriorContinuar »