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rule ; but to teach her all her duty, to instruct her in the knowledge and love of God and of her neighbours; to make her more humble, and to teach her to despise the world and all its gilded vanities; and that she might entertain passions wholly in design and order to heaven. I have seen a female religion that wholly dwelt upon the face and tongue; that like a wanton and an undressed tree, spends all its juice in suckers and irregular branches, in leaves and gum, and after all such goodly outsides, you should never eat an apple, or be delighted with the beauties, or the perfumes of a hopeful blossom. But the religion of this excellent lady was of another constitution; it took root downward in humility, and brought forth fruit upward in the substantial graces of a Christian, in charity and justice, in chastity and modesty, in fair friendships and sweetness of society: she had not very much of the forms and outsides of godliness, but she was hugely careful for the power of it, for the moral, essential, and useful parts; such which would make her be, not seem to be, religious.
8. She was a very constant person at her prayers, and spent all her time, which nature did permit to her choice, in her devotions, and reading, and meditating, and the necessary offices of household government; every one of which is an action of religion, some by nature, some by adoption. To these also, God gave
a very great love to hear the word of God preached ; in which, because I had sometimes the honour to minister to her, I can give this certain testimony, that she was a diligent, watchful, and attentive hearer: and to this, had so excellent a judgment, that if ever I saw a woman whose judgment was to be revered, it was her's alone : and I have sometimes thought that the eminency of her discerning faculties did reward a pious discourse, and placed it in the regions of honour and usefulness, and gathered it up from the ground, where commonly such homilies are spilt, or scattered in neglect and inconsideration. But her appetite was not soon satisfied with what was useful to her soul: she was also a constant reader of sermons, and seldom missed to read one every day; and that she might be full of instruction and holy principles, she had lately designed to have a large book, in which she purposed to have a stock of religion transcribed in such assistances as
she would choose, that she might be “ readily furnished and instructed to every good work.” But God prevented that, and hath filled her desires, not out of cisterns and little aqueducts, but hath carried her to the fountain, where “she drinks of the pleasures of the river,” and is full of God.
9. She always lived a life of much innocence, free from the violences of great sins; her person, her breeding, her modesty, her honour, her religion, her early marriage, the guide of her soul, and the guide of her youth, were as so many fountains of restraining grace to her, to keep her from the dishonours of a crime. “ Bonum est portare jugum ab adolescentiâ :” “ It is good to bear the yoke of the Lord from our youth :" and though she did so, being guarded by a mighty Providence, and a great favour and grace of God, from staining her fair soul with the spots of hell, yet she had strange fears and early cares upon her; but these were not only for herself, but in order to others, to her nearest relatives: for she was so great a lover of this honourable family, of which now she was a mother, that she desired to become a channel of great blessings to it unto future ages, and was extremely jealous lest any thing should be done, or lest any thing had been done, though an age or two since, which should entail a curse upon the innocent posterity; and, therefore, (although I do not know that ever she was tempted with an offer of the crime) yet she did infinitely remove all sacrilege from her thoughts, and delighted to see her estate of a clear and disentangled interest : she would have no mingled rights with it; she would not receive any thing from the church, but religion and a blessing; and she never thought a curse and a sin far enough off, but would desire it to be infinitely distant; and that as to this family God had given much honour, and a wise head to govern it, so he would also for ever give many more blessings: and because she knew the sins of parents descend upon children, she endeavoured, by justice and religion, by charity and honour, to secure that her channel should convey nothing but health, and a fair example, and a blessing.
10. And, though her accounts of God were made up of nothing but small parcels, little passions, and angry words, and trifling discontents, which are the allays of the piety of the most holy persons; yet she was early at her repentance ;
and toward the latter end of her days, grew so fast in religion, as if she had had a revelation of her approaching end, and, therefore, that she must go a great way in a little time: her discourses more full of religion, her prayers more frequent, her charity increasing, her forgiveness more forward, her friendships more communicative, her passion more under discipline ; and so she trimmed her lamp, not thinking her night was so near, but that it might shine also in the daytime, in the temple, and before the altar of incense.
But in this course of hers there were some circumstances, and some appendages of substance, which were highly remarkable.
1. In all her religion, and in all her actions of relation towards God, she had a strange evenness and untroubled passage, sliding toward her ocean of God and of infinity, with a certain and silent motion. So have I seen a river, deep and smooth, passing with a still foot and a sober face, and paying to the fiscus,' the great 'exchequer' of the sea, the prince of all the watery bodies, a tribute large and full; and hard by it, a little brook skipping and making a noise upon its unequal and neighbour bottom; and after all its talking and bragged motion, it paid to its common audit no more than the revenues of a little cloud, or a contemptible vessel : so have I sometimes compared the issues of her religion to the solemnities and famed outsides of another's piety. It dwelt upon her spirit, and was incorporated with the periodical work of every day: she did not believe that religion was intended to minister to fame and reputation, but to pardon of sins, to the pleasure of God, and the salvation of souls. For religion is like the breath of heaven; if it goes abroad into the open air, it scatters and dissolves like camphire ; but if it enters into a secret hollowness, into a close conveyance, it is strong and mighty, and comes forth with vigour and great effect at the other end, at the other side of this life, in the days of death and judgment.
2. The other appendage of her religion, which also was a great ornament to all the parts of her life, was a rare modesty and humility of spirit, a confident despising and undervaluing of herself. For though she had the greatest judgment, and the greatest experience of things and persons, that I ever yet knew in a person of her youth, and sex, and circumstances ;
yet, as if she knew nothing of it, she had the meanest opinion of herself; and like a fair taper, when she shined to all the room, yet round about her own station, she had cast a shadow and a cloud, and she shined to every body but herself. But the perfectness of her prudence and excellent parts could not be hid; and all her humility, and arts of concealment, made the virtues more amiable and illustrious. For as pride sullies the beauty of the fairest virtues, and makes our understanding but like the craft and learning of a devil : so humility is the greatest eminency, and art of publication in the whole world, and she, in all her arts of secrecy and hiding her worthy things, was but “ like one that hideth the wind, and covers the ointment of her right hand."
I know not by what instrument it happened; but when death drew near, before it made any show upon her body, or revealed itself by a natural signification, it was conveyed to her spirit: she had a strange secret persuasion that the bringing this child should be her last scene of life: and we have known, that the soul, when she is about to disrobe herself of her upper garment, sometimes speaks rarely; “ Magnifica verba mors propè admota excutit”;” sometimes it is prophetical; sometimes God, by a superinduced persuasion wrought by instruments, or accidents of his own, serves the ends of his own Providence, and the salvation of the soul: but so it was, that the thought of death dwelt long with her, and grew from the first steps of fancy and fear, to a consent, from thence to a strange credulity, and expectation of it; and without the violence of sickness she died, as if she had done it voluntarily, and by design, and for fear her expectation should have been deceived; or that she should seem to have had an unreasonable fear or apprehension; or rather, as one said of Cato, “ Sic abiit è vitâ, ut causam moriendi nactam se esse gauderet;" she died as if she had been glad of the opportunity.'
And in this I cannot but adore the Providence and admire the wisdom and infinite mercies of God : for having a tender and soft, a delicate and fine constitution and breeding, she was tender to pain, and apprehensive of it as a child's shoulder is of a load and burden; “ Grave est teneræ cervici
Sen. Troad. 575. Sclirod. p. 429.
jugum :" and in her often discourses of death, which she would renew willingly and frequently, she would tell, that “she feared not death, but she feared the sharp pains of death :" “ Emori nolo, me esse mortuam non curo.' The being dead, and being freed from the troubles and dangers of this world, she hoped would be for her advantage, and therefore, that was no part of her fear; but she believing the pangs of death were great, and the use and aids of reason little, had reason to fear lest they should do violence to her spirit, and the decency of her resolution. But God, that knew her fears and her jealousy concerning herself, fitted her with a death so easy, so harmless, so painless, that it did not put her patience to a severe trial. It was not in all appearance of so much trouble as two fits of a common ague, so careful was God to demonstrate to all that stood in that sad attendance, that this soul was dear to him,—and that since she had done so much of her duty towards it, he that began would also finish her redemption by an act of a rare Providence and a singular mercy. Blessed be that goodness of God, who does so careful actions of mercy for the ease and security of his servants! But this one instance was a great demonstration, that the apprehension of death is worse than the pains of death; and that God loves to reprove the unreasonableness of our fears, by the mightiness and by the arts of his mercy.
She had in her sickness, if I may so call it,-or rather in the solemnities and graver preparations towards death,- some curious and well-becoming fears concerning the final state of her soul; but from thence she passed into a “ deliquium,” or ' a kind of trance ;' and as soon as she came forth of it, as if it had been a vision, or that she had conversed with an angel, and from his hand had received a label or scroll of the book of life, and there seen her name enrolled, she cried out aloud,
Glory be to God on high ! now I am sure I shall be saved.” Concerning which manner of discoursing we are wholly ignorant what judgment can be made; but, certainly, there are strange things in the other world, and so there are in all the immediate preparations to it; and a little glimpse of heaven, a minute's conversing with an angel, any ray of God, any communication extraordinary from the spirit of comfort, which God gives to his servants in strange and unknown manners, are infinitely far from illusions, and they shall then