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And because it contains his vow of entering into holy orders (which he afterwards religiously performed), and because it justifies all that I have related, how carefully he remembered his Creator in the days of his youth, I shall insert it, as I find it transcribed into the diary which his brother left of him.
7. “Since there is nothing more certain than death, nor more uncertain than the time when ; I have thought it the first and chief wisdom for a man to prepare himself for that which must one day come, and always to be ready for that which may every hour happen : especially considering how dangerous an error is here, which cannot be amended : neither is any man any thing the nearer death for being prepared for it. It is then a thing of exceeding madness and folly to be negligent in so weighty a matter, in respect whereof other things are trifles. I here confess my own wretchedness and folly in this, that through the common hope of youth have set death far from me: and persuading myself that I had a long way to run, have more carelessly walked than I should. The Good Lord be merciful unto me.
“Indeed, I have a long way to run, if death stood still at the end of threescore years : but God knows if he be not coming against me, if he be not ready to grasp me, especially considering the many dangers wherein I am now to hazard myself, in every one of which death dwells, and if God keep me not, I know in some of them he will entrap me.
If the Good Lord God be merciful unto me, and bring me safe home again, I will all the days of my life serve Him in praising His Holy Name and exhorting others; yea, in His tabernacle, and in His holy sanctuary will I serve Him, and shall account the lowest place in His house better and more honourable than the greatest crown in the world.
“But I know my sins have deserved all His plagues and punishments, that any soul may suffer, but I most humbly beseech God to pardon them for Jesus Christ's sake, and by His only merits and precious death I know my sins are forgiven me; yea, it ma be God will take me away in the beginning of my day, it may be in this my journey. I hope He that hath begun this mind in me will continue it in me, and make me to walk so as I may always be ready for Him, when He shall come either in the public judgement of all the world, or in private judgement to me by death. This is my purpose, and this shall be my labour. I thank thee, O Blessed Lord God, for of Thee cometh this mind; it is not of myself, but from the inspiration of Thy blessed Spirit.
“And you, my most dear parents, if God shall take me from you now, I beseech you be of good comfort, and be not grieved at my death, which I undoubtedly hope shall be to me the beginning of eternal happiness, and to you no loss, for you shall with inestimable joy receive me in the kingdom of heaven, to reign there with you and my dearest brother Erasmus, and your other children that are
departed in the Lord. If I go before, you must come shortly after : think it is but a little forbearance of me. It was God that gave me to you, and if He take me from you, be you not only content but most joyful that I am delivered from this vale of misery and wretchedness. I know that through the infinite mercy of my gracious God, it shall be my happiness, for I shall then, I know, enjoy perpetual quietness and peace, and be delivered from those continual combats and temptations which afflict my poor soul. O Lord, Thou knowest I may truly say, that from youth up Thy terrors have I suffered with a troubled mind'. My soul hath been almost rent through violent temptations that have assaulted it: for to thy glory, O Lord, will I confess my own weakness and the great danger Thou hast delivered me from. It was Thou, Lord, that hast kept me, else had they devoured my soul and made it desolate. And this God Who thus hath kept me ever since I was born, ever since I came out of your womb, my most dear mother, will preserve me to the end, I know, and give me grace that I shall live in His faith, and die in His fear, and rest in His peace, and rise in His power, and reign in His glory.
“I know, my most dear parents, your tender affection to your children, and therefore I fear your grief if God take me away, and therefore write and
* Psal. lxxxviii. 15 (Prayer-book Version).
leave this, that you might know your son's estate, and assure yourselves (for on the truth of God's infinite mercy am I confident in the hope of my salvation), that though he be dead to you, yet he is alive to God.
“I most humbly beseech you to pardon me in whatsoever I have at any time displeased you, and forgive me: I most humbly beseech God to bless and keep you, and give you a happy life here, and everlasting life in the world to come. “Your most humble and obedient son,
“N. FERRAR.” “Postscript, “My dearest brothers and dearest sisters ; If I live, you shall find me a faithful loving brother unto you all : if I die, I beseech you by the fear of God, by the duty to our parents, by the bond of nature, by the love you bear me, that you all agree in perfect love and amity, and account every one the other's burthen to be his; so may plenty and prosperity dwell among you. So prays your faithful loving brother,
“If I die, I desire that the value of £5 of my books may be given to the college : the rest I leave to my father's and mother's disposing : yet I desire that in them my worthy tutor Linsell and cousin Theophilus may be remembered : and if any of my sisters' sons prove a scholar, the rest may be given to him.
“This tenth day of April, 1613, being Sunday!.".
8. He was so confirmed in goodness and truth, that by the grace of God there was no great danger of his being tainted either with vice or superstition. He had already run over many controversial writers between us and Rome, and he had read several of the ancient fathers, so that he might be safely ventured alone without any governor. Now it fell out, happily for him, that the lady Elizabeth, who was newly married to Frederick the count palatine of Rhine, was to be transported into Holland, and so to be conducted into the Palatinate. Therefore Dr. Scott, who was then master of Clare Hall, and subalmoner to his majesty, advised him by all means to make one of her highness's retinue. Whereupon, being first created master of arts (the university conferring his degree upon him by extraordinary favour before the commencement), he took his leave of his beloved study in Clare Hall, and put
1 This last paragraph, If I die—to him, is added from Peckard. In the rest of the paper the most characteristic and beautiful sentences were omitted by Peckard, who, as he says himself, feared “the derision of the fastidious reader at the end of the eighteenth century.”
2 The wedding-day was Feb. 14, 1612–3. The royal pair embarked at Margate, April 25, and landed at Flushing, April 29, 1613.
3 i.e. before Midsummer, 1613.