« הקודםהמשך »
RULE AND EXERCISES
IN WHICH ARE DESCRIBED
THE MEANS AND INSTRUMENTS OF PREPARING OURSELVES
AND OTHERS RESPECTIVELY.
CHAPLAIN IN ORDINARY TO KING CHARLES THE FIRST.'
RIGHT HONOURABLE AND NOBLEST LORD,
EARL OF CARBERY, &c.
I AM intreating your Lordship as a Roman gentleman did St. Augustin and his mother; I shall entertain you in a charnel-house, and carry your meditation awhile into the chainber of death, where you shall find the rooms dressed up with melancholic arts, and fit to converse with your most retired thoughts, which begin with a sigh, and proceed in deep consideration, and end in a holy resolution. The sight that St. Augustin most noted in that house of sorrow was the body of Cæsar clothed with all the dishonours of corruption that
you can suppose in a six months' burial. But I know that, without painting, your first thoughts will remember the change of a greater beauty, which is now dressing for the brightest immortality, and from her bed of darkness calls to you to dress your soul for that change which shall mingle your bones with that beloved dust, and carry your soul to the same choir, where you may both sit and sing for ever. My Lord, it is
your dear lady's anniversary, and she deserved the higgest honour, and the longest memory, and the fairest monument, and the most solemn mourning : and in order to it, give me leave (My Lord) to cover
her hearse with these following sheets. This book was intended first to minister to her piety; and she desired all good people should partake of the advantages which are here recorded: She knew how to live rarely well, and she desired to know how to dic; and God taught her by an experiment. But since her work is done, and God supplied her with provisions of his own, before I could minister to her, and perfect what she desired, it is necessary to present to your Lordship those bundles of cypress which were intended to dress her closet, but come now to dress her hearse. My Lord, both your Lordship and myself have lately seen and felt such sorrows of death and such sad departure of dearest friends, that it is more than high time we should think ourselves nearly concerned in the accidents. Death hath come so near to you, as to fetch a portion from your very heart; and now you cannot choose but dig your own grave, and place your coffin in your eye, when the angel hath dressed your scene of sorrow and meditation with so particular and so near an object. And therefore, as it is my duty, I am come to minister to your pious thoughts, and to direct your sorrows, that they may turn into virtues and advantages.
And since I know your Lordship to be so constant and regular in your devotions, and so 'tender in the matter of justice, so ready in the expressions of charity, and so apprehensive of religion, and that you are a person whose work of grace is apt, and must every day grow towards those degrees, where when you arrive you shall triumph over imperfection, and choose nothing but what may please God; I could not by any