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remarkable for piety and learning, of whom the good Mr. Kettlewell was one; I here particularly mention him, because to him we owe Mr. Nelson's first engaging in this useful work; which, whosoever reads, will find it no small addition to the pleasure and advantage he shall reap by it, to consider that it is the work of a fine gentleman, and one who never entered into holy orders; because this will shew what injustice those men do to our most holy religion, who represent it as a morose, narrow-spirited institution, fit only to be practised by hermits and recluses. Mr. Nelson's other qualifications, of a comely personage, a genteel deportment, and a fair fortune, were so far from being inconsistent with that genuine spirit of piety which always shewed itself in him, that they were no small ornaments to it: those external endowments of nature and fortune served to set off, and make his virtue the more amiable and captivating; as his virtue made those, which are by themselves unworthy to be esteemed, appear as real accomplishments.

His corpse was deposited in the new burying-ground in Lamb's Conduit-fields, then first consecrated on that occasion. A square monument was afterwards erected over him, containing, on the four sides of it, the following inscription, drawn up by George Smalridge, lord bishop of Bristol.

H. S. E.
ROBERTUS XELSON, ARMIGER.

Qui,
Patre ortus Johanne Cive Londinensi,
Ex Societate Mercatorum cum Turcis commercium

Habentium, Matre Deliciis sorore
Gabrielis Roberts Equitis aurati, ex eadem
Civitate & eodem Sodalitio, uxorem habuit

Honoratissimam Dominam Theophilam
Lucy, Kingsmanni Lucy Baronnetti viduam,

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Prænobilis Johannis Comitis de BerKELEY
Filiam, quam Aquisgranum usque valetudinis
Recuperandæ causa proficiscentem lubenter
Comitatus, ad extremum vitæ terminum

Summo amore fovit, morte divulsam
Per novem annos superstes plurimum desideravit.

Literis Græcis et Latinis,

Quas partim in Schola Paulina,
Partim intra domesticos parietes didicerat,

Linguarum Gallicæ et Italicæ peritiam
Lutetiæ et Romæ agens facile adjunxit.

In omni fere Literarum genere versatus,
Ad Theologiæ studium animum præcipue appulit :
Et felici pariter memoria atque acri judicio pollens,
Antiquitatum Ecclesiasticarum scientia,

Inter Clericos enituit Laicus.
Peragrata semel atque iterum Europa,

Postquam diversas Civitatum
Et Religionum formas exploraverat,
Nullam Reipublicæ administrandæ rationem

Monarchiæ domi constitutæ præposuit, Cæteras omnes Ecclesias Anglicanæ longe posthabuit,

Hanc ipsi semper caram

Beneficiis auxit,
Vita exornavit,

Scriptis defendit.
Filius ipsius obsequentissimus,

Et propugnator imprimis strenuus.
Nulla erat bonorum Virorum communitas,
Aut ad pauperum liberos sumptu Locupletiorum

Bene instruendos,
Aut ad augendam utilitatem publicam,
Aut ad promovendam Dei gloriam instituta,

Cui non se libenter socium addidit.

Hisce studiis et temporis et opum
Partem longe maximam impendit.

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Quicquid Facultatum supererat,
Id fere omne supremis tabulis

In eosdem usus legavit.
Dum id sibi negotii unice dedit, Deo ut placeret,

Severam interim Christianæ Religionis,

Ad quam se composuit, disciplinam
Suavissima morum facilitate ita temperavit,

Ut hominibus perraro displiceret :
In illo enim, si in alio quopiam mortalium,

Forma ipsa Honesti mire elucebat,
Et amorem omnium facile excitabat.

Cum Naturæ satis et Gloriæ,
Bonis omnibus et Ecclesiæ

Parum diu vixisset,
Fatali Asthmate correptus.
Kensingtoniæ animam Deo reddidit,
Vitæ jam actæ recordatione lætus,

Et futuræ spei plenus.
Dum Christianum Sacrificium rite celebrabitur,

Apud Sanctæ Cænæ participes,

NELSONI vigebit memoria.
Dum solennia recurrent Festa et Jejunia,

Nelsoni Fastos jugiter revolvent Pii:
Illum habebunt inter Hymnos et Preces,
Illum inter sacra gaudia et suspiria

Comitem pariter et adjutorem.
Vivit adhuc, et in omne ævum vivet,
Vir pius, simplex, candidus, urbanus :
Adhuc in Scriptis post mortem editis,

Et nunquam morituris,
Cum nobilibus et locupletibus miscet colloquia;

Adhuc eos sermonibus
Multa pietate et eruditione refertis

Delectare pergit et instruere.
Ob. 16. Jan. Ao. Dom. 1714,

Ætat. suæ 59.

PREFACE.

I Think myself so far obliged by that respect that is usually paid to the candid and charitable reader, as to acquaint him, before he engages, with what he may expect from the following treatise: the design whereof is an attempt to rescue the Festivals and Fasts of the Church of England, not only from the prejudices of those who have not yet reconciled themselves to her constitution ; but chiefly from the contempt and neglect of such as profess themselves her obedient members, who own her authority in indifferent things, and who, upon all occasions, praise and extol the piety and usefulness of such institutions. And, further, humbly to offer such aid and assistance to well-disposed minds, that they may be enabled to improve all these holy seasons, to the advantage of their immortal souls, and to the securing that eternal rest that remains to the people of God.

In order to this purpose, I have, in the preliminary instructions, endeavoured to clear the observations of the Festivals and Fasts from those objections they were most exposed to; and have made it my business to set them in such a light, as may best discover their beauty and excellency. And, indeed, except we will acknowledge some power in the church, to determine the modes and circumstances of public worship, and to oblige us in indifferent matters, it is impossible there should be any settled frame of things in any Christian society in the world. The rule

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PREFACE.

that is laid down by St. Paul, for the conduct of all Christian churches is, that all things be done decently, and in order ;* in which, as it supposes a power in our governors to determine these decent things, and to prescribe the necessary order, and is, moreover, a measure for them to proceed by in establishing their injunctions; so it must necessarily imply an obligation in us that are governed to submit to such determinations, and to obey such regulations; not from any binding power in the nature of those things that are enjoined by virtue of that obedience we owe to lawful authority, which is so plainly and positively inforced upon us in the holy Scriptures. For those things that the laws of God have not made necessary duties by being commanded, or transgressions by being forbidden, are indifferent in their own nature, and may be determined either way by lawful authority; and those that are subjects ought to yield obedience to such determinations, because they are commanded to obey those that have the rule over them, and to submit themselves.

Thus it is the duty of all Christians to humble themselves before God with fasting and prayer: frequently to admire and adore the infinite wisdom and goodness of God in the mysteries of our redemption : thankfully to acknowledge those advantages we have received from the labours of the Apostles, who, by miraculous gifts and graces, were fitted to convert the world. But as to the certain seasons when these duties are publicly to be performed, and as to the way and manner of discharging them, that must be left to the determinations of our lawful governors; for what we are obliged to perform at some times, cannot be less a duty when lawful authority enjoins a certain time for the performing it. And if we consider that the foreign churches have preserved in their communion several festivals, and

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