« הקודםהמשך »
into a distemper, which in a few days put a period to his life. He died in the house of his ancient and most learned friend Dr. Cudworth, master of Christ's college. During his sickness, he had a constant calmness and serenity of mind; and, under all his bodily weakness, pofsessed his soul in great patience. After the prayers for the visitation of the fick (which he said were excellent prayers) had been used, he was put in mind of receiving the sacrament; to which he answered, That he molt rcadily embraced the proposal : and after he had received it, said to Dr. Cudworth, I heartily thank you for this most Christian office: I thank you for putting me in mind of receiving this facrament; adding this pious ejaculation, “ The Lord fulfil all his declarations and pro“ mises, and pardon all my weaknesses and imperfecti
He disclaimed all merit in himself, and declared, that whatever he was, he was through the grace and goodness of God in Jesus Christ. He expressed likewife great dislike of the principles of separation, and faid, “He was the more desirous to receive the sacra,
ment, that he might declare his full communion with • the church of Christ all the world over." He difclaimed Popery, and (as things of near affinity with it, or rather parts of it) all superstition and usurpation upon the consciences of men.
He thanked God, that he had no pain in his body, nor disquiet in his mind.
Towards his last, he seemed rather unwilling to be detained any longer in this state; not for any pains he felt in himself, but for the trouble he gave his friends i saying to one of them who had with great care attended him all along in his sickness : “My dear friend, thou “ hast taken a great deal of pains to uphold a crazy bo« dy, but it will not do : I pray thee give me no more « cordials; for why shouldst thou keep me any longer
out of that happy state to which I am going? I thank "God I hope in his mercy, that it shall be well with
And herein God was pleased particularly to answer those devout and well-weighed petitions of his, which he frequently used in his prayer before sermon, which I fhall set down in his own words; and I doubt not those
that were his constant hearers do well remember them ; “ And superadd this, O Lord, to all the grace and fa
vour which thou hast shewn us all along in lifc, not to remove us hence but with all advantage for eterni
ty; when we shall be in a due preparation of mind, “ in a holy constitution of foul, in a perfect renuncia“ tion of the guise of this mad and linful world; when
we shall be entirely resigned up to thee, when we « shall have clear acts of faith in God by Jesus Christ, “ high and reverential thoughts of thee in our minds,
enlarged and inflamed affections towards thee, &c. " And whenfoever we shall come to leave this world, " which will be when thou shalt appoint, for the issues “ of life and death are in thy hands, afford us such a "mighty power and presence of thy good Spirit, that
have solid consolation in believing, and avoid “ all consternation of mind, all doubtfulness and un“certainty concerning our everlasting condition, and at “ length depart in the faith of God's elect, &c. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace.
Thus you have the short history of the life and death of this eminent person, whose just character cannot be given in few words, and time will not allow me to use many. To be able to describe him aright, it were necessary one should be like him: for which reason I must content myself with a very imperfect draught of him.
I shall not insist upon his exemplary piety and devotion towards God, of which his whole life was one continued testimony: nor will I praise his profound learning, for which he was justly had in so great reputation. The moral improvements of his mind, a God-like temper and disposition, (as he was wont to call it), he chiefly valued and aspired after ; that universal charity and goodness which he did continually preach and practise.
His conversation : was exceeding kind and affable, grave and winning, prudent and profitable. He was How to declare his judgment, and inodeft in delivering it. Never passionate, never pereinptory: so far from imposing upon others, that he was rather apt to yield. And though he had a most profound and well-poised judgment, yet was he of all men I ever knew the most
patient to hear others differ from him, and the most easy to be convinced when good reason was offered; and, which is seldom seen, more apt to be favourable to another man's reason than his own.
Studious and inquisitive men commonly at such an age, at forty or fifty at the utmost, have fixed and settled their judgments in most points, and as it were made their laft understanding; supposing they have thought, or read, or heard what can be faid on all sides of things; and after that, they grow positive, and impatient of contradiction, thinking it a disparagement to them to alter their judgment. But our deceas'd friend was so wise, as to be willing to learn to the last; knowing, that no man can grow wifer without some change of his mind, without gaining some knowledge which he had not, or correcting fome error which he had before.
He had attained so perfect a mastery of his passions, that for the latter and greatest part of his life, he was hardly ever seen to be transported with anger : and as he was extremely careful not to provoke any man, so not to be provoked by any; using to say, “ If I pro“ voke a man, he is the worse for my company; and " if I suffer myself to be provoked by him, I shall be the 66. worfe for his."
He very seldom reproved any person in company, otherwise than by filence, or some sign of uneafiness, or fome very soft and gentle word; which yet from the respect men generally bore to him did often prove effectual. For he understood human nature very well, and how to apply himself to it in the most easy and effectual ways.
He was a great encourager and kind director of young divines; and one of the most candid hearers of fermons, I think, that ever was: so that, though all men did mightily reverence his judgment, yet no man had reason to fear his cenfure. He never fpake well of himself, nor ill of others; making good that saying of Panfa in Tully, Neminem alterius, qui fua confideret virtuti, invi. dere; that no man is apt to envy the worth and vir
tues of another, that hath any of his own to trust to.
In a word, he had all those virtues, and in a high degree, which an excellent temper, great confideration,
Jorg long care and watchfulness over himself, together with the allistance of God's grace, (which he continually implored, and mightily relied upon), are apt to produce. Particularly, he excelled in the virtues of conversation, humanity, and gentleness, and humility; a prudent, and peaceable, and reconciling temper. And God knows, we could
ill at this time have spared such a man ; and have lost from among us as it were so much balm for the healing of the nation, which is now so miserably rent and torn by those wounds which we madly give ourselves. But since God hath thought good to deprive us of him, let his virtues live in our memory, and his example in our lives. Let us endeavour to be what he was, and we shall one day be what he now is, of bless sed
memory on earth, and happy for ever in heaven.
And now methinks the consideration of the argument I have been upon, and of that great example that is before us, should raise our minds above this world, and fix them upon the glory and happiness of the other. Let us then begin heaven here, in the frame and temper of our minds ; in our heavenly affections and conversation; in a due preparation for, and in earnest desires and breathings after that blessed state which we firmly believe and assuredly hope to be one day possessed of; when we shall be removed out of this sink of sin and sorrows into the regions of bliss and immortality; where we shall meet all those worthy and excellent persons who are gone before us, and whose conversation was so delightful to us in this world, and will be much more fo to us in the other; when the spirits of just men shall be made perfect, and shall be quit of all those infirmities which did attend and lessen them in this mortal state ; when we shall meet again with our dear brother, and all those good men whom we knew in this world, and with the saints and excellent persons of all ages, to enjoy their blessed friendship and society for ever, in the presence of the blessed God, where is fulness of joy, at whose right hand are pleafures for evermore.
In a firm persuasion of this happy state, let us, every one of us, say with David, and with the same ardency of affection that he did, As the hart panteth after the waterbrooks, fo panteth my Gout after thee, O God. My foul
thirfteth for God, for the living God: 0 when all I come and appear before God? that fo the life which we now live in this world, may be a patient continuance in welldoing, in a joyful expectation of the blessed hope, and the. glorious appearance of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. To whom, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, now and for ever.
Now the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make us perfeet in every good work to do bis will; working in us always that which is well-pleasing in his fight, through Jesus Christ. To whom be glory for ever. Amen.
S E R M 0 N
A persuasive to frequent communion,
I COR. xi. 26. 27. 28. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, je
do shew the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore, whosoever fball eat this bread, and drink this
cup of the Lord unworthily, is guilty of the body and blood
of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
Y design in this argument is, from the confide
ration of the nature of this facrament of the
Lord's supper, and of the perpetual use of it to the end of the world, to awaken men to a sense of their duty, and the great obligation that lies upon them to the more frequent receiving of it. And there is the greater need to make men sensible of their duty in this particular, because, in this last age, by the unwary discourse of fome concerning the nature of this facrament, and the