Imágenes de página

yond their Age, and made their blooming Virtues to thrive and flourish, notwithstanding the Luxury of the Court, and the very bad Example that had been given by their Father King Henry:

After his Death, when the young Prince was Crown'd, the Lady Elizabeth gave way to his State, and prefum'd not to continue that Familiarity and Freedom which had been ufual between them. The most Loyal and Dutiful Affection made her Honour him as her Sovereign, as well as Love him as her Brother. And being remov'd from the Court to a Country-Seat, fhe led a pleasant and contented, as well as retir'd Life, having more Leifure to contemplate and practise thofe useful Inftructions and Exercifes, in which the bad been formerly converfant.



When her Sifter, Queen Mary, came to the Crown, no Promifes nor Threatnings, nor any other Artifices could draw her over to the Roman Communion. Her Conftancy in the Reform'd Religion was not to be fhaken; tho' fhe met with very inhuman Ufage, and was often under no fmall Fears and Apprehenfions of Death it felf. All which Troubles and Dangers fhe might have easily avoided, and liv'd at Court in great Pomp and Pleafure, if fhe would have turn'd Papift.. But the chofe rather to pass even her youthful Days under fad Afflictions, than to depart from the Truth, or comply with Idolatry and Superftition, for the fake of any Earthly Enjoyments. And God, who was her Almighty Protector, made her Trials and Sufferings an excellent Preparation for that high Degree of Sovereign Majefty, to which the was foon after advanc'd, and which the not only manag'd with fingular Wisdom, Piety, Juftice and Clemency, but alfo held in the greatest and longeft Courfe of Profperity and Glory, that ever any of her Sex attain'd to.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

I will mention but two more Examples of Crown'd Heads, whom Religion and Virtue, as well as Royal Dignity, have made moft Illuftrious. Thofe are the late Queen Mary the Second, and her Sifter Queen Anne, under whofe Juft, Benign, and Happy Government we now live.

Mary the Second did certainly equal, if not excel, the Admirable Elizabeth, in the Piety of her Youth, and the Prudent and Magnanimous, as well as Religious Conduct of her riper Years, both before and after her Swaying the Britannick Scepter: Tho' it pleas'd the Divine Providence to make her Reign almoft as fhort as that of Mary the Firft. God Almighty grant unto our molt Gracious Sovereign Queen Anne, That, as he has furpafs'd Elizabeth, in her Sacred and Aufpicious Beginnings, and Succefsful Progrefs; fo the may continue to exceed her in the Length, as well as the Glory of her Reign.


Thefe two Royal Sifters have given the higheft Recommendation of Religion to all our Nobility, and Gentry, and indeed to all the People of our Nation. I fhall fay no more of Her prefent Majefty, left I fhould be fufpected to do it out of Ambition or Flattery: Tho' I might otherwife be very copious in the juft Penegyrick of an Example, which, if follow'd by Her Majefty's Subjects, would quickly make them all both Good and Happy, of what Age or Rank foever they be. But I fhall give fome further Account of the Life and Actions of our late Queen Mary, which I'have for the most part collected from my Lord Bishop of Sarum, the late Dean of St. Paul's, and other eminent Perfons, who have tranfmitted her Character to all Pofterity.

The rare Endowments, both Human and Divine, of our late Gracious Sovereign Queen Mary the Second, were equal to her Grandeur and Dignity, and She made it appear by the whole Courfe of her Life, and by her dying Breath, That unfeigned Devotion,


ftrict Virtue, and holy Zeal, may be confiftent with the largest Worldly Poffeffions, and the highest Earthly Glory and Greatness.

In the early Dawn of her Infancy there foon fhin'd forth the confpicuous Prognofticks of a true and far from counterfeited Piety. For when in her tender Years, having loft an excellent Mother, fhe was bred up under the Tuition of Perfons lefs concern'd, in a Court full of all manner of Pleasure and Voluptuoufnefs, fuch was her Conftancy, Temperance, and Modefty, that no Example of others, tho' Great or High; no Allurements of Vice, tho' ftrangely Tempting, could force her to go aftray."

In the first Blooming of her Youth, this Princefs difplay'd the rare Excellency of her Natural Difpofition, flowing from an upright Heart, guided by a difcerning Judgment, and crown'd with a ferious Wisdom, beyond her Age, the bleffed Effect of Supernatural Grace, rather than the Product of her own fhort Experience. From the Inftructions of a Reverend Bishop fhe fo cordially imbib'd the true Reform'd Religion, that fhe could never be fhaken in her Belief thereof by any treacherous Infinuations, never feduc'd from its Practice by any Propofals of Reward, or Menaces of Punifhment.

In the Fifteenth Year of her Age fhe was Marry'd to the Prince of Orange, afterwards King Wil liam the Third, of Glorious Memory; and during all the Seventeen Years of her Marry'd State, She was fuch an illuftrious Pattern of all Virtue, as well as of Conjugal Love, that the King profefs'd he could never fee any thing in her, that he could call a Fault. Admirable were the Accounts we heard of this Princefs from her Court at the Hague; and after her Acceffion to the Crown of England, the Prefence of fuch Heroick Goodnefs made a greater Impreffion upon our Eyes, than the Fame thereof had before done upon our Ears. We beheld her folemn and

- Da


[ocr errors]

unaffected Devotion, her humble Serioufnefs at Prayers, her fix'd and unweary'd Attention to Sermons, her religious Obfervation of the Lord's Days, her Monthly Communions, and more than ordinary Preparations for them. She was likewife very Exemplary in her daily Retiréments for the Duties of the Clofet; her fincere Zeal for the healing our unhappy Divisions in religious Things; her Love to all good Men, tho' of different Perfuafions; and her eminent Works of Beneficence and Charity. She understood her Religion, and devoted her felf to it with an ardent Affection, and an holy Practice. Neither were her Graces and Virtues blemish'd by any Vanity or Affectation.

When he was told of a Spirit of Devotion and Piety, that was fpreading it felf among the Youth in and about the City of London, fhe receiv'd the News thereof with great Satisfa&ion: She enquir'd often, and much about it, and was glad to hear, that it went on and prevail'd. The Salvation of others was the Subject of her Care and Labour, as well as her own. Thofe that were employ'd in her immediate Service, were often Corrected by her, when being over Zealous for her they feem'd negligent of God. She would not admit of their Sedulities, but when fanctify'd by Prayer. It behoves you, faid She to them, in the first place to ferve God, that's your first Duty; I will have none of your Attendance, but upon that Condition. None had a more just Efteem for all forts of Perfons, whofe Actions fpake them to be truly Virtuous and Religious: But the Irreligion and Profanencfs that was too common in the Nation, fill'd her with melancholy Reflections, and engag'd her in much fecret Mourning.

The Death of this Excellent Queen was fuch, as it might be prefum'd fuch a pious Life would end in. She was fo compos'd throughout her Sickness, that twas evident She had no Difturbance upon her


[ocr errors]

Mind. When the firft Intimation was given her of the Danger fhe was in, fhe replied to this effect. I have been inftructed by the Divines of our Church, how very bazardous a thing it is to rely upon a Death-bed Repentance. I am not now to begin the great Work of Preparation for Death: And I praise God I am not afraid of it. A another time the faid, Though he did not Pray for Death, yet she could neither wish nor pray against it. Being herein entirely refigned to the difpofal of Divine Provi dence, there appeared not in her the leaft Sign of Regret for the leaving thofe Temporal Greatnesses, which make fo many of high Estate, fo unwilling to die. The Joys of a good Confcience, and the Powers of Religion, gave her Soul, (as the declar'd to those about her) very fenfible fupports, even when her frail Body was finking under the laft Agonies.

My next Inftance fhall be the most Noble and Heroick Prince Henry, the Eldeft Son of King James the Firft. In the Math Year of his Age, as he began to form his Body to Manly Exercifes, fo the Diviner fparks of Wifdom and Vertue, Majefty and Modefty mix'd together, began to fhine forth from his Mind, and fhewed themselves more and more every Day. But when he came to his fourteenth or fifteenth Year, he behaved himself like one that had got above all the enticing Vanities of the Court, and plainly discovered not only Prefages, but prefent Indications of a folid Judgment in almost every thing, joyning the Gravity of Manhood with the Sweetnefs and Pleafantnefs of Youth. In the Houfe of God his Devotion at Prayers was Humble and Reverend; his Attention to Sermons Conftant and Fixed, concerning which, he failed not to give particular Commendations, when they were fuch as tended to promote Piety and Holinefs of Life. Such was his Zeal against prophane Swearing, that he ordered Boxes to be kept at three feveral Houfes, where he fucceffively refided, viz, St. James's, Richmond, and Nonfuch, caufing all

D 3


« AnteriorContinuar »