« PreviousContinue »
“ tains of immateriality and an uncommuni. 6 cating nature; whom we cannot see, but we “ feel their force and sink under their sword, " and from Heaven the veil descends that “ wraps our heads in the fatal sentence. There « is no age of man but it hath proper to itself “ some posterns and out-lets for death, besides “ those infinite and open ports out of which “ myriads of men and women every day pass « into the dark, and the land of forgetfulness. “ Infancy hath life but in effigie, or like a “ spark dwelling in a pile of wood: the candle “ is so newly lighted, that every little shaking “ of the taper, and every ruder breath of air " puts it out, and it dies.
" Let us not think to be excepted or de. “ferred: if beauty, or wit, or youth, or noble“ ness, or wealth, or virtue, could have been a “ defence, and an excuse from the grave, we “ had not met here to-day to mourn upon the “ hearse of an excellent lady: and God only “ knows for which of us next the mourners “shall go about the streets or weep in houses. * «Ζευς μέν πα τότε οίδε και αθάνατοι θεοί άλλοι, “'OTTOTÉCW barátovo TéROS Trengja évov ésív.
“Il. y 308. “ Well! but all this you will think is but a sad story: What? we must die, and go to
is darkness and dishonour ; and we must die “ quickly, and we must quit all our delights, and “ all our sins, or do worse, infinitely worse ; and “ this is the condition of us all, from which “ none can be excepted; every man shall be « spilt and fall into the ground, and .be gathered “ up no more.' Is there no comfort after all “ this ? «Shall we go from hence, and be no more seen, and have no recompense?
“ Miser, o miser, aiunt, omnia ademit,
“ Una dies infausta mihi tot præmia vitæ." “ shall we exchange our fair dwellings for a “ coffin, our softer beds for the moistened and “ weeping turf, and our pretty children for “ worms; and is there no allay to this huge “ calamity ? Yes, there is : there is a "yet in “ the text : "for all this, yet doth God devise “ means that his banished be not expelled from “ him.' All this sorrow and trouble is but a “ phantasm, and receives its account and de“ grees from our present conceptions, and the " proportion to our relishes and gust.”
u Lucretius, iii. 911. . * Funeral Sermon, —Countess of Carbery's, p. 124. Ενιαυτος.
PREVIOUS to the death of the exemplary 1 Countess of Carbery, Taylor had been occupied in writing his “Rule and Exercises “ of Holy Dying,” and that part of his volume of Sermons, a which was preached at Golden Grove, in the summer half-year. These, with the addition of the funeral sermon lately delivered, and a “ Discourse of the Divine Insti“ tution, Necessity, and Sacredness, ofthe Office “ Ministerial,” he published in the year 1651.
“ The Rule and Exercises of Holy Dying" he addressed to his beneficent patron : and in none of his writings did his attachment to his friend, or the character of this nobleman appear more conspicuous. Though designed for general purposes, it had been composed chiefly
* The Sermons, &c. were published in small folio. The Holy Dying in duodecimo. Lib. Caius Coll. Camb. D. N. 52. Lond. for R. Royston, &c.
for the Countess, of whom he had just been deprived. . Taylor, it seems, had also experienced some loss in his own family, but of what kind there is no authority to state. The death of his benefactress alone threw a solemn air over every thing around him, and gave to this offering of his piety an additional impression.
He knew his friend to be “ so constant and “ regular in his devotions, and so tender in “the matter of justice, so ready in the ex“pressions of charity, and so apprehensive “ of religion, and a person whose work of “ grace was apt, and must every day grow to“ wards those degrees, where when he arrived “ he would triumph over imperfection, and “chuse nothing but what might please God; “ he could not therefore, he thought, by any “ compendium, conduct and assist his pious “ purposes so well, as by that which is the “ great argument and the great instrument of “ Holy Living, the consideration and exercises “ of Holy Dying.” Thus impressed with the character of his friend and patron, he introduces the subject to his afflicted mind, and seldom can a more splendid instance of the feeling and piety of the man and the christian be met with, than is displayed in his 'manner of conducting it.
• He tells his mourning benefactor, that he should entertain him in a charnel house, and carry his meditations awhile into the chambers of death, where he should find the rooms dressed up with melancholy arts, and fit to converse with his most retired thoughts, which begin with a sigh, and proceed in deep consideration, and end in holy resolution. He was treating him as a Roman gentleman did St. Augustine. The sight the holy man most noted in that house of sorrow, was the body of Cæsar cloathed with all the dishonours of corruption. But he knew that without pointing, his lordship's first thoughts would remember the change of a greater beauty, which was then dressing for the brightest immortality, and from her bed of darkness called to him to dress his soul for that change which should mingle his bones with that beloved dust. What rendered it still more touching was the circumstance of its being presented to Lord -Carbery on the birth-day of his lady, -- "This “ is your dear lady's anniversary, and she de.“ served the highest honour, and the longest - « memory, and the fairest monument, and the