[Page] A SERMON Preached at the FUNERAL OF THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE Lady Margaret Mainard, AT Little EASTON in ESSEX.

On the 30th of June, 1682.

By the Right Reverend Father in God, Thomas, Lord Bishop of Bath and Wells.

The Third Edition.

LONDON, Printed for Charles Brome, at the Gun, at the West-end of St. Paul's Church-yard; and William Clarke Bookseller in Winchester. MDCLXXXVIII.

TO The Right Honourable WILLIAM Lord Mainard, BARON of EASTAINS.

My LORD,

THough I am unwilling to decline any Service which Your Lordship expects from me, yet when you enjoyn'd me the Prin­ting of this Sermon, I could not obey Your Command without disputing it. For I con­sider'd, that in such an Age as this, where an Exemplary Holiness is very rare, I shall be thought guilty of most gross Flattery, in the Character I have given of Your Incomparable Lady, now in Heaven.

But knowing I have so many unexceptiona­ble Witnesses, to attest every line I have said, especially Your Self, who best understood her [Page] value, and are most sensible of her loss; and being Conscious to my self, that I have spoken no other throughout than the words of Truth, I soon broke through all the discouragements I had, either from the just Censures the World would fix on the meanness of the Discourse, or from the unjust ones it might pass on my Insincerity; and resolv'd, to do all that little Honour I could to her Memory, and to give God the glory of her Example: And I humbly beseech the Divine Goodness, that what I now offer to the Publick may not be wholly unprofi­table to those who read it; However, I am sure it will not be unacceptable to Your Lordship, or to those who were so happy to know her, which will be satisfaction enough, to

My Good LORD,

Your Lordships most Humble and Faithful Servant

Thomas, Bath and Wells.

A SERMON Preached at the FUNERAL Of the Right Honourable The LADY MARGARET MAINARD,

On Prov. II. XVI.‘A gracious Woman retaineth honour.’

THE World was never yet so bad, but the good Man, though his life was a continued Satyr to the Age he lived in, did always either find, or extort, a Veneration from it. So true is it of both Sexes, which Solomon here affirms of Woman only, that gracious Persons, they who are in the Grace and Favour of God, and are strength­ned by his gracious assistances, they who by the cove­nant of Grace, are enrolled in his service, and in whose hearts, there is a conspiration, of all the Graces of his [Page 2] Holy Spirit; all which particulars, are included in the word Grace, and do all concur, to make up a gracious Soul; Such persons, I say, as these, shall from the generality of Men, gain an inward esteem, and a great Opinion, and for the most part, an out­ward, and a suitable respect, or as the Wise man words it, shall retain honour.

I must confess, that there are many instances, even in our own perverse generation, wherein Vertue has rather been contemn'd and ridicul'd than Honour'd, but I will mention no other than the most signal of all, God Incarnate, whose example, though it was as perfect, and unblameable, as the fulness of the Godhead, could render it; yet his most divine Per­son, was so far from being honoured, by many of the Jews, that he lay under the utmost imputations of Slander and Blasphemy, which words could express; and as glorious as all his Miracles were, they were ascribed to no other than Beelzebub, the Prince of Mat. 12. 24. the very Devils.

But though it be true, that our blessed Lord, in regard to his state of Humiliation, seemed to have no form, no comeliness in him; yet all his Conver­sation, had so many irradiations of Divinity in it, which did abundantly evince his heavenly Extraction; Isa. 53. 3. and it is no wonder he should suffer such contradicti­ons of sinners, it being usual for an Heroick Virtue, which is singly to encounter whole Legions, to con­tend with inveterate Errours, or reigning Vices, to reprove, and reform the World, as our Saviour was, to be loaded with most diabolical reproaches. But Goodness has an inseparable splendour, which can never suffer a total eclipse, and when it is most [Page 3] revil'd, and persecuted, it then shines brightest out of Cloud. So that all who are not wilfully blind, who will but make use of their eyes to see, must ac­knowledge the force of its Rays.

This did the very Jews themselves, as many as had any relicks of common ingenuity left: The Luke 7. 16, 4, 22. Multitude own'd our Saviour for a great Prophet, wonder'd at his gracious words, confest he had done Mark 7. 16. all things well, insomuch, that they would have ex­alted him to the throne, and have made him their John 6. 15, 18, 38. King; Pilate could find no fault in him at all; and the Centurion, a Heathen, even when he saw him hanging on the Cross, as a Malefactour, cried out, Certainly this was a Righteous Man. So that a gracious Luke 23. 47. Person, under the most extreme degree of Infamy and Slander, shall yet retain honour, shall from all that are in their right minds, have at least an inward Veneration.

If this be verifi'd of a publique Vertue, there can be less doubt of it in a private one, which not being on such a stage, as may provoke and affront the angry World, by openly contradicting, or upbraid­ing, or chastising it, passes along with a less assaulted, and less envied reputation, and more undisturb'dly retains honour than the former.

There is, I know, an honour which is due to all men, as they are God's workmanship, and have some 1 Pet. 2. 17, 18. lines of his Image in them, but especially to Kings, and to Magistrates, whom it is our duty to honour, whether they be gracious Persons or no; this we are to render to the Froward, and Pagan, as well as to 1 Tim. 6. 2. gentle and believing Masters; to Princes that are In­fidels and Persecutors, as well as to Christian and nur­sing Rom. 13. 1. [Page 4] Fathers. But then this honour is not paid them out of respect to any real Goodness in them, but on­ly to their Authority, as they are God's ordinance, as we depend on their Protection, and as our Obedience is enforc'd, by Laws and Penalties; But the honour we give to a gracious Person, is purely in reference to his moral excellencies, which are legible in the whole conduct of his life: The former is merely civil, the latter may in some sort, be styl'd Religious: Empire is honour'd as it resembles God's power, abstracted from his Holiness, and therefore it is compatible with an ungracious Person, it is confin'd only to this World, and reaches no farther: But Graciousness is honour'd as a participation of the divine Nature, ap­propriate 2 Pet. 1. 4. to no other than Saints, and which has its prospect only on Heaven: The former is like Thun­der and Lightning, and works on our Fear; the lat­ter is like the appearance of a good Angel, arraid in Beams, awful, but kind, which do not afflict, but chear the sight, and raise in us a mixt passion, of Love and Veneration together; and in this sense it is, that the gracious Person, for the venerable goodness that is visible in him, shall retain honour.

To attempt any laborious Proof, of so clear a Truth as this, were needless; do but consult the uni­versal practice of Mankind, and read it there. What Rules do the Philosophers prescribe to render our lives most satisfactory to our selves, and most com­mendable to others? with what Colours do the O­ratours paint those persons they intend to Celebrate? what Images do the Poets form when they design an Heroe, are they any other than the Rules, and Co­lours, and Images of moral Goodness? Do not Hy­pocrites, [Page 5] to court the esteem of the Vulgar, perso­nate the Saint, and Politicians, to make the People honour them, pretend to Religion? and why do they both put on this disguise, but because they know, that Wickedness bare-fac'd, is in the eyes of all men most detestable, and that the names of Saint, and of Religion, are creditable in the World? Shew me that profligate Wretch, who in his cool thoughts, or on his Death-bed, does not decline all his loose Com­panions, and seeks out for men truly good, and con­sciencious, to whom he may intrust his Estate, his Children, and all that is dearest to him, even his own Soul too, for which he then begs their ghostly counsel? What man is there so wicked, who on his death-bed does not wish that he may die the death of the Righteous, and that his latter end may be like his? Look into the Histories and customs of Ages past, see how greedily coveted, how dearly purchast, and how highly valued, the Statues, and all the little re­mains of Good Men have been: The Heathens, to express their great esteem of Goodness, built Tem­ples to Vertue and Honour, and join'd these Temples together, and made the former the only passage into the latter, they thought Praise to Good men as just a Tribute, as Sacrifice to their Gods; and one of the Wisest of them, wonderfully pleas'd himself, in fancying how lovely and venerable, how divine and transporting an Idea he should see, could he but look into the breast of a Good-man. We have then the practice and the judgment of the whole World, to confirm this truth, that Vertue has always had a great and a general esteem, that the gracious Person retains honour.

[Page 6] On the contrary, is there not a natural shame, a sense of turpitude, or a confusion of face in vicious and unclean actions? why else are men afraid to com­mit them, before the most inconsiderable Spectatour, and chuse darkness for a thick Mantle to cover them? why else do they blush to own them, wish a thou­sand times they had never been done, and reflect on them with dissatisfaction, and horrour; why else do their own Consciences, lash and upbraid them? whereas if we will but take the pains, to make up an Induction of all Christian graces, we shall easi­ly see, that there is none, whose friendship is more ambitiously sought, none with whom men would sooner change Persons, none who are accounted of more substantial worth, or more generally rever'd, or more influential to the good of Mankind, or sooner wanted in the World, or who make a nobler figure in Story, than the Devout, the Humble, the Just, the Meek, the Temperate, the Charitable; or to express all in one word, the gracious Person, who therefore shall always retain honour.

I need not reckon up the numerous places of Ho­ly Scripture, where Goodness and Honour are link'd together; how the Wise are said to inherit glory; Prov. 3. 35. the humble and meek to be exalted; how we are com­manded Luke 1. 52. to keep our Vessels in sanctification and honour, and how God has promis'd to honour those who honour 1 Thess. 4. 4. him: I need not mention the primitive Diptycks, 1 Sam. 2. 30. or how the Church Catholick, has celebrated the Festivals, and honour'd the memories of the Saints, and of the Martyrs; I need not suggest that obvious Conclusion, That if gracious Persons can draw even wicked Men, to a reverential love of their Vertue, [Page 7] much more will they engage the friendship of all that are Holy, and not only of holy Men, but of holy Angels too, who being all ministring Spirits, deputed by God to attend them, the more heavenly Heb. 1. 14. they see any committed to their charge does grow, the more respectful attendance, in all probability, they give him.

And there is the highest reason in the World, why there should be so honourable a loveliness, in a graci­ous Person, if we consider, the likeness he bears to that great God whom we Adore. For as there are on all men, innate impressions of God's Existence, so there are also of his Attributes, and none ever yet in earnest, believed there was a God, but he also be­lieved that God was a Being, Infinite in all Perfecti­ons, in Wisdom and Power, Justice and Mercy, Pu­rity and Holiness, Veracity and Beneficence, and as these excite our Love, and our Adoration to God, so where ever we see any, though but imperfect re­semblances, of his imitable perfections, in the Saints here on earth, where ever we see men in any measure Holy and Pure, Just and Merciful, Faithful and Be­neficent, we there see the image of God himself, and cannot but pay them a suitable honour: Thus as Goodness and Adorableness are co-eternal in God, so are Sanctity and Venerableness co-eval in gracious Persons.

Nor are we only by Grace made like to God, but he is also pleas'd actually to dwell in us, and to con­secrate our Souls to be his Temples; and as God commanded the Jews to reverence his Sanctuary, 1 Cor. 3. 16. the place of his residence among them, where he sat Lev. 19. 30. between the Cherubims, and a glorious Light that [Page 8] shin'd on the Propitiatory, was the Symbol of his Presence: So when in gracious Souls, we discover all the fruits of the Spirit, a kind of glory brightning Gal. 5. 22. their Conversation, and a sacred Amiableness breath'd on them from Heaven, we are sure that God inha­bits there, and cannot but reverence his Temples.

Such Honour have all Gods Saints from even wick­ed men, from all holy persons, and from the good Angels, and infinitely above all these, from God himself, who honours them with his Image, after which they are renew'd, and with his Presence, of which they are possest; Such Honour, I say, have all his Saints even in this life, which if we did but seriously Contemplate, would stir us up to a gene­rous emulation, would encourage us to implore the Divine Grace, that we may bewail all our past sins, cleanse our selves from all filthiness, both of Flesh, and of Spirit, which produce nothing in the end, but Shame and Horrour, and daily grow more con­formable to his Likeness, which is the only way to assert the dignity of our Nature, and to retain honour.

But when once our Souls shall be divorc'd from our bodies, when the name of the wicked shall rot, Prov. 10. 7. and stink, sooner than his Carcase, leaving no me­morial behind, unless it be of his Sin, his Infamy, his Madness, or his Folly; Precious then in the sight of the Lord, shall be the death of his Saints, blessed Psal. 116. 15. shall be their memories, They shall be had in ever­lasting Psal. 112. 6. remembrance, and their good Names, be­ing Registred in the book of Life, shall flourish to Immortality.

[Page 9] All this while, I have not done Justice to my Sub­ject, by affirming only in general, that Goodness is honourable, I must therefore be more particular, and enquire, why Solomon does here instance, in the Woman, rather than in the Man, A gracious Woman retains honour.

And the reason seems to me, to be either this, that as Vice is more odious, and more detested, so on the other hand, Vertue is more attractive, and looks more lovely, in Women, than it usually does in Men, insomuch that the gracious Woman, shall be sure to purchase, and to retain honour.

Or it is, because Men have more advantages, of aspiring to honour, in all publick stations, of the Church, the Court, the Camp, the Bar, and the City, than Women have, and the only way for a Woman to gain honour, is an exemplary Holiness; Prov. 31. 28, 31. This makes her Children, rise up and call her blessed, her Husband and her own works, to praise her in the gate, the sole glory then of that Sex, is to be good, for 'tis a gracious Woman only, who retains honour.

Or it is, because Women are made of a temper, more soft and frail, are more endanger'd by snares, and temptations, less able to control their passions, and more inclinable to extreams of good, or bad, than Men, and generally speaking, Goodness is a tenderer thing, more hazardous, and brittle in the former, than in the latter, and consequently a firm, and steady Vertue, is more to be valued in the weak­er Sex, than in the stronger; So that a gracious Wo­man, is most worthy to recieve, and to retain honour.

Or it is, because Women in all Ages, have given many Heroick examples of Sanctity, besides those [Page 10] recorded in the Old Testament, many of them are named, with great honour in the New. For their Assiduity and Zeal, in following our Saviour, and their Charity, in Ministring to him of their substance, Luke 8. 3. they accompanied him to Mount Calvary, lamented his Sufferings, waited on the Cross, attended the Sepulchre, prepared Spices, and Oyntments; and regardless, either of the Insolence of the rude Soul­diers, Matt. 27. 55. Luke 23. 27. or of the Malice of the Jews, with a love that cast out all fear, they came on the first day of the Week, before the morning light, to Embalm him; and God was pleas'd to honour these Holy Women accordingly, for they first saw the Angel, who told them the joyful news that he was risen, and as if an Angel, had not been a Messenger honourable enough, Matt. 28. 5. Jesus himself first appear'd to the Women, the Wo­men first saw, and ador'd him; and it was these very gracious Women, whom our Lord sent to his Dis­ciples, that Women might be the first Publishers of his Resurrection, as Angels had been of his Nativity; Our Saviour himself, has erected an everlasting Monument in the Gospel, for the penitent Woman Matt. 26. 13. that anointed him, and God Incarnate honour'd the Sex to the highest degree imaginable, in being born of a Woman, in becoming the Son of a Virgin Mo­ther, whom all Generations shall call Blessed; and I know not how to call it, but there is a meltingness of Disposition, and affectionateness of Devotion, an easie Sensibility, an industrious Alacrity, a languish­ing Ardour, in Piety, peculiar to the Sex, which naturally renders them, Subjects more pliable, to the Divine Grace, than Men commonly are; So that Solomon, had reason to bestow the Epithete Gra­cious, [Page 11] particularly on them, and to say, that a gra­cious Woman retains honour.

I am well aware, that if we consult the sensual and debaucht rank of men, 'tis not the Gracious, or the Chast Woman they esteem, but only the Fair, or the Lascivious; Esteem, did I say! Men may court an idle, or a wanton Beauty, for their Lust, but they can only esteem a Gracious, and a Chast one, and when all is done, she only deserves the name of Beautiful: As for the Lascivious and the Prostitute, against whom Solomon so often, and so pathetically warns the Young man, She is so utterly impure, that I will not so much as name her, in the same dis­course with a gracious Woman; I will then make the Comparison between meer Beauty only, and Grace, and you will soon perceive the difference.

For Beauty, if it be Natural, is from a Womans birth, 'tis her chance, and not her merit; if it be Artificial, it makes her no other than a painted Se­pulchre, Gaudy without, and that has nothing but Rottenness and Stanch within: But Grace, is the free gift of God, and our own free choice, in a happy conjunction, 'tis no other than a God-like loveliness, imprest on our Spirit.

Beauty is often incident to stark Fools, and to the Profane and Irreligious; But Grace is peculiar to ho­ly Persons, who like the Kings-Daughter, are all glo­rious within. Psal. 45. 13.

Beauty is prone to admire its self, and to swell with Pride; Grace instills a just sense of our own vile­ness, and teaches Humility: That is apt to invite Temptation; This is a Preservative against it: The former spends her morning hours at her glass; The [Page 12] latter at her Prayers: That most delights her self in new fashions, and fine cloaths, in plaiting the hair, 1 Pet. 3. 3. and wearing of Gold; This puts on the ornament of a meek and quiet Spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

Beauty has been often to the best and wisest of Men, witness Solomon himself, destructive and fatal, for which reason holy Job made a Covenant with his eyes; and our Saviour commands us, not to look on a Woman Job 31. 1. Matt. 5. 28. to lust after her, and the fairer she is, the greater is the danger; But Grace secures our Innocence, awes men into Sobriety, looks them into Chastity, and the more intense it grows, its influence is the more soveraign and efficacious.

Beauty gratifies only our outward sense, 'tis a mixture of Colour, and Figure, and Feature, and Parts, all in a due Proportion and Symmetry; or indeed, 'tis a well shap'd Frame of dust and ashes, be­lov'd by fond men only, who like the most stupid of Idolaters, worship the bare Statue, without regard to the Deity there enshrin'd: But Grace is a conflu­ence of all Attractives, which approves it self to our own most deliberate judgments, and is belov'd by God: Do but imagine you were in the Spouse's Gar­den, where, when the South-wind blows, the seve­ral Spices and Gumms, the Spikenard and the Cina­mon, Cant. 4. 16. the Frankincense and the Myrrhe, send forth their various smells, which meeting together, and mixing in the Air, make a compounded Odour; Such a composition of all Vertues, such an universal and uniform Agreeableness is there in a gracious Soul, which in a manner, whether we will or no, engages our affections.

[Page 13] Beauty is vain, and Favour is deceitful, says the Prov. 31. 30. Wise man, it soon evaporates, and cheats our ex­pectation, in a little time it decays, by cares, or Child-bearing, or Sickness, or a thousand other ac­cidents: Men no sooner begin to crop the Flower, but it fades, and sinks, and dyes, or it is often sowr'd, with such inward dispositions which render it afflicting and insupportable; But Grace creates to our minds an intire satisfaction, has a goodness intrinsick, and eternal, grows more amiable, the more it is en­joy'd, so that the Woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be prais'd, she shall for ever retain honour.

As a Jewel of Gold in a Swines snout, which is hung Prov. 11. 22. there on purpose to be defil'd, to be roll'd in filth and mire, and is one of the most notorious, and ugly incongruities in the World; Such a kind of ab­surdity, if you will believe Solomon, is a fair Woman without discretion; her Beauty 'tis true, is a Jewel, but a Jewel extremely ill plac'd, and serves for no other purpose but to make her folly the more conspi­cuous, to expose her the more to impurity, and to a swinish sensuality; But Grace makes a Woman a Crown Prov. 12. 4. 1 Cor. 11. 5. Prov. 31. 10. to her Husband, the glory of the Man, and advances her price above Rubies; So that a gracious Woman, is a Jewel of a value inestimable, she has worth, and ornament, and lustre, and beauty, and honour, all combin'd together. Most deservedly then, did wise Solomon, give the preference to Grace, and did assure us, that a strong Man is not more powerful to get, and when gotten, to retain his riches, than a gracious Woman to acquire honour, and to retain it, when acquir'd.

[Page 14] It is now time to do all the right I am able, to the noble Lady deceased, who was a Woman so remark­ably Gracious, and retain'd an Honour, so entire, and unblemish'd, that all the measures I have hitherto laid down, either of Grace, or of Honour, are but a faint Copy, drawn after her, she was all the while before my thought, her holy example is the original, and though I will not say, that among the many Daughters, who have done virtuously, she absolute­ly excells them all, yet I am sure, she deserves to be Prov. 31. 29. esteem'd one of the highest order.

But alas! we have nothing now left except this poor relick of Clay, which in a few minutes must be restor'd to its native earth, and for ever hid from our eyes, the gracious Soul that inform'd it, is flown back again to God, from whom it first stream'd, and his most blessed will be done, who is compassionate and adorable, in all his chastisements; yet as we are flesh and blood, we cannot but feel the stroke, which even his Fatherly hand has given us. It is the Curse of the wicked, to dye unlamented, unless it be, that they are sometimes carried to the Grave, with the Jer. 16. 4. mercenary tears of those who make mourning a Trade: But the death of the Righteous being a loss irrecoverable, and a real calamity, to us who survive, must needs fill us with sad resentments, when we consider of how great a blessing we are depriv'd.

Our Saviour himself has countenanc'd a moderate grief for our friends, in weeping over his own dead friend Lazarus; So that if we shed our tears over the John 11. 35. Grave of this gracious and honourable Lady, 'tis but to be just to her ashes, to ease our own sorrowful Spirits, and to testifie to the World, how dear a sense we [Page 15] have of her worth. For had she had nothing but her Quality to have recommended her, we might have perform'd her Funeral Ceremonies with a bare out­ward Solemnity, but without any more concern than a common object of Mortality gives us; But she was a Woman so truly gracious, that we could not but most affectionately honour her, and cannot but have a grief that bears some proportion to our loss.

For 'tis our loss only we can bewail, we grieve for our selves, not for her; She has a joyful delive­rance from temptation and infirmity, from sin and misery, and from all the evil to come, she is now past all the storms, and dangers of this troubled life, and is safely arriv'd at her everlasting Haven; she is now fully possest of all that she desir'd, which was, to be dissolv'd, and to be with Christ, and we cannot lament her being happy. When we weep for common Christians, we are not to be sorry, as 1 Thess. 4. 13. men without hope, but when we have so many, so uninterrupted, and so undeniable demonstrations, of the sanctity of a Person, as we have of this graci­ous Woman, we have no reason at all to grieve on her account, since we have not only a bare hope, but an assurance rather, that she is now in glory.

But why did I call her death a loss? 'tis rather our gain, we were all travelling the same way, as Pil­grims, towards our heavenly Country, she has only got the start of us, and is gone before, and is happy first; and I am persuaded that we still enjoy her prayers for us above; However, I am sure, that we enjoy her good works here below, which now ap­pear more illustrious, and without that vail, her [Page 16] modesty, and her humility cast over them; we still enjoy her example, which being now set, in its true light, and at its proper distance, and deliver'd from that cloud of flesh, which did obscure and lessen it, looks the more gracious, and the more honourable; and if we follow the track, she trod, we shall er'e long, enjoy her society in Heaven.

Let us then alter our Note, and rather honour, than bewail her, she was a gracious Woman, and ho­nour is her due; Her good Name, like a precious Oynt­ment poured forth, has persum'd the whole Sphere, in which she mov'd. To paint her fully to the life, I dare not undertake, she had a graciousness in all her Conversation, that cannot be exprest, and should I endeavour to do it, I must run over, all the whole Catalogue of Evangelical Graces, which do all con­center in her Character; I must tell you, how en­flam'd she was with Heavenly love, how well guided a Zeal, she had for God's glory, how particular a reverence she paid, to all things, and to all persons, that were dedicated to His Service, how God was always in her thoughts, how great a tenderness she' had, to offend her Heavenly Father, how great a delight to please him; But you must be content, with some rude strokes only, for such particulars would be endless; All my fear is, that I shall speak too lit­tle, but I am sure, I can hardly speak too much.

Say, All you who have been Eye-witnesses of her Life, did you from her very Cradle, ever know her any other, than a gracious Woman? As to my self, I have had the honour to know her, near twenty years; and to be admitted, to her most intimate thoughts, and I cannot but think, upon the utmost [Page 17] of my observation, that she always preserv'd her Bap­tismal Innocence, that she never commited any one mortal Sin, which put her out of the state of Grace; Insomuch, that after all the frequent, and severe examinations, she made of her own Conscience, her Confessions were made up, of no other than sins of Infirmity, and yet even for them, she had as deep Humiliation, and as Penitential a Sorrow, as high a sense of the Divine forgiveness, and lov'd as much, as if she had had Much to be forgiven: So that after a life of above Forty Years, Nine of which were spent in the Court, baiting her involuntary failings, which are unavoidable, and for which, allowances are made, in the Covenant of Grace, she kept her 1 James 27. self unspotted from the World, and if it may be affirm­ed of any, I dare venture to affirm it of this, gracious Woman, that by the peculiar favour of Heaven, she past from the Font, unsullied to her Grave.

Her understanding was admirable, and she daily improv'd it, by reading, in which she employ'd most of her time, and the Books she chose were only serious, or devout, and her memory was faithful, to retain what she read: She took not up her Religion on an implicite Faith, or from education only, but from a well-studied choice, directed by God's Holy Spirit, whose guidance she daily invok'd, and when once she had made that choice, she was immoveable as a rock, and so well satisfi'd in the Catholick Faith profest in the Church of England, that I make no doubt, but that she always liv'd, not only with the strictness of a Primitive Saint, but with the resoluti­on also, of a Martyr: It was strange to hear, how strongly she would Argue, how clearly she [Page 18] understood, the force of a Consequence, and how ready at all times she was, to give a reason of the 1 Pet. 3. 15. hope that was in her, with meekness, and fear; Her Letters which were found in her Cabinet, not to be deliver'd till after her death, and very many o­thers, in the hands of her Relations, sufficiently shew, how good, and how great she was: In them this humble Saint, before she was aware, has her self made an exact impression, of her own Graci­ousness; They are pen'd in so proper and unaffected a Style, and animated throughout with so Divine a Spirit, with such Ardours of Devotion, and Charity, as might have become a Proba, a Monica, or the most eminent of her Sex; Insomuch, that her very absence, was the more supportable to her friends, in regard she compensated the want of her presence, by Writing, and sent them a Blessing, by every return.

I cannot tell, what one help she neglected, to secure her perseverance, and to heighten her gra­ces, that she might shine more and more, to a perfect Prov. 4. 18. day; Her Oratory was the place, where she princi­pally resided, and where she was most at home, and her chief employment, was Prayer, and Praise; Out of several Authors, she for her own use, trans­crib'd many excellent Forms, the very choice of which does argue, a most experienc'd Piety, she had Devotions suited to all the primitive hours of Prayer, which she us'd, as far as her bodily Infirmi­ties, and necessary Avocations would permit, and with David, Prais'd God seven times a day, or sup­ply'd the want of those solemn hours, by a kind of perpetuity of Ejaculations, which she had ready, to [Page 19] answer all occasions, and to fill up all vacant inter­vals, and if she happened to wake in the Night, of proper Prayers even for mid-night, she was never unprovided. Thus did this gracious Soul, having been enkindled by fire from Heaven, in her Bap­tism, live a continual Sacrifice, and kept the fire always burning, always in afcension, always aspi­ring towards Heaven from whence it fell. Besides her own private Prayers, she Morning, and Even­ing offer'd up to God the publick Offices, and when she was not able, to go to the House of Pray­er, she had it read to her, in her Chamber.

To Prayers she added Fasting, till her weakness had made it impossible to her constitution, and yet even then, on days of Abstinence, she made amends for the Omission, by other supplemental Mortifications. Her Devotions she enlarg'd, on the Fasts and Festivals of the Church, but especially on the Lord's days, di­viding the hours between the Church and her Closet.

She never fail'd, on all opportunities, to approach the Holy Altar, came with Spiritual hunger, and thirst to that Heavenly Feast, and Communicated with a lively, with a Crucifying, but yet endear­ing Remembrance, of her Crucifi'd Saviour.

The Sermons she heard, when she came home she recollected, and wrote down out of her memo­ry, abstracts of them all, which are in a great num­ber, among her Papers, that she might be, not only, a hearer of the Word, but a doer also.

The Holy Scripture she attentively read, and on what she read, she did devoutly meditate, and did by Meditation, appropriate to her self, it was her [Page 20] Soul's daily Bread, it was her delight, and her Counsellour, and, like the most Blessed Virgin Mo­ther, she kept all things she read, and ponder'd them in her heart.

Who is there can say, they ever saw her idle? no, she had always affairs to transact with Heaven, she was all her life long numbring her days, and ap­plying her Heart to Wisdom, or, to describe her with her own Pen, she was making it her business, to fit her self for her change, knowing, the moment of it to be uncertain, and having no assurance, that her warning would be great; Oh happy Soul, that was thus wise, in a timely consideration of that, which of all things in the World, is of greatest importance to us, to be consider'd, namely our Latter end!

You may easily conclude, that a Saint, who was always thus conversant with her Grave, and had Heaven always in her view, must have little or no value for things below, as indeed she had not, she did not only conquer the World, but she triumph'd over it, had a noble contempt of Secular greatness, liv'd several years in the very Court, with the ab­straction of a Recluse, and was so far from being solicitous for Riches, for her self, or her Children, that to use her own words, she look'd on them, as dan­gerous things, which did only clog, and press down our Souls to this Earth, and judg'd a Competency, to be certainly the best.

All the temporal blessings, the divine Goodness was pleas'd to vouchsafe her, she receiv'd, with an overflowing thankfulness, yet her affections were so disengag'd, her temperance, and moderation so ha­bitual, that she did rather use, than injoy them, and [Page 21] was always ready to restore them, to the same gra­cious hand that gave them, but no one can express her thoughts, so pathetically as her own self; O, says that blessed Saint, since God gives us all, let us not be sorrowful, though we are to part with all, the Kingdom of Heaven, is a prize, that is worth striving for, though it costs us dear: Alas! what is there in this World, that links our hearts so close to it! and elsewhere she affirms, that All blessings are given on this condition, that either they must be taken from us, or we from them, if then we lose any thing, which we esteem a blessing, we are to give God the glory, and to resign it freely.

She was a perfect despiser, of all those vanities, and divertisements, which most of her sex, do usually admire; her chief, and, in a manner, sole recreation was to do good, and to oblige; and if we will be advis'd, by one so wise to Salvation, We are to seek for comfort, and joy, from God's ordinances, and the converse of pious Christians, and not to take the usual course of the World, to drive away Melancholy, by exposing our selves to temptations; and this was really her practice, insomuch that next to the Ser­vice of the Temple, which she daily frequented, There was no entertainment in the whole World, so pleasing to her, as the discourse of Heavenly things, and those she spake of, with such a Spiritual relish, that at first hearing, you might perceive she was in earnest, that she really tasted that the Lord was good, and felt all she spake.

Amidst all her pains, and her sicknesses, which were sharp, and many, who ever saw her shew any one symptom of Impatience? So far was she [Page 22] from it, that she laments, when she reflects, how apt we are to abuse prosperity; Demands, where our conformity is to the great Captain of our Salvation, if we have no sufferings; Professes, that God by suffering our Conditions to be Uneasie, by that gentle way, invites us to higher satisfactions, than are to be met with here, and with a prostrate spirit, acknow­ledges, that God was most righteous in all that had befallen her, and that there had been so much mercy mixt with his chastising, that she had been but too happy. Thus humble, thus content, thus thankful was this gracious Woman, amidst her very afflictions. Her Soul always rested on God's Paternal mercy, and on all his exceeding great, and precious pro­mises, as on a sure and stedfast Anchor, which she knew would secure her, in the most tempestu­ous Calamities; To his blessed will, she hourly offer'd up her own, and knew it was as much her duty, to suffer his fatherly inflictions, as to obey his commands. Her Charity, made her sympa­thize, with all in Misery, and besides her private Alms, wherein her left hand, was not conscious to her right, she was a common Patroness to the Poor, and Needy, and a common Physician to her sick Neighbours, and would often with her own hands, dress their most loathsome Sores, and sometimes keep them in her Family, and would give them both Diet and Lodging till they were cur'd, and then Cloth them, and send them home, to give God thanks for their recovery; and if they died, her Charity accompany'd them sometimes to the very Grave, and she took care even of their Burial. She would by no means endure, that by the care of plentifully providing for her Children, the wants, [Page 23] and necessities of any poor Christian, should be over­look'd, and desir'd it might be remembred that Alms and the Poors prayers, will bring a greater blessing, to them, than Thousands a year. Look abroad now in the World, and see, how rarely you shall meet, with a Charity, like that of this gracious Woman, who next to her own flesh and Blood, was tender of the Poor, and thought an Alms as much due to to them, as Portions to her Children.

To corporal Alms, as often as she saw occasion, she joyn'd spiritual, and she had a singular talent in dispensing that alms to Souls; she had a masculine Reason to perswade, a steady Wisdom to advise, a perspicuity both of thought, and language to in­struct, a mildness that endear'd a reproof, and could comfort the afflicted, from her own manifold ex­perience of the Divine Goodness, and with so con­doling a tenderness, that she seem'd to translate their anguish on her self.

And happy was it for others, that her Charity was so comprehensive, for she often met with objects so deplorable, that were to be reliev'd in all these capacities, so that she was fain to become their Benefactress, their Physician, and their Divine alto­gether, or if need were, she bid them shew them­selves to the Priest, or else took care to send the Priest to them: Thus was it visibly her constant endeavour, to be in all respects merciful, as her Father in Heaven is merciful.

She could bear long, and most easily forgive, and no one ever injur'd her, but she would heap coals of fire on his head to melt him into a charitable tem­per, and would often repay the injury with a kind­ness [Page 24] so surprizing, that if the injurous person were not wholly obdurate and brutish, must needs affect him. But if any one did her the least good office, none could be more grateful, she would if possible, return it a hundred-fold, if she could not in kind, she would at least do it in her prayers to God, that out of his inexhaustible goodness, he would reward him.

Her Soul seem'd to possess a continued serenity, at peace with her self, at peace with God, and at peace with all the World, her study was to give all their due, and she was exactly sincere, and faithful to all her obligations, she kept her heart always with all diligence, was watchful against all tempta­tions, and naturally considerate in all her actions, her disposition was peaceful and inoffensive, she lookt always pleas'd rather than chearful, her con­verse was even and serious, but yet easie and affable; her Interpretations of what others did, or said, were always candid and charitable, you should never see her indecently angry, or out of humour, never hear her give an ill character, or pass a hard censure, or speak an idle word, but she opened her mouth in Wisdom, and in her tongue was the Law of Kindness. Prov. 31. 36.

If you look on her, in her several Relations, in her Childhood, her Father, the Right Honourable the Earl of Dyzart, being banish'd for his Loyalty, she was under the breeding of the Excellent Lady her Mother, to whom she was in all respects, so duti­ful a Child, that she protested, her Daughter had never, in any one instance, offended her; By that time the Young Lady was about Eleven or Twelve Years old, God was pleas'd to take her good Mo­ther [Page 25] to himself, and from that time to her Marriage, this gracious Woman liv'd with a discretion so much above her years, with so conspicuous a Vertue, and so constant a Wariness, that she always retain'd honour, such an honour, as never had the least More in it. And to her honour be it spoken, that in an Age, when the generality of the Nation, were like Chil­dren, tost to and fro, with every wind of Doctrine, she still continued stedfast in the Communion of the Church of England, and when the Priests and Service of God, were driven into Corners, she daily resorted, though with great difficulty, to the publick Prayers, and was remarkably Chari­table to all the suffering Royalists, whom she visited, and reliev'd, and sed, cloth'd, and condold, with a zeal, like that which the Ancient Christians shew'd, to the Primitive Martyrs.

The silenc'd, and plundred, and persecuted Clergy, she thought worthy, of double honour, and did vow a certain Sum yearly, out of her In­come, which she laid aside, only to succour them. The Congregations, where she then usually com­municated, were those, of the reverend and Pious, Dr. Thruscross, and Dr. Mossom, both now in Hea­ven, and that of the then Mr. Gunning, the now most worthy Bishop of Ely, for whom she ever after had a peculiar Veneration.

But I must by no means pass by, the Right Re­verend Father in God, Bishop Duppa, then of Salis­bury, afterwards of Winchester, but now with God, who was then put out of all, and an Exemplary Confessour, for the King, and the Church; This Holy Man, when she resided in the Countrey, liv'd [Page 26] in the Neighbourhood, and she often visited him, and he seem'd to be design'd on purpose, by God's most gracious direction, to be her spiritual Guide, to confirm her in all her holy Resolutions, to satis­fy all those Scruples, to becalm all those Fears, and regulate all those Fervours which are incident to an early, and tender Piety, and God's goodness ren­der'd him so successful, that she retain'd the happy influence of his ghostly Advice to her dying day.

Before the Age of twenty, she was Married, to the Right Honourable, William Lord Mainard, to whom in her Letters, she often gives, the most affe­ctionate thanks imaginable, for his unvaluable, and unparallel'd kindness towards her, as she her self terms it, and most servently prays, That the Lord Jesus Christ would be his exceeding great reward, and his portion for ever: But I forbear to offer violence to the modesty of the Survivor, and will content my self, to say only in general, that when she was a Wife, she still retain'd her accustomed devotion, which she practis'd when a Virgin, and her greatest concern, was for the things of the Lord, how she might please the Lord; how in a Marriage honourable, and a Bed undefil'd, she might be Holy both in Body, 1 Cor. 7. 32. and in Spirit, and attend upon the Lord, without di­straction. And since, as Solomon affirms, a prudent Prov. 19. 14. Wife is from the Lord; she was certainly the im­mediate gift of God, and sent by propitious Hea­ven, for a good Angel, as well as for a Wife.

As a Mother she was unspeakably tender, and care­ful, of the two Children with which God had blest her; but her Zeal for their eternal welfare was predominant, and she made it her dying request, [Page 27] that in their education, their piety should be prin­cipally regarded, or to speak her own words, That the chief care should be to make them Pious Christians, which would be the best Provision that could be made for them.

In reference to her Son, it was her express desire, that he should be good, rather than either rich or great, that he should be bred in the strictest Prin­ciples of Sobriety, Piety and Charity, of Temperance and Innocency of life, that could be, that he should never be indulg'd in the least sin, that he should never be that which these corrupt days call a Wit, or a fine Gentile man, but an honest, and sincere Christian, she desir'd he might be.

She profest, there was nothing hard to be parted with but her Lord, and her dear Children, but though her passion for them was as intense as can well be imagin'd, yet for the sake of her God, whom she lov'd infinitely better, she was willing to part with them also, had long foreseen the parting, and prepar'd for it, and humbly beg'd of her heavenly Father to take them into his protection; she took care of their Souls, even after her death, in the Let­ters she left behind her, and comforted her self with an entire acquiescence, in the good pleasure of her beloved, with hopes, that she should still pray for them in Heaven, and that she should e're long meet them there; and this consideration of meeting above, put her into a transport, which makes her in one of her Letters cry out, O how joyful shall we be to meet at Christ's right hand, if we may be admitted in­to that Elect number!

[Page 28] In her Family, she always united Martha and Luke 10. 41, 42. Mary together, took a due care of all her domestick Affairs, and manag'd them with a wise frugality, with a constant deference to Gods merciful Provi­dence, and without either covetous fears, or a rest­less anxiety; but withal, she sate at the feet of Jesus, and heard his word, and of the two, was still most in­tent on the better part.

She studiously endeavour'd, by private, and par­ticular, and warm applications, to make all that at­tended her, more Gods Servants than her own; and treated them with a meekness, and indulgence, and condescension, like one who was always mindful, that she her self also had a Master in Heaven. Eph. 6. 9.

Her near Relations, and all that were blest with her friendship, had a daily share in her intercessions, all their concerns, all their afflictions were really her own; her chief kindness was for their Souls, and she lov'd them with a charity, like that which the Blessed shew to one another in Heaven, in their re­ciprocal complacence at each others happiness, and mutual incitements to devotion.

In respect of the Publick, which she often laid sad­ly to heart, her eyes ran down in secret, for all our National Provocations, and she had a particular Office on fasting Days for that purpose, which shews how importunate she was at the Throne of Grace, to avert Gods Judgments, and to implore his Blessing on the Land.

And now, after all these great truths which I have said of this Excellent Lady, one Grace I must add, greater than all I have hitherto mention'd, and it is her Humility; she was so little given to talk, [Page 29] and had that art to conceal her goodness, that it did not appear at first sight, but after some time her Vertue would break out whether she would or no; she seem'd to be wholly ignorant of her own Graces, and had as mean an opinion of her self as if she had had no Excellence at all, like Moses, her Face shin'd, and she did not know it; others she esteem'd so much the Exod. 34. 29. better, had that abasing sense of her own Infirmities, and that profound awe of the Divine Majesty, that though she was great in Gods eyes, she was always little in her own.

After the Whitson-week was over, she remov'd from White-hall, to Eastonlodge in Essex, not out of any hopes of recovery, but only that she might have some little present relief from the Air, or that she might die in a place which she lov'd, in which God had made her an instrument of so great good to the Country, and which was near her Grave; and you may easily imagine, that after a life so holy, the death of this gracious Woman must needs be signally happy; and so it was, not but that during her pains, she had often doubts and fears that afflicted her, with which in her health she was unmolested, and which did manifestly arise from her Distemper, and did cease as that intermitted; but the day before she died God was pleased to vouchsafe her some clearer manifesta­tions of His mercy, which in the tenderness of His compassion he sent her, as preparatives of her last conflict, and as earnests of Heaven, whither he in­tended the day following to translate her.

How she behav'd her self in her sickness, I cannot better express than by saying that she pray'd continually; and when the Prayers of the Church were read by [Page 30] her, or when the hour of her own private Prayer came, though she was not able to stand, or to help her self, she would yet be plac'd on her Knees; and when her Knees were no longer able to support her, she would be put into the humblest posture she could possibly endure, not being satisfied unless she gave God his entire Oblation, and glorify'd him in her body as well as in her spirit, which were both Gods own by 1 Cor. 6. 20. purchase here, and were both to be united in bliss hereafter.

On Whit-sunday she received her viaticum, the most holy Body and Blood of her Saviour, and had recei­ved it again had not her death surpriz'd us, yet in the strength of that immortal food, she was enabled to go out her journy, and seem'd to have a new transfu­sion of Grace from it, insomuch, that though her Limbs were all convulst, her Pains great, and with­out intermission, her strength quite exhausted, and her Head disturbed with a perpetual drousiness, yet above, and beyond all seeming possibility, she would use force to her self to keep her self waking, to offer to God her customary Sacrifice to the full, to recol­lect her thoughts, and to lodge them in Heaven, where her Heart and her Treasure was, as if she had already taken possession of her mansion there, or as if she was teaching her Soul to act independently from the Body, and practising beforehand the state of Separation, into which having receiv'd Absolu­tion, she in a short time happily lancht; for all the bands of Union being untied, her Soul was set at li­berty, and on the Wings of Angels, took a direct and vigorous flight to its Native Country Heaven, Luke 16. 22. from whence it first flew down.

[Page 31] There then we must leave her, in the Bosom of her heavenly Bridegroom, where, how radiant her Crown is, how ecstatick her Joy, how high exalted she is in degrees of Glory is impossible to be described, for neither eye hath seen, nor ear heard, nor has it en­ter'd 1 Cor. 2. 9. into the heart of Man, to be conceiv'd the good things which God hath prepared for those that love him, of all which she is now partaker.

We have nothing then to do but to congratulate this Gracious Woman, her eternal and unchangeable honour, and as she always, and in all things, gave God the Glory here, so that his praise was continu­ally in her mouth, for all the multitude of his Mer­cies, and of his loving Kindnesses towards her, and is now praising him in Heaven; Let us also offer up a Sacrifice of Praise for her great example, her light has long shin'd before us, and we have seen her good Works; Let us therefore glorifie the Father of Lights, at whose beams her Soul was first lighted.

Blessed then for ever be the infinite goodness of God, who was so liberal of his Graces to this humble Saint, who made her so lively a Picture of his own perfections, so Gracious and so Honourable; blessed be his mercy, for indul­ging her to us so long, for taking her in his good time to himself, and for that happiness she has now in Heaven; to God be the Glory of all that honour, her Graciousness did here ac­quire, for to him only it is due; let therefore his most holy name have all the praise.

[Page 32] To our Thanksgiving let us add our Prayers also, that God would vouchsafe us all his Holy Spirit, so to assist, and sanctifie, and guide us, that every one of our Souls may be gràcious like hers, that our life may be like hers, our latter end like hers, and our portion in Heaven like hers, which God of his infinite mercy grant, for the sake of his most belov'd Son: To whom with the Father, and the blessed Spirit, be all honour and glory, adoration and obedience, now and for ever.

Amen.

THE END.

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