Copyright
William Evans.

The Friends' library : comprising journals, doctrinal treatises, and other writings of members of the religious Society of Friends (Volume 1) online

. (page 68 of 105)
Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library : comprising journals, doctrinal treatises, and other writings of members of the religious Society of Friends (Volume 1) → online text (page 68 of 105)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


will believe their very adversaries, they were
persecuted: for says Rainerius, a great writer
against them, " They use to teach, first, what
the disciples of Christ ought to be, and that
none are his disciples, but they that imitate
his life : and that the popes, cardinals, &c.
because they live in luxury, pride, avarice, &c.
are not the successors of Christ ; but them-
selves only, in that they walk up to his com-
mandments ; thus they win upon the people."
But if none are Christians but those who
imitate Christ, what shall become of those
who call themselves Christians, yet live at
ease in the flesh, not regarding the work of
the holy cross of Christ in their hearts, which
crucifies them who bear it to the world, and
the world to them ? This was the true ground
of their sufferings, and their loud cries against
the impieties of the greatest ; not sparing any
ranks, from the throne to the dunghill, as
knowing their God was no respecter of per-
sons.** And now, if you would follow them
indeed, if you would be Protestants in sub-
stance, and learn your enemies a way worth
their changing to, or else better words go but
a little way ; if you would obtain the heavenly
inheritance, and be eternally blessed, be ye
persuaded to forsake all the pride and the
pomp of this vain world. O mind the con-
cerns of an everlasting rest ! Let the just and
serious principle of God within you be the
constant guide and companion of your minds;
and let your whole hearts be exercised thereby;
that you may experience an entire reformation
and change of affections, through the power of
that divine leaven, which leavens the whole
lump, viz : body, soul and spirit, where it is
received : to which and its work in man, our
blessed Lord likened the kingdom of God,
which he came to set up in the soul. Thus
having the joys and glory of another world in
your view, you may give the best diligence to
make your calling and election, to the posses-
sion of them, sure and certain ; lest selling
that noble inheritance for a poor mess of

** Rain. cap. de stud, pervert, alios & modo di-
cendi. 1. 98. Barron. Ecc. Annal. torn. 12. an. 1176.
p. 835. Kranz. in Metrop. 1. 8. sect. 18. & in Sax.
1. 8. cap. 16.



NO CROSS, NO CROWN.



309



perishing pottage, you never enter into his
eternal rest. And though this testimony may
seem tedious, yet could it by no means be
omitted. — To authorize our last reason, of
converting superfluities into the relief of dis-
tressed persons, although one would think it
is so equal and sober, that it needs no other
authority than its own, yet I shall produce
two testimonies, so remarkable, that as they
ever were esteemed truly good, so they cannot
be approved by any that refuse to do the
same, without condemning themselves of great
iniquity. O, you are called with an high and
holy call ; as high as heaven, and as holy as
God ; for it is he that calls us to holiness,
through Christ, who sent his Son to bless us,
in turning us from the evil of our ways ; and
unless we are so turned, we can have no claim
to the blessing that comes by Christ to men.

24. It is reported of Paulinus, bishop of
Nola, in Italy; that instead of converting the
demesnes of his diocese to particular enrich-
ments, he employed it all in the redemption of
poor slaves and prisoners ; believing it un-
worthy of the Christian faith, to see God's
creation labour under the want of what he had
to spare.* All agree this was well done, but
few agree to do the same.

25. But more particularly of Acacius,
bishop of Amida, given us by Socrates Scho-
lasticus, in this manner; "When the Roman
soldiers purposed in no wise to restore again
unto the king of Persia, such captives as they
ha.d taken at the winning of Azazena, being
about seven thousand in number, to the great
grief of the king of Persia, and all of them
ready to starve for food ; Acacius lamented
their condition, and calling his clergy together,
said thus unto them, Our God hath no need of
dishes or cups, for he neither eateth nor drink-
eth ; these are not his necessaries : wherefore
seeing the church hath many precious jewels,
both of gold and silver, bestowed of the free
will and liberality of the faithful, it is requisite
that the captive soldiers should be therewith
redeemed, and delivered out of prison and
bondage ; and they, perishing with famine,
should therewith be refreshed and relieved.
Thus he prevailed to have them all converted
into money ; some for their immediate refresh-
ment, some for their redemption, and the rest
for costage or provision, to defray the charges
of their voyage.f This noble act had such
an universal influence, that it more famed the
Christian religion amongst the infidels, than
all their disputes and battles : Insomuch that
the king of Persia, an heathen, said, The
Romans endeavour to win their adversaries

* Ecc. Hist. p. 5. 393.
f Socrat. Scholast. 1. 7.



both by wars and favours. He greatly desired
to behold that man, whose religion taught so
much charity to enemies; in which it is report-
ed, Theodosius, the emperor, commanded Aca-
cius to gratify him."

If the apostle Paul's expression hath any
force, " That he is worse than an infidel, who
provides not for his family ;" how gi'eatly doth
this example aggravate your shame, who can
behold such pity and compassion expressed to
strangers, nay enemies, and those infidels too,
and be so negligent of your own family, for
England, aye, Christendom, in a sense, if not
the world, is no more, as not only to see their
great necessities unanswered; but that where-
with they should be satisfied, converted to
gratify the lust of the eye, the lust of the
flesh, and the pride of life. But however
such can please themselves, in the deceitful
daubing of their mercenary priests, and dream
they are members of Jesus Christ, it is certain
that things were otherwise in the beginning ;
for then all was sold and put into a common
purse, to supply all indigencies : Not regard-
ing earthly inheritances, farther than as they
might in some sense be subservient to the
great end for which they were given, namely,
the good of the creation. Thus had the purest
Christians their minds and thoughts taken up
with better things, and raised with the assu-
rance of a more excellent life and inheritance
in the heavens, that will never pass away.
And for any to flatter themselves with being
Christians, whilst so much exercised in the
vanities, recreations, and customs of the world,
as at this very day we see they are, is to mock
the great God, and abuse their immortal souls.
The Christian life is quite another thing.

And lest that any should object, " Many do
great and seemingly good actions to raise their
reputation only ; and others only decry plea-
sure because they have not wherewithal, or
know not how to take it :" I shall present
them with the serious sayings of aged and
dying men, and those of the greatest note and
rank ; whose experience could not be wanting
to give the truest account how much their
honours, riches, pleasures and recreations con-
duced to their satisfaction, upon a just reckon-
ing, as well before their extreme moments as
upon their dying beds, when death, that hard
passage into eternity, looked them in the face.



CHAPTER XXI.

THE SERIOUS TESTIMONIES OF DYING AS WELL AS
LIVING MEN.

1. Solomon. 2. Ignatius. 3. Justin Martyr.
4.. Chrysostom. 5. Charles V. 6. Michael

de Montaigne. 7. Cardinal Wolsey. 8. Sir



310



NO CROSS, NO CROWN.



Philip Sidney. 9. Secretary Walsingham.
10. Sir John Mason. 11. Sir Walter Ra-
leigh. 12. H. Wotton. 13. Sir Christopher
Hatton. 14. Lord Chancellor Bacon. 15. The
great duke of Montmorency. 16. Henry prince
of Wales. 17. Philip III., king of Spain. 18.
Count Gondamor. 19. Cardinal Richlieu. 20.
Cardinal Mazarine. 21. Chancellor Oxcistern.
22. Dr. Donne. 23. Jo. Selden. 24. H. Gro-
tius. 25. P. Salmasius. 26. Fran. Junius.
27. A. Rivetus. 28. The late earl of Marlbo-
rough. 29. Sir Henry Vane. 30. Abraham
Cowley. 31. Late earl of Rochester. 32. One
of the family of Howard, 33. Princess Eliza-
beth of the Rhine. 34. Commissioner Whitlock.
35. A sister of the family of Penn. 36. My
own father. 37. Anthony Lowther of Mask.
38. Seigneur du Renti.

in. The serious apprehensions and expres-
sions of several aged and dying men of
fame and learning.

1. Solomon, than whom none is believed
to have more delighted himself in the enjoy-
ments of the world, or at least better to have
understood them; after all his experience says;
" I said in my heart, Go to now ; I will prove
thee with mirth ; therefore enjoy pleasure :
And behold, this also is vanity. I said of
laughter, It is mad ; and of mirth, What doth
it ? I made me great works, builded houses,
planted vineyards, made gardens and orchards,
planted trees in them of all kind of fruit : I
got me servants and maidens ; also great pos-
sessions ; I gathered me silver and gold, and
the peculiar treasures of kings and provinces;
also men and women singers, and the delights
of the sons of men ; as musical instruments,
and that of all sorts : So I was great, and in-
creased more than all that were before me in
Jerusalem; and whatsoever mine eyes desired,
I kept not from them ; I withheld not mine
heart from any joy. Then I looked on all the
works which my hands had wrought, and be-
hold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit."
The reason he gives for this in the eighteenth
and nineteenth verses is, that the time of en-
joying them was very short, and it was un-
certain who should be benefitted by them
when he was gone. Wherefore he concludes
with this ; " Fear God, and keep his com-
mandments, for this is the whole duty of man :
For God shall bring every work into judg-
ment, whether it be good, or whether it be
evil." O that men would lay this to heart !

2. Ignatius, who lived within the first
hundred years after Christ, and was torn in
pieces of wild beasts at Rome, for his true
faith in Jesus, left this amongst other things.



behind him : " There is nothing better than
the peace of a good conscience:" Intimating,
there might be a peace to wicked consciences,
that are past feeling anything to be evil, but
swallowed up of the wickedness of the world.
In his epistle to the churches at Ephesus,
Magnesia, Trallis and Rome, upon his mar-
tyrdom, he saith, " Now I begin to be a disci-
ple ; I weigh neither visible nor invisible
things, so that I may gain Christ."* O hea-
venly-minded man ! A blessed martyr of Jesus
indeed.

3. Justin Martyr, a philosopher, who re-
ceived Christianity five and twenty years after
the death of Ignatius, plainly tells us, in his
relation of his conversion to the Christian
faith, " That the power of godliness in a plain
simple Christian had such influence and ope-
ration on his soul, that he could not but betake
himself to a serious and strict life :" And yet,
before, he was a Cynic ; a strict sect. And
this gave him joy at his martyrdom, having
spent his days as a serious teacher, and a good
example. And Eusebius relates, " That though
he was also a follower of Plato's doctrine; yet,
when he saw the Christians piety and courage,
he concluded, no people so temperate, less vo-
luptuous, and more set on divine things :"
Which first induced him to be a Christian.f

4. Chrysostom, another father, so called,
lays this down for necessary doctrine, " To
sacrifice the whole soul and body to the Lord,
is the highest service we can pay unto him.
God pi-omiseth mercy unto penitent sinners ;
but he doth not promise them that they shall
have so much time as to-morrow for their re-
pentance."

5. Charles V. emperor of Germany, king
of Spain, and lord of the Netherlands, after
three and twenty pitched battle-fields, six tri-
umphs, four kingdoms conquered, and eight
principalities added to his dominions, resigned
up all his pomp to other hands, and betook
himself to his retirements ; leaving this testi-
mony behind him, concerning the life he spent
in the honours and pleasures of the world, and
in that little time of his retreat from them all :
"That the sincere study, profession, and prac-
tice of the Christian religion, had in it such joys
and sweetness, as courts were strangers to."

6. Michael de Montaigne, a lord of
France, famous with men of letters for his
book of Essays, gives these instructions to
others, and this character of himself, viz.
" Amidst our banquets, feasts and pleasures,
let us ever have the restraint or object of death

* Ignatius Epist. ad Ephes. Mag. Trail. Rom.
Eus. 1. 3. c. 32.

t Euseb. Ecc. Hist. 1. 4. c. 8.



NO CROSS, NO CROWN.



311



before us, that is, the remembrance of our con-
dition : And let not pleasure so much mislead
or transport us, as to neglect or forget how
many ways our joys or our feastings, be sub-
ject unto death, and by how many holdfasts
she threateneth us and you. So did the Egyp-
tians, who in the midst of their banquetings,
and in their greatest cheer, caused the anat-
omy of a dead man to be brought before them,
as a memorandum and warning to their guests.
I am now, by means of the mercy of God, in
such a taking, that without regret, or grieving
at any worldly matter, I am prepared to dis-
lodge, whensoever he shall please to call me.
I am everywhere free : My farewell is soon
taken of all my friends, except of myself: No
man ever prepared himself to quit the world
more simply and fully, or did more generally
lay aside all thoughts of it, than I am assured
I shall do. All the glory I pretend to in my
life ; is, that I have lived quietly : Let us
not propose so fleeting and so wavering an
end unto ourselves, as the world's glory : Let
us constantly follow truth : And let the vulgar
approbation follow us that way, if it please.
I care not so much what I am with others, as
I respect what I am in myself: I will be rich
in myself, and not by borrowing. Strangers
see but external appearances and events :
Every man can set a good face upon the
matter, when within he is full of care, grief
and infirmities: They see not my heart, when
they look upon my outward countenance. We
are nought but ceremony; ceremony doth tran-
sport us, and we leave the substance of things;
We hold fast by the boughs, and leave the
trunk or body, the substance of things, be-
hind us."

7. Cardinal Wolsey, the most absolute
and wealthy minister of state this kingdom
ever had, who in his time seemed to govern
Europe as well as England, when come to the
period of his life, left the world with this close
reflection upon himself; " Had I been as dili-
gent to serve my God, as I was to please my
king, he would not have left me now in my
grey hairs." A dismal reflection for all world-
ly-minded men: but those more especially who
have the power and means of doing more than
ordinary good in the world, and do it not ;
which seems to have been the case and reflec-
tion of this great man.

8. Sir Philip Sidney, a subject indeed of
England ; but, they say, chosen king of Po-
land, whom Queen Elizabeth called her Philip,
and the prince of Orange, his master ; whose
friendship the lord Brooks was so proud of,
that he would have it part of his epitaph,
"Here lies Sir Philip Sidney's friend:" Whose
death was lamented in verse by the kings of
France and Scotland and the two universities



of England ; repented so much at his death, of
that witty vanity of his life, his Arcadia, that
to prevent the unlawful kindling of heats in
others, he would have committed it to the
flames himself; and left this farewell amongst
his friends, " Love my memory ; cherish my
friends ; their faith to me may assure you that
they are honest : But above all, govern your
will and affections by the will and word of
your Creator. In me behold the end of this
world, and all its vanities." And indeed he
was not much out in saying, in him was to be
seen the end of all natural parts, acquired
learning and civil accomplishments. His fare-
well seems spoken without terror, with a clear
sense, and an equal judgment.

9. Secretary Walsingham, an extraordi-
nary man in Queen Elizabeth's time; towards
the conclusion of his days, in a letter to his
fellow secretary, Burleigh, then lord treasurer
of England, writes thus ; " We have lived
enough to our country, our fortunes, our sove-
reign : It is high time we begin to live to our-
selves, and to our God." Which giving occa-
sion for some court-droll to visit, and try to
divert him; "Ah! saith he, while we laugh,
all things are serious around us ; God is seri-
ous, when he preserveth us, and hath patience
towards us ; Christ is serious, when he dieth
for us ; the Holy Ghost is serious, when he
striveth with us ; the whole creation is serious,
in serving God and us ; they are serious in
hell and in heaven : And shall a man who
hath one foot in his grave, jest and laugh?"
O that our statesmen would weigh the convic-
tion, advice, and conclusion of this great man;
the greatest man perhaps, who has borne that
character in our nation. For true it is, that
none can be serious too soon, because none
can be good too soon. Away then with all
foolish talking and jesting, and let people mind
more profitable things !

10. John Mason, knight, who had been
privy-counsellor to four princes, and spent
much time in the preferments and pleasure of
the world, retired with these pathetical and
regretful sayings : " After so many years ex-
perience, seriousness is the greatest wisdom ;
temperance the best physic ; a good con-
science the best estate. And were I to live
again, I would change the court for one hour's
enjoyment of God in the chapel. All things
else forsake me, besides my God, my duty,
and my prayei's."

11. Sir Walter Raleigh is an eminent
instance, being as extraordinary a man as our
nation hath produced. In his person, well de-
scended ; of health, strength, and masculine
beauty : In understanding, quick : in judg-
ment, sound, learned and wise, valiant and
skilful: an historian, a philosopher, a general.



312



NO CROSS, NO CROWN.



a statesman. After a long life, full of experi-
ence, he drops these excellent sayings a little
before his death, to his son, to his wife, and
to the world, viz: "Exceed not in the humour
of rags and bravery ; for these will soon wear
out of fashion: And no man is esteemed for
gay garments, but by fools and women. On
the other side, seek not riches basely, nor
attain them by evil means : Destroy no man
for his wealth, nor take anything from the
poor ; for the cry thereof will pierce the
heavens : And it is most detestable before
God, and most dishonourable before worthy
men, to wrest anything from the needy and
labouring soul : God will never prosper thee,
if thou offendest therein ; but use thy poor
neighbours and tenants well." A most worthy
saying ! But he adds, " Have compassion on
the poor and afflicted, and God will bless thee
for it : Make not the hungry sorrowful ; for if
he curse thee in the bitterness of his soul, his
prayer shall be heard of him that made him.
Now, for the world, dear child, I know it too
well, to persuade thee to dive into the prac-
tices of it : Rather stand upon thy guard
against all those that tempt thee to it, or may
practise upon thee ; whether in thy conscience,
thy reputation, or thy estate : Resolve, that
no man is wise or safe, but he that is honest.
Serve God ; let him be the author of all thy
actions: Commend all thy endeavours to him,
that must either wither or prosper them : Please
him with prayer; lest if he frown, he confound
all thy fortune and labour, like the drops of
rain upon the sandy ground. Let my expe-
rienced advice and fatherly instruction, sink
deep into thy heart : So God direct thee in
all thy ways and fill thy heart with his grace."

Sir Walter Raleigh's letter to his wife, after
his condemnation.

"You shall receive, my dear wife, my last
words, in these my last lines. My love I send
to you, that you may keep it when I am
dead ; and my counsel, that you may remem-
ber it when I am no more. I would not with
my will present you sorrows, dear Bess ; let
them go to the grave with me, and be buried
in the dust : and seeing it is not the will
of God that I shall see you any more, bear
my destruction patiently ; and with an heart
like yourself. First, I send you all the thanks
which my heart can conceive, or my words
express, for your many travails and cares for
me: which, though they have not taken effect,
as you wished, yet my debt to you is not the
less ; but pay it I never shall in this world.
Secondly, I beseech you, for the love you bear
me living, that you do not hide yourself many
days ; but by your travails seek to help my
miserable fortunes, and the right of your poor



child ; your mourning cannot avail me, who
am but dust. Thirdly, you shall understand,
that my lands were conveyed {bona jide) to
my child ; the writings were drawn at mid-
summer was a twelve-month, as divers can
witness ; and I trust my blood will quench ^
their malice, who desired my slaughter, that
they will not seek to kill you and yours with
extreme poverty. To what friend to direct
you, I know not; for all mine have left me in
the true time of trial. Most sorry am I, that
being surprised by death, I can leave thee no
better estate ; God hath prevented all my de-
terminations, that great God which worketh
all in all. If you can live free from want,
care for no more ; for the rest is but vanity.
Love God and begin he-times ; in him shall
you find ti'ue, everlasting and endless comfort :
When you have travelled and wearied your-
self with all sorts of worldly cogitations, you
shall sit down by sorrow in the end. Teach
your son also to serve and fear God, whilst
he is young, that the fear of God may grow
up in him ; then will God be an husband to
you, and a father to him ; an husband and a
father that can never be taken from you.
Dear wife, I beseech you, for my soul's sake,
pay all poor men. When I am dead, no doubt
you will be much sought unto ; for the world
thinks I was very rich : have a care of the
fair pretences of men ; for no greater misery
can befal you in this life, than to become a
prey unto the world, and after to be despised.
As for me, I am no more yours, nor you
mine : Death hath cut us asunder ; and God
hath divided me from the world, and you
from me. Remember your poor child, for his
father's sake, who loved you in his happiest
estate. I sued for my life, but God knows it
was for you and yours that I desired it : For
know it, my dear wife, your child is the child
of a true man, who in his own respect de-
spiseth death, and his mishapen and ugly — ^
forms. I cannot write much ; God knows
how hardly I steal this time, when all are
asleep : And it is also time for me to separate
my thoughts from the world. Beg iny dead
body, which living was denied you ; and
either lay it in Sherburne, or in Exeter
chui'ch, by my father and mother. I can say
no more; time and death call me away. The — '
everlasting God Almighty, who is goodness
itself, the true light and life, keep you and
yours, and have mercy upon me, and forgive
my persecutors, and false accusers ; and send
us to meet in his glorious kingdom. My dear
wife, farewell ; bless my boy, pray for me ;
and let my true God hold you both in his
ai'ms.

"Yours that was, but not now my own,

" Walter Raleigh."



NO CROSS, NO CROWN.



313



Behold wisdom, resolution, nature and grace !
how sti'ong in argument, wise in counsel, firm,
affectionate and devout. O that your heroes
and politicians would make him their example
in his death, as well as magnify the great ac-
tions of his life. I doubt not, had he been to
live over his days again, with his experience,
he had made less noise, and yet done more
good to the world and himself. It is a sad
thing to consider, that men hardly come to
know themselves, or the world, till they are
ready to leave it.

12. Hejnry Wotton, knight, thought it,
" The greatest happiness in this life, to be at
leisure to be, and to do, good;" as in his latter
end he was wont to say, when he reflected on
past times, though a man esteemed sober and
learned, " How much time have I to repent of,
and how little to do it in !"

13. Sir Christopher Hatton, a little be-
fore his death advised his relations to be serious
in the search after " the will of God in the
Holy Word :" for, said he, it is deservedly
accounted a piece of excellent knowledge to
understand the law of the land, and the cus-
toms of a man's country ; how much more to



Online LibraryWilliam EvansThe Friends' library : comprising journals, doctrinal treatises, and other writings of members of the religious Society of Friends (Volume 1) → online text (page 68 of 105)