Heiress to the most Noble Charles Duke of
Richmond and Lenox;
CORNBURY, Her Majesties Captain General and
Governour in Chief of the Provinces of New-York,
New-Jersey, and Territories depending there-on,
in America, &c.
in the Province of New-York.
in New-York, 1706.
THIS Humane Life, which we so highly prize and fondly love, is at best but a troublesom Scene of Vicissitudes and Changes, drawn out in bright Sun-shine Days and dark gloomy Nights, mixt with Sighs and Smiles, Mirth and Melancholly, Weeping and Joy, checkered with cheating Pleasures and real Troubles, raising and depressing, still vexing and disquieting us; so that the most Prosperous and Happy have had their occasions of Sorrows and causes of Complaint.
The Patriarch Jacob, whom God had blessed with old Age, with a plentiful issue of Children, and the increase of Wealth to abundance, could not forbear giving a sad and mournful Account of himself, when Pharaoh askt him his Age. The Days of the Years of my Pilgrimage are One Hundred and Thirty, and tho' I have lived so long, yet I can experimentally [1/2] say, few and evil have the days of my Pilgrimage been, Gen. 47.
Though goodness delivers from Hell, yet it is no priviledge from Crosses or Temptations, Sickness or Death; and the more eminent Holiness is, it is the more exposed many times to sharp and severe Assaults.
Of this we have an Instance in Job. He is set upon on all sides, he found the Devil a powerful enemy, and his great Estate a sudden Shipwrack, his Children in a moment crusht to pieces, and all his hopes vanisht. In this troublesome Sea of Afflictions he had but three things to comfort him, which all seemed rather to augment than lessen the Storm. The Wife of his Bosom, whose Breath should have sweetened and eased his Grief, was an impatient Vexation: His Friends, whose Counsels and Compassions should have been his tender Relief, became his bitter and censorious Judges; yea, his God, whom (by his own Testimony) he served and feared with singular uprightness, whose Bowels are ever tender and compassionate to such, and upon whose gracious Acceptance he thought to quiet and anchor his troubled Spirit; yet his God seemed not only a stranger, but an enemy; and even Mercy it self seemed cruel, and Kindness, harsh and severe.
But, under all these, we see his Behaviour and Comportment, in the general to be sweet and heavenly, tho' in some particulars it was weak and humane: When Faith was strong, he was above all Storms, but when Sense and Nature did work, he was something Impatient. Thus it is with the best, whose outward Changes afflict and disquiet them, till by a firm Relyance upon God they surmount their Natures, and shew, that he that is in them is greater than he that is in the World. And thus did Holy Job, after many Disputes with his Friends, and Conflicts with himself, he concentrates his Thoughts in Two things.
 One was, To trust still in God, let him do what he will. Chap. 3. 15. Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him. And thus he disposes of his Soul into the Hands of a faithful Creator.
The other was, To prepare for Death. All the Days of my appointed time will I wait, till my Change Come. And thus he prepareth for the Dissolution of his Body. Many Arguments he layeth down in this Chapter, which occasioned him to take up these Resolutions.
1. The Brevity of Man's Life, vers. 1, 2. Man that is born of a Woman is of few Days, and full of trouble; he cometh up like a Flower, and is cut down; he fleeth, as it were a Shadow, and never continueth in one stay. He saith not Years, nor Months, nor Weeks, but Days, and these not many, but few, as quickly set as a Shadow, and as suddenly cropt as a Flower.
2. The Misery of that short Life, Full of Trouble; every Article of Life being replenished with Sorrow, as the Veins are with Blood, and this his own experience did tell him.
3. The Certainty of Death. The Sun hath his appointed time for his Race, which in Summer is long, in the Winter short; but in both he hath an appointed time of Setting; so the Race of Mans Life, to some it may be long, to some shorter; but the Night will come, and all must be closed up in Death. Vers. 5. His Days are determined, the Number of them are with thee, Thou hast appointed his Bounds, which he cannot pass. Well might he therefore conclude with that good Resolution of applying himself seriously to the work of Preparation for his approaching end, All the Days of my appointed Time will I wait, &c.
The words contain in them two parts, 1st. his Dissolution, which he calls a Change, and a Change coming upon him, as if he were the next Person to be changed, Till [3/4] my Change come. 2dly. The Disposition he is in to receive it, I will wait, &c. He thinks of Death before Death, and prepares for it while he is yet alive: Neither was this a Sick-bed Resolution, a fit or humor, which began quickly and expired suddenly, but the serious business of his whole Life.
All the Days, &c. some read it, of my appointed Warfair, and others, of my appointed Labour: They all agree, that he means by his appointed time, the lease and term of breathing which God had allowed and determined him.
From the words thus explained, two Propositions naturally arise, viz.
First, That there is a Change which will befall the Sons of Men.
Secondly, That we should wait till this Change comes, that is, prepare our selves for it.
First, That there is a Change which will befall the Sons of Men, be we Poor or be we Rich, be we Noble or Ignoble, Prosperous or Afflicted, Strong or Weak, Old or Young, Beautiful or Deformed, Good or Bad, be we Male or Female, or whatsoever our Natures be, whatsoever our Parts or Places, our Ages or Constitutions, or how fair and durable soever our Estates appear, yet sooner or later it will be said of us, as Jacob spake in a pathetic way, of his Sons, Joseph is not, and Simeon is not. Now we are, then we shall not be: We are now reckoned upon the Account, and make up the Sum of the World; but then we shall be cancelled, and stand as Cyphers.
That dreadful Scene of Mortality daily in our view, may [4/5] serve as a Proof of this; which represents to us the Figures of all Diseases, the Images of Corruption and Mortality, naked Bones and Skulls, putrified Flesh, languid Bodies, black Coffins and broken Inscriptions, open Vaults and decayed Winding Sheets, with all other Furniture which Death keeps in the Wardrobe of the Grave. These and all other the splendid Formalities of the Deceased tell us, we shall be changed.
But that I may treat of this with all brevity and clearness, I shall do these two things, First, I shall shew that Death is a Change. 2dly, That this Change will befall all Men.
First, Death is a Change, not an Annihilation. It is a Mutation or different manner of being. Annihilation is when a thing ceaseth to be. Mutation or changing, is, when it is not as it once was. Death doth not reduce us to nothing (as some Atheistical Fools vainly imagine) but it altereth our Form something, it changeth our manner or order of being, not our Being absolutely. Now Death is a Change in these four following respects.
1. It changes that near Union of the Soul and Body, and makes of One, two severals: They were before as hands mutually clasping, or two persons conjugally tyed together, but Death plucks them asunder, and divides them as far as Heaven is from the Earth.
2. It changes our Country: Here we are Pilgrims and Strangers, but when Death comes we are changed to our City and Place. Man goeth to his long Home; the Wicked shall go to his own place (as is said of Judas) and the Righteous to their own Mountain, to that Kingdom where Christ is gone before to prepare a Mansion for us.
3. It changes our Company. In this Life we converse with sinful Men, empty Creatures, infinite Miseries, innumerable Conflicts; but when Death comes all this shall be changed, we shall go to our God and Father, to our [5/6] Christ and Saviour, to the innumerable Company of Blessed Angels and Saints, and to the Spirits of just Men made perfect.
Lastly, It changes our Condition. When Death comes we shall not find Delight in sin any more: The Excellency and Contentments of this World, and the sensual Rejoycing in them shall expire with Life: Death shall close up all in an eternal Night of Oblivion, and we shall no more think on them.
The second part of my Proposition, is, That this change of Death will befall all Men. Psal. 89. 48. What Man is he that liveth, and shall not see Death? Shall he deliver his Soul from the hand of the Grave? That all are subject to this Change, will appear.
1st, From the Quality of our Lives, which in Scripture are described by changeable things, to intimate to us the certainty of Death. Thus sometimes our Life is compared to a Shew; Surely Man walketh in a vain shew, and disquieteth himself in vain, Psal. 39. 6. Our days upon Earth are a Shadow: A Shadow is but the imitation of a Substance, a kind of nimble Picture, still going and soon eclipsed. Again, sometimes it is compared to a Vapour; What is your Life (saith St. James) it is even a Vapour which vanisheth away. Sometimes to a Tale; We spend our Years like a Tale that is told, a meer discourse of a thing, and that thing but a Parenthesis of a more tedious discourse, and many times broken off in the very telling. Isa. 40. The Voice said, Cry aloud. What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and the goodliness thereof as the flower of the grass. Vers. 7. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, because the Spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it. And Job in this Chapter, calleth it a Flower that cometh up, and is cut down. Many expressions of the like nature might be added: The Scripture is [6/7] plentiful in these Comparisons, comparing our Life to a Spiders Web, to a Weavers Shuttle, to the Breath of a Candle, to a Pilgrimage, to a Journey, to the days of a Hirling, &c. all of them things of a variable and changing nature.
The 2nd Argument may be taken from the Quality of our Natures, in which there are two things that imply the certainty of our Death. 1. Our Composition: We are a Tabernacle reared of mouldring and decaying Principles; our Bodies are called an earthly House. 2. Besides this, the sin and corruption of our Natures, which as it tears our lives with a continual Vexation, so it is the proper and procuring cause of our Death. Death is the Punishment which God inflicted upon all Mankind as the desert of sin; for thus saith the Apostle, As by one Man sin entered into the World, and Death by sin, so Death passed upon all men, in that all have sinned, Rom. 5. 12. That creature which was the first of all others for his Dignity, though last made in order of time, did the Almighty bless with such things as might make him reverenced and dreaded by all inferior Beings. But yet, the Circuit of his Empire and Bliss was bounded with a divine Law, over which if he trampled or passed, he was sure to meet with Banishment and Death. It was not long before Mans Pride and Lust (blown up with the Temptations of Satan) did intrude upon the goodness of the Maker, and presumes to try whether God would be true to his word. But no longer had Man broken down his Hedge, and transgressed a divine Command, in eating the forbidden Fruit, but the Sentence against these Malefactors was speedily executed; our first Parents turned out of Paradise, the one to get his Bread by the Sweat of his Brows, the other to multiply and people the Land in such a manner as that every Child should be a Memento of her sin, and many times a Messenger of Death. Thus Mankind [7/8] wrought his own Misery, and forced Justice to sentence him to dye. Which declares that God delights not in the Death of a Sinner; he was not the Author of Death, it was our hands that were guilty of this evil. All that God made he saw was very good, but what Man went about to mend, we see, is become very evil. To the discharge of Gods Justice and Mercy, must we all acknowledge the conception of this Brat, which we hug and bring up to destroy our selves. The same Clod of Earth which nourishes the Gourd, feeds the worm that cuts it down; and that Appetite and Will that prompts us to sin, doth only push us forward to our Graves. It was the just pleasure of God to plague Man with a Brood of his own begetting, and to make his Punishment which he once attempted to have made his Pleasure. Man believes the Devil before God, and being deluded with his Lye, he courts his Maker by a willful Sin, to perform his Promise, Thou shalt surely dye. That Death which was neither known nor heard of before in the world, now enters into it, and lays its Venom and Poyson upon every thing that we either hear or see, or taste or feel. One great Conqueror meets it in a Glass, another meets it in a Fly; one Man finds it in the Kernel of a Grape, another in the Prick of a Thorn; one in the taste of an Herb, another in the smell of a Flower; one in a bit of Meat, another in a mouthful of Air; one in the very sight of Danger, another in the apprehension of sad and dismal Stories: There is nothing that is too little to hide Death under it: Death is the Punishment, though it be inflicted many ways, and God makes use of several Instruments to be mans Executioners, and man hath as many ways to dye, as there are helps to live.
The Third Argument is from the Infallibility of Gods Decree, Heb. 9. 27. It is appointed for Men once to dye, and after Death to come to Judgement. We may sooner expect that [8/9] the Course of the Heavens should be altered, and the Centre of the Earth dislocated, than that the purpose of God concerning mans Mortality should be reversed. The determinations of God admit of no limitation or restriction, they are more Peremptory than the laws of the Meedes and Persians. Gen. 2. 17. In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely dye. And this Decree we find executed every day. Moses mentioning the Age of those who lived before the Flood (when as yet the Days of Man were of more continuance than they are now) saith, All the Days of Seth were Nine Hundred and Twelve Years, and he dyed. All the Days of Jared Nine hundred and sixty two, and he dyed. All the Days of Mathusalem Nine hundred sixty nine, and he dyed. And the same Mortuus est, he is dead, will e're long be the Cause applicable to us all. Isaac the Patriarch, Aaron the Priest, Moses the Meekest, Absolom the fiercest, David the Kingly Prophet, and Israel the People, by little and little all are gone away. The Fathers have eaten Manna, and are dead; and Christ himself being found in the fashion of a Man, humbled himself, and became obedient unto Death. It is the Municiple Law of Earth, To dye once, of Heaven, To live forever, and of Hell, to dye forever. That which St. Paul spoke in a Moral or Divine, is Time in a Natural Sence, We dye daily. Quotidie morimur quotidie enim nostrae pars demitur vitae. Seneca saith, We are born Crying, we live Laughing, and dye Sighing. Yesterday we were born of our natural Mother, and after a short Pilgrimage in this vale of Tears, we are again laid in the Womb of our common Mother, the Earth. Psal. 90. 3. Thou turneth Man to Destruction, and sayest, Return ye Children of Men.
And now the first part or Proposition of my Text is clear, That there is an appointed Time for Man upon Earth, after which he shall be changed.
 My second was the natural Result of the fore-going Consideration, That since our Change is so certain, we should wait till our Change come. Now this waiting for our Change, imports,
Living in daily expectation of it; for waiting is an act of Hope: Here we have no continuing City, but we seek one to come, living as that just Steward that waits the Return of his Master; and happy is that Servant whom when his Master cometh, he shall find so doing. I am a Stranger here, and a Sojourner, as all my Fathers were.
This Consideration makes the King of Terrors become less terrible. It is a Rule in Nature, That all Objects are less apt to disorder us, as we by Custom have rendered them more familiar. Thus daily expecting and waiting for our Change, will cure us of that starting and trembling which strangeness and Surprize chiefly occasions for us. Job made it his study to be continually looking out and observing what approaches this Change made towards him; and indeed nothing can be more idle than that pretence which vain and carnal men urge against this Practice, That it damps their Mirth, breeds Melancholly, and takes away all the enjoyments of Life; for if this bitter Cup may not pass from us, but drink it every one of us must, then sure it is the greatest prudence always to have it in our eye, and to consider how we may do it with safety and advantage.
Death is that Passage whither all People are daily coming, and all must come one time or other and where vast Multitudes (God knows) are miserably cast away: And shall we be so stupidly Negligent? so foolishly tender of giving our selves any present uneasiness? that we cannot endure to think of it, or ever concern our selves about the matter, till we are drawn down to the [10/11] very brink, and must step in whether we will or no. O wretched Delusion! O deplorable Condition! how many thousands who miscarry everlastingly, might have been saved and happy forever, had they taken the pains to view this Passage while at some distance from it?
Great and many are the benefits which a frequent Meditation of our Death, and waiting for our Change, will bring us. It shows Man what he is, how frail and miserable of his own Nature, how fond and vain all those big Conceits are which Health, and Youth, and Prosperity are apt to puff him up with; all other Glasses are false and counterfeit, but this is sincere and honest, and flatters none that consult it. It having therefore such a mighty Influence on our Manners, and tending to correct the temper of our Minds, it highly concerns us all the days of our appointed time to wait till our change come.
2. Waiting for our Change, imports, That since our continuance in this World cannot be forever, we ought therefore to wean our selves from those things that cannot continue with us long. For being rationally convinced, that all the enjoyments of this Life must some time or other drop away from us, the common Rules of Prudence will teach us, to dis-intangle our Affections from them betimes, and not be linked so closely to them. We are to wait all the days of our appointed Time till our Change come; we are only to value these outward enjoyments so far as they serve our present Circumstances, and to esteem them only as some advantages while we pass through this vale of Misery, but that they will be of no use when we come to our Journeys end. Riches and Pleasures, or whatever enjoyments this Life affords, are seldom or never so constant as to attend us to the end of it; they generally forsake us before we reach the Grave. For suppose a fit [11/12] of Sickness creeps into the Palace of a Prince, or a cold Ague takes hold of the trembling Joynts of a Rich Man, what ease can Silver or Gold afford? Can a stuffed Cabinet of Jewels asswage the burning Calenture of a Disease, or a thousand Pearls and Diamonds appease the rebelition of one tumultuous Humor, when the Stitches and Pains of a raging Distemper seize him? The rarest and most exquisite Cordials give him not the least Gust of Pleasure. When perfumes cause his head to ake, and aromatik Odours do stink in his Nostrils, when his Pillow seems harder than Flint, and his Bed-Clothes seem to press him harder than a Grave-stone, shall he then find benefit in Riches, or satisfaction in Pleasures? Shall he find ease in his Greatness, or comfort in his Honours? But admit they could wait on us to our silent Lodgings, certain it is that they cannot accompany us further; and there will be no remembrance of them in the Land where all things are forgotten, where nothing shall avail us but the Prayers and Alms-deeds we sent before us, and the Rewards of a well-spent Life.
How dreadful then will Death be to those that are wholly bent upon the concerns of this Life, and never expect their Charge? To such Death will come arrayed with all its Pomp and Terror; to take them from the World is to tear them from themselves; they are grown as it were one piece with it; it is as great a Violence to seperate them from it, as to part their Souls and Bodies, and thereby they will suffer a double Death: Whereas he that has duly considered with himself, that Death will call upon him one time or other, and that he must leave behind him all the Pleasures and Gaities of this Life, will never be so besotted with the love of those things which he must one day quit his title to; but all the days of his appointed time he will wait, &c.
3. To wait for our Change, signifies and imports, to live so as that we may meet it cheerfully when it comes. Indeed if all our concern could enable us to avoid the stroke [12/13] of Destiny, then there would be some reason for us to be solicitous upon the account; but since its an unalterable Decree that has passed upon all the Sons of Adam, That they shall dye, if we were wise we should make a virtue of Necessity, by endeavouring to live so as to make this dreadful Enemy of Mankind appear less formidable and afrighting. We should endeavour to disarm Death of its Sting, and this can be done no other way but by a sincere Repentance, and a holy and inoffensive Life.
But I must confess I am endeavouring to perswade you to a thing very much out of fashion in these days; for dying is usually the last thing we take care of: Its generally thought to be unseasonable and impertinent to advise men to consider their latter end and wait for their appointed Change, while they are yet young and vigorous, while their Blood runs briskly and evenly along the Channels of their Veins, while there is no decay in Nature, and before their white Heads tell them they are ripe for the Harvest of Death, and their trembling hands assure them they must return to the Dust.
But let me once be impertinent, whilst I remind such as these, that sometimes the strongest Trees are blown down, whilst they that are old and sapless stand secure. Very often it falls out that Death seizes on the young and lusty, hews down the vigorous and strong, whilst they that have one foot in the Grave escape. So that none can be secure and certain that he shall not be the first that falls by the hand of that mighty Conqueror; and if so, then it must be extravagant folly not to be prepared for it. It is certainly a thing of the greatest Moment in the World how Death finds us; for there's no Repentance in the Grave. But if we would be so wise as to live every day as if it were our last, we should not be unprepared when the last Day comes.
And let us remember that all outward Consolations will at [13/14] that dreadful Moment drop from us; Riches, if ill-got or mis-spent, will be a gangreen and torment to us; at the best they can only procure us a more stately Monument, but cannot give us one Moments ease; nay, they will disturb our Devotions & distract our Thoughts how to dispose of them, if we have left that to the last. Our friends can then only mourn and pray for us by our Bed sides, and with watry Eyes and heavy Hearts attend us to our Graves, and weep over us; and all our Honours and Preferments will only serve to lay us in the Dust with more Pomp and Solemnity, and to imbellish a Scutcheon surrounded with deaths Heads and naked Bones. But it is a Life that has been led innocently and devoutly, that will support us under our last Conflict; and if we have persevered in well doing, we shall lie down in Death as to a sweet Repose after a hard days labour, from whence we shall have hopes to awaken to eternal Happiness.
4th and lastly, To wait for a Change, imports, a patient submitting to the will of God when he shall call us out of this World. We are in this World Candidates for Eternity: This is the stage on which we are to act our several parts, the Field in which we fight for the Prize of Immortality and Glory; and when our state of Probation is past, when the Scene is ended, and the Battle determined, we ought willingly put off these Tabernacles of Clay in hopes of a happy Resurrection. Mortality carries in it Misery, and tells us he runs through many Difficulties, whose Race is only to the Grave. If we look back upon mans Life, its but dying; Death borders upon our Birth, and our Cradle stands upon the brink of our Grave, where we lie in cryes & tears, unable to help our selves. From Infancy we creep to Childhood; we are then full of a Levity, and become the solicitous cares and anxious fears of our Parents. If then we get to Youth, we are to sail through the most difficult Straits of our Life; here every one provides for his future living, this [14/15] being the time to chuse either evil or good: Now the Parents hope begins to bud and lay all the expectation of their Childrens succeeding Prosperity: The Youth is in suspence which way to take, the Parent, which way to bestow him: Nature inclines him to Vice, his Parents prudence solicits him to Virtue; and great is the Contest betwixt hopes, fears, and love, whether Children will prove wicked or good. If from Youth we come to Manhood, yet in the strength of Body and Mind do we find Assaults enough to destroy us; for if we have any Estates left us by Relations, how many Cares, Quarrels and Law-suits go along with it, besides the trouble of a haughty Mind, a high Spirit and disdainful Pride, which are the common Associates of great Estates. If we have no Estates, we murmur and repine at our Misfortunes, and labour and toil to get a little Riches, with a great deal of envy and malice to those that are wealthier. He comes now to pass through all the Humours and Censures of men; one will censure the growing Estate as the result of Cheating or Theft, another, his favours with the great to be the effect of informing, plotting, and projecting. There is no Valour without Swearing (says the Hector) no pleasures like those of Sense (saith the Voluptuous.) If you are Poor, no Body owns you; if Rich, you will own no body. If you dye Young, what pity is it (say they) that he should be cut off in his prime; if Old, there is no miss of him, he was past the best. If you are Religious and frequent in the Church, you are a Hypocrite; if you do not, then you are an Atheist or Heretick. If pleasant and familiar, you pass for a Jester; if pensive and reserved, then you are called Sullen and Morose. Courtesy is called Colloging and Flattery; down right Honesty & Plain-dealing, Pride and ill-Manners.
This is the Censure of the World, through which all men must pass, and after all these, we run into as many more, greater and more grievous than the former, through anxities [15/16] of Mind, trouble from Cares and daily Vexations in our Places, Callings, and Functions; so that whether we look upon our Selves, this World or this Life, there is no thing that should tempt us to dote too fondly on living. Seneca confesses, That his Employment, tho' very solitary, gave him no truce or repose. The Sea it self for a time may enjoy Calm. Musick hath necessarily some Pauses, the Earth is not still beaten with Winds or Hail, nor the Air always disturbed with Vapours, but alternately rests day and night; but the Life of Man hath War without Truce, continual Storms, restless Complaints & Obscurities, which overshadow him at Noon. Honours are hardly got, and suddenly lost, or Pleasures feigned, not real, they vanish in the enjoyment; our Riches are not constant, either consuming or changing their Masters; our Friends and Objects of our Love cannot stay long with us; all part at the Grave. We who now bemoan the decease of our Friends, and drop our Tears on the Ashes of this honourable Lady, shall have others e're long to bemoan ours. We weep by turns, and sorrow that others are gone, and we are left. These Considerations, besides the hopes of a better Life after this, should make us wait our Change, and readily submit to God's Decree, and account the house of Mourning before the House of Mirth, and the day of ones Death before the Day of ones Birth; and so we shall be willing and contented to resign our vital Breath when God pleases to order it.
All these being natural Inferences of the former Doctrinal Proposition, want nothing but our practical Application of them, each of us to our selves, That we may, with much elevation of Soul, magnifie the goodness to God who has given us a Life, and his Mercy which is discovered in every part of it, and that love and favour which he shews in calling us from the troubles of this World, to a quiet repose in the Grave, from which he has promised to raise us to a glorious participation of himself, when the light of his Countenance [16/17] shall shine upon us, and by its clear Beams and Irradations dispell the Clouds of Darkness and Disasters, where we shall be free from all Trouble, and secure against Despondency, encircled in the Arms of Divine Love, and made strong by partaking of the source of all Felicity.
I HAVE now done with my Text, and should have made a final stop, were there not here an Emblem of Mortality that calls for your Eyes and Thoughts, and by pathetick Silence Preaches the frailty and vanity of human Life. You see before you a black Coffin, which contains in it the Lifeless Body of the Right Honourable Lady CORNBURY: The dumb Oratory of this silent Object gives you to understand, in a language sufficiently intelligible, that we are met here to perform her Funeral Obsequies, the last solemn Rite of our profound Respect.
I ever held Sighs the best Figures, and Tears the most fluent Rhetorick in a Funeral Oration; yet Christian Charity hath been so powerful in all Ages as to retain a pious and laudable Custom at Funeral Solemnities to adorn the Dead with deserved Praise of their Life, not for Pomp, or vain glorious Ostentation, but that Gods Glory may be forever magnified, by whose Grace they have been enabled to do any good Work, to fight the good Fight, to run their Race, and that their Survivors may be encouraged to persevere in well-doing, by the like hopes of divine Grace and a happy Eternity.
In Conformity to this Christian and commendable Practice, and to do justice to the deceased, I shall speak a little of her Death, only in this Unhappy, that it was so soon, and perhaps her Friends may account it an additional Unhappiness that this Office is performed by one so unworthy and unfit as my self; but being commanded, a modest silence of what might have been deservedly said of her I shall use as a veil to cover the imperfections of my weak Oratory.
 To begin with the Pedigree of this deceased Lady, She was of a very antient and honourable Family. Not to dive in Chronicles to seek far back for her Extract, I shall only mention some of the nearest of her noble Ancestors.
Henry Lord O Brian, Son and Heir apparent to the Right Honourable Henry Earl of Richmond, of the Kingdom of Ireland, married the Lady Katherine Stuart, sole Sister and Heir to the most Noble Charles Duke of Richmond & Lenox, by whom he had three Sons, who all dyed under Age, and two Daughters, Mary, who married the Right Honourable the Earl of Kildare in Ireland, and Katherine, who on the tenth day of July, 1688, was married to Edward Lord Viscount CORNBURY, Son and Heir apparent to the Right Honourable Henry Earl of Clarendon, which said Katherine and Lady Cornbury upon the Death of her Mother, the Rt. Honourable the Lady Katherine O Brian, became Barroness Clifton of Leighton Bromswold in the County of Warwick in England, and sole Heir to the most Noble Duke of Richmond and Lenox, her Uncle; of seven Children which God blessed her with, she has left behind her one Son & two Daughters (the happy issue and remaining Comforts of her Mournful Consort) whose early Blossoms of pregnant Ingenuity and Virtue give us reason to hope they will inherit the eminent Excellencies and glorious Perfections of the Noble and Illustrous Family of which they are descended.
As for her Personal Worth, we may take an estimate of it from the great Passion which afflicts and oppresses her honourable Consort. The too severe and visible effects of it are an unexceptionable Testimony how dearly he loved her; and that it was not a dissembled Passion, it is not an ordinary thing for one of so great a Mind, one who has look't the most formidable Dangers, even Death it self in the face, (without fear or annoyance) to feel all the Agonies of Death and Convulsions of Mind upon the sight of a sick and dying Spouse.
 She was for many days in a prospect of Death, she saw it as it approached, and felt it come by degrees; all that saw her before her Death, might behold, with sorrow, a pitiful Anatomy of frail Mortality, and yet with joy see a Pattern of Christian Patience.
On Tuesday before her Death she professed to me (having the honour to wait on her then) That she was most willing to leave the World, that she dyed in the faith of the Church of England, in which she reckoned her self happy that she had been born. She declared her self to be in perfect Charity with all the World, forgiving them as she expected forgiveness at Christs hands. She received the Sacrament and Absolution of the Church, and desired our Prayers might be continued for her in the language of our holy Mother. She prayed to God to enable her patiently to abide his good will and pleasure, and go through her last and greatest work with faith and patience.
She had strength and vigor of Age which promised a much longer life, but the frequent returns of her Distemper put her in mind that her Body was to return to the Dust, and her Spirit to her heavenly Father. At last her tender Father relaxed her of all her Pains, and received her to himself on his own day, on which about half an hour after eleven at night she began to keep her everlasting Sabbath in Heaven, where she reaps what she sowed, and seeth what she believed, and enjoyeth what she hoped for, and is now entered into Joys which Eye hath not seen, nor Ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive.
And now she is gone to her long home, and the Mourners go about the Streets; She is gone to the Grave when the Age of Thirty four Years was nigh spent in Trouble & Sorrow: Her Body must now be put in the Dust, and her Spirit is returned to God that gave it, and being dead she yet speaketh.
She speaketh to her honourable Relict, the Partner of her Cares, [19/20] That he be comforted with the Hopes of their happy meeting in a state of Glory, when all Tears shall be wiped from their Eyes, and there shall be no more Sorrow.
To you, Madam Theodosia, her beloved Daughter, that you may always remember the advice of your dying Mother, in being a follower of all godly Matrons, and in begging of God the additional Ornaments of his Grace, to those excellent endowments of Nature which God has very plentifully bestowed on you.
To all you her Friends (she speaks) who are now on your way following apace after her, Be not sorry as without hope, for I sleep in Christ: Moderate your Passion by Reason, your Fears by Hope, your Grief by Faith, and Nature by Grace: Let not the swelling torrents of your tears too much overflow their Banks: Weep not for me, I have laid down my Staff, my Scrip, my Bag, the badges of my Pilgrimage, and have arrived to my Journeys end.
And now the Lord hath received her into his own Protection, and satisfied her expectations with the performances of his Love. Thus we hope in respect of her, and thus we wish in behalf of others deceased.
Good Lord teach us so to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto Wisdom; and grant that as we grow in years we may grow in the knowledge of thy Truth, and obedience to thy Will, in faith in thy Promises, and love toward Thee & toward our Neighbor, for thy sake; That when we come to the end of our days we may come to the end of our hope, the Salvation of our Souls, through Jesus Christ, To Whom, with thee, O Father, and thee, O holy Spirit, three Persons, but one true, immortal and only wise God, be given, both from us and all thy Creatures in Heaven and in Earth, continual Praise, Honour and Glory, Dominion and Power now and for evermore. Amen.