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the assurances of the love and mercy of God, in and through my blessed Redeemer, in whom only I trust; and I do not question but I am going to partake of that fulness of joy which is in his presence. These hopes, therefore, do so Wonderfully delight me, that I think this is the happiest time of my life, though others may look upon it as the saddest.
"I have lived, and now am of the reformed religion, a true and sincere Protestant, and in the communion of the Church of England; though I could never yet comply with, or rise up to all the heights of many people. J wish with all my soul all our differences were removed; and that all sincere Protestants would so far consider the danger of Popery, as to lay aside their heats, and agree against the common enemy; and that the Churchmen would be less severe, and the Dissenters less scrupulous; for I think bitterness and persecution are at all times bad, but much more now.
"For Popery, I look on it as an idolatrousand bloody religion; and therefore thought myself bound, in my station, to do all I could against it; and, by that, I foresaw I should procure such great enemies to myself, and so powerful ones, that I have been now for some time expecting the worst; and, blessed be God! I fall by the axe, and not by the fiery trial! yet, whatever apprehensions I had of Popery, and of my own severe and heavy share I was like to have under it, when it should prevail, I never had a thought of doing any thing against it basely or inhumanely, but what would consist with the Christian religion, and the laws and liberties of this kingdom. And, I thank God, I have examined all my actions in that matter with so great care, that I can appeal to God Almighty, who knows my heart, that I went on sincerely, without being moved either by passion, by-ends, or ill designs. I have always loved my country much more than my life, and never had any design of changing the government, which I value, and look upon as one of the best governments in the world, and would always have been ready to venture my life for the preserving it; and would suffer any extremity, rather than have consented to any design of taking away the King's life; neither, had any man the impudence to propose so base and barbarous a thing to me; and I look upon it as a very unhappy and uneasy part of my present condition, that there should be so much as mention made of so vile a fact, though nothing in the least was said to prove any such matter, but the contrary, by my Lord Howard; neither does any body, I am confident, believe the least of it; so that I need not, I think, say more.
"For the King, I do sincerely pray for him, and wish well to him and the nation, that they may be happy in one another; that he may be indeed, the Defender of the Faith; that the Protestant religion, and the peace and safety of the kingdom may be preserved, and flourish under his government; and that himself, in his person, may be happy both here and hereafter.
"As for the share I had in the prosecution of the Popish plot, I take God to witness, that I proceeded in it in the sincerity of my heart, being then really convinced (as I am still) that there was a conspiracy against the King, the nation, and the Protestant religion; and I likewise profess, that I never knew any thing, directly or indirectly, of any practices with the witnesses, which I look upon as so horrid a. thing, that I nevep could have endured it; for, thank God, falsehood and cruelty were never in my nature, but always the farthest from it imaginable. I did believe, and do still, that Popery is breaking in upon this nation, and that those that advance it will stop at nothing to carry on their design. I am heartily sorry that so many Protestants give their helping hand to it; but I hope God will preserve the Protestant religion, and this nation, though I am afraid it will fall under very great trials, and very sharp sufferings; and, indeed, the impiety and profaneness that abounds, and appears so scandalously bare-faced everywhere, gives too just occasion to fear the worst thing that can befal a people. I pray God prevent it, and give those who have showed a concern for the public good, and have appeared hearty for the true interest of the nation, and the Protestant religion, grace to live so, that they may not cast a reproach on that which they endeavoured to advance, which (God knows) has often given me sad thoughts; and I hope such of my friends as may think they are touched by this, will not take what I say in ill part, but will endeavour to amend their ways, and live suitable to the rules of the true reformed religion, which is the only thing that can administer true comfort at the latter end, and relieve a man when he comes to die.
"As for my present condition, I bless God I have no repining in my heart at it. I know, for my sins, I have deserved much worse at the hands of God; so that I cheerfully submit to so small a punishment aa the being taken off a few years sooner, and the being made a spectacle to the world. I do freely forgive all the world, particularly those concerned in taking away my life; and I desire and conjure all my friends to think of no revenge, but to submit to the holy will of God, into whose hands I resign myself entirely.
** But to look back a little: I cannot but give some touch about the Bill of Exclusion, and show the reason of my appearing in that business, which, in short, is this,—that I thought the nation in such danger of Popery, and that the expectations of a Popish successor (as I have said in Parliament) put the King's life likewise in much danger, that I saw no way so effectual to secure both, as such a bill. As to the limitations that were proposed, if they were sincerely offered, and had passed into a Jaw, the Duke then should have been excluded from the power of a King, and the government quite altered, and little more than the name of a King left; so I could not see either sin or fault in the one; when all the people were willing to admit of the other; but thought it better to have a King with his prerogative, and the nation easy and safe under him, than a King without it, which would breed perpetual jealousies and a continual struggle. All this I say only to justify myself, not to inflame others, though I cannot but think my earnestness in that matter has had no small influence in my present sufferings. But I have now done with this world, and am going to a kingdom which cannot be moved.
"And as to the conspiring to seize the guards which is the crime for which I am condemned, and which is made a constructive treason, for