Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

every bush, and running so about for his preservation. But, when he considered that it would be some mitigation of her sorrow afterwards, that she left nothing undone that could have given any probable hopes, he acquiesced: and, indeed I never saw his heart so near failing him, as when he spake of her. Sometimes I saw a tear in his eye, and he would turn about, and presently change the discourse. He resolved to receive the Sacrament on Friday, and so resolved to spend that day as he intended to have done the Lord's day, had he lived so long. The sacrament was to be given him early in the morning, because of Captain Richardson's attendance on the other executions that day. So the Dean of Canterbury, who was with him every day, except Thursday (in which he was engaged), came in the morning, and gave it him according to the common prayer; which he received with that grave and sedate devotion, that still appeared in him. His man desired to receive with him; so the Captain took our promise that there should be nothing done, while his man was in the room, but the giving of the sacrament; and therefore, till it was over, the Dean spake nothing to him: but, after that, the Dean asked him of his believing all the Articles of Christian Religion, which were, indeed, the doctrine of this Church. He said he did believe them truly. Then he asked him of his forgiving all persons. That, he said, he did from his heart. And, in the last place, he told him, he hoped he would discharge his conscience in full and free confession. He assured him he had done it; so the Dean left him. None but my Lady and I staid; and that morning I preached two sermons to him: the first was on Rev. xiv. 13, the second on Psalm xxiii. 4. They were about half an hour in length; and there was an interval of about two hours between. He was pleased to tell me, at night, that what I spake came into his heart ', and he believed it was sent to him from God. In the interval, he told me he could not pretend to such high joys and longings, but on entire resignation of himself to the will of God, and a perfect serenity of his mind. He said he once had some trouble, because he found not those longings Mr. Hampden the younger had, of whom he spake often with great kindness and esteem. He had, a few days before his commitment, given him, from Mr. Baxter, his late book of " Dying Thoughts;" and he found many things in that so pat to his own condition, that he blessed God for the comforts of that book. He dined as he used to do. After dinner, he signed the copies of his papers, and wished it might be that night sent to the press, which my Lady ordered by his directions. After dinner, his children were

brought to him. I saw him receive them with his ordinary serenity; but I staid not till he dismissed them. I left him for about three hours, and came to him at eight o'clock. He supped very cheerfully, and, after supper, fell into a long and pleasant discourse of his two daughters, and of several other things. He desired me to pray, both before supper and at his parting with my Lady. He talked of several passages concerning dying men with that freedom in his spirit, that made us all stare one upon another. And when a note was sent to my Lady of a new project for his preservation, he did so treat it in ridicule, that I was amazed; and I wondered much that, when he saw us that were about him not able to contain our griefs, he, who was so tender himself, was not by that more softened.

At ten o'clock my Lady left him. He kissed her four or five times; and she kept her sorrow so within herself, that she gave him no disturbance by their parting. After she was gone, he said, "Now the bitterness of death is past," and ran out into a long discourse concerning her — how great a blessing she had been to him; and said, what a misery it would have been to him, if she had not had that magnanimity of spirit, joined to her tenderness, as never to have desired him to do a base thing for the saving of his life:

Vol. 11. T

whereas, otherwise, what a week should I have passed, if she had been crying on me to turn informer, and be a Lord Howard! Though he then repeated, what he had often before said, that he knew of nothing whereby the peace of the nation was in danger; and that all that ever was, was either loose discourse, or at most embryos, that never came to any thing; so that there was nothing on foot, to his knowledge. But he left that discourse, and returned to speak of my Lady. He said there was a signal providence of God in giving him such a wife, where there was birth, fortune, great understanding, great religion, and great kindness to him; but her carriage in his extremity was beyond all. He said, he was glad that she and his children were to lose nothing by his death; and it was great comfort to him, that he left his children in such a mother's hands; and that she had promised to him to take care of herself for their sakes: which I heard her do. Then he left this discourse, and talked of his change; how great a change death made, and how wonderful those new scenes would strike on a soul. He had heard how some that had been born blind were struck, when, by the couching of their cataracts, they saw; but what, said he, if the first thing one saw were the sun rising?

About twelve he undressed himself, and was locked in, having given order to call him at four; so at four we called him, and he was fast asleep. He dressed himself as he used to do; neither with more nor less care; only he would not lose time to be shaved. He was in the same temper he had always been in, and thanked God he felt no sort of fear nor hurry in his thoughts. We prayed together, with some intervals, five or six times; and, between hands, he often went into his chamber, and prayed by himself. Once he came out with more than ordinary joy, and said he had been much inspired in his last prayer, and wished he could have writ it down, and sent it to his wife. The Dean came, and prayed, and spake also with him. We both looked at one another, amazed at the temper he was in. He gave me several commissions to his relations; but none more earnest than to one of them, against all revenges for what had been done to him. He told me he was to give me his watch, and wound it up and said, "I have done with time; now eternity comes." The ring, in which the ribband goes, broke in his hand, which he thought a little strange. He once was giving me his watch in the prison, but he thought it would be more decent to do it on the scaffold. He also called a story to mind, which might perhaps come to be talked of, in which another was concerned, and though his part was worthy

« ПредишнаНапред »