Published in a Sermon at his Funeral at Westminster-Abbey, April 16, 1656, by DR. BERNARD.
JAMES USHER was born in Dublin, in the parish of St. Nicholas, in the year 158O: His father, Mr. ARLAND USHER, was brought up in the study of the law, a person of excellent parts and endowments. His mother, MRS. MARGARET STANIHURST, was seduced to the Romish Religion while he was in England, whom they had in some vows so en-gaged, that when he came back she could not be reclaimed, to his no small grief. His grandfather by his mother's side was JAMES STANIHURST, three times Speaker of the House of Commons in Ireland: he made the first motion for the founding of a College and University in Dublin; he was Recorder of that city, one of the Masters of the Chancery, and a man of great wisdom and integrity. His uncle by his father's side was HENRY USHER, Archbishop of Armagh, a wise and learned man, who was sent over to petition QUEEN ELIZABETH for the founding of a college and university in Dublin, which he obtained; so that the college (of which this person was the sacred first-fruits) had its being by his grandfather's motion, and his uncle's effecting. He had a brother, AMBROSE USHER, who died young; a man of great abilities also, who excelled in the knowledge of the Oriental languages.—Two of his aunts, who by reason of their blindness never saw letters, taught him first to read. Their readiness in the Scripture was marvelous, being able readily to repeat any part of the Bible.
At eight years old he was sent to the grammar-school; SIR JAMES FILLERTON (who was afterwards ambassador in France and died in a great office at Court) was his schoolmaster. He, with SIR JAMES HAMILTON, (after-wards LORD VISCOUNT CLANDEBOISE,) who was usher of the school, were sent then out of Scotland by KING JAMES upon another design, only disguised in that employment: they came very opportunely for his founding in learning; in which he often acknowledged the providence of God.
At ten years old he found in him the true sense of religion, by a sermon which he heard preached upon Rom. 12:1. His reading then of some notes, taken in writing from MR. PERKINS, concerning the sanctifying of the LORD's day, took so with shim, that he was ever after careful to keep it. He then read in Latin ST. AUGUSTINE'S Meditations, which so moved him, that he wept often in the reading of them.
Upon the accustoming himself thus to good duties in his tender years, the Devil endeavored to nip him in the bud, by divers sorts of terrors and affrightments, sleeping and waking, tending to the discouraging of him in the way of GODliness. But he constantly applied himself to prayer, and at length was heard in that he feared, by some unusual way of support and comfort; which made such impression on him, that it was fresh in his memory in his elder years. When he could not be frighted out of that course, the Devil laid a bait of pleasure to withdraw him from it, by some of his friends teaching him to play at cards, with which he found himself so delighted, that it not only took place of the love of his book, but began to be a rival with that spiritual part in him; upon the apprehension of which, he gave it over, and never played after.
At twelve years old he was so affected with chronology and antiquity, that reading SLEIDAN on the Four Empires, and other authors, he drew out an exact series of times when each eminent person lived. In the space of five years he was perfectly instructed in grammar, rhetoric, and poetry. He excelled in poetry, with which he found himself so delighted, that he took himself from it, lest it should have taken him off from more serious studies.
At thirteen he was admitted into the College of Dublin, being the first scholar that was entered into it. And now SIR JAMES HAMILTON, hitherto usher of the school, was chosen Fellow of the College, and so became his tutor; whom I have often heard admiring his quickness and proficiency. At fourteen years old he was called to receive the LORD's Supper. The afternoon before, his usual custom was to sequester himself, and spend it in strict examination, and penitential humiliation of himself for his sins, which was so operative, that streams of tears ran from him; on which, as an exemplary provocation and censure of him-self; he often reflected, when he became more advanced in years.
I have often heard him speak of a certain place by a water-side, whither he frequently resorted, sorrowfully to recount his sins, and with floods of tears to pour them out in the confession of them; the fruit of which he found to be so sweet to his soul, that he thirsted for all occasions of such a sequestration, and so usually on Saturdays in the afternoon it was his custom. One sin he lamented was, his too great love of human learning, that he should be as glad of Monday to go to that, as of the LORD's day for his service; it cost him many a tear, that he could not be more heavenly-minded at that age.
At fifteen he had made such a proficiency in chronology, that in Latin he drew up an exact chronicle of the Bible, as far as the Book of Kings. About that time he had a strong temptation, that GOD did not love him, because he had no outward afflictions, or troubles of conscience, occasioned by some inconsiderate expressions. which he read in some writers.
Before he was Bachelor of Arts, he had read STAPLE-TO N'S " Fortress of the Faith; " and finding his confidence in asserting antiquity for the tenets of Popery, he was put to a plunge within himself: this he took for a truth, that the most ancient church must be the best. His suspicion was, that STAPLETON might misquote the Fathers, or wrest them to his own sense: hence he took up a. resolution, that if GOD gave him life and health, he would read the Fathers all over; and so he began that work at twenty years of age, and finished it at thirty-eight, strictly observing his proportion each day, whatever occasions diverted him.
But now his Father's intention to send him over hither to the Inns of Court, for the study of the Common Law, much disturbed him; yet, in obedience to his Father, he assented, and resolved on it. But, not long after, his Father died, and being then at liberty to make choice of his studies, he devoted himself to Divinity, and was chosen Fellow of the College; before which he was incapable of taking the oath then given at the admission of them, viz. " That the present intent of their studies should be for the profession of Divinity, unless Go]) should afterwards other-wise dispose their minds."
Here was given another occasion of disturbance, His Father left him a very good estate in land: but finding that he must have involved himself in many suits in law before it could have been settled, to the withdrawing him from his studies, he gave it up to his brother and sisters, and suffered his Uncle to take letters of administration for that end; being in those years resolved to cast himself upon the Providence of GOD, to whose service in the ministry he had devoted himself, and not doubting but He would provide for him.
When he was nineteen years old, he disputed with HENRY FITZ-SYMONDS, the Jesuit, in the Castle of Dublin. He offered to dispute with him through the controversies of BELLARMINE. The first subject was De Anti-CHRISTO: twice or thrice they had solemn disputations. He was ready to have proceeded; but the Jesuit was weary of it, yet gives him a tolerable commendation, and much admires his forwardness at such young years. Some of his words are, " There came once to me a youth of about eighteen years of age, one of a too soon ripe wit, scarcely, as you would think, gone through his course of philosophy, or got out of his childhood, yet ready' to dispute of the most abstruse points in Divinity." And after-wards the same Jesuit, living to understand more of him, said he was Aeatholicorum doctissinus,—as an unusual, so a tender expression. He was does to call him a heretic, but terms him " of such as are not Catholics, the most learned."
About twenty years of age he commenced Master of Arts, and was chosen Catechist of the College, where he went through a great part of the body of Divinity in the chapel. And now by reason of the scarcity of Preachers, (it being there then as in SAMUEL'S time, " The word of Go]) was precious,") three young men of the College were appointed to preach in CHRIST-Church before the State. One of them was this most learned Primate; and his part was to handle the controversies for the satisfaction of the Papists, on the LORD'S day in the afternoon; which he did so perspicuously, ever concluding with matter of exhortation, that it was much for the confirmation and edification of the Protestants. But after a little space, he refused to continue it, because he had not yet received ordination; and that he also made a scruple of taking yet, on account of his defect of years, the constitutions of England requiring twenty-four, and he not yet being twenty-one; but by some of the most grave and learned men, he was told the LORD had need of him. Upon their urging him, and his age being dispensed with, he was ordained by his Uncle HENRY USHER, then Archbishop of Armagh.
The first text on which he preached publicly, after his ordination, was Rev. 3:1, " You have a name that you live, and art dead." It fell out to be the same day with the battle of Kinsale, the Friday before Christmas-day, 16O1; and it being a day specially set apart for prayer for a good success upon that engagement, and being his first-fruits in that office, might possibly be the more efficacious. He began that Epistle to the Church of Sardis then, and finished it afterwards. The design was then known, that if the Spaniards had got the better, most of the Protestants would have been slain by the Irish Papists, both in Dublin and elsewhere, but especially the Ministers, without any distinction: hence arose a temptation in him to have deferred ordination till the even of that battle were known, whereby he should not have been in such imminent danger; but he repelled that motion, and resolved the rather upon it, conceiving that he should, in that office of the ministry, and for that cause, die the next door to martyrdom.
After the overthrow of the Spaniards at Kinsale, the hopes of the Irish being lost, they began to subject them-selves to the statute now put in execution, in coming to church; and for their further information in point of religion, the LORD-Lieutenant and Council desired the Ministers so to divide themselves, that in each church, on the LORD'S day in the afternoon, in imitation of what he had already begun at CHRIST-Church, there might be a sermon for that end. A convenient church (St. Catherine's) was assigned for this reverend person, who removed accordingly, and duly observed it. His custom was to draw up the sum of what he had delivered into questions and answers; and, on the following Sunday, persons of good esteem voluntarily offered themselves to repeat the answers before the whole congregation, which occasioned them to be the more taken notice of by the Papists.
By this his labor, and that of others of his brethren, not only in Dublin, but in other parts of the kingdom, the Papists came to church so diligently, that if they had occasion to absent themselves, they would send their excuse to the Churchwardens. But notwithstanding these good beginnings, suddenly the statute was again suspended, and the power of the High-Commission was withdrawn; at which the Papists presently withdrew themselves again, and Popery from that time returned to a higher tide than before, and overflowed its former banks in a general deluge over the whole nation.
Upon this, the spirit of this holy and eminent person, like ST. PAUL'S at Athens, was stirred within him; and preaching before the State at CHRIST-Church, Dublin, upon a special solemnity, he did, with as much prudence and fortitude as might become those younger years, give them his sense of that their toleration of idolatry; and made full and bold application of that passage in the Vision of EZEKIEL, (chap. 4:6,) where the Prophet, by lying on his side, was to bear the iniquity of Judah forty days: " I have appointed thee a day for a year, even a day for a year," as the old translation of that Bible which he then used, reads it. This, by consent of interpreters, signifies the time of forty years to the destruction of Jerusalem, and of that nation, for their idolatry. He made then his direct application. in relation to that connivance of Popery, viz. " From this year will I reckon the sin of Ireland, that those whom you now embrace shall be your ruin, and you shall bear this iniquity."
Having since had occasion further to consider it, we found that there were, from the year 16O1, forty years to the late rebellion and destruction of Ireland, in the year 1641, done by those Papists, and Popish Priests, who were connived at. He had reserved the notes of that sermon, with the dates of the year and day on which he preached it; and it is the more observable, for it was one of the last which he wrote throughout word for word; afterwards, without writing any thing but the heads, he put his meditations wholly upon the strength of his memory, and GOD’s assistance.
This is a very observable passage; and if it may be conceived to be a prophetic impulse in those years, he was the more like to SAMUEL, who in his youth was sent with a similar message to ELI, relating the ruin of his native country, " That the LORD would do such a thing in Israel, that whosoever heard it, both his ears should tingle." And what a continued expectation he had of a judgment upon his native country, I can witness from the year 1624, when I had the happiness first to be known to him; and the nearer the time every year, the more confident he was, to my admiration, there being nothing visibly tending to the fear of it.
After this, he constantly came over to England once in three years, and thus he spent the summer:—one month at Oxford; another at Cambridge; (searching the books, but especially the manuscripts, of each University;) the third month at London, attending chiefly Sin Thomas COT-TON'S library, and conversing with learned men, with whom in those younger years he was in great esteem. And in after years, there was scarcely a choice book in any eminent person's library, in France, Italy, Germany, or Rome, but he had his way to have it, or what he desired transcribed: and he was better unacquainted with the Pope's Vatican, than some who were its daily visitors.
The first church-preferment he had, was the Chancellor-ship of St. Patrick's, Dublin, unto which he took no other benefice. In this dignity the law might have excused him from preaching, excepting only sometimes, in his course, be-fore the State; yet he would not omit it to the place from whence he received the profits, but went thither in person, viz. to Finglas, a mile from Dublin, and preached there every Lord's day, unless upon extraordinary occasions he were detained; and in having been a constant Preacher, he took in his elder years more comfort than in all his other labors and writings.
His experiences in prayer were many, and very observable in the return of his desires in kind, and that immediately, when he had been in some distresses; and the Providence of GOD in taking care of him in his younger years, as he did often recount, confirmed his dependence upon him in these his elder.
When he was twenty-seven years old, in the year 16O7, he commenced Bachelor of Divinity, and immediately after was chosen Professor of Divinity in the University of Dublin.
In the year 1612, he proceeded Doctor of Divinity: one of his lectures, pro grade, was on the Seventy Weeks to the slaying of the MESSIAH; (Dan. 9:24;) the other (Rev. 20:4) concerning the sense of" The saints reigning with Cnnisr a thousand years." In the year 1613, he published that book " De Ecclesiarum Christianarunz Successione et State," magnified by CASAUBON and SCULTETUS, in their Greek and Latin verses before it. It was solemnly presented by ARCHBISHOP ABBOT tO KING JAMES, as the eminent first-fruits of the College of Dublin.
In the year 1615, there was a Parliament in Dublin, and a Convocation of the Clergy, when those learned Articles of Ireland were composed and published, which he, being a member of the Synod, was appointed to draw up, They were highly approved by the most orthodox Divines. I know no cause of some men's speaking against them, unless for that they determine, according to ST. AUGUSTINE'S Doctrine against the Pelagians, " the man of sin" (2 Thes. 2:) to be the Bishop of Rome, and the Morality of the Sabbath; of both which, this most learned Primate was very confident, and wished that some learned men of late had spared their pens to the contrary.
And now he wanted not enemies in scandalizing him to KING JAMES, under the title of a Puritan, to prevent any further promotion of him. But it so fell out, that this was the occasion of his advancement; for KING JAMES, being in some fear of him upon that score by the eminency of his learning, fell into some full discourse with him, and received such abundant satisfaction of the soundness of his judgment and piety, that, notwithstanding the opposition of great ones, without his seeking, he made him Bishop of Meath in Ireland, and, as I have heard, did often boast, that " he was a Bishop of his own making." But the misinterpretations which some of his enemies had raised and spread of him moved him voluntarily to declare his judgment, as to the doctrine and discipline of the Church of England, which was to the satisfaction of all good men.
He did not now slacken in his constancy of preaching, but bound himself the rather to it, by the motto of his episcopal seal, Yoe nzihi si non evangelizazero; which he continued in the seal of his primacy also. While he was in England, PRIMATE HAMPTON dying, he was made, in the year 1624, Primate of Ireland, the hundredth Bishop of that see, from the first, supposed to be PATRICIUS, who lived in ST. AUGUSTINE'S time, four hundred years after CHRIST, of whom we read much in divers ancient writers. And this reverend Primate, in his. book called " The Religion of the Ancient Irish," has made it appear very probable, that the doctrine which ST. PATRICK planted, and preached among them at first, was the same now professed by us.
When he was thus promoted to the highest rank which his profession allowed, in his native country, he was the more humble and laborious in preaching. And it so fell out, that, for some weeks together, preaching beyond his, strength, to the over-much wasting of his spirits, at the request of some Ministers in Essex that he would preach upon the week-days, he fell into a quartan ague, which held him three quarters of a year.
After his recovery, the LOAD MORDATJNT, afterwards EARL of PETERBOROUGH, being a Papist, and desirous to draw his Lady to the same religion, was willing that there should be a meeting of two prime men of each party, to dispute what might be in controversy between them. The Lady made choice of the LORD Primate, and prevailed with him, though newly recovered, and scarcely able to take that journey. The Jesuit chosen by the Earl, went under the name of BEAUMOND, but his real name was RooxwooD; and he was the brother of AMBROSE ROOKWOOD, one of the conspirators of the Gunpowder-Treason, who was executed. The place of meeting was at Drayton, in Northamptonshire, where there was a great library, so that no books of the ancient Fathers were wanting for their view. The points proposed were concerning Transubstantiation, Invocation of Saints, Images, and the Visibility of the Church. Three days were spent in disputations, but the conclusion was this: after the third day, the LORD Primate hitherto having been opponent, and now the Jesuit taking that part upon him, and my LORD that of respondent, that morning about the time he was expected, he excused his coming to the Earl, saying, " That all the arguments he had framed in his own head, and which, he thought, he had as perfect as his Pater-noster, he had forgotten, and could not recover them again; that he believed it was the just judgment of Go]) upon him, thus to desert him in the de-fence of his cause, for undertaking of himself to dispute with a man of that eminency and learning, without the license of his Superior." Whereupon the Earl, upon some further discourse with this LORD Primate, was converted, and became a Protestant, and so continued to the last. Upon this, the COUNTESS of PETERBOROUGH owed him a great. respect; and upon his losses in Ireland, and other distresses here, she took him to her own house. He. lived, with her about nine or ten years, and died there.
In the year 1616, in August, he returned into Ireland, where he was received with all the expressions of joy that could be given. The discourses which daily fell from him at his table, on the clearing of difficulties in the Scripture, and other subjects, were of great advantage to those who were capable of understanding them. They put me often in mind of that speech of the Queen of Sheba to SOLOMON, " Happy are these thy servants that continually stand about thee, and hear thy wisdom."
The order observed in his family, as to prayer, was four times a day; in the morning at six, in the evening at eight, and before dinner and supper in the chapel; at all of which he was always present. On Friday, in the afternoon, an hour was constantly spent in the chapel in going through the principles of religion, for the instruction of the family. And every Sunday evening, we had a repetition of his sermon.
In Michaelmas Term, in the year 1626, propositions were made by the Papists for a more full toleration of their religion, viz. the maintenance of five hundred horse, and five thousand foot, wherein the Protestants must have borne some share also; for the consideration of which a great assembly of the whole nation, Papists and Protestants, was called in the LORD-Deputy FALKLAND'S time.
The Bishops, by the LORD Primate's invitation, met at his house; and he and they unanimously subscribed a Protestation against the toleration of Popery, which is as followeth:
" The religion of the Papists is superstitious and idolatrous; their faith and doctrine erroneous and heretical; their church, in respect of both, apostatical. To give them therefore a toleration, or to consent that they may freely exercise their religion, and profess their faith and doctrine, is a grievous sin, and that in two respects:
" For, 1. It is to make ourselves accessary not only to their superstitions, idolatries, heresies, and, in a word, to all the abominations of Popery; but also (which is a consequent of the former) to the perdition of the seduced people, which perish in the deluge of the Catholic Apostasy.
" 2. To grant them toleration, in respect of any money, or contribution to be made by them, Is to set religion to sale, and with it the souls of the people whom CHRIST our SAVIOR has redeemed with his most -precious blood. And as it is a great sin, so also a matter of dangerous con-sequence; the consideration whereof we commend to the wise and judicious: beseeching the jealous GOD of truth to make them who are in authority zealous of GOD's glory, and of the advancement of true religion; zealous, resolute, and courageous against all superstition and idolatry. Amen."
THO. Hernes. Sr Laughlin.
MICHAEL, Waterford and
And here let me give you some of his exemplary injunctions. Every LORD's day he preached in the forenoon, in which he spent himself much. In, the afternoon, this was his order to me, that, besides the catechising of the youth before public prayers, I should, after the first and second lesson, spend about half an hour in a brief and plain exposition of the principles of religion in the public Catechism; and after that I was to preach. First, he directed me to go through the Creed at once, giving but the sum of each article; the next time at thrice; and afterwards, each time an article, as they might be more able to bear it; and so proportionably the Ten Commandments, the LORD'S Prayer, and the doctrine of the Sacraments. The good fruit of this was apparent in the common people, upon their approach to the Communion, when, as by the then order, the names of the receivers were to be given in, so some account was. constantly taken of their fitness for it. His order throughout his diocese to the Ministers was, to go through the Body of Divinity once a year. When a public fast was enjoined, he kept it very strictly, and preached always first himself, at least continuing two hours, and more than ordinarily extending himself in prayer.
His expenses were much in books: he first procured the Samaritan Bible, which is only the Pentateuch, to the view of these Western parts. It would seem incredible if I were to relate how, many years ago, he did confidently foretell the changes that have come to pass in these dominions, and the poverty he expected himself, as he said often, in the midst of his plenty.
Some have much observed that text which he took at St. Mary's in Cambridge, in the year 1625, on the late King's day, and the first annual solemnity of it; (1 Sam. 12:25;) " But if ye still do wickedly, you shall be consumed, both you and your king." Others have remarked the last text he preached on at Court immediately before his return into Ire-land; (1 Cor. 14:33;) " GOD is not the author of con-fusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints:" His application to the confusions and divisions, which he was confident were at the doors, was then observed.
He has often acknowledged, that sometimes that which he has resolved in his sermon not to utter, was like JEREMIAH's fire shut up in his bones, so that he could not forbear reproving the greatest: even before kings he was not ashamed. And his preaching was with authority; he " withstood to the face " any toleration of Popery and superstition, by whomsoever attempted. At hearing him I have thought of that speech in the Psalms, " The zeal of thy house has eaten me up."
I remember a speech of his, in the year 1624, which he has often confirmed: "That he was persuaded the greatest stroke to the Reformed Church was to come yet; and that the time of the utter ruin of the See of Rome should be, when she thought herself most secure; according to that boast of Babylon at her destruction, (Rev. 18:7,) which he thought to be meant of the same, " She shall say, I sit as a Queen, and shall see no more sorrow."
His farewell sermon, in or very near the place where he had lived and preached in England, was much observed; the text of which was, (James 1:15,) " Sin, when it is finished, brings forth death." His strong application of it to the fullness of the sins of this nation, which certainly would bring forth destruction, (which subject he further illustrated by the " Angel putting in his sickle; " when the " harvest was ripe,"-by the "ephah " filled with wickedness, in the vision recorded in Zech. 5:,—and by the case of the Amorites, destroyed when their iniquities were full,) much affected the auditory.
The last time he was in London, he did much lament the deadly hatred kindling in the hearts of men one against another, by the several opinions in matters of religion; some of them in opposition to a Ministry, and contemning the Sacraments; others spreading damnable doctrines, heresies, and blasphemies. He was confident, that the enemy which had sown those divisions up and down the nation, were Priests, Friars, and Jesuits, sent out of their seminaries from beyond seas, in other disguises; who, by their numbers multiplying in London and elsewhere, expected a great harvest; and who, he was persuaded, if not timely weeded out, would either lead to Popery, or massacres, or both. He added, how willing he was, if GOD so pleased, to be taken away before that evil to come.
Now, it is not improbable that so great a prophet, so sanctified from his youth, so knowing and eminent, might have, at some special times, more than ordinary impulses, in doing the watchman's part by giving warning of judgments approaching. In the year 164O, he came out of Ireland hither, being invited by some eminent persons, upon occasion of the difference between the King and Parliament; and of this I take notice, as GOD's special providence for his preservation, it being the year before the rebellion of Ireland. At taking leave of him, I cannot forget the serious preparative he gave me against the heavy sorrows and miseries I should see before I saw him again, and with so much confidence, as if it had been within view: it put me in mind of that declaration in Amos 3:7, " Surely the LORD will do nothing, but he will reveal it to his servants the Prophets."
In the first year of the rebellion of Ireland, 1641, his library was with us at Drogheda, when we were besieged four months by the Irish rebels, and when they made no question of devouring us. The Priests and Friars without, talked much of the prize they should have in it; but the barbarous multitude spoke of burning it, and me by the flame of the books, instead of faggots: it pleased GOD, however, in answer of our prayers and fasting, wonderfully to deliver us and it out of their hands; and so the whole, with all his manuscripts, were sent to him that summer at Chester.
The sufferings which he now endured were many. All his personal estate, and whatever else belonged to his primacy in Ireland, were destroyed; only at present he was preacher at Covent-Garden church. Upon his losses in Ireland, and straits here, two offers were made him from foreign nations: one was from CARDINAL RICHLIEU, only in relation to his eminent learning, pro-posing to him a large maintenance, and liberty to live where he pleased in France with the Protestants; the other from the Hollanders, offering him the place of Professor at Ley-den, which had an ample stipend; but he refused both.
And now, by the disturbances of the times, he was perpetually removing, having, with ST. PAUL, "no certain dwelling-place." The saying of DAVID was often in his thoughts, " You tellest my wanderings; put you my tears into thy bottle." Some of those evidences which ST. PAUL produceth to approve himself to be the Minister of CHRIST, (2 Cor. 6:) were applicable to him; of which he was often put in mind by learned men of other churches.
In 1642, he obtained leave of both Houses of Parliament to go to Oxford for his study. In the year 1644, the King coming thither, he preached before him, November 5. The text was Nehem. 4:11: "And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among then, and slay them, and cause the works to cease." It was a most apt text for the day; but one passage in his sermon, against the Papists, advising not to repose any trust in them, because upon the first opportunity they would serve us here as they did the poor Protestants in Ireland, offended some persons there attending.
In March following, he went from thence into Wales, to Cardiff in Glamorganshire, and abode with his daughter. In 16.15, on Sept. 16, he removed thence to St. Donnet's, (the LADY STRADLING'S,) when by the way he was barbarously used by some soldiers; who pulled him off his horse, broke open two of his trunks full of books, and took all away; amongst which he lost two Manuscripts of the History of the Waldenses, which he never got again: most of the other books were restored, by the Preachers exhorting all ranks, in their sermons, to that end.
Not long afterwards, he fell into a painful sickness, and bled four days together, so that all hope of life was gone: but he recovered, and in 1646 he came to London. After some time he was chosen Preacher to the Honor-able Society of Lincoln's-Inn, where he continued divers years with great honor and respect, till, having lost his sight and strength, he was advised to forbear, and reserve the remainder of his spirits, like PAUL the aged, to the writing of his books, yet expected. No spectacles could help him only when the sun shined, he could see at a window, which he hourly followed from room to room; in winter, the window was often open for him to write at. The next winter he intended to have an amanuensis; but Go]) was pleased to prevent it, by taking him to the sight of himself.
After he left Lincoln's-Inn, he was prevailed with to preach in several places;—at Gray's-Inn on Nov. 5, 1654; at the Temple, on occasion of MR. SELDEN'S funeral; and at two other places in the City, both which latter sermons were very effectual in the conversion of divers persons that came unto him: and indeed, seldom did that sword, drawn by him, return empty. The last sermon which he preached was at Hammersmith, about the Michaelmas preceding his death.
He told me how much he was troubled, that he found himself unable to continue preaching: his dreams were on it; and though he had been about fifty-five years a Preacher, and so, like the Levites, might well be excused from the service of the sanctuary, only employing himself in directing others, yet he had resolved to have returned to it again, in the following summer.
He never sought great things for himself. In his pecuniary distresses, occasioned by his losses in Ireland, the Parliament for some years had been bountiful to him in an annual stipend; but this was suspended during the last two years of their sitting. After the dissolution of the Parliament, the care of him was renewed by the LORD-Protector; by whose order a competent allowance was given him.
All who knew him found him very communicative, not only of his studies, but of what he had out of his stipend, to persons in want. He was not wanting, with ST. PAUL, to magnify his office, which may be seen and read of all men; but he did it without partiality. He was not so severe as to disown the ministry of other Reformed Churches; but declared, that he did love and honor them as true members of the Church Universal, and was ready, both for the Ministers of Holland and France, to testify his communion with them.
He was a man of most exemplary moderation, meekness, humility, and ingenuity. In the year 1641, he drew up an expedient, by way of accommodation in some ecclesiastical affairs, which some moderate persons of each party were ready to subscribe. In matters of doctrine, for substantials, it was often his charge not to preach any thing as pleasing men, but GOD, who has put us in trust: that in so seeking to please men, we should not be the servants of CHRIST. In the defense of which truths of doctrine, no man was more resolute and constant, not giving place by way of subjection, no, not for an hour. But he thought the case was altered in circumstantials; and that it was our duty, with ST. PAUL, a to please all men, and not ourselves, in all such things," to edification and concord.
In a word, he was without " wavering," always one and the same, " holding fast the form of sound words," and walking in the " old paths and good way; " and " there is none that has drunk the old wine, that straightway desires new; for he says, The old is better."
The night before he left London, he uttered, with tears, many humble expressions of his own unworthiness, and demeaned himself as if he had been the least of saints: it wrought much upon us, who found ourselves so far beneath him. He did then, as he had often before, wish us to prepare for afflictions and trials, which he was persuaded were not far from us. And the next morning, being Feb. 13th, 1655, I took my last leave of him; and he returned to Ryegate to the COUNTESS of PETERBOROUGH'S.
The day on which he first sickened, March 2Oth, he had spent mostly at his study: he went from thence to visit a gentlewoman sick in the house, and gave her most holy advices for three quarters of an hour, in such a heavenly manner, as if, like Moses upon Mount Nebo, his eyes had been then strengthened to the sight of that celestial Canaan; or as if, with ST. PAUL in his rapture, he had been within the gate of heaven, to which he was now nearer than he was aware.
That night, about eight o'clock, he first complained of his hip, judging it to be a touch of the sciatica, which, about thirty-five years before, he had brought on by sitting up late in the College-library of Dublin. He was relieved from this by the use of medicine, and took some rest that night. In the morning he complained of a great pain in his side. A physician was sent for; but the pain continuing, and his spirits decaying, he applied himself to prayer, and, upon the abatement of the torture, employed himself in advising those about him to provide in their health for death, that then they might have nothing else to do but to die, the approach of which event to himself he received with great content.
In prayer he had the assistance of a Minister, but after-wards desired to be left to himself. The last words he was heard to utter, in praying` for forgiveness of sins, were these, " But, Lo an, in special, forgive my sins of omission." In general, he had his wish, which I have often heard him make, that he might die like MR. PERKINS, crying for mercy and forgiveness.
With this humble expression expired this holy man of GOD, this DANIEL, greatly beloved;—a speech which may be a lesson to us all, and give us, to our last, matter of solemn meditation and imitation.