« السابقةمتابعة »
other notice of the future state, if there was any; but Mr. Montague would not enter into the bond.
“ When the day came that they thought to have taken the Dutch feet in the port of Ber: gen, Mr. Montague, though he had fuch a Itrong presage in his mind of his approaching death, yet he bravely stayed all the while in the place of the greatest danger. The other gentleman fignalized his courage in the most undaunted manner till near the end of the action, when he fell, on a sudden, into such a trembling that he could scarce stand ; and Mra Montague going to him to hold him up, as they were in each other's arms, a cannon-ball carried away Mr. Montague's belly, so that he expired in an hour after."
The earl of Rochester told Dr. Burnet, that these presages they had in their minds, made fome impression on him that there were separate beings; and, that the foul, either by a na. tural fagacity, or some secret notice communicated to it, had a sort of divination. But: this gentleman's never appearing was a snare to him during the rest of his life: though when he mentioned this, he could not but acknowledge, it was an unreaionable thing for him to think that beings in another state were not under such laws and limits that they could not command their motion but as the Supreme Power should order them; and, that one who
had fo corrupted the natural principles of truth as he had, had no reason to expect that miracles fhould be wrought for his convic. tion.
He told Dr. Burnet another odd presage of approaching death, in lady Ware, his mother-in-law's family.
-The chaplain had dreamed that such a day he should die; but being by all the family laughed out of the belief of it, he had almost forgot it till the evening before at fupper ; there being thirteen at table, according to an old conceit that one of the family must foon die, one of the young ladies pointed to him, that he was the person. Upon this the chaplain, recalling to mind his dream, fell into some disorder, and the lady Ware reproving him for his fuperftition, he said, he was confident he was to die before morning; but he being in perfect health it was not much minded. It was Saturday night, and he was to preach next day. He went to his chamber, and fat up late, as appeared by the burning of his candle ; and he had been preparing his notes for his fermon,
but was found dead in his bed next morning.
These things, his lordship said, made him incline to believe that the soul was of a subftance distinct from matter; but that which convinced him of it was, that, in his laft fick. ness, which brought him so near his death, when his spirits were so spent that he could
not move or ftir. and did not hope to live an hour, he said his reason and judgment were fo clear and strong, that, from thence, he was fully persuaded, that death was not the diffolution of the foul, but only the separation of it from matter.
He had, in that sickness, great remorse for his past life ; but he afterwards faid, they were rather general and dark horrors than any conviction of transgression against his maker; he was sorry he had lived so as to waste his strength so soon, or that he had brought such an ill name upon himself; and had an agony in his mind about it, which he knew not well how to express; but believed that these impunctions of conscience rather proceeded from the horror of his condition, than any true contrition for the errors of his life.
During the time Dr. Burnet was at lord Rochester's house, they entered frequently into conversation upon the topics of natural and revealed religion ; which the doctor endeavoured to enlarge upon and explain in a manner fuitable to the condition of a dying penitent. His lordship expresied much contrition for his having so often violated the laws of the one, against his better knowledge, and having spurned the authority of the other in the pride of wanton fophiftry.
He declared, that he was fatisfied of the truth of the Chriftian religion, that he thought it the institution of Heaven, and afforded the
most natural idea of the Supreme Being, as well as the most forcible motives to virtue of any faith professed amongst men.
“ He was not only satisfied,” says Dro. Burnet, “ of the truth of our holy religion, merely as a matter of speculation, but was perfuaded,, likewise, of the power of inward, grace; of which he gave me this strange account:
“ He said, Mr. Parsons, in order to his conviction, read to him the fifty-third chapter of the prophecies of Isaiah, and compared that with the history of our Saviour's passion; that he might there see a prophecy concern-, ing it, written many ages before it was done; which the Jews that blafphemed Jesus Christe till kept in their hands as a book divinely inspired.
“ He said, as he heard it read, he felt an inward force upon him, which did fo enlighten his mind and convince him, that he could re. fift it no longer; for the words had an aya thority which did fhoot like rays or beams into his mind; so that he was not only convinced by the reasonings he had about it which satisfied his understanding ; but, by a power, which did so effectually constrain him, that he ever after firmly believed in his Saviour, as if he had seen Him in the clouds."
We are not quite certainw hether there is not a tincture of enthusiasm in this account given by his lordship, as it is ftoo natural to Ay from one extreme to another, from the excefles of debauchery to the gloom of methodism ; but, even if we suppose this to have been the case, he was certainly in the safest extreme; and there is more comfort in hearing. that a man whose life had been so remarkably profligate as his, should die under such imprelo lions, than quit the world without one pang, for past offences.
The bishop gives an instance of the great alteration of his lordship’s temper and dispofitions, from what they were formerly, in his Sickness.
“ Whenever he happened to be out of order, either by pain or Gckness, bis temper became quite ungovernable, and his paflions. fo fierce that his servants were afraid to approach him; but, in his last fickness, he was all humility, patience, and resignation. Once he was a little offended with the de. lay of a servant, who he thought made not haste enough with somewhat he called for, and said, in a little heat, "That damn'd fellow.'
“ Soon after," says the doctor, “. I told him that I was glad to find his stile so reformed, and that he had so entirely overcome that ill habit of swearing, only that word of