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taken for all in all, prove, even at this day, that he deserved it. During twenty-five years he served two parishes in London. Then he became Dean of Canterbury, afterwards Dean of St. Paul's, and Clerk of the Closet to the King
Instead of pursuing his history during the greater part of his life, we will observe him as he appears in some conspicuous situations, always acting with an apprehension of responsibility to God.
When Lord William Russell, in the reign of Charles II., was imprisoned in the Tower, and then beheaded, in Lincoln's-Inn Fields, on a false charge of treason, Dr. Tillotson attended him ; and Bishop Burnet, their common friend, and his associate in that mournful service, gives, in his “History of his own Time," an account, by which it appears that the good Doctor, with characteristic modesty, left the chief part to his less retiring colleague, but meekly and affectionately ministered to the support of the condemned nobleman. They spent a great part of the last day and night with his Lordship in the Tower, and attended him to the scaffold.
“Tillotson and I,” says Burnet, “went in the coach with him to the place of execution. Some of the crowd that filled the streets wept, while others insulted : he was touched with the tenderness that the one gave him, but did not seem at all provoked by the other. He was singing Psalms a great part of the way, and said he hoped to sing better very soon. As he observed the great crowds of people all the way, he said to us, “I hope I shall quickly see a much better assembly.' When he came to the scaffold, he walked about it four or five times. Then he turned to the Sheriffs, and delivered his paper. He protested he had always been far from any designs against the King's life or government: he prayed God would preserve both, and the Protestant religion. He wished all Protestants might love one another, and not make way for Popery by their animosities.” This took place on the 21st of July, 1683.
Dr. Tillotson, who most cordially responded to that hope, and cherished the love which unites all true Christians, appears to have felt it his duty to minister consolation to the widow of Lord Russell, one of the most exemplary women that ever lived. Dated more than two years after the execution of his Lordship, we find several letters in the collection of “ Letters of Rachel Lady Russell,"—just published in a second and enlarged edition, with a preface by the present Lord John,--that exhibit the spirit of Tillotson far better than the eulogy of a stranger could. In the first of these, from him to Lady Rachel, he says: “In some circumstances, to die is to live. And that voice from heaven runs much in my mind, which St. John heard in his vision of the last (as I think) and most extreme persecution, which should befall the faithfull servants of God, before the final downfall of Babylon, · Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord from henceforth ;' meaning, that they were happy who were taken away before that terrible and utmost trial of the faith and patience of the saints. But however that be, I do greatly rejoice in the preservation of your children from the great danger they were in upon that occasion, and thank God heartily for it: whatever becomes of us, I hope they may live to see better things."
And the good Doctor cannot close his letter without another word of sympathy. “ But when all is done, our greatest comfort must be that we are all in the hands of God, and that He hath the care of us. And do not think, Madam, that He loves you the less for having put so bitter a cup into your hand. He whom He loved infinitely best of all mankind, drank much deeper of it.”
We next find him joining his efforts with those of Stillingfleet, Tennison, Patrick, and others, to counteract the influence of plausible Popish writings, got up in England to do the same service for England as, backed by dragonnades, the books of Bossuet had done in France. Tillotson possessed much solid learning, sanctified by religion; and his writings, the “ Treatise on Transubstantiation," for example, are still classic, and cannot ever be out of date. In vain did Charles II., and his successor James II.,
endeavour to restore Popery, and overthrow the British constitution. King James was obliged to abdicate the crown, and quit the kingdom ; and when William III, and Queen Mary came over from Holland in 1688, to establish, under God, the principles of that Revolution, Tillotson was introduced to the notice of their Majesties, and immediately won their confidence. Eight Bishops, of whom Sancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury, was one, refused to take the oaths of abjuration of King James, and allegiance to King William. They were therefore suspended from the exercise of their functions, and threatened with deprivation. For nearly two years they lived quiet, or inactive, on their sees; but at the expiration of that time, still refusing to take the oaths, they were deprived. In the interval Tillotson was raised to the deanery of St. Paul's; and the King, on giving him that preferment, intimated his intention to raise him higher. Both William and Mary, for above a year, “pressed him,” to use the words of Burnet, “to come into this post,” (the see of Canterbury,) and he had struggled against it with great earnestness; as he had no ambition nor aspiring in his temper, so he foresaw what a scene of trouble and slander he must enter on, now in the decline of his age. The prejudice that Jacobites” (the adherents of James) “would possess all people with, for his coming into the room of one whom they called a Confessor, and who began now to have the public compassion on his side, were well foreseen by him.
He laid before the King all the ill effects that, as he thought, the promoting him would have on his own service; but all this had served only to increase the King's esteem of him, and fix him in his purpose.”
Many circumstances contributed to make his position one of great perplexity, and a passage of a letter of his to Lady Russell shows what his feelings were.*
“But now begins my trouble. After I had kissed the
• "Letters of Rachel, Lady Russell." Two volumes. Longman and Co. From these most interesting volumes, recently published, we extract the passages from Tillotson's correspondence. Readurs of Fnglish history must
King's hand for the deanery of St. Paul's, I gave His Majesty my most humble thanks, and told him that now he had set me at ease for the remainder of my life. He replied, “No such matter, I assure you;' and spoke plainly about a great place, which I dread to think of, and said, * It was necessary for his service, and he must charge it upon my conscience.' Just as he said this, he was called to supper, and I had only time to say that when His Majesty was at leisure, I did believe I could satisfy him that it would be most for his service that I should continue in the station in which he had now placed me. This hath brought me into a real difficulty. For, on the one hand, it is hard to decline His Majesty's commands, and much harder yet to stand out against so much goodness as His Majesty is pleased to use towards me. On the other, I can neither bring my inclination nor my judgment to it. This I owe to the Bishop of Salisbury, one of the worst and best friends I know; best, for his singular good opinion of me; and the worst, for directing the King to this method, which I know he did; as if His Lordship and I had concerted the matter how to finish this foolish piece of dissimulation, in running away from a bishopric to catch an archbishopric. This fine device hath thrown me so far into the briars, that without His Majesty's great goodness, I shall never get off without a scratched face. And now I will tell your Ladyship the bottom of my heart. I have of a long time, I thank God for it, devoted myself to the public service, without any regard for myself; and to that end, have done the best I could, in the best manner I was able. Of late, God hath been pleased, by very severe ways,* but in great goodness to me, to wean me perfectly from the love of this world; so that worldly greatness is now not only undesirable, but distasteful to me. And I do verily believe that I shall be able to do as much or more good in my present station, than in a higher, and shall not have one jot less interest or influence upon any others to any good purpose ; for the people naturally love a man that will take great pains and little preferment. But on the other hand, if I could force my inclination to take this great place, I foresee that I should sink under it, and grow melancholy, and good for nothing, and after a little time, die as a fool dies."
feel themselves much indebted to Lord John Russell for bringing before the public, with a preface from his owo pen, enriched with a multitude of notes, and adorned with beautiful engravings of historic value, this collection of letters from and to one of the brightest ornaments of his Lordship's family. Lady Rachel Russell was a Christian woman, in spite of the corruptness and folly prevalent at Court during the former part of her life. We commend these letters to our readers. • The loss of two daughters, his only children.
These forebodings, however, were not confirmed by the event. The King insisted ; and when Dean Tillotson urged his difficulties, which he did with entire sincerity, His Majesty smiled, and said, “You talk of trouble : I believe you will have much more ease in it than in the condition in which you now are.” Lady Russell, too, in answer to the letter above-quoted, advised him to submit to the will of God in the appointment: her counsel appears to have had great weight in leading him to a conclusion, and thus he describes to her Ladyship the issue :
“I cannot but own the weight of that consideration, which you are pleased to urge me withal; I mean, the visible marks of a more than ordinary providence of God in this thing; that the King, who likes not either to importune or to be denied, should, after so obstinate a declining of the thing on my part, still persist to press it on "me with so much kindness, and with that earnestness of persuasion which it does not become me to mention. I wish I could think the King had a superior direction in this, as I verily believe he hath in some other things of much greater importance.
“The next morning I went to Kensington, full of fear, but yet determined what was fit for me to do. I met the King coming out of his closet, and asking if his coach was ready. He took me aside, and I told him that, in obedience to His Majesty's command, I had considered of the thing as well as I could, and came to give him my answer. I perceived His Majesty was going out, and therefore