SIX Familiar Essays UPON Marriage, Crosses in Love, Sickness, Death, Loyalty, and Friend­ship,

Written by a Lady.

LONDON: Printed for Tho. Bennet, at the Half-Moon in St. Paul's Church-yard. 1696.

AN EPISTLE TO THE BOOKSELLER.

SIR,

I Am very sensible that when a woman appears in Print, she must certainly run the Gauntlet, and therefore ought to be well arm­ed; but if Mrs. Philips's sense, and Mrs. Behn's wit (Joyned with her assurance) was not sufficient to protect them from the Critick's [Page] strokes, it may very well discourage me from venturing my name in the front of this small trifle, knowing it to fall infinitely short of what has been performed by others of my Sex, and that the Censurers of our age are much more refined then they were formerly; but I perceive No­velty generally takes, bow deformed soever it is, and the Bantam Ambas­sadours had as many followers, as King Solomon could have had up­on his arrival; therefore I hope this book may sell, if it be but for the rarity of its dress; and if it does, it may turn to your advantage, whether they can say any thing to mine or not.

But, perhaps, Sir, you will desire me, to find some Patron under whose shadow I may shelter my failings from too strict a scrutiny; in that case I must flatter them first, that [Page] they may excuse me, after which it might trouble both our consciences, and for that reason, if you please, I will let it alone, tho at the same time, I confess no paper ever came out that had more need of a Second, but I suffer it to be made publick at the request of some few friends, who must blush for me, since I live in such a retirement that no reflections can reach my ears. However, be­cause I would not be thought high minded, I will humbly address my self to the Reader.

You Gentlemen, that are tollera­bly young and good natured, will kindly overlook a womans Errors (tho I have not express'd my self by the Rules of Grammar) false English being particularly intailed upon the Sex. I hope my Essay of Mar­riage will plead for me, and I assure [Page] you, I am one that never promotes Rebellion against your Arbitrary sway, (whensoever any of you make use of it towards your wives, tho I own I think the mildest way is best) therefore as I am for condescention, without making them uneasy, whom we permit to be our Lords and Ma­sters, in gratitude you must not be satyrical upon your advocate, lest af­ter that you find never another wo­man, that will advise her friends to so great obedience in the bonds of wedlock.

But for the old surly Sages, who will scarce allow a wife to write or read, or understand any thing fur­ther then spreading Plaisters, dres­sing Issues, &c. I expect they will condemn me unheard, as a publick Neusance and a breaker of Evil customs in writing this book. I have [Page] only one thing to offer to them in my excuse, which is, to intreat them to consider that when I am writing, I am neither dressing, nor going abroad, and they esteem both to be as unlaw­ful imployments, as scribling (unless I made a Journal of their Lives); be­sides, I hope I have obliged them, by giving them an opportunity of rail­ing, that being the chief thing they delight in.

And now for the Ladies, into whose hands I shall fall: I beseech them to be merciful for their own sakes, as well as mine, and all wo­man-kinds; to clear us from the aspersion of being always the quick­est sighted into one anothers infirmi­ties, and to prevent the suspition of their being piqu'd at (Patience I re­comcommend) in the Essay of Mar­riage, which would perhaps obstruct [Page] the preferment of the Maids and Widows, if they owned it.

Some sort of Wives, I know will make open War with me, I mean those who pretend to an Imperious management of their Husbands, but they are such Monsters in nature they deserve no Apology, nor do I va­lue their opinion.

This treatise was the product of a Meditation designed for the good of my self and others; if my expres­sions has not fully explained my sense of the matter, it is in vain to inlarge now, therefore I will conclude with the ingenious Hudibras's Rule, that

Brevity is very good,
When we are, or are not understood.

ERRATA.

P. 21. l. last, r. How little then p. 24. l. 3 f. then. r. the, p. 37. l. 2. f. mistake r. not take, p. 58. l. 17. r. without touching Pitch, p. 60. l. 6. r. his Grace, lb. l. 17. f. disease r. decease, p. 68. l. 16. f. proportion r. promotion, p. 69. l. 15. dele Never continueth in one stay, p. 74. l. 6. f. now swearing r. Non-swearing, Ib. l. 12. f. and after his r. in hopes to, p. 83. l. 19. after, Were not, add, As often, &c. p. 86. l. 15. r. in me, p. 100. l. 18. r. condescention. p. 102. l. 20. r. is an.

AN ESSAY OF Marriage, &c,

MArriage is Despised by some and by others too much Co­veted; the first sin against the Laws of Nature, and Divine Ordina­tion; the last against their own Quiet; for those, that are in extraordinary hast for a Settlement, (as they call it) do commonly Advance their Expectation of Happiness, much beyond what they have Possessed in a Single Life, and many times the imaginary Heaven proves a Hell.

[Page 2]And though your changing your Condition, Dear Madam, had an ex­traordinary Prospect; yet I hear my last Letter, which was to wish you joy, found you in Sorrow; but I know you are too well Principl'd not to re­member the time will come when the wicked cease from Troubling; the Weary will be at Rest; and if your Husband continues so Industrious to Torment you, as the World represents him, I believe you can expect little Rest till that time is come; unless it is by the inward Peace of a good Con­science, which no one can take from you, a Consolation which clamorous, gain-saying Wives, always loose; and which, I am sure, cannot be recom­pensed by any Point they gain; and since the Laws of God and Nations have given Man the Supream Autho­rity in Marriage, we ought not first to accept them upon those Terms, and then Mutiny upon all Occasions, as often as the Terms are uneasy to us; for though some Men are so kind as to make our Yoke sit light upon us; yet we take them for better or worse; and [Page 3] experience shews us, that the Odds are on the Worser side.

All this we should consider before we engage our selves in those strict Ties, which obliges us to deny our own Inclinations, if They require it; and to make it our Study to comply with Theirs. This Lesson even Hu­man Policy will Teach us, for if we make a Man's Home less agreeable to him, than any other place, we furnish him with a good Excuse to go abroad; which can never be to the advantage of the Family, for those men whom business does not call out to get money, are sure to spend it; and he that is dri­ven from home by a wife's ill humor, is generally more Extravagant, and thinks, he has a better pretence to be so, nay, sometimes the Provocation runs so high, as to make him Sacrifice his Body and Soul too, as well as Estate to his revenge.

Some women indeed will divert themselves, and not seem to value it, and instead of indeavouring to win their husbands by Complaisency, turn as Extravagant as they, and strive to [Page 4] light the Candle at both Ends; tho they know it must at last burn their fingers, and if they can neither Jump in affection nor wit, will yet Sympathise with them in their folly and excursions; but they seldom fail of suffering by their rashness, and the farther they run out, the sooner they find a check up­on their expences, besides, if they should preserve their honesty, yet they under­go the certain loss of their reputation, which is, to be valued infinitely more than their Recreations; and if they hope at last that this careless way will Reclaim the men; I fear they find them­selves mistaken, however, we ought not to do Evil, that good may come of it.

But, I, most of all, wonder at some of our Acquaintance, who seem to be so­ber women, and to have good sense, and yet recommend it, as the best way to deal with a passionate husband, to be more unreasonable and passionate than He. Such bawling may perhaps silence some few men, and would be more pardonable if God as well as man were to be silenced by it, but our [Page 5] Religion tells us, we must not be over­come of Evil, but overcome Evil with Good, which name I presume the greatest Patroness of equal power dares not bestow upon contention, contenti­on sets all the world in a Flame, and is indeed good for nothing in the world, and King Solomon (who is pretty often in the right) says it only comes from Pride. God grant us, so true a sense of our unworthiness, as may abate that high conceit which makes us unable to bear a contradiction; you will wonder perhaps to hear me preach, and yet I cannot forbear to tell you that our Bles­sed Saviour Commands us, not to do, as we are done by, but as we would have others do to us; and if they are sometimes wanting in the return, I doubt we are much oftner remiss in set­ting the Example, not at all regarding the strict precepts and pattetn he left us, of Love and Gentleness to each other, which himself exercised to his most barbarous Enemies, during his stay upon the Earth, and does still ex­ercise in his intercession for us in Hea­ven; he bids us learn of him, For he [Page 6] is meek and lowly, and our Souls shall find rest; And if meekness is the way to be at rest, why should any Argument pre­vail with us to leave it, or what can we hope to get by our perverseness, but the discomposing of both our Bodies and Souls? St. James says, The tongue is an unruly Member, and set on fire of Hell, which flame never appears so black, as when a woman takes the liberty to speak, against her husband, all the pic­quant things which the Devil, or her Resentment, which is a kind of Devil inspires her with. We commonly say, that a madman is possess'd, and every one, that is not in a rage himself, will allow passion to be a temporary mad­ness, that makes men act as irrationally as Lunaticks, tho not as excusably as they; because they have not the same miserable resistless distemper, to plead for the involuntary wrongs they do. Now these their furious Representa­tives will perhaps tell you, that theirs also is a natural Infirmity, a violent Distemper which they strive against, what force they offer to their Inclinati­ons themseves know best, for very lit­tle [Page 7] effects of it are visible to others; however, these imperious men imagine, that pretence will sweeten the matter, and make us swallow the bitter draught, but what can justify women whom God has made of a milder temper, if they should take pains to change their Dispo­sitions, only in hopes of a little better treatment for the present, (which they may fail of too) and at the same time set aside that patient abiding of the meek, which God has promis'd with an Oath that it shall not perish for ever? It must therefore necessarily be a distrust of his promises to recompence our Patience, or preferring a little Momentary satis­faction before any reward he designs us, that (after such incouragement) can carry us to wrath and peevishness, which tho it may gratify our passion to let it out, yet our reason will quickly wish it in a gain; if a husband is un­kind and difficult, it is a great afflicti­on, and the holy Scripture tells us, all things of that nature are grievous, but as contrary as they are to flesh and blood, we are sensible they arise not from the dust, and that it is not for us [Page 8] to contend with our Maker. He that can with a word controul the Fury of the Winds and Seas, can, with as little trouble, avert any storm that threatens us, when he sees us fit for the mercy of a Deliverance; and if we should at­tempt by any invention of our own to shake off the Yoke, or think by strug­gling to make the Chain sit looser upon us; we should perceive our selves much in the wrong, like birds taken in a net, who, by beating their feathers off, in­crease their Misery, and at the same time disable themselves from making their escape, those amongst us that have been so obliging, never to deserve an ill word from our Persecutors, must acknowledge we every day merit God's Chastisements, and know that wicked and unreasonable Men are a Sword of his, and this Sword does in­deed wound us the deeper, the more we love the hand which he imploys to correct us; but how sharp soever it is we should not repine, considering the first cause is to humble us, in order to draw us nearer to himself. He has said those, that have suffered, have ceased to [Page 9] sin, and when we arrive to that degree of perfection, we shall doubtless be free from all our sufferings, but as long as we continue to offend, we shall be pu­nished either in this world, or, what is infinitely worse, in the world to come; where the Worm never dies, and where the Fire is never quenched.

But setting all religious Motives to quietness a part, it is a very silly thing for people to quarrel, who must be friends again, unless they are indifferent in the point, choosing rather to live a­sunder than submit silently to many things that they cannot approve; I will not pretend to Determine what provo­cation is sufficient to justify such a breach, nor to say that such a breach cannot be justify'd, since much better Women than my self have parted from their hus­bands; but they seem sincerely to la­ment the separation, nor does their car­riage accuse them to have done it light­ly, or upon the account of taking their pleasures, which would soon be disco­vered, for, in such Circumstances, many eyes are upon them, and they must live more reserved than the rest of the world, or else they would quickly be [Page 10] liable to such a censure, as must vindi­cate their husbands for leaving them.

And tho in all quarrels betwixt a man and his wife, if it come to a hot dispute, there is faults in both Parties, yet the weaker vessel is so little consi­dered for being weak, that they are blamed sometimes much more than they deserve; which censure they can no ways prevent so well as by a strict observance of their duties, and indea­vouring, in all their Actions to have a Conscience void of offence, towards God and towards Men. Nothing up­on Earth can be said to afford a real satisfaction, only as our Imagination makes it appear so at a distance, and this prospect of happiness is dressed by fancy in such various shapes, that what would be a delight to one, would be a pennance to another; and age or pos­session does sometimes give the same persons such different gusto's, that they grow sick of the very thing they lan­guished for before; this is probably the reason why old people are so much for denying young ones, the Innocent Diversions they are grown weary of [Page 11] themselves; tho perhaps at the same time they gratify their own foible in some other kind, at least as ridiculous, but if there were any intrinsick worth in whatever worldly thing, we are im­portunately Solicitous about, would any Parent be so inhumane to abridge their Children of it, more than they do of the common mercies God allows, of eating, drinking, and sleeping, which every body acknowledges to be good; and so they must our other Injoyments too, had not experience evinced an im­perfection in them enough to baulk our Appetites?

It is this contrariety in wills that makes Matrimony so uneasy, for when each sets up a several Diana to worship, their hearts cannot be full of affection to one another, and if both are bigot­ted to their own ways, it too often ru­ines not only themselves, but their in­nocent children, a sad effect of their Divisions which they are not aware of, and yet must dearly answer for hereafter.

[Page 12]But you, Madam, are not in danger of this error being of too complying a nature, to bring your self and others into any inconveniency upon that score, and I rejoice extreamly to hear how unmoved you appear under so great a Provocation; for I confess, I think a husband's keeping another before one's eyes, is the unkindest thing he can do, yet even in that case, it is most prudent to shew no frowardness; for the mi­stress will be sure to entertain him with mirth and caressing, which will make the wife's frowns seem more intolerable, and such women never fail to magnify all Domestick Accidents. These are indeed the chiefest estrangers of Conju­gal Love, for Them the Gentlemen put on their best Countenances, and with them they pass their most pleasant hours, the indignation is reserved for the wife of the Bosom, who must have a share in nothing but the Grievances, till at last they are partners in their wants; which commonly attend such courses; some few instances we have had of husbands who have been re­claimed by a wife's tenderness, before [Page 13] the intrigue has gone too far, but I think, none was ever hectored out of it; but I suppose the hen-peck'd Sparks, that are under such Correction, dare not presume to give such offence. However, I am sure, you are very much in the right only to tell him, with all imaginable Gentleness, your senti­ments of the matter, and to pray to God to convert him: Some Gentle­men, are so kind to their wives, as to indeavour to conceal their falsehood, which if they do, it is very indiscreet for the Ladies to be so curious to en­quire into it, and they are none of their friends that give them the information; he, that goes about to hide his Amour, shews either a sense of shame, or regard to his Spouse, and that may in time wean them from such Company; it is a sign at least he does not desire to grieve her, which most men esteem their great Prerogative, and would loose half their satisfaction in their intrigues, if the wife were not tormented by it, tho there are those that have stretched the string till it has broke, and with such treat­ment it can only be an extraordinary [Page 14] Principle, that keeps any woman from returning the Compliment, to which Pride and Revenge will both incline her, for a Gallant's Admiration repairs the affront which a husband puts upon her Charms, by giving her place to ano­ther that is perhaps less handsom than her self. This has been thought a plausi­ble excuse by several women, that, upon their husbands runing astray, have di­verted their Melancholly hours to the loss of their honour; and the continu­al discord of their house, unless they agree (like a couple I have heard of) to assist, rather than interrupt one ano­ther's harlotery, which is an agreement more scandalous and more dangerous than any quarrel. But whatever I have said of mutual failings, I do not make any Comparison in favour of my own Sex; for I know the wrong is infinitely greater in the wife, as she may bring another Man's child to inherit an Estate, and the crime more detestable, Modesty being the highest Ornament of Woman-kind, which makes their casting it off a sin both against God and [Page 15] Nature, and tho it gratifies some of their passions, yet is sure to lead them into many strange Inconveniencies here; (besides what they must expect hereaf­ter) I should not have mentioned any thing upon this subject, but that you know more already of your husband's taking liberty in that way, than I have spoke of; and I wish with all my heart that it had been in my power, to have spared you the trouble of being sensible that he is guilty, but he depends so much upon your goodness, as to make your own eyes your informers, which I would ne'r have been, having felt too much of the plague of Jealousie to infect my friend, tho my case (and yours I be­lieve too) is not properly to be called Jealousy but Assurance; for Jealousy is Suspicion, and I did not mistrust any thing of my husband's falsehood, till it was too plain to deserve that name, and therefore did not owe my torment to any inquisitiveness of my own, no more than I perceive you do, I always thought it very foolish, to search into what would be so unwelcome if it were discovered.

[Page 16]But now, since it has pleased the all-wise disposer of our fates, to make our misfortunes visible to us, and all that knows us, let us in the first place hum­bly beseech him, to grant that these afflictions may turn to the good of the Souls, and in the next place, try, by all the ingaging means we can, to supplant the invaders of our rights, and recover our alienated Masters, in which attempt, tho our kindness has hitherto proved in­effectual, yet if we continue in spite of all their slights, to take care never to offend them, it will certainly either be­fore our Deaths, or after, give them a sense that we merited a faithfuller re­turn, and may be useful to them in making this, and all their other vices more odious to their remembrance at last, tho mistresses and wine may for a time divert these reflections for the pre­sent, but wine is a small transgression when named after the other, unless it be in some ill natur'd, ill temper'd Man, whom drink always puts upon the fret and makes them apt to quarrel with every thing they see, if it be true (as I hear by common report) that your [Page 17] Spouse is often in that humour; I am sure, it is safest for you at that time to avoid him, if he will permit it; but if he is resolved, Drunk and Sober, to per­secute you, there is no remedy but pa­tience.

This sort of Debauchery is a very Slovenly Qualification; but is a vertue compared to Gaming, for when that bewitches a Man, either with, or with­out the Bottle, it makes his wife and children too (if he have any) much more unhappy; He that Drinks and Plays both, ought to be confined as a Prisoner to his Chamber, or else in a short time he may lie in the streets; not that I think, it is a wife's office to secure him there, but, if he has a grain of understanding left, he ought to secure himself, tho it were only in kindness to his Family, and not be so shamefully and blindly led, by the rooks and set­ters of the Town, who live plentifully out of their Cullys pockets, in the mean time the poor wife is like to get but little rest, that has her husband fall'n into their Clutches, whether they send him home with his head full, or [Page 18] only with his pocket empty, her di­sturbance is much the same, for tho they perhaps may manage him so well as to make him pleasant in company, yet when they have bit him, he begins to smart, as soon as he begins to cool and generally returns in fury to his own bed; however, the person, that is sensible of her husband's being in this hazard, must needs be disturbed all night by the ap­prehensions, that before morning they may have nothing left, and towards day she hears him cursing and dam­ning his ill luck, when chance had no­thing to do in the matter; the Plot be­ing laid too deep for the Dice to help him. Now having no money left, one would think he should sleep the quieter (since he is not in fear of thieves) but instead of that, he lies studying where to get a little more cash to fetch the rest back, as he thinks, tho in rea­lity it is to fling after that which is ne­ver to be retrieved; if his wife has any Gold or Jewels, perhaps he may conde­scend to give her good words that she may part with them, with the more privacy (being out of Countenance at [Page 19] first to have his faults known) but when she can no longer be serviceable to supply him, he grumbles at her most necessary expences, because he has so much the less to throw away.

This must be a cutting thing to those who have bred their children like peo­ple of fashion; having the prospect of an Estate suitable to it; and when they grow up, to see them reduced to begge­ry, by their father's obstinate vanity of shaking his Elbows.

Yet in this, and all occasions there is a place where we may find comfort, if we apply our selves rightly to it, and lay up our treasure where neither moth nor rust can deprive us, nor any cruel husband squander it a way; He that provides for the young ravens will not be less merciful to us and ours, when we cry to him and depend upon him for succour, and to make us less Solici­tous about the time to come, he has told us that sufficient to the day is evil thereof, and really I believe very few married women, find any one day with­out evil enough, to exercise their pati­ence with, for as soon as hony moon is [Page 20] over the blades begin to shew us, that tho they have Deify'd us hitherto, yet they thought us no better than poor silly Mortals all the while, whom they flatter only in order to oppress, and in­stead of the Airy promises they have ele­vated us withal, when we think to take home our slaves, we perceive we have caught a Tartar; perhaps some women that know my opinion will say, the worst of husbands is good enough for me; because I am so much for an intire submission to their wills in every thing that is not sinful, and I know this max­im is an abomination to all high Spirited Ladies, and most odious to the unmar­ried; whom the Gentlemen are so sweet upon, as make them believe they will be Governed by them to all Eternity, which Imagination is too pleasing to be removed, by any bodie's Experience but their own.

For my part, if I commit a fault against my Sex in being for so much Re­signation, they must pardon me, for all my acquaintance would answer for me, if I appealed to them, that I cannot ad­vise others to more obedience than I [Page 21] practise my self; and I intreat them that despise me, as being a tame fool for do­ing so, that they would banish all anger out of their breasts for one year, and then tell me if they have not more con­tent in forgiving then returning a re­proach: I do not pretend to be so free from gall, but that I could sometimes express a resentment, if such thoughts were not supprest by duty more than fear, I mean the fear of anger, from those that are the first aggressors, but being sudden heats distract the mind, and take it from the service of God; we cannot watch too strictly against an inbred Enemy that will destroy us, if we do not keep it under, whose Dictates we have less excuse to follow that are of a colder, than they of a more fiery Constitution; yet without the assistance of our Hea­venly Father, the Devil would sug­gest Malice enough into any of us, to make us like himself, whom let us carefully avoid in all temptations; and then we shall be sure to meet once more to our Everlasting joy, then will all these tribulations appear, [Page 22] if we can hear that happy sound, Blessed are ye that mourn, for you shall be comforted, not that I take it to be meant for Mourning after the goods of this Life, (tho I hope we shall be pardoned for natural sor­row) but I trust in his mercy that in the midst of all tempestuous thoughts within us, his comforts shall refresh our Souls. I fear I have already ex­ceeded the bounds of a Letter, for which I ought to make an Apology, but more words would give you more trouble, therefore I will only beg you to excuse and Love. Yours, &c.

AN ESSAY UPON Crosses in Love, IN A Letter to a Friend, whose Lover Married another and left her Basely.

OUR Expectation of happiness is (generally) so ill placed from all things in this Life, that it is no wonder we find perpetual Disappointments in them; but when passion makes our [Page 24] choice, we have so very blind a guide as will inevitably lead us to Destruction, and tho Love appears then gentlest and best natured of all those Troops, which daily rises in Rebellion against Religion and Reason; yet our affections are so much the right of our Almighty Crea­tor, that as often as we fix them im­moderately upon any of the fading ob­jects here below (how tempting soever they seem to us) we are certainly guil­ty of Sacriledge towards the Divine Goodness, which fault is commonly punished by the very thing we doat upon.

This (my dear Friend,) I doubt has been your Case, and not yours alone; for soon or late, few escape that mischief, especially amongst our weak­er Sex, whose tender Nature leaves them most exposed to Ruine, and tho' they see other Ship-wreck'd before their Eyes, will venture out to Sea on the same bottom, insensible of danger till themselves perish and sometimes fall unpitied.

Men have a thousand advantages over us, but in the affair of Court-ship [Page 25] they add cunning to all their other Ac­complishments, and are as truly Zea­lous to deceive us, as if their Lives (and Souls too) would be made happy by the cheat; a sad mistake I doubt they will find it at the Last (if perjury is to be accounted for) tho your false Tray­tor like many others, looks upon that time of reckoning at a great distance. Yet since he is not sure it is so, I wish for his own sake at least he would re­flect how he could receive that sentence, Thou fool, this night thy perjur'd Soul shall be required of thee, but I suppose he thinks himself excused as being more knave than fool, which Title indeed is so highly due to him, that I believe none (that knows him) will do him such manifest wrong as to dispute it; and I am sure, the blacker he appears, the greater cause you have to bless that Pro­vidence, which permited him to break the Contract (since you were not in the least accessory to the parting) for with­out doubt, he, that proved so ill a Lover to the best of Mistresses, would have made an intolerable husband to the best of wives, and his ill usage would [Page 26] have cost you more tears than his Infi­delity (I hope) will do; tho I am sensi­ble a heart, so generous and constant as yours, cannot easily efface the deep impression he has made in it; that must be the work of time with God's assi­stance, which I hope will never fail you, but my weak Arguments can avail little; yet I beg you to accept them kindly as they are meant, and pardon this Freedom, since it proceeds from a Friendship as sincere as your own thoughts; For I do assure you, I am deeply touched with every thing that concern you, nor is it without great regret, that I submit to my unhappy Circumstances detaining me from be­ing the Companion of your saddest hours, which I should indeavour with all my power, to divert from so ill a subject; you say it is a daily aggravati­on to your trouble, to think you suffer­ed your self to be so blindly imposed on, but that as I told you before is but our common, alas, too common fate, tho all Impostours are not so industri­ously wicked, and you ought not to condemn your own Judgment, for want [Page 27] of discovering a cheat, that blinded all the witnesses of his pretensions to you; they must be well versed in Villany that could imagine a Man should take such extraordinary pains to gain your kind­ness, for no other end but only to make you miserable in this world, and him­self so in the next; 'tis true, when a Man of no fortune Courts a woman that is very Rich, prudence obliges her to stand upon her Guard, and to be well informed of her Lover's Principles, be­fore she gives Credit to his Vows; for she that is content to lessen her self in Gratitude to a Man's affections, and neglect her own Advancement, ought to take particular care she does not sell her Estate and person for nothing; yet after all the caution she can possibly use, she may (too late) find her self deceiv­ed, for he that seeks his own Establish­ment seldom wants Hypocrisie to act what part he pleases.

I have lately seen a deplorable in­stance of this in poor old Delia, who at fourscore married young Strephon in pitty to his sufferings, being convinced by a thousand proofs that he could not [Page 28] live without her (tho she has since had aboundant cause to repent of her Cha­rity) but he was at the trouble of Counterfeiting a good while, and had the art to look pale, sigh and languish violently for her, her money I mean (the only charm she was mistress of) which so dazled his Eyes, that he had been married to her three days before he perceived she wanted an Eye; how­ever, his apprehension is grown much quicker since, and now he discovers so many Imperfections in her, as he fan­cies will justify all his ill usage, which is indeed sufficient to need a greater excuse.

When she reproaches him with his perfidiousness, he tells her, if her un­derstanding had not been as blind as her left Eye, she must have discerned what he aimed at; when she scolds he laughs, and says, she had better forbear bark­ing now she has no teeth to bite; those that are near her tells me, he has made her distracted; but I believe he found her so, or else she would never have entertained him upon that account; he is just going to send her into the Coun­try [Page 29] to meditate upon her good Con­duct, (thinking sallads and pudding a very convenient diet for her gums) which will give him an opportunity to injoy his own pleasures, and her Estate with the greater freedom.

When a woman is Courted by a Man whose Circumstances are much above hers, she should be very reserved, for it is ten to one his design is not ho­nourable, or if it be a modest denial will make him the more eager, as love was always observed to increase by oppositi­on; nor can we be too tender in the point which concerns our reputation; these Sparks are generally more danger­ous Enemies than the last I mentioned, both as our Souls are of infinite conse­quence, more than our well beings in this world and our own ambition, joining with their flattery, helps to un­do us; this bait perhaps did first insnare half the lewd women about the Town, amongst the rest Cloe, our Neighbour, is now a sufferer by it.

When Philander began to visit her, all her friends gave her warning not to trust any fair promises, nor permit her [Page 30] vertue so much as to be once attempt­ed; since as a learned pious Man says, he advances too far that comes to be denied, for those inclinations may be check't in the beginning by a look, that upon small incouragement will appear in the highest impudence; (as she found by sad experience) but she was so besot­ted by the gaudy prospect, that she soon forgot to keep her due distance and (consequently) he as soon lost his respect; she feared Coyness would ob­struct her Grandeur which she valued beyond all things, and had that confi­dence in his vows to love her Eternally, that she believed her self the mistress of his life and fortune; but he took so much advantage of her security as to compass his own ends, and has since got an opportunity (by the way of wheadle) to tare those papers he had given her as a proof of his good inten­tions; which, if she had preserved till now, might have obliged him to make her some small reparation for the wrong he had done her, tho he was too cun­ning to write any thing that would ab­solutely have bound him to marriage [Page 31] (however she did falsely understand it) but she was not so nice in keeping this writing as she ought to have been, thinking she had a stricter tye upon him, by the mighty passion he pretended; which she now finds, is, vanisht into Air.

When he first avoided her Conversa­tion she raved, and was almost ready to destroy her self, she found all the ways she tryed to recal him were inef­fectual, till at last quite tired with her importunities to return, he plainly sent her word he was going to marry a La­dy that was Rich and Vertuous, that since she could pretend to neither of those Qualifications, she ought not to complain; this message struck her with a sence of her own weakness, and the good advice she had neglected; Oh, how happy such a bauk in her first amour, might have proved, if she had grace enough to consider her Eter­nal good, and to make a right use of her afflictions, but instead of implo­ring the mercy of that God, whom she had so highly offended, she railed and cursed, accusing even th' Almighty [Page 32] Powers of Injustice, for not being more propitious to her folly and wickedness, when she had pass'd a month in fruitless grief, upon examining her own heart, she discovered that in spite of her Sa­tyrs against mankind, she could not live without them, nor leave that wretched course of life she was entred into; therefore her looking-glass inform­ing her, that tears had been a very great enemy to her beauty, she imme­diately resolved to use all her Art to re­pair that fault, and soon after appeared in the Box at the Play-House, with as much assurance as if she had no crime to blush for; it was there Pamphilus saw her, Pamphilus, who was never insensible to the advances a Coquet made him, became her humble admir­er, and his pretensions agreeing ex­treamly with her designs, they quickly contracted a close Correspondence; she expecting nothing beyond the present Injoyment, made the most of her Di­versions and his purse, and they seemed as fond of one another as if their Souls had been united, but alass, Love, which is built upon such a Foundation, can ne­ver [Page 33] continue long, and accordingly theirs is already at an end, without much disturbance on either side, their parting was so easy no body can tell which was weary first, they both pre­tend to the Glory of Inconstancy, and to their comforts, are both ingaged in fresh intriegues.

Pardon me Dear Madam, for this Digression, in giving you an account of those you have some knowledge of, tho their Actions shew how little they improved by good Acquaintance; a Let­ter from London ought to have some News, and I shall think my self hap­py, if mine can amuse your thoughts for a small time, all the world knows their cases are not in the least parallel to yours, yet if another's greater errors can justify our failings, their want of foresight, to so high a Degree, should make you esteem it a less weakness in your self, to be deluded by a person, that seemed to every one (as well as you) to be so very good, so very faith­ful; it was those well Counterfeited Accomplishments that made him ma­ster of your Affections, but since you [Page 34] find him, that you took for an Angel of light, was in reality a Devil, as the cause is removed, the effect should cease; and nothing now appearing of what you valued, you should never more remember him but with abhor­rence, nor can you envy her who has the misfortune to be his Wife; for be­sides his ill Temper which is unmasked (and has been plentifully shown in his Carriage to you of late) all these terri­ble Imprecations which he used to re­move your suspicions of his Integrity, hang heavy o're his head, and will, I fear, involve his Family in Ruin; es­pecially since she knew, before she re­ceived him, what deep Engagements he must break through to marry her: and I can scarce believe she could be so con­ceited of her own Merits, to think he preferr'd her before you, upon any other account but having a little more Mo­ney (though yours was equal to his E­state, if it had been what he represent­ed it when he first treated with your Relations): Had she made use of her Reason, she would have hated so Mer­cenary a Lover; and had she consulted [Page 35] either that or her Conscience, both would have joined in warning her to flye a Serpent who had so barbarously bit another only for cherishing him, in pity to his pretended pain: but hereaf­ter she may see her Error, and smart for the Wound she has helped to give you; yet as none of these things come by Chance, and you know by whose per­mission they are transacted; I doubt not you will look up to the (first) hand by whom the Blow was directed, and yield quietly to it; I wish you could so far overcome your passion as to do it thankfully; for all your Friends look upon it as a great Deliverance, and time may convince you that it is so; but this I am confident you are sensible of alrea­dy, that it is designed for your good, and are so much a Christian, that you will endeavour to make a right use of it; for whatever Idea, you have entertai­ned of Felicity in being his, will be a­bundantly greater as well as surer, in your Contemplation of the Love and Goodness of God, who suffers us to meet with Disappointments in this Life to make us seek our Happiness in ano­ther. [Page 36] He only can give us true content, whom we seldom regard but when we are driven to it by necessity: how re­miss then should we be in doing our Duties, if all our Undertakings were attended with success, which makes us so eager in the pursuit of pleasure, that we can think of nothing else; tho al­most every day's Experience informs us, that it is impossible to find any delight without a mixture of bitterness and sorrow, which one would imagin were sufficient to drive us from placing our satisfactions in those things that perish in the using; and the truer perfection we fancy to be in them, the more sensi­ble shock, each change, each deprivati­on gives us, what sordid poor wretches must we then be, who, after the paying so dear for our knowledge, are still ig­norant, that what we covet incessantly is but vanity and vexation of Spirit; this we are told by him, who had tryed all the alluring Charms of Love and Beauty, whose Quality and Riches gave him the opportunity to gratify every Inclination, and set no bounds to his wishes; if he found such emptiness in possession of them, it is no wonder every one of us, must di­scover [Page 37] the same truth to our own cost, if we will mistake it upon his experi­ence, let us therefore resolve upon all occasions, to submit our wills as much as we can to the will of our Heavenly Father; and then we need not fear but he will repair all our Losses, and Redress all our wrongs, and in lieu of a deceitful Lover whom you have lost, You will find a most Gracious God who is constant to all those that are true to him, and severe upon all those that are false to others.

Your Humble Servant.

AN ESSAY OF SICKNESS A Letter to a Friend, who had been dangerously III.

AFter so long, so strict a Friendship, as has been Inviolably pre­served betwixt us; I hope it is not ne­cessary for me to assure you, how ea­gerly I wished to pass this Summer with you; but wherever I am my heart is firmly yours, (that heart which by a thousand obligations is tyed for ever to [Page 39] you). I know your Husband's and Mo­ther's tenderness would render my care of you very needless as to the Nursing part, and my great impatience to see you, now you are ill, is (chiefly) be­cause I could better trust my own Eyes, than any other's account how you are, (least they flatter me in pitty to my trembling Expectations) I must own my concern for you would make me un­serviceable (if not troublesome) had I been with you; tho none has a truer desire to assist you at all times, but our Heavenly Father's will must be submit­ted to in this, as well as every other oc­currence that we meet with, and it will be no small tryal of my patience to go so much further from you. I, who think every Post an Age in coming, shall now to my grief be infinitely more uncertain, how it may please the great Phisician of our Souls and Bodies, to deal with you since my Husband's Affairs obliges us to cross the Seas.

Whilst we continue in this World, we are subject to variety of Afflictions, and whensoever God sees fit to lay severe pain or sickness either upon our selves, [Page 40] or those that are dear to us, we must be forced to acknowledge that we are but miserable comforters, not being able to afford each other a moment's ease or satisfaction; want of health vitiates the palate and takes off our taste from all things valuable in this Life, imbit­tering every Injoyment; as for the noise and bussles which at another time di­vert, they do then become Insupporta­ble Disturbers of our Rest; and if for­merly we have been never so much en­tertained by them, yet we find not the least remains of Inclinations left, but are willing if we can to lie still and forget 'em.

Riches and Honours, as tempting as they appear to the greatest votaries when well, yet in sickness, if they are accompanied with their usual train of Visitants and Courtship, instead of do­ing us good by gratifying our Ambition, they help to foment the Distemper but are far from curing it.

And as Crown'd heads are no more exempt from the sword of the destroy­ing Angel, than the poorest Beggers, we may learn from their Anguish how [Page 41] little we ought to value Grandeur, which can give us no assistance in our Extremities; a down-bed is not a bet­ter insurer of sleep in such a case, than a heap of straw (to those that were al­ways used to it) and a King that groans under a hopeless sharp Disease (tho he has been never so absolute) is made quickly sensible, it takes its Commissi­on from a higher power than his, and must without Resistance yield to its As­saults in spite of all the Doctors, who, 'tis ten to one to show their Zeal, in­crease his Torments by their fruitless Operations; and distinguish him from the Vulgar, by making him smart more; it is then, he esteems himself wretched beyond any of his Servants, in their full strength, and would (were it possible) change places with them; health, Alas! is a mercy which is not regarded till it is lost.

Sickness, multiplies all our other Grievances, as well as renders us inca­pable of pleasures, and the weakness of the body has such effect upon the mind, that it sinks under those troubles that would not move it at another [Page 42] time, but our Judgment decaying with us (which should fill the breast with well digested thoughts) we shall too soon find its place supplyed by wild Chimera's of our own; and startle eve­ry moment at Gyants of our own rai­sing up, then every hasty word af­frights, and every whisper gives us an Alarm, and a show of the least unkind­ness strikes us lower than it found us; nay, sometimes we are so unjust to charge our best friends for failing in their Love or Diligence, when they have toiled about us, to a degree that we cannot mention without thanks and blushing after our recovery; and when the want of ability to help our selves, forces us to become burthensome to others, instead of excusing the trouble; we are apt to increase their uneasiness by continual fretting; this is the com­mon method through which the sick afflict their own Brains, and their At­tendant's cares, but God's name be bles­sed, who, as he always indued you with an Extraordinary patience, does not suffer it to leave you in this Tryal; for tho Complaining may satisfy the fancy [Page 43] at the present, it must needs disorder the whole frame of the Body, much more than lying quiet till he that made us, is pleased to restore us to health and ease, but it is not in our power to do this without his help.

Tumbling and Moaning, our misery is indeed so very natural that of our selves we cannot forbear it, tho we know it rack's the head, indangers cold, and what is worst of all, raises the Va­pours, an Enemy we seldom have the skill to lay again, Vapours that are alone, a Distemper which fills the Im­magination with a thousand terrifying whimsies; and not only Alters, but totally deprives us of our senses, and appears like a forerunner of Death to them that see, as well as they who feel, its most amazing symptoms, this sort of illness varies very often and baffles both them that prescribe, and them that apply the Remedies; and much less can they, who are overcome by the apprehensions of its fatal Consequences, give a just account of themselves; for it seizes so deeply upon their Intellects, that they read their doom in every sad [Page 44] look, and are ready to grasp at the least Discouragement, to feed the conceit of their own being past all hopes of Recovery: and this opinion when it is fixed, not only obstructs the cure, but makes them resent it, if their friends do not altogether credit the dismal Re­lation they give of their own Conditi­on; which however they find to their comforts, that they often represent more dangerous than it proves, they think you do them a great deal of wrong, if you question their under­standing in the case; but the learned have been convinced by many years experience, that vapours mimick all other Diseases, and deceive none so much as those that have 'em; Melan­choly will raise the Spleen in Sickness (and sometimes in Health) to such a height that they almost die daily in their belief, not in the Apostle's mean­ing, for tho the best of Christians are as liable to this misfortune as any other, (it being a defect in Nature not in Grace) I doubt it is a certain hindrance in all their Duties, which we hope, however, that God will mercifully ac­cept, [Page 45] if their desires are bent sincere­ly towards him, according to their strength; for at his Throne the intenti­ons are more considered than a studied Speech, for he knows our necessities before we ask, but oh! how happy are they whose minds living and dying are Composed in his Service, whom no care nor pain Distracts, and are able, in all the Providences of the Almighty, to say his will be done; not that the best amongst us are capable of this Resignation, without a particular sup­port from above, we must only beseech him if he sees it consistent with our Soul's good, that these houses of clay where he has placed them may molder away so gently, as to give our better part as little emotion as is possible in such a separation, and that he would in mercy translate them from Praising him on Earth, to sing Eternal Hallelu­jahs to his Name in Heaven; which scene of Bliss exceeds our Comprehen­sions, let us therefore humbly adore without pretending to search into these sacred mysteries, and by a steady faith in our Redeemer's merits, expect to re­ceive [Page 46] what he has purchased, for as ma­ny as believe in him, and do his will, if we have this Glorious Prospect be­fore our Eyes, it will prove the Rich­est Cordial to our drooping Spirits, and make up for all we suffer in our pas­sage, tho it is rugged and contrary to flesh and blood, whose dictates we are subject to follow, as long as they are about us, which occasions repining at our sufferings, till we loose that thought in remembring the price of our high calling; not that I think a guess is to be made at any person's fu­ture Estate by their Patience, or Impa­tience on a sick bed, much allowance is to be given to their Dispositions and the nature of their illness; which if it affects the head, it is no longer them­selves that Act, and Consequently they ought not to be accountable for it: at least not to us who are liable to the same in­firmities, and know not how soon the mildest of us may grow peevish under an acute, or Languishing Distemper; but in this and all other Tryals, it is God alone that is a sure Rock, in the needful time of trouble, when humane [Page 47] frailty stifles our reasoning, if he pleases to lay his hand under us, and let his right hand sustain us, tho we walk in the valley of the shadow of Death, yet shall we fear no Evil, for his Rod and and his Staff is sufficient to comfort us.

Now when he lays his Rod without his Staff, who can abide it in such a day of distress, there is no shelter; should we lean upon any other for help, they would prove as spears to pierce our hearts, or as weak Reeds that will quickly bend under us, leav­ing us destitute and exposed to Temptations and Sorrows; particular­ly when we find a Deprivation of Health, which the Devil who knows our blind sides very well, believed to be so unguarded a fort that he thought himself assured Job's integrity would fall a victim to him by it, if he had God's permission to attack him there; skin for skin says he, and all that a Man has will he give for his Life; but tho neither the force nor cunning of this Enemy, joyned with the cruel reproofs of his friends, had the power to make him charge God foolishly (how severe­ly [Page 48] soever he was Tormented by them yet it did compel him to break out in bitter Exclamations, against the day of his Birth, and in the midst of his Re­signation, he expressed a deep sense of his Calamities; it is no wonder then if we Complain since that was done by so great an Example of patience, of whom our Cteator declared, that there was at that time none like him upon the Earth: and in this degenerate Age I fear there are still fewer Imitators of his virtues, but as God has not given us the same strength as he had, neither has he suffered us to fall into such Af­flictions in Body and Estate; for if he did, I doubt we should speak unadvis­edly with our Lips.

But too many, amongst us, seldom need his miseries to carry them to a fault; that is now daily practised with­out any excuse but meer Diversion, or an Idle Custom, by men of all ranks, whose common Discourses are so stuft with Oaths, and horrid Imprecations, that one would conclude Job's wife were there Spiritual guide, they shew such readiness to curse God, and call [Page 49] not only for Temporal but Eternal Death, invoking him at every word to damn and sink 'em, little reflecting how dreadful a sentence they would bring upon their own heads, if he should say, Amen: I doubt it would signify no­thing, when they come into another Region, to pretend they were not in earnest in what they spake so devoutly; yet after all, I am far from imagining they mean what they say; but since some have been snatched out of the world, with those words in their mouth, I think the danger considera­ble enough to be avoided, and I fancy these Martyrs in the cause, making so horrible an Exit, could be no Incou­ragement to their followers, who dare scarce vindicate the crime they Com­mit; I wish it had more force to deter them from shewing such irre­verance to the most high God, and mentioning the Blood of the Covenant as an unholy thing, by mixing it in all their filthy jests, or sometimes using the wounds of the Meek, the Blessed Jesus, to express their rage and lust, indeavour­ing one way or other, to draw him in [Page 50] as a Confederate to Debauchery and Oppression, who knew no sin, neither was any guile found in his Lips; and, as if this were not sufficient to make them in danger of Hell fire, they add (the lesser weight) of not only dispis­ing their Brother, but breathing conti­nual Execrations against him, upon eve­ry frivolous occasion; and sometimes in good fellowship, as if they only cursed him to the Devil that they might not be parted.

This is strange daring in the strong­est Constitutions, but to hear those who are scarce able to creep about, that look like Lazarus fetched from the Grave, and are rotten enough to be worms meat before they come there; to hear these poor Mortals venture to provoke and (seem sometimes to) defy the hand which has almost crushed them to peices already, is surely the heigth of Impudence, and must cost them many sad thoughts, if they have but sence enough to think of that place whither they are going, and to which their own curses have condemn'd them; but I am afraid, whoever indulged [Page 51] themselves in this, or any other sin, up­on the hopes of a Death-bed Repen­tance, found it a very improper Sea­son, and would not advise their Friends to delay it so long; it must be very difficult when the body and mind are wearied with their Distemper, to call the Conscience to an account for what was so customary to them, that they were hardly sensible when they did it, and could not in perfect health indure the Fatigue of slightly recollecting their Souls.

But besides the more then ordinary pains, besides the hazard of not having oppertunity given for this dilatory way of making our Peace, and our great unfitness to begin this work, when we can have so little assistance from with­in; some have been split upon another Rock, and fallen into a dreadful despair of God's mercy, which is the most in­sufferable torment that flesh and blood can feel, and is as much beyond De­scription, as the Heaven they think they are excluded from; It may then truly be said, the whole Head is heavy, the whole Heart is sick, and renders them [Page 52] incapable of one minutes ease; for the Spirit of a Man may bear his infirmi­ties, but a wounded Spirit, oh! Lord, who can bear.

Nothing transcends their misery, ex­cept that Everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his Angels, which is so lively represented to their Imaginati­ons, that it gives them a taste of the flame and brimstone into which they fancy they are Dropping; how prudent are they who consider and avoid this precipice; for early or late, we shall all find what fruits we shall have of those things whereof we are, or should be ashamed, but tho cursing and swear­ing is grown a bold fac'd transgression, and people are not much given to be ashamed of it at present, they will find in the end it must be accounted for, and they cannot deny but it is the most un­profitable of all sins; for it damns a Man for a little Air, or extorts a dear Re­pentance from them, without being inticed by any pleasure into their fault.

A disturbed Conscience is certainly the saddest Circumstance of a sick friend, and I heartily beseech God to [Page 53] keep me and all I am concerned in, from falling into it, that we may ne­ver have a distrust of our Salvation through Jesus Christ, nor presume groundlesly upon his Merrits, without lamenting and forsaking our sins.

But your Life hitherto has been so strictly pious, that I do not in the least apprehend you want a summons from me to look up to him, who is the Au­thor and the Finisher of your Faith, and to call upon him in all distresses: no, to my Joy, I hear how constant you are to your Devotion in the midst of your pains, and that you retain your ever quiet temper, under those variety of tortures, that might discompose the strongest brains, that you show no re­pining at the will of our Heavenly Father.

All this sedate frame of yours, being considered, it may appear very imperti­nent in me, to mention several things that my pen slipt into; but I was for­cibly led into it by some unhappy in­stances, that I have lately seen of those who in their health could talk irreve­rently enough of a leap in the Dark, [Page 54] but in their sickness had a glimpse of fire, tho not of light, only so much as serv'd to convince them, that they were altogether out of their way; but God who opened their Eyes, I hope did at the last forgive their of­fences.

We have the Example of the re­penting Theif upon the Cross, which must prevent our passing Judgment upon one another, and yet those that are the witnesses of their sufferings, who lie under the torment of a trou­bled Conscience, will find little In­couragement to undertake their cours­es, tho there is a possibility of par­don, but let us make our calling and Election more sure, and work before the night comes, the night of Af­fliction either in body or mind, for when we are declining in our healths, or clouded in our thoughts, how un­fit are we to Judge of, or to im­prove our Soul's Condition; what a sad turn shall we make, if instead of remembring our Creator in the days of our Youth, we resolve to have as little as we can to do with [Page 55] him, till wearied in the Devils Im­ployments, and assaulted by him for doing no more; We should cry, Lord have mercy upon us, and betake our selves to Heaven, when we can stay no longer here, never looking for Oyl in our Lamps, till the Bridegrooms coming, from whose presence, God grant, we may never be shut out. But I forget, much reading may incommode you, who wish you all Health, and am Yours.

AN ESSAY UPON DEATH IN A Letter to a Friend, Who had Bu­ried her Husband.

IMpute not my silence, Dear Madam, to any want, but the excess of kind­ness, which makes me too much a Part­ner in your sorrow, to find words at all suitable to the share I have with you in it; if therefore I am the last in Condol­ing your great Loss, I do most faithful­ly [Page 57] assure you, it is no insensibility, but the highest Degree of Love and Ten­derness towards you, that occasioned it; the grief that is least, is soonest ex­prest, and perhaps the more noise it makes, the less mischeif is sustained by it: had I been unconcerned, my pen and thoughts had been freer; and (though I could have said nothing suf­ficient, to stem so fierce a Tide as your just Lamentations) I might have offer­ed some poor reasons against other wo­mens afflicting themselves so much, which I should be ashamed to menti­on to you, having been a witness, how far your Husbands Love and Mer­rits, excelled the best of Mankind I have ever met with, and I am so sensi­ble of your Reciprocal affection, that I know the power of God only can sup­port you under such a separation, which I believe, was much more terrible to you then Death it self, that so lately seemed to look you in the face with its severe Attendants of pain and sickness; and without doubt, if we may be per­mitted to bewail any misfortune in this world, you will be excused for duly [Page 58] resenting yours, but take heed, Dear Friend, your sorrow is not as one with­out hope, and use your utmost indea­vour to submit to the hand of the Al­mighty, with as much resignation in this, as you did in your own Distemper, (tho that assaulted but your Body, and this has peirced your Heart) but you ought to remember, it was the same merciful God that gave you him, who has now taken him to himself, and in the midst of your Afflictions, you have reason to bless the Name of the Lord, for sparing you so long, and especial­ly for preserving him unsullied in this black Age, where he could scarce converse abroad without it, nor consequently without danger of being defiled, since it is the constant practise of our Modern Hero's, either to seduce others from, or ridicule them in the way of Virtue: but, oh! how vain are their attempts, when they meet such awful goodness as your Hus­band was master of, whose looks and Character discouraged all appearances of vice, too much to admit a second attack, from those Vultures that are in­deed [Page 59] fit for no places but Charnel hous­es, where all things are as corrupted and rotten as their Principles, and yet these Monsters are too too often receiv­ed into the noblest Palaces, where that their deformities may not be observed; they take care to render their Proselytes, as odious and infectious as themselves, and so joyn together to spread the dread­ful Contagion, as far as their acquain­tance reaches; had your dear Husband fall'n a prey to them, he had been lost for ever to you, and to himself; but now, tho his change must of necessity give you a very great trouble, for being deprived of the best Companion, and the truest Friend that ever any woman was made happy by, yet after a due debt paid to his memory, which I know can be diverted by nothing upon Earth, I hope that trouble will find the most comfortable allay in the consi­deration, that this parting is to his un­expressable advantage, and has remov­ed him from a transitory and imperfect, to an Everlasting happiness, whither I doubt not you are daily preparing to follow him; and since it has pleased [Page 60] God to deny you the further assistance of such an Example and Counsellor, to strengthen you in your Travel, he will abundantly recompense that loss, by allowing you a greater measure of his, to carry you thorough the tryals and temptations to which you are ex­posed by the way, unless you neglect to implore his help by giving up your self to a Melancholy, that must needs discompose all your faculties at the same time, weakning your body, and unhinging your mind; which fruitless grief, if the Saints in Heaven have a sense of what passes here below, would be more disapproved by him, whose disease is the occasion of it, then by any of your surviving friends; and were it possible by your tears to recal him for one minute, from that Scene of Glory, which he is now (as we reason­ably imagin) translated into, he must regard you as his bitterest Enemy, to interrupt him in that state of Joy, which tongue cannot express, nor can it enter into the heart of Man to con­ceive; but if he is capable of making any wishes concerning you, we may [Page 61] conclude from his last words, that they all tend only to your attaining a firmer Title, to the Love and Knowledge of our Creator, that you may injoy a set­tled peace in your mind, and so resign up your self to the will of God, in this Gloomy providence, that your dear Spouse and you may hereafter dwell together, in that state of pleasures that has no end nor interruption; and tho the time of the afflicted seems most te­dious, yet they have the consolation to know that the miseries of this world must have an end, and so must our Mourning too, and this I have learnt even from the Heathens, that all vio­lent pains are short, and all lasting pains, are lightsome; and from hence conclud­ed that any sort of pain might easily be endur'd, whether it were this argu­ment, or self-love that made them bear the loss of friends with such indiffer­ence, I will not presume to determine; but I have met with some such hea­thenish people, whose excessive tender­ness to their own persons has prevented their grieving for any others; now when [...] easiness in this case proceeds [Page 62] from that Principle, I fear it will hard­ly come under the name of vertue, but ill nature; for we are commanded to love our Neighbours as our selves, and none can lose the thing they love with­out regret, which regret when it is for a friend, or those that are nearly allyed to us, I hope is inoffensive, and God who in mercy overlooks many of our infirmities, will (I trust) pity and par­don this, which is the most natural of them all, at least if it does not tran­sport us beyond moderation, but for those Christian Stoicks I last mentioned, their tranquility is not more assured for a less share of humane gratitude, or natural affection, since I never ob­served any of them without a darling passion, which affects them as tenderly, tho not so commendably as the other; in some Coveteousness and in others Pride, supplies the place of Friend­ship, which as it chears them when they find success, so every disappointment torments and grieves their Spirits, as much as the Death of our dearest friends does ours; and as mankind is the most excellent of all created beings [Page 63] upon Earth, I think it is undisputable that the degree of Love, which the supream Lord of all things is pleased to spare from himself, is much nobler imployed in kindness to one another, then in doting upon the unnecessary treasures, or the vain Ornaments of this Life, that take up most of the time and wishes of them, whose humor cannot be moved by any other spring. I grant that we ought not to expect any solid comfort from any of the Injoyments which we meet with here below, that the dearest friends must unavoidably part, and we know not whose turn it will be to be left behind; for as we came not into this world together, so we must not think to go together to the next, and tho we are permitted to Love, and commanded according to our Ability to assist each other, in this wearisom Pilgrimage, yet when it pleases God to part us, we must yeild to this common fate, notwithstanding the hardship it seems to put upon us; and whilst we do injoy the Conversati­on of our friends, we should prize the Goodness more then the outward Qua­lifications [Page 64] of those with whom we converse, still remembring they came not hither to do ours, but our Master's business; who making no further use of their service, in infinite Compassion, releases them from all the toils and rest­less cares, with which flesh and blood is howerly incompassed; accordingly in paying our last offices to the dead, the Church teaches us to say, For as much as it hath pleased Almighty God, in his great mercy to take to himself the Soul of our dear Brother here departed, &c. By that acknowledging that Death is an effect of God's great mercy, to all such to whom the following Text may be applyed, Blessed are the Dead which die in the Lord, even so saith the Spirit, for they rest from their Labours; And if the Dissolution of the Righteous, is to ex­empt them from Labours, tho our own interest makes us eager to detain them longer with us; yet the sense of what they enjoy in Heaven, and the Incon­veniences that attends them, whilst they are upon the Earth, must be a great means to silence our repinings; and to abate our grief: some indeed [Page 65] have so little peace and satisfaction, during their stay amongst us, that themselves are ready to say with Job, Wherefore is light given to him that is in Misery, and Life unto the bitter in Soul, which long for Death, but it cometh not, and dig for it, more then for hid treasures, which rejoice exceedingly, and are glad when they can find the Grave. In such ex­tremities, surely those that love them best, can bid them most chearfully a­dieu, hoping that all their sufferings are ended with their lives, and having pati­ently indured their Heavenly Fathers Correction, shall now be received in­to his Joy; were it not for this blessed Expectation, the Servants of God would commonly be most wretched, since their Cup is often empty, and as often filled with an unpleasant Potion; whilst their ungodly Neighbours have plenti­ousness of Rivers to drink, but tho we grieve the less for the Death of an un­fortunate Friend, yet his misfortunes make us grieve the more for him, whilst he lives; a certain Demonstration that the days of man are evil, as well as few, since Friendship, the most substan­tial [Page 66] pleasure in the world, only gives us the trouble of lamenting the unhappy Life, or bewailing the untimely Death of those we love: if our life then is constantly attended with such perplex­ity, why should we be so apprehensive of our Death; and yet, except those few that are extraordinarily harras'd, the rest of us are as zealous to hug our chains; as if we dissembled when we complained of bondage, like the old man in the Fable, tho groaning under the burthen, yet we desire to bear it longer, rather then have the fatal sisters cut the thread. 'Tis true, we are told, that this aversion to Death is na­tural, since all Animals that have sense enough to foresee their danger, indea­vour to avoid it; whether it is an in­stinct in nature which teaches them to flye from pain and oppression, or the fear of Annihilation, is beyond my reach, but we know when their breath is gone, they have no further being, and if we were Animals like them, we might have the like Apprehensions too, but now the sting of Death is taken away from us, by the blood of our Re­deemer, [Page 67] who graciously opens the Door of Life, to all such as patiently wait till their change shall come; and piously strive in the mean time to make their change happy; for which reason we ought neither to be discontented to live, nor unwillling to dye; and tho we must feel pain, sickness, and what­soever else we term misfortunes, with the same senses that others do (for Religion humbles, but does not stupify) yet the knowledge that we have de­served much more stripes from our great Judge, must make us resolve to lay our hands upon our mouths, and our mouths in the dust; not being able to offer one word in our own justificati­on, but must say with the Publican God be merciful to me a sinner; and when we have according to our Duties prostrated our Souls before him, resign­ing our selves, and all that is dear to us, to his most wise disposal; let us in Gods Name rise up chearfully and make our own way to Heaven, looking up to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, and to the Examples of those blessed Saints that have gone before us, [Page 68] in which number you have reason to think, your dear husband deserves a place; and therefore give me leave to tell you, you are very much in the wrong, in permitting your tears to flow upon the reflection of his Accomplishments, which he is now, (and not till now) re­ceiving the reward of; and since he has been faithful in improving those gifts, that God indued him with, and as far as Man could do, has answer'd the Character, which David in the fifteenth Psalm gives of him that shall rest upon the Holy hill, as you cannot envy, so I hope, you will not lament his proportion, nor grieve so excessively for his Death, which exalts him to such a pitch of honour; and as you al­ways thought it your happiness to have him easy whilst he was with you endeavour at least) to show for his sake, you can submit to have him so without you; Your most flattering hopes could promise you the injoyment of him but a very little longer, and if it were in your choice, whether you would live five years with so good an husband, or ten years with a worse, I know you [Page 69] would chuse the former; and now since God has been so gracious, not only to give you a Man that exceeded your wishes▪ but let you pass thrice that number of years, in mutual Love with­out the least disgust; you must not spend all the remainder of your time, in thinking upon what you have lost; but consider how very few women are so blest at all, and of those few how seldom their happiness lasts so long as yours has done; so it pleaseth our hea­venly father to order it, that he may draw us by afflictions nearer to him­self, and never continueth in one stay; being therefore we are so fully convinc­ed of the vicissitudes of this Life, let us receive every alteration with such a sted­diness of mind, as becomes the Ser­vants of God, who has promised to lay no more upon us, then he will inable us to bear, as I hope you will experi­ence that mercy, to assist you in this tryal of your faith and patience; and that you may find no decay, no want of either, is the hearty prayer of Yours.

AN ESSAY OF LOYALTY IN A Letter to a Friend.

IT is very natural for the most curious Travellers, after having spent some time abroad to return with joy to their native Countrey; but much more plea­sant to me who did not go out of it by my own choice, nor any hope of improvement; and to add to the great satisfaction of seeing my Friends (in which number you give me leave to [Page 71] place you), I fancied I should find a general content in the Nation, which I left so highly disgusted in the last Reign; that being still fresh in my thoughts, I am strangely amazed at my return to England, to see the same Spirit of mur­muring as busy as before; yet my sur­prise would be less, if I heard none rail at this Government, but those that were prefer'd in the other, if Treason were confined to Red Letter Men or Rags, such whose consciences or necessities made them so zealous for a change in Religion, as to lead an unfortunate bi­gotted Prince to design our ruine, and effect his own by their dull Polliticks; or if they only were angry, who had a Goal-delivery by his Indulgence, and now for want of it are returned to their proper habitations; but to see the same people that dreaded these Armed Rake-hells, when they were first listed for Soldiers, upon their inlargement, for­get their own apprehensions of the matter, and all the rest of those mis­carriages which so alarum'd them, and wish to live again in the same terrour, is unaccountable; can they dislike the [Page 72] change because it came so easily, I am sure, they would have imbraced it once, tho it had been bought at the expence of blood; every day expecting the loss of their Liberties and Religion; and who did imagine this settlement could have been made without one stroke? was there ever such an alteration known in any Kingdom, which was carried so gently as this has been; and must we that are Protestants be ready to cut one anothers throats, because the Roman Catholicks did not attempt to do it, but lost that ground quietly that they had been many years in gaining? without doubt it must be a great disappointment to them, when they had raised their hopes so high, and saw that King peace­ably seated upon the Throne, who was almost looked upon by them as their Messias, to have him so quickly stopt in his atchievements; and none can con­demn their hearty desires for his resto­ration, since they believe it the only way to promote the Christian Faith; for, as for us Hereticks (as they please to call us) 'tis plain, they esteem us no better then Tartars, and so indeed they found [Page 73] us, when they thought they had caught us not long ago; but after all, they real­ly are the modestest, or at least the cun­ningest in their discourses of State af­fairs, of any I have met with amongst their party, thinking I suppose to reap the advantage of all the others talking, without running any hazard themselves. Now, if you ask these several sorts of Gentlemen, what it is they wish for, you shall find they have several ends, some of them are men that have by their extravagence spent their fortunes, and almost their credit too, and there­fore are in violent haste for a Civil War, in hopes by plunder to supply their pockets, like Vultures that live up­on the Carcass, and are always watch­ing for a battel, and therefore they speak aloud as they would have it, that all things are running into confu­sion; others like Crows love the fruits of the Earth, but hate the smell of Gun-Powder, and these affirm as possitively, tho not so loudly, that we shall be ine­vitably ruined, unless things return into the same Channel they were in before, and would fain insinuate that the only [Page 74] way to preserve the Nation, is with all possible speed to recall K. J. (conclud­ing he would reward them plentifully, for that peice of secret service, besides what is due to them, for cursing and now swearing).

A third sort of this disaffected party, are the Commonwealth-men, a sort of men like Moles that are always work­ing under ground, and no kind of soil can scape them; this made them under­mine K. J. and after His, ruin the Mo­narchy, and these vermine are now at the same work again, and think their game sure after this King is dead, but have not patience to stay so long with­out heaving at him, whilst he is alive, in which they joyn with the other party; tho as I said before, they propose a very different end, the one intending to make divisions in order to have K. J. and the other to have no King at all; both wisely supposing we may alter this Go­vernment, as easily as we did the last, when that was carried by the discon­tent of all the Nation; and if they pretend the Nation now is under the [Page 75] same discontent, only for being loaded with Taxes, as if King William should have kept out the French, by the virtue of hocus pocus, and conjured an Army upon occasion without our paying of the charge, I believe they will find themselves much mistaken, as to the number of their Confederates, and con­sequently to the nature of their under­taking, and am sorry so many of my Countreymen should fall under the censure of the Poet,

A pamper'd People, and debauch'd with ease,
No King can Govern, nor no God can please.

And if they complain so mightily now, I fear they will never be at rest, till the War is brought home to their own doors, for tho some things may be done now that one would wish other­wise, yet their remedy would be infi­nitely worse then the disease; and were it possible for these whimsical people, to have a new King as often as a Lord Mayor (and let him signify as little) [Page 76] they could not pitch upon a Man that would content any one of them till the year were out; unless he were to Reign himself, who would be much further from pleasing (even) their own Club than they by whom our affairs now are managed; and how can we expect a Magistracy free from faults, when eve­ry perticular person must acknowledge himself to have so many; if those with­out sin were to throw the first stone, or go out of England, the King would have fewer subjects then Duke Trin­calo.

Besides all these I have named, there is a party whose design is extreamly forreign from any of the rest, and yet they and their appurtenances are as much mutineers, as any of their Neigh­bours, and make a greater noise too (which is very considerable towards carrying on the work) that is several select Companies of Drunkards, who never fail to meet (according to ap­pointment) over a bottle, or a bowl of Punch to unravel the State; they think fit to have King James come back again, [Page 77] to bring Champaigne Wine with him: for this horrible Stuff they sell now, does not sharpen their Wits at all, and yet 'tis very dear; Therefore, as Losers should have leave to speak, it were a thousand pities to disturb them; for they pay treble Taxes that way, and do King William more good in helping the Excise, than they can do any bo­dy Injury in drinking to their Confusi­on▪

They are resolved to stick to their Principle, for Loyalty and the Butt: The Chief Grievance they suffer is the Scarcity of French Wine and Bran­dy, which is a National Calamity; and the Countrey Gentlemen that can di­spence with Ale and Beer, have not Understanding enough to feel the Want of Right Claret and Ragou­stes.

I know not whether I should have Reckoned the Good Fellows as a di­stinct part, being included in the No­ble Family of the Rakes; Of the which, both Males and Females, are [Page 78] (generally speaking) disaffected at pre­sent; a Warlike Prince not suiting their Humours half so well as a Sham-Camp at Hounslow-Heath; For now, by that time an Intrigue that is begun in the Winter, comes to perfection, and they should take the Air together in the Spring, they must be hurried from their Phillis's Arms, to drop in peices in Flanders, where they are fitter for the Hospital than the Field; and who can blame their dear Mistresses that have no other Consolation left, for cur­sing the cause that parted them; some of the remaining Beau's are in as lan­guishing a condition, for new invented diversions, as their Madams are for Variety of Lovers, both passi­onately wishing for a return of Peace upon no other account, but that the agreeable Monsieur may again refine the Nation; since of late we have not been blest with so much as a Dancing Masters Apprentice from France, to bring a Bon Mien amongst us; how should any Spark Edify in Point of Galantry, by a few Melancholly Hu­gonots that come hither for shelter, and [Page 79] have not these many Years Convers­ed with the Beau Monde; nor can they learn any better Air from King James's Disbanded Servants, who have not brought so considerable a thing as a new Minuet over with them (notwith­standing they may have Commissions, Declarations, &c.) Their business not lying toward Amours, makes them not so welcome to people whose Souls are made of Commodes and Feathers▪ yet they Caress them because their Cloaths were made in France, (though perhaps they were out of Fashion before they came from thence) hoping also, that they will give their Master Intelligence, that (next to their Looking-glasses) they are devoted to his Service; but more especially to their Young Master's, for Two Special Reasons; One is, his wearing his Hat better, and the pro­mising Expectations of his doing eve­ry thing Ala Francoise; for sure such an Education will make him in per­fection: The other is, That in likely­hood his Title will not be set up a great while (if ever); and they are willing to put the Evil Day (of dis­composing [Page 80] their Wigs) as far as they can from them: but if Whispering, and dispersing Treason will be of use to him, they and their Doxies do their part; for several that do not care for fight­ing, will hazard being fined, or the Fa­tigue of Pillorying; Tho it is no very decent posture for persons who pretend to make so considerable a Figure in o­ther places; Yet they talk, and read Pamphlets, in hopes they shall have the good Fortune to escape still; And if a Revolution happens to their Minds, they shall be paid a great deal more than their Speeches, or Persecution for them is worth: That is, supposing they should be taken Notice of at all, which I humbly conceive would be a questi­on, Some sorts indeed of their Ladies would be better gratified by changing of the Scene at Court, where they could not be admitted in this Reign: But for the Civil part of them, who would not come to Court because they did not love our Queen, I am apt to believe their pre-possession made them keep this Distance; for sure it was impossible to know Her, and wish Her [Page 81] Ill, who was, certainly, the Greatest Blessing that ever England was favour­ed with? And perhaps, if our Sins in general, and their Ingratitude towards Her, had not provoked Almighty God to take Her so quickly from us, She might, by Her Sweet Temper, have won Her greatest Enemies; and by Her Admirable Example, new modelled all Womankind; at least those that had the happiness to be often in her presence: For my part, I shall not be so bold to make an Encomium of her Vertues; Her own Works praise her in the Gates; and her High Character, which has scarce been hit by the greatest Artist, must not be touched by my Unworthy Pen: Yet I must for ever (in private) deplore Albion's Loss, and lament my own hard Fate to be so long, and so far distant from the best Queen that e­ver adorned our Throne, and that I could enjoy no greater share of the Sun-shine which Enlivened all about her: I coming home so near the sad E­clipse, as only to be made sensible of that Goodness, and immediately to see it snatch'd from us.

[Page 82]This dismal Day influenced many of them, who living, could not give her a Civil Word, and made them, by their Concern for her Death, shew the secret Notion they had of her Worth, though they had before industriously strove to stifle it; but none could be so blind not to see such apparent merit, except the most invete [...]ate Wretches upon the Earth.

But my Zeal for the Memory of the Queen, and Loyalty to the King, has transported me beyond my own Interest; For I ought not to have turn'd out so un­fledg'd a Bird, as this small Essay, into the Criticks Hands, who are some of them provoked by the Subject, to handle it severely (though others, I hope, in Ju­stice to my Subject, and in pity to my Sex, will appear in its Vindication) and if Submission will mollifie the offended Wits, I will confess any Fault they can charge this Paper with, that does not Re­flect upon the Right of my Cause; in which I must remain positive, and they cannot force me to do otherwise as long as the Hangman is on my side: I do [Page 83] own that State-Affairs are altogether out of my Element; and that a Woman is much more properly imployed in House-wifry than News; but our Weakness is known to every body, that we love to be in the Fashion, and one may as decent­ly pretend to wear a Farthingale, as to be ignorant in Politicks; For, during my stay in London, I never saw a Vi­sit made without Canvasing one King or other, which set my Brains on work­ing; and now I am retired into a Cor­ner of the World, I am willing to shew I have same little Remains of Breeding left, whilst the Generality of my Sex made it their business to draw Men from their Allegiance that were Loyal­ly inclined; and to animate those that were not.

I did, as often as I met these Vira­go's, profess my self King William's Champion; and in this Essay I have shew'd you some of my Reasons for it; And if any object, That the Poorness of my Expressions has wronged his Cause, I dare not contradict it; But I hope his Enemies may find, in time, [Page 84] that he is as much above their Malice as my Commendation; who shall always pray for his Safety, and the good Success of the English Nation: And in this wish I know you will heartily join with,

Yours, &c.

AN ESSAY OF Friendship. BEING A Letter to a Friend, who was in Distress.

I Am extreamly concerned to see you have so ill an opinion of me, as to hide your self from me in your misfor­tune, and let me hear it by another [Page 86] hand; I know not how to interpret this shyness in you, it makes me fear you never esteemed me worthy of your friendship, if you could imagin the change of your Circumstances should alter my Love; I had a different noti­on of our mutual obligations, and should have thought it a wrong to your generous temper, to have concealed any thing of consequence that had hapned to me, tho it had been to lessen me ne­ver so much in the world (which re­spects people according to the port they live in); I hoped till now you had put the same confidence me, who had nothing to recommend me to your fa­vour, but the plain sincerity of Soul; if you should not be welcome to me in the meanest habit, I could not deserve your company at all; but far be such mercenary base inclinations from my breast, who have more pleasure in di­viding a small fortune with my friends, then in hoarding up, or injoying the greatest treasures without them; and since I never valued any person for having a splendid equipage, I am ex­treamly confounded to find I have ap­peared [Page 87] so unlike my self to you, (for what else can make you avoid me, when it is in my power to be servicea­ble to you, unless you question my will to do it) I dare not quarrel with you now, lest it confirms your design of breaking our correspondence, which is as dear to me as ever, yet give me leave to complain of a greater loss then yours, the loss of my Friend; for now I perceive it is in the power of adverse fortune, to draw you from me; and let me tell you, those apprehensions that made you estrange your self, must at the same time accuse me of Pride and Coveteousness, as well as ingrati­tude, the first of which sins would be more unpardonable in me, then the rest of my Sex; but I always knew my own defects well enough to stifle any such suggestions; nor could I ever boast of any advantage so much, as be­ing made happy by your kindness; and since every Soul is not capable of faithfulness, the Character you gave of me for being so, together with your di­stinguishing me in your confidence, above the rest of your friends, did in­deed [Page 88] elevate me with joy (tho not to ostentation) but you have sufficiently mortifyed me now, by shewing me your trust was not absolute; and that you believed I loved you only as long as you were in humor for Diversions, or else I had some sinister ends, which are disappointed by this turn in your affairs; I think I can scarce be charg­ed with crimes I have a much greater antipathy to then these I have menti­oned, as Coveteousness is the root of all Evil, it is an Enemy to all good, (which I must ever account Friend­ship to be) that person that delights only in money can have no lasting sa­tisfaction, for as it is the nature of rich­es to make themselves wings, and fly away, the miser that locks them never so fast in his trunk, is so sensible of their fleeting qualities, that he has as many racking meditations about them, as if they were already out of his reach, his sleep is interrupted and all tyes of nature are broke; he regards a poor relation with as much aversion and caution as he can do a theif; as for Fendship he has not the impu­dence [Page 89] (or as he thinks weakness) to pretend to it, lest he bring in a part­ner to his wealth; for many of those sordid wretches, will acknowledge such an intimacy does oblige us to the ut­most of our powers, to help each other, and therefore they not being desirous to give a title to any part of their Estate, will keep out of the temp­tation; by which means, they want the chiefest comfort of humane life; a Co­veteous Man after many years deny­ing himself all Conveniencies (as well as duties) if he gets the reputation of being rich, may be courted by them who have an expectation from him, but he receives their addresses very warily, being conscious to himself, that he deserves nothing of civility, and jea­lous still of a design upon his Coffers, where he knows his only attraction lies; if he gets any presents upon trust of a double return at his Death, this Janus may look with smiles upon his Benefactors, but his affectionate face is always fixt towards his Gold; which yet he knows not how soon he must leave, if it does not leave him first; but [Page 90] sometimes the miserable wretch meets a disappointment in his darling hopes; and by an unforeseen fate is reduced to the real want, which his greedy desire of money imposed upon him, even in the midst of plenty; he may then too late wish he had made himself friends, with the Mammon of unrighteousness, for he finds no body willing to receive him, and does in vain groan for that blessing which he declined in his pros­perity, and would have proved of more advantage then all his ill got treasure; I mean a true friend, for they will not be wanting to help and to assist one another, in all exigencies, with their purse and advise; but they that will know no body when it is in their pow­er to oblige, will find no body know them in their extremity; as a late French Author well observes, out of whose ingenious writings I have col­lected some choice remarks, which I hope may be not only an entertain­ment, but an assistance to you in your present circumstances. The world is grown so very bad, that there is little faith left amongst us; nor gratitude [Page 91] for any kindness, the best services are too often the worst requited; we should therefore observe peoples beha­viour, in their Correspondencies with others, not to imitate their treachery, but to stand so much upon our guard that we may not be sufferers by it; Those that are too easy to believe, do many times when it is too late find themselves mistaken, yet we ought to be cautious in shewing a distrust of the truth of another, that being an unne­cessary rudeness unto them, and if it amounts to the degree of suspecting every body, it is an indication of false­hood in our selves, for a lyer can nei­ther believe nor be believed; but up­on the first report of any thing, it is most prudent to suspend our Judgment, unless we know the integrity of him that speaks it; yet the safest way of all to avoid being partial, is not to make any conclusion till we hear both sides; how unjust are they, whose un­derstandings are so ingaged towards one party, that truth can make no im­pression on them; but continue wed­ded to their opinion, beyond the power [Page 92] of reason to separate them from it; the best interpretation that can possibly be put upon such pernicious practises, is a defect in their capacity; tho 'tis ten to one their honesty is chiefly suspect­ed and most in fault: The greatest part of our life is spent in information, and that which is visible to us is least essential; we take most things on the words of others, and that makes us generally imposed upon; we com­monly know the truth of what we see, but seldom of what we hear, especial­ly if it come from far (which should make us more circumspect in what we give credit to) for when a relation of a thing has passed through several hands, it has so many glosses put upon it by the passions, or interest of them that recount it, as makes it never arrive pure and unmixt to our ears; Let us therefore consider, whether they which speak of any person, or thing are un­byass'd; and if they are not, we must give grains of allowance for their praises, and much more for their dis­praises, since the depraved temper of most men is stronglier inclined to be [Page 93] spightful, then good natured; it is those slanders that are spoken behind our backs (to undiscerning men) that does us mischief, for a wise person will gain a greater advantage from the cen­sure of their enemies, for what they do amiss, if they hear it, then a fool will take from the advice of his friends, which seldom prevails with him; the envious holds a glass to shew us our faults, and we ought to correct them in our selves, and not retaliate their railings.

We should indeavour to live peace­able with every body, and disoblige none willingly; for any person is capa­ble of being an enemy, but not all of doing friendships; nor is it prudent to be over forward in ingaging our selves in any tyes, either in Love or Friend­ship (more then what Christianity commands us to have for all men) yet when we have made a Protestation of Amity, no generous Soul will brake the correspondence, tho they meet some inconveniencies in it; but if the division is inevitable, will be sure it [Page 94] shall be justifyable on their sides; how­ever, both parties will be condemned, where there is a rupture betwixt friends, either for want of considerati­on in the beginning, or of constancy in the end; the spectators of their differ­ences do every one represent it as they please, (or at least as they think), and they Judge according as they Love; it is better to decline making a promise then to repent of it afterwards; a dis­obliged friend often proves the worst of enemies, and where you find a dis­appointment in them, a coldness is better then a quarrel; for contention generally ruines our reputation, emu­lation causing people to discover those failings, that our civility had made them overlook; the heat of dispute Ani­mates the Spirits, and raises up that infamy which was dead before; our An­tagonists thinking to confound if they cannot confute us, begin with a mani­festo of invectives, (that is supposing them as ill as they set us forth to be) for those are Arms unworthy a vertu­ous person to make use of; Let us therefore strive to have a concern with [Page 95] none that are not so, their goodness being a defence against ill language as well as falsehood; for they would al­ways act like themselves; but there is no security, when we treat with those that are not guided by Reason nor Ju­stice▪ with such we should not have a difference, and much less contract a friendship, for whatsoever affection we must express, we must remember all is not Gold that glisters, and theirs is subject to a base alloy, which is appa­rent enough to make us fly them, that have no Principles of honour, for hon­our is the truest pledge of faithfulness, and we can be safe with none with­out it.

The greatest benefit we can receive from riches, is their enabling us to do more good then those that have less; a good estate is a charge that we must give an account of, and leads us into many inconveniencies, if we have no friend to regulate our unruly Appe­tites. A person that is rich is certain­ly flattered, and they must love us ve­ry well, that will venture their own [Page 96] interests to represent us truly to our selves; which is the most requisite of any knowledge, tho it is unwillingly received by most people; a proud Man is hurried into many other vices, be­cause none dares show him the odious­ness of his carriage; for he that keeps all his acqaintance at a distance, if he is falling down a precipice has no body near enough to stop him; but a friend will kindly advertise us of those evils, for the which an enemy would expose us, and perhaps the very people who have betrayed us into it, shall be the first to trumpet our disgrace; such treatment is absolutely against the Laws of Friendship, since that injoyns us to conceal, as well as strive to recti­fy each others errors; and is a chain that proves of greater security to us, the more firmly it is linked; he that stands alone, cannot be so strong as he that is supported, nor is any help (from this world) so ready and substantial, as that which proceeds from a true af­fection; tho alas, there is but little of that to be found in the age we live in, and it is this decay of kindness, which [Page 97] occasions the ruine of so many families, for if there are several branches, it is not likely they should all be prospe­rous, but where they are united they seldom fall; we were born, next to serving God, to serve our Neighbours, and especially those of our own blood, which may be Policy as well as Duty, since we all want assistance in our turns, and a rich person has as much need of Counsel as one in a meaner Station has of relief; but whatsoe­ver our Circumstances are, we should omit no opportunity of being ser­viceable to the rest of mankind; those that have a considerable fortune to dispose of, should let their friends injoy a necessary share of it so easi­ly, that it may not appear like a gift, but as if they had an equal Title to it; and in all conditions we should aid the distressed to the utmost of our power, never follow­ing their examples, who are morose to all about them, not only to avoid the trouble of obliging, but from an Antipathy they have to all good nature; directly opposite to the Di­vine [Page 98] goodness, who is incessantly communicating his benefits to us; we ought in prudence to manage our Conversation with such an agreea­ble pleasantness (bounded by discre­tion) that people may delight in our companies; for all the goods of this life would be worth nothing, if we were to possess them alone, but we are sure to have either friends or enemies about us; and almost eve­ry day ingages the world to be more or less kind to us; let us therefore carry our selves so, that tho we do not desire to make many confidents, we may at least gain the esteem of all that know us; for with friends all things are well accepted that are meant so; they put no ill constructi­ons upon each others words; kind­ness sweetens all our cares, and takes away the constraint we are in before them, that are indifferent or spight­ful to us; as in Summer we must provide against Winter, we should make our selves so well beloved in prosperity, as to reap the fruit of it in adversity; if we have an alteration [Page 99] in our affairs, which are subject to mutation as long as we continue upon Earth, and some have been forced to crouch to those they once disdained to smile on; Humility and Complacensy have this reward, that they never fail to bring glory to those that exercise them, they add a lustre to the brightest ornaments, and if a change of fortune happens, their beauty is not sullied by Pover­ty; for the honour of an humble person remains, tho all their other circumstances are altered, and an obliging word or look costs us no­thing; therefore we may afford that; when we are reduced never so low, it will not only procure us esteem whilst we live, but make us be lamented when we die; a mild and charitable person imprints such Love, such Reverence in all that know him, as will not end with his life, but his memory will be respected; and when he goes from this world, it will be to his own comfort and other peoples grief; whilst a severe haughty man, tho [Page 100] he hugs himself with the conceit of keeping others in awe, will not only fall unpittied, but being considered for nothing besides his power to do mischief, if his Station alters, will find that fear turned into hatred; nor can his death be regretted, it be­ing for the publick good to have so ill an example removed.

If incivility proceeds from Pride, it is a base effect from a worse cause, which never proves of advantage to those that nourish it; if it is from ignorance, we shall be dispised for not informing our selves better, since those who have not had an oppor­tunity of fine breeding, may learn a civil candescention; and that we owe to every body, even our very enemies, for we must pity and as­sist them in their necessities, and nei­ther affront them nor proclaim their failings; it is a sign of our leading an ill life, if we carry a register of the wicked actions of others, and it is the consolation of fools only to be sa­tisfyed with their own sins, because [Page 101] another's are of something a deeper dye; yet too many are as violent in decry­ing those debaucheries they imitate, as if they were provoked by the steps they made in Vice beyond themselves, and whilst they rail, still run to overtake them.

Let us on the contrary, be strict in observing our own ways, and easy in the interpretation we put up­on others.

A generous person will speak well of those that are not his friends, as far as truth permits, and where he cannot, will be silent; since it is much better to be so, then to say that which will prostitute our Neighbours reputation; but to magnify his faults with all the severity we can invent, is to make our tongues like the poi­son of a Serpent, whose bite is mor­tal, and will render us as detestable as they are.

A wise man will be moderate to all his discourses, and particularly in [Page 102] giving the Character of others, not being transported into a heat, whe­ther they are friends or enemies he mentions; nor hyperbolizing in the commendation of people that are de­serving, for excessive praise awakens curiosity, and provokes envy to look into their failings; and every one appears the worse that has been too much extolled before hand; but be­sides the disadvantage we bring up­on our friends, in having so mighty expectations to satisfy, if they fall short of what we have represented them, we must bring our own sin­cerity or Judgment in question; but we should least of all describe our selves, since we are so unable to Judge rightly in that point, to com­mend our selves in an abominable vanity; and to discommend our selves, is to beg a complement, and both ways we put the company in pain, either to forbear laughing at our conceitedness, or to find some­thing to say, which they think will answer our expectations, tho they do not believe one word of it themselves, [Page 103] but they who delight to hear no bo­dies tongue in motion, but their own, are liable to these and many other errors; and the most watchful may sometimes need a friend to repri­mand them; for tho Conversation is the ordinary exercise of life, we must consider how small a slip in it may ruine our reputation, which is of inestimable price, and is never in more danger then when we keep company with those that have none of their own to lose; whatsoever charms they possess, if vertue is want­ing, our fame will quickly be like theirs, and friendship will then di­vide the ill, as well as the good of this world betwixt us; why should we for any diversions incourage a reprobate person, and run the risque of being esteemed so our selves.

It is every bodies happiness to have wise friends, if they have wit enough to be advised by them; they which love truly are firm as a Diamond, and as hard to break; but some ca­pricious people are like glass, so brit­tle [Page 104] and dangerous to touch, that it is impossible to have a correspon­dence with them, without being in constraint; the least punctilio that you omit, makes a flaw in the ac­quaintance, they are continual dis­contents to themselves and others; they who would keep their favour must study their humors, and dares scarce stir before them, lest they should be offended at their motions; they are fond of nothing but them­selves, and being slaves to their own wills, expect their friends should be so too; we should be care­ful whom we receive into that inti­macy; if they are well principled, the correspondency will be mingled with pleasure and profit; but amongst the generallity of people, freedom in discourse is of ill consequence, lest we furnish them with Arms to destroy us, if they become our Enemies; and we often see those that express kind­ness to us to day, are most ready to do us an injury to morrow, and they are capable of making the more cru­el war upon us, if they know our weakness: Tho we may be sensible [Page 105] when we are treated ill, and shew a reasonable resentment, yet in all quarrels, we should leave a door o­pen for reconciliation, and put a curb to all thoughts of revenge; for if we give liberty to such inclinations, we may do that in our passion that may out-ballance the delight of punishing another; and a religious person finds a greater satisfaction in pardoning, then in returning an affront, rejoi­cing when they have an opportunity to overcome evil with good.

But some are very far from this temper, who will take part with those that are in the wrong, if their enemies have a dispute with him, only to oppose the man they hate, not reflecting that they hurt them­selves most, if he has the sense to espouse the right side; they show great folly that are against him, only for contradiction sake, which would be more inexcusable then if they did it, through a defect in their under­standings; but those who are guided by virtue and goodness, will act quite [Page 106] otherways, knowing a positive spight­fulness makes all conversation uneasy, and many times those that think to show their wit by disputing, pro­claime their ill nature only, and give their adversary cause to tri­umph; we should rather imitate the Bee then the Spider, as the Bee in­dustriously sucks the sweets from e­very flower, so let us make the best of all cross accidents, and then the counsels of our friends will prove as honey to us; but they whose envi­ous disposition observe the worst they can in every discourse, are like the Spider that swells with the Ve­nom, he extracts where're he goes: they that cannot bear a private, friendly reproof, are as big with con­ceitedness, as any of those insects I mentioned, can be with the most Poysonous Exhalation: It is a misfor­tune to be allied to such a Person, but when we fall into his Hands, we must not spend our Time in Fruitless Lamentations; For Com­plaints do often cause Disdain, and the World is so Inhumane, that in­stead [Page 107] of moving Compassion, the In­juries we Receive from one, encou­rages another (of as ill a principle) to accumulate our wrongs; it is best to conceal the rudenesses we suffer, and cannot remedy, and acknowledge the favours that are conferr'd upon us; which is Policy, as well as Gra­titude, since it many times excites those that hear us to be as kind; but that proud heart who will not own his obligations to his friends, does justly deserve to be contemned by e­very body; and when he finds him­self slighted upon that score, it must be an aggravation to his misery, to consider how much his own insensi­bility contributed to his ruine.

They who do their duties, are the best prepared to undergo what we call the frowns of fortune, and making a good use of their afflictions, will find a happy end of them; and enable us to be serene in those hurricanes of life, that are apt to shock the steddiest brain, where we can meet no ha­ven of safety, but in the hand of Di­vine [Page 108] Providence; let us therefore wait patiently upon him, till he pleases to make a turn in our affairs, know­ing that we can as much calm the raging of the Seas as alter his will.

Fretting at our Circumstances ren­ders our Judgment less able to Act, and decays our health, a troubled wa­ter may grow clear without, but never with stirring in it; yet sorrow is scarce supportable alone, therefore they are doubly wretched that have none to ease their mind in trouble; and tho other people may be so bar­barous to neglect, or use them worse for what they suffer already, if they have made a good choice in placing their friendship, they need not appre­hend such a treatment; tho indeed there is so much baseness in this age, that they ought to know them very well in whom they confide.

Some are incapable of keeping a secret, their minds being like an un­sealed letter, it is not prudence to commit any thing of Consequence to [Page 109] them; these are quickly to be found out, and are as certainly dispised; a cunning person, is yet more danger­ous, for they pretend to design our interests, whilst they promote their own, tho it be to our destruction.

But religious persons will preserve their Faith inviolable to their friend, and never disclose what they are in­trusted with, which gains them the esteem of all that knows it; but if they had nothing paid them, in re­turn they will not fail to discharge a good conscience, and not only con­ceal their friends concerns, but ac­count it a great felicity to be serviceable to them (as without all doubt it is a much more substantial pleasure to give, then to receive a favour) a compassi­onate temper never sees another in dis­content, without bearing a part with him; but friendship should carry us yet further, and divide the care and grief equally betwixt us.

Nor shall you ever find me want­ing in demonstrating the truth of [Page 110] what I have so often professed; for I did not instance these maxims as things of course; but because many of the rules suited with my own thoughts, and I shall omit no oppor­tunity to convince you, that accord­ing to the strictest rules of Friendship,

I am Yours.
FINIS.

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THucydides, Greek and Latin, Collated with five entire MSS. Copies, and all the Editi­ons extant; also illustrated with Maps, large Annotations and Indexes, by the Editor, J. Hud­son, M. A. and Fellow of Ʋniversity-Colledge in Oxford. To which is added an exact Chronolo­gy of the said History by the Learned Henry Dod­wel. Printed at the Theatre in Oxford.

Athenae Oxonienses: Or an exact History of all the Writers and Bishops, who have had their Education in the University of Oxford, from a­bout 1480 to the end of 1690, giving an Ac­count of the Birth, Fortune, Preferment, and Death of all those Authors and Prelates; the great Accidents of their Lives, with the Fate and Character of their Writings. The Work is so com­pleat, that no Writer of Note of this Nation, for 200 Years is omitted; in 2 Volumes.

A New Historical Relation of the Kingdom of Siam; by Monsieur de la Loubere, Envoy Ex­traordinary from the French King, to the King of Siam; in 1687, and 1688. wherein a full and [Page] curious account is given of their Natural History, as also of their Musick, Arithmetick, and other Mathematick Learning; in 2 Tomes, illustrated with Sculptures. Done out of French by A. P. Fellow of the Royal S [...]ciety.

Malebranch's Treatise concerning the Search after Truth; the whole Work compleat: To which is added his Treatise of Nature and Grace, being a Consequence of the Author's Principles contained in the Search; together with F. Male­branch's Defences against Mr. de la Ville; and se­veral other Adversaries. All Englished by T. Taylor, M. A. of Magdalen-Colledge in Oxford, and Printed there.

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A Critical History of the Texts and Versions of the New Testament, in two parts, by F. Simon of the Oratory.

Certain Considerations for the better Establish­ment of the Ghurch of England, by the Lord Ba­con; with a new Preface, by James Harrington, Esq

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TWenty Four Sermons upon several occasions, in two Volumes, by Dr. R. South.

Sermons and Discourses on several occasions, by Dr. Stradling, Dean of Chichester, together with an Account of the Author, by James Har­rington, Esq

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Bona's Guide to Eternity, Englished by Sir Roger L'Estrange.

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