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mind about it, which he knew not well how to exprefs, but believed that thefe impunctions of confcience rather proceeded from the horror of his condition, than any true contrition for the errors of his life."
During the time Dr. Burnet was at lord Rochefter's house, they entered frequently into converfation upon the topics of natural and reveal'd religion, which the Dr. endeavoured to enlarge upon, and explain in a manner fuitable to the condition of a dying penitent; his lordship expreffed much contrition for his having fo often violated the laws of the one, against his better knowledge, and having fpurned the authority of the other in the pride of wanton fophiftry. He declared that he was fatisfied of the truth of the chriftian religion, that he thought it the inftitution of heaven, and afforded the most natural idea of the fupreme being, as well as the most forcible motives to virtue of any faith profeffed amongst men.
He was not only fatisfied (fays Dr. Burnet) of the truth of our holy religion, merely as a matter of fpeculation, but was perfuaded likewife of the power of inward grace, of which he gave me this ftrange account. He faid Mr. • Parfons, in order to his canviction, read to him the 53d chapter of the prophefies of Ifaiah, and compared that with the hiftory of our Saviour's paffion, that he might there fee a prophesy concerning it, written many ages before it was done; which the Jews that blafphemed Jefus Chrift ftill kept in their hands as a book divinely inspired, He faid, as he heard it read, he felt an inward force upon him, which did fo enlighten his mind and convince him, that he could refift it no longer, for the words had an authority which did fhoot like rays or beams in his mind, so that he was not only convinced by the reasonings he had 05 • about
about it, which fatisfied his understanding, but by a power, which did fo effectually conftrain him that he ever after firmly believed in his Saviour, as if he had feen him in the clouds.'
We are not quite certain whether there is not a tincture of enthufiafm in this account given by his lordship, as it is too natural to fly from one extreme to another, from the exceffes of debauchery to the gloom of methodism; but even if we fuppofe this to have been the cafe, he was certainly in the fafeft extreme; and there is more comfort in hearing that a man whose life had been fo remarkably profligate as his, fhould die under fuch impreffions, than quit the world without one pang for past offences.
The bishop gives an inftance of the great alteration of his lordship's temper and difpofitions (from what they were formerly) in his ficknefs. Whenever he happened to be out of order,
either by pain or fickness, his temper became quite ungovernable, and his paffions fo fierce, that his fervants were afraid to approach him. But in this laft fick nefs he was all humility, patience, and refignation. Once he was a little offended with the delay of a fervant, who he thought made not hafte enough, with fomewhat he called for, and faid in a little heat, that 'damn'd fellow.' Soon after, fays the Dr. I told him that I was glad to find his ftile fo reformed, and that he had fo entirely overcome that ill habit of fwearing, only that word of calling any damned which had returned. upon him was not decent ; his anfwer was, " O that language of fiends, which was fo familiar to me, hangs yet about me, fure none has deferved more to be damned than I have done; and after he had humbly asked God pardon for it, he defired me to call the person to him
that he might ask him forgiveness; but I told him that was needlefs, for he had faid it of one who did not hear it, and fo could not be offended by it. In this difpofition of mind, 'continues the bishop, all the while I was with him four days together; he was then brought fo low that all hope of recovery was gone. Much purulent matter came from him with his urine, which ⚫he passed always with pain, but one day with inexpreffible torment; yet he bore it decently, without breaking out into repinings, or impatient complaints. Nature being at laft quite exhaufted, and all the floods of life gone, he died without a groan on the 26th of July 1680, in the 33d " year of his age. A day or two before his death he lay much filent, and feemed extremely devout in his contemplations; he was frequently obferved to raise his eyes to heaven, and fend forth eja'culations to the fearcher of hearts, who faw his penitence, and who, he hoped, would forgive him.'
Thus died lord Rochefter, an amazing instance of the goodness of God, who permitted him to enjoy time, and inclined his heart to penitence. As by his life he was fuffered to fet an example of the most abandoned diffolutenefs to the world; fo by his death, he was a lively demonstration of the fruitlessness of vicious courses, and may be propofed as an example to all thofe who are captivated with the charms of guilty pleasure.
Let all his failings now fleep with him in the grave, and let us only think of his clofing moments, his penitence, and reformation. Had he been permitted to have recovered his illness, it is reasonable to prefume he would have been as lively an example of virtue as he had ever been of vice, and have born his teftimony in favour of religion.
He left behind him a fon named Charles, who dying on the 12th of November, was buried by his father on the 7th of December following: he alfo left behind him three daughters. The male line ceafing, Charles II. conferred the title of earl of Rochester on Lawrence vifcount Killingworth, a younger fon of Edward earl of Clarendon.
We might now enumerate his lordship's writings, of which we have already given fome character; but unhappily for the world they are too generally diffufed, and we think ourselves under no obligations to particularize those works which have been fo fruitful of mifchief to fociety, by promoting a general corruption of morals; and which he himself in his last moments wished he could recal, or rather that he never had compofed.
GEORGE VILLIERS, Duke of BUCKINGHAM.
ON and heir of George, duke, marquis, and earl of Buckingham, murdered by Felton in the year 1628. This nobleman was born at Wallingford-Houfe in the parish of St. Martin's in the Fields on the 30th of January 1627, and baptized there on the 14th of February following, by Dr. Laud, then bishop of Bath and Wells, afterwards archbishop of Canterbury.
Before we proceed to give any particulars of our noble author's life, we muft entreat the reader's indulgence to take a fhort view of the life of his grace's father, in which, fome circumftances extremely curious will appear; and we are the more emboldened to venture upon this freedom, as fome who have written this life before us, have taken the fame liberty, by which the reader is no lofer; for the first duke of Buckingham was a man whose profperity was fo inftantaneous, his honours fo great, his life fo diffipated, and his death fo remarkable, that as no minister ever enjoyed so much power, fo no man ever drew the attention of the world more upon him. No fooner had he returned from his travels, and made his first appearance at court, than he became a favourite with King James, who, (fays Clarendon) of all wife men he ever knew, was moft delighted and taken with hand⚫ fome perfons and fine cloaths.'