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think that my friend, whose honour, whose person, and whose fortune is dear unto me, shall prosper and be happy wherever he goes, and whatever he takes in hand, when he is in the favour of that God, under whose protection there is only safety, and in whose service there is only true happiness to be found. What I think of your natural gifts or ability in this age, or in this state, to give glory to God, and to win honour to yourself, if you employ the talents you have received to their best use, I will not now tell you. It sufficeth, that when I was farthest of all times from dissembling, I spake truly, and have witness enough ; but these things only I will put your lordship in mind of:
First, That you have nothing that you have not received :
Secondly, That you possess them not as lord over them, but as an accomptant for them :
Thirdly, if you employ them to serve this world, or your own worldly delights (which the prince of this world will seek to entertain you with), it is ingratitude, it is injustice, yea, it is perfidious treachery. For what would you think of such a servant of yours, that should convert your goods, committed to his charge, to the advantage or service of your greatest enemy : and what do you less than this with God, since you have all from him, and know that the world, and the princes thereof, are at a continual enmity with him. And therefore, if ever the admonition of your true friend shall be heard by you, or if your country, which you may serve in so great and many things, be dear unto you; if your God, whom you must (if you deal truly with yourself) acknowledge to be powerful over all, and just in all, be feared by you ; yea, if you be dear unto yourself, and prefer an everlasting happiness before a pleasant dream, which you must shortly awake out of, and then repent in the bitterness of your soul; if any of these things be regarded by you, then, I say, call yourself to account for what is past, cancel the leagues you have made without the warrant of a religious conscience, make a resolute covenant with your God, to serve him with all your natural and spiritual, inward and outward gifts and abilities; and then he that is faithful, and cannot lie, hath promised to honour them that honour him. He will give you that inward peace of soul, and true joy of heart, which till you have you shall never rest; and which, when you have, you shall never be shaken; and which you never can attain to any other way than this I have showed you. I know your lordship may say to yourself, and object to me, " this is but a vapour of melancholy, and the stile of a prisoner, and that I was far enough from it when I lived in the world as you do now, and may be so again, when my fetters be taken from me." I answer, “ though your lordship should think so, yet cannot I distrust the goodness of my God, that his mercy will fail me, or his grace forsake me. I have so deeply engaged myself, that I should be one of the most miserable apostates that ever was: I have so avowed my profession, and called so many from time to time to witness it, and to be watchmen over me, that I should be the hollowest hypocrite VOL. V.
that ever was born.” But though I should perish in my own sin, and draw upon myself my own damnation, should not you take hold of the grace and mercy in God which is offered unto you, and make your profit of my fearful and wretched example ? I was longer a slave and servant to the world, and the corruptions of it, than you have been, and therefore could hardly be drawn from it. I had many calls, and answered some of them slowly; thinking a soft pace fast enough to come to Christ, and myself forward enough when I saw the end of my jour. ney, though I arrived not at it: and therefore I have been, by God's providence, violently pulled, hauled, and dragged to the marriage feast, as the world bath seen. It was just with God to afflict me in this world, that he might give me joy in another. I had too much knowledge, when I performed too little obedience, and was therefore to be beaten with double stripes: God grant your lordship may feel the comfort I now enjoy in my unfeigned conversion, but that you may never feel the torments I have suffered from my too long delaying it. I had none but divines to call upon me, to whom I said, “ if my ambition could have entered into their narrow hearts, they would not have been so humble; or, if my delights had been tasted by them, they could not have been so precise :” but your lordship hath one to call upon you that knows what it is you now enjoy, and what the greatest fruit and end is of all the contentments the world can afford. Think, therefore, dear earl, that I have stated and buoyed all the ways of pleasure to you, and left
them as sea marks for you to keep the channel of religious virtue: for shut your eyes never so long, they must be open at last; then you must say with me, there is no peace to the wicked. I will make a covenant with my soul, not to suffer my eyes to sleep in the night, nor my thoughts to attend the first business of the day, till I have prayed to my God that your lordship may believe and make profit of this plain but faithful admonition: and then, I know, your country and friends shall be happy in you, and yourself successful in all you take in hand; which shall be an unspeakable comfort to your lordship’s cousin and true friend, whom no worldly cause can divide from you,
SIR WALTER RALEGH TO HIS WIFE". You shall now receive, my dear wife, my last words in these my last lines. My love I send you, that you may keep it when I am dead; and my counsel, that you may remember it, when I am no more. I would not, by my will, present you with sorrows, dear Bess : let them go into the grave with me, and be buried in the dust. And, seeing it is not the will of God that ever I shall see you more in this life, bear it patiently, and with a heart like thyself.
First, I send you all the thanks which my heart can conceive, or my words can express, for
* Written in 1603, after sentence of death had been passed on bim.
though they have not taken effect as you wished, yet my debt to you is not the less. But pay it I never shall in this world.
Secondly, I beseech you, for the love you bear me living, do not hide yourself many days after my death. But, by your travails, seek to help your miserable fortunes, and the right of your poor child. Thy mournings cannot avail me; I am but dust.
Thirdly, you shall understand that my land was conveyed bona fide to my child. The writings were drawn at Midsummer was twelve months. My honest cousin, Brett, can testify so much, and Dalberrie too can remember somewhat therein: and I trust my blood will quench their malice that have thus cruelly murdered me, and that they will not seek also to kill thee and thine with extreme poverty. To what friend to direct thee I know not, for all mine have left me in the true time of trial ; and I plainly perceive that my death was determined from the first day. Most sorry I am, God knows, that, being thus surprised with death, I can leave you in no better estate. God is my witness, I meant you all my office of wines, or all that I could have purchased by selling it, half my stuff, and all my jewels, but some one for the boy. But God hath prevented all my resolutions, even that great God that ruleth all in all, B. if you can live free from want, care for no more; the rest is but vanity. Love God, and begin betimes to repose yourself on him ; and therein shall you find true and lasting riches, and endless comfort. For the rest, when you have travailed, and wearied your