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things veered about, the French joining with the English, against the Dutch, in a second Dutch war, during this reign; and here a late learned author has observed, that as the English were so successful in the former war against both, and the Dane to boot, and were never beaten but once, and that, when the fleet was divided; so in this the English in all the fights they had, which were four, came off with more loss than the Dutch. But the truth of it is, the French only came out to learn to fight, both in the one, and the other way, for they stood still looking on, or firing at a very great distance, while the English and Dutch battered one another; and monsieur de Martel, for falling on, and engaging bravely, was recalled, checked, and dismissed his employ; insomuch that the Parliament, who began to smell the French designs, moved, November the fourth, 1673, that the alliance with France was a grievance; and so a peace was concluded with the States, and our king sets up for a mediator at Nimeguen, between the French and Dutch, with their confederates, and in the mean time, having got considerable supplies from his parliament, raises forces.
For the French king had, during this naval war, possessed himself of a great part of Flanders, and the territories of the States; but before a peace was shuffled up, -or at leastwise, before the prince of Orange knew, or would know, of its being concluded, the prince, not staying for eight-thousand English, that were on their march to join him, did with the assistance only of ten-thousand English, under the command of the duke of Monmouth and earl of Ossery, storm the duke of Luxemburg's camp, fortified with all imaginable art, before Monts, with that resolution and bravery, that he beat him out of it, and relieved the place; and this was the last act of hostility, between England and France, of any kind, during this reign; this king afterwards, instead of putting a stop to the growing greatness of that kingdom, fell in more and more with the interest of it; and the nation, during the latter part of his reign, was almost rent to pieces, with the parties of Whig and Tory, which are but too much felt to this day; and he himself, at last, died on the sixth of Februay, 1684-5, in the fifty-fifth year of his age, and the thirty-seventh of his reign, computing it from his father's death.
JAMES II. ONLY surviving brother to Charles the second, immediately assumed the English crown, of which, notwithstanding the opposition made against him, in the preceding reign, he got peaceable possession; but had not been long invested with the regal dignity, when the eaol of Argyle, landing in Scotland, and the duke of Monmouth in the west of England, put him in no sniall danger of losing, that he had so lately attained. But this storm blew over, and ended in the execution of both the aforesaid chiefs, with a multitude of their followers, and that in a very barbarous manner; which execution, as it drew no small emulation upon his person, so the success egged him on, with so much violence, in the pur.
suits of his designs, for the advancing of the Papal power in these kingdoms, that it made the subjects now in danger of the loss, both of their religion and civil properties, bave recourse for relief to that prince, who has since so worthily filled the abdicated throne, and who then readily embraced their quarrel, and in the most perillous season of the year, with an army from Holland, landed at Torbay, November 5, 1688; a day and year memorable in the annals of time, for the English deliverance; and, having wished success, was the thirteenth of February following, with his princess, proclaimed king and queen of England, &c. King James having, sometime before, withdrawn himself into France, with whom he was so far from having any wars during his four years reign, that he entered into a stricter alliance with that crown; but since his present majesty's ascending of the throne, what traverses of war there have been between England and France by sea and land, and what the causes of them, I purposely omit, because they are yet fresh in every man's memory, and for that a final period has not hitherto been put unto them.
HUMAN LIFE, IN EVERY STATION, DEGREE, AND CHANGE THEREOF.
Written by a persou of quality, in his confinement, a little before his death; shewing the vanity of the desire of long life, and the fear of death ; with a true copy of the paper delivered to the sheriffs upon the scaffold at Tower-bill, on Thursday, January 28, 1696-7, by Sir Johụ Fenwick, Barovet.
From a Quarto, containing thirty one pages, printed at London, in 1697.
do not presume to arraign the justice of that sentence by which
Sir John Fenwick, the author of this tract, was condemned to die for high-treason; neither does it concern me to enter into the particulars of the charge brought against him; but I cannot but justly observe, that he, in these contemplations, has left us a convincing proof, how well he improved the time under his confinement; and a rare example of patience, resignation to God's will, and of a real christian understanding in the way of godliness. For I may venture to say, that, in this short draught of life and death, he not only shews his great ability in point of method and invention; but has excelled those excellent authors, Drexelius, Bellarmine, Bona, Sherlock, &c. who have written upon the same subject; and, therefore, believe it will be accptable to my readers, and thought worthy to be preserved from the injury of time in this collection.
NOSCE te ipsum is a lesson a man can never learn too late; and therefore, though hitherto I have lived so much a stranger to myself, that I have had little leisure, and less desire to think or contemplate (a studious and sedentary life baving always been my aversion) yet ihe solitary condition I am now reduced to, and the melancholy circumstances under which I lie, lo, methinks, call upon, me to consider what I have been doing, and what I am further shortly to do. I am now under a close confinement, secluded from all conversation with the world, and denied the visits of my nearest and dearest relations; and all this seems to be but the sail prologne to that sadder tragedy in which I am to be the privcipal actor, before I go off the stage of this world. And, therefore, since death and I must shortly be better acquainted, it will certainly be my wisdom, as well as my interest, to familiarise it to me before hand; and I do not know how that can be better done, than by contemplating the miseries of life, in all its various changes and conditions; and then to look upon death as the great panpharmacon or remedy of all those evils that life subjects us to.
It is true indeed, we generally fly from death as our worst enemy, although it is in truth our greatest friend; and this, to a considering man, is very unaccountable. I must confess, it does seem strange to me, and is, methinks, a thing to be admired, that the poor
labourer, to repose himself, longs for the setting sun ; that the mariner rows with all his might to attain his wished-for port, and rejoices when he can discover land; that the traveller. is never contented, till he be at the end of his journey; and that we, 'n the mean while, tied in this world to a perpetual task, tossed with continual tempests, and tired with a rough and thorny way, yet cannot see the end of our labour, but with grief; nor behold our port, but with tears; nor approach to our home, but with horror and trembling. This life is but a Penelope's web, in which we are always doing and undoing; a sea that lies open to all winds, which sometimes within, and sometimes without, never ceases to blow violently upon us; a weary journey thro’extreme heats and colds, over high mountains, steep rocks, and dangerous desarts; and thus we pass away our time in weaving at this web, in rowing at this oar, and in passing this miserable way; and yet, when death
comes to end our work, and stretches out his arm to pull us into the port; when, after so many dangerous passages, and loathsome lodgings, he would conduct us to our true home and resting place; instead of rejoicing at the end of our labour, of taking comfort at the sight of our desired haven, and of singing at our approach to those happy mansions; we would fain begin our work again, hoist sail to the wind, and would willingly undertake our journey a-new. No more we then remember our weariness and pains; our dangers and our shipwrecks are forgotten. We fear no more the tiresomeness of travel, nor the danger of desarts. But, on the contrary, we apprehend death as an extreme pain; we shun it as the fatal rock on which we are like to split; we fly it as a thief that comes to rob us of our treasure. We do as little children, who all the day complain of illness, and, when the medicine is brought them, are no longer sick: or, as they who all the week long run up and down the streets, complaining of the pain of their teeth, and yet, seeing the barber coming to pull them out, are rather willing still to endure the pain, than use the remedy.' And as those tender and delicate bodies, who in a pricking pleurisy complain, and cry out, and cannot stay for a surgeon; and yet when they see him whetting his launcet, to cut the throat of the disease, pull in their arms and hide them in the bed, as if he were come to kill them. We fear more the cure than the disease; the surgeon, than the pain; the stroke, than the imposthume. We have more sense of the medicine's bitterness, soon gone, than of a bitter long-continued languishing: we have more feeling of death, the end of our miseries, than the endless misery of our life. And whence proceedeth this folly and simplicity? we neither know life nor death; we fear what we ought to hope for, and wish for what we ought to fear; we call life a continual death, and yet death is the entrance of a never-dying life.
** Know thyself
Now what good, O my soul, is there in life, that thou shouldst so much desire it? Or what evil is there in death, that thou shouldst so much fear it? Nay, what evil is there not in life, and what good is there not in death?
Consider all the periods of this life; we enter it in tears, we pass it in sweat, we end it in sorrow. Great and little, rich and poor, not one in the whole world that can plead immunity from this condition. Man in this point is worse than all other creatures; he is born unable to support himself; neither receiving in his first years any pleasure, nor giving to others any thing but trouble; and before the age of discretion passing infinite dangers. Only herein he is less unhappy than in other ages, because in this he hath no sense nor apprehension of his misery. Now can we think there is any so void of reason, that, if it were granted him to live always a child, would make choice of such a life?
So then it is evident, that not simply to live is desirable ; but to live well and happy. But to proceed ;
Grows he ? His troubles likewise grow up with him. Scarcely is he come out of his nurse's hands, and scarce knows what it is to play, but he falls under the subjection of a schoolmaster; I speak, but of those which have the best education, and are brought - up with the greatest care and strictness. And then, if he studies, it is ever with repining; and, if he plays, it is never but with fear.
This whole age, while he is under the charge of another, is unto him no better than a prison ; and therefore he longs for, and only aspires to that age, in which, freed from the tutelage of another, he may become master of himself; pushing time forward, as it
were, with his shoulder, that he may the sooner enjoy his hopedfor liberty. · In short, he desires nothing more than to see the end of his age, which he looks upon as bondage and slavery, and enter upon the beginning of his youth,
And what is the beginning of youth, but the death of infancy? And the beginning of manhood, but the death of youth? Or what is the beginning of to-morrow, but the death of the present day?
And thus he implicitly desires his death, and judges his life miserable ; and therefore cannot be reputed in a state of happiness or contentment.
Behuld him now, according to his wish, at liberty; in that age wherein he has his choice, to take the way of virtue or of vice, and either to choose reason or passion for his guide. His passion entertains him with a thousand delights, prepares for him a thousand baits, and presents him with a thousand worldly pleasures to sur. prise him ; and these are so agreeable to headstrong and unbridled youth, that there are very few that are not taken and beguiled by them; of which my own example is too evident an instance.
But, when the reckoning comes to be made up, what pleasures are they? They are but vicious and polluted pleasures, which ever hold him in a restless fever; pleasures that at the best end in repentance, and, like sweet-meats, are of a hard digestion ; pleasures that are bought with pain, and in a moment perish, but leave behind a lasting guilt, and long remorse of conscience; all which I wish my own too dear experience could not witness.
And yei this is the very nature (if they be well examined) of all the pleasures of this world. There is in none so much sweetness, but there is more bitterness; none so pleasant to the mouth, but it leaves an unsavory gusto after it. I will not speak here of the mischiefs, quarrels, debates, wounds, murders, banishments, sickness, and other dangers, whereinto sometimes the incontinency, and sometimes the insolency of this ill-guided age does plunge men; for the remembrance of my own follies, upon this occasion, stops my mouth, and fills me with remorse and shame.
But if those that seem pleasures be nothing else but displeasures, if the sweetness thereof be as an infusion of wormwood; what then must the displeasure be which they feel? And how great the bitterness that they taste?
Behold then, in short, the life of a young man, who, rid of the government of his parents and masters, abandons himself to all the exorbitancies of his unruly passion; which, like an unclean spirit possessing him, throws him sometimes into the water, and then into the fire ; sometimes carries him clear over a rock, and at other times flings him headlong to the bottom.
But, if he follows reason for his guide ; (which is much the better choice) yet, on this hand, there are wonderful difficulties : for he must resolve to fight in every part of the field, and at every step to be in conflict, as having his enemy in front, in flank, and on the rear, never leaving to assail him; and this enemy is all that can delight him, all that he sees near, or far off. In short, the greatest