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Will it bring you to that Holy Sacrament, to which you are often bidden in Christ's name; to which you are often exhorted by his dying command, and for neglecting which you must have seen that all excuses are fallacious and inadequate? Will it bring you to this holy Sacrament in humility and faith, and lead you from it in charity, and unto holiness?
If to these interrogatories you can conscientiously answer in the affirmative; or even if you have the testimony of conscience that you are striving to enter in at the strait gate, then look up to your ascending Saviour, and behold at once your encouragement to proceed, and your incentive to persevere. He has gone thither to prepare a place for you-a place, to which you are admitted through his merits, and for which you are qualified by his Spirit; a place, which shall as certainly be yours, as that the heavens being on fire shall be ultimately dissolved and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. You now ascend with Christ in holiness, and you shall hereafter ascend with him in glory. Only endure, and be firm unto the end,--a few more trials and temptations, a few more perils and perplexities, a few more sorrows and sufferings,—and you shall attain to that rest which remaineth for the people of God; a rest into which no sorrow can intrude; an enjoyment which no trial can alloy; a blessedness which no vicissitude can interrupt, which neither death can terminate, nor eternity exhaust.
But there is a reverse to this triumphant spectacle, which, however painful it be for us to develope, and appalling for you to behold, must not be concealed by those who are pledged to declare the whole counsel of God. That very ascension of Christ, (which is to the true believer the sign of a like admission into that heavenly inheritance) will be to all beside the earnest of a perpetual exclusion from the blessed presence of God and of Christ. They who will not ascend now with Christ in holiness, have no warrant to expect that they shall ascend after him into the world of glory. And if there is any of you who considers God a hard master, and his service a service of weariness ; if there is any who considers that the sinful pleasures of the present evil world are too precious to be renounced, and the peaceful paths of religion too difficult to be pursued, let him open the book of divine truth, and peruse and meditate upon the predicted transactions of that fearful, yet inevitable day, when this same Jesus, who was taken up from us into heaven, shall so come in like manner as we have seen him go into heaven. Let him behold the earth dissolving, and the heavens passing away. Let him behold the grave giving up her dead, and the innumerable millions of successive generations arising to hear their doom. Let him behold the Saviour descending to judgment, encompassed with myriads of angels on a throne of glory. Let him listen to the voice of the archangel and the trump of God, and the agonizing exclamations of the wicked, invoking the hills to fall on them, and the rocks to cover them. Let him then single out himself amidst that multitude, without hope, or refuge, or Redeemer ; without any interest in that great sacrifice which is the sole salvation of all those happier spirits who encircle the Redeemer's throne. Let him contrast what Christ will do for him now, with what Christ must do against him then : and ask himself the question, How shall I escape, if I neglect so great salvation ? A.
THE LIFE OF THE RIGHT HON. AND RIGHT REV. DR. HENRY COMPTON, LATE LORD BISHOP OF LONDON.*
THE PREFACE. · I SHALL not stand to make a needless apology for these memoirs of the life of one of the most illustrious, pious, and orthodox prelates which our Church has been blessed with since the Reformation. I have endeavoured to trace him from his origin to his grave, in the various parts he acted either in a private or public capacity, as well in reference to civil as ecclesiastical affairs, which are so interwoven with our constitution, that the one cannnot be injured but the other must one way or other suffer. You will find nothing so conspicuous as his lordship's inviolable adherence to the interest of the Church at all, and even in the most dangerous times; of which he was a very competent judge: whereas I have known others of great fame for learning and piety, who would not suffer a piece of their works to be reprinted, as a preservative against popery, when it was breaking in like a torrent upon us, for fear of bringing themselves into any danger. I do not doubt but every body will agree with me, that there is nothing more glorious in our time than his sufferings for the same church, for which his memory must be revered by all good Englishmen and true churchmen. May his example be also followed by them, and their reward, like his, be in the blest regions of eternity.
THE LIFE. This family took its surname originally from the lordship of Compton, in Warwickshire, anciently distinguished by the appellation of Compton at the Vineyard. It is likewise of great antiquity in that county, some of that name flourishing there in the time of Henry II.
But the first who laid the foundation of honour, which of later years has been enjoyed by his descendants, was William Compton, who first became Page of Honour to Henry Duke of York, afterwards king of England by the name of Henry VIII, to whom he became afterwards Groom of the Stole. William was the father of Peter, and he of Henry, who, in the 14th of Queen Elizabeth, were summoned to parliament and afterwards assigned one of the Peers for the trial of Mary Queen of Scots.
Henry Lord Compton was the father of Sir William Compton, made Knight of the Bath at the creation of Charles Duke of York ; which William in the 16th of King James 1. was created Earl of Northampton, and soon after Knight of the Garter : he was succeeded in honour and estate by his eldest son Spencer Lord Compton, who, taking up arms for King Charles I. was unhappily slain at Hoptonheath, near Stafford, in the year 1642.
This earl was the father of four sons, of whom our Henry was the youngest; he was born in or about the year 1633; and being but about ten years of age, when his father lost his life in the royal cause,
* The above is reprinted from an old memoir of the Life of Bishop Compton, to which no date is given.
he was deprived of that paternal care that should have formed his youth for the future service of his country: nevertheless, having received education in his more tender years suitable to his quality ; when he had gone through the grammar schools, and became fit for academical learning, he was sent to Queen's College in the University of Oxford..
Having continued there for some time; I can assign no reason for his removal from thence to Cambridge, nor exactly the time when ; but so it was, and there I find he proceeded to take his degree of Master of Arts: thence he returned to Oxford, and on the 7th of April, 1666, was incorporated Master of Arts, with liberty allowed him to enter into, and suffragate in the House of Congregation and Convocation.
It seems Mr. Compton, after he had first set out on his studies, met with some interruption in them. Whether it was his own choice or the persuasion of friends, I cannot determine ; but so it was, that when a regiment of horse was to be raised for the king's guard, the command of which was given to Aubrey Earl of Oxford, and has in a manner ever since been called by that name, he had a cornet's commission given him in it: but soon discovering a greater inclination to his studies than to the art military, he quitted that post.
Having fully determined to dedicate himself to the service of the church ; I know not whether I am right as to the order of his preferments, but I find him to be one of the canons of Christ-church, in Oxford, in or about the year 1670.
Another preferment he had, was that of the rectory of Cottenham, in the county of Cambridge, worth, as I have been informed, about 500l. per annum; neither am I to forget his being made master of the famous hospital of St. Cross, near Winchester, in Hampshire, founded by Henry de Blois, brother of King Stephen, and bishop of that city, and afterward farther endowed by Henry de Beaufort, Bishop and Cardinal of Winchester, reckoned to be of equal value with the rectory above mentioned. This honourable and reverend Doctor advancing daily in his Majesty's favour, and opinion of all good churchmen, and the bishoprick of Oxford becoming vacant by. the translation of Dr. Nathaniel Crew, Clerk of the Closet, from thence to Durham, in 1674, he was pleased to make Dr. Henry Compton, preferable to all other worthy candidates, bishop of that see, and on the 6th of December, in the same year, he was consecrated at Lambeth, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishops of Winchester, Salisbury, Rochester, Peterborough, and Chichester. Here he presided not long; the income indeed of this bishoprick was by much too narrow for his charitable and liberal hands; but that of London becoming vacant by the death of Dr. Humphrey Hinchman, Lord Almoner, in the beginning of October, 1675, his Majesty made no manner of hesitation in conferring it on Dr. Compton, who, upon his translation thither, was succeeded by the famous Dr. John Fell in the other see.
This noble bishoprick of London, the metropolis of the kingdom, and the greatest (if we include many foreign factories, the sea chaplainships and all our American colonies) in the universe, his Lordship
governed during the reign of King Charles II. with much piety, wisdom, moderation, and humanity towards all men with whom he had to do; being the great support and refuge of many foreign divines and necessitous travellers, who applied directly to his Lordship, and in whose beneficent nature they were sure to find their account.
The place of Dean of his Majesty's Chapel Royal became vacant not long after his Lordship had the bishoprick of London conferred on him. This place, wherein the kings and queens of England perform their public devotions, is under the conduct of the dean, being usually some grave learned prelate, chosen by the sovereign, and owns no superior but him in this station; the royal palace and chapel being exempt from all spiritual and temporal jurisdiction but his Majesty, who was now pleased to honour his Lordship with this post, for which there is a salary of 2061. per annum; and not only so, but it is in his power to choose all the other officers of the chapel, particularly a Sub-dean and twelve gentlemen in orders, to perform the divine service.
His Majesty had entertained so just an opinion of his Lordship's capacity as well as fidelity, that he was pleased to make choice of him to be one of his privy council, and therefore he ordered he should, on the 22d of July, 1679, be sworn in, and so took his place at the board accordingly.
It was very happy for these nations, and sacred ought the memory of King Charles II. to be for ever amongst us, for the care he took in bringing up his two nieces, the late and the present queen, in the true Protestant religion, into which they were baptized, and were now openly confirmed by our good Bishop in his Majesty's chapel at Whitehall.
William Prince of Orange, with the king's leave and approbation, arrived in England in the year 1672, and having, after some difficulties, obtained his Majesty's consent to marry the Lady Mary his niece, and the eldest daughter of James Duke of York, my Lord Bishop of London was the person who had the honour to be appointed to join that illustrious pair in the holy bands of matrimony. The ceremony was performed by him on Sunday, the 4th of November, privately, at St. James's, in the presence of the king, who gave the bride in marriage, of their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Dutchess of York, and some of the nobility.
His Majesty having granted a writ of Congé d'Elire for the choosing of a bishop of Llandaff, which see was vacant by the translation of Dr. William Lloyd to the bishoprick of Peterborough, William Beau, Doctor in Divinity, succeeded him, and was consecrated at Lambeth, on the 22d of June, 1679, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, together with the Bishops of London, Carlisle, and Peterborough.
Some time after this, Dr. Isaac Barrow, Lord Bishop of St. Asaph, departed this life, and William Loyd, Doctor in Divinity, being elected in his room, he was consecrated at Lambeth, on the 3d of October, 1680, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishops of London, Rochester, Ely, and Oxford.
I might have observed before, that the king, sometime after the breaking out of the Popish religion, on the 29th of April, 1679, having caused his privy-council to meet extraordinarily, was then pleased to order the Lord Chancellor of England to read to them a declaration; wherein, having thanked them for their service, and some other matters, he acquainted them with his resolution to constitute a new privy-council, as might not only by its numbers be fit for the consultation and digestion of all business both domestic and foreign, but also, by the choice of them out of the several parts the state was composed of, might be best informed in the true constitution of it, and thereby the most able to counsel him in the affairs and interests of the crown and nation; and by the constant advice of such a council, his Majesty resolved thereafter to govern his kingdoms, together with the frequent use of his great council in parliament, which he took to be the true ancient constitution of this state and government.
That for the greater dignity of that council, he resolved their constant number should be thirty, and for their greater authority, there should be fifteen of his chief officers, who should be privy-councillors by their places; and for the other fifteen he would choose ten out of the several ranks of the nobility, and five commoners of the realm, whose known abilities, interest, and esteem in the nation should render them without the suspicion of either mistaking or betraying the true interest of the kingdom, and consequently of advising him ill.
Of all the bishops of the kingdom, he declared, in the first place, that in order to take care of the interest of the church, so as that no detriment should happen to it in these difficult times, he would have the then Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. William Sancroft, and Dr. Henry Compton, Lord Bishop of London, to be of it, and so always for the time being: most of the rest were persons of great honour and integrity, but his Majesty did not continue long in this steady humour.
As to the business of the bill for excluding the Duke of York, upon the account of his religion, from inheriting the crowns of these realms; my Lord Bishop of London, as also the whole bench of bishops, having a due regard to the succession, was against it. For my own part, I always thought that if the Duke had been then excluded, though not as to his own person, that the interest of the Duke of Monmouth was so great, and his popularity of that extent, that he would have made a very home push to obtain the crown upon a demise, to the prejudice of the Duke's daughters and the rest of the royal family; and where and how such a civil war as must unavoidably have ensued thereupon, would have ended, no mortal can determine.
I shall not enter upon a detail of the turmoils of the times which ensued; the warmth some men shewed against the Duke ; and the general disaffection of the Dissenters at that time to his person and right of succession, drew the displeasure of the court upon them, and made them put the laws in execution against non-conformity. Some of the clergy shewed themselves very warm against the Dissenters at this time, while some of the most learned and exemplary of their members endeavoured, both in public and in private, to bring them to a sense of the necessity of union among Protestants; hoping the
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