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wrote the works entitled “ Friendship in Death,” and “ Letters moral and entertaining,” to impress, as she said, the notion of the souls immortality, without which all virtue and religion must fall to the ground, and to make the mind contract an habitual persuasion of our future existence. In 1736, she published the history of Joseph, a poem, which she had written in her youth. She employed herself much in devout meditation and in contemplation on death, which she anticipated with delight; though, till about half a year previous to her decease, she scarcely ever knew what illness was. On the commencement of the attack which first threatened her life, she complained that she found her mind not quite so serene and prepared to meet death as usual, but “ from the contemplation of the atonement, and mediation of Christ, she afterwards derived such confidence and satisfaction that she said, with tears of joy, “ I know not that I ever felt the like in all my life.” She had nearly recovered her usual health, and had been conversing with a friend, in high spirits, when she retired to her chamber for extraordinary devotion, as was her custom on Saturday evenings. The servant shortly after heard a noise, and going to her, found her fallen on the floor, in an apoplexy which terminated her life the next morning, February 23, 1737, in the sixtythird year of her age. A devotional book was lying open before her, and some loose papers, on which she had written the following lines.

O guide, and counsel, and protect my soul from sin !
O speak and let me know thy heavenly will !
And whisper heavenly comforts to my soul !

She was buried, according to her request, under the

VOL. IV. .

D

same stone with her father, in the meeting-house at Frome. A funeral sermon was preached by Mr. Bowden to a crowded auditory; for she was highly esteemed in the town, and the poor flocked to her grave with tears, telling of her unbounded kindness, and pouring blessings on her memory. For her generous heart spurned the love of money, which she thought so dishonourable to religion, that she used to say, it is fit sometimes to give for the credit of religion, when other reasons are wanting, that the enemies of religion should not say, “ that Christians are covetous.” In one of her private papers, is the following vow : “ I consecrate half my yearly income to charitable uses; and though by this I have reduced myself to some necessity, I cast my care on my gracia ous God, to whom I am devoted. I am, indeed, unworthy to wipe the feet of the least of the servants of my Lord; but let me administer consolation to the afflicted members of my exalted and glorious Re.. deemer, and I give the glories of the world to the wind. By this generous sacrifice, she was enabled, besides her other charities, to place poor children at school, and give Bibles and instructive books to the ignorant. Her devotional papers were left to be published by Dr. Watts, under the title of the “ Devout exercises of the Heart,” which we had rather feel than criticise; and in her desk were some letters to be sent to some persons to whom she was anxious to be a blessing after death.

CHAP. IX.

STATE OF RELIGION IN THE WORLD.

SECTION I.

STATE OF RELIGION IN ENGLAND.

The irreligion of our country, in the former part of this period, is attested by a public document of high authority; for his grace of Canterbury and thirteen bishops published, in the year after the accession of the house of Hanover, “ a declaration,” which loudly complained of the national sins. : They affirm, that 66 the chief hopes of the enemy in the rebellion then excited, seemed to arise from discontents fomented by some, who, too much valued by themselves and others for their pretended zeal for the church, had joined with papists in their wicked attempts." Yet that members of the church of England, amidst high professions of zeal for her interests, should attempt to set up a popish pretender for her support, is pronounced by the prelates “ such an absurdity, as no. thing but an infatuation from God, inflicted for our sins, can suffer to pass upon the nationk.”

The charges which the bishops prefer against their cotemporaries for infidelity, hypocrisy, strife, and rancour, are substantiated by every publication which describes the moral character of the age. The gall of

* Declaration of the archbishop of Canterbury, and the bishops in and near London, against the present rebellion, 1715.

bitterness with which the tories in the church laboured to poison the intercourse of society, and destroy liberty of religion, soon appeared to be spent, but the transition from bigotry to indifference and infidelity was as terrible as it was natural. The deistical writers were so numerous, bold, and active, and their attempts to proselyte the higher classes of society were so successful, that many well meaning Christians were depressed by the most gloomy forebodings, and seemed to admit that revealed religion was about to disappear. Bishop Butler, who, as the champion of revelation, had watched the progress of its enemies, felt so little assurance of success in his efforts, that he said to his clergy, “the influence of religion is more and more wearing out of the minds of men, the number of those who avow themselves unbelievers increase, and with their numbers their zeal. The deplorable distinction of our age is an avowed scorn of religion in some, and a growing disregard to it in the generality?."

The notorious South Sea scheme, in 1720, contributed to the depravation of the public mind. The nation caught so greedily at the gilded bait, that even grave religious persons, who were afterwards ashamed to own their losses, were involved in the general tuin. Fed by prodigious profits, the manja of speculation raged to such a degree, that South Sea stock rose to one thousand per cent. and, for some days, every other business was neglected; for all ages and ranks, statesmen and clergymen, whigs and tories, physicians, lawyers, and tradesmen, with multitudes of females, crowded Exchange-alley, to procure a share in this golden mine. Forsaking the path of

! Charge at the end of his Analogy. 8vo. 1791.

sober industry and moderate gain, multitudes, especially in the capital, ran after the bubbles, as they were called, which started up every day, till a hundred new companies were formed, with the . pretence of raising three hundred millions. If the love of money is the root of all evil, how much vile fruit must it have produced at this period. The natural consequences of insatiable cupidity soon appeared. Those who fancied themselves princes, intoxicated with their sudden elevation, launched into such excess of luxury, debauchery, and pride, as seemed to set heaven and earth at defiance. But as soon as the bubbles burst, they were plunged into despair, rancour, and deadly hatred. When the king hastened from Germany and assembled the parliament, to enquire into the public calamity, such scenes of fraud and extortion were detected, as destroyed the confidence of society, which seemed divided between those who had shewn no moderation in the public plunder, and those who now set no bounds to their thirst for revenge. The charitable corporation, a company formed in 1707, to lend money to the poor on small pledges, and to persons in higher life on good securities, was, in 1731, found to be robbed of capital to the amount of more than five hundred thousand pounds. The cashier, Mr. Robinson, member of parliament for Marlow, and John Thompson, a servant of the company, absconded in the same day, which, induced the proprietors to present a petition to parliament, and produced the discovery that some of the first persons in the nation had joined with the two fugitives, and several of the directors, to embezzle the capital of the company. The petitioners complained that multitudes were plunged into the deepest distress,

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