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Title: A Funeral Sermon preach'd on the decease of the Right Honourable the Lady Elizabeth Cutts - Late wife of the Right Honourable the Lord Cutts, on the 5th of December, 1697, at Kensington Church
Author: Wigan, William
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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DECEASE OF THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE LADY ELIZABETH CUTTS***


Transcribed from the 1697 Walter Kettilby edition by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org.  Many thanks to Kensington and Chelsea local studies
for finding this in their archive and allowing it to be transcribed.

                    [Picture: Front page of pamphlet]



                                    A
                              Funeral Sermon


                             PREACH’D ON THE

                     Decease of the Right Honourable

                       The LADY _Elizabeth Cutts_,

                    Late Wife of the Right Honourable

                            The LORD _Cutts_,

                    On the 5th of _December_, 1697. at
                           _Kensington_ Church.

                                * * * * *

               By _William Wigan_, Chaplain in Ordinary to
                 His Majesty, and Vicar of _Kensington_.

                                * * * * *

                                _LONDON_,

            Printed for _Walter Kettilby_, at the _Bishop’s-_
                 _Head in_ S. _Paul_s Church-yard, 1697.

                                * * * * *



A Funeral Sermon


             Preached on the Decease of the Right Honourable

                       The Lady _Elizabeth Cutts_.

                                * * * * *

                      Numb. xxiii. _v._ 10. latter part.

    _Let me die the death of the Righteous_, _and let my latter end be
    like his_.

THIS Lord’s Day being one of the Sundays in _Advent_, wherein, by Order
of the Church, we are put in mind of Christ’s second coming to Judgment:
And it being also a day on which we are to partake of the Holy Sacrament,
shewing forth Christ’s Death till He come again; it might not be
unseasonable on it to meditate also on our latter ends, if so be we had
not this special Mournful occasion from the Death of the Honourable, the
Vertuous, and the Religious Lady _Cutts_.

There is not indeed before your Eyes one part of the outward doleful
appearance usual at such Solemn Services: To the Monuments of her Lord’s
Ancestors, to the place of their Burial, are removed the last earthly
remains of that Excellent Person.  But tho that spectacle of Mortality
that object of True Sorrow, be not here present; the want of it, in order
to create attention, or the want of Expressions suitable to her Worth,
will (it is hoped) be supplied by your Remembrance, or rather View (as it
were) of her so late presence in this Congregation: And by your knowledge
of her Religious Deportment, her Exemplary Devotion, and Holy Life, truly
imitable by any who prepare for a better World.  And therefore, as none,
who have the hope of Christians, but may wish they may pass their
appointed Time in the same regular, modest, and pious Manner: So, tho Her
days were few (in regard of what might have been expected, and was by all
who knew Her, earnestly pray’d for) yet no Christians but may wish that
they may _die the death of the Righteous_, and that their _latter end_,
tho so sudden, _may be like Hers_.

Therefore, since these Discourses are intended for the Edification of the
Living, and not for comfort, or any advantage to the Deceased, vouchsafe
seriously to consider, how just an Occasion, and how lively an Admonition
all here have, in this deplorable instance of the frailty of all Humane
Satisfactions, to mind their own _latter end_, and to Pray, and provide
that, at any warning, or without any, they may be ready to obey God’s
summons, and depart hence.

For, Who is there in this Assembly, of what Condition, or Age soever,
that, not Weeks since, might have expected survivance to this Honourable
Person: To whom, as none but would have wisht, so none but would have
been ready to promise, very many, and very happy days.  But, (so vain and
brittle are all our confidences!) Behold!  How soon is all the
expectation of Honourable Families defeated?  How soon by a sudden
stroke, is Health chang’d into Sickness, Sickness into Death, and the
hopes and joy for an Heir, into a double Funeral?  How little have
availed the respects of Friends, the Honours and Titles of the Great, the
Skill of the Learned, and the most unfeigned Prayers of the nearest, and
most dear Relations?  In the midst of all the contents of a High and
Noble Condition, the near Promises of Posterity, the Vigour of Youth,
with the Lustre of Beauty, and the esteem of all that honour’d such
Vertue, Goodness and Piety.  How without any warning by an immediate
command, _dust is return’d to dust_, _and the Spirit return’d to God who
gave it_.  Since then we are all made of the same Clay, and know not how
near our appointed change may be, may we all prepare to give an account
for what we have done in the Flesh.  What is it then that will afford us
True Consolation, while we look on the frail estate of our Bodies, or the
guilt of our Souls?  What will support us when we behold the Pit which
may soon gape for us? and when our selves shall stand on the brink of
Eternity?  What is it will enable us to endure the thoughts of having our
Bones crumbl’d to dust, and of our Souls appearing before the Judgment
Seat of the Great, the Living God?

We see how far all that is valued in this World, can go, The Wealth, the
Pomp, the splendor of Attendance, the kind offices of Friends, and the
Tears of dearest Relations, accompany what is Mortal but to the mouth of
the Grave; and then, the Body once so cherisht, adorn’d, and honour’d is
committed to the Earth, to silence and putrefaction.  But yet, (blessed
be God,) by whose just sentence all this comes to pass, there have been
in other Ages, and are in this, very many Christians, who sensible of the
weakness of their Bodies, and the stain of their Natures, of the terrors
of Death, and the greater terrors of Judgment after Death; have yet not
only with Patience waited for it; but thro Faith in the Blessed Jesus,
have earnestly long’d for their dissolution.

Since then we cannot be so vain as to hope to live here for ever, since
we know, that as Generations have past: so this Generation shall pass
away: Of all them who have gone before us, whom would we chuse to be
with? with whole Souls, of all such whom we have read of, or heard, or
knew, would we venture to be in an Eternal State?  We know that all the
Sons of Men, or all that profess the Christian Faith, have not liv’d
after the same manner: As their Faces, their Statures and Conditions have
differ’d; so have their deeds been more unlike.  There have been such as
have been, and are yet, Children of disobedience, have liv’d without God
in the World, as if they were sure to die as the Beasts: and there have
been such, who perswaded that their Souls were Immortal, and that their
Bodies shall be raised again, have serv’d and lov’d and prais’d God, and
persever’d faithful unto Death.

Into these two sorts all the sons of Men are divided.  Here they are not
always to be distinguisht by us, by what they act, or by what they enjoy:
But wondrous will the difference be of their future conditions.  To all
who are living, and hear the Word of Truth, God gives their choice which
of these two sorts of Men they will follow, and hereafter be with them
for ever.  Which of these do we seriously think it wisdom to be in the
number of? whose Lot would we covet? would we be with them, who have
minded only temporal and sensual things: or would we, as this godly,
deceased Person, mind above all things a future Eternal Concern: And wish
each of us: _Let me die the death of the Righteous_, _and let my latter
end be like his_.

These are the words of _Balaam_, a Prophet, hired by _Balak_ King of
_Moab_, and brought up into the high places of _Baal_, that from thence
he might curse the People of _Israel_.  But God put different words into
his mouth; and by him pronounceth a Blessing on them: He foresees and
foretels, _v._ 9.  That _Israel shall not dwell alone_, _nor be reckoned
among the Nations_: That he shall increase in this World, as the Sand of
the Sea, or the Stars in Heaven, _v._ 10.  _Who can count the dust of_
Jacob, _and the number of the fourth part of_ Israel?  But, However he is
amazed at the prosperity of God’s chosen People; however he admires their
multitudes, or their strength, beyond all that, he sees somewhat that is
far more desireable; and wishes for himself a different Blessing, and
such as is beyond all earthly advantages: He prays not so much for the
Life, as the Death of a True _Israelite_: That is, not only the easie and
timely departure in a good old Age, which God promised to the Sons of
_Jacob_, if they kept his Commandments; but in a more mystical sence (as
some even ancient _Jewish_ Interpreters explain it) _Let me be as the
Righteous_, _and where they are after Life_: An Heir of Paradise, and
with them who shall not see the face of Hell.

A very wise wish; if that had been enough to make _Balaam_ happy: But he
loving the wages of Unrighteousness, forsook the right way, and fell by
the Sword of the _Israelites_, _Numb._ 31. 8.  And may we not infer from
S. _Peter’s_ warning us, not to follow his way, That he died not the
death of the Righteous.

The dumb beast rebuked the Prophet: And the Prophet, who possibly
receiv’d no benefit from his inspired knowledge, may yet by this wish,
instruct us: we may therefore inquire why we may desire _to die the death
of the Righteous_, _and to have our latter end like his_.

For death it self is far from being desirable: And tho the rich will,
with the Son of _Sirach_, cry out: _O death_, _how bitter is the
remembrance of thee_, _to a man that liveth at ease_, _and rest in his
possessions_; _to a man that hath nothing to vex him_?  Yet even the Poor
and the distressed, and the most Valiant cannot, without some trembling
in secret, view it approaching; even Christ himself cryed out, _O my
father_, _if it be possible_, _let this Cup pass form me_.

This dread is implanted in us (among other reasons) That we who groan
under many Evils and Miseries, (which make Life often burdensom) may
indure to live, till we are ordered to depart, by him, to whom alone
belong the issues of Life and Death.  Accordingly, He who made, hath past
sentence on us.  _It is appointed for all men to die_: No one hath been
able to save himself, or those whom he love; tho he may have liv’d many
years he shall see the Grave, and be gather’d to his Fathers.  And yet
tho this be most certainly known, together with the uncertainty of the
Last Hour: yet few but are surpriz’d by it: and if it give long warning,
it is fuller of Terror, the pains, and the ruins of the Body, with the
decay of the Faculties of the Mind, together with the Agonies that are
long strugled with, are more terrible than Death it self.  And when the
last moment is past, how amazing is the change? those Persons who were so
much courted, or dreaded, how must they say to _Corruption_, _thou art my
Father_, _and to the Worm_, _thou art my Sister and Mother_, _when they
go down to the bars of the pit_, _when they rest together in the Grave_?
For our days are appointed, beyond which we shall not go.  The Light, and
whatever is joyous in it, must be forsaken.  Of all our Furniture we
shall take with us but a Shrowd; in all the World only for a while we
shall have a few feet of ground: Our Memory be forgotten, and our Place
know us no more.  The Righteous have no privilege or exemption.  Original
Sin hath tainted all Constitutions: To it the best of Men have added
their own Offences to make them more Mortal: Their days are few, and
evil: and they go to the house appointed for all the Living.  For,
_Abraham_ is dead, tho stiled the Righteous Man by God himself: and the
Prophets where are they?  They are long since fallen asleep: nay, the Son
of God himself gave up the Ghost: _He humbled himself to death_, _even
the death of the Cross_.  All his Disciples have _drunk of the same Cup_:
even the most beloved one, the Evangelist who lay in his bosom, before
his Lords coming, saw Death.  And they of whom the World was not worthy,
were afflicted, tormented, slain with the Sword.

Since then the Righteous die as the Wicked: since their days are few, and
often fewer: since they even now suffer for righteousness sake: and are,
many of them, in the eye of the World, most miserable: since the same
event happens _to him that sacrificeth_, _and to him that sacrificeth
not_, why should we desire _to die the death of the Righteous_, _and have
our latter end like his_?

The Reasons for this Wish are very weighty.  For,

  I.  _The Righteous are best prepaid for death_:

  and,

  II.  _For what is to follow after Death_.

For, However terrible the apprehensions of it may be to Man, as naturally
as to other Creatures: Yet, He hath cause to be afraid of it for afarther
reason.  For He dieth not as the Beast.  Death is not only a Law of
Nature, but _it is the wages of sin_.  And what we suffer is a part of
that vengeance which is due to transgression, and therefore it is a
passage to a Judgment that cannot be avoided, and to a Life that shall
never end.

Of this Truth there are mighty presumptions: from the great consent of
Nations (who have been far from communicating their first notions to each
other) from the strength of Evidence, which in Courts of Justice relies
on this Belief, from the appeals of oppress’d and injur’d Persons to a
future Tribunal, from the stings and remorse of Conscience which they
have felt and confest, who have been guilty of heinous Crimes, and been
above common Justice: and from the exceeding unwillingness to die, which
notorious sinners have exprest, tho in pain and misery to others
intolerable.  But since God hath in his holy Word revealed the cause of
our Mortality: and that there is another Life, and a second Death, as
sure as there is _a God that judgeth righteously_; so surely is the
_death of the Righteous to be wisht_, _and a latter end like his_.  We
know, That _the grace of God which bringeth Salvation unto all men_,
_hath appeared in the world teaching us that denying ungodliness and
worldly lusts_, _we should live soberly_, _righteously_, _and godly in
this present world looking for that blessed hope and glorious appearance
__of the great God_, _and our Saviour Jesus Christ_.  Therefore, since
all must appear before his Judgment Seat, to give an account for what
they have done in the flesh: _What is the hope of the hypocrite_, and the
unrighteous person, _tho he hath gained much_, _when God taketh away his
Soul_?  How is he prepared to meet his God?  _The sinner being an hundred
years old shall be accursed_: Tho he may have sung rest often to his
Soul, tho he may have eat, and drunk and been exceeding merry, yet when
sadness, usual in old age, and the days _draw on in which he finds no
pleasure_, what comfort can he have, if he look back on the time he hath
past without God in the World, or if he look forward on an
incomprehensible Eternity?  All his delights are vanisht away: All for
which he denyed God, in his deeds, hath forsaken him: and then to mind
him of his former joys, is like to _Abraham’s_ telling the Rich Man in
Hell, across the Gulf, _Son_, _Remember that thou in thy life time
receivedst thy good things_.  This Admonition nearly resembles one of the
Torments of the fallen Spirits, the memory of whose former Blessed Estate
inflames their anguish in the place of endless Misery.

But if there be no comfort in looking back, there is none for such a
person, when he shall hear the summons, _Thou fool_, _this night shall
thy Soul be required of thee_?  Then whose are all those things for which
thou didst hazard thy Eternal Salvation?  Then all that the impenitent
Soul can wish for, is, That, (contrary to the misgivings of his Heart,
and the Word of God) he may be blotted out of the Book of Life, and he
may sink into an Abyss of Oblivion.

Who can express the astonishment of a Soul, which being on the confines
of this and another World, hovering on its trembling lips, not able to
stay, and not daring to depart, is yet sure to perish for ever, if there
be a Register in Heaven, if there be a Resurrection from the Dead, if
there be a Heaven and a Hell?  Surely when all the fruits and profits of
Sin are weigh’d against this extreme danger, no Christian will pray, Let
me die the death of the wicked.

For, (blessed be God) tho he in the height of Pride, or during his eager
pursuit of Power and Wealth, may never think of his latter end, or what
is to follow it; yet when by God’s Judgments on the Earth, or by his
immediate Visitation, he sees he must die, then without any Hypocrisie,
he prays that _he may be numbed with the children of God_, _and that his
lot may be among the Saints_.  Some indeed of the Heathens incourag’d
themselves in their wicked ways, by hearing that at their death a few
worthy Men among them question’d Providence, and counted Vertue an empty
name, because they were overcome when they fought for a reputed good
Cause.  What would the insultings of sensual Men over Religion be, if so
many pious Persons on their death-beds renounc’d as heartily their good
Works, and Faith in God, as there have been, and are wicked Christians,
who abhor the remembrance of their past deeds of darkness? of their
rioting and drunkenness, their chambering and wantonness, their
blasphemies, and their enmity to the Cross of Christ?  How would the
credulity of godly Men be laugh’d at, if as weighty and unsuspected
Witnesses, deposed at their last gasp against the Belief of the Life to
come, and the Joys of Heaven; as there are undeniable Witnesses who
depose against the Lusts of the Flesh, the Lusts of the Eye, and the
Pride of Life? assuring us that this world’s Pomp, which so soon passeth
away is not worth our utmost endeavours: and that they are truly Wise,
who mind the One thing that is necessary, that which shall never be taken
from them?  How often do we hear ungodly Parents, and others, warn in
their last Sicknesses, such as they love, to avoid the reigning sins of
the Age, as the road way to Perdition; and exhort them to follow
Holiness, as they hope ever to see God: For That will only bring Peace at
the last?  But they who are Righteous before God, when the time of their
laying aside their Tabernacles draws near, they repent not of their past
Repentance, nor adjure their Children to abstain from like Faith; neither
do they counsel them, not to forego things present and temporal, for
those that are not seen, for those that are Eternal: But on the contrary,
abounding in hope full of Immortality, they know it is best for them to
be dissolved, and to be with Christ: In those last moments (so full of
horror to others) to the Righteous their Light increaseth: They have
Peace which passeth all Understanding, and such Joys, as are foretasts of
the bliss of Eternity.  For, Who in that extremity can be animated with
so well grounded a Courage, as he who is taught, That being called by the
Grace of God to the Knowledge of his Will; being confirmed in it by the
operations of the Spirit, he is united by Faith, and participation in his
Holy Sacrament, to Christ our Head, and knows therefore, that through
Death his Saviour _hath destroyed him who had the power of death_, _and
deliver’d them_, _who through fear of death_, _were subject to bondage_?

What other reasonings of seriousest minds have ever suggested such
consolation as the Scripture hath afforded to thousands, in all Ages,
whose Love stronger than Death, relying on these precious Promises, hath
made them more than Conquerors, through him that loved them?  Are the
Arguments drawn from Philosophy of equal force? or have they had a like
blessed effect?  Such as these; That what we suffer is the lot of all
Mankind: That it is a Decree that must be obeyed; it is a debt, a tribute
due to Nature; an Eternal Sleep.  That therefore it is to no purpose to
afflict our selves for what cannot be avoided: That since all things must
come to an end, as the greatest Persons, so the noblest Cities, the best
founded Empires, and even the World it self; therefore Men ought not to
wonder that they are so frail, nor murmur because they are so Mortal?
How weak are these Arguments in respect of such as we have from
Revelation, which sheweth us, That tho for our sins, and our Forefathers,
we are subject to Pain, Misery and dissolution, yet we are still under
the Eye of God, who by sending his Son _to die for our sins_, _and rise
again for our justification_, hath declared, That _to them who are in
Christ Jesus_, _who walk not after the flesh_, _but after the spirit_,
_there is no condemnation_, _and that nothing shall be able to separate
them from the love of God in Christ Jesus_.

What also are the duties wherein a Righteous Man is to exercise himself,
and in doing of which he desires to end his days?  Are they, that are
enjoyned by our Holy Faith, such as he needs to be ashamed of, whoever
believeth his Soul is Immortal, and that he must appear before a God
infinitely Just, Holy and Almighty?  Would any Rational Man wish that he
may die, denying the Existence, or the Providence of a Supreme Being:
Blaspheming his Name, or scoffing at his Worship, dishonouring his own
Parents, or murdering his Brethren, defiling their Bed, or injuring their
good Name, or their substance; or will any one blush, and have his Heart
reproach him in his last Sickness, for not having walkt in
Lasciviousness, Lusts, excess of Wine, Revellings, Banquetings and
abominable Idolatries?  Will his Conscience then upbraid him for not
having devour’d the Fatherless, and Widows Houses, which then are to be
left behind, to an ungrateful Heir or a stranger? or will he then Pray,
May my Soul be with them who have despised the Preachers of
Righteousness, and who are undone for ever, if there be a Judge of the
Living and the Dead? or rather will any one who is Wise, when his Eyes
are to be closed, when his Breath is departing, and he must never more
see this Light; then be exceeding glad, if through God’s Grace, his past
Life hath been a constant course of Honest dealings towards all Men,
(possessing his Vessel in Sanctification, and his Portion with content)
and of acts of Humanity and Charity to his Brethren, of Reverence to his
Superiors, and unfeigned Devotion to his God?  And will he not then Pray,
That he may be found not having his own Righteousness which is of the
Law, but that which is through Faith of Christ: Having the Saviour of the
World to intercede for him, and to offer up the Merit of his infinitely
satisfactory Death; and so give up the Ghost, crying, Come Lord Jesus,
come quickly?  Is not such a Christian best prepar’d to leave this World?
Who would not with _Balaam_ wish this end?  _Who would not die the death
of the Righteous_?

II.  _For the Righteous are best prepar’d for what is to follow after
death_.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his Saints: It is but a
passage to a far more desirable state.  They who depart hence disappear,
but are not lost; They sleep, but are not dead forever.  Their Spirits
vanish not into soft Air, but are committed into his hands, who is able
to keep, and will restore them faithfully to their Bodies at the last
day.  Blessed then are they, who having seen an end of their sufferings,
having laid aside their earthly Houses, in which being burden’d they
groan’d, shall then receive the end of their Faith, the Salvation of
their Souls.  Then they, arriv’d in a safe Haven, in a place of
Everlasting Rest, shall with Joy look back on what they have been
deliver’d from, and with amazement on what they are admitted to.  They
shall bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus, for freeing them from
the Tribulations and Persecutions, which they either long endur’d, justly
fear’d, or from their Heart pitied in their Brethren: then they shall no
more tremble under the Chastisements of a Father, or the Judgments of an
offended God: Then all Tears will be wip’d away, and all possibility of
Grief will cease.  Then they shall no more labour under the burden of
Years, or more grievous weight of Sins: They shall not cry out, _Wo is
me_, _that my soul hath long dwelt with them that hate peace_.  Or, _O
wretched man that I am_, _who shall deliver me from the body of this
death_?  But then they shall see that their light Afflictions which were
but for a moment, shall work for them, _a far more exceeding_, _eternal
weight of glory_: When the Sun of Righteousness shining on them, shall
make them shine as Suns in the Kingdom: When they shall always be with
Christ, and not see darkly as in a Glass, but face to face see God as he
is, who then will be all in all.

For the accomplishment of this hope, the Righteous wait, looking into the
Grave without astonishment, as seeing beyond that Gulf, the place where
Mortality shall be swallowed up of Life: And therefore when others
tremble hearing of the Worm that shall never die, the Fire that never
shall be extinguisht, and the dying that shall never end, the true
Disciples of our Lord incourage themselves with the assurance of their
going into their Countrey above, and entring into a Building, not made
with hands, everlasting in the Heavens: That they shall be admitted into
Paradise, where no tempter shall come, no Sin shall endanger their
Blessedness; but they shall be with Christ, that they may behold and
enjoy the Glory to which God hath exalted him.  In this perswasion the
Primitive Christians used at the Funerals of Martyrs and Confessors, with
great joy to sing Psalms and Hymns of Thanksgiving, thereby shewing that
they firmly believed that those Servants of Christ had received the
Reward of their Sufferings: They carried also Lights burning before their
Corps, as before Conquerors, blessing God for crowning departed Saints
with rays of the same Glory wherein their Redeemer shin’d; and hoping
that following the same steps, they should partake of the same Happiness.

But it is not only the blessed state of the Souls of the Righteous which
makes their latter end to be desirable; but that also of their Bodies:
They, tho committed to the Earth, tho laid in the Dust, rest in Hope:
They do but wait for the sound of the Trumpet of the Archangel of God;
and then they shall be raised never more to see Corruption; when the hour
shall come, in which the Grave shall give up its Dead, and the Sea shall
very faithfully give up its Dead.

As certain as Christ our first-fruits is risen, as He the First-born from
the Dead, (however once despised, crucified, committed to the Sepulchre)
in his Humanity is at the Right Hand of the Father, so certain will be
the Resurrection of all Mankind: The hour is coming in which all that are
in their Graves, shall hear his voice, and shall come forth: _They that
have done evil to the Resurrection of Damnation_, _and they that have
done well to the Resurrection of Life_.  This is the blessed conclusion
of their Days, who for the Merits of their Saviour are accepted as
Righteous before God: This Death is surely to be desired, and everyone
from his heart may pray, _May my latter end be like his_.

But if we would not have this prove a meer fruitless Wish, as it was to
_Balaam_; if we would not have our desire, like that of the sluggards,
kill us; whoever long for the death of the Righteous, must live his Life.
You have heard that his diseases, or griefs, or agonies in departure, are
not usually less, or easier, than those of other Men: But his Peace of
Mind, his Joy in Conscience, his resignation to God’s Will, and above
all, his Faith in the blessed Jesus, (that by it being justified, he
shall also be glorified) These make his latter end desirable.  Imitate we
then their Conversation, whose Death we covet; exercise we our selves to
have a Conscience void of Offence towards God, and towards Man;
mortifying our Corruptions, and dying to the World before we leave it:
And then when our race is finish’d, when we have fought the good fight,
doubt we not but the righteous Judge will _give us the crown of life_,
_which he hath prepar’d for all that love his appearance_.

In Belief that this Honourable Person liv’d the Life, and died the Death
of the Righteous, we pay this respect, and give this Testimony to her
Pious Memory: _Mourning as they who have hope_, and assur’d that such as
_sleep in the Lord_ shall _be partakers of the inheritance of the Saints
in Light_.  For such our charitable Hope, we have here very Christian
grounds, and would to God, That for all to whom we perform the like last
Offices, we had the like comfortable Prospect.  Give me leave, for the
glory of God’s Grace, and the Edification (as it is design’d) of such as
hear, especially of the same Sex, to give some short account why she may
justly be proposed for an example, and the conclusion of her days be
wish’d for.  As the outward advantages which this Noble Lady enjoy’d,
were visibly eminent, and in the eye of the World valuable, as Birth,
Youth, Beauty and Honourable Relation: So the endowments of her Soul are
represented as far more to be esteem’d, and accordingly would have shin’d
forth if her modesty had not veil’d them.  They who knew her from her
infancy, assure us, that she had the early blessing of a Religious
Education: That she could not remember the time that she began to serve,
to pray to, and to praise God; That betimes there appear’d signs of a
sanctified Nature in her younger behaviour: That she _remember’d her
Creator in the days of her youth_, and even then _laid a foundation for
the life to come_: That a more beautiful mind shewing it self adorn’d
with all the Vertues of her Sex, added still Lustre to outward
comeliness; and growing in stature she grew in favour with God and her
Parents.  That, that fair Morning was overcast with no Clouds, no Tears
were shed for any unhappy blemishes of heedless Youth.  That the more she
experienc’d and tasted in her Soul how good the ways of God were, and
what peace of Conscience and serenity of Mind, arose from them, the more
she delighted in God, and in Religious Duties: That this her practice of
True Piety influenc’d all her Words and Conversation: So that as the
Vertuous Woman, _She opened her mouth with wisdom_, _and in her tongue
was the law of kindness_.

The Rules of her Life, which she had written, and I have read, were
confirm’d and approv’d by her constant observance of them: In them how
truly a Christian course did she prescribe to her self?  How truly to be
recommended from this place?  Enjoyning her self to be sure to begin the
day with the praises of God for his preservation of her in the night; and
with earnest Prayers to be kept in his Fear, and under his Protection all
that Day: To read the _Psalms_ and portions of Scripture appointed for
the Day; by which she might be made wise to Eternal Salvation: To
meditate on it, in order to improve in godliness and all respective
duties to her Maker, and all others: Then not to suffer the remaining
hours to be wasted in vain amusements, or over-curious dressing; but
setting to such Work as became her Sex, and was useful in her condition:
_So her works_ (as the wise Womans) _praised her_, _and the ways of her
houshold they commended her_.  And having past the Morning in vertuous
Employment; at a set time in the Afternoon she retired to Prayer, and
Reading, and Meditating: And in the Evening, surveyed her Actions, and
examin’d them, as strictly as any domestick accounts: Then offer’d her
Evening Sacrifice of Praise for the Mercies of the day past, and by
Prayer recommended her Body, Soul, and Spirit to the same God, for the
safety and refreshments of the night, and lay down to sleep, as one who
might wake in Eternity.

Moreover, what was practised in secret, and in the closet, broke forth
and manifested it self in the publick Service of God.  For how remarkable
was her very reverend deportment in his House?  How full of awe meet for
the place of his more special Presence, and the celebration of his most
Holy Mysteries and Sacraments? no straying looks, no contrivances for
utmost ease, no sign of thoughts wandring far from his Service: But a
seriousness sutable to the gravest of years, and a devotion as might have
become her, if she had known how soon she was to appear in Spirit before
the Living God.

Such exemplariness in all Vertue and Piety, as it appear’d betimes, so it
ended not but with her last.  What was so laudably begun, was steadily
and happily prosecuted; insomuch, That if we reckon her stay on Earth by
her proficiency in what was worthy of Praise and of good report we shall
scarce believe that her course was finisht at Eighteen: In years so
subject to frailty, wilfulness and folly; and in an age so addicted to
Pride, excess of Vanity, and indifference for Religion.

But here we may be ready to expostulate, Why was so excellent a Christian
so soon, why so suddenly snatcht away?  Why only shew’d, and begun to be
known here, and then hastily remov’d?  Altho it be sufficient in general,
to answer, It is the Lord’s doing, and therefore it is as it ought to be:
Yet hath God in his Word revealed very satisfactory reasons for such his
dealings: He hath let us know that the Righteous are often _taken away_,
(not in wrath, but in mercy) _from the evil to come_: That they are
recalled from a place of danger; That they are thereby secured from any
hazard of their future Blessedness: Above all we are sure that no
departed Soul will complain of being too soon removed hence into Heaven.
That _Abel_ the first of _Adam’s_ Sons who pleased God, died by a hidden
stroke, tho the youngest: and that that Patriarch who walkt with God was
translated hence, before he had seen half the days of some of them who
lived before the Flood: And that the Son of _Jeroboam_, _Abijah_, died a
Child, because in him was found some good toward the Lord God of
_Israel_.  Therefore the Righteous are never prevented with Death, for
they are in rest.  For, Honourable Age is not that which standeth in
length of time, nor that is measur’d by number of years, but Wisdom is
the grey head, and an unspotted Life is old Age.  So that in this
occasion may we not apply what is said of _Enoch_?  She pleased God, and
was beloved of him, so that living among sinners she was translated: yea
speedily was she taken away, lest that Wickedness should alter her
Understanding, or deceit beguile her Soul.  Therefore being soon
consummated, she fulfilled a long time; and Youth being soon perfected,
riseth up in judgment against the many years and old Age of the
Unrighteous.  Whoever then have lived so well, may be reputed old; since
they have lived to a blessed purpose: If many of 70, or 80 years, are to
count no more of their time, than what they have spent according to their
Duty, they will prove much younger than this Pious Person; many grey
heads will be _found Infants of days_.  Therefore this deceased Christian
having answered the end for which God sent her into the World, having
been faithful in the talent of Time, however little, that was intruded
with her; she is as truly Blessed, as any devout Woman, who may have
waited longest in the Temple of God, _for the redemption of Israel_: For,
surely those Persons die not untimely who expire into Happiness, and they
have lived to the truest Old Age, who live with God to all Eternity.

Neither will the suddenness her death (by Convulsions which seized her
Intellectuals and Vitals at once) cause her latter end not to be wisht
for.

Indeed in the Litany of our Church we pray against sudden death; not that
the Salvation of all who so die, is therefore questionable; but because
such a Death is too often liable to rash and uncharitable censures: and
because a leasurable dissolution affords time to perfect Repentance, to
pass an uncorrupt Judgment on the pleasures of Sin and the Vanities of
the World; and by disingaging the Soul from sensible Objects, dissposeth
it for entrance into a Blessed Eternity.  However, They who order their
Conversation every day as if it were their last, are never surprised;
their future condition is not doubtful.  Quick riddance out of Life may
be requested by such Christians, and be bestowed on them as a benefit.

Since then the sentence was to be underwent, the speedy execution of it
was desirable, in behalf of a person provided against it; and it may be
reputed a favour that she was hastily taken away.  Thereby she was
excused from the apprehensions which fore-run Death, and make it more
dreadful; she indur’d not the languishings, their irksom Days, and worse
Nights, that by slow degrees wast such as are Consumptive: nor did she
tremble at the violent assaults, and racking Torments of tedious, often
returning Diseases.  She was spar’d the grief, which would have pierc’d
her Soul, of beholding the tears, the unfeigned sorrow, and distraction,
of an afflicted, disconsolate Father, for his beloved, for his only
Child, in that very moment wherein he expected the happy increase of his
Posterity.  And more especially, in parting from her Noble Lord, she was
excused Agonies, which only could exceed those which she lately felt,
(which were almost mortal) when he for a few months was obliged to leave
her.

But hereby how doth God warn all, Young no less than aged Christians,
what a necessity there is of a daily watchfulness, and how blessed it is
to be constantly serious and devout?  What a condition are they in, who
by a like stroke are hurried away in the prime of their strength, and the
heighth of their sins?  What had the danger of her Eternal Salvation
been, if at that time, in that extremity, she had been to begin to call
upon God, and to learn the practice of her Duty to him, just when she was
summon’d to appear before his judgment Seat?  How happy was it for her,
That the _Lord came at an hour_, _that he was not lookt for_; she was
found _as a good and faithful servant_: and therefore might look to
_enter into the joy of her Master_.  To her then, _to live was Christ_,
_and to die gain_.

But the loss is to the survivors; great cause had a Father to desire that
such a Child should live to be a comfort to his Age, and pay her last
duty to his Memory: He knew her worth, and he blest God for her; and hath
as just cause, as ever any Parent had, to lament her Death: and yet he
declares that if he might by his wish, he would not for his own
advantage, do her the wrong to recal her into Life, causing her to leave
that place of happiness into which he firmly believes her Spirit is
receiv’d.  And as her Noble Lord still increas’d his esteem and Love, the
more he observ’d her discreet, Vertuous and Pious Deportment: So in that
her surprising danger, he shew’d an unfeign’d concern; nothing was
spar’d, no cost, no assistance that might relieve her Pains, or retrieve
her Health.  And when the last moments, when the appointed Change came,
that undaunted, that approved Valour was overcome; he abandon’d himself
to Grief, and confest that in this appearance Death was, even to him,
exceeding terrible: And, as her concern for his Honour surmounted her
Affection, and restrain’d her from desiring his stay at home last Summer,
when his duty called him to the War abroad: So, his unquestionable
Resolution was not able to hold in his Tears for this Loss, and to
suppress any of the violences of Grief, by which in his Death she would
have been transported.

Neither may only such as are Relations be concern’d in so mournful an
occasion: Humanity may engage us to lament so great worth in the flower
of Youth taken away, without any Branch or off-set left: and Christianity
may teach us to bewail the removal of a Light that began to shine so
brightly in the midst of us, promising to be an ornament and blessing to
the place.  But, as to her self, (if the Spirits of the Just departed
hence, are allowed to know what is done here on earth, and were permitted
to speak to their surviving friends) she would intreat them to moderate
their Lamentations: shewing their respects to the deceased, by honouring
her in the imitation of what is well pleasing to God, and tends to his
Glory and their own Salvation.  And therefore whoever of the same Sex,
value her character, and desire the same in the like occasion, may they
let their adorning be, not the outward one _of plaiting the hair_, _and
of wearing of gold_, _and putting on of apparel_, _but let it be the
hidden man of the heart_, _the ornament of a quiet and meek spirit_.  An
abstinence from all appearance of Evil, a jealousie over all their
behaviour, and the beauty of holiness.  These Graces will be always of
great price, (tho Favour be deceitful, Comeliness soon blasted, and
Portions flown away) They who abound in these, will be dear to their
Parents, beloved by their Husbands, respected by all that value Goodness,
blest in the Children, lamented in their Deaths, and above all, together
with the Saints, heirs of the Grace of Life Eternal.

Wherefore since we know that all things come to an end, and that the time
of our departure may be near, it concerns all who have daily intimations
of their Mortality, to consider what will stand them in stead after a
very transitory Life: And therefore to _work out their salvation with
fear __and trembling_, whilst it is called to day; while they have the
Light.  For there is _no device_, _nor knowledge_, _nor work_, _nor
wisdom in the grave_, _whither we all go_.  They then will be found wise,
who have lived, as if they designed chiefly to save their Souls; _setting
their affections on things above_, and not on a world whose _fashion so
soon passeth away_: and who, as this Religious Person, _are rich in
Faith_, _and full of good works_, which will accompany them beyond the
Grave.

If we make this good use of the constant admonitions which are given to
us, who are yet in the land of the Living, or rather in the land of the
Dying: If we bless him for the examples of such as have been Lights in
the midst of perverse generations: If we chiefly bless him, for begetting
_us to a lively hope of an inheritance incorruptible reserved in the
Heavens_, _through the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead_.  Then _shall
we live_, Then _shall we also die_, _unto the Lord_; and as sure _as
Jesus died_, _and rose again_, _even so them that sleep with Jesus will
God bring with him_; _when the Spirits of just men shall be made
perfect_, _and when with the General Assembly_, _and Church of the
First-born_, in Heaven, they stall ascribe to Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
all Honour, and Glory, and Salvation, for ever.

                                * * * * *

                                 _FINIS._





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Funeral Sermon preach'd on the decease of the Right Honourable the Lady Elizabeth Cutts - Late wife of the Right Honourable the Lord Cutts, on the 5th of December, 1697, at Kensington Church" ***

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