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all lying and sinful shifts and equivocations ; and not to depart from God, and return with the dog to his vomit, and the sow to its paddle. “I say to you before the Lord, your sins God shall set them in order before you ; yea, you shall see them in the great day of the Lord, as clearly set before you as the light that shines." Then, speaking to them of their learning and studies, she said, * As for learning and philosophy, fear lest it hath the effect on you it hath had on some, to turn you atheists, or without religion. All the greatness, all the learning in the world, what is it without grace? Remember that word, Not many noble, not many mighty, not many wise are called! I say not this to discourage you from reading and learning, but let it not make you neglect duty; and I lay it upon you, and charge you before God, and as you would meet with me again with comfort, be diligent in reading the Scriptures, and in prayer, and satisfy not yourselves with your morning and evening prayers; but I charge you in the sight and presence of the Lord, not to judge your religion to be true and sincere, if it carry you no further than morning and evening prayers; in all thir things, I say unto you, I shall be a witness against you. Look not on thir things, and what I say now, as upon instructions and reproofs given at another time; the words that I have spoken are the words of a dying mother; I pray the Lord ye may never forget them, which, if you observe and do, God's blessing be upon you, and my blessing I leave you; but, if you do them not, but in the least allow yourselves in that which is displeasing to God, and turn away from him, the curse of the everlasting God shall fall upon your heads, and the curse of your dying mother shall rest on you ; but, if you shall obey and follow the Lord, the blessings of the everlasting God, the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the blessings of your dying mother, be upon your heads." And then she added, “I have good thoughts concerning you." And removing her hand from off their heads, where she put it while she blessed them, she thus parted with them, kissing and blessing. Ministers, and others who heard this passage, have wondered at this great zeal of God, that acted and

carried her thus to deny her natural affection, which was ever most loving and most tender to her children, and thus fearfully to curse them if they should forsake God, imitating, as it were, in this, the example of Moses, Lev. xxvi., and Deut. xxviii. chapters.

After this she spoke to her husband with all kindness and tenderness, saying, he had been a dear and kind husband to her, intreating him to quit her freely; and gave him many sweet advices concerning the children, desiring, that as they feared the Lord, so he would encourage them. After that she called for her mother and four sisters, who were all present, and gave to them many grave directions and counsels, suiting them, with an holy prudence and discretion, both to their inclinations and conditions, both married and unmarried. Then thanking every one of them as they had been useful to her, and craving them pardon for the trouble she had given them, she exhorted them to a holy diligence in praying and reading the Scriptures, and intreated them to guard against all sin, even the smallest sin; whereat she taking herself, said, “ The Lord forgive me for calling any sin small, for there is no small sin; every sin deserves everlasting wrath.” Then she besought them not to set their heart too much upon any temporal enjoyment, for they knew not when the Lord might take it from them; and intreated them to make good use of their time, saying, “ This day will come upon you, and you know not how soon you will be in my condition.” Thus she bade them farewell, with many earnest blessings and mutual embracings, and with such tenderness and tears on their parts as cannot well be expressed. After which with great sweetness and meekness she closed her farewell with these words, “Now I intreat you be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another; and be of one mind, and live in peace, and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” In all these things she appeared not in the least to be affected with pain or sickness, so that none but herself could imagine her time to be so near. After this she said, “I have many times besought the Lord that death might not be a surprisal to me, and neither it is; and I have prayed likewise that death might not be a terror to me, and neither it is; and I have sought, that I may not be terrible to others in dying:" and that the Lord did very sensibly grant, as we shall hereafter hear. And, to show her great composure of mind, she also gave orders about several little circumstances both of her death and burial, suitable to that most exact modesty which was so eminent in her all her life; for that she had spoken to her sisters, as we have heard, she did also severally enjoin them, that, when her body should be wrapt in sheer-cloth, they should in no case suffer her linens to be taken off, as (she said she knew the manner was. And thereafter at another time she appointed her sisters to pin the curtains at the bed-foot, " then when,” said she, “I am dying, I may not be gazed upon.” But to pass these things, she now being very weak, she called for her father-in-law, and putting forth her hand to him, said, “Hold my hand, for I cannot hold yours ;" then added, “ You have been a very kind father unto me, I say a very kind affectionate father unto me; I cannot say any more, but the Lord requite you.” Then, turning to her other relations, she took leave of them, and said unto Allantoun's brother, with whose wife her daughters were at the time, “Sir, You will tell my two lasses that I remembered them, and laid it upon them, that they should diligently seek and serve the Lord, and make conscience of reading the Scriptures; and the Lord's blessing be upon them.” And so she took leave of him, desiring him, that he would remember her to his worthy wife. After this she called for the young man that waited upon the children, and said unto him, “Mr William, you have a great charge now both of the bodies and souls of the children; for my husband will be taken up with his affairs, and I fear shall not be long behind me.” Then she said, “I have nothing now to do but one thing;" and, turning to her husband, continued, “My dear, you have been a dear husband to me, but I am going to a dearer; I intreat you weep not for me, I will be better; quit me, quit me; and now, my dear, resign my soul up unto God." Her husband, being in great grief, said, "My dear, I dare not, nor I cannot; the minister will do it.” Where. upon she said calmly, “Let the minister pray;" and, after prayer,

said again unto her husband, “ My dear, resign my soul unto God; you must do it, you must do it, and quit me, for I have resigned my soul to God already; I got it from God, and I have given it again back to him.” So her husband obeyed her, and did resign her solemnly, being greatly helped of God in the action; and she holding up her weak hands all the time, at which the lookers-on were greatly moved; for, prayer being ended, she embraced him with both her arms about the neck, until through weakness they fell away. After which she fell asleep. Again being heard quietly breathe out these words, “ O feeling High Priest, keep that which I have committed unto thee," she most peaceably, without either shiver or sob, died in the Lord; and that so precisely at the going down of the sun as she had foretold, that while they were shutting her eyes, some remembering her words, ran to the window, and told that a part of the sun was just setting and sinking out of sight; and another who was not present, nor heard her words, but hearing the cry at her death, came in and told that it so happened at the same time.

She lived thirty-seven years, five months, and eight days; and albeit the close of her short course was both gracious and glorious, as we have heard, yet it is certain that neither her life nor her death can receive any greater commendation than by the most illustrious testimony that they rendered mutually to each other in this true and just comparison ; [that] as she lived so she died, and as she died so she lived, and lives for evermore. This is indeed the suffrage that all that knew her, and were witnesses to these things, must [and do] pay to her memory: but seeing it can be by none both more truly and happily celebrate than by her own pastor, who was also an eye-witness of her blessed departure, the epitaph whereby he was pleased, both in Latin and English, to honour her funeral with, is hereto subjoined.

1 The Latin Epitaph, owing to inaccuracy in the versification, most probably arising from transcription, is omitted.

508

THE LAST WORDS OF THE LADY COLTNESS.

ANE EPITAPH ON THE DEATH OF THE TRUELY EXCELLENT,

THE LADY COLTNESS.

TEN

HERE lies an elect lady, saint devote,
Rare, wise, true mother, Margaret Eliot:
She loved her loving God above all things,
Herself and hers she did to him resign,
In clifts of rock this dove's groans did rebound,
She prayed not in the street with trumpet sound,
Her praying voice scarce did her closet find,
She prayed with groans, tears, heart and bended mind;
Great, modest, comely, chast, severe, serene;
Nothing more grave, nothing more sweet again;
A spirit high, but not lift up withal;
A wit most sharp, but not imbrued with gall.
In a vile world she pure and clean abode,
In a false world she stood still true for God;
A lovely, lowly, loving wife, her husband's love,
But more beloved of her Beloved above.
Coltness she dressed, left it in good array,
But since she's gone its lustre is away;
She who, while living, taught by word and deed,
Unwearied still she did so while she died;
Herself and hers unto God to bequeath,
Was Margaret Eliot's work in life and death.

This epitaph was written by her own minister, Mr William Violand, minister at Cambusnethan. [He was one of the Indulged ministers. Wodrow calls him “a singularly learned and worthy person"_" a great eye-sore to the Bishops for his learning, moderation, and temper." He was eventually cited before the Council, and banished.-See Wodrow's History, Anno 1684.7

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