« PreviousContinue »
MOST ILLUSTRIOUS PRINCESS,
HER ROYAL HIGHNESS,
PRINCESS OF GREAT BRITAIN, DOWAGER OF ORANGE, &c.
Although none of the subjects of these nations can, in propriety of speaking, be a stranger to the royal family, from whom every single person receives the daily emanations of many blessings;.— yet besides this, there is much in your Royal Highness, by which your princely person is related to all amongst us, that are or would be excellent. For where virtue is in her exaltation,-to that excellent person, all that are or would be thought virtuous, do address themselves either to be directed or encouraged, for example or for patronage, for the similitude of affection or likeness of design ; and, therefore, Madam, although it is too great a confidence in me, something a stranger, to make this address to so high-born and great a princess; yet when I consider that you are the sister of my king,
and the servant of my God, I know there was nothing to be expected but serenity and sweetness, gentleness and goodness, royal favours and princely graces; and, therefore, in such fruitful showers, I have no cause to fear, that my fleece shall be dry, when all that is round about it, shall be made irriguous with your princely influence. I shall, therefore, humbly hope, that your Royal Highness will first give me pardon, and then accept this humble oblation from him who is equally your servant, for your great relations, and for
your great excellencies: for I remember with what pleasure I have heard it told, that your Royal Highness's Court hath been, in all these late days of sorrow, a sanctuary to the afflicted, a chapel for the religious, a refectory to them that were in need, and the great defensative of all men, and all things, that are excellent; and therefore, it is but duty; that, by all the acknowledgments of religion, that honour should be paid to your Royal Highness, which so eminent virtues perpetually have deserved. But because you have long dwelt in the more secret recesses of religion, and that, for a long time, your devotion hath been eminent, your obedience to the strictest rules of religion hath been humble and diligent, even up to a great example, and that the service of God hath been your great care, and greatest employment;
your name hath been dear and highly honourable amongst the sons and daughters of the church of England; and we no more envy to Hungary the great name of St. Elizabeth, to Scotland the glorious memory of St. Margaret, to France the triumph of the piety of St. Genevieve, nor St. Katharine to Haly, since in your royal person we have so great an example of our own, one of the family of saints, a daughter to such a glorious saint and martyr, a sister to such a king, in the arms of whose justice and wisdom we lie down in safety, having now nothing to employ us, but in holiness and comfort to serve God, and, in peace and mutual charity, to enjoy the blessings of the government under so great, so good a king.
But, Royal Madam, I have yet some more personal ground for the confidence of this address; and because I have received the great honour of your reading and using divers of my books, I was readily invited to hope, that your Royal Highness would not reject it, if one of them desired, upon a special title, to kiss your princely hand, and to pay thanks for the gracious reception of others of the same cognation. The style of it is fit for closets, plain and useful; the matter is of the greatest concernment, rule for the usage of the greatest solemnity of religion: for as the eucharist is, by the venerable
fathers of the church, called the queen of mysteries;' so the worthy communicating in this, is the most princely conjugation of graces in the whole rosary of Christian religion ; and, therefore, the more proportioned and fitted for the handling of so princely a person, whom the beauty of the body, and the greatness of birth, and excellency of religion, do equally contend to represent excellent and illustrious in the eyes of all the world.
Madam, it is necessary that you be all that, to which these excellent graces and dispositions do design you : and to this glorious end, this manual may, if you please, add some moments; the effecting of which is all my design, except only that it is intended, and I humbly pray that it may be looked upon, as a testimony of that greatest honour, which is paid you by the hearts and voices of all the religious of this church; and particularly of,
Most humble and most devoted Servant,
When St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin-Mother had, for a time, lost their most holy Son, they sought him in the villages and the highways, in the retinues of their kindred, and the caravans of the Galilean pilgrims; but there they found him not. At last, almost despairing, faint and sick with travel and fear, with desires and tedious expectations, they came into the temple to pray to God for conduct and success; knowing and believing assuredly, that if they could find God, they should not long miss to find the holy Jesus; and their faith deceived them not: for they sought God; and found him, that was God and man, in the midst and circle of the doctors. But being surprised with trouble and wonder, they began a little to expostulate with the divine child, why he would be absent so long, and leave them (as it must needs be when he is absent from us) in sorrow and uncertain thoughts? This question brought forth an answer, which will be for ever useful to all, that shall inquire after this holy child : for as they complained of his absence, so he reproved their ignorance: “How is it that ye have so fondly looked for me, as if I were used to wander in unknown paths without skill, and without a guide ? why did ye inquire after me in highways and village-fields ? Ye never knew me wander, or lose my way, or abide but where I ought; why, therefore, did ye not come hither to look for me? Did ye not know that I ought to be in my Father's house a ?” that is, there where God is worshipped, where he
A So the Syriac interpreter renders the Greek év toms tū Targós peou,' in the places of my Father:'• lu iis quæ Patris mei sunt,'-so the Arabic version. • In negotiis Patris mei,' in my Father's business,'— $0 Castalio, Piscator, and our English Bibles. But the second reddition is more agreeable with