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THE

PREFACE

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Chriftian Reader.

T

HE true Character of Monfieur Drelincourt, the Author of thefe excellent Meditations, we find published by Mr. Bayle in his great Hiftorical Dictionary, &c. as followeth: Charles Drelincourt, Minifter of the Church of Paris,

was born the 10th of July, 1595, at Sedan, where his Father was admitted to an honourable Office, being Secretary to Henry Robert de la Mark, Duke of Bouillon, and Sovereign Prince of Sedan ; afterwards he was advanced to be Secretary to the chief Council of that City. His Son Charles was put to study Ethicks and Divinity, in that Univerfity; but was fent to Saumur to compleat hisPhilofophy under Mr.Duncan. He was ordain'd Minifter in June 1618, and began the Exercise of his Function near Langres, continuing there until he was called to the Church of Paris in March 1620. He was married in the Year 1625, to an only Child of a rich Merchant of Paris, call'd Monfieur Balduck, who had newly embrac'd the Proteftant Religion. Providence bleft him and his Wife 'with a numerous Iflue, he having had fixteen Children by her; and gave no lefs Succefs to his Miniftry. His Sermons were very powerful: But his chief Talent

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was in comforting the Sick, and performing all other neceffary Offices of a careful Paftor. He was very faithful and zealous, in refpect of his own Congregation and others; his Judgment being always defir'd in Matters of Moment. We cannot fufficiently commend the Services he has render'd to the Church of God by his many Writings he hath publish'd; whether we examine his Books of Devotion or of Controverfy. There is fo much Piety contain'd in the former, and fo many excellent Texts of Scripture explain'd in the latter, that many Religi ous Perfons both have, and daily do find feasonable Confolations. That which he hath written against the Church of Rome, hath wonderfully ftrengthen'd the Proteftant Profeffors. For by the Arguments that he brings, the Ignorant and Unlearned have been able to confound the Monks and Priefts, and to maintain the Principles of their Religion against the fubtileft Miffionaries. So that his Writings have caus'd him to be efteem'd the Scourge of the Roman Difputants. Nevertheless, as he was belov'd of the contrary Party, fo he was highly efteem'd by the greateft Lords of the reformed Religion, as the Duke de la Force, the Marefchals of Chatillon, de Gaftion, and Turenne, and by the Lady de la Tremouille, &c. He had alfo great Refpect paid him by the frequent Vifits of Ambaffadors from feveral Foreign Princes and States. He was a Perfon who exprefs'd a particular Efteem and Veneration for the Church of England, as appears by his Letters to Dr. Durel. He dy'd the 3d of November, 1669, in fuch an excellent and devout Difpofition of Mind, as may be expected in a Perfon who was animated with an holy Zeal, and had with an unwearied Diligence confecrated all his Study and Labours to the Glory of God and the Service of his Church. He was more frequent in Prayer towards the Conclufion of his Life: And when he was private and alone, he never heard the Clock ftrike, but he fell upon his Knees in Prayer to God.

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This is the approved Character publifb'd of our eminent Divine,after a long Experience and Practice among ft departing Souls and in the Houfes of Mourn ing, at the Request of fome of his Congregation, who mightily approv'd of the proper and feasonable Arguments that he made ufe of to fortify dying Perfons against the Apprehenfions of Death; fuitable to their Conditions and Temper, he publifh'd this Book of Confolations. About twenty Editions have been printed in France; and one at Avignon in the Pope's Dominions,with a Suppreffion ofthe Reverend Author's Name. How many Impreffions have been publifh'd in Holland, Germany and elsewhere, I cannot determine. We find it translated into feveral Languages,but was not in our Mother Tongue until, at the Requeft of the Author's Son, now Dean of Armagh in Ireland, I tranflated it into English: What Reception it met with amongst us, let this tenth Impreffion declare. I fhall therefore judge it needlefs, after fo many publick Testimonies of an univerfal Approbation, among ft Chriftians of all Profeffions,to fpeak any thing in Commendation of this Defence against the Fears of Death. How ferviceable it may be to Divines in Funeral Sermons, in vifiting the Sick, the Poor and Afflicted, and how proper to be left as Legacies to furviving Friends at Funerals, I leave to others to judge, who shall fincerely defire to promote the Salvation of Souls.

And now I cannot but take fome notice here of the high Efteem and Commendation that a late Appari tion,too well attefted to be flighted, hath given of this Book. An exact Account of it you have in the printed Relation hereunto prefix'd. To reject all Nar

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ratives of this kind as fictitious, argues, in my judgment,as great an Error,Weakness and Prejudice as to believe all that is reported of Apparitions. This comes to us clothed with all the Appearance andCircumftances of Truth,that may reasonably be expected in this cafe.So that none but an unbelieving Sadducee or a prophane Atheist, will offer to question the Reality.To confirm the Poffibility and Truth of fome Apparitions,none can deny,that by this means our good God hath convey'd and confirm'd to us feveral of the Mysteries of our Holy Religion; as the Conception, Birth,Incarnation, Refurrection, and glorious Afcenfion of our great Meffiah, by the Apparitions of Angels. And how often thofe heavenly Spirits were formerly visible in HumanShapes, for the Advantage, Information and Safeguard of the Pious,the Word of God fufficiently declares. Now,as we live in fuch an incredulous Age, that will not believe God, and his DivineOracles,tho attested by the working of Miracles,concerning the futureState of the Righteous and Wicked,but requires a newTeftimony andEvidence, as the Return of Souls from the Dead,to witness the Happiness of Heaven,the Torments of Hell,and the Immortality of the Soul: Who knows,but to render Men more inexcufable, God may condescend that a departed Soul, or its Good Angel in its ftead, may appear to declare thefe infallible and undoubted Truths to an unbelieving World? But we find by Experience, as in this cafe, that this kind of Evidence is far more liable to Exceptions, to be contradicted and rejected, as uncertain and fabulous, and fooner than the facred Methods that our wife God hath taken to perfuade Men to the Divine Do

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