THE LAST WORDS OF LEWIS du MOULIN:
BEING His Retractation of all the Personal Refle∣ctions he had made on the Divines of the Church of England, &c.
AMong all the News that is daily pub∣lished, and cried about the Streets, none can be so welcome to truly good men, as to hear of any sinner that repent∣eth: For that is the thing, which alone can mend all that is amiss among us.
And though it be but a late repentance, and not so compleat and entire, as it might have been; yet it is of great use, and does much service: because it gives glory to God, does honour to Religion, checks those that go Page 4 on fearlesly in their evil waies: and admo∣nishes them-to persist in that course, which, if they have any conscience, they will con∣demn at last; but to take up betime, amend their lives, and make their repentance as no∣torious, as their Crimes.
That still adds much to the sincerity, and the usefulness of it; when he that gives a publick offence, takes away the scandal, as much as in him lies; by making a publick acknowledgement of his fault, and declaring openly he will offend so no more.
Such, in part, was the penitent Con∣fession of this person: the true relation whereof follows.
LEWIS du MOULIN Dr. of Physick (a person so well known by his writings, that it is needless to give any other character of him, than is publickly read there) was taken very ill in the end of last September: and being in the Seventy seventh year of his Age, did not expect he should recover; but set himself seriously to prepare for the ac∣count he thought he was shortly to give to God.
On the fourth of October, he desired a visit Page 5 from Dr. Burnet: who very kindly came to visit him, and was as kindly received by him. After the discourses fit to be used to a dying man, the Doctour spake to him of his Books: And told him though he would not trouble him (in the condition wherein he then was) with any discourse about his Opinions, yet he must admonish him of his falling foul in those Books, upon so many worthy men, viz. Dr. Stilling fleet Dean of S. Pauls, Dr. Durell Dean of Windsor, Dr. Pa∣trick Dean of Peterburgh, and several others: of whom he ought to ask forgiveness, and to make them all the reparation, that was in his power to doe.
He was soon convinced, that he had been carried too much from his duty, by the heat of his temper and passion: and there∣fore desired Dr. Burnet to ask their pardon in his Name. And when he spake of the Dean of S. Pauls, he expressed much sorrow and shed some tears.
After Dr. Burnet had prayed with him (in which he joyned with great devotion) he left him, and went and acquainted the Dean of S. Pauls herewith: who very freely sent by him, a very kind remembrance; with Page 6 assurance that the said Dr. du Moulin should have both his Forgiveness and his Prayers. The Dean of Peterburgh also was acquaint∣ed by the same person, (but the Dean of Windsor was not in Town) that Dr. du Mou∣lin desired a visit from him, being in his Parish, and having a mind to ask his par∣don, for what he had wrote against him. Who going to him immediately, the Eve∣ning of the same day (Octob. 4.) was en∣tertained with many expressions of great affection to him, and such high esteem of him, upon several accounts, that the Dean doth not think fit to have them here set down particularly; lest they should be thought to be as extravagantly said on the other side, as those things were which he wrote to defame him.
But he confessed he had been much dis∣gusted at some passages about Faith, in a Book of the Dean's, called the Parable of the Pilgrim: which he could not reade without indignation.
To which the Dean replied, that it should not have transported him, so far, and so ha∣stily, as it did. But he ought, before he had so much as written against him, to have Page 7 gone to his house, (as he had done upon some other occasions) and made his excep∣tions, and given him leave to explain him∣self: which if he had done, he was confi∣dent, the Doctour would not have thought his Notion to be Popish; much less have put him down among the Corrupt party, which he fansied was advancing towards Rome. For he would have shown him, in the best Reformed Divines, as zealous ex∣pressions, as he uses, against an Idle, Na∣ked Faith: and besides would have turned him to a Chapter in that very Book (the last but one) where he would have found that he was far from taking men off from de∣pending on Christ, and upon Christ alone for Salvation: for he directs them there how to doe it safely; and onely told them, they must do something else, before they can come to this high act of Faith, to trust that by Christ's merits and God's mercy, they shall be justified.
This he told him he should have read; and not thrown away the Book, when he met with one passage which offended him. To which Dr. du Moulin assented; and ear∣nestly begg'd his pardon, praying him also Page 8 to beg of God pardon for him, which the Dean promised he would doe; but said that he must first put him in mind, that this offence against him (which he easily for∣gave, because he knew his cholerick temper, disposed him to be incensed upon small oc∣casions) was very inconsiderable; in com∣parison with that against the Church of England in general; which he had wrong'd intolerably, to the great gratification of its Enemies, at such a time when all sober men should be its Friends; and that without any real cause for such imputations, as he had endeavoured to fasten on it.
Here Dr. du Moulin laboured to make some defence for himself; and said, that he thought there was a cause, and that greater men than he had thought so too: from whom he had long agoe imbibed this opi∣nion, of a corrupt party in the Church (as he expresses it in his Writings) leaning to∣wards Popery, nay making several advan∣ces towards Rome. And then mentioned the Names of some of them, Sir Benjamin Ru∣dyer, the then Lord Digby, &c. who in the be∣ginning of the long Parliament laid the same things to the charge of the great Church∣men, that he did now.
Page 9To this the Dean of Peterburgh replying, that as some of those persons lived to see how they were abused; so he could not but have observed how effectually this calumny had been confuted by those whom he called Bishop Laud's faction; who remained con∣stant to our Religion in the late confusions, and could not be moved to turn Papists, when they were turned out of all they had by pretended Protestants, and had no hope of seeing the Church restored; and there∣fore that he ought not to have renewed this ungrounded charge against so manifest a demonstration of its falsity: Dr. du Moulin made no answer at all, but yielded thus far, as to say, Well Doctour, pray to God to pardon me all my sins, especially my want of cha∣rity.
Accordingly the Dean, kneeling down by his Bed-side, began with the Lord's Prayer, and so proceeded to the other Prayers, which are appointed by the Order in the Common-Prayer-Book for the Visitation of the Sick. In all which the Sick man joined with lifting up his hands often, and other expressions of devotion: especially at that passage (in the Prayer, when there Page 10 appears small hopes of recovery) give him unfeigned repentance for all the errours of his life past, &c. he gave more then ordinary signs of his fervent desire. And when the Dean had done, gave him most hearty thanks, and renewed his expressions of extraordinary affection to him, and esteem of him.
The next day Dr. Burnet made him ano∣ther visit; and having given him an account what the Dean of S. Pauls said concerning him (which he received with great sense of his kindness, and return of thanks to him for it) told him it was fit he should do something for the repairing the injuries he had done, in as publick a manner as they were committed. To which he readily assented; and as he promised never to be guilty of the like again if he should recover, so he said he would subscribe a Paper that should give publick satisfaction to all he had offended, and desired Dr. Burnet to put him in mind of it. Who wrote a Paper, and left it with Dr. du Moulin's Wife: who carrying it to her Husband, he said before Witnesses, after he had considered the Con∣tents, that he was ready to sign it with hisPage 11Blood; and presently subscribed the same. A true Copy whereof followeth.
As for my Books, in which I mixed many Personal Reflections, I am now sensible I vent∣ed too much of my own Passion and Bitterness, and therefore I disclaim all that is Personal in them, and am heartily sorry for every thing I have written to the defaming of any person. I humbly beg God, and all those whom I have so wronged, pardon for Jesus Christ his sake; and am resolved, if God shall spare my life, never to meddle more with such personal things: and do earnestly exhort all people as a dying man, that they will study more love and mutu∣al forbearance in their differences; and will avoid all bitter and uncharitable reflections on one anothers Persons. And as I earnestly pray those worthy men of the Church of England to have charity and tenderness for the dissenters from them; so I beg of the Dissenters that they would have a due regard and respect to those of the Church of England: Of many of whom I say now, let my Soul be with theirs. And that all true Protestants among us may heartily unite and concur in the defence and preservation of the Holy Reformed Religion, now by the mercy Page 12 of God settled among us. And that men of all sides may according to S. Paul's rule, cease to bite and devour one another, lest we be destroyed one of another: and that where∣unto we have already attained, we may walk by the same Rule; hoping that if any man is other∣wise minded, in some lesser things, God shall either reveal that to them, or mercifully for∣give it, through Jesus Christ, Into whose hands I commend my Spirit, and desire to ap∣pear before God, in and through Him: who gave himself for me; and therefore do now study to learn of him, to be meek, and lowly in heart, and to love all the Brethren, as He hath loved me.
This in sincerity of heart I Sign Lewis du Moulin.
Octob. 5. 1680.
After he had Signed this Writing, he continued very seriously to prepare for his death; and told Dr. Burnet (next time he came to visit him) that he had signed the Pa∣per with Ink, but if it had been needfull, he would have done it with his Blood. And said, he would have some Copies written out Page 13 fair, and sign some more: that these his Last Words might be published to the world after his death. And professed also, that he felt great joy and quiet in his mind, from his being thus reconciled with those whom he had offended.
And accordingly, the Dean of Peterburgh coming a little while after, to see him again, he was so affected with his kindness in gi∣ving him a new visit, that he said, Are you come again Sir? O how charitable are you! This is indeed to return me good for evil. And after some discourse with him, desired him to pray with him again; for your Prayers, said he, were very comfortable to me the last time. And accordingly he did, in the same form of words he had used before: with which he was so much affected, that when the Dean had solemnly commended him to God's blessing, in that excellent form; un∣to God's gracious Mercy and Protection we com∣mit thee. The Lord bless thee and keep thee, &c. he laid hold upon his hand (which he held up over him) and kissed it with an unusual passion.
At the same time, having repeated his thanks to him, he told him of the Paper be∣fore Page 14 mentioned, and desired his Wife to show it him, promising a Copy of it should be sent him, signed with his own hand. It must be confessed that when the Dean had read it, he wished it had been more full; and so ordered as to have given satis∣faction to the whole Church, as well as to particular persons: But this being the form he had already signed, it was not easy to alter it.
And he often called upon his Wife to get three or four Copies of it transcribed, for him to sign according to the first draught: which when she had done, and brought them to him, and askt him whether he had well considered it, and was well satisfied to sign these: he answered, he was ready to doe it, with all his heart, if they were the same with that he had already signed. Then he heard them examined, and corrected with his own hand, where there was a fault; signing three Copies with his own hand, in these words. viz.
To all these things above set down, I heartily assent and consent.
Octob. 17. 1680.
Lewis du Moulin.
If any one doubt of this, they may be fully satisfied by Dr. Patrick, the Dean of Peterburgh: to whom, according to his promise, and by his order, a Copy was sent, so signed, in his own hand-writing. And he gave a charge the same should be published after his Death, which followed on the twentieth day of the same Month: and on the twenty second of the same Month, the said Dean of Peterburgh, expres∣sed his charity to him, in performing the Funeral Rites himself.
I have perused this Relation, and, as far as I am concerned in it, do hereby attest the truth of it.
S. Patrick, D. P.
I have perused this Relation, and, as far as I am concerned in it, do hereby attest the truth of it.
Would to God that they who still persist in their Invectives, and have since this Do∣ctour's death published under his name an additional account of the Church of England's Page 16advances towards Popery, without the know∣ledge of his Wife and other Relations, would be pleased to consider this Narrative, and lay it to heart, before they be arrested by Death; that grave, that wise and faithfull Counseller, which deceives no man, but sets a Glass before their eyes which flatters not; and represents the truth so plainly and sincerely to their minds, that did they but take frequent advice of this Counseller, and before they venture upon any action, would but consider how it would appear, were they going to answer for it to God Almighty, they would find themselves ir∣resistably restrained in the pursuit of their fiercest passions and desires.
For even they, who can be wrought up∣on no other way, are moved by the ap∣proach of death to alter their resolutions. The obstinately inflexible, who could not be turned out of their way (in which they ran with a violent heat) by any obstacle, have in a moment been cooled, and made to yield, when they saw death coming to call them before the Judgment-seat of God. Upon which account there cannot be more profitable counsel then that of the Son of Page 17Sirach, which was read in the Church a∣few days after the Doctour was buried. Ecclus. 7. 36. Whatsoever thou takest in hand, remember the end, and thou shalt never do amiss.
Therefore if Dr. du Moulin hath left in any bodies hand, and they intend to pub∣lish an Ecclesiastical History, the design of which he hath already published; I beseech those persons, whosoever they are, before they begin to put it to the Press, to consi∣der whether it be such as he would have approved of upon his Death-bed, or they will be willing to answer for unto Almighty God: and to weigh well those words, wherewith the famous Sir Walter Raleigh concludes his History of the World. Where, inquiring after the reason of the boundless ambition which still continues to reign in the breasts of mortal men, notwithstanding the sad fates of those that have gone before them, gives an answer, which may serve for a reason of all other passions wherewith men are madly transported; which is this, that they lay before them the actions, but not the ends of those that preceded them. And then follow these memorable words.