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ROBERT NELSON, Efq. the pious Au

thor of this excellent Book, was born the 22d of June, 1656, being the Son of Mr. John Nelson, a confiderable Turkey Merchant of London, and Delicia his Wife, Sister to Gabriel Roberts, a Turkey Merchant also of the fame City. His Father dying when he was young, he was left to the Care of his Mother, and her Brother Sir Gabriel, who being made his Guardian, was very careful of the Education of this his Nephew, who was indeed beloved by every one, being a most beautiful Youth, and of fine natural Parts. He was for fome Time at St. Paul's School, in London; but the principal Part of his Education was under a private Tutor in his Mother's House, from whence he went to Trinity College, in Cambridge, where he was entered Fellow-Commoner. He married the Lady Theophila Lucy, Relict of Sir Kingsman Lucy, and Daughter of John, late Earl of Berkeley. His Lady enjoyed but an ill State of Health; for the Recovery of it he paffed over with her into France, and went to Aix la Chapelle, where he continued fome Time, and afterwards proceeded on his Travels through France, Italy, and Germany. Never was any Englishman known to be more careffed in all the foreign Courts which he visited, as the many Letters written to him from Princes, Minifters of State, and Perfons of Distinction, do abundantly teftify. Nor was he lefs efteemed in England, his Acquaintance being generally among fuch as were moft remarkable for Piety and Learning, of whom the good Mr. Kettlewell was one; I here particularly mention him, because to him we owe Mr. Nelfon's firft engaging in this useful Work: Which, whofoever reads, will find it no fmall Addition to the Pleasure and Advantage he fhall reap by it, to confider that it is the Work of a fine Gentleman, and A 2


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one who never entered into holy Orders; because this will fhew what Injuftice those Men do to our most Holy Religion, who reprefent it as a morofe, narrow-fpirited Inftitution, fit only to be practifed by Hermits and Reclufes. Mr. Nelfon's other Qualifications, of a comely Perfonage, a genteel Deportment, and a fair Fortune, were fo far from being inconfiftent with that genuine Spirit of Piety which always fhewed itfelf in him, that they were no fmall Ornaments to it: Thofe external Endowments of Nature and Fortune served to fet off, and make his Virtue the more amiable and captivating; as his Virtue made those, which are by themselves unworthy to be esteemed, appear as real Accomplishments.

His Corpfe was depofited in the New Burying Ground in Lamb's Conduit Fields, then firft confecrated on that Occafion. A fquare Monument was afterwards erected over him, containing, on the four Sides of it, the following Infcription, drawn up by George Smalridge, Lord Bishop of Briftol.

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H. S. E.


Patre ortus Johanne Cive Londinenfi,

Ex Societate Mercatorum cum Turcis commercium
Habentium, Matre Deliciis Sorore

Gabrielis Roberts Equitis aurati, ex eadem
Civitate & eodem Sodalitio, uxorem habuit
Honoratiffimam Dominam Theophilam
Lucy, Kingsmanni Lucy Baronnetti viduam,
Prænobilis Johannis Comitis de BERKELEY
Filiam, quam Aquifgranum ufque valetudinis.
Recuperandæ caufa proficifcentum lubenter
Comitatus, ad extremum vitæ terminum
Summo amore fovit morte divulfam

Per novem annos fuperftes plurimum defideravit.


Quas partim in Schola Paulina,
Partim intra domefticos parietes didicerat,
Linguarum Gallicæ & Italicæ peritiam
Lutetiæ & Romæ agens facile adjunxit.

In omni ferè Literarum genere verfatus,
Ad Theologiæ ftudium animum præcipuè appulit:
Et felici pariter memoriâ atque acri judicio pollens,
Antiquitatum Ecclefiafticarum fcientiâ

Inter Clericos enituit Laicus. Peragratâ femel atque iterum Europâ, Poftquam diverfas Civitatum Et Religionum formas exploraverat, Nullam Reipulicæ adminiftrandæ rationem Monarchiæ domi conftituæ præpofuit, Cæteras omnes Ecclefias Anglicanæ longe pofthabuit Hanc ipfi femper caram Beneficiis auxit,

Vitâ exornavit,
Scriptis defendit,

Filius ipfius obfequentiffimus,

Et propugnator imprimis ftrenuus.

Nulla erat bonorum Virorum communitas,

Aut ad Pauperum liberos, fumptu Locupletiorum
Bene inftruendos,

Aut ad augendam utilitatem publicam
Aut ad promovendam Dei gloriam instituta,
Gui non fe libenter focium addidit.

Hifce ftudiis & temporis & opum
Partem longè maximam impendit.
Quicquid Facultatum fupererat,
Id ferè omne fupremis tabulis
In eofdem ufus legavit

Dum id fibi negotii unicè dedit, Deo ut placeret,

Severam interim Chriftianæ Religionis
Ad quam fe compofuit, difciplinam

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Suaviffima morum facilitate ita temperavit,
Ut hominibus perraro difpliceret :
In illo enim, fi in alio quopiam mortalium,
Forma ipfa Honefti mirè elucebat,
Et amorem omnium facilè excitabat.
Cum Naturæ fatis & Gloriæ,
Bonis omnibus & Ecclefiæ.
Parum diu vixiffet,
Fatali Afthmate correptus
Kensingtoniæ animam Deo reddidit.
Vitæ jam actæ recordatione lætus,
Et futuræ fpe plenus.
Dum Chriftianum Sacrificium rite celebrabitur,
Apud Sanctæ Cœnæ participes,
NELSONI Vigebit memoria.

Dum folennia recurrent Fefta & Jejunia,
NELSONI Faftos jugiter revolvent Pii :
Illum habebunt inter Hymnos & Preces,
Illum inter facra gaudia & fufpiria

Comitem pariter & adjutorem.
Vivit adhuc, & in omne ævum vivet,
Vir pius, fimplex, candidus, urbanus :
Adhuc in Scriptis poft mortem editis,
Et nunquam morituris,

Cum nobilibus & locupletibus mifcet colloquia ;
Adhuc eos fermonibus

Multa pietate & eruditione refertis
Delectare pergit & inftruere.
Ob. 16. Jan. Ao. Dom. 1714,
Etat. fuæ 59.



I THINK myself so far obliged, by that Refpect that is ufually paid to the candid and charitable Reader, as to acquaint him, before he engages, with what he may expect from the following Treatife: The Defignwhereof is an Attempt to rescue the Festivals and Fafts of the Church of England, not only from the Prejudices of those who have not yet reconciled themselves to Her Conftitution: but chiefly from the Contempt and Neglect of fuch as profefs themselves Her obedient Members, who own Her Authority in indifferent Things, and who, upon all Occafions, praife and extol the Piety and Usefulness of fuch Infitutions. And farther, humbly to offer fuch Aid and Affiftance to well-difpofed Minds, that they may be enabled to improve all these holy Seasons, to the Advantage of their Im- H.b.iv.g. mortal Souls, and to the fecuring that Eternal Reft that remains to the People of God.

In order to this Purpofe, I have, in the Preliminary Inftructions, endeavoured to clear the Obfervations of the Festivals and Fafts from thofe Objections they were most expofed to; and have made it my Business to fet them in fuch a Light, as may beft difcover their A 4


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