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WRITTEN ORIGINALLY IN FRENCH,
By the late reverend Divine of the Protestant Church of Paris,
TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH BY MARIUS D'ASSIGNY, B. D.
WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THE AUTHOR,
AND HIS LAST MINUTES;
AND A TRUE RELATION OF THE
OF MRS. VEAL, AFTER HER DEATH, TO MRS. BARGRAVE.
The Twenty-sixth Edition.
PRINTED EY NUTTALL, FISHER, AND DIXON, DUKE-STREET.
THE true Character of Monsieur DRELINCOURT, the Author of these excellent Meditations, we find published by Dr. Bayle, in his great "Historical Dictionary," &c. as followeth :
HARLES DRELINCOURT, minister of the church of Paris, was born the 10th of July, 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 ethics and divinity in that University, but was sent to Saumur, to complete his philosophy under Mr. Duncan. He was ordained minister 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, called Monsieur Balduck, who had newly embraced the Protestant religion. Providence blessed him and his wife with a numerous issue, he having had sixteen children by her; and gave no less success to his ministry. His sermons were very powerful: but his chief talent was in comforting the sick, and performing all other necessary offices of a careful pastor. He was very faithful and zealous, in respect of his own congregation and others; his judgment being always desired in matters of moment. We cannot sufficiently commend the services he hath rendered to the church of God by the many writings he hath published, whether we examine his books of devotion, or of controversy. There is so much piety contained in the former, and so many excellent texts of scripture explained in the latter, that many religious persons both have, and daily do, find seasonable consolation. That which he hath written against the church of Rome, hath wonderfully strengthened the Protestant professors: for by the arguments that he brings, the ignorant and unlearned have been able to confound the Monks and Priests, and to maintain the principles of their religion against the subtilest missionaries; so that his writings have caused him to be esteemed the Scourge of the Roman Disputants. Nevertheless, as he was beloved of the contrary party, so he was highly esteemed by the greatest Lords of the reformed religion, as the Duke de la Force, the mareschals
of Chatillon, De Gastion, and Turenne, and by the Lady De la Tremouille, &c. He had also great respect paid him by the frequent visits of ambassadors from several foreign Princes and States. He was a person who expressed a particular esteem and veneration for the church of England, as appears by his Letters to Dr. Durell. He died the 3d of November, 1666, in such an excellent and devout disposition of mind, as may be expected in a person who was animated with an holy zeal, and had, with an unwearied diligence, consecrated all his study and labours to the glory of God, and the service of his church. He was more frequent in prayer towards the conclusion of his life and when he was private and alone, he never heard the clock strike, but he fell upon his kness in prayer to God.
This is the approved character published of our eminent divine. After a long experience and practice amongst departing souls, and in the houses of mourning, at the request of some of his congregation, who mightily approved of the proper and seasonable arguments that he made use of to fortify dying persons against the apprehensions of death, suitable to the conditions and temper, he published his Book of Consolations. About twenty editions have been printed in France, and one at Avignon, in the Pope's dominions, with a suppression of the reverend author's name. How many impressions have been published in Holland, Germany, and elsewhere, I cannot determine. We find it translated into several languages, but was not in our mother tongue, until, at the request of the author's son, late Dean of Armagh in Ireland, I translated it into English. What reception it hath met with amongst us, let this twenty-sixth impression declare. I shall therefore judge it needless, after so many public testimonies of an universal approbation, amongst Christians of all professions, to speak any thing in commendation of this Defence against the Fears of Death. How serviceable it may be to divines in funeral sermons, in visiting the sick, the poor, and afflicted, and how proper to be left as legacies to surviving friends, at funerals, I leave others to judge, who shall sincerely desire to promote the salvation of souls.
And now I cannot but take some notice here of the high esteem and commendation that a late Apparition, too well attested to be slighted, hath given of this book. An exact account