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At length he began to speak of certain sacred and mystical numbers, - as three for the Trinity, three times three for the Heavenly Hierarchy, seven for the Sabaoth, and seven times seven for a Jubilee; concluding with a fatal seven times nine, for the grand climacterical year — the precise age of the queen at the moment. The intention of the bishop was understood, and fret by Elizabeth in an instant; and her agitation as instantaneously recoiled upon the preacher, He had, however, the strength of mind and resolution to ring a change upon some other numbers, speaking very abstrusely upon 666 and 88; passing a handsome compliment on her success in the latter year against the Spaniards. Still he could not conquer his wish to recur to the original tendency of his sermon; which he concluded by a prayer, in her majesty's name, illustrated with such texts of Scripture as were consonant to that tendency; particularly – « When the grinders shall be few in number, and they wax dark that look out of the windows, &c.; and the daughters of singing shall be abased.”
. The queen immediately opened the casement of her closet, - not to thank the bishop for his sermon, as was the etiquette, --- but to tell him plainly, “ he should have kept his arithmetic for himself; but I see (said she) the greatest clerks are not the wisest men." She then retired in
high displeasure; and the lord keeper Puckering, though secretly approving of the sermon, thought proper to confine Rudd to his house for a short time, to prevent more disagreeable consequences.
The queen soon forgave this attack upon her age, released the bishop, and rebuked a lady who condemned the sermon. But she thought proper to confute the inferences of the prelate, by declaring, that he was deceived in supposing her limbs and senses were in a similar state of decay with his own and others in the grand climacteric. She said, she thanked God, that neither her stomach nor strength, nor her voice for singing, nor fingering instruments, nor lastly her sight; was any whit decayed ; and to prove the last,' before us all (adds Sir John), “ she produced a little jewel, that had an inscription of very small letters, and offered it first to my lord of Worcester, and then to Sir James Crofts to read ; and both protested, bona fide, that they could not: yet the queen herself did find out the poesy, and made herself merry with the standers-by
Dr. Matthew Hutton is thus mentioned by Sir John Harrington ::“I no sooner remember this famous and worthy prelate, but methinks I see him in the chapel at Whitehall ; queen Elizabeth at the window in the closet; all the lords of the parliament, spiritual and temporal, about them and then, after his three courtesies, that I hear
him out of the pulpit thundering this text: “The kingdoms of the earth are mine, and I do give them to whom I will; and I have given them to Nebuchadrezzar and his son, and his son's son: which text, when he had thus produced, taking the sense rather than the words of the prophet, there followed, first, so general a murmur of one friend whispering to another ; then such an erected countenance in those that had none to speak to; lastly, so quiet a silence and attention, in expectance of some strange doctrine, where the text itself gave away kingdoms and sceptres ; as I have never observed either before or since.” The preacher might have been supposed a Jeremiah, rather than an expounder of him, by the skill with which he explained the two causes that produced the translation of a throne from family to family, and to different nations ; which, he argued, were the fulness of time, and the ripeness of sin; and supported by citations from sacred and profane, and British history. In this mode, he descended to the reign of the queen before him ; who received the compliment of exceeding all her predecessors, in establishing the prosperity, peace, and splendour of the kingdom ; who, by her wisdom, had changed all her counsellors but one; her officers twice or thrice; and some of her prelates four times. In short (according to the sagacious Hutton) there was but one fault discoverable in her conduct -- the neglecting the
interests of the nation by refusing to marry, and, by that means, establishing the succession.
He observed, that Nero particularly excited the hatred of the people by wishing to have no successor; and that Augustus was equally disliked for appointing an unfit person for the purple. He then adventured, as far as he dared, to explain the wishes of the publick; which, he declared, travelled northward, even to Scotland; adding, that if those wishes were erroneous, they would be found learned errors.
Those who heard the conclusion of this sermon, and knew the queen’s disposition, were satisfied that the intimations it conveyed were as pleasant to her, as salt to the eyes; or, to use her own words, “ as to pin up her winding-sheet before her face." An immediate expression of displeasure was anticipated; but, to the surprise of the auditors, the queen opened her window, and calmly thanked the preacher for his
learned sermon. This was the effect of policy : she knew Hutton spoke the sentiments of her subjects, and determined not to reject their advice publicly. A private censure, however, followed, conveyed in severe terms by Sir John Fortescue and Sir John Wolley ; which, the archbishop told Sir John Harrington, was “ such a greeting, as he scant knew if he were a prisoner or a free man."
The charity or liberality of Francis Russell, second earl of Bedford of that surname, was such,
Elizabeth was in the habit of saying, playfully, of him, that he made all the beggars ; or, in other words, induced men to leave their pursuits, to obtain bis bounty.
Dr. Taylor (who suffered for his religion in the previous reign), with less ability but equal inclination, constantly waited upon Sir Richard Doyle, and other rich persons, once a fortnight ; and with them visited alms-houses, where they redressed abuses, and supplied, by every means in their
power, the deficiencies they discovered. Mrs. Hutchinson relates an anecdote, in the memoirs of her husband, which establishes the fact, that practical wit had arrived to a very shameful degree of indulgence in the reign of queen Elizabeth. Speaking of a branch of the ,family of Biron, she proceeds: “ That marriage, wherein the father had not been obeyed, was fruitless; and the young gentleman himself being given to youthful vanity, as he was one day to go out a hunting with his father, had cominanded 'something should be put under the saddle of a young serving-man that was to go out with them, to make sport at his affright, when his horse should prove unquiet. The thing succeeded as it was designed, and made them such sport, that the young gentleman in the passion of laughter died, and turned their mirth into mourning ; leaving a sad caveat, by his example, to take heed of hazarding men's precious lives for a little sport.”