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THE

VANITY

OF THIS

MORTAL, LiIFEs

OR,
OF MAN,

CONSIDERED ONLY IN HIS

PRESENT MORTAL STATE.

TO THE

PESERVEDLY HONORED,

JOHN UPTON, OF LUPTON,

WITH THE MANY SURVIVING BRANCHES FORMERLY SPRUNG OUT OF THAT RELIGIOUS FAMILY, AND THE WORTHY CONSORTS

OF ANY OF THEM.

Since it is the lot of the following pages to be exposed to public view; there is somewhat of justice in it, to yourselves or me, that the world do also know wherein divers of you have contributed thereto that if any thing redound hence to public advantage, it may be understood to be owing in part to you; or, if it shall be reckoned a useless trouble, in this way to represent things, so obvious to common notice, and whereof so much is already said, all the blame to the publication be not imputed (as it doth not belong) to me only. But I must here crave your excuse, that, on this account, give you a narrative of what (for the most part) you already know and may possibly not delight to remember; both because it is now become convenient that others should know it too, and not necessary to be put into a distinct preface! and because to yourselves the review of those less pleasing passages may be attended with a fruit which may be some recompence for their want of pleasure.

Therefore give the reader leave to take notice, and let it not be grievous to you that I remind you, that after this your near relation* (whose death gave the occasion of the ensuing meditations) had from his youth lived between twenty and thirty years of his age in Spain, your joint-importunity had at length obtained from him a promise of returning; whereof, when you were in somewhat a near expectation a sudden disease in so few days landed him in another world, that the first notice you had of his death or sickness, was by the arrival of that vessel (clad in mourning-attire,) which, according to his own desire in his sickness, brought

*Mr. Anthony Upton, the son of John Upton, of Lupton, Esq.

THE EPISTLE

over the deserted body to its native place of Lupton; that thence it might find a grave, where it first received a soul; and obtain a mansion in the earth, where first it became one to a reasonable spirit. A little before this time, the desire of an interview among yourselves (which the distance of your habitations permitted not to be frequent) had induced divers of you to appoint a meeting at some middle place, whereby the trouble of a long journey might be conveniently shared among you. But, before that agreed resolution could have its accomplishment, this sad and most unexpected event intervening, altered the place, the occasion, and design of your meeting; but effected the thing itself, and brought together no less than twenty, the brothers and sisters of the deceased, or their consorts; besides his many nephews and nieces and other relations, to the mournful solemnity of the interment. Within the time of our being together upon this sad account, this passage of the Psalmist here insisted on, came into discourse among us; being introduced by an occasion, which (though then, it may be unknown to the most of you) was somewhat rare, and not unworthy observation; namely, that one of yourselves having been some time before surprised with an unusual sadness, joined with an expectation of ill tidings, upon no known cause, had so urgent an inculcation of those words, as not to be able to forbear the revolving them much of the former part of that day, in the latter part whereof the first notice was brought to that place of this so near a relation's decease.

Certain months after, some of you with whom I was then conversant in London, importuned me to have somewhat from me in writing upon that subject. Whereto 1 at length agreed, with a cautionary request, that it might not come into many hands, but might remain (as the occasion was) among yourselves. Nor will I deny it to have been some inducement to me to apply my thoughts to that theme, that it had been so suggested as was said. For such presages and bodings, as that above-mentioned, may reasonably be thought to owe themselves to some more steady and universal principle than casualty, or the party's own imagination: by whose more noble recommendation (that such a gloomy premonition might carry with it not what should only afflict, but also instruct and teach) this subject did seem offered to our meditation. Accordingly therefore, after my return to the place of my abode, I hastily drew up the substance of the following discourse; which, a year ago, I transmitted into their hands who desired it from me, without reserving to myself any copy. Hereby it became difficult to me, presently to comply (besides divers considerations I might have against the thing itself) with that joint request of some of you (in a letter, which my removal into another kingdom occasioned to come long after to my hands) that I would consent these papers might be made public. For

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