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you to sleep one night more in your present state of sceptieism and unbelief. If you are mistaken, Sirs ! Should you be mistaken! The very possibility is enough to overwhelm the human mind!
• My hopes and fears
• A dread eternity! how surely mine!"
“ Ah! could I (to use the words of a great author) represent to you the different states of good and bad men: could I give you the prospect which the blessed martyr St. STEPHEN had, and shew you the blessed Jesus at the right hand of God, surrounded with angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect; could I open your ears to hear the neverceasing hymns of praise, which the blessed above sing to HIM that was, and is, and is to come ; to the LAMB that was slain, but liveth for ever; could I lead you through the unbounded regions of eternal day, and shew the mutual and ever-blooming joys of saints who are at rest from their labours, and live for ever in the presence of God? or could I change the scene, and unbar the iron gates of hell, and carry you, through solid darkness, to the fire that never goes out, and to the worm that never dies : could I shew you the apostate angels fast bound in eternal cbains, or the souls of wicked men overwhelmed with torment and despair : could I open your ears to hear the deep itself groan with the continual cries of misery; cries which can never reach the throne of mercy, but returia in sad echoes, and add even to the very
horrors of hell! could I ibus set before you the different ends of Religion and Infidelity, you would want 10 other proof to convince you, that nothing can récompense
the hazard men rim of being for ever miserable through Unbelief."
We too well know you will make yourselves merry with these representationg*; but you should not laugh where you ought to be serious ; ; vaunt where you should tremble; or sneer where you should argue. In these respects you are unquestionably to blame. If any thing in nature is of importance, it is surely how we may “escape the death which never dies,” and attain the end of our creation. WALSING HAM judged like a man of sense, when he said to the merry Courtiers laughing on every hand of him :-"Ah! while we laugh, all things are serious round about us; God is serious,
* When the Duke of BUCKINGHAM was once talking profanely before King CHARLES II. EDMUND WALLER, the Poet, reproved him very properly, by saying, “ My Lord, I am a great deal older than your Grace, and, I believe, have heard more argunents for Atheism than ever your Grace did ; but I have lived long enough to see there is nothing in them, and so I hope your Grace will."
We have an account in the Gentleman's Mag, for June 1798, of a Man of very distinguished talents, well known for the laxity of his principles, and the licentiousness of his conduct, who died in the course of last year at a very advanced age. He bore the advances of dissolution tolerably well, while death seemed at some distance; but when death drew near, liis atheistic principles gave way, and he was afflicted with the most excruciating mental pangs. When he came to stand on the brink of eternity, all his resolution forsook him. Though free from pain, he became restless and disturbed. His last hours were spent in the agonies and horrors of remorse. He cried for mercy to that God, whom he had wantonly denied; and -there let him rest---till the day of account!
I could wish the deistical reader would turn to the seventh section of Dr. PRIESTLEY's Observations on the Increase of Infidelity, where he will find the spirit of Infidelity exemplified in the Correspondence between VOLTAIRE and D'ALEMBERT. The resolution of these two Deists was to live and die laughing. That they lived laughing is partly true; but how did these gentlemen die? The tube was changed !
This too was the case with the witty and facetious THOMAS BROWN, who used to treat Religion very lightly, and would often say, that he understood the world better, than to have the imputation of Righteousness laid to his charge. Nevertheless, upon the approach of deah, his heart misgave him, and he began 10 express sentiments of remorse for his past life. Thus we see, however men inay bully and defy the devil at coffee-houses and taverns, They are all the while secretly afraid of him, and dare scarcely venture themselves alone in the dark, for fear he should surprize them with his cloven feet. See the Gen. Biog Dictionary, Article BROWN.
who preserveth us, and hath patience towards us; Christ is serious, who shed his blood for us; the Holy Ghost is serious, when he striveth with us; the whole creation is serious in serving God and us; they are serious in hell and in heaven; how then can we laugh and be foolish?" We believe these denunciations of Scripture to be the words of eternal truth; and till you have demonstrated them to be certainly false, you are not wise to treat them with disregard.
" What none can prove a forg'ry, may be true;
Wirat none but bad men wish exploded, must.“ You know what pain of body is, and you are no stranger to a greater or less degree of uneasiuess of mind. Experience, therefore, teaches us, that we are capable of such uncomfortable sensations. The goodness of God is not of that nature to prevent human misery. The present state largely abounds therewith. Now, as pain and misery are permitted here, it is not improbable but they will be the same in the future state of existence. When only your head, or tooth aches; when the gout, stone, or gravel, seize you; or when a burning fever makes your moisture like the drought in summer; do you then despise pain and anguish? We have been told, that when MIRABEAU *, the elder, was seized
* MIRABEAU has frequently been stiled an Infidel. I dare not, however, suppose that he was any other than a Christian, in the latter part of his time, though possibly of a peculiar cast. If one may judge from his Speech pronounced in the National Assembly of France on the 14th of January 1791, concerning the civil Constitution of the Clergy, he was certainly a believer in the SAVIOUR of mankind, and a most powerful advocate for regenerated Christianity. It is probable, indeed, he would have carried it no further than a sort of pure system of moral philosophy.
Speaking of this extraordinary genius brings to my mind a remarkable Paper, which was published in the Compleie Magazine for the month of October 1764, on the Causes of the Decline of the French Nation. The whole Paper is curious, but the latter part is so extremely applicable to the present state of Europe, that one can scarcely consider it as any other than propheric. The close runs thus :
“ The parliaments of France are obliged to conceal the strong spirit of liberty, with which they are entiamed, under the mask of loyalty, and of attachment to the monarchy. They remonstrate with force and elevation against every measure which tends to the prejudice
with his last illness, he found himself so distressed, that he desired his Physician to dispatch him by poison. His voice having failed him, he wrote, “ Would you think that the sensation of death proves so painful?" His speech having returned, he said, “ My pains are insupportable.. l'have an age of strength, but not a moment of courage." : A convulsion ensued. It was followed by a loud Scream--and he expired!
Thus, you see, how this famous French hero roared out under the anguish of his disorder. While he was in health he might, probably, be as full of courage as you now feel. When the hand of God comes to be upon the stoutest of us, we are soon taught, that all our boasted strength is perfect weakness, and all our vaunted courage perfect cowardice. We may be permitted for a time to carry on the war against God' and his Christ; but 'it will not do." A sick-bed, or å dying pillow, will, in all likelihood, bring us to our senses
of the provinces they protect. They can go no further; but they await the moment to strike the blow that shall lay the fabric of despotism in ruins. When this blow is struck, the effects of it will be equal to those of magic. The cottage will be put on a level with the palace; the peasant with the prince. Ranks shall be con founded; titles, distinctions, and birth, shall tumble into an undis tinguished heap of confusion. A new moral creation shall strike the view of an adnjiring universe; and France, like old Rome, in her first flights to einpire, shall appear with the sceptre of universal dominion bourgeoning in her hands. Out of universal confusion order shall arise: thie Great of nature's creating will assume their places; and the Great by title and accident, will drop despised into tire common mass of the people.”
* A niore extraordinary instance of impenitency I have not read, than that of a WILLIAM WILLIAMS, who died in the parish of Tarvin, near Chester, in April 1791, and was buried at Great Acton Church, near Nantwich, by the Rev. Mr. Wilson. If my information be right, and I have no reason to call it in question, but from the borribieness of it, this unhappy man had been extremely wicked all his life. When te drew near huis end, being about seventy years of age, he determined to make his will, and leave all he had from luis wife and children, alledging that the laiter were nove of his. But through he bade tifty pounds as a reward, no persons could be found who would sign as witnesses. He desired, when he died, that a pair of clog shoes should be put into his coftin, that he might pound devils and damned souls with them in hell. Being reproved for his swearing and wickedness, he told those who reproved him, that he zeitler regarded them, vor their new God; he would curse and
Or should these be so unfortunate as to fail, a day of judg, ment will assuredly do the business, which they had left undone.
“ To die ;-to sleep;-
Must give us pause." If man be a reasonable creature, there is a Hereafter. And if there be a Hereafter, it must be a state of retribution. A moral GoverNOR must deal with moral agents according to their moral conduct. . The perfection of his nature requires it. I swear by the ETERNAL, therefore, all the denunciạtions of Scripture shall have their accomplish
swear so long as he had breath.--He did so.--He ordered his body to be drawn in his own cart to be buried.---It was so.---He charged that five shillings should be spent at every public house on the road. --Some of it was so.---He desired he might be laid at the corner of the church-yard next the public house, that he might have the pleasure of hearing the company curse and swear.---He, moreover, requested, that every one of his companions would drink a health standing upon his grave after it was filled up.-- They did so; and continued to drink and make merry over his grave, for near two hours after the interinent.
This shews us there are cases to be met with of persons, who are so hardened in their sin, and so totally given up of GOD, that neither sickness nor death can make any impression upon them. I remember one of this unliappy description in the couuty of Essex, whom I both visited during his illness, and interred after lie was dead. He was a clever fellow, and of a good family, but so totally depraved, that when one of his bottle-companions wrote to inform him, that he was about to die and go to hell, and desired to know what place. he should bespeak for him there, he sat down, and gave him for reply, that he did not care where it was, if there was only brandy and rum enough. Thus he lived--and, soon after this, died a martyr to spirituous liquors---cursing and blaspheming, notwithstanding all that could be done to bring him to a better mind..-- Being possessed of two bank bills of the value of ten pounds each, which was all the little property he had left,.--" Now,” said he to a person who stood by,
when I have spent these in brandy and rum, I shall be contented to die and go to hell!" He sunk, however, before they were expended, and left just enough to bury him.
These are shocking instances of obduration, which seem to vie with PHARAOH himself, and ought to warn every man how he trifles with the convictions of his own mind, and causes the Spirit of God to withdraw from him.