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It is this which arms death with all its terrors; else I could still mock at fear, and smile in the face of the gloomy monarch. It is not giving up my breath; it is not being for ever insensible, is the thought at which I shrink: it is the terrible hereafter, the something beyond the grave at which I recoil. Those great realities, which, in the hours of mirth and vanity, I have treated as plantons, as the idle dreams of superstitious beings ; these start forth, and dare me now in their most terrible demonstration. My awakened conscience feels something of that eternal vengeance I have often defied.
“ To what heights of madness is it possible for human nature to reach? What extravagance is it to jest with death! to langh at damnation! to sport with eternal chains, and recreate a jovial fancy with the scenes of infernal misery!
“ Were there no impiety in this kind of mirth, it would be as ill-bred as to entertain a dying friend with the sight of an Harlequin, or the rehearsal of a Farce. Every thing in nature seems to reproach this levity in human creatures. The whole creation, man excepted, is serious: man, who has the highest reason to be so, while he has affairs of infinite consequence depending on this short uncertain duration. A condemned wretch may with as good a grace go dancing to his execution, as the greatest part of mankind go on with such a thoughtless gaiety to their graves.
“ Oh! my friend, with what horror do I recall those hours of vanity we have wasted together? Return, ye lost neglected moments! How should I prize you above the Eastern treasures ! Let me dwell with hermits; let me rest on the cold earth; let me converse in cottages; may I but once more stand a candidate for an immortal crown and have my probation for celestial happiness.
“ Ye vain grandeurs of a court! Ye sounding titles, and perishing riches! what do ye now signify! what consolation, what relief can ye give me? I have a splendid passage to the grave; 1 die in state, and languish under a gilded canopy; I am expiring on soft and downy pillows, and am respectfully attended by my servants and physicians: my dependants sigh, my sisters weep; my father bends beneath a load of years and grief! my lovely wife, pale and silent, conceals her inward anguish; my friend, who was as my own soul, suppresses his sighs, and leaves me to hide liis secret grief. But, oh! which
of these will answer my summons at the high Tribunal? Which of them will bail me from the arrest of death? Who will descend into the dark prison of the grave for me?
“ Here they all leave me, after having paid a few idle cere. monies to the breathless clay, which perhaps may lie reposed in state, while my soul, my only conscious part, may stand trembling before my JUDGE.
“ My afflicted friends, it is very probable, with great solemnity, will lay the senseless corpse in a stately monument, inscribed with,
Here lies the Great
False marble where?
NOTHING is so well calculated to convince us of the vast importance of living wholly under the power of the Gospel, as seeing great and valuable men dying in such a low, sneaking, and unworthy manner, as many of the first characters of our world have been known to do. The cases of GROTIUS and SALMASIUS, of JOHNSON, and HALLER, are mortifying instances. Great talents, great learning, great celebrity, are all utterly insufficient to constitute a man happy, and give him peace and confidence in a dying hour. We know the promises of God are all yea and amen in Christ Jesus; but if the promises are sure, and strongly animating to the proper objects of them, the threatnings of God are not less infallible, and at the same time are extremely alarmning to the proper objects of them. Nothing within the compass of nature can enable a man, with the eyes of his mind properly enlightened, to face death without fear and dismay, but a strong conscious sense, founded on scriptural evidence, that our sins are pardoned, that God is reconciled, and that the JUDGE of the world is become our friend.
V. EXAMPLES OF PERSONS LIVING AND DYING, EITHER WITH
CONFIDENCE, OR IN THE FULL ASSURANCE OF FAITH.
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints, Psalm cxvi. 15. Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his. Numb. xxiii. 10.
34. JOSEPH Addison, Esq. was a very able and elegant advocate for the Bible, in life and death. Just before his departure, having sent for a young Nobleman nearly related to hini, who requesied to know his dying, c'mmands ;-his answer was
n's See in what peace a Christian cau die!"
He spake with difficulty, and soon expired. - Through grace divine, how great is man! Through divine mercy how stingless death!
“ He taught us how to live; and, oh! too high
35. Dr. John LELAND, after spending a long and exemplary life in the service of the Gospel, closed it with the following words: -" I give my, dying testimony to the truth of Christianity. The promises of the Gospel are my support and consolation. They, alone, yield me satisfaction in a dying hour. Lam not afraid to die. , The Gospel of Christ has raised me above the fear of death ; for I know that my REDEEMER liveth." vi 36. Monsieur PASCAL was a great man in every way, and one of the most humble and devout believers in JESUS that ever lived. The celebrated BAYLE saith of his life, that “ a hundred volumes of sermons are not worth so much as this single life, and are far less capable of disarming men of impiety. The extraordinary humility and devotion of Monsieur PASCAL gives a more sensible mortification to the Libertines of the age, than if one was to let loose upon them a dozen of Missionaries. They can now no longer attack us with their favourite and darling objection, that there are none but little and narrow spirits, who profess themselves the votaries of piety and religion : for we can now tell them, and boldly tell them, that both the maxiins and practice thereof have been pushed on to the
* See Dr. Young's Conjectures on Original Composition.
strongest degree, and carried to the greatest height, by one of the profoundest Geometricians, by one of the most subtil Metaphysicians, and by one of the most solid and penetrating Geniuses that ever yet existed on this earth *."
37. OLYMPIA FULVIA MORATA, was one of the earliest and brightest ornaments of the Reformation. She could declaim in Latin, converse in Greek, and was a critic in the most difficult classics. But after it pleased God by his grace to open the eyes of her mind to discover the truth, she became enainoured of the Sacred Scriptures above all other books in the world, and studied them by day and by night. And when dissolution approached, she declared she felt nothing but“ ati ivexpressible tranquillity and peace with God through JESUS CHRIST.”-Her mouth was full of the praises of God, and she emphatically expressed herself by saying, -" I am nothing but joy."
38. WILLIAM Lord Russel, delivered himself, just bei fore his execution, in the strongest terms of faith and con fidence. Besides many other things, he said: “Neither my imprisonment nor fear of death have been able to discompose me in any degree. On the contrary, I have found the assurances of the love and mercy of God, in and through my blessed Redeemer, in whom I only trust. "And I do not question but I am going to partake of that fulness of joy, which is in his presence; the hopes of which do so wonderfully delight me, that I think this is the happiest time of my life, though others may look upon it as the saddest.”
39. Charles the Fifth, Emperor of Germany, King of Spain, and Lord of the Netherlands, after having alarmed and agitated all Europe for near fifty years, retired from the world, and enjoyed more compleat contentment in this situation than all his grandeur had ever yielded him. * I have tasted,” said he,“ more satisfaction in my solitude, in one day, than in all the triumphs of my former reign; and I find that the sincere study, profession, and practice of the Christian reli
* This great man, during some of the latter years of his life, spent his whole time in prayer, and in reading the Holy Scriptures; and la this he took incredible delight.'-Jesup's Life of Pascal.
In his Thoughts on Religion there is a fine expostulation with Unbelievers, which ought most seriously to be attended to by every person of that description.
gion, hath in it such joys and sweetness, as, courts are stran-,
40. OXENSTIERN was Chancellor of Sweden, and one of the most able and learned men of his time, and yet he was not too great, and too,wise to be above being taught by the Sacred Writings. “After all my troubles and toilings in the world,” says he, “ I find that my private life in the country has afforded me more contentment than ever I met with in all my public employments.,, I have lately applied myself to the study of the Bible, wherein all wisdom, and the greatest delights are to be found. I therefore counsel you (the English ambassador) to make the study and practice of the Word of God your chief contentment and delight; as indeed it will be to every soul who savours the truths, of God, which, infinitely excel all worldly things."
41. Mr. Selden, the famous Lawyer, whom GROTIUS calls, "the glory of the English nation," was, as Sir MatTHE HALE declared," a resolved serious Christian, and great adversary to Hobbes's errors." He was generally considered as one of the most eminent philosophers, and most learned men of his time. He had taken a diligent survey of
* Louis, one of the late Dukes of Orleans, expressed the delight he found in piety and devotion in the following terms, which are some what similar to the above of CHARLES:-" I know by experience, that sublunary grandeur and sublunary pleasure are deceitful and vain, and are always infinitely below the conceptions we form of them. But, on the contrary, such happiness, and such coinplacency may be found in devotion and piety, as the sensual mind has no idea of."
Gustavus ADOLPHUS, the renowned King of Sweden, was also eminent for his piety towards GOD,' and has been known to spend hours, together in religious retirement. So too our excellent AL
It is said likewise of his late Majesty King GEORGE II. that during war time, he would constantly be in his closet between five and six o'clock in the morving,' winter and summer, praying for the success of bis fleets and armies.
A remarkable instance of attention to the blessing of the DIVINE BEING we have also in the conduct of the present truly valiant Admiral Lord. DUNCAN... Previous, to the late action on the coast of Holland, during the awful moments of preparation, he called all liis officers upon deck, and in their presence prostrated himself in prayer before the God of Hosts, committing himself and them, with the cause they maintained, to his sovereign protection, his family to his care, his soul and body to the disposal of his Providence; then, rising from his knees, he gave command to make the attack.