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and do not regret their loss. I appraise them at their real value, which, in truth, is very low; whereas those who have not experienced, always over-rate them. They only see their gay outside, and are dazzled with their glare; but I have been behind the scenes. It is a common notion, and like many common ones, a very false one, that those who have led a life of pleasure and business, can never be easy in retirement; whereas I am persuaded that they are the only people who can, if they have any sense and reflection. They can look back oculo irretorto (without an evil eye) upon what they from knowledge despise; others have always a hankering after what they are not acquainted with. I look upon all that has passed as one of those romantic dreams which opium commonly occasions; and I do by no means desire to repeat the nauseous dose, for the sake of the fugitive dream.—When I say that I have no regret, I do not mean that I have no remorse ; for a life either of business, or, still more of pleasure, never was and never will be, a state of innocence. But God, who knows the strength of human passions, and the weakness of humau reason, will, it is to be hoped, rather mercifully pardon, than justly punish, acknowledged errors. - I bave been as wicked and as vain, though not so wise as SOLOMON : but am now at last wise enough to feel and attest the truth of bis reflection, that all is vanity and vexation of spirit. This truth is never sufficiently discovered or felt by mere speculation : experience in this case is necessary for conviction, though perhaps at the expence of some morality. .
“ My health is always bad, though sometimes better and sometimes worse; and my deafness deprives me of the comforts of society, which other people have in their illnesses.This, you must allow, is an unfortunate latter end of my life, and consequently a tiresome one; but I must own too, that it is a sort of balance to the tumultuous and imaginary pleasures of the former part of it. I consider my present wretched old age as a just compensation for the follies, not to say, sins of my youth. At the same time I am thankful that I feel none of those torturing ills, which frequently attend the last stage of life; and 1 flatter myself that I shall go off quietly, but I am sure with resignation. My stay in this world cannot be long: God, who placed me here, only knows when he will order me out of it; but whenever he does, I shall willingly obey his command. I wait for it, imploring the mercy of my CREATOR, , and deprecating his justice. The best of us must trust to the former, and dread the latter.
“I think I am not afraid of niy journey's end; but will not answer for myself, when the object draws very near, and is very sure. For when one does see death near, let the best or the worst people say what they please, it is a serious consideration. The divine attribute of Mercy, which gives us conifort, cannot make us forget, nor ought it, the attribute of Justice, which must blend some fears with our hope.
“ Life is neither a burden nor'a pleasure to me; but a certain degree of ennui necessarily attends that neutral state, which makes me very willing to part with it, when He who placed me here thinks fit to call me away. When I reflect, however, upon the poor remainder of my life, I look upon it as a burden that must every day grow heavier and heavier, from the natural progression of physical ills, the usual companions of increasing years. My reason tells me, that I should wish for the end of it; but instinct, often stronger than reason, and perhaps oftener in the right, makes me take all proper methods to put it off. This innate sentiment alone makes me bear life with patience! for I assure you I have no farther hopes, but, on the contrary, many fears from it. None of the primitive Anachorites in the Thebais could be more detached from life than I am. I consider it as one who is wholly unconcerned in it, and even when I reflect upon what I have seen, what I have heard, and what I have done myself; I can hardly persuade myself that all that frivolous hurry and bustle, and pleasures of the world, had any reality, but they seem to have been the dreams of restless nights. This philosophy, however, I'thank God, neither makes me sour nor melancholic: I see the folly and absurdity of mankind without indignation or peevishness. I wish them wiser, and consequently better than they are *."
* Miscellaneous Works, vol iii. passim.-The Letters of this célebrated Nobleman, which he wrote to his Son, contain positive evidence, that, with all his honours, learning, wit, and politeness, he was a thorough bad man, with a heart full of deceit and uncleanness. Those Letters have been a pest to the young Nobility and Gentry of this nation. It may be questioned whether ROCHESTER's Poems ever did more harm. This celebrated nobleman was accounted, not only the most polite and well-bred man, but the greatest wit of his time, This is the life, these are the mortifying acknowledgments, and this is the poor sneaking end of the best bred man of the age! Not one word about a Mediator! He acknowledges, indeed, his frailties; but yet in such a way as to extenuate his offences. One would suppose he had been an old Heathen plilosopher, who had never heard of the name of Jesus; rather than a penitent Christian, whose life had abounded with a variety of vices.
How little and how poor is man, in his most finished estate, without religion! Let us hear in what manner the lively Believer in Jesus takes his leave of this mortal scene :-I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course ; I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of
Various Jeux d' Esprit are accordingly handed about, as having proceeded from him, on different occasions. The two following, which contain an allusion to the Sacred Writings, I will take the liberty of presenting to the reader.
CHESTERFIELD being invited to dine with the Spanish ambassador, met with the Minister of France, and some others. After dinner, the Spaniard proposed a toast, and begged to give his Master under the title of the Sun. The French ambassador's turn came next, who gave his under the description of the Moon. Lord CHESTERFIELD being asked for his, replied, “ Your Excellencies have taken from me all the greatest luminaries of heaven, and the stars are too small for a comparison with my royal Master; I therefore beg leave to give your Excellencies, JOSHUA!"
The other instance is still inare pertinent. The Earl being at Brussels was waited on by VOLTAIRE, who politely invited him to sup with him and Madame C His Lordship accepted the invitation. The conversation happening to turn upon the affairs of England, " I think, my Lord,” said Madame C
" that the Parliament of England consists of five or six hundred of the best informer and most sensible men in the kingdom?"_" True, Madame ; they are generally supposed to be so."-"What thèn, my Lord, can be the reason that they tolerate so great an absurdity, as the Christian religion?"-"I suppose, Madame," replied his Lordship, it is because they have not been able to substitute any thing better in its stead; when they can I don't doubt but in their wisdom they will readily accept it." : 'To have entered into a serious defence of the Gospel of CHRIST, with such a pert and flippant lady, would have been the height of folty: but such an answer as this, was better calculated to sileirce trer, than a thousand demonstrations, which she would neither have been able nor willing to understand.
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me at that day,
9. The sad evening before the death of the noble ALTAMONT, I was with him. No one was there but his physician, and an intimate friend whom he loved, and whom he had ruined. At my coming in, he said;
“ You and the physician are come too late.— I have neither life nor hope. You both aim at miracles. You would raise the dead!"
Heaven, I said, was merciful.
“ Or I could not have been thus guilty. What has it not done to bless and to save me?--I have been too strong for Oninipotence! I plucked down ruin!" I said, the blessed RE
s Hold! hold! you wound me This is the rock on which I split--I denied his name.”
Refusing to hear any thing from me, or take any thing from the physician, he lay silent, as far as sudden darts of pain would permit, till the clock struck. Then with vehemence;
« Oh, time! time! it is fit thou shouldst thus strike thy murderer to the heart.-How art thou fled for ever!--A month!Oh for a single week! I ask not for years; though an age were too little for the much I have to do."
On my saying, we could not do too much : that heaven was a blessed place
« So much the worse. "Tis lost! 'tis lost!-Heaven is to me the severest part of hell!"
Soon after I proposed prayer.
“ Pray you that can. I never prayed. I cannot prayNor need l. Is not heaven on my side already? It closes with my conscience. Its severest strokes but second my own.
His friend being much touched, even to tears, at this, (who could forbear? I could not ;) with a most affectionate look, he said:
Keep those tears for thyself. I have undone thee.Dost Weep for me? That's cruel. What can pain me more?"
Here his friend, too much affected, would have left him:
“ No, stay. Thou still mayest hope. Therefore hear me, How madly have I talked? How madly hast thou listened and believed? But look on my present state, as a full answer to thee, and to myself. This body is all weakness and pain: but my soul, as if strung up by torment to greater strength and spirit, is full powerful to reason: full mighty to suffer. And that which thus triumphis within the jaws of mortality, is doubtJess, immortal.--And, as for a Deity, nothing less than an Almighty could inflict what I feel.”
I was about to congratulate this passive involuntary confessor, on his asserting the two prime articles of his creed, extorted by the rack of nature; when he thus, very passionately:
“No, no! let me speak on. I have not long to speak.My much injured friend ! my soul, as my body, lies in ruins; in scattered fragments of broken thought: remorse for the past, throws my thoughts on the future. Worse dread of the future, strikes it back on the past. I torn, and turn, and find no ray. Didst thou feel half the mountain that is on me, thou wouldst struggle with the martyr for his stake, and bless heaven for the flames:that is not an everlasting flame: that is not an unquenchable fire.” How were we struck! Yet soon after, still more.
With what an eye of distraction, what a face of despair, he cried out:
My principles have poisoned my friend; my extravagance has beggared my boy; my unkindness has murdered my wife! And is there another hell?-Oh! thou blasphemed yet most indulgent, LORD God! Hell itself is a refuge, if it hides me from
Soon after his understanding failed. His terrified imagination uttered horrors not to be repeated, or ever forgotten. And ere the sun arose, the gay, young, noble, ingenious, accomplished, and most wretched ALTAMONT expired*.
It is not easy for imagination itself to form a more affecting representation of a death-bed scene, than that of this noble youth. 10. “ Sir,
I was not long since called to visit a poor gentleman, ere while of the most robust body, and of the
* See YOUNG's Centaur not Fabulous.