« הקודםהמשך »
This is a noble testimony, both in life and in death, from this renowned Christian philosopher. Many hundreds of a similar nature might be laid before the reader, besides those we have already selected And I confess, there is no kind of reading, that is so edifying to me, as the final scenes of those persons, who have been eminent in their day, either for their virtues or their vices. A death bed is usually a detector of the heart. And to see a fellow mortal in the ruins of nature, glorying over the King of Terrors, in all his most horrible forms, is to me by far the grandelt spectacle that can be exhibited upon earth. It is, as Seneca observes of Cato, a fight worthy of God to look down upon*. What are all the triumphs of kings and conquerors, when compared with the triumphs of abundance of the children of the Most High in all ages? The Bible contains a rich compendium of these religious Worthiest. The Book of Martyrs too records a noble
presses himself concerning the truth of the Gospel : “ If God has not “ spoken and acted through CHRIST, then there never has been a God “ who hath acted and spoken. If Christ is the work of chance, then
and the whole world is the work of chance also. If CHRIST did “ not want the aslistance of a God to the performance of his wonderful “ deeds, nature also can perform her works without the interference of a God."
See Secret Journal of a Self-Observer, v. 2. p. 338. Compare with the above the death. bed scene of Garzo, the great grand-father of PetrARCH, who was so celebrated for his probity and good fenfe that he was frequently consulted by philosophers, and the learned of those times. • Afier living to the age
of in innocence “ and good works, he died, as Plato did, on the day of his birth, “ ånd in the bed in which he was born. His death resembles a quiet
lleep. tie expired, surrounded by his family, without pain or uneafiness, while he was conversing about God and virtue.”
Vide Memoirs of PetrARCH. * Ecce spectaculum dignum, ad quod refpiciat, intentus operi suo, Deus! Ecce par Deo dignum, vir fortis cuin mala fortuna compositus! Non video, inquam, quid habeat in terris Jupiter pulchrius, fi convertere animum velit, quain ut spectet CATONEM, jam partibus non femel fractis, nihilominus inter ruinas publiças erectum.
Sen. de Divin. Prov. + For the dying advice and last scene of the SAVIOUR of mankind, see john xiv.- xix.chapiers--for good old JACOB's, le: Gen. xiviii. xlix. chapters---for Joseph's, Gen.l.-forMoses's, Deut. xxxii. xxxiii chapters for JOSHU A's, Jos. xxiii. xxiv.-for David's, Chron. xxviii. 8, 9;
army of valiant souls, who went through fire and water, through racks and tortures, to their blood-bought reward. The late horrible transactions on the Continent have added , an illustrious page to the records of religious renown'. And if the same diabolical spirit should pervade this happy country, I doubt not but there is a goodly company among us, who, through the power of grace divine, will fet at nought, and bid defiance to, all the threats, guillotines, and engines of the most virulent Psudo-Philosophers in the kingdom. So far as I myself am concerned, whether it shall please the gracious Ruler of the world to call me hence by a storm of perfecution, by the sword of the enemy, by the enmity of secret adversaries, or in the natural course of Providence, I, above all things upon earth, desire to quit this mortal scene in a fiery chariot of divine love, and heavenly rapture. It is said that the celebrated SCALIGER was so delighted with that famous ftanza of SternHOLD and Hopkins in the 18th pfalm :
« On Cherubs and on Cherubims
“ Full royally he rode;
Came flying all abroad :
that he used to profess, he had rather have been the author of it, than to have enjoyed the kingdom of Arragon.
Be this as it may, I have seen so many lukewarm Christians quit the world in such a doubting, timorous, uncomfortable, miserable manner, that I solemnly declare
and 2 Sam. xxiii. 1-9-STEPHEN's, Acts vii.--and Paul's, Acts xx. and 2 Tim. iv. 6-8.
* Vide BARRUEL's History of the French Clergy.
+ The character of Philosophers has been much the same in all ages. Cicero has described it as accurately as if he had lived in the present, day.. " Quotus enim quisque Philosophorum invenitur, qui fit ita moraeus, ita animo ac vita conftitutus, ut ratio poftulat ? Qui disciplanum fuam non oftentationem fcientiæ, fed legem vitæ putet? Qui obtemperet ipse sibi, et decretis fuis pareat? Videre licet, alios tanta levitate et jactatione, uti hiş fuerit non didiffe melius; alios pecuniæ cupidos gloriæ nonnullos, multos libidinum vos, ut cum eorum vita mirabili. per pugnet oratio ; quod quidem mihi videtur effe turpiffimum.
Tusc. Difp. lib. z.
I had rather, if it please God, take my leave of this earthly tabernacle, with my faith, hope, love, peace, and joy in full exercise, and go with all my fails unfurled into the haven of eternal rest, than be made emperor of the whole universe. I well know professions like these will subject me to the charge of intemperate zcal and enthusiasm, as is observed on a former page. Such charges, however, I moit cordially despise, and hold the philosophic authors of them in as much pity and contempt, as they can entertain for the warm and zealous Christian. I want not to quit the stage of life in the spirit of BOLINGBROKE, HUME, GIBBON, CHESPERFIELD, Godwin, and other fuch like characters. The feeling, sensible, confident, joyful approbation of Heaven, is above all estimation; and the praise of men of loose morals, or pharifaical professions, is of little consideration in my esteem. I wish them wiser and better, and that they may see their error before it is too late. Several of those worthy persons, whose names we have here recorded, died bearing a noble testimony to evangelical truth. Their condition was enviable. To many such I myself have been a joyful witness in the course of my poor ministrations. But the deathbed scene, which above all others I have either read or feen, that seems to have had in it the largest share of divine communications *, is that of the Rev. John JANEWAY, fellow of King's College in Cambridge, who died at the age of twenty-four, in June, 1657.
If it should appear too rapturous, consider, MY COUNTrymen, what your feelings would be, should news be brought that you had obtained a prize in the State Lottery of twenty or thirty thousand pounds; or that you were left heir to an estate of immense value, which you had but little reason to expect. If, when the Israelites had passed the Red Sea in fafecy, they saw it right to sing a song
* The serious reader will find the doctrine of the Holy SPIRIT'S influence upon the mind ably defended against our modern luke-warm, professors of religion from the charge of enthusiasm, in Bishop PEARSON on the Creed, Art. 8. a work with which every Christian should be inti, mately acquainted, in these times of abounding licentiousness both of principle and practice.
of triumph for their deliverance, and to praise the Lord with timbrels and with dances: if when the same people were delivered from the Babylonilo captivity, they went out with joy, and were led ferth with peace, the mountains and the bills brecking forth before them into linging, and all the trees of the field clapping their bands; if then the lame man leaped as an hart, the tongue of the dumb fung, and the ranformed of the Lord returned, and came to Sion with longs, and everlailing joy upon their heads, joy and gladness going before them, and furrow and figbing fiecing away at their advance: if when king Dav!d brought the ark, a syinbol of the Divine prefence, unto Sion, he danced before it in all his might, with shouting, and the sound of the trumpet, while the envious and malignant MICHAL severely cenfured his picus hilarity: if, when the same royal Enthusiast* was only - banished from the tabernacle of God, he affectionately cried out— As the heart panteth after the water brooks, jo panieth my soul after thee, O God: ny foul is athirst for GOD, for the living God; when all I come and appear before God?-My soul thirsteth for thee; my flesh longeih for thee; my soul folioweth hard after thee; my soul gaspetb after thee as a thirsty land: and if, when this fame enviable Fanatic came to die, he again cried out in the full assurance of faith-He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, 01dered in all things and sure; this is all my salvation, and all my desiret: if, when the lame beggar, who had been healed by Peter and John, entered with them into the temple, he walked, and leaped, and praised God, the Scribes and Pharisees being all in arms against them: if, when Paul and Silas had been scourged and imprisoned for the name of the Lord Jesus, they prayed in the dungeon at midnight
* It is a common mistake to suppose that none but religious people are enthusiasts. Enthufiasm is found in every form and (pecies of human lise. The orator and the poet, the hero and the politician, the intole. rant advocate for toleration, and the projective defenders of Christianity, may all be enthusiasts. See on fine account of different kinds of enthusiasts in ANDREW's Scripture Doctrine of Grace, p. 93-97; a passage which every one should read and well consider, wno is forward in dealing out the charge of enthusiasm against zealously religious people of al denomi. nations,
+ What must have been David's feeling's when he composed the g5th, 145th, and five following psalms?
and sang praises unto God, for the honour conferred upon ther, and in believing views of the reward which awaited them: and if, when the Church of Rome is overturned, the whole triumphant host is reprelenied as crying aloud Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! for the LORD God OMNIPOTENT reigneth!
If there has been, and would be, and ought to be, fuch ardent desire, and such rapturous joy and triumph upon all these very inferior occasions ; shall not a man, who has long been buffetted by the world, allured and seduced by the flesh, and vilely tempted by the foul apoftate Spirit; and who, notwithitanding, has for a good season been living under a strong and vigorous sense of the knowledge and salvation by the remission of his sins, and a sweet experimental union and communion with God, the father of fpirits, through the infinitely perfect obedience and all-atoning death of his only begotten Son, by the communications of the eternal SPIRIT; shall not a man, fo situated, I say, rejoice in hope of the glory of God with exceedingly great and triumphant joy *: when he is within light of land, driving with wind and tide into the haven of rest, just upon the point of taking assured poffeffion of an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away t?
" What heart of stone, but glows at thoughts like these?
Unraptured, unin fain'd.''
If ever mortal lived the life of an angel upon earth, Mr. Janeway seems to have been the man. How far do the enjoyments even of lively Christians fall short of those
* Why may not a man, who makes it his main concern in life, to serve God and save his soul alive, expect peculiar manifestations of the divine favour? It is certain that the promiles of Scripture to this purpose are exceedingly strong and numerous, and the examples not less fo. 1 be. lieve I speak considerably within compass when I say, that there are in the Bible upwards of an hundred of these special manifeltations to the servánts of God recorded.
+ Dr. PRIESTLEY confiders these strong confolations in the views of approaching dissolution 18 enthufiain See his observations on the Increajë of Infidelity. p. 27.