« הקודםהמשך »
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; I 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 dependents sigh, my sisters weep, my father bends beneath a load of
and grief; my lovely wife, pale and silent, conceals her invard anguish; my friend, who was as my own soul, suppresses his sighs, and leaves me to hide his 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 ceremonies to the breathless clay, which perhaps may lie reposed in state, while my soul, my only conscious part, may stand trembling before iny
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
But could the pale carcase speak, it would soon reply;
False marble, where?
While some flattering panegyric is pronounced at my interment, I may perhaps be hearing my just condemnation at a superior Tribunal; where an unerring verdict may sentence me to everlasting infamy. But I cast myself on his absolute mercy, through the infinite merits of the REDEEMER of lost mankind, Adieu, my dear friend, till we meet in the world of spirits !”
NOTHING is so well calculated to convince os of the vast importance of living roholly under the power of the as seeing great and valuable men dying in such E 3
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 constituto a man happy, and give hiin 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 •;f them, the threatenings of God are not less infallible, and at the same time are extremely alarming to the proper objects of them. Nothing within the compass of nature can enable a man, with the eyes of his inind properly enlightened, to face death without fear and disinay, 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.
IV.EXAMPLES of Persons living and dying, either with
confidence, or in the full assurance of faith.
Ps. cxvi. 159
Num. xxiii. 10.
34. JOSEPH Addison, Esq. was a very able and ele. gant advocate for the Bible, in life and death. Just before his departure, having sent for a young Nobleman néarly related to him, who requested to know his dying commands---his answer was—“See in what peacé à “ Christian can 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
See Dr. Young's Conjectures on Original Composition,
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. I am not “afraid to die. The Gospel of Christ has raised me "above the fear of death; for I know that my RE“DEEMER liveth."
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 " an hundred volumes of sermons are not
worth so much as this single life, and are far less ca"pable of disarming men of impiety. The extraor
dinary humility and devotion of Monsieur Pascal "gives a more sensible mortification to the Libertines
than if one was to let loose upon them a “ dozen of Missionaries. They can now no longer at"tack 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 maxims and practice thereof have been pushed on to the 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 Genii, 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 grace to open
" of the
great man, during some of the latter years of his life, spent his whole time in prayer, and in reading the Holy Scriptures; and in 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.
truth, she became enamoured 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 “an inexpressible “ tranquillity and peace with God through JESUS “ Christ.”-Her mouth was full of the praises of God, and she emphatically expressed herself by say. ing—"I am nothing but joy."
38. WILLIAM Lord Russel, delivered himself, just before his execution, in the strongest terms of faith and confidence. 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 wonder"fully 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 complete con. tentment in this situation than all his grandeur had ever yielded him. “I have tasted,” said he “more satis
faction 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 Chris“ tian, religion, hath in it such joys and sweetness as “ courts are strangers to*.
* Louis, one of the late Dukes of Orleans, expressed the delight be found in piety and devotion in the following terms, which are somewhat similar to the above of CHARLES :-“I know by experience, that sublu. nary 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 complacency may be found in devotion and piety, as the sensual mind has no idea of." GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS, the renowned King of Sweden, was also
:. 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 myselt 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 that 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 Matthew HALE declared, “ a resolved serious Chris,
tian, and a great adversary to LIOBBES’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 all kinds of learning, and had read as much perhaps as any man ever did; and yet, towards the latter end of his days, he declared to Arch. bishop Usher, that notwithstanding he had been so laborious in his enquiries, and curious in his collections, and had possessed himself of a treasure of books and manuscripts upon all ancient subjects; yet “ he could rest
eminent for his piety towards God, and has been known to spend hours together in religious retirement. So too our excellent ALFRED.
It is said likewise of his late Majesty King GEORGE II. that during war time, he would constantiy be in his closet between five and six o'clock in the morning, winter and summer, praying for the success of his 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 his Officers upon deck, and in their presence prostrated himself in prayer, before the God of Hosts, committing himself and them, with the cause they main, tained, to his sovereign protection, his family to his care, his soul and body to the disposal of his Providence; then, rising from his knecs, he gave Command to make the attack,