תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

Writings, as from the history of these latter ages, whose conduct and character have been conformable to the above representations. But as the Bible is in every one's hands, and may be consulted at pleasure, we will call the attention of the reader to a few instances of persons, who have been eminent in their way, during these latter ages only, and, some of them, even in our own times. These may be Dying INFIDELS-PENITENT and RECOVERED INFIDELS-DYING CHRISTIANS, who have lived too much in the spirit of the world. and CHRISTIANS dying, either with great composure of mind, or, IN THE FULL ASSURANCE OF FarȚh*.

I. EXAMPLES of dying INFIDELS. The wicked is driven away in his own wickedness. Prov. xiv. 32. “ Horrible is the end of the unrighteous generation.”' Wis. iii. ly,

1. Mr. Hobbes was a celebrated Infidel in the last age, who, in bravado, would sometimes speak very unbecoming things of God and his Word. Yet, when alone, he was haunted with the inost tormentầng reflec; tions, and would awake in great terror, if his candle happened but to go out in the night. He could never bear any discourse of death, and seemed to cast off all thoughts of itf. He lived to be upwards of ninety.

His

* “ There is nothing in history," says this elegant writer in another place, “ which is so improving to the reader as those accounts which “we meet with of the deaths of eminent persons, and of their behaviour !! at that dreadful season. I may also add, that there are no parts “ in history, which affect and please the reader in so sensible a man. ner."

Spectator, No. 289. + What an amiable character was the Heathen Socrates, when compared with this Infidel-Philosopher? Just before the cup of poison was brought him, entertaining his friends with an admirable discourse on the immortality of the soul, he has these words : " Whether or no © God will approve my actions, I know not; but this I am sure of,

that I have at all times made it my endeavour to please him, and I !! have a good hope that this my endeavour will be accepted by him."

Who

[ocr errors]

Mis last sensible words were, when he found he could live no longer," I shall be glad then to find a hole to

creep out of the world at.” And, notwithstanding all his high pretensions to learning and philosophy, his uneasiness constrained him to confess, when he drew near to the grave, that “ he was about to take a leap “ in the dark.”—The writings of this old sinner ruined the Earl of Rochester, and many other gentlemen of the first parts in the nation, as that Nobleman himself declared, after his conversion.

2. The account which the celebrated Sully gives us of young SERVIN is out of the common way; .

“The beginning of June, 1623,” says he, “I set out for Calais, where I was to embark, having with me a retinue of upwards of two hundred gentlemen, or who called themselves such, of whom a considerable number were really of the first distinction. Just before my departure old SERVIN came and presented his son to me, and begged I would use my endeavours to make him a man of some worth and honesty; but he confessed he dared not hope, not throughany want of understanding or capacity in the young man, but from his natural inclination to all kinds of vice. The old man was in the right : what he told me having excited my curiosity to gain a thorough knowledge of young SERVIN, I found him to be at once both a wonder and a monster; for I can give no other idea of that assemblage of the most excellent and most pernicious qualities. Let the reader represent to himself a man of a genius so lively, and an understanding so extensive, as rendered him scarce ignorant of any thing that could be known; of so vast and ready a comprehension, that he immediately made himself master of what he attempted; and of so prodigious a memory, that he never forgot what he had once learned; he possessed all parts of philosophy and the ma

thematics,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Who can doubt, but the merits of the all-atoning Lamb of Go: were extended to this virtuous Heathen? How few professed Chrissi. ars can honestly make the same appeal ?-Besides, SOCRATES seems to have had as firm a faith in a Saviour then to come, as many of the most virtuous of the Israelitish nation.

thematics, particularly fortification and drawing: even in theology he was so well skilled, that he was an excellent preacher whenever he had a mind to exert that talent, and an able disputant for and against the reformed religion indifferently; he not only understood Greck, Hebrex, and all the languages which we call learned, but also the different jargons or modern dialects; he accented and pronounced them so naturally, and so perfectly imitated the gestures and manners both of the several nations of Europe, and the particular provinces of France, that he might have been taken for a native of all or any of these countries; and this quality he applied to counterfeit all sorts of persons, wherein he succeeded wonderfully; he was, moreover, the best comedian and greatest droll that perhaps ever appeared; he had a genius for poetry, and had wrote many verses; he played upon almost all instruments, was a perfect master of music, and sung most agreeably and justly; he likewise could say mass; for he was of a disposition to do, as well as to know, all things: his body was perfectly well suited to his mind, he was light, nimble, dexterous, and fit for all exercises; he could ride well, and in dancing, wrestling, and leaping, he was admired: there are not any recreative games that he did not know; and he was skilled in almost all the mechanic arts. But now for the reverse of the medal: here it appeared that he was treacherous, cruel, cowardly, deceitful; a liar, a cheat, a drunkard and glutton; a sharper in play, immersed in every species of vice, a blasphemer, an atheist; in a word, in him might be found all the vices contrary to nature, honour, religion, and society; the truth of which he himself evinced with his latest breath, for he died in the flower of his age, in a common brothel, perfectly corrupted by his dèbaucheries, and expired with a glass in his hand, cursing and denying God."

It is evident from this extraordinary case, that " with " the talents of an angel a man may be a fool.” There is no necessary connection between great natural abilities

and

and religious qualifications. They may go together, but they are frequently found asunder.

3. The honourable FRANCIS NEW PORT, who died in the year 1692, was favoured both with a liberal and religious education. After spending five years in the University, he was entered in one of the Inns of Court. Here he fell into the hands of Infidels, lost all bis religious impressions, commenced Infidel himself, and became a most abandoned character, uniting himself to a club of wretches who met together constantly to encourage each other in being critically wicked. In this manner Ke conducted himself for several years, till at length his intemperate courses brought on an illness, which revived all his former religious impressions, accompanied with an horror of mind inexpressible. The violence of his torments was such, that he sweat in the most prodigious manner that was ever seen. In nine days he was reduced from a robust state of hicalth to perfect weakness. during all which time his language was the most dreadful that imagination can conceive. At one time; looking towards the fire, he said, “Oh! that I was to lie and broil upon that “ fire for a hundred thousand years, to purchase the fa"vour of God, and be reconciled to him again! But it "is a fruitless vain wish; millions of millions of years " will bring me no nearer the end of my tortures, than one poor

hour. () eternity ! eternity! who can properly paraphrase upon the wordsfor ever and ever !

In this kind of strain he went on, till his strength was exhausted, and his dissolution approached; when, recovering a little breath, with a groan so dreadful and loud, as if it had not been human, he cried out, “Oh! the “insufferable pangs of hell and damnation !” and so died; death settling the visage of his face in such a form, as if the body, though dead, was sensible of the extremity of torments.

It may be much questioned, whether a more affecting Narrative* was ever composed in any language, than the true history of this unhappy gentleman's last sickness and death. It is greatly to be desired, that men of all denominations would give it a serious perusal.

death.

* It is sometimes called the Second Spira,

4. Mr. WILLIAM EM DERSON was, at the same time, an Infidel, and one of the first mathematicians of the age. Though, in some respects, he might be considered as a worthy man, his conduct through life was rude, vulgar, and frequently immoral. He paid no attention to religious duties, and both intoxication and profane language were familiar to him. Towards the close of his days, being atflicted with the stone, he would crawl about ile floor on his hands and knees, sometimes praying, and sometimes swearing, as the humour took him.- What a poor creature is man without Rcligion ! Sir ISAAC Newtox died of the saine disorder, which was attended, at times, with such severe paroxisms, as forced out large drops of sweat that ran down his face. In these trying circumstances, however, he was never observed to utter the smallest complaint, or to express the least impatience. What a striking contrast between the conduct of the Infidel and the Christian !

5. Monsieur VOLTAIRE, during a long life, was continually treating the Holy Scriptures with contempt, and endeavouring to spread the poison of Infidelity among the nations. See, however; the end of such a conluct. In his last illness he sent for Dr. TRONCHIN. When the Doctor came, he found VOLTAIRE in the greatest agonies, exclaiming with the utmost horror-I am abandoned by God and man. He then said, Doctor, I will give you half of what I am worth, if you will give me six months life. The Doctor answered, Sir, you cannot live six weeks. VOLTAIRE replied, Then I shall hell, and you will go with me! and soon after expired.

This is the Hero of modern Infidels! Dare any of them say--Let me die the death of l'OLTAIRE, and let

my last end be like his? Wonderful infatuation! This unit happy gentleman occupies the first niche in the French

* This extraordinary man, by way of justifying his own irreligious coudući, drew up his objections to the Sacred Writings much in the saine way as Thomas PAINE ; but it does not appear that they were ever laid before the public, as Thomas Paine's have been.

pantheon !

80 to

« הקודםהמשך »