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composure and dignity in suffering. His mind remained in its former state: and he viewed with calmness his approaching dissolution. I left him between twelve and one, and at two, as the public know, he breathed his last.
WHEN We contemplate the close of life; the termination of man's designs and hopes; the silence that now reigns among those who, a little while ago, were so busy or so gay; who can avoid being touched with sensations at once awful and tender? What heart but then warms with the glow of humanity? In whose eye does not the tear gather, on revolving on the fate of passing and short-lived man.
Behold the poor man who lays down at last the burden of his wearisome life. No more shall he groan under the load of poverty and toil. No more shall he hear the insolent calls of the master, from whom he received his scanty wages. No more shall he be raised from needful slumber on his bed of straw, nor be hurried away from his homely meal, to undergo the repeated labours of the day. While his humble grave is preparing, and a few poor and decayed neighbours are carrying him thither, it is good for us to think, that this man too was our brother; that for him the aged and destitute wife, and the needy children now weep; that, neglected as he was by the world, he possessed, perhaps, both a sound understanding, and a worthy heart; and is now carried by angels to rest in Abraham's bosom.-At no great distance from him, the grave is opened to receive the rich and proud man. For, as it is said with emphasis in the parable,
"the rich man also died and was buried." He also died. His riches prevented not his sharing the same fate with the poor man; perhaps, through luxury, they accelerated his doom. Then, indeed, "the mourners go about the streets ;" and while in all the pomp and magnificence of woe, his funeral is preparing, his heirs. impatient to examine his wiil, are looking on one another with jealous eyes, and already beginning to dispute about the division of his substance.
One day, we see carried along the coffin of the smiling infant; the flower just nipt as it began to blossom in the parent's view; and the next day, we behold the young man, or young woman, of blooming form and promising hopes, laid in an untimely grave. While the funeral is attended by a numerous unconcerned company, who are discoursing to one another about the news of the day, or the ordinary affairs of life, let our thoughts rather follow to the house of mourning, and represent to themselves what is passing there. There we shall see a disconsolate family, sitting in silent grief, thinking of the sad breach that is made in their little society; and with tears in their eyes, looking to the chamber that is now left vacant, and to every memorial that presents itself of their departed friend. By such attention to the woes of others, the selfish hardness of our hearts will be gradually softened, and melted down into humanity.
Another day, we follow to the grave, one who in old age, and after a long career of life, has in full maturity sunk at last into rest. As we are going along to the mansion of the dead, it is natural for us to think, and to discourse, of all the changes which such a person has seen during the course of his life. He has past, it is likely, through varieties of fortune. He has experienced prosperity, and adversity. He has seen families and kindred rise and fall; the face of his country undergo many alterations; and the very place in which he dwelt, rising in a manner new around him. After all he has beheld, his eyes are now closed for ever. He was becoming a stranger in the midst
of a new succession of men. A race who knew him not, had arisen to fill the earth. Thus passes the world away.
Throughout all ranks and conditions, "one generation passeth, and another generation cometh;" and this great inn is by turns evacuated, and replenished by troops of succeeding pilgrims. O vain and inconstant world! O fleeting and transient life! When will the sons of men learn to think of thee, as they ought? When will they learn humanity from the afflictions of their brethren; or moderation and wisdom, from the sense of their own fugitive state.
People doubt because they will doubt. Dreadful disposition! Can nothing discover thine enormity? What is infidelity good for? By what charm doth it lull the soul into a willing ignorance of its origin and end? If, during the short space of a mortal life, the love of independence tempt us to please ourselves with joining this monstrous party: how dear will the union cost us when we come to die!
O! were my tongue dipped in the gall of celestial displeasure, I would describe to you the state of a man expiring in the cruel uncertainties of unbelief; who seeth, in spite of himself, yea, in spite of himself, the truth of that religion, which he hath endeavoured to no purpose to eradicate from his heart. Ah! see! every thing contributes to trouble him now.
dying I despair of recovering-Physicians have given me over The sighs and tears of my friends are useless yet they have nothing else to bestow-Medicines take no effect-consultations come to nothingalas! not you not my little fortune the world can
not cure mc-I must die-It is not a preacher-it is not a religious book-it is not a trifling declaimerit is death itself that preacheth to me-I feel, I know not what, shivering cold is my blood-I am in a dying sweat-my feet, my hands, every part of my body is wasted-I am more like a corpse than a living bodyI am rather dead than alive-I must die-Whither am I going? What will become of me? What will become of my body? My God! what a frightful spectacle! I see it? The horrid torches-the dismal shroud -the coffin-the pall-the tolling bell-the subterranean abode carcases-worms-putrefaction-What
will become of my soul? I am ignorant of its destiny -I am tumbling headlong into eternal night-my infidelity tells me, my soul is nothing but a portion of subtile matter-another world a vision-immortality a fancy-But yet, I feel, I know not what, that troubles my infidelity annihilation, terrible as it is, would appear tolerable to me, were not the ideas of heaven and hell to present themselves to me, in spite of myself-But I see that heaven, that immortal mansion of glory shut against me I see it at an immense distance I see it a place, which my crimes forbid me to enter I see a hell-hell, which I have ridiculedit opens under my feet-I hear the horrible groans of the damned-the smoke of the bottemless pit choaks my words, and wraps my thoughts in suffocating dark
Such is the infidel on a dying bed. This is not an imaginary flight: it is not an arbitrary invention, it is a description of what we see every day in the fatal visits to which our ministry engageth us, and to which God seems to call us to be sorrowful witnesses of his displeasure and vengeance. This is what infidelity comes to. This is what infidelity is good for. Thus most sceptics die, although, while they live, they pretend to free themselves from vulgar errors. gain, what charms are there in a state, that hath such dreadful consequences? How is it possible for men, rational men, to carry their madness to such an excess ?
I ask a
Novels and Romances.
ONE of the most obvious distinctions of the works of romance is, an utter violation of all the relations between ends and means. Sometimes such ends are proposed as seem quite dissevered from means, inasmuch as there are scarcely any supposable means on earth to accomplish them: but no matter; if we cannot ride we must swim, if we cannot swim we must fly the object is effected by a mere poetical omnipotence that wills it. And very often practicable objects are attained by means the most fantastic, improbable, or inadequate; so that there is scarcely any resemblance between the method in which they are accomplished by the dexterity of fiction, and that in which the same things must be attempted in the actual economy of the world. Now, when you see this absurdity of imagination prevailing in the calculations of real life, you may justly apply the epithet romantic.
Indeed a strong and habitually indulged imagination be so absorbed in the end, if it is not a concern of absolute immediate urgency, as for a while quite to forget the process of attainment. It has incantations to dissolve the rigid laws of time and distance, and place a man in something so like the presence of his object, that he seems half to possess it; and it is hard while occupying the verge of paridise, to be flung far back in order to find or make a path to it, with the slow and toilsome steps of reality. In the luxury of promising himself that what he wishes will by some means take place at some time, he forgets that he is