« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
Then seek not hours of sober grief, or sorrowing thought, to shun,
Until we feel that we can say, "Thy will, not mine, be done,"
And then our hearts to him will pay our homage pure and warm,
Who saw the cloud o'er those we loved, and housed them from the storm.
THE ANGELS' CALL.
"Hark they whisper! angels say,
COME to the land of peace!
Come where the tempest hath no longer sway,
Fear hath no dwelling there!
Come to the mingling of repose and love,
Come to the bright and blest,
And crown'd for ever!-'midst that shining band, Gather'd to Heaven's own wreath from every land, Thy spirit shall find rest!
Thou hast been long alone:
Come to thy mother!-on the Sabbath shore,
Shall take its wearied one.
In silence wert thou left;
Come to thy sisters ;-joyously again
Over thine orphan head
The storm hath swept, as o'er a willow's bough:
In thy divine abode
Change finds no pathway, memory no dark trace, And oh bright victory-death by love no place; Come, Spirit, to thy God!
THE DYING MAN.
It is a very terrible and amazing thing to see a man die, and solemnly take his last leave of the world. The very circumstances of dying men are apt to strike us with horror. To hear such a man, how sensibly he will speak of the other world, as if he were just come from it, rather than going to it; how severely he will condemn himself for the folly and wickedness of his life; with what passion he will wish that he had lived better, and had served God more sincerely; how seriously he will resolve upon a better life, if God would be pleased to raise him up, and try him but once more; with what zeal and earnestness he will commend to his best friends and nearest relations a religious and virtuous course of life, as the only thing that will minister comfort to them when they come to be in his condition. Such discourses as these are verv
apt to move and affect men for the time, and to stir up in them very good resolutions, whilst the present fit and impression lasts; but because these sights are very frequent, they have seldom any great permanent effect upon men. They consider that it is a very common case, and sinners take example and encouragement from one another; every one is affected for the present, few are so effectually convinced as to betake themselves to a better
COMPARISON BETWEEN A DYING PAGAN
I CONSIDER a Pagan, in his dying-bed, speaking to himself what follows: On which side soever I consider my state, I perceive nothing but trouble and despair. If I observe the forerunners of death, I see awful symptoms, violent sickness, and intolerable pain, which surround my sick-bed, and are the first scenes of the bloody tragedy. As to the world, my dearest objects disappear; my closest connections are dissolving; my most specious titles are effacing; my noblest privileges are vanishing away; a dismal curtain falls between my eyes and all the decorations of the universe. In regard to my body, it is a mass without motion and life; my tongue is about to be condemned to eternal silence; my eyes to perpetual darkness; all the organs of my body to entire dissolution; and the miserable remains of my carcase to lodge in the grave, and to become food for the worms. If I consider my soul, I scarcely know whether it be immortal; and could I demonstrate its natural im,
mortality, I should not be able to say whether my Creator would display his attributes in preserving or in destroying it; whether my wishes for immortality be the dictates of nature, or the language of sin. If I consider my past life, I have a witness within me, attesting that my practice hath been less than my knowledge, how small soever the latter hath been; and that the abundant depravity of my heart hath thickened the darkness of my mind. If I consider futurity, I think I discover through many thick clouds a future state; my reason suggests, that the Author of Nature hath not given me a soul so sublime in thought, and so expansive in desire, merely to move in this little orb for a moment: but this is nothing but conjecture; and if there be another economy after this, should I be less miserable than I am here? One moment I hope for annihilation, the next I shudder with the fear of being annihilated; my thoughts and desires are at war with each other; they rise, they resist, they destroy one another. Such is the dying Heathen. If a few examples of those who have died otherwise, be adduced, they ought not to be urged in evidence against what we have advanced; for they are rare, and very probably deceptive, their outward tranquillity being only a concealment of trouble within. Trouble is the greater for confinement within, and for an affected appearance without. As we ought not to believe that philosophy hath rendered men insensible of pain, because some philosophers have maintained that pain is no evil, and have seemed to triumph over it so neither ought we to believe, that it hath disarmed death in regard to the disciples of natural religion, because some have affirmed that death is not an object of fear. After all, if some Pagans
enjoyed a real tranquillity at death, it was a groundless tranquillity, to which reason contributed nothing at all.
O how differently do Christians die! How doth revealed religion triumph over the religion of nature in this respect! May each of our hearers be a new evidence of this article! The whole that troubles an expiring Heathen, revives a Christian in his dying bed.
Thus speaks the dying Christian. When I consider the awful symptoms of death, and the violent agonies of dissolving nature, they appear to me as medical preparations, sharp, but salutary; they are necessary to detach me from life, and to separate the remains of inward depravity from me. Beside, I shall not be abandoned to my own frailty; but my patience and constancy will be proportional to my sufferings, and that powerful arm which hath supported me through life, will uphold me under the pressure of death. If I consider my sins, many as they are, I am invulnerable; for I go to a tribunal of mercy, where God is reconciled, and justice is satisfied. If I consider my body, I perceive I am putting off a mean and corruptible habit, and putting on robes of glory. Fall, fall, ye imperfect senses, ye frail organs; fall, house of clay, into your original dust: ye will be 'sown in corruption, but raised in incorruption; sown in dishonour, but raised in glory; sown in weakness, but raised in power.' If I consider my soul, it is passing, I see, from slavery to freedom. I shall carry with me, that which thinks and reflects. I shall carry with me the delicacy of taste, the harmony of sounds, the beauty of colours, the fragrance of odoriferous smells. I shall surmount heaven and earth, nature and all terrestrial things, and my ideas of all