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their beauties will multiply and expand. If I consider the future economy, to which I go, I have, I own, very inadequate notions of it: but my incapacity is the ground of my expectation. Could I perfectly comprehend it, it would argue its resemblance to some of the present objects of my senses, or its minute proportion of the present operations of my mind. If worldly dignities and grandeurs, if accumulated treasures, if the enjoyments of the most refined voluptuousness, were to represent to me celestial felicity, I should suppose, that partaking of their nature, they partook of their vanity. But, if nothing here can represent the future state, it is because that state surpasseth every other. My ardour is increased by my imperfect knowledge of it. My knowledge and virtue, I know, will be perfected; I know I shall comprehend truth, and obey order; I know I shall be free from all evils, and in possession of all good; I shall be present with God, I know, and with all the happy spirits who surround his throne; and this perfect state, I am sure, will continue for ever and ever.
Such are the all-sufficient supports which revealed religion affords against the fear of death. Such are the meditations of a dying Christian; not of one whose whole Christianity consists of dry speculations, which have no influence over his practice; but of one who applies his knowledge to relieve the real wants of his life.
DYING THOUGHTS OF THE AUTHOR OF THE ECCLESIASTICAL POLITY.
AFTER this manner spake the author of the Ecclesiastical Polity, immediately before he expired:
I have lived to see, that this world is made up of perturbations; and I have been long preparing to leave it, and gathering comfort for the dreadful hour of making my account with God, which I now apprehend to be near. And though I have, by his grace, loved him in my youth, and feared him in mine age, and laboured to have a conscience void of offence towards him, and towards all men; yet, if thou, Lord, shouldest be extreme to mark what I have done amiss, who can abide it?' And, therefore, where I have failed, Lord, show mercy to me, for I plead not my righteousness, but the forgiveness of my unrighteousness, through his merits, who died to purchase pardon for penitent sinners. And since I owe thee a death, Lord, let it not be terrible, and then take thine own time; I submit to it-Let not mine, O Lord, but thy will, be done!'-God hath heard my daily petitions; for I am at peace with all men, and he is at peace with me. From such blessed assurance I feel that inward joy which this world can neither give nor take from me. My conscience beareth me this witness, and this witness makes the thoughts of death joyful. I could wish to live, to do the church more service, but cannot hope it: for my days are past, as a shadow that returns not.'
His worthy biographer adds—
More he would have spoken, but his spirits failed him; and, after a short conflict between nature and death, a quiet sigh put a period to his last breath, and so he fell asleep-and now he seems to rest like Lazarus in Abraham's bosom.
THERE are some happy moments in this lone
For many a long, sad night, and weary day.
Of distant music, when we know not where, Or whence the sounds are brought from, and their
pow'r, Though brief, is boundless.
THE LAST HOUR.
Or all the periods and events of life, the concluding scene is one of deepest interest to the person himself, and to surviving friends. Various are the ways in which it comes, but in all it is solemn. What can be more so, than the approach of that moment, which to the dying man, is the boundary between time and eternity; which finishes the one, and begins the other; which closes his interests in this world, and fixes his condition for a never-ending existence in the world unknown! What can be more so, than these moments of silent and indescribable anxiety, when the last sands of the numbered hour are running; when the beat of the heart has become languid; when the cold hand returns not the gentle pressure; when the weary limbs lie still and motionless; when the eye is fixed, and the ear turns no more towards the voice of consoling kindness; when the breath, before oppressive and laborious, becomes feebler and feebler, till it dies slowly away; and to the
listener there is no sound amidst the breathless silence; when surrounding friends continue to speak in whispers, and to step through the chamber softly, as if still fearful of disturbing him,—whom the noise of a thousand thunders could not now startle, who has fallen on that last sleep, from which nothing shall rouse, but "the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God."
OUR BODIES NOT OURSELVES.
OUR gross organized bodies, with which we perceive the objects of sense, and with which we act, are no part of ourselves. We see, by experience, that men may lose their limbs, their organs of sense, and even the greatest part of their bodies, and yet remain the same living agents.
We have already, several times over, lost a great part, or perhaps the whole of our body, according to certain established laws of nature; yet we remain the same living agents; when we shall lose as great a part, or the whole, by another established law of nature, death, why may we not also remain the same? We have passed undestroyed through those many and great revolutions of matter so peculiarly appropriated to us ourselves; why should we imagine death will be so fatal to us?
Common optical experiments show, and even the observation how sight is assisted by glasses shows, that we see with our eyes in the same sense as we see with glasses. Nor is there any reason to believe, that we see with them in any other sense; any other, I mean, which would lead us to think the eye itself a percipient. The like is to be said
of hearing; and our feeling distant solid matter by means of something in our hand, seems an instance of the like kind, as to the subject we are considering. There are instances of foreign matter, or such as is no part of our body, being instrumental in preparing objects for, and conveying them to the perceiving power, in a manner like to that in which our organs of sense prepare and convey them. Glasses are evidently instances of this, of matter, which is no part of our body, preparing objects for, and conveying them towards the perceiving power, in like manner as our bodily organs do. And if we see with our eyes only in the same manner as we see with our glasses, the like may justly be concluded, from analogy, of all our other senses.
So also, with regard to our power of moving,upon the destruction of a limb this active power remains unlessened; so as that the living being who has suffered this loss, would be capable of moving as before, if it had another limb to move with. It can walk by the help of an artificial leg; just as it can make use of a pole or lever, to reach towards itself, and to move things, beyond the length and power of its natural arm. There is not so much as an appearance of our limbs being endowed with a power of moving or directing themselves.
Thus a man determines, that he will look at such an object through a microscope; or, being lame, supposes that he will walk to such a place with a staff a week hence. His eyes and his feet no more determine in these cases, than the microscope, and the staff. Nor is there any ground to think they any more put the determination in practice; or, that his eyes are the seers, or his feet the movers,