Obrazy na stronie

natural tenderness, he will intimate his sorrow, if it should be as you conceive, and will add very sagely, It is a debt we muft all pay: it is pity a man of spirit should ever die; but fince it cannot be avoided, you must even submit to your fate as gracefully as poslible: with more to the fame purpose-- And is this all? Can you give no better confolation to a person in my condition? The necessity you urge is one of the very evils I lament: but the greatest is the dread of an hereafter. Tell me something that may calm the apprehensions of guilt which now beset me; something that may mitigate, if it cannot remove, the agonies of dissolution; something that may instill, if it be not yet too late, the hopes of pardon into my anxious fuul. He will then, it may be presumed, reply, that God is much too merciful to punish his creatures for a few trifling and transient pleasures; that he gave them passions to be gratified; that in gratifying yours you meant no harm; that you was

Vol. II.

very good-natured, did many generous things, injured nobody but yourself, and therefore have nothing to fear. Is this a strain fit to satisfy or compose a mind alarmed at the approach of death, agitated by the forebodings of conscience, and trembling over the stupendous abyss of eternity ? Go, thou miserable comforter, and mock not that poor afiicted youth with considerations calculated only to wound him deeper : for I think they can scarcely deceive, I am sure they cannot help him. Go, and learn to provide more effectually against the terrors of thy own departure,' whenever it shall happen. Alas! my hearers, would you dignify with the name of Friendship, that species of regard, which must in every valuable sense prove so despicably useless, at his greatest extremity, to the man for whom it is professed? Are none of you, while I speak, ashamed of having suffered any to impose fo vilely on your understandings, as to make you believe they merited your highest esteem and confidence they who, if they considered you at all, and not themfelves merely, considered you but as the {port of appetite and accident, that must, after a few years of indulgence and vanity, be parted from them by an irresistible Itroke, which they have no solicitude to foften when it shall fall, and which will leave them without expectation or desire of ever reuniting? And is it nothing to them, that the men whom they chuse for their associates, whom they extol as the most agreeable characters living, with whom they pass what they reckon the *happiest part of their time, and without whom they are ready to declare that life would be insufferably dull-is it nothing to Them, that when a short and uncertain space is measured, those very men shall, with all their imperfections on their heads, plunge into night eternal, to emerge no more? There seem to me in such minds a poorness of thought, and a want of feeling, equally piteous and contemptible: The imagination, the judgement, and the heart, revolt together from a system that frustrates and mortifies every nobler ambition, and every better hope, they can entertain. Many of you, I am persuaded, see it in this light, and have too much taste, shall I say? as well as too much worth, to be satisfied with that inferior and defective commerce which breaks up at the grave-What! shall your highest esteem, your tenderest endearments, your constant services, your fervent wishes to give and to receive delight, be all thrown away on objects that may in a few days be to you as if they had never been ? "Such a transitory tie,” says a forcible writer, “ gives a second dart to death, « and a double dissolution to departing “ man; that of soul and body scarce « more fevere. Would to Heaven,” cries he, “ that all Friendships were evidently “ Friendships of immortal men; such, I " mean, as give proof of their having each “ other's everlasting interest at heart !"

What sweetness and sublimity would not those connexions, in this case, derive from the consciousness of their elevated tendency and unceasing duration? The amiable man, who now possesses and returns fo large a share of my affcction, will continue to possess and return it ten thousand ages hence, with new improvements proportioned to new excellence, and in happier circumstances that shall admit of no termination. Our present consonance of thought and disposition is only a prelude to the joint part which we shall bear in the never-ending anthems of Heaven. Such a consideration, duly impresled, would serve above all others to support under one of the heaviest blows that can reach a susceptible breast..

You guess to what I refer : perhaps you have felt it: perhaps, Sir, you have lost a virtuous Friend. I sympathize with you sincerely : I know too well what you must suffer from the recollection. But you

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