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only augmented by superior worth 'and intellect, as the dread of it even at a distance would be apt to embitter many of the preceding scenes. It is certain, that the finest understandings and the warmest hearts have naturally the most exquisite feelings on the point of Friendship; and were its pleasures to terminate with a few precarious years, the very improvements which tended to heighten them on one side, would, from so gloomy a prospect, be in continual danger of destroying them on another. : But blessed be that Divine Re. ligion, which, while it unites the souls of its votaries here in the loveliest affections and the loftiest views,' encourages and consoles them, under all their anxieties and sufferings, with the lively, hope of an interminable existence, through which they Shall travel together, for ever undivided, for ever undisturbed, free from all imperfections, and attracted ftill closer to one another as they approach nearer and nearer to Him who is their common original, object, and end.
Never perhaps is the pre-eminence of “Virtuous Friendship, above all unhallowed attachments, more manifeft, than when viewed in the light of eternity; a light from which, indeed, the distempered eye of Vice turns away with aversion and anguish. The idea of meeting hereafter, :which administers so much consolation to the good under the grief of parting here, the bad dare not entertain. To them the prophetic power of conscience whispers, that such - an interview will only aggravate their misery.-- What sounds of wrath and woe are those which I think I hear? They are the reproaches and upbraidings of reprobate souls in the other world, who when they lived in this were perpetually talking of esteem, and confidence, and zeal for each other's happiness and honour. How are they shocked and ftunned to encounter in those doleful Vol. II,
regions, which many of them were accuftomed, at their wanton revels and infidel resorts, to treat with derision, as existing merely in a frighted fancy! The enchantment, which united them in the hour of delirious mirth, is diffolved: they are all awake, and sober to amazement: their mutual efforts to ensnare and corrupt, of which they once boasted, appear to them now in their real malignity. Every companion in fin is transformed into an object of loathing: every lost creature, that any one contributed to ruin under the pretence of kindness, turns upon his seducer with execration and rage. Say not that this is mere preaching : it is a language agreeable to the deepest convictions of mankind, when they have had no other instructors but Nature and Philosophy.
In conformity to those convictions, some of the ableft writers, both ancient and modern, have represented a variety of foolish and profligate characters formerly known upon earth, and now in the abodes of departed spirits, conversing together with great severity of recrimination: nor is it probable, that the scenes introduced by those authors would be productive of the lively impressions received from them by readers.of the foundest jugdement and the best taste, were the faith of futurity, on which they are founded, not the genuine persuasion of the human heart. If the personages in question address each other in a style less passionate or violent chan that which we believe to be employed by the forlorn inhabitants of the infernal manfions, it is no objection to our doctrine. The genius of such compofitions did not lead so directly to thake the mind with solemn terror, as to place before it a sober, though striking picture of the fentiments which the characters they draw may be readily supposed to express of themselves, and of one another, when the illufions of vanity, and the temptations to Aattery, are no more. Then indeed it
were some alleviation of wretchedness, if the profligate and the foolish in general were suffered to fly each other's hated fociety, and to mantle themselves up in impenetrable darkness. But what reason is there to hope, that those double offenders, who, not satisfied with their own undoing, persist in seducing and hardening others at. present, shall escape so natural a punishment as their future accusations and bitterest curses ?. Let me conjure you, my beloved hearers, not to venture on the dreadful experiment; and let us quit a consideration fo big with horror.