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6. In what manner are angels employed? God's angels are spirits, or winds, and his ministers a flame of fire, executing the designs of providence with the strength of winds, and the rapidity of lightning. This doctrine was revealed to Jacob. In vision, he beheld a ladder set upon the earth, the top whereof reached to heaven, upon which the angels of God ascended and descended, a striking emblem of the providence of God, in the administration of which angels are employed.
Have we not reason to believe from the representation of scripture, that angels have the charge of nations and of families? We know that they have of individuals.
We read in the book of Daniel (chap. x. verse 13) of a great contention which two angels had with the prince of Persia, and in favour of the Jews. By the prince of Persia in this passage, is it not reasonable to understand an invisible and powerful agent, rather than an earthly monarch? May we not suppose that a bad angel of great power and influence was there permitted to work mischief, which the good angels exerted themselves to counter. act? Is not this supposition countenanced by what took place when one of the evil angels was permitted to become a lying spirit in the mouth of Ahah's prophets? and another to torment holy Job? We cannot imagine that any contention can possibly exist at any time, among good angels. Nations who are wicked, may be left in the power of those who are bad,“ the rulers of the darkness of this world.” God may employ the one as well as the other in the administration of his providence. The mischief done by the one, and the good done by the other may be incalculable. Satan contended with Michael about the body of Moses. The contention mentioned in the book of Daniel, arose from measures which had a malignant aspect on the Jews, which it became the duty of the angel presiding over Judea, to oppose and counteract. This doctrine contains nothing contradictory to any idea given in scripture of the divine government; for whether God be pleased to order what concerns his creatures immediately, or, as we know is sometimes the case, through the instrumentality of inferior agents, it is still his agency, or his permission, to which the event is to be attributed.
PHILOLOGOS. [To be continued.)
THE DEATH OF VOLTAIRE.
The following account of the death of Voltaire, the great apostle of infidelity, is extracted from the Abbé Baruel's History of Jacobinism. Should you think proper to insert it, such of your readers as may not have had access to that work will have an opportunity of contemplating the end of a man whose life was unremittingly employed in endeavours to crush Christ and his cause.
S. L. It was during Voltaire's last visit to Paris, when his triumph was complete, and he had even feared that he should die with glory, amidst the acclamations of an infatuated theatre, that he was struck by the hand of providence, and fated to make a very different termination of his career.
In the midst of his triumphs a violent hemorrhage raised apprehensions for his life. D'Alembert, Diderot, and Marmontel, hastened to support his resolution in his last moments, but were only witnesses to their mutual ignominy, as well as to his own.
Here let not the historian fear exaggeration. Rage, remorse, reproach, and blasphemy, all accompany and characterize the long agony of the dying atheist.
His death, the most terrible that is ever recorded to have stricken the impious man, will not be denied by his companions in impiety. Their silence, however much they may wish to deny it, is the least of those corroborative proofs which could be adduced. Not one of the sophisters has ever dared to mention any sign given of resolution or tranquillity by the premier chief, during the space of three months, which elapsed from the time he was crowned in the theatre, until his decease. Such a silence expresses, how great their humiliation was in his death!
It was in his return from the theatre, and in the midst of the toils he was resuming, in order to acquire fresh applause, that Voltaire was warned, that the long career of his impiety was drawing to an end.
In spite of all the sophisters flocking around him in the first days of illness, he gave signs of wishing to return to the God whom he had so often blasphemed. He called for the priest who ministered to him, whom he had sworn to crush, under the appellation of the wretch.*
* It is well known that Voitaire had been accustomed, for many years, to call our blessed Saviour The Wretch, l'Irfume, whom he vowed to crush. The conclusion of many of his letters is in these words: Ecrasez l’Infame, Crush the wretch.
His danger increasing, he wrote the following note to the Abbé Gaultier:
“ You had promised me, Sir, to come and hear me. I intreat you would take the trouble of calling as soon as possible. (Signed)
VOLTAIRE." Paris, February, 1778. A few days after, he wrote the following declaration, in presence of the same Abbé Gaultier, the Abbé Mignot, and the Marquis de Villevieille, copied from the minutes deposited with M. Moinet, notary, at Paris.
“ I, the underwriter, declare, that for these four days past, having been afficted with a vomiting of blood, at the age of eightyfour, and not having been able to drag myself to the church, the reverend the rector of St. Sulpice having been pleased to add to his good works that of sending to me the Abbé Gaultier, a priest, I confessed to him; and, if it pleases God to dispose of me, I die in the holy Catholic church, in which I was born; hoping that the divine mercy will deign to pardon all my faults. If ever I have scandalized the church, I ask pardon of God and of the church. (Signed)
In presence of the Abbé Mignot, my nephew; and the Marquis de Villevieille, my friend.”
After the two witnesses had signed this declaration, Voltaire added these words, copied from the same minutes.
“ The Abbé Gaultier, my confessor, having apprized me that it was said among a certain set of people, “ I should protest against every thing that I did at my death;" I declare that I never made such a speech, and that it is an old jest, attributed long since to many of the learned, more enlightened than I am."
Was this declaration a fresh instance of his former hypocrisy? for he had the mean hypocrisy, even in the midst of his efforts against christianity, to receive the sacrament regularly, and to do other acts of religion, merely to be able to deny his infidelity, if accused of it. After the explanations we have unfortunately seen him give of his exterior acts of religion, might there not be room for doubt? Be that as it may, there is a public homage paid to that religion in which he declared he meant to die, notwithstanding his having perpetually conspired against it during his life. This declaration is also signed by that same friend and adept, the Marquis de Villevieille, to whom, eleven years ago, Voltaire was wont to write, “ Conceal yonr march from the enemy, in your endeavours to crush the Wretch!”.
Voltaire had permitted this declaration to be carried to the rector of St. Sulpice, and to the Archbishop of Paris, to know whether it would be sufficient. When the Abbé Gaultier returned with the answer, it was impossible for him to gain admittance to the patient. The conspirators had strained every nerve to hinder the chief from consummating his recantation, and every avenue was shut to the priest, whom Voltaire himself had sent for. The demons haunted every access; rage succeeded to fury, and fury to rage again, during the remainder of his life.
Then it was that D'Alembert, Diderot, and about twenty others of the conspirators, who had beset his apartment, never approached him, but to witness theirown ignominy. He would often curse them, and exclaim, “ Retire! It is you that have brought me to my present state! Begone! I could have done without you all; but you could not exist without me! And what a wretched glory have you produced me?”
Then would succeed the horrid remembrance of his conspiracy. They could hear him, the prey of anguish and dread, alternately supplicating or blaspheming that God whom he had conspired against, and in plaintive accents would he cry out, « Oh Christ! Oh Jesus Christ!" and then complain that he was abandoned by God and man. The hand which had traced in ancient writ the sentence of an impious and reviling king, seemed to trace before his eyes, Crush them, do crush the Wretch. In vain he turned his head away; the time was coming apace when he was to appear before the tribunal of him whom he had blasphemed; and his physicians, particularly M. Tronchin, calling in to administer relief, thunderstruck, retire, declaring the death of the impious man to be terrible indeed.
The pride of the conspirators would willingly have suppressed these declarations, but it was in vain. The Mareschal of Richelieu flies from the bed-side, declaring it to be a sight too terrible to be sustained; and M. Tronchin, that the furies of Orestes could give but a faint idea of those of Voltaire.
ON THE DEATH OF DAVID HUME. The arts and falsehood of infidels in propagating their destructive principles are but little understood by christians in general, and indeed they are often so dark and detestable that a charitable mind is scarcely able to believe them rcal. It appears, by the statement of the Abbé Baruel, that Voltaire approached his end
with horror, and was endeavouring to return into the bosom of the church in which he had been educated, when his infidel friends, particularly D'Alembert and Diderot, kept from him the priest whom he wished to see. It is a well known fact, that Diderot himself, when he came to die, had the same compunctions, and was treated in a similar manner. It appears, in short, that the fraternity of deists are not willing to trust their system, to trust themselves, nor to trusteach other, to the impressions which may be produced by the near approach of death. Some have, as Voltaire intimates had been affirmed of him, protested beforehand, against all they should utter in a near view of death: and it seems to have been adopted, as a kind of system, by the infidels of Europe, to exclude christian witnesses from the death-bed scenes of their distinguished friends, that thus the truth might be concealed and representations be made favourable to their own cause. From the statement which Adam Smith has published of the death of David Hume, and from the manner in which it has been treated in Europe, both by the friends and enemies of infidelity, the writer of this article was induced to believe that statement to be correct. But on suggesting this idea to the late Dr. Charles Nisbet, whose veracity and whose accuracy of information and narration were singularly unimpeachable, the Dr. replied nearly in these words: “ Let David Hume die as he might, the manner of his death was not personally known to Adam Smith. It is a pretty good specimen of infidel friendship, but yet I know it is true, that though Hume's house was in sight of Adam Smith's, he never saw him for several weeks* before his death. Hume's infidel friends were careful to keep from him any witnesses but those of their own choice or character, and we do not know how he died, for they have reported what they pleased.” This information the writer believes to be strictly correct, and the opinion of judicious friends has corroborated his own, that it is of sufficient importance to be given to the public-Not because it is believed, that either infidels or christians prove their sentiments to be true, by the manner in which they view them at death. At most, they prove no more, as bishop Watson has well remarked, than that they really believe what they can abide by at that “ honest hour.” But it is plain, that infidels the:nselves do actually lay great stress on this circumstance, by their endeavours to suppress what is unfavourable to their cause, and by their zeal to publish and blazon
* The writer thinks that six weeks were mentioned, but he is not certain.