« PoprzedniaDalej »
mayest know thyself, and live stance. The way of the wicked is by the faith of the gospel ? as darkness. The sick bed tries Dost thou never say from the the correctness of principles, and heart with the Psalmist,“ Search the king of terrors, as he apme, O Lord, and know my heart, proaches, sweeps away all the try me and know my thoughts, false hopes of the unbeliever, and and see the wicked way that is in scatters them to the winds. Inme, and lead me in the way ever- fidelity may give her votaries the lasting” Consider, I entreat thee, satisfaction of being free from the danger of insensibility, the enthusiasm and superstition; she danger of insincerity. .
may harden their minds ; but she By the gospel thou must be furnishes them with no support judged in the great day of the under the various evils, which Lord; self-deceit will then be we are called to suffer. unavailing, when every thought The death of Mr. Gibbon was will be brought into judgment, such as we might expect from the and every secret work, whether it principles, which he professed. be good or evil. Examine, then, Speaking of the decease of lady thy heart; thy conscience must Sheffield, in a letter to her husbe purified from dead works, in band, he observes ; “She is now order to enable thee to serve a- at rest ; and, if there be a future right the living and the true God. state, her mild virtues have surely The blood of the Son of God entitled her to the reward of alone has this efficacy; and if pure and perfect felicity.- The thou despise it, there remaineth only consolation in these melanno more for thee a sacrifice for choly trials, the only one at least in sin, but a fearful looking for of which I have any confidence, is the judgment and fiery indignation, presence of a real friend." In which shall devour the adversa- these passages the writer expressries.
es a doubt respecting his future The Lord give thee under existence, stumbles upon the error standing in all things to do his of the self righteous, that the ordi. will. So shalt thou in simplicity nary virtues of social life merit the and godly sincerity fulfil his plea- reward of everlasting blessedness, sure. Remember the words of and gives up at once all the rich Solomon. “He that walketh consolation, which a belief in the uprightly, walketh surely; but righteous government of the Fahe that perverteth his way shall ther of mercies is calculated to af. be known.”
D. D. ford us under afflictions and trou. March, 1806.
In his memoirs he says, “I must reluctantly observe, that two
causes, the abbreviation of time MR. GIBBON.
and the failure of hope will alOn reading the life of Gibbon, ways tinge with a browner shade and observing the cheerless the evening of life.” This is the gloom, which shrouded his mind gloomy sentiment of an atheist, at the hour of death, I was whose views terminate with this struck with the confirmation of world, who considers himself as truth afforded by this circum- the offspring of chance, and whe is cheered with no glad expecta- disturbed by the footsteps of liv. tion, that “the evening of life” ing beings, he would not have exwill be succeeded by a glorious pressed his conviction, that hope piorning.
must necessarily fail, as life apIt is true that the aged are fre- proaches its termination. If he quently peevish and unhappy. had not been destitute of the joyThe acuteness of their senses is ful hope of immortality, which only blunted by long action. Their is the glory of man, such a sentieye is no longer delighted with ment his pen never would have beauty, nor their ear enraptured recorded. by melody. The agitation of And what was the death of Mr. business no longer exhilarates Gibbon? It was cheerless and awtheir minds. Besides this, they ful. We hear no expressions of find few or none of their early resignation or hope. We behold companions, with whom they no delightful anticipations of may recal the days that are past. blessedness. We see not even an
These are the causes, and not intimation of his belief, that those assigned by Mr. Gibbon, another state of existence would which will always operate in a succeed that, which was approachgreater or less degree to diminishing its end. All was silent as the the enjoyments of those, who have grave, to which he was going. travelled far into years.
He said to his servant, just be. But to the aged saint, whose fore his death, “ Pourquoi 'est ce gray hairs are found in the way que vous me quittez ?” Why do you of righteousness, " the abbreviation leave me? And the last words of time" is a subject of joy, not a which he uttered, expressed his source of grief; and with “the desire that his servant would not failure of kope” he is unacquainted. leave him. He exclaims in the language, and Thus perished this insidious with the exulting anticipation of enemy of Christianity. I said to St. Paul, “ The time of my de- myself, if infidelity can throw no parture is at hand! I have fought ray of light upon the darkness of a good fight, I have finished my the grave; if she can give no supcourse, I have kept the faith. port to the sinking spirit; if she Henceforth there is laid up for can administer no consolation, me a crown of righteousness, when this world has lost its pow. which the Lord, the righteous er to please ; if she can stamp upJudge, shall give me at that day, on the pale countenance of the dy. and not to me only, but unto all ing no- impressions of hope, of them also, that love his appear- joy, of triumph ; then, "O my ing.” Had not Mr. Gibbon been soul, come not thou into her sefearful of this appearing of Jesus cret,” and let not her delusions Christ, when“ he shall decend beguile thee !
W. from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God,” to punish the despisers of his words ; or. had he not looked upon all beyond the grave as one hideous “ Religion," says one of its night, whose silence will never be most distinguished champions
SKETCH OF THE CHARACTER AND
EXERCISES OF MISS A. D.
and ornaments, “ dispenses its of God. Often, in the latter choicest cordials in the seasons years of life, did she express her of exigence, in poverty, in exile, wonder and astonishment at her in sickness, and in death.” It former insensibility, at the pacan not only refine and elevate tience of God in waiting thus all earthly enjoyments, but long upon her, and at the oversupply their loss. It can do flowings of that condescension more. It can convert the great- and goodness, which could parest outward calamities into posi- don and save one so unworthy tive, substantial, everlasting bles- and vile as she. Her patience, sings. Nor can any thing be serenity, and even cheerfulness more truly honourable to the under her sufferings (her pain gospel and grace of our divINE being, for years, literally without REDEEMER, than the sweet intermission) were remarkable peace and cheerfulness with indeed. Some, who familiarly which they have inspired thou- knew, and often visited her, have sands, on whom a thoughtless declared, that they never witworld has looked down with pity, nessed a solitary instance of immixed with horror.
patience, manifested either by Among these happy sufferers, her countenance or lips. Not few occupy a more conspicu. unfrequently, when every nerve ous place, than Miss A. D. a of her frame was agitated by ex. young woman recently deceased. tremity of pain, and when her For several of the last years of bed trembled underneath her, her life, she was confined by a has she conversed at length on complication of maladies, to a religion, and on the many merbed of unutterable, and almost cies vouchsafed her, without unparalleled distress. In the
In the once adverting to her sufferings. early period of her sickness, she It was remarkable that some of seemed a stranger to religion, her best enjoyments seemed to and its comforts. But between occur in seasons of this kind. two and three years previous to She once remarked to a friend, her decease, she exhibited a re- that for a few preceding days, she markable revolution in her senti- had enjoyed a sweeter savour of ments and feelings. Of this divine things, than ever before. happy change, her afflictions “ Every thing,” she said, “ seemwere, under the divine blessing, ed sweet. Oh,” she exclaimed,, the principal instrument. Un- there was such a sweetness in der their pressure, she was led Jesus! My soul ran out in love into very distinct and evangelic- to a chastening God, and rejoical views of the evil of sin, the de- ed in him! He was all in all. pravity of her heart, the glory of Oh, that all would praise him ! che Redeemer, and the infinite My soul delights in him. Oh," worth of gospel blessings. Her she added, “my body was filled heart seemed gradually moulded with pain, but my soul was more into a temper of sweet submis- filled with comfort. Compared sion to the divine will, of hum- to one view of such glories, and ble confidence in the divine mer. the enjoyment of one half hour's cy, and of joyful complacency in communion with God, these af, the perfections and government dictions are not worth mention. Vol. II. No. 2,
ing, ought not to be named ; er and goodness of God shine nay, are not worthy to have a in this affliction. Once I saw no thought of them pass through goodness in it; but now, the the mind. Oh,” said she, “en- sharper the pain, the brighter tertain high and honourable his goodness appears." In anoththoughts of God concerning this er season of exquisite suffering, thing. I now place this distress she expressed herself thus : among my choicest mercies.”
“ When one pain is gone,
I can Soon after her happy change, welcome another. My heavenshe said to a friend; “ How ma- ly Father waves his rod over my ny nights have I kept myself body, but smiles upon my soul.” awake in thinking on and pursu- She frequently manifested a ing the vanities of the world ; very tender anxiety lest any and it is but just that I should should think the less honouranow be kept awake, and smart bly of God and religion, on acfor it.” When exercised with count of her sufferings. Two excruciating pain in her side, of her friends having watched she once said ; “I have been with her in a night of remarkable thinking that my side was only distress, one remarked to the pierced with pain, but Christ's other, that probably she had sufside with a spear. My smart fered more than martyrdom that cannot benefit others; but by night. This she overheard ; and Christ's stripes are many heal- in a feeble and very affecting ed.” She added, that though manner said, “O do not think health was such a great blessing, hard of God on account of my yet if her's could be restored, sufferings. Think how great the and she must in that case be as consolations are which he affords vain and worldly as she once was, me. He might justly send all she would greatly prefer her pre- these afflictions, and none of the sent painful situation. On anoth- consolations. The one I deserve, er occasion, she remarked, that and the other I do not. He is she had experienced more en- good, He is kind.” joyment on her sick bed, than in She often expressed a lively all the former years of her life. concern for the honour and prosOn a certain occasion, she said perity of religion. She manifestto a friend, that in the night sea- ed a most tender pity for the mulson, she was in an agony of dis- titudes around her, who lived . tress, and much wished for half an without its blessings, and an arhour of sleep; but immediately dent desire that they might taste a new thought arose ; O, how and see that the Lord is good. good was God to permit her to Whatever tended to bring relie awake, and contemplate on proach on the name of Christ, his perfections ! O, it was sweet- gave her great pain. She freer than sleep. At another time, quently mourned over the coldafter a night of excruciating dis- ness of Christians, and most of tress, she said, “ For a few hours all, over her own. my roon was a little heaven. She was remarkable for speakOh, it was sweet being awake, ing of divine things in a manner and receiving pain from such a equally distant from levity and hand. Oh, how the glory, pow. ostentation, and which showed
that her very heart was penetrat
The writer of the above enjoyed by what she uttered. Amid ed the privilege of frequently her highest consolations, she witnessing the piety, the sufferseemed deeply sensible of herings and consolations of this highunworthiness. Being asked, a ly favoured young woman. He few weeks before she died, how offers this imperfect sketch, in death appeared, she replied : “ It the hope that so animating a tesis a solemn thing to die : I wish timony to the truth and excelto examine myself; but I cannot lence of religion, may be instrumake the thought seem terrify- mental in confirming the faith of ing." At other times, she ex- the Christian, and producing pressed great desires to die. She some salutary impression on the was once heard thus to express mind of every reader. Z. herself in prayer : “ Why are thy chariot wheels so long in coming ? hasten them in thy time :” still adding,“ not my will, but thine eclipse of the sun happened on the
The rare phenomenon of a total be done.” At another time, she 16th of June, 1806. A more awfully told a friend that a few nights be sublime, interesting and impressive fore, she viewed herself upon the phenomenon can hardly be conceived. verge of eternity, and it was de
It seems impossible that an atheist
could have witnessed it without deep lightful entering. Being asked, conviction of the existence of a God. what made it most delightful, she A valued correspondent has favoured replied, “ the glory, and the holi- us with the following extract from a ness-to be freed from a body of discourse delivered the Sabbath after sin :" and added, “Christ is pre
this event, which we insert with cious.” She once declared, that
pleasure. the night preceding, her distress
SERIOUS was very severe ; but the glory, holiness and justice of God seemed so clear, that it was sweetly A total eclipse of that luminaconsoling to her mind; and it ry, which is not only the source seemed a favour to be kept awake,, of light and heat to the globe we and contemplate upon his justice; inhabit, but the life and soul of and the sharper her pains, the our system, is an event of such more faithful his character ap- rare occurrence, as well as so peared, and the stronger was the grand and sublime in itself, as evidence of his love.
naturally to command a serious said she,“ to die ; but feel willing and interested notice. It would toʻlive and suffer.” When death be well, if the ideas and feelings, actually came on, her distress which such events are calculated and weakness were such that she to excite, might oftener rest could say but little = yet that lit- on the mind ; and especially, if tle manifested her mind to be in they might become subservient the same humble, tranquil, cheer- to our moral and religious imful frame as ever; till, with scarce provement. a struggle or a groan, she yield- Eclipses, particularly those of ed up her spirit into the hand of the sun, are among the most her God.
solemn and impressive specta
BY THE LATE ECLIPSE.
“ I long,"