« EelmineJätka »
made to a foolish girl, at a drunken entertain
The Baptist's fate being thus determined, "im"mediately the king sent an executioner, and com"manded his head to be brought: and he went and "beheaded him in prison." This deed of darkness must have been done in the season proper for it, the middle of the night; and St. John was probably awakened, to receive his sentence, out of that sleep, which truth and innocence can secure to their possessor in any situation. The generality of mankind have reason enough to deprecate a sudden death, lest it should surprise them in one of their many unguarded hours. But to St. John no hour could be such. He had finished the work which God had given him to do. He had kept the faith, and preserved a conscience void of offence. He had done his duty, and waited daily and hourly, we may be sure, for his departure. He was now, therefore, called off from his station with honour, to quit the well-fought field for the palace of the Great King; to refresh himself, after the dust, and toil, and heat of the day, by bathing in the fountain of life and immortality; to exchange his blood-stained armour for a robe of glory, and to have his temporary labours rewarded with eternal rest; to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of God; and as the friend of the Bridegroom, to enter into the joy of his Lord. From the darkness and confinement of a prison, he passed to the liberty and light of heaven; and while malice was gratified with a sight of his head, and his body was carried by a
few friends in silence to the grave, his immortal spirit repaired to a court, where no Herod desires to have his brother's wife; where no Herodias thirsts after the blood of a prophet; where he who hath laboured, with sincerity and diligence, in the work of reformation, is sure to be well received; where holiness, zeal, and constancy are crowned, and "receive palms from the Son of God, whom they "confessed in the world"."
So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed,
a 2 Esdr. ii. 45-47.
LETTERS ON INFIDELITY.
TO WHICH IS PREFIXED,
A LETTER TO DR. ADAM SMITH.
The doctrine of Epicurus is ever ruinous to society: it had its rise when Greece was declining, and perhaps hastened its dissolution, as also that of Rome; it is now propagated in France and England, and seems likely to produce the same effects in both. GRAY'S MEMOIRS, p. 202.
It is of no consequence, gentle reader, to you, any more than it is to Dr. SMITH, that should know the name of the person who now addresseth you. Your mind cannot be biassed, either way, by that of which you remain ignorant. The remarks in the following pages are not therefore true, or false, because I made them; but I made them, because I thought them to be true. Read, consider, and determine for yourself. If you find no satisfaction, throw the book into the fire; regret (but with moderation, as becometh a philosopher) the loss of your sixpence; and take care not to lose another in the same manner. If, on the contrary, you should find satisfaction (and it is humbly hoped you will find a great deal), neglect not to communicate to others, what has thus been communicated to you. Speak handsomely of me wherever you go, and introduce me to your kinsfolk and acquaintance. The enemies of religion are awake; let not her friends sleep.
I intended a much longer work; but, like the learned editor of Mr. Hume's Life, am necessitated to "gratify," with all possible expedition," the impatience of the public curiosity;" so eager is it to hear, what they who believe in God can possibly have to say for themselves. And if this will do the business, why should you be troubled with more? I am far from agreeing with Mr. Voltaire in all
a The price of the first edition of this Letter.