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letter reached him, and, through the blessing of God, it put him upon a serious inquiry into the truth of Christianity, which resulted in his dying, not like a philosopher, but like a Christian. The letter, which is dated “ Germantown, December 25, 1828," is too long to be copied entire. I shall quote some portions of it.
“In relation to dying, my dear friend, you talk like a sick man, and just as I used to do when very despondent. Nature certainly has a strong abhorrence to this cessation of corporeal action, and all animals have a dread of death who are conscious of its approach. A part of our dread of death is purely physical, and is avoidable only by a philosophical conviction of its necessity; but the greater part of our dread, and the terrors with which the avenues to the grave are surrounded, are from another and a more potent source. "'Tis conscience that makes cowards of us all,' and forces us by our terrors to confess that we dread something beyond physical dissolution-and that we are terrified, not at merely ceasing to breathe, but that we have not lived as we ought to have donehave not effected the good that was within the compass abilities, and neglected to exercise the talents we possessed to the greatest advantage. The only remedy for this fear of death is to be sought by approaching the Author of all things in the way prescribed by himself, and not according to our own foolish imaginations.
"I was once an infidel, as I told you in the West Indies ; I became a Christian from conviction, produced by the candid inquiry recommended to you. I know of no other way in which death can be stripped of its terrors; certainly none better can be wished. Philosophy is a fool, and pride a madman. Many persons die with what is called manly firmness—that is, having acted a part all their lives according to their* prideful creed, they must die game. They put on as smooth a face as they can, to impose on the spectators, and die firmly. But this is all deception; the true state of their minds at the very time, nine times out of ten, is worse than the most horrible imaginings even of hell itself. Some who have led lives adapted to sear their consciences and petrify all the moral sensibilities, die with a kind of indifference similar to that with which a hardened convict submits to a new infliction of disgraceful punishment; but the man who dies as a man ought to die, is the humble
minded, believing Christian; one who has tasted all the blessings of creation-who has had an enlightened view of the wisdom and glory of his Creator—who has felt the vanity of mere worldly pursuits and motives, and been permitted to know the mercies of a blessed Redeemer as he approaches the narrow house appointed for all the living. Physical death may cause his senses to shrink and fail at the trial, but his mind, sustained by the Rock of ages, is serene and unwavering; he relies not on his own righteousness, for that would be vain; but the arms of mercy are beneath him, the ministering spirits of the Omnipotent are around him; he does not die manfully, but he rests in Jesus; he blesses his friends--he casts his hope on One all-powerful to sustain and mighty to save, then sleeps in peace. He is dead-but liveth ; for He, who is the resurrection and the life, has declared, “Whoso believeth on me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whoso liveth and believeth in me shall never die.'”
Eighteen months after penning this eloquent letter, the author of it followed his friend into eternity. One who was with him in the closing scene, says, “ Lord Jesus, receive my spirit ! were the last words he uttered; and his countenance appeared as if he had a foretaste of Heaven, even before his spirit left this world.”
Such, my friends, is the Christianity I have urged upon your attention in this discourse. May you all experience its power, share in its consolations, and live by its precepts; and at length, in God's appointed time, may you “die the death of the righteous, and your last end be like his !!