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ought to be serious; vaunt where you should tremble; or sneer where you should argue. In these respects you are unquestionably to blame. If any thing in nature is of importance, it is surely how we may "escape the death which never dies," and attain the end of our creation. WALSINGHAM judged like a man of sense, when he said to the merry Courtiers laughing on every hand of him :-"Ah! while we laugh, all things are serious round about us; GOD is serious, who preserveth us, and hath patience towards us; CHRIST is serious, who shed his blood for us; the HOLY GHOST is serious, when he striveth with us; the whole creation is serious in serving GoD and us; they are serious in hell and in heaven; how then can we laugh and be foolish?" We believe these denunications of Scripture to be the words of eternal truth; and till you have demonstrated
and, I believe, have heard more arguments for Atheism than ever your Grace did; but I have lived long enough to see there is nothing in them, and so I hope your Grace will.”
We have an account in the Gentleman's Mag. for June 1798, of a Man of very distinguished talents, well known for the laxity of his principles, and the licentiousness of his conduct, who died in the course of last year at a very advanced age. He bore the advances of dissolution tolerably well, while death seemed at some distance; but when death drew near, his atheistic principles gave way, and he was afflicted with the most excruciating mental pangs. When he came to stand on the brink of eter– nity, all his resolution forsook him. Though free from pain, he became restless and disturbed. His last hours were spent in the agonies and horrors of remorse. He cried for mercy to that GoD, whom he had wantonly denied; and there let him rest-till the day of account!
I could wish the deistical reader would turn to the seventh section of Dr. PRIESTLEY's Observations on the Increase of Infidelity, where he will find the spirit of Infidelity exemplified in the Correspondence between VOLTAIRE and D'ALEMBERT. The resolution of these two Deists was to live and die laughing. That they lived laughing, is partly true; but how did these gentlemen die? The tune was changed!
This too was the case with the witty and facetious THOMAS BROWN, who used to treat Religion very lightly, and would often say, that he understood the world better, than to have the imputation of Righteousness laid to his charge. Nevertheless, upon the approach of death, his heart misgave him, and he began to express sentiments of remorse for his past life. Thus we see, however men may bully and defy the devil at coffee-houses and taverns, they are all the while secretly afraid of him, and dare scarcely venture themselves alone in the dark, for fear he should surprize them with his cloven feet. See the General Biog. Dictionary, Article BROWN.
them to be certainly false, you are not wise to treat them with disregard.
"What none can prove a forg'ry, may be true;
You know what pain of body is, and you are no stranger to a greater or less degree of uneasiness of mind. Experience, therefore, teaches us, that we are capable of such uncomfortable sensations. The goodness of GOD is not of that nature to prevent human misery. The present state largely abounds therewith. Now, as pain and misery are permitted here, it is not improbable but they will be the same in the future state of existence. When only your head, or tooth aches; when the gout, stone, or gravel, seize you; or when a burning fever makes your moisture like the drought in summer; do you then despise pain and anguish? We have been told that when MIRABEAU *, the elder, was seized with his last illness, he found himself so distressed, that he desired his Physician to dispatch him by poison. His voice having failed him, he wrote, "Would
* MIRABEAU has frequently been stiled an Infidel. I dare not, however, suppose that he was any other than a Christian, in the latter part of his time, though possibly of a peculiar cast. If one may judge from his Speech pronounced in the National Assembly of France on the 14th of January 1791, concerning the civil Constitution of the Clergy, he was certainly a believer in the SAVIOUR of mankind, and a most powerful advocate for regenerated Christianity. It is probable, indeed, he would have carried it no further than a sort of pure system of moral philosophy.
Speaking of this extraordinary genius, brings to my mind a remark. able Paper, which was published in the Complete Magazine for the month of October 1764, on the Causes of the Decline of the French Nation. The whole Paper is curious, but the latter part is so extremely applicable to the present state of Europe, that one can scarcely consider it as any other than prophetic. The close runs thus:
"The parliaments of France are obliged to conceal the strong spirit of liberty with which they are inflamed under the mask of loyalty, and of attachment to the monarchy. They remonstrate with force and elevation against every measure that tends to the prejudice of the provinces they protect. They can go no further; but they await the moment to strike the blow that shall lay the fabric of despotism in ruins. When this blow is struck, the effects of it will be equal to those of magic. The cottage will be put on a level with the palace; the peasant with the
<3 you think that the sensation of death proves so painful?" His speech having returned, he said, "My pains are in"supportable. I have an age of strength, but not a mo"ment of courage." A convulsion ensued. It was followed by a loud scream-and he expired!
Thus, you see, how this famous French hero roared out under the anguish of his disorder. While he was in health he might, probably, be as full of courage as you now fee!. When the hand of GoD comes to be upon the stoutest of us, we are soon taught, that all our boasted strength is perfect weakness, and all our vaunted courage perfect cowardice. We may be permitted for a time to carry on the war against GoD and his CHRIST ;-but it will not do. A sick bed, or a dying pillow, will, in all likelihood, bring us to our senses*. Or should these be so unfortunate as
prince. Ranks shall be confounded; titles, distinctions, and birth, shail tumble into an undistinguished heap of confusion. A new moral creation shall strike the view of an admiring universe; and France, like old Rome, in her first flights to empire, shall appear with the sceptre of universal dominion bourgeoning in her hands. Out of universal couffusion, order shall arise: the Great of nature's creating will assume their places: and the Great by title and accident, will drop despised into the common mass of the people."
* A more extraordinary instance of impenitency I have not read, than that of a WILLIAM WILLIAMS, who died in the parish of Tarvin near Chester, in April 1791, and was buried at Great Acton Church, near Nantwich, by the Rev. Mr. WILSON. If my information is right, and I have no reason to call it in question, but from the horribleness of it, this unhappy man had been extremely wicked all his life. When he drew near his end, being about seventy years of age, he determined to make his will, and leave all he had from his wife and children, alledging that the latter were none of his. But though he bade fifty pounds as a reward, no persons could be found who would sign as witnesses. desired, when he died, that a pair of clog shoes should be put into his coffin, that he might pound devils and damned souls with them in hell. Being reproved for his swearing and wickedness, he told those who reproved him, that he neither regarded them, nor their new God; he would curse and swear so long as he had breath.--He did so.-) dered his body to be drawn in his own cart to be buried.---It was so.-He charged that five shillings should be spent at every public house on the road.--Some of it was so.-He desired he might be laid at the corner of the church-yard next the public house, that he might have the pleasure of hearing the company there curse and swear.--He, moreover, requested, that every one of his companions would drink a health standing upon his grave after it was filled up. They did so; and continued to drink
to fail, a day of judgment will assuredly do to the business, which they had left undone.
"To die,-to sleep ;
"To sleep! perchance to dream! ay, there's the rub!
If man is a reasonable creature, there is an Hereafter. And if there is an Hereafter, it must be a state of retribution. A moral GOVERNOUR must deal with moral agents according to their moral conduct. The perfection of his nature requires it. I swear by the ETERNAL, therefore, all the denunciations of Scripture shall have their accomplishment upon you, if you prevent it not by a compliance with the gracious and equitable demands of the Gospel.
It surely is a very astonishing consideration, that a being such as man, placed on a small globe of earth in a little corner of the universe, cut off from all communication with the other systems, which are dispersed through the
and make merry over his grave, for near two hours after the inter
This shews us there are cases to be met with, of persons, who are so hardened in their sin, and so totally given up of GoD, that neither sickness nor death can make any impression upon them. I remember one of this unhappy description in the county of Essex, whom I both visited during his illness, and interred after he was dead. He was a clever fellow, and of a good family, but so totally depraved, that when one of his bottle-companions wrote to inform him that he was about to die and go to hell, and desired to know what place he should bespeak for him there, he sat down, and gave him for reply, that he did not care where it was, if there was only brandy and rum enough. Thus he lived-and, soon after this, died a martyr to spirituous liquors-cursing and blasphem. ing, notwithstanding all that could be done to bring him to a better mind.--Being possessed of two bank bills of the value of ten pounds each, which was all the little property he had left :-"Now," said he to a person who stood by, "when I have spent these in brandy and rum, I shall be contented to die and go to hell!" He sunk, however, before they were expended, and left just enough to bury him.
These are shocking instances of obduration, which seem to vie with PHARAOH himself, and ought to warn every man how he trifles with the convictions of his own mind, and causes the SPIRIT of GOD to withdraw from him.
immenfity of space, imprisoned as it were, on the spot where he happens to be born, almoft utterly ignorant of the variety of fpiritual exiftences, and greatly circumfcribed in his knowledge of material things, by their remoteness, magnitude, or minutenefs, a ftranger to the nature of the very pebbles on which he treads, unacquainted, or but very obfcurely informed by his natural faculties of his condition after death; it is wonderful that a being, fuch as this, fhould reluctantly receive, or faftidiously reject the inftruction of the ETERNAL GOD! Or, if this is saying too much, that he should haftily, and negligently, and triumphantly conclude, that the SUPREME BEING never had condescended to inftruct the race of man. It might properly have been expected, that a rational being, fo circumftanced, would have fedously inquired into a fubject of fuch vaft importance; that he would not have fuffered himself to have been diverted from the investigation, by the pursuits of wealth or honour, or any temporal concern; much lefs by notions taken up without attention, arguments admitted without examination, or prejudices imbibed in early youth from the profane ridicule, or impious jeftings of sensual and immoral men*.
It is customary with you Gentlemen, who reject the Scriptures, to confider every believer of them as weak and credulous. I would recommend you, however, to suspend your cenfures, and to reconfider the matter before you form a final judgment-Do you feriously think, then, that a man, who believes in GOD, that he is the Creator and Governour of the world, and a Rewarder of them that diligently feek him:-that a man who embraces the Gospel as a
Bishop WATSON's Collection of Theological Tracts, vol. 1. p. 9. preface, from whence this paragraph is taken, with fome trifling altera
Let the more folid, rational, and inquifitive Deift, who is in pursuit of moral and religious truth, and wishes to have his mind fatisfied in the great things which concern human happinefs, have recourfe to Dr. CLARKE'S Book on the Truth and Certainty of the Chriftian religion; and then let him fay, whether all who believe in the SAVIOUR of the world, are weak and credulous persons. Perhaps a piece of more rational and conclufive argumentation was never presented to the confideration of mankind.