Слике страница
PDF
ePub

light of eternity kindled a splen. die; yet if his curtains were at dor; which has brightened and any time closed, he would literbrightened till the curtain of ally scream till they were open. death has been spread over it ? ed, and till he could perceive

Thomas Paine, the author of that some fellow-man was nigh the “ Age of Reason," died at him. Was this courageous in a New York, June 8, 1809, at dying man ? Did it appal a bold the age of seventy two years; infidel to have living beings with. and as his name has acquired drawn for a moment from his some distinction by the virulence, eye, and to be, as it were, in with which he has attacked the the sole presence of God ? Did christian religion, it may not be a sense of desertion come over unprofitable to survey his con- him, when his earthly friends duct in thelast moments of his life. were not by his side? Was he From a man of the most abject unable to repose himself upon meanness of spirit, whose pen. the great Creator, in whom he uriousness in the midst of com- professed to believe ? Did this parative wealth made him dis. firm Unitarian, who boasted that honest and unjust, no one will be "believed in God and God expect any elevation of mind. alone,” and who had no faith Nor will it be thought, that a in the atonement of the Son, and man, who daily reduced himself and no regard to the proffered by his habits of intemperance to grace of the Holy Spirit, find a condition inferior to that of himself the victim of terrific the brutes, would exhibit much fears, when he no longer heard of his boasted attribute of the sound of human footsteps, and son." All that could be expect. when the thought of appearing ed from such a man, if he was before God was forced upon him? true to his principles, is the sul. Two of the ministers of New len quietness of presumption and York called upon Mr. Paine fearlessness, or the dead calm of with the benevolent desire of im. stupidity.

parting to him some religious What then was the conduct instruction. One of them re. of Mr. Paine, as the king of peated the words "he that be. terrors approached ? Was he lieveth on the Son hath everlast. fearless and undisturbed, or in. ing life; but he that believethi sensible ? An account of his not the Son shall not see life; life, written by Mr. Cheetham of but the wrath of God abideth on New York, has lately been pub. him.” Mr. P. immediately pro. lished, and in that work the un. nounced such representations to disputed testimony of the physi- be “Popish stuff;" and direct. cian and of the nurse, who at.

ed the ministers to leave the tended him in his last sickness, room.

He afterwards gave or. is brought forward. It appears ders not to have them again ada that Mr. Paine, like Mr. Gib. mitted, as their discourse disa bon, was unwilling to be left turbed him. Would the truths alone, as he drew near to the of scripture have interrupted his confines of another world. Al. peace, if, in his conscience and though in conversation he pro. from the bottom of his heart, he fessed to be perfectly willing to disbelieved them? Vol. II. New Series.

30

rea.

Mr. P. was frequently visited never uttered the above exclama. in his sickness by his brethren tion, yet the time is coming when in infidelity, who were actuated both he and every created and by very different motives from intelligent being will “bow the those, which governed the minis. knee at the name of Jesus, and ters of God? They came to confess Jesus to be the Lord.” strengthen him in his rejection When the Son of God shall de. of the truth ; to encourage him scend from heaven with a shout, manfully to contemn the glad and with the voice of the arch. tidings of salvation ; to warn angel, and when his countenance him of the disgrace of betraying shall be seen like the sun shining the least symptom of compunce in his strength, it will no longer tion; and to fortify the dying be a question whether he is a man in his cheerless faith, if prince and a Savior, or whether faith it can be called, by appeal. he is to be worshipped. ing to his egregious vanity and It would afford some relief to to his swollen pride. Was not the benevolent mind, if Mr. P. this an office worthy of demons had left unextinguished the faint in human shape ? From a man glimmerings of contrition, or of thus situated ought we to expect regard to long rejected truth, any intimation of his belief in which the exclamation above reJesus Christ ? Should we not cited indicates. But the Chris. suppose, that, for the honor of tian is compelled to withhold the the craft, his lips would be seal. charitable hope, that the scorner ed in stubborn silence, whatever became at length truly penitent. sensations there might be in his Dr. Manley, the physician of heart? Yet it is an unquestion. Mr. P. very solemnly asked him, ed truth, and a truth which a day or two before his death, ought to be carried to the ears whether, from his calling apon of every man, who has been cor.

the Savior, it would be just to rupted by the Age of Reason,' conclude that he was at length that Mr. Paine in his paroxisms convinced of his divinity; and of distress repeatedly and con. whether he had renounced his stantly cried out, 0, Lord, former sentiments, and at length help me! God, help me! Je assented to the truth of the gos. sus Christ, help me!”

pel ? To these or similar ques. Is this the daring infidel, who tions, when first proposed, Mr. blasphemed the Savior of the P. made no reply. When they world? Does he in the extremity were repeated, and he was again of his suffering call upon him asked, whether he believed that for aid, and is the secret convic. Jesus Christ was the Son of God; tion of his existence and uni. he answered, “I have no wish versal agency

thus extorted to believe upon that subject.”. from the expiring unbeliever? These it is thought, It is a poor triumph to boast last words relating to his relig, over this wretched man for his ious views, that he uttered, and reluctant, or rather involuntary, thus did he persevere in his retestimony to a truth, which in jection of the gospel. His conthe days of his health he had duct seems to justify the asser. ridiculed; for though he had tion, that it was owing to his

were the

COMMUNICATED IN A LETTER TO

ONE OP THE EDITORS.

pride, that he did not, when religious views and zealous for thus called upon, explicitly make the orthodox faith, while yet his the acknowledgment, which was character is not moulded into extorted from him by suffering. the christian form ; let him an. From his address to Jesus Christ, ticipate with confidence the fe. and from the circumstance, that licity of heaven, while yet the his pious nurse read the Bible love of God does not reign su. to him for hours, without see- preme in his breast; notwith. ing in him any symptoms of dis- standing all this superiority to pleasure, it is confidently be. the wretched infidel, whose dy. lieved, that he at times felt some ing conduct has been surveyed, degree of compunction; but his he may be plunged at last into compunction being generally less the same abyss of ruin. A. powerful than his pride, it was repressed and concealed ;' except when his extreme pains extin. guished within him the thought

For the Panoplist. of his reputation and character. At those moments his lips could not refuse to say, “Lord Jesus, help me!” Who is there, that possesses

Newark, 25th Jan. 1810.

REV. AND DEAR SIR, a particle of reason, that would for hundreds of worlds die the

The following is taken, by permission of

the worthy author, from a very hand. leath of Thomas Paine? Yet it

some, appropriate, and consoling disis not necessary to reject the course, delivered by Rev. James Rich.

ards, on the 14th of the present month, Scriptures and to become a deist,

and occasioned by the much lamented in order to die as hopelessly as death of that pious and hopeful student he. Let a man contend earnest. in divinity, Mr. Lewis L. Congar. It

has been solicited, for a place in the Jy for the christian religion, and

Panoplist, because it is respectful to yet pay no regard to its laws and

the memory of one, who was an ornatake no interest in its truths;

ment to the celebrated Seminary, of

which he was an alumnus; because it let him be perfectly moral in his

will enrich the pages of that useful conduct, while yet the spirit of

publication; and because it will gratipiety has never visited his heart; fy the numerous relatives and friends

of the deceased. Yours, etc. jet him enrol himself among the

BEN O******. followers of Christ, while yet he is destitute of the temper of From the text, BE STILL their Master, and his life is but a AND KNOW THAT I AM God, the scene of gay amusement and bu. preacher was led to discourse on sy worldliness ; let him be seri. the nature of resignation, and ous and contemplative, and to offer various considerations, think much and habitually upon by which this christian virtue is religion and eternity, while yet recommended. He then closed he has never been humbled into his address in this manner : penitence, and has not renounc- 66 But what if the Lord has ed his own rightcousness and at. given us comfortable hopes, that tributed his hopes to the free our departed friends have ex. grace of God through Jesus changed the sins and sorrows of Christ; let him be correct in his this miserable world for an eter. pal rest in heaven? Is there no. of this world; and, 0, enrap thing here to reconcile us to their turing thougbt, we shall tread death ? Embarked with us on a the fields of light add glory to. stormy and perilous sea, they gether! We shall stand with have reached their destined port them on Zion's everlasting hills, before us.

And shall we mourn to look back on the course we on this account? Could we wish have held across this wilderness; to see them driven back in their to converse of all the events, course, and made to conflict with which have befallen us in our the rough winds and merciless pilgrimage state ; and to shout waves again ? Has the gracious together, in one eternal song Redeemer heard their prayers, the praises of him, that loved us, and given them to overcome and and washed us in his own blood. to sit down with him upon his Whose heart does not burn with. throne, even as he has overcome in him at the prospect ? Who, and is set down with his Father that has a particle of faith in upon his throne; and can we another world, but must look desire to see them again subject. forward with joy to the moment, ed to the weakness, to the temp. when he shall meet the departed tations, to the sins and sorrows souls of his pious friends, with of the present life? What are all the spirits of just men made all our hopes and expectations perfect ? at last, but to finish our weari. " But what shall be said, my some pilgrimage and enter our. dear brethren, of the distressing selves into the mansions of eter- event, which has led us to these nal rest and glory? But, alas! reflections ? Shall we say, it hath we are afraid of being left alone fallen out according to the pur.

way y! Like the disciples, pose and will of heaven? Shall who were afflicted at the thought we say that an infinitely wise of being separated from their God hath, in this case, acted Master, though he was going to wisely; and an infinitely kind heaven to prepare a place for and gracious God fulfilled the them, we are often troubled, purposes of his love and mercy? when our beloved relatives ad. What else can we say ? God in. vance a few steps before us and deed does not reveal to as the seize the crown of life sooner particular reasons of this dispenthen we expected.

sation ; but our duty is not the “But let us comfort ourselves less plain. It becomes us to bow with the recollection, that they with holy resignation to his will, are gone before us only to make and to say, The Lord gave and our way to heaven the more easy, the Lord hath taken away, bless. our progress towards it the more ed be the name of the Lord. rapid, and our entrance into it To us, the life of our dear the more joyful. It is but a young friend appeared exceedlittle while, and we shall follow ingly importaot. Not to say them. Our dust will soon min. what a treasure he was to his gle with their dust, and our spirits parents and sisters, to whom he join with their spirits. We shall was endeared by every cireum. meet them on a deathless shore- stance, which could make bin meet them, refined from the dross lovely in this relation, he was an

by the

as

object of great hope to the church he was impatient, or wished to of God. Few young men of dictate concerning his own fate. higher promise have appeared in He chose, that the will of the these days.

Lord should be done. 66 To a sound and vigorous 66 What greater consolation understanding, to a soft and can we have in his death ? Fallen obliging temper, he added, as asleep in it, his spirit, as we have far as human eyes can discover, every reason to believe, has al. all the reality and all the lustre ready joined the general assem. of the christian virtues. His at. bly of the church of the first tainments in science, and, espec- born in heaven. And can his ially, in that best of all sciences, dearest friends on earth wish him religion, were remarkable for back again ? No, I hear them his years. He bid fair to be a say, stay there happy spirit. distinguished luminary in the The Lord hath called thee, and church of Christ, to whose ser- the Lord hath need of thee. Who vice he had publicly and solemn. knows but he may be employed ly devoted himself. We had a ministering spirit, or a flattered ourselves that this ris. guardian angel to those, whom ing star would long continue to he loved? Who can tell but he gladden us with its beams. But, may be present in this assembly, ah, how suddenly has it disap. or be looking from the battle pcared !-disappeared to us only. ments above, to witness the man. It is gone to shine in other sys- ner in which his departure affects tems and to burn in brighter the church and congregation, worlds.

once so dear to him? Could he “God has affectingly taught speak to us, what would be his us, in this instance, that his ways language? What would he say are not as our ways, nor his to these bereaved relatives? thoughts as our thoughts. He Would it not be,“ Dry up has called this amiable youth your tears. For me to live was away, in the morning of his Christ, but to die is gain. I am days, and just at the very mo- safely landed on the immortal ment, when the highest expecta. shores, have reached the bosom tions were entertained of his im. of Abraham and the Paradise of mediate and extensive usefulness. God. Now I see, as I am seen ; He was licensed to preach the now I know, as I am known. Í gospel, a few days before the have exchanged the earthly for commencement of that illness, the heavenly sanctuary ;

the which terminated his life.

songs of my fellow saints on " But the Lord's will is done, earth for the songs of the reand why should we mourn? He

deemed in heaven. Sin is gone, did not mourn for himself. He temptation is gone, fear is gone, was willing to depart and to be sorrow is gone, and all the for. with Christ, which is far better. mer things are passed away. Why To one of his friends, who mourn ye, that my warfare is watched his dying pillow, he accomplished, my toils and dan. said, “What a mercy will it be gers at an end ? Why these tears if the Lord thus early shall call that I have reached that better me home to himself.” Not that world,, where all tears are for

« ПретходнаНастави »