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of saving a lost world, that we make it our boast and song all the day through in the house of our pilgrimage.
“I'll praise my Maker with my breath,
Praise shall employ my nobler pow'rs ;
Or immortality endures.” We experience its effect in raising us from the ruins of our fall. We lament with sincere contrition the sins and follies of our unregenerate state. We discover nothing but condemnation, while we remain under the covenant of works. We flee for refuge to the only hope of sinful men ; and we consider ourselves as the happiest of God's creatures, in having this plank thrown out, on which we are permitted to escape safe to land. In the mean time we feel that this religion makes us easy, comfortable, happy; and seems adapted with consummate wisdom, to our state and circumstances.
“ Soft peace she brings, wherever she arrives,
This is the portion of happiness, which the gospel yields us while we live, and we have not the smallest fear that it will fail us when we dię: for we know, that our light affliction in this world, which is comparatively, but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; and that, if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.(3)
(3) “If there be one condition in this life more happy than ano. ther, it is, surely, that of him, who founds all his hopes of futurity on the promises of the gospel; who carefully endeavours to conform his actions to its precepts; looking upon the great God Almighty as his protector here, his rewarder hereafter, and his everlasting
If then the religion of Jesus Christ be a delusion, it is a happy delusion, and even a wise man would scarcely wish to be undeceived. He would rather be ready to say with Cicero, when speaking of the immortality of the soul : If in this I err, I willingly err; nor, while I live, shall any man wrest from me this error, with which I am extremely delighted.”(4)
It would not be difficult to produce striking instances of persons, as well from the Sacred Writings, as from the history of these latter ages, whose conduct and character have been conformable to the above representations. But as the Bible may be consulted at pleasure, we will cite a few instances of persons, who have been eminent during these latter ages only, and some of them, even in our own times. Dying infidels-penitent and recovered infidels-dying Christians, who have lived too much in the spirit of the world and Christians dying, either with great composure of mind, or in the full assurance of
preserver. This is a frame of mind so perfective of our nature, that if christianity, from the belief of which it can only be derived, were as certainly false, as it is certainly true, one could not help wishing, that it might be universally received in the world.”
Pope has a declaration worthy of memorial : “ The boy de pises the infant, the man the boy, the philosopher both, and the Christian all.”
(4) Addison saith, of the immortality of the soul:-"If it be a dream, let me enjoy it; since it makes me both the happier and
the better man.
(5) " There is nothing in history, which is so improving to the reader as those accounts which we meet with of the deaths of eminent persons, and of their behaviour at that dreadful season."
EXAMPLES OF DYING INFIDELS. "The wicked is driven away in his own wickedness." “ Horrible is the end of the unrighteous generation." HOBBES was a celebrated infidel in the last age, who, in bravado, would sometimes speak very unbecoming things of God and his word. Yet, when alone, he was haunted with the most tormenting reflections, and would awake in great terror, if his candle happened but to go out in the night. He could never bear any discourse of death, and seemed to cast off all thoughts of it.(6) He lived to be upwards of ninety. His last sensible words were, when he found he could live no longer, “ I shall be glad then to find a hole to creep out of the world at.” And notwithstanding all his high pretensions to learning and philosophy, his uneasiness constrained him to confess, when he drew near to the grave, that “he was about to take a leap in the dark." The writings of this old sinner, ruined the earl of Rochester, and many other gentlemen. As that nobleman himself declared, after his conversion.
The account which the celebrated Sully gives us of young Servin is uncommon. The beginning of June, 1623," says he, “ I set out for Calais, where I was to embark, having with me a retinue of upwards of two hundred gentlemen, or who called them- . selves such, of whom a considerable number were
(6) What an amiable character was the heathen Socrates, when compared with this infidel philosopher! Just before the cup of poison was brought him, entertaining his friends with an ami. able discourse on the immortality of the soul, he has these words: " Whether or no God will approve my actions, I know not; but this I am sure of, that I have at all times made it my endeavour to please him, and I have a good hope that this my endeavour will be accepted of him."
Who can doubt, but the merits of the all-atoning Lamb of God were extended to this virtuous heathen? How few professed Chris. tians can honestly make the same appeal?-Besides, Socrates seems to have had as firm a faith in a Saviour then to come, as many of the most virtuous of the Israelitish nation.
really of the first distinction. Just before my departure old Servin came and presented his son to me, and begged I would use my endeavours to make him a man of some worth and honesty ; but he confessed he dared not hope, not through any want of understanding or capacity in the young man, but from his . natural inclination to all kinds of vice. I found him to be at once both a wonder and a monster ; I can give no other idea of that assemblage of the most excellent and most pernicious qualities. Let the reader represent to himself a man of genius so lovely, and an understanding so extensive, as rendered him scarce ignorant of any thing that could be known ; of so vast and ready a comprehension, that he immediately made himself master of what he attempted ; and of so prodigious a memory, that he never forgot what he had once learned; he possessed all parts of philosophy and the mathematics, particularly fortification and drawing : even in theology he was so well skilled, that he was an excellent preacher whenever he had a mind to exert that talent, and an able disputant for and against the reformed religion indifferently; he not only understood Greek, Hebrew, and all the languages which we call learned, but also the different jargons or modern dialects; he accented and pronounced them so naturally, and so perfectly imitated the gestures and manners both of the several nations of Europe, and the particular provinces of France, that he might have been taken for a native of all or of any of these countries; and this quality he applied to counterfeit all sorts of persons, wherein he succeeded wonderfully; he was, moreover, the best comedian and greatest droll that perhaps ever appeared ; he had a genius for poetry, and had written many verses ; he played upon almost all instruments, was a perfect master of music, and sung most agreeably and justly; he Was of a disposition to do, as well as to know, all things, his body was perfectly well suited to his mind, he was light, nimble, dexterous, and fit for all exer
cises ; he could ride well, and in dancing, wrestling, and leaping, he was admired: there are not any recreative games that he did not know; and he was skilled in almost all the mechanic arts. But now for the reverse of the medal: here it appeared that he was treacherous, cruel, cowardly, deceitful; a liar, a cheat, a drunkard and glutton: a sharper in play, immersed in every species of vice, a blasphemer, an atheist; in a word, in him might be found all the vices contrary to 'nature, honour, religion, and society; the truth of which he himself evinced with his latest breath, for he died in the flower of his age, in a common brothel, perfectly corrupted by his debaucheries, and expired with a glass in his hand, cursing and denying God."
It is evident from this extraordinary case, that “ with the talents of an angel a man may be a fool.”There is no necessary connection between great natural abilities and religious qualifications. They may go together, but they are frequently found asunder.
Francis Newport, who died in the year 1692, was favoured both with a liberal and religious education.. After spending five years in the university, he was entered in one of the inns of the court. Here he fell into the hands of infidels, lost all his religious impressions, commenced infidel himself, and became a most abandoned character, uniting himself to a club of wretches who met together constantly to encourage each other in being critically wicked. In this manner he conducted himself for several years, till at length his intemperate courses brought on an illness, which revived all his former religious impressions, accompanied with an horror of mind inexpressible. The violence of his torments was such, that he sweat in the most prodigious manner. In nine days he was re· cluced from a robust state of health to perfect weakness, during all which time his language was the most dreadful that imagination can conceive. At one time, looking towards the fire, he said, “Oh! that I was to lie and broil upon the fire for a hundred thousand