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ousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me at that day.”
“The sad evening before the death of the noble Altamont, I was with him. No one was there, but his physician, and an intimate friend whom he loved, and whom he had ruined. At my coming in, he said ;“You and the physician, are come too late. I have neither life, nor hope. You both aim at miracles. You would raise the dead.”_Heaven I said was merciful. “Or I could not have been thus guilty. What has it not done to bless and to save me?
-I have been too strong for Omnipotence! I plucked down ruin!" I said, The blessed Redeemer_Hold! hold! you wound me!—This is the rock on which I split-I denied his name. Refusing to hear any thing from me, or take any thing from the physician, he lay silent as far as sudden darts of pain would permit, till the clock struck. Then with vehemence; “O time! time! it is fit thou shouldst thus strike thy murderer to the heart.-How art thou fled forever! --A month!--Oh! for a single week! I ask not for years; though an age were too little for the much I have to do.” On my saying, we could not do too much : that heaven was a blessed place“ So much the worse. 'Tis lost! Heaven is to me the severest part of hell!” Soon after I proposed prayer.-“ Pray you that can. I never prayed. I cannot pray-Nor need I. Is not heayen on my side already? It closes with my
conscience. Its severest strokes but second my own." His friend being much touched, even to tears, at this--who could forbear? I could not ;-with a most affectionate look he said: “ Keep those tears for thyself. I have undone thee.-Dost weep for me? That's cruel. What can pain me more?” Here his friend, too inuch affected, would have left him. “ No, stay. Thou still mayest hope. Therefore hear me.
How madly have I talked? how inadly hast thou listened and believed? But look on my present state, as a full answer to thee, and to myself. This body is all
weakness and pain; but my soul, as if stung up by torment to greater strength and spirit, is full
pow. erful to reason, full mighty to suffer. And that which thus triumphs within the jaws of mortality is doubtless, immortal.-And, as for a deity, nothing less than an Almighty could inflict what I feel.” I was about to congratulate this passive, involuntary confessor, on his asserting the two prime articles of his creed, extorted by the rack of nature; when he thus, said very passionately: “No, no! let me speak
I have not long to speak. My much injured friend! my soul, as my body, lies in ruins; in scattered fragments of broken thought: remorse for the past, throws my thoughts on the future. Worse Cread of the future strikes it back on the past. I turn, and turn, and find no ray. Didst thou feel the mountain that is on me, thou wouldst struggle with the martyr for his stake, and bless heaven for the flames:-that is not everlasting flame; that is not an unquenchable fire.” How were we struck! Yet, soon after still more. With what an eye of distraction, what a face of despair, he cried out; “My principles have poisoned my friend; my extravagance has beggared my boy; my unkindness has murdered my wife! And is there another hell?_Oh! thou blasphemed, yet most indulgent, Lord God! Hell is a refuge, if it hides me from thy frown.”
“Soon after his understanding failed. His terrified imagination uttered horrors not to be repeated, or ever forgotten. And ere the sun arose, the gay, young, noble, ingenious, and most wretched Altamont expired."
It is not easy for imagination itself to form a more affecting representation of a death-bed scene than that of this noble youth.
Sir, I was not long since called to visit a poor gentleman, ere while of the most robust body, and of the gayest
temper I ever knew. But when I visited him; Oh! how was the glory departed from him! I found him no more that sprightly and vivacious son of joy which he used to be; but languishing, pining away, and withering under the chastising hand of God.' His limbs feeble and trembling: his countenance forlorn and ghastly; and the little breath he had left, sobbed out in sorrowful sighs! his body hastening apace to the dust, to lodge in the silent grave, the land of dark. ness and desolation. His soul just going to God who gave it; preparing itself to wing away unto its long home; to enter upon an unchangeable and eternal state. When I was come up into his chamber, and had seated myself on his bed, he first cast a wishful look upon me, and then began as well as he was able to speak: “Oh! that I had been wise, that I had known this, that I had considered my latter end. Ah! death is knocking at my doors: in a few hours more I shall draw my last gasp; and then judgment, the tremendous judgment! How shall I appear, unprepared as I am, before the all-knowing and omnipotent God? How shall I endure the day of his coming!" When I mentioned among many other things, that strict holiness, which he had formerly so slightly esteemed, he replied with a hasty eagerness: “Oh! that holiness is the only thing I now long for. I would gladly part with all my estate, large as it is, or a world to obtain it. Now my benighted eyes are enlightened, I clearly discern the things that are excellent. What is there in the place whither I am going but God? Or what is there to be desired on earth but religion?"-But if this God should restore you to health, said I, think you that you should alter your former course? “ I call heaven and earth to witness,' said he, “ I would labour for holiness, as I shall soon labour for life. As for riches and pleasures, and the applauses of men, I account them as dross and dung ; no more to my happiness than the feathers that lie on the floor. Oh! if the righteous Judge would try me
once more; if he would but reprieve and spare me-little longer; in what a spirit would I spend the remainder of my days! I would know no other business, aim at no other end, than perfecting myself in holiness. Whatever contributed to that; every means of gráce, every opportunity of spiritual improvment, should be dearer to me, than thousands of gold and silver. But alas! why do I amuse myself with fond imaginations ? The best resolutions are now insignificant, because they are too late. The day in which I should have worked is over and gone, and I see a sad, horrible night approaching, bringing with it the blackness of darkness for ever. Heretofore, woe is me! when God called, I refused ; when he invited, I was one of them that made excuse. Now, therefore I meet the reward of my deeds ; fearfulness and trembling have come upon me: I smart, and am in sore anguish already! and yet this is but the beginning of sorrows! it doth not yet appear what I shall be; but sure I shail be ruined, undone, and destroyed with an everlasting destruction !”.
This sad scene I saw with mine eyes; these words and many more equally affecting, I heard with mine ears, and soon after attended the unhappy gentleman to his tomb.(2)
(2) If the stings, lashes, twinges, and scorpions of a guilty conscience are so horrible, while we continue in the body, what must they be, when we are dislodged by death, and find that our damnation is sealed by the Judge Supreme? Let the lost soul in Shakespeare speak some little of future woe:
" But that I am forbid -
Cumberland, gives us a most mournful tale concerning a gentleman of infidel principles. “I remember him, in the height of his fame, the hero of his party ; no man so caressed, followed and applauded: he was a little loose, his friends would own, in his moral character, but then he was the honestest fellow in the world ; it was not to be denied, that he was rather free in his notions, but then he was the best crea.. ture living. I have seen men of the gravest characters wink at his sallies ; because he was so pleasant and so well bred, it was impossible to be angry with him. Every thing went well with him, and Antitheus seemed to be at the summit of human prosperity, when he was suddenly seized with the most alarming symptoms: he was at his country house, and which had rarely happened to him, at that time alone: wife or family he had none, and out of the multitude of his friends no one happened to be near him at the moment of his attack. A neighbouring physician was called out of bed in the night to come to him with all haste in this extremity: he found him sitting up in his bed supported by pillows, his countenance full of horror, his breath struggling as in the article of death, his pulse intermitting, and at times beating with such rapidity as could hardly be counted. Antitheus dismissed the attendants he had about him, and eagerly demanded of the physician, if he thought him in danger : the physician answered that he must fairly tell him he was in imminent danger.-How so! how so! do you think me dying ?-He was sorry to say, the symptoms indicated death.-Impossible! you must not let me die: I dare not die: O doctor! save me if you can.--Your situation, sir, is such, that it is not in mine, or any other man's art, to save you; and I think I should not do my duty, if I gave you any false hopes in these moments, which, if I am not mistaken, will not more than suffice for any worldly or other concerns, which you may have upon your mind to settle.My mind is full of horror, and I am