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anity. I was offended when God was always represented to me as an angry, jealous judge, who is muchpleased when he has an opportunity of shewing his revenge, though I knew he was love itself; and am now convinced, that though he must punish, yet he takes no kind of delight in it, and is rather for pardoning. From my infancy, I have known but few Christians that had not scandalized me by their enthusiasm and wickedness, which they wanted to hide under the cloak of piety. I knew indeed that not all Christians were such, or talked such an affected language ; but I was too volatile to inquire of better Christians after the true spirit of religion. Frequently I heard sermons in my youth, but they made no impression upon me. That without Christ there was no salvation, was the only truth which served for a subject in all sermons, and this was repeated over and over again in synonymous expressions. But it was never set in its true light, and never properly proved. I saw people cry at church, but after their tears were dried up, I found them in their actions not in the least better, but rather allowing themselves in every transgression, upon the privilege of being faithful believers. He said, he observed in Paul a great genius, much wisdom, and true philosophy. The apostles write extremely well, now and then inimitably beautiful, and at the same time with simplicity and clearness. The freethinkers extol the fables of Æsop, but the parables and narrations of Christ will not please them: notwithstanding they are derived from a greater knowledge of nature, and contain more excellent morality. Besides, they are proposed with a more noble and artless simplicity, than any writings of the kind, among ancient or modern authors.”
Brandt, the companion of Struensee in guilt and misfortunes, with great freedom owned that his imprisonment was the means of setting his soul at liberty; and he found his chains so little troublesome to him, that he would oftentimes take them up and kiss them.
« For,” said he, “ when I believed myself to be free, I was a miserable slave to my passions; and now since I am prisoner, truth and grace hath set me at liberty.” He pitied the miserable condition of those that were under the yoke of unbelief and sin, which he himself had worn, and kept himself in it by read. ing deistical writings. He mentioned, among the rest, the works of Voltaire, to whom he owed very little that was good. He said he had spent upon his travels four days with this old advocate for unbelief, and had heard nothing from him but what could corrupt the heart and sound morals. He was very sorry for all this, but was much pleased, that he had found a taste for the true word of God, whose efficacy upon his heart, since he read it with good intentions, convinced him of its divine origin.
It is usually said, that example has a more powerful effect upon the mind than precept. None can deny that these are respectable. They are such as every deist and sceptic in the kingdom should well consider, before he ventures his salvation upon the justness of his own principles. If equal danger, or if any danger, attended our embracing the Christian scheme, the unbeliever would be in a certain degree justified, in withholding his assent to that scheme: but as all the hazard is on his side of the question, and none on the other, language furnishes no words to express the extreme folly of treating religion with levity, much less with ridicule and contempt.
EXAMPLES OF DYING CHRISTIANS, WHO HAD LIV
ED IN THE SPIRIT OF THE WORLD.
This shall ye have of my hand, ye shall lie down in sorrow. Is. L.11.
Grotius possessed the brightest genius ever record ed of a youth in the learned world, and was a profound admirer, and a daily reader, of the Sacred Writings; yet after all his attainments, reputation, and
labour in the cause of learning, he was constrained at last to cry out, “ Ah! I have consumed my life in a laborious doing of nothing I would give all my learning and honour for the plain integrity of John Urick!”
This John Urick was a religious poor man, who spent eight hours of the day in prayer, eight in labour, and but eight in meals, sleep, and other necessaries.(6)
Grotius had devoted too much of his time to worldly company, secular business, and learned trifles; too little to the exercises of the closet. This is forsaking the fountain of living waters, and hewing out to ourselves broken cisterns that can hold no water.
When Salmasius, who was one of the most consummate scholars of his time, drew to the close of his life, he exclaimed bitterly against himself.. “Oh!" said he, “ I have lost a world of time! time, the most précious thing in the world! whereof had I but one year more, it should be spent in David's Psalms and Paul's Epistles!"_" Oh! mind the world less, and God
Dr. Johnson was a serious believer in Jesus Christ for many years. Mixing, however, too much with men of no religion, his mind was kept barren of spiritual consolation, and he was grievously haunted with the fear of death through his whole life. “ The approach of death,” said he to a friend, “is very dreadful. I am afraid to think on that which I know I cannot avoid. - It is vain to look round and round for that help which cannot be had. Yet we hope and hope, and fancy that he who has lived to-day, may live to-morrow."
To another friend he said, “ He never had a moment in which death was not terrible to him.”
(6) Alfred, king of England, who fought fifty-six battle's with the Danes, many of which were gained by his own personal courage and great example, dedicated, with strict punctuality, eight hours every day to acts of devotion, eight hours to public affairs, and as many to sleep, study, and necessary refreshment.
On another occasion he declared in company at Oxford, “ I am afraid I shall be one of those who shall be damned-sent to hell, and punished everlastingly.” When he however, actually approached dissolution, « all his fears were calmed and absorbed by the prevalence of his faith, and his trust in the merits and propitiation of Jesus Christ.” He was full of resignation, strong in faith, joyful in hope of his own salvation, and anxious for the salvation of his friends. He particularly exhorted Sir Joshua Reynolds, on his dying bed, “ to read the Bible, and to keep holy the sabbathday.”
Haller, a Swiss physician, the delight and ornament of his country, was a great philosopher, a profound politician, an agreeable poet, and more particularly famous for his skill in botany, anatomy, and physic. During his last sickness he was visited by Joseph, the late emperor of Germany. Upon his death-bed, owing, probably to the variety of his literary pursuits, the multiplicity of his engagements, and the honours heaped upon him by the world, he went through sore conflicts of spirit concerning his interest in the salvation of the Redeemer.-His mind was clouded, and his soul destitute of comfort. In his last moments, however, he expressed renewed confidence in God's mercy through Christ, and left the world in peace.
Sir John Mason, on his death-bed, said,'“ I have lived to sec five princes, and have been privy-counselior to four of them. I have seen the most remarkable things in foreign parts, and have been present at most state transactions for thirty years together; and I have learnt this after so many years experience-That seriousness is the greatest wisdom, temperance the best physic, and a good conscience the best estate. And, were I to live again, I would change the court for a cloister, my privy-counsellor's bustle for a hermit's retirement, and the whole life I have lived
in the palace, for an hour's enjoyment of God in the chapel."(7)
Philip the Third, king of Spain, when he drew near the end of his days, expressed his deep regret for a careless and worldly life in the following e nphatical words:-“ Ah! how happy would it have been for me, had I spent these twenty-three years, that I have held my kingdom, in retirement !"
Mazarine, one of the greatest statesmen in Europe, cried out a little before his death, with astonish nent and tears :—“Oh! my poor soul! what will become of thee? Whither wílt thou go! Were I to live again, I would be a capuchin, rather than a courtier."
George Villiers, duke of Buckingham, was the richest man, and one of the greatest wits in the court of Charles II; and yet such were his vices and extravagances, that before he died, he was reduced to
(7) James, earl of Marlborough, who was killed in a battle at sea, on the coast of Holland, A. D. 1665, having a kind of presen. timent of his own death, wrote to Sir Hugh Pollard a letter, of which the following is an extract:-" I will not speak ought of the vanity of this world ; your own age and experience will save that labour; but there is a certain thing that goeth up and down in the world, called religion, dressed and pretended fantastically, and to purposes bad enough, which yet, by such evil dealing, loseth not its being. Moreover, God in his infinite mercy hath given us his holy word, in which, as there are many things hard to be understood, so there is enough plain and easy, to quiet our minds, and direct us concerning our future being I confess to God and you, I have been a great neglecter, and, I fear, a despiser, of it-God, of his infinite mercy, pardon me the dreadful fault. But when I retired myself from the noise and deceitful vanity of the world, I found no comfort in any other resolution, than what I had from thence. I commend from the bottom of my heart the same to your happy use. Dear Sir Hugh, let us be more generous than to believe we die as the beasts that perish; but with the Christian, manly, brave resolution, look to what is eternal. I * will not trouble you further. Shew this letter to my friends, and to whom you please. The only great God, and holy God, Father, Son, and holy Ghost, direct you to an happy end of your life, and send us a joyful resurrection. So prays your true friend,