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18 it.] of being charitable. by which the choice of the institution on which to bestow benevolence is influenced, are so various that it
is not possible to enumerate them."
Whatever these be, they operate with equal force when the question arises how the surplus of property shall be disposed of aster death. If men are inclined to contribute to the support of an institution during their lives, that same inclination should induce them to provide for its continued support after their death; and a sum, sufficient to produce at least an equivalent to the annual doination which they have been accustomed to bestow, may be spared, in most instances, without interfering with the just claims of relations, be they ever so near; and when these are far removed, the claims of public charities become so much the stronger, and a greater or smaller sum may be devoted to their service, according to the views which the testator has of the utility and claims of the respective institutions. Having thus finished the hints which I purposed to offer on this interesting subject, I conclude with two remarks. The first I would gladly address to the solicitor employed to assist a testator in drawing up his will, if I were not conscious that the delicacy of his situation will not allow him to interfere on such a subject without the sanction of higher authority. I therefore beg leave to put it in the form of a question to the members of the British legislature; and it is as follows:– “Would it not be beneficial to the community at large, not only to authorise every legal man to read to his client, before he proceed to draw up his will (unless the extreme illness of the client render this inexpedient) an address somewhat similar to that which follows; but also to impose an obligation upon him to certify, at the close of every will to which he is a witness, that he has done it; under a penalty, on the part of the solicitor, of twenty Pounds for every omission "
Hints relative to the Duty and Mode of making a Will.
PRoposed address from the soliciTOR TO H IS CLI ENT. “Before I proceed to execute your instructions, it is my duty respectfully to remind you not only of the importance of making choice of able, active, and conscientious persons to be your executors, but of the necessity of abstracting your mind from all hasty prejudices and undue partialities, in the directions you are going to give for the distribution of your property. I beg leave also to remind you, that the following persons (if there be such), appear to have a just claim on your deliberate consideration. “ First, your wife. * “Secondly, your children; with their wives and children; and those of your wife by a former husband, if she have any. o “Thirdly, your parents. “Fourthly, your brothers and sisters; whether of whole blood or half blood; whether legitimate or illegitimate. “Fifthly, your nephews nieces, with their children. “Sixthly, your cousins, with the greater or smaller claim that they have, in consequence of their attentions and kindness to yourself, or their own individual necessities. “Seventhly, your servants and dependants. * Eighthly, your benefactors and friends. “Ninthly your professional connections; and such institutions as are formed for the relief of those who have been less fortunate in your own line of life than yourself. “Tenthly, public charities, particularly those which have been the objects of your more immediate attention.” I am aware that this precaution would not be of any avail in the far greater number of instances in which it might be employed; but if a few only were influenced by it to make a more just distribution of their property than would otherwise take place, the labour would not be in vain.
My last remark I also put in the form of a question; and I beg leave to address it to clergymen, and to ministers of religion of every denomination.
“Would it not be beneficial, occasionally, and perhaps at stated times, not only to urge on the individuals of your respective congregations the
* importance of making their wills, but to offer a few hints relative to the mode in which this duty may most reasonably and justly be performed " A judicious discourse of this kind was published in the year 1802, by Samuel Charters, D. D. minister of Wilton, in North Britaln.
The Select Remains of Mr. JAMEs Meikle, late Surgeon in Carnwath; or Ertracts from Manuscripts found among his Papers, entitled, 1. The Monthly Memorial, or a periodical Interview with the King of Terrors. 2. A Secret Surrey into the State of the Soul. 3. The House of Mourning, or Poems on Melancholy Subjects. 4. The Tomb. 4th Edition. Edinburgh, Ogle; London, Ogle. 1810. Price 8s. pp. 488.
We greatly doubt whether the difference between active and passive habits so ably pointed out by Bishop Butler in his Analogy, is as much attended to, or as much understood, as its importance demands. That habits thus distinguished bear an inverse ratio to each other, these increasing whilst those decrease, is a simple fact, discoverable by experience. Level, however, as the knowledge of this appears to the most ordinary intellect, to notice and sift it out of the dust is the effort of no common understanding. But what ought to raise that coolness of curiosity with which merely abstract questions may be viewed into a warmth of anxious self-examination is this, that the passive habit may decay whilst the active habit does not strengthen : the consequence of which is, that the heart becomes callous to good impressions, and receives more and more the stamp
and character of opposite sentiments, That the daily instances of men's dying around us give us daily a less sensible passive feeling, or apprehension of our own mortality, yet greatly contribute to the strengthening of a “practical” regard to it in serious men, is the bishop's own remark. But let it be observed, that it is “ serious” men who are thus benefited: others by these very events become more and more hardened and insensible. How far the consideration of this state of things might tend to check a disposition towards a religion centering in the feelings merely: how far it might conduce towards consoling the minds of those sincere persons, who fear they have gone back in religion, when in fact they have advanced, the first blaze of the passive affections having been mistaken for the pure and steady flame of genuine piety : how far, above all, it ought to lead to a constant dependance on divine grace, without which the word may be heard with joy, and yet no divine principle take root, is a field of very wide and interesting inquiry. But we cannot enlarge upon these topic; without overlooking the volume which has suggested them. The work entitled “Select Remains of Mr. James Meikle, surgeon in Carnwath,” is thus divided: —1st, a Monthly Memorial, ot periodical Interview with the King of Terrors; 2dly, a Secret Survey
into the State of the Soul; 3dly, we are not mistaken, as intended
Poems on Melancholy Subjects; ending, 4thly, with some Verses on the Tomb. to find that it has passed into a fourth edition, and very much rejoice at it, though it conveys a tacit reproach to us for having so long delayed to place its merits before our readers. But let us not raise expectations which will not be realized. The work is that of a pious man with a good understanding. It abounds with solemn sentences and nervous expressions, nor is there a total deficiency of elegant diction. But whoever thirsts after pure writing, principally, will not be satisfied with the plain and humble surgeon of Carnwath. Of the poetry we will only say, that it abounds with excellent sentiments; but it is unquestionably more allied to prose than almost any thing of the sort we ever read. It would be difficult to produce six lines together which tower up to mediocrity. It might, perhaps, be necessary to justify this sweeping condemnation, by some specimens—but the case is clear—it is conceded by the editor; and we are, besides all this, far from wishing to expose to ridicule anything so wellmeant and breathing so much of a Christian spirit. Having thus disposed of that part of the work which we wonder the revising judgment of surviving friends could term poetical, we turn to the two other divisions of it. Here we find many expressions which sound discordantly upon our “ southern ears,” some which do not implicitly obey the rules of English grammar, and others which we apprehend are nova vocabula even to the Scotch themselves. But suffice it to say, on this head, that we wish nothing of a more pernicious quality had ever reached us from that quarter of Great Britain. The Monthly Memorial is distinguished from the Secret Survey, not only as being less diffusive, but, if
by the author himself to have been given at some time to the public;
We are not surprised a whilst it is evident, we think, that
the Secret Survey was never designed to be other than secret. The circumstance, however, that such a private examination as the Monthly Memorial is intended to be made public (if we are right in this conjecture), and that such an one as the Secret Survey “may eventually” be sent abroad for general inspection, has ever presented itself to us as one main consideration with respect to the question of their utility. That there are persons who can address a large audience with the same simplicity with which they would speak to a dying man, we have no difficulty in acknowledging: nor do we deny that a Monthly Memorial, or Secret Survey may be instituted; the one designedly for public perusal, the other under a knowledge of the possibility of such a contingency, without any violation of Christian integrity, or any deviation from that lowliness of mind which becomes the follower of Christ. But we must ever maintain, that the danger arising from this quarter ought to be distinctly seen, and deeply felt, in order to be avoided. It has been a matter of objection with some against all things of the kind, that to commit every secret thought to paper is placing the mind upon a stretch of sincerity from which it may frequently recoil, and thus a habit of dissembling be introduced. We think there is weight in this sentiment. But if allowed to the utmost extent, it does not proceed the length of discrediting entirely the adoption of these modes of self-examination: it goes rather to the regulation of them when adopted. But upon this question we mean not to pronounce an opinion :- like that concerning a common-place book in literature, it will always have advocates on each side. That there have been many good men who have not pursued this precise me
thod, no one doubts for a moment— and who will refuse to admit the great value of such confessions as
those of Corbet, Adam, and Milner;"
or those, of a more ancient date, from Ephraim the Syrian, St. Augustine, and St. Ambrose.
But it is time to furnish our readers with some extracts, to prove that we have not entertained an unfounded opinion of this publication. It will appear, we are persuaded, that although the author was professionally placed amidst scenes calculated to deaden the passive habits, the active ones of seriousness and watchfulness progressively acquired strength and vigour.
The following reflection from the Monthly Memorial, p. 9, is not recommended by novelty in a theoretical sense; but it indicates a state of mind by no means common in the midst of health and worldly avocations.
“This night I confess before-Thee, who only hast innortality, that I believe myself mortal. Soon the eye that guides, and the hand that holds this pen, shall crumble into dust in the cold grave, and my soul shall go to dwell in the world of spirits. O solemn removal! awful change! eternal state! [s there not a friend to attend and comfort me through all 2 Ah! no; my friends, the nearest and dearest, are at best but compassionate spectators: they may weep at my bed-side, but cannot take one blow for me in the hottest battle. Yea the angels may minister to me on this side the river and on that side the river, but not one ..? them can descend with me into the swellings of Jordan. But, O merciful High Priest! who in my mature hast tasted of death, to soften nine, thou shalt go down with me into the flowing stream; and at thy presence the raging torrent shall divide, and I shall have
a pleasant entrance into Emmanuel's land.
Woe to him that is alone in the hour of death ! When I fight my last enemy, be Thou my shield; when I walk in death's dark wale, be Thou my sun; and then foes aud fears shall distress me no more."
may remind me of that tremendous day when nations, tongues, and tribes, shall be convened before the bar. O to be at peace with the Thunderer!” But we must not pass by two or three affecting instances of mortality given in some of the preceding pages.
“This day a parent is carried to his long home, who not long ago deplored the apprehended decease of a child; but little thought he that death's suspended scythe should, passing the child, sweep himself away! The tragedy is continued, but the persons changed. The tears still trickle, but are turned from the parent's eye, that being shut in death, and pour down the children's cheeks.” p. 24.
“This day I attended the funeral of one who, returning from a visit male to his fielids, expires in the open air, falls from his horse, and embraces the cold ground. Little did the fainily think that morning, when both the heads set out, that one of then had a very long journey before him, even to the invisible world of spirits! Had an angel whispered in this person's ear at his friend's table, “Thou hast but four or five hours to live," his soul must have soft an auxious confusion, which neither the entertainment nor the company could remove! The married pair on whom sorty-four annual suns had shone, are separated for ever without a farewell. Though all alone together on the way, the dying person speaks not a word, nor utters a groan." p. 34.
“This day has brought me the heavy tidings of a dear, a beloved acquaintance (C.B.) being hurried into the world of spirits. Indeed he was ready, which makes all
other circumstances smile, though awful.
The high fever was but the fiery chariot to convey him home; the fall that fractured his skull was but hastening his soul to be crowned with glory. Here 1 see that no man knoweth love or hatred by all that is before him in this life.” pp. 38, 39.
much time to self-examination on the subject of death. But vigilance and abasement are always found toether. What a sense of the reality of invisible things is here! “How are my departed acquaintances this night employed Just as they were employed below, heaven and hell are begun in time. If, then, I have not my conversation more or less in heaven, I may be assured that I shall never personally be there: he that ripens not for glory, must be fitted for destruction ; and to such, death is death indeed!” p. 58. Strikingly just are also the observations, p. 63.
“Though death is of great moment to a person's self, yet, a few friends excepted, what a trifle is it to the rest of mankind 1 what a faint impression will it make, and how soon will the event be forgot! for how should those remember that monitor of mortality, the death of their acquaintance, who forget that they themselves shall die? And it is nothing to the other parts of creation though all the human race should fall into the grave, as the leaves fall thick on the field in autumn. I look through the window, and see that the lilies in the garden hang not their head, though their master is no more; nor a the tulips lose their sparkling variety of colour, though their proprietor is pale in death. And yet, surprising to tell, precious in God's sight is the death of his servants, his saints.”
We quote the following alarming remarks, from a conviction of the sad prevalency of infidelity respecting eternal punishment.
* How miserable would our life be, if often visited with sickness, or attacked with such acute pain as I felt last night! a pain so intense, that I cannot have a full idea of it, now that it is gone. What language, then, can describe, or what thought comprehend, the wretched state of those who feel pains infinitely more excruciating, and tortures infinitely more agonizing, than any thing in time ! while the soul, in every power and faculty, feels anguish and distress, torment, and despair, in a superior degree to the body! And, alas! how many are on the gallop to this dreadful state! O for gratitude
this good man exemplifying the character of a Christian, in praying for his personal enemy.
“This day, the man that was once bitterly mine enemy is in trouble; but I behave as he were my brother; and before Hin, who searches the heart, I desire to send my prayers to the throne of grace for him. He that rejoices at the calamity of his enemy, has a disease in his own soul that may cause him to mourn.”
A very common and most melancholy case immediately follows.
“Whether shall I be most astonished at the stupidity of the dying sinner, or of his surviving fiends? Here an intimate acquaintance of mine expires, and his relations send him straight to heaven; and yet, O strange! and yet, though convinced that his death was at hand, he drops not a single word in commendation of religion; he has nothing to say in praise of free grace. Though the great apostle Paul could say, * Brethren, pray for us, yet he asks not one petition to be addressed to the throne of grace for him, either by ministers or Christians that come to see him. - He has no complaint of indwelling sin, or the errors of his life. He has not a word of advice to give to any around him. The best of saints have had their fears at death; but this man has no fear, and yet no exercise of grace, or actings of faith. He is never observed to have prayer or ejaculation. Jacob on his deathbed could cry, “I have wai ed for thy salvation, O Lord ;’ and Paul, ‘ I know in whom I have believed;' but he says nothing, and yet fears nothing!" pp. 80, 81.
With the short account of the death of a minister of the Gospel, we were much pleased.
“A minister of the Gospel, an eloquent preacher, is called home. . In prospect of his approaching change, he built nothing on what he had taught to others, on his high attainments, on his sweet experience; but quitting with all, he came as a needy sinner to an all-sufficient Saviour, held forth in the Gospel of free grace; and thus chose to take his last hold for eternity.” p. 96. We add another striking instance of mortality. “Some weeks ago, the mother of a large family lay so ill of a sever, that all hopes of life were lost. A son arrived at manhood, distant almost fourscore miles, hastens to see his dying parent, but expects, ere he