« AnteriorContinuar »
merits, who died to purchase pardon for penitent sinners. And since I owe thee a death, Lord, let it not be terrible, and then take thine own time; I submit to it. Let not mine, O Lord, but thy will be done!-God hath heard my daily peti tions; for I am at peace with all men, and he is at peace with me. From such blessed assurance I feel that inward joy, which this world can neither give, nor take from me. My conscience beareth me this witness, and this witness makes the thoughts of death joyful. I could wish to live, to do the church more service: but cannot hope it: for my days are past, as a shadow that returns not.'
His worthy biographer adds—
More he would have spoken, but his spirits failed him; and, after a short conflict between nature and death, a quiet sigh put a period to his last breath, and so, he fell asleep-And now he seems to rest like Lazarus in Abraham's bosom.
WERE death a rare and uncommon object, were it only once in the course of a man's life that he beheld one of his fellow creatures carried to the grave, a solemn awe would fill him; he would stop short in the midst of his pleasures; he would even be chilled with secret horrour. Such impressions, however, would prove unsuitable to the nature of our present state. When they became so strong as to render men unfit for the ordinary business of life, they would in a great measure
defeat the intention of our being placed in this world. It is better ordered by the wisdom of Providence, that they should be weakened by the frequency of their recurrence; and so tempered by the mixture of other passions, as to allow us to go on freely in acting our parts on earth.
Yet, familiar as death is now become, it ought not to pass over as one of those common incidents which are beheld without concern, and awaken no reflection. There are many things which the funerals of our fellow creatures are calculated to teach; and happy it were for the gay and dissipated if they would listen more frequently to the instruction of so awful a moment.
When we observe the funerals that pass along the streets, or when we walk among the monuments of death, the first thing that naturally strikes us is the undistinguishing blow with which that common enemy levels all. We behold a great promiscuous multitude all carried to the same abode; all lodged in the same dark and silent mansions. There mingle persons of every age and character, of every rank and condition in life: the young and the old, the poor and the rich, the gay and the grave, the renowned and the ignoble. A few weeks ago, most of those whom we have seen carried to the grave, walked about as we do now on the earth; enjoyed their friends, beheld the light of the sun, and were forming designs for future days. Perhaps it is not long since they were engaged in scenes of high festivity. For them, perhaps, the cheerful company assembled; and in the midst of the cirele they shone with gay and pleasing vivacity.
But now-to them, all is finally closed. To them no more shall the seasons return, or the sun rise; no more shall they hear the voice of mirth, or behold the face of man. They are swept from the universe, as though they had never been. They are 'carried away as with a flood: the wind has passed over them, and they are gone.'—
While the funeral is attended by a numerous unconcerned company, who are discoursing to one another about the news of the day, or the ordinary affairs of life, let our thoughts rather follow to the house of mourning, and represent to themselves what is going on there. There we should see a disconsolate family, sitting in silent grief, thinking of the sad breach that is made in their little society; and with tears in their eyes looking to the chamber that is now left vacant, and to every memorial that presents itself of their departed friend. By such attention to the woes of others, the selfish hardness of our hearts will be gradually softened, and melted down into humanity. Blair.
A TOME, it has been justly said, is a monument situated on the confines of both worlds. It at once presents to us the termination of the inquietudes of life, and sets before us the image of eternal rest. There,' in the elegant expressions of Job, the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary be at rest. There the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor. The small and the great are there;
and the servant is free from his master.' It is very remarkable, that in all languages, and among all nations, death has been described in a style of this kind; expressed by figures of speech, which convey every where the same idea of rest, or sleep, or retreat from the evils of life. Such a style perfectly agrees with the general belief of the soul's immortality, but assuredly conveys no high idea of the boasted pleasures of the world. It shows how much all mankind have felt this life to be a scene of trouble and care; and have agreed in opinion, that perfect rest is to be expected only in the grave. Blair.
THE VISION OF MIRZA, EXHIBITING A PICTURE OF HUMAN LIFE, AND THE MANSIONS OF GOOD MEN AFTER DEATH.
On the fifth day of the moon, which, according to the custom of my forefathers, I aways keep holy, after having washed myself, and offered up my morning devotions, I ascended the high hills of Bagdat, in order to pass the rest of the day in meditation and prayer. As I was here airing myself on the tops of the mountains, I fell into a profound contemplation on the vanity of human-life; and passing from one thought to another, 'Surely,' said I, 'man is but a shadow, and life a dream.' Whilst I was thus musing, I cast my eyes towards the summit of a rock that was not far from me, where I discovered one in the habit of a shepherd, with a little musical instrument in his hand. As I Looked upon him, he applied it to his lips, and be
gan to play upon it. The sound of it was exceeding sweet, and wrought into a variety of tunes that were inexpressibly melodious, and altogether different from any thing I had ever heard: they put me in mind of those heavenly airs that are played to the departed souls of good men upon their first arrival in Paradise, to wear out the impressions of the last agonies, and qualify them for the pleasures of that happy place. My heart melted away in secret raptures.
I had been often told, that the rock before me was the haunt of a genius; and that several had been entertained with that music, who had passed by it, but never heard that the musician had before made himself visible. When he had raised my thoughts, by those transporting airs which he played, to taste the pleasures of his conversation, as I looked upon him like one astonished, he beckoned to me, and, by the waving of his hand, directed me to approach the place where he sat. I drew near with that reverence which is due to a superior nature; and as my heart was entirely subdued by the captivating strains I had heard, I fell down at his feet, and wept. The genius smiled upon me with a look of compassion and affability that familiarized him to my imagination, and at once dispelled all the fears and apprehensions with which I approached him. He lifted me from the ground, and taking me by the hand, Mirza,' said he, 'I have heard thee in thy soliloquies; follow me.'
He then led me to the highest pinnacle of the rock, and placing me on the top of it, 'Cast thy eyes eastward,' said he, and tell me what thon