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hardiest of men. These are the terrors in which Death is clothed ; and in which he becomes so horrible to the human race. This is the object which, amidst all the hurry and bustle of life, often obtrudies himself upon the view, and casts a gloom over the most delightful hours of the prosperous and gay. This is the object which, however long he may be shut out, can never entirely be banished from the mind, and will, at last, force himself on the troubled imagination, whether men choose or refuse.
Death is an object clothed with terror to man, as it puts ar end to his present existence, by the separation of soul and body. Death is a change at which human nature revolts; and ihere are few, wlio look forward to it, but under the idea of pain in dissolution, or in those distresses which are usually its forerunners. There is no doubt but buman mature then undergoes a shock, of which it has had no experience, and of which it can receive no information by any who have felt it. As we can have no knowledge of it till it is experienced, we can now form no just conceptions of it; and probably by an imagination easily alarned, its terrors are heightened beyond the reality. The shock, however, must be great, beyond any other that is felt, in our separation from objects with which we are loth to part. The union betwixt scul and body is intimate and close. It is the dearest of all connections! All that a man hath will be give for his life;' and that stroke by which he is deprived of it must cut deep, and with the greatest violence to his feelings. Since death puts an end to life, that darling object of man's affections, it cannot be viewed without dread, especially when we conceive of it as preceded by a multitude of distresses that may be both tedious and paintul. These distresses, which are the forerunners of death, add not a little to the gloominess of the prospect. The scene which the dreary vale of the shadow of death presents to view, be"comes the inore awful from ihese many liarbingers of death's approach. Afflictions, these heralds of this king of terrors, are most unwelcome to all; and the event which they announce is, of all others, 10 human nature the most forbidding. When we see one lauguishing on the bed of distress, crying out, in the bitterness of his heart, in the evening, · Would God it were morning!' and in the morning,' Would God it were evening! - we have a ricw of dying as a painful thing; and under such an impression we look forward to our own dissolution.
Death is an object of terror to man, as it closes this scene of terrestrial things, and puis a final period to wil the enjoyments of life. There is nothing lu s bich man is more unwilling to subinit ilian death; and, no doubi, the change that is produced in his relative circnmsiances, is one causc of this reluctance. le sces he musileare ail the enjoymenta of this pre
sent life, take a farewell of his beloved friends, and carry nothing with him of all the labour he has taken under the sun. • That day his thoughts perish,' his connection with earthly things is dissolved, and all his concern about thein is for ever at an end. Such a prospect produced the deepest sorrow ost the mind of Hezekiah, and wrung from him this affecting complaint,' I said in the cutting off of my days, I shall the gates of the grave; I am deprived of the residue of my years. I said, I shall not see the Lord, even the Lord, in the land of the living: I shall behold man bo more, with the inhabitants of the world.'
It is difficult even for a good man to part with what has long been dear to him, and what has often imparted to him comfort and delight. Experience has often already taught as all, that the last sight of objects, in which we felt a deep interest, has occasioned an uneasiness, not soon nor easily removed ;- and what must man feel when that moment comes, in which he is to be separated from all that is dear to hiin, and his intercourse with so many beloved objects is to be elosed for ever? He is carried to his long hoine, insensible to all that passes among those whom he leaves behind, and anconcerned about their condition. His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them. The light continues to diffuse its gladdening beams over the face of creation, and the seasons to run their accustomed round; but to him they return no more: darkness, as darkness itself, sits down upon his dwelling, and no ray of light can ever penetrate his dreary abode; nor shall he awake, or be raised out of his sleep, till the heavens be no more.
The prospect of such a change' as this cannot but excite sensations of uneasiness. It closes this scene of terrestrial things, it deprives men of all their earthly possessions; it cuts short their schemes, and interrupts their business for ever; it cuts asunder the cords of friendship, and separates betwirt those who love and are beloved ;- it puts an end not only to the pains, but to the pleasures and enjoyments of this mortal existence. It is this which makes death frightful and forbidding. This also is a sere evil:--That, in all points, as lie came, so shall be go; and what profit hath he ihat hath laboured for the wind?
Death is an object of terror to man, as it is a passage to au eternal state. There is something in the idea of entering a world of spirits,- of standing at the tribunal of God to be judged and sentenced for eternity, which even the most devoue mind cannot reflect on without dread ;- but to these objects, so naturalis calculated to awaken fear, death will introduce all men; and none have returned from death, or from the boundless undiscovered region beyond it, to describe to those
whom they left behind, either the nature of the passage, or their manner of existence in the invisible state,
Who can take a view of this change, or adınit the thought of being launched into the eternal state, into the presence of he great God, and myriads of unembodied spirits, without dismay?
But what is it that makes the grave so frightful; that clothes the presence of God in such terrible inajesty ? What is there in that state which follows death, to awaken such painful apprehensions in the minds of reflecting men? Has superstition imposed on their imaginations, and deceived them into the belief of objects that do not exist? Has it clothed these objects in an awful garb, for the purpose of maintaining its reign over the credulous of mankind? No; the common feelings and universal fear of mankind forebode something else, and amount to conclusive proof, that there is truth in what the Scriptures reveal, and the Christian believes.
Death is an olject of terror to man, as it is the fruit of sin, Even good men, wless they are raised above fear, by that triumphant hope which enters into that within the veil, cannot divest themselves of fear in the prospect of death, or on its near approach. A consciousness of guilt paints death in all its terrors; and in proportion as the mind is affected with a sense of guilt, it will be affected with a view of those awful realities which follow death. The sting, the bitterness of death, is sin. What man is there whose life is so perfect as not, on the sligitest review of it, to feel the most painful remorse? -- and who, without trembling and tear, can abide the thought of undergoing an impartial serutmy by the Searcher of Hearts? “If thou shouldst mark iniquity, who, O Lord, could stand?" To have many and heinous transgressions brought to remembrance, - to feel conscience condemning for these, without any sense, or any hope, of an interest in the peace-speaking blood of Jesus, and to be in such circumstances when languishmg on the bed of death, about to be launched into the eternal world, and into the presence of the grent God, who is armed with power to destroy the workers of iniquity, is a condition of inind in which death must appear in the most frightful forn. All the anguish of mind which the idea of pain in dying may occasion, or which may arise from the res flection of leiving behind what is dearly beloved, is entirely swallowed up by that agony and fear, that horrible agitatior of inind, into which a sense of guilt must throw the awakene siner on the approach of death. That he will cease to be, is an idea which, from the common feelings and desire's human nature, he is prevented from iurposing on himself, par ticularly at a time when he feels every power and every sen of his decaying frame making efforts to prolong its exist
To be iniserable when he dies, is what bis conscienc
forebodes. A future judgment and an eternal state, disclose lawful prospects to the mind, already miserable by self-con
demnation; and those prospects become more awful when the cloud of divine wrath is seen to rest upon them, and nothing meets the eye but lasting and uninterrupted misery. All that the world can bestow, - all that has been enjoyed in it, - all the consolation which philosophy can afford, or the hopes which infidelity can inspire, are not able to strip Death'or the horrible form in which he appears to those who are labouring under a sense of sin, and languishing under the most painful forebodings of future punishment. Death presents itself as a most terrible object to the conscience of an awakened sinner, as he treads on the confines of the eternal state; and, especially when he reineinbers that to death man is subjected, in virtue of a divine sentence condemning to it, because of transgresrion.
From the fear of death, and from those evils which are supposed to attend it, there is no deliverance but through an inerest in the Son of God, who, through death, destroyed hiin that had the power of it, and who is rercaled to us as the Resurrection and the Life. Acquaint now thyself with him, and ip at peace, thereby good shall come unto thee.--He that beLeseth on me, though he were dead, yet shall lie live.'
ADVICE TO A YOUNG MINISTER.
To the Editor, The following Letter having been sent to me by a Senior Minister, I thought the contents, though on a delicate subject, might be useful to others. If you think it suitable for the Evangelical Magazine, it is at your service.
A Young MINISTER. is dar young Friend,
You have lately put on the harness of the Christian misirrAierev and Truth be with you ! Permit one that is of far froin putting it off, to offer a few serious and affection
le counse's, relative to the purity of your concluct. The i umber of scandals which have taken place within the last few i'cars, in different religious connections, especially those which , wie arisen from the misconduct of ministers, is truly affect19. I do not know that such things have occurred in a larger
uportion-among ministers, than anong other professors or Sristianity, and still less than ainong irreligious characters; di as more is expected of Christians than or other men, and ministers than of other Christians, a more than ordinary roact is made of their miscarriages. It is of such things as these that our Saviour speaks in
Matt. xviii. 7,' Woʻunto the world, because of offences! It must needs be that offences come; but wo to that inan by whom the ofience cometh! If you examine this inpressive pasage, you will perceive that the term offence does not relate to any thing done by the world, but by the professed friends of Christ; and that not in the way of provoking displeasure, but of giving men occasion to stuinble, or be offended with the gospel. The word is cxaricádov, and denotes a scandal brought upon Christ's name by the misconduct of his professed followers, which furnishes a landle to the world to continue in sin, and to reject the Saviour. The world is supposed to be seeking occasion to justify themselves in sin; and in the scandals among professing Christians, they find what they seck. It is thus that scandals among Christians are a woe to the world: they are so nany stumbling-blocks, over which they fall and perish!
But if there be a woe upon the world by reason of scandals, there is a heavier woc on that man by whom the scandal cometh! The reason manifestly is, that he incurs the blood of souls. The world may stumble at these things, and perish; but if our evil conduct has been the occasion of it, their blood will be required at our bands! They have only their own sins to answer tor; but we, except we repent and obtain mercy through Jesus Christ, shall have both our own and theirs ; or rather, theirs will so belong to us, as to be a part of our own.
Allow me, my dear young frievd, to caution you against certain avenues which lead to these things, especially in the case of ininisters; and to suggest a few preservatives against them. A minister must be supposed to possess the respeci, esteem, and confideac? of bis people. Whether they be persons of interior vr superior condition, of his own or of the other sex, be is admitted to a friendly acquaintance with them. Were it otherwise, he could have but little hope of doing then good; vet at this door Temptation may enter. If, instead of applying the esteem and contidence with which he is treated to their proper uses, be be filled with a notion of his OW!!! importance, he will soon cease to deserve them. Where self-importance prevails, there is but little, if any, religion ; and if this be wanting, the worst of evils may be expected to foilow*. There may be the greater danger of such a process, if he has been called to the ministry from the lower walks of life, so as not to have been formed at an early period to habits of delicacy, honour, and propriety. Being raised in the scale of society, he may be tempted to think himself an extraorci.nary man, or he would not have been selected and exalted tu what he is; and finding himself caressed, it may be, by persons of respectability, of both sexes, who, but for his being in
* See 2 Pet. ii. 18, 19.