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prospect of long surviving my excellent friend. Judging from my illnesses the last year, and my present feelings, I am far from expecting it myself, and, indeed, as it will be the will of God, whatever the event be, and, therefore, no doubt for the best, I cannot say that I greatly wish it. My labors, of whatever kind, and whatever be their value, must be nearly over."
And in a letter to Mr. Lindsey a few weeks later. "Dear Friend, Northumberland, June 26, 1802.
Whether it be you or Mrs. Lindsey that is my correspondent, I consider it as the same thing. You are alike my friends, and my best friends; and, whoever survives, this correspondence will not, I hope, cease, on this side the grave, while it is possible to continue it. This great change, to which we are making near approaches, I regard, I hope I may say, with more curiosity than anxiety. It is the wise order of Providence that death should intervene between the two different modes of existence; and what engages my thoughts is, the change itself, more than the mere manner of making it. I look at your portrait, and that of Dr. Price, and Mr. Lee, which are always before me, and think of my deceased friends, whose portraits I have not, with peculiar satisfaction, under the idea that I shall, at no great distance, see them again, and I hope with pleasure. But, how we shall meet again and how we shall be employed, we have little or no ground even for conjecture. It should satisfy us, however, that we shall be at the disposal, and under the government, of the same wise and good Being who has superintended us here, and who best knows what place and employment will best suit all of us.
The more I think of the wonderful system of which we are a part, the less I think of any difficulties about the reality or the circumstance of a future state. The resurrection is, really, nothing, compared to the wonders of every day in the regular course of nature; and the only reason why we do not wonder is, because the appearances are common. Whether it be, because I converse less with men, in this remote situation, I contemplate the scenes of nature, as the production of its great Author, more, and with more satisfaction, than I ever did before; and the new discoveries that are now making in every branch of science, interest me more than ever in this connexion. I see before us a boundless field of the noblest investigation ; and all that we yet know appears to me as nothing, compared to what we are wholly ignorant of, and do not, as yet, perceive any means of access to it." Also, in a letter dated Northumberland, July 3, 1802."How rejoiced I was to receive your letter, written wholly with your own hand, after your late alarming attack! I now hope I shall have more of them; and nothing on this side the grave gives me more satisfaction; and yet, considering how soon we may hope to meet again, the separation by death should not give us much concern. While we live, we ought to value life, and friendship, especially Christian friendship, as the balm of it. But we have a better life in prospect, and therefore should not regret the parting with the worse, provided we have enjoyed it properly, and improved it so as to have ensured the better. Absolute confidence does not become any man, conscious, as we all must be, of many imperfections, of omissions, if not of commissions; but surely a general sincere endeavour to do what we apprehend to be our duty, will authorize so much hope as may be the reasonable foundation of joy, with respect to a future state, without being chargeable with arrogance or presumption.
You could not have made choice of a more pleasing or interesting subject than that of the work which you have happily completed, which, as I believe it is in Philadelphia, I expect soon to receive. It occupies my own thoughts, I may say, almost constantly, and is the greatest source of satisfaction that in my present situation, and under my late trials, I enjoy. Indeed, the reflection that we are under the government of the wisest and best of Beings, and that nothing can befal us without his permission, is sufficient to banish the very idea of evil, and to make us regard every thing as a «
good for which we ought to be thankful. At the moment, none who have the hearts and feelings of men, but must grieve for many things that he sees and feels; but Christian principles soon bring relief, and are capable of converting all sorrow into joy. But this will be in proportion to the strength of our faith, in consequence of the exercise of it, when, according to Hartley, speculative faith is converted into practical."
"The more I contemplate the great system, the more satisfaction I find in it; and the structure being so perfect, there cannot be a doubt but that the end and use of it, in promoting happiness, will correspond to it. These views, as I take more pleasure than ever in natural history, contribute much to brighten the evening of my days. But my great resource is the Scripture, which I have not, of a long time, passed a single day without reading a portion of, and I am more interested in it continually. I seem now to see it with other eyes, and all other reading is comparatively insipid."
Thus serenely and happily, with a cheerful confidence in divine Providence and a bright hope of heaven, did the life of this Christian philosopher gently draw to its close. Constantly occupied with important studies and strongly interested in great truths, he hardly allowed himself to remember the trials and privations of his lot, while he acknowledged its blessings with strong expressions of admiration and gratitude.
During a visit to Philadelphia, in 1801, he had a severe and dangerous fever, from the effects of which on his constitution he never perfectly recovered. He again visited that city in the spring of 1803, but from that time his health was sensibly declining. His digestive powers were impaired, and he had a difficulty in swallowing food, which increased to such a degree that he finally came to live exclusively on liquids. In June he was much injured by a fall which lamed him. He had become quite deaf, but his eyes were good, and he continued busily engaged with his studies, and said that he was only anxious to live long enough to complete the printing of the works in which he was engaged. His 'Church History' and 'Notes on the Scriptures' were those which for some time had principally occupied him; he was now preparing his ' Comparison of the Greek Philosophy with Christianity.' Feeble as he had become, he did not remit his diligence. "To give some idea," says his son, "of the exertions he made even at this time, it is only necessary for me to say, that besides his miscellaneous reading, which was at all times very great, he read through all the works quoted in his comparison of the different systems of the Grecian philosophers with Christianity, composed that work, and transcribed the whole of it, in less than three months. He took the precaution of transcribing one day in long hand, what he had composed the day before in short hand, that he might by that means leave the work complete as far as it went, should he not live to complete the whole. During this period, he composed in a day his second reply to Dr. Linn."
The remainder of the history must be given in his son's own words.
"In the last fortnight in January  he was troubled with alarming fits of indigestion; his legs swelled nearly to his knees, and his weakness increased very much. I wrote for him, while he dictated, the concluding section of his " New Comparison," and the Preface and Dedication. The finishing this work was a source of great satisfaction to him, as he considered it as a work of as much consequence as any he had ever undertaken. The first alarming symptom of apDroaching dissolution, was his being unable to speak to me upon my entering his room, on Tuesday morning, the 31st of January. In his diary I find he stated his situation as follows: ' 111 all day — not able to speak for nearly three hours.' When he was able to speak, he told me he had slept well (as he uniformly had done through the whole of his illness; so that he never would suffer me, though I frequently requested he would do it, to sleep in the same room with him) that he felt as well as possible; that he got up and shaved himself (which he never omitted doing every morning, till within two days of his death); that he went to his laboratory, and then found his weakness very great; that he got back with difficulty ; that just afterward his granddaughter, a child of about six or seven years old, came to him to claim the fulfilment of a promise he had made her the evening before, to give her a five-penny bit. He gave her the money, and was going to speak to her, but found himself unable. He informed me of this, speaking very slowly a word at a time; and added, that he had never felt more pleasantly in his whole life, than he did during the time he was unable to speak. After he had taken his medicine, which was bark and laudanum, and drank a bason of strong mutton broth, he recovered surprisingly, and talked with cheerfulness to all who called upon him, but as though he was fully sensible that he had not long to live. He consented for the first time that I should sleep in the room with him.
On Wednesday, February 1, he writes, 'I was at times much better in the morning: capable of some business: continued better all day.' He spake this morning as strong as usual, and took in the course of the day a good deal of nourishment with pleasure. He said, that he felt a return of strength, and with it there was a duty to perform. He read a good deal in ' Newcome's Translation of the New Testament,' and ' Stevens's History of the War.' In the afternoon he gave me some directions how to proceed with the printing his work, in case he should die. He gave me directions to stop the printing of the second volume, and to begin upon the third, that he might see how it was begun, and that it might serve as a pattern to me to proceed by.
On Thursday, the 2d, he wrote thus for the last time in his diary : 'Much worse: incapable of business: Mr. Kennedy came to receive instructions about printing, in case of my death.' He sat up, however, a great part of the day, was cheerful, and gave Mr. Cooper and myself some directions