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toge!her, said the Lord; though your sins be as red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” “ This," said he, " is my support. Pray for me.” “Shall I pray with you ?” “Yes.” I prayed with him, and heard him whisper as I went along : which I supposed to be his concurrence with the petition. At the conclusion he said, “Amen. God grant it."
Being about to part with him, I told him, “ I had one request to make.” He asked “what is it?" I answered, “ that whatever might be the issue of his affliction, he would give his testimony against the practice of duelling.” “I will,” said he, “ I have done it. If that ;" evidently anticipating the event, “if that be the issue, you will find it in writing. If it pleases God that I recover, I shall do it in a manner which will effectually put me out of its reach in future." I mentioned, once more, the importance of renouncing every other dependance for the eternal world, but in the mercy of God in Christ Jesus : with a particular reference to the catastrophe of the morning: The General was affected, and said, “Let us not pursue the subject any further, it agitates me." He laid his hands upon his breast, with symptoms of uneasiness, which indicated an increasing difficulty of speaking. I then took my leave. He pressed my hand affectionately, and desired to see me again at a proper interval. As I was retiring, he lifted up his hands in the attitude of prayer, and said feebly, "God be merciful to His voice sunk, so that I heard not the rest distinctly, but understood him to quote the words of the publican in the gospel, and to end the sentence with “ me a sinner,!!
I saw him, a second time, on the morning of Thursday ; but from his appearance, and what I had heard, supposing that he could not speak without severe effort, I had no conversation with him. I prayed for a moment at his bed side, in company with his overwhelmed family and friends; and for the rest, was one of the mourning spectators of his composure and dignity in suffering. His mind remained in its former state : and he viewed with calm.; ness his approaching dissolution. I left him between twelve and one, and at two, as the public knows, he breathed his last.
THE CLOSE OF LIFE.
When we contemplate the close of life; the termination of man's designs and hopes ; the silence that now reigns among those who, a little while ago were so busy or so gay; who can avoid being touched with sensations at once awful and tender? What heart but then warms with the glow of humanity ? In whose eyes does not the tear gather, on revolving on the fate of passing and short-lived man.
Behold the poor man who lays down at last the bur. den of his wearisome life. No more shall he groan under the load of poverty and toil. No more shall he hear the insolent calls of the master, from whom he received his scanty wages. No more shall he be raised from needful slumber on his bed of straw nor be hurried away from his homely meal, to undergo the repeated labours of the day. While his humble grave is preparing, and a few poor and decayed neighbours are carrying him thither, it is good for us to think, that this man too was our brother; that for him the aged and destitute wife, and the needy children now weep; that, neglected as he was by the world, he possessed, perhaps, both a sound understanding, and a' worthy heart; and is now carried by angels to rest in Abraham's bosom.-At no great distance from him, the grave is opened to receive the rich and proud man. For, as it is said with emphasis in the parable, « the rich man also died and was buried.” He also died. His riches prevented not his sharing the same fate with the poor man; perhaps,
through luxury, they accelerated his doom. Then, indeed, " the mourners go about the streets ;” and while in all the pomp and magnificence of woe, his funeral is preparing, his heirs impatient to examine his will, are looking on one another with jealous eyes, and already beginning to dispute about the division of his substance.
One day, we see carried along the coffin of the smiling infant; the flower just nipt as it began to blossom in the parent's view : and the next day, we behold the young man or young woman, of blooming form and promising hopes, laid in an untimely grave: 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 passing there. There we shall 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 their hearts will be gradually softened, and melted down into humanity.
Another day, we follow to the grave, one who in old age, and after a long career of life, has in full maturity sunk at last into rest. As we are going along to the mansion of the dead, it is natural for us to think, and to discourse of all the changes which such a person had seen during the course of his life. He has past, it is likely, through varieties of fortune. He has experienced prosperity and adversity. He has seen families and kindred rise and fall; the face of his country undergo many alterations ; and the very place in which he dwelt, rising in a manner new around him. After all he has beheld, his eyes are now closed for ever. He was becoming a stranger in the midst of a new succession of men. A race who knew him not, had arisen to fill the earth. Thus passes the world away.
Through all ranks and conditions, “one generation passeth, and another generation cometh ;' and this great inn is by turns evacuated, and replenished by troops of succeeding pilgrims.-0 vain and inconstant world! O fleeting and transient lift ! When will the sons of inen learn to think of thee, as they ought? When will they learn humanity from the afflictions of their brethren ; or moderation and wisdom, from the serise of their own fugitive state.
· People doubt because they will doubt. Dreadful disposition! Can nothing discover thine enormity ? What is infidelity good for? By what charm doth it luli the soul into a willing ignorance of its origin and end ? If, during a short space of a mortal life, the love of independence tempt us to please ourselves with joining this monstrous party ; how dear will the union cost us when we come to die!
0! were my tongue dipped in the gall of celestial displeasure, I would describe to you the state of a man expiring in the cruel uncertainties of unbelief; who seeth, in spite of himself, yea, in spite of himself, the truth of that religion, which he hath endeavoured to no purpose to eradicate from his heart. Ah ! see! every thing contributes to trouble him now. “I am dying-I despair of recovering-Physicians have give en me over-The sighs and tears of my friends are useless-yet they have nothing else to bestow-Medicines take no effect-consultations come to nothing alas ! not you--not my little fortune-the world cannot cure me-I must die-It is not a preacher-it is not a religious book-it-is not a trifling declaimerit is death itself that preacheth to me-I feci, I know not what, shivering cold in my blood. I am in a dying sweat-my feet, my hands, every part of my body is wasted-I am more like a corpse than a living body I am rather dead than alive-I must die-Whither am I going? What will become of me? What will become of my body ? My God! what a frightful spectacle ! I see it! The horrid torches-the dismal shroud
the coffin—the pall-the tolling bell--the subterranean abode-carcasses-worns-putrefaction-what will become of my soul? I am iguorant of its destiny
-I am tumbling headlong into eternal night-my infidelity tells me, my soul is nothing but a portion of subtile matter-another world a vision-immortality a fancy–But yet, I feel, I know not what, that troubles my infidelity-annihilation, terrible as it is, would appear tolerable to me, were not the ideas of heaven and hell to present themselves to me, in spite of myself-But I see that heaven, that immortal mansion of glory shut against me I see it at an immense distance-I see it a place, which my crimes forbid me to enter-I see a hell-hell, which I have ridiculed It opens under my feet-I hear the horrible groans of the damned--the smoke of the bottomless pit choaks my words, and wraps my thoughts in suffocating darkness."
Such is the infidel on a dying bed. This is not an imaginary flight : it is not an arbitrary invention, it is a description of what we see every day in the fatal visits to which our ministry engageth us, and to which God seems to call us to be sorrowful witnesses of his displeasure and vengeance. This is what infidelity comes to. This is what infidelity is good for. Thus most sceptics die, although, while they live, they pretend to free them from vulgar errors. I ask again, what charms are there in a state, that hạth such dreadful consequences ? How is it possible for men, rational men, to carry their madness to such an excess !