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is the only residence of man! and if he be to exist in a state yet future, it is highly rational to inquire, whether that existence will be miserable or happy. Men in general are, indeed, too much engaged in sublunary pursuits to attend to the concerns of another life. But this will not always be the case. The period is approaching in which conscience, if not quite petrified, will be roused from her torpor; in which she will sound the alarm, and the soul, awakened from sleep, feel the vanity of the world and of all its enjoyments. For what is the glitter of wealth, the pomp of greatness, the voice of praise, or the frisk of jollity, to him that is acquainted with the depravity of his own heart? who is conscious of allowed and reiterated deviations from the path of duty-of having passed the whole of life heedless of the counsels of wisdom and the dictates of conscience? It is indeed possible that the mind may be diverted by the allurements of pleasure from minute attention to the turpitude of its own actions, but the delusion will not last for ever: a man cannot always trifle: the hour of reflection will obtrude; and if he determine not to anticipate, he must shortly be compelled to realize the period when
deception and artifice willbe impracticable; when all terrestrial scenes shall be withdrawn; when the soul, no longer soothed by flattery nor seduced by hope, must converse with death; and this too in a moment, perhaps, when the avenues of mercy are closed for ever, and in which the affrighted soul will have to exclaim, in the terrours of despair, " The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and I am not saved !!
How shocking must thy summons be, O Death!
to everlasting ruin.'
it once she sinks t
The only conviction that rushes upon the soul, and takes away from our appetites and passions the power of resistance, 'is to be found,' says an incomparable writer, 'where I have received it, at the bed of a dying friend. To enter this school of wisdom is not the peculiar privilege of geometricians. The most sublime and important precepts require no uncommon opportunities, nor labori. ous preparations, they are enforced without the aid of eloquence; and understood without skill in analytick science. Every tongue can utter them, and every understanding can conceive them. He that wishes, in earnest, to obtain just sentiments concerning his condition, and would be intimately acquainted with the world, may find instruction on every side.
side. He that desires to enter behind the
art has been employed to decorate, and every passion labours to illuminate, and wishes to see life stripped of those ornaments which made it glitter on the stage, and exposed in its natural meanness, impotence, and nakedness, may find all the delusion laid open in the chamber of disease. He will there find vanity devested of her robes; power deprived of her sceptre ; and hypocrisy without her mask.
The friend whom I have lost was a man eminent for genius, and, like others of the same class, sufficiently pleased with acceptance and applause. Being caressed by those who have preferments and riches in their disposal, he considered himself as in the direct road to advancement, and had caught the flame of ambition by approaches to its object, But in the midst of his hopes, his projects, and his gaieties, he was seized by a lingering disease, which, from its first stage, he knew to be incurable. Here was an end of all his visions of greatness and happiness. From the first hour that his health declined, all his former pleasures grew tasteless. His friends expected to please him by those accounts of the growth of his reputation, which were formerly certain of being well receive ed: but they soon found how little he was now affected by compliments, and how vainly they attempted, by flattery, to exhilirate the languor of weakness, and relieve the solicitude of approaching death. Whoever would know how much piety and virtue surpass all external goods, might here have seen them weighed against each other: where all that gives motion to the active, and elevation to the eminent; all that sparkles in the
eye of hope, and pants in the bosom of suspicion, at once became dust in the balance, without weight and without regard. Riches, authority, and praise, los all their influence when they are considered as riches which tomorrow shall be bestowed upon another: authority which shall this night expire for ever, and praise which, however merited, or however sincere, shall, after a few moments, be heard no more.
. In those hours of seriousness and wisdom, every thing that terminated on this side of the grave was received with coldness and indiffer, ence; and regarded rather in consequence of the habit of valuing it, than from any opinion that it deserved value. It had little more prevalence over his mind than a bubble that was new bro, ken, a dream from which he was awake. His whole powers were engrossed by the consideration of another state, and all conversation was tedious, that had not some tendency to disen, gage him from human affairs, and open his prospects into futurity.
'It is now past: we have closed his eyes, and heard him breathe the groan of expiration. At