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day and night : think no labour with oaths and curses, and was too much to secure you from the yet received again into his fawrath of God. 0! who ca etand before him when he is an- He replied, " It is true, Peter gry? What stubble can resist did deny his Master, as I have that consuming fire ?" This, done, but what then? His Masand more to the same purpose, ter prayed for him, that his faith he spoke with so deep a concern, should not fail ; accordingly he the tears all the while trickling looked him into repentance, and down his face, that no one in the assisted him by his Spirit to room could forbear weeping. perfect it. Now, if he would Which he perceiving, said, “ If assist me to repent, I should do ye weep at the image and bare so too; but he has justly withrelation of the effects of God's drawn his intercession from me: wrath, what then do I suffer, I have grieved his Holy Spirit who actually lie under the very so often, that he has taken him weight of his fury? Refrain from me, and in the room there. your tears, for it is in vain ; pity of has left me the spirit of is no debt to me ; nothing is so impenitence and reprobation; proper for me as some curse to and given me a certain earnest complete my misery, and free of a fearful inheritance in anothme from the torment of expec- er life." He spoke little more tation." Here he paused a that day ; much company presswhile ; then looking towards the ing towards night, orders were fire, be said, " Oh, that I was to given to prevent it: at six of lie and broil upon that fire a the clock, we all looked upon thousand years, to purchase the one another to know what course favour of God, and be reconciled to take, no text being offered in to him again ! But it is a fruit- his favour, but which he turned less wish ; millions of millions another way. of years will bring me no nearer While we were thus musing, the end of my torments than one he cried out with the utmost ve. poor hour. Oh, eternity, eter, hemence," How long, O Lord, bity ; who can discover the shall thy wrath burn forever abyss of eternity? Who can against me? Shall thy eternal paraphrase upon these words, justice exact upon a poor despi. forever and ever!”
cable worm? What is my value It began to grow late ; so I or worth, that thou shouldst pour took my leave of him for that out full vials of wsath upon me? night, promising to come again Oh, that thou wouldst let go thy the next day ; when I found his hand forever, forget, and let me mind in the same condition still, fall into my first nothing! As but his body much weakened: my righteousness could have there were with him three or profited thee nothing, so my im. four divines, who had been at pieties can have done thee no prayer : which, 'they told me, hurt; therefore annihilate me, had the same uneasy effect upon and let me perish. Be not anhim as before.
gry that I thus expostulate with One of them reminded him thee ; it will be but a little while that Peter denied his Master before thy wrath shall force the
dreadfullest blasphemies from now; I have no honour, no repe me. Oh, that thou wouldest utation, and, what is yet worse, take away my being or misery: no heaven to lose by this or any neither can increase or diminish other act." Upon this I broke thy happiness; and therefore it open. The letter received let them both cease, and let my was as follows : name be known no inore, But if I must be, and be immortal,
6 Dearest Sir, and thou wilt punish me because “ Understanding you are I have despised thee : let a pri- dangerously ill, and that it has vation of thought suffice, and let had a melancholy effect upon me pass my eternity in a dream, you, I could not considering without ever being awakened by our strict friendship) but endea, the pangs of torment, or by the your to remove those evils your gnawing of the worm that never mind may be under ; which pere dies. But, oh, fruitless desires ! haps is an office no less grateful, I am expostulating with a God than making the body sound. that forever hath shut out my Sickness and death are the com: prayers ; and only protracts my mon lot of mankind ; and to re, breath a little longer, to make pine and grieve at this lot, is to me an example to others. O! combat the laws of nature, ye rocks and mountains, that ye and Sght against impossibilities. would cover and hide me from What wise man repines at the the wrath of an incensed God: heat in summer, or the cold in but I cannot fee from his pres- winter? A common evil ceases ence : what he hath begun he
to be an evil. But perhaps your will finish. He will extend his melancholy suggests to you, that wrath against me forever and it is a dismal thing to launch in:
to an unknown abyss. I answer : Here some
one knocked at Sometimes I dream of dreadful the door, and it proved to be the things, but when I awake, all postman, with a letter for him : yanishes. Thus if we examine which being told him, “How," death and its consequences by said he,“ a letter for me! A lit- reason, those formidable tle longer, and I expect anoth- monsters grow tame and familiar sort of message :
to us. I would demand of him, very shortly to give an account who asks me what estate I shall of every secret action I have be in after death, what estate he done ;
and I have a mind was in before life? Pain and to niake an experiment to see pleasure will leave their impres. how I can bear it. Pray Sir,” sions upon a human spirit. If I added he to me, “do me the fa. was either happy or miserable bevour to read me this letter. The fore I was born, I must still retain contents I know not, but I sus- the impression : but I do not pect it comes from some of my therefore I shall not hereaf. old acquaintance." I desired to er : I cine out of nothing, and be excused, · alleging there shall return into it. As the flame might be something in it im- of an extinguished candle disproper to be divulgel. “ Noth- solves and loses itself in tie cir, ing," replied he, can affect mecumambient air, even so the taper
of life vanishes into ether, and is will grow less tame and familiar, no more, when once the laws of the more we think of them : the vital union are broken. Death since no reason shews what an itself is nothing, and after death unexperienced death is, or what is nothing ; take courage, man : the change consequent upon it; either die like yourself, master of how can we judge of things we your own fate and happiness, so do not know? Reason on such long as it is to be kept; or else things as long as you please, and recover, and live worthy the char- you will be at last as far from the acter of a person, who knows how truth as wien you began. Your either to live or die. So wish- argument is extremely weak aes," &c.
bout a pre-existent and a future This letter was but fuel to the state : I retain no impression of tormenting flame, before in the past happiness or misery, therebreast of the sick gentleman ; fore there is none to come ; how, who immediately dictated the that is a consequence, I do not following answer :
Next you would have me
believe, upon your bare word, that « Sir,
death is nothing, and after death “ Being not able to use my is nothing: pray, how do you own, I have borrowed another know, having not yet tried ? hand, to answer yours. You say There are a great many that say well, it is a more grateful office the contrary. I have only conto endeavour to remove the dis- cerned myself with the rationaliorders of the mind than of the ty of your letter, that you may body. What you urge of the believe I am not distracted ; common lot of mankind, as death which I would desire you to beand sickness, I could wish were lieve, that what I am going to say my case ; but my affliction is, may not have less weight with that despair and hell are the com- you. It is true, and whether you mon lot of Atheists. Now your believe it or not, you will find it argument cannot reach my case, so at last ; if I could force you anless you first prove that Atheo to believe it I would : all I can ism is as inevitable as death and do is, to deal with you as a reasickness, and that therefore the sonable creature, by opening my effects of it are to be borne pa- breast to you, and then leaving tiently, unless a man will combat you at your liberty to act as you gecessity, and fight against the please. While we are in health laws of fate. I have formerly and business, we may act contraused this way of arguing myself, ry to our intentions, and plead but wonder now how I could er- for the thing we believe not; but er think it conclusive. You say, when we coine to die, the vizard that if we examine death and its is taken off, and the man appears supposed consequences by our as he is. This is my condition, reason, those formi lab!c mon- and therefore I can have no mosters grow tame and familiar: tive to impose upon my friends. if, by our reason, you mean ei- Religion is no impostor, heaven ther that peculiar to Atheists, or and hell are real, and the immorthe common reason of human tality of the soul as certain as the Dature, I am sure these monsters existence of the body : for a time
we have officiously deluded and bearance of my inveterate impiecheated ourselves out of religion ties and profaneness. Let me and happiness ; and God, who entreat you to leave off your sins; will not always be despised by his who knows but God may yet recreatures, has chosen me as an ceive you? I speak not this out example to you all, and a warn- of any love to virtue, or hatred of ing to the lazy and indifferent vice (for I am hardened and imChristian. But who, alas ! can penitently reprobate); but, like write his own tragedy without Dives, I am unwilling my brethtears, or copy out the seal of his ren should come into this place own damnation without horror ! of torment. Make what use of That there is a God, I know, be. this you please ; only remember, cause I continually feel the ef- that if it does not reclaim it will fects of his wrath : that there is enhance your guilt, possibly to be a hell, I am equally certain, overtaken in this world, as I am having received an earnest of my by the just judgment of God; if inheritance there already in my not, be sure you will be met with breast : that there is a natural hereafter, which is all, from, &c." conscience, I now feel with hor- As soon as the letter was read mr and amazement, being con- and sent, the night being far tinually upbraided by it with my worn, we all took our leave of impieties, and with all my sins him, wishing him good rest, aid brought to my remembrance. a happier condition the next day, Why God has marked me out To which he replied, Gentlefor an example of his vengeance, men, I thank you, but my haprather than you or any other of piness is at an end ; and as for our acquaintance, I presume, is, my rest to night, thus I spend because I have been more reli- the little remainder of my misergiously educated, and have done able moments. All the ease I greater despite to the Spirit of expect will be wishing for the Grace. What egregious folly is day, as in the day time I wish for it for dust and ashes to contend the night, and in a fearful expecwith its Creator, to question his tation of my dissolution, and the justice, his power, yea, his very account I must make upon it. being ; when at the same time, But, Gentlemen, good night to without this God, every such you ; and remember me, to conwretch would immediately fall firm you in the religion I have into nothing, being without him disowned, that you may stand not able to exist one moment? more cautiously by my folly, and What vile ingratitude is it scur- -secure the happiness I have forpilously to reflect on his religion, feited.” who died to reconcile such re- The next day came several of flecters to himself? Do not mis- his friends out of the country. take yourself ; it is not a light Having had an account of his cir. matter to contend with the God cumstances, one of them told him of nature, to abuse religion, and that he and several more of his deny its Author, and (what is relations came to town, and were worst of all) to apostatize from it, sorry to find him in so weak a as I have done. God has met condition as he appeared to be in; with me for it, after a long for- for now he was nothing but skin and bone, the agonies he lay un- this course under many convicder doing the work of the quick- tions, till my iniquity was ripe est consumption.
for vengeance, and the just judgHe answered, “ I am obliged ments of God overtook me, when in common civility to thank you my security was the greatest, and all : but who are my relations ? the checks of my conscience Our Saviour said, such as did the were the least. Since I have dewill of his heavenly Father were nied that salvation which cometh his relations. I may properly by Jesus Christ, there is no other say, that none but the Atheists, Mediator or Intercessor for sinthe reprobate, and such as do the ners ; if there be, which is he work of the devil, are my rela• that can redeem my soul from tions. This little tie of flesh and hell, or give a ransom for my blood will dissolve in a moment, life? No, no ; “if we sin wil. but the relation I have with the fully after we have received the damned is permanent. The knowledge of the truth, there resame lot, the same place of tor- mains no more 'sacrifice for sin, ment, the same exercise of blas- but a fearful looking for of judge phemy, and the same eternity of ment and fiery indignation to horror, will be the common lot consume the adversary.” “There of us all ; so the similitude of remains no more sacrifice for torments, place, and duration, sin," that is the wound that will join us in a very strict pierces my soul. CHRIST JESUS union.”
was the only expiatory sacrifice His friends, who only had God would accept ; I not acceptheard he was distracted, hearing ing, I would say, I despising this, him deliver himself in such there remains no other for me to terms were amazed, and began accept of, no other to make ato inquire of some of us, what tonement and satisfaction for me; made him talk at such a rate ? there is no other name given unHe, hearing them whispering to- der heaven but the name of Jegether, and imagining the cause, sus, whereby we may be saved, called them all to him, and said, and it is that JESUS whom I have
* You imagine me melancholy reproached, and ridiculed, and or distracted : I wish I were ei- abused in his members ; nay, to ther ; but it is part of my judg. whom I have induced others to ment that I am not. No; my do the same.
Methinks your apprehension of persons and breasts are all open to me, and, things is rather more quick and in the midst of your pity and vigorous, than it was when I was surprise, you would bid me hope in perfect health ; and it is my and believe, and supplicate the curse, because thereby I am more mercy I have abused, because Sensible of the condition I am JESUS CHRIST came to save sinfallen into. Would you be in- ners, and to bring to repentance. formed why I am become a skel- In that I know all your thoughts. eton in three or four days? See Alas, how fain would I hope and now then I have despised my Ma- believe! Can a man in torments ker, and denied my Redeemer ; not desire to be freed from them? I have joined myself to the Athe- No, assure yourselves I would ists and profane, and continued upon any terms ; but the wrath Vol. II. No.d.