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It would scarcely be worth the while to cherish the im. pressions of a virtuous friendship, if the generous engagement were to be dissolved with mortal life ; such a thought would give the grave a deeper gloom, and add new horrors to the fatal darkness.
But, I confess, I have brighter expectations : and I am fully persuaded those noble attachments which are founded on real merit, are of an immortal date ; that benignity, that divine charity, which just warms the soul in these cold regions, will shine with new lustre, and burn with an eternal ardour, in the happy seats of peace and love.
My present experience confirms me in this truth. The powers of nature are drooping ; the vital spark grows languid and faint : but my affection for my surviving friends was ; never more.. warm; my concern for their happiness was never more ardent,
This makes me employ some of the last part of my time in writing to three or four persons, whose merit requires my esteem, in hopes that this solemn farewell will leave a serious impression on their minds.
I am going to act the last and most important part of human life: in a little time, I shall land on the immortal coasts, where all is new, amazing, and unknown. - But, however gloomy the passage appears, : :“Sweet fields, beyond the swelling flood,
Stand dress'd in living green:
While Jordan roll'd between." Nature cannot but shiver on the fatal brink, unwilling to try the grand experiment; whilst the hopes of Christianity alone can support the soul in the solemn crisis. In this
exigence, the eternal Spirit whispers peace and pardon to the dying saint, through the atonement; and brightens the shadow of death with some glimmering of immortal light
Tell Mrs. Theobald, I hope to meet her in the shining realms of love and unmingled bliss ; “Where crown'd with joy and ever-blooming youth, The jocund hours hold on their endless round."
: Elizabeth Rowe.
I am now taking my final adieu of this world, with an assured hope of meeting you in the next. I carry to my grave my affection and gratitude to you; and I leave you with the sincerest concern for your own happiness, and the welfare of your family, May my prayers be answered, when I am sleeping in the dust! O, may the angels of God conduct you in the paths of immortal glory and pleasure! I would collect the powers of my soul, and ask blessings for you with all the holy violence of prayer. God Almighty, the God of your pious ancestors, who has been your dwelling place for many generations, bless you!
It is but a short space I have to measure; the shadows are lengthening, and my sun is declining. That goodness which has hitherto conducted me, will not fail me in the last concluding act of life: that Name which I have made my glory and my boast, shall then be my strength and my salvation. To meet death with a be coming fortitude, is a part above the powers of nature;
and which I can perform hy no strength or holiness of my own; for oh! in my best estate I am altogether vanity; a wretched, helpless sinner! But in the merits and perfect righteousness of God my saviour, I hope to appear justified at the supreme tribunal, where I must shortly stand to be judged.
; Elizabeth Rowe.
The opinion I have of your piety and judge ment, is the reason of my giving you the trouble of looking over these papers *, in order to publish them; which I desire you to do as soon as you can conveniently: only you have full liberty to suppress what you judge proper.
I think there can be no vanity in this design; for I am sensible such thoughts as these will not be to the taste of the modish part of the world ; and before they appear, I shall be entirely disinterested in the censure or applause of mortals. · The reflections were occasionally written, and only for my own improvement; but I am not without hopes that they inay have the same effect on some pious minds, as the reading of the experience of others has had on my own soul. The experimental part of religion has generally a greater influence than its theory; and if, when I am sleeping in the dust, these soliloquies should kindle a fame of divine love in the heart of the lowest and most despised Christian, be the glory given to the great Spring of all grace and benignity!
* Devout Exercises of the Heart.
I have now done with mortal things, and all to come is vast eternity!Eternity! howy transporting is the sound! As long as God exists, my being and happiness are secure. These unbounded desires, which the wide creation cannot limit, shall be satisfied for ever. I shall drink at the fountain-head of pleasure, and be refreshed with the emanations of Original, Life and Joy. I shall hear the voice of uncreated Harmony, speaking peace and ineffable consolation to my squl.
I expect eternal life, not as a reward of merit, but a pure act of bounty. Detesting myself in every view I can take, I fly to the righteousness and atonement of my great Redeemer for pardon and salvation; this is my only consolation and hope. Enter not into judgment, O Lord, with thy servant; for, in thy sight, shall no man living be justified.”
Through the blood of the Lamb, I hope for an entire victory over the last enemy: and that before this letter comes to you, I shall have reached the celestial heights; and that, while you are reading these lines, I shall be adoring before the throne of God, where faithshall be turned into vision, and these languishing desires satisfied with the full fruition of immortal love.
LETTERS OF DR. RUNDLE, BISHOP OF
February 15, 1737. 4 m . Oh, madam! the chancellor, the best man that ever breathed, the best judge, the best father, the best friend, is dead*!-What, in his providence, does the Almighty design to do, in merited severity, to punish this nation, by removing from it the person, who, by his wisdom and goodness united, was able and desirous to save it, to make it honest and happy! I dread to consider and foresee !What has the public lost! what has his dear, deserving family! what have I! what have I not lost! . .
He died yesterday morning. His illness was an inflammation on his lungs. He continued only from Thursday, till five in the morning on Monday. The physicians say, to comfort us, and to excuse themselves, or rather their ignorance, that he was worn out in the
* Charles Talbot, lord high chancellor of England, died Feba 14, 1737, universally lamented. He was allowed by all parties, to have possessed great talents and unblemished integrity. Thom. son published a poem to his memory; which is replete with gratitude, and contains an elegant delineation of a most amiable and exalted character.