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was a quotation from Rousseau : “ Socrates died like a philosopher, but Jesus Christ like a God!"
I despair of giving you any idea of the effect produced by this short sentence, unless you could perfectly conceive the whole manner of the man, as well as the peculiar crisis in the discourse. Never before did I completely understand what Demosthenes meant by laying such stress on delivery. You are to bring before you the venerable figure of the preacher — his blindness, constantly recalling to your recollection old Homer, Ossian, and Milton, and associating with his performance the melancholy grandeur of their geniuses; you are to imagine that you hear his slow, solemn, wellaccented enunciation, and his voice of affecting, trembling melody; you are to remember the pitch of passion and enthusiasm to which the congregation were raised; and then the few minutes of portentous, deathlike silence which reigned throughout the house : the preacher, removing his white handkerchief from his aged face, (even yet wet from the recent torrent of his tears,) and slowly stretching forth the palsied hand which holds it, begins the sentence, “ Socrates died like a philosopher;" then pausing, raising his other hand, pressing them both, clasped together, with warmth and energy to his breast, lifting his “sightless balls" to heaven, and pouring his whole soul into his tremulous voice
“ but Jesus Christ - like a God!" If he had been in deed and in truth an angel of light, the effect could scarcely have been more divine.
The Value of Christian Faith.
Would you know the value of the principle of faith to the bereaved ? Go, and follow a corpse to the grave. See the
body deposited there, and hear the earth thrown in upon all that remains of your friend. Return now, if
you will, and brood over the lesson which your senses have given you, and derive from it what consolation you can. You have learned nothing but an unconsoling fact. No voice of comfort issues from the tomb. All is still there, and blank and lifeless, and has been so for ages.
You see nothing but bodies dissolving and successively mingling with the clods which cover them the grass growing over the spot, and the trees waving in sullen majesty over this region of eternal silence. And what is there more? Nothing ? Come, Faith, and people these deserts! Come, and reanimate these regions of forgetfulness ! Mothers, take again your children to your arms, for they are living. Sons, your aged parents are coming forth in the vigor of regenerated years. Friends, behold, your dearest connections are waiting to embrace you. The tombs are burst. Generations, long since lost in slumbers, are awaking. They are coming from the east and the west, from the north and from the south, to constitute the community of the blessed.
But it is not in the loss of friends alone, that faith furnishes consolations which are inestimable. With a man of faith not an affliction is lost, not a change is unimproved. He studies even his own history with pleasure, and finds it full of instruction. The dark passages of his life are illuminated with hope; and he sees that, although he has passed through many dreary defiles, yet they have opened at last into brighter regions of existence. He recalls, with a species of wondering gratitude, periods of his life when all its events seemed to conspire against him. Hemmed in by straitened circumstances, wearied with repeated blows of unexpected misfortune; and exhausted with the painful anticipation of more, he recollects years when the ordinary love of life could not have retained him in the world. Many a time he might have wished to lay down his being in disgust, had not something more than the senses provide us with kept up
the elasticity of his mind. He yet lives, and has found that light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.
The man of faith discovers some gracious purpose in every combination of circumstances. Wherever he finds himself, he knows that he has a destination : he has, therefore, a duty. Every event has, in his eye, a tendency and an aim. Nothing is accidental, nothing without a purpose, nothing unattended with benevolent consequences. Every thing on earth is probationary, nothing ultimate. He is poor; perhaps his plans have been defeated; he finds it difficult to provide for the exigencies of life; sickness is permitted to invade the quiet of his household ; long confinement imprisons his activity, and cuts short the exertions on which so many depend; something apparently unlucky mars his best plans; new failures and embarrassments among his friends present themselves, and throw additional obstructions in his way: the world look on, and
all these things are against him.
Some wait coolly for the hour when he shall sink under the complicated embarrassments of his cruel fortune. Others, of a kinder spirit, regard him with compassion, and wonder how he can sustain such a variety of woe. A few there are — a very few, I fear — who can understand something of the serenity of his mind, and comprehend something of the nature of his fortitude. There are those, whose sympathetic piety can read and interpret the characters of resignation on his brow. There are those, in fine, who have felt the influence of faith.
In this influence there is nothing mysterious, nothing romantic, nothing of which the highest reason may be ashamed. It shows the Christian his God, in all the mild majesty of his parental character. It shows you God, disposing in still and benevolent wisdom the events of every individual's life, pressing the pious spirit with the weight of calamity to increase the elasticity of the mind, producing
characters of unexpected worth by unexpected misfortune, invigorating certain virtues by peculiar probations, thus breaking the fetters which bind us to temporal things, and
“ From seeming evil still educing good,
And better thence again, and better still,
When the sun of the believer's hopes, according to common calculations, is set, to the eye of faith it is still visible. When much of the rest of the world is in darkness, the high ground of faith is illuminated with the brightness of religious consolation.
Come, now, my incredulous friends, and follow me to the bed of the dying believer. Would you see in what peace a Christian can die ? Watch the last gleams of thought which stream from his dying eyes. Do you see any thing like apprehension ? The world, it is true, begins to shut in. The shadows of evening collect around his senses. A dark mist thickens and rests upon the objects which have hitherto engaged his observation. The countenances of his friends become more and more indistinct. The sweet expressions of love and friendship are no longer intelligible. His ear wakes no more at the well-known voice of his children, and the soothing accents of tender affection die away, unheard, upon his decaying senses. To him the spectacle of human life is drawing to its close, and the curtain is descending which shuts out this earth, its actors, and its scenes. He is no longer interested in all that is done under the sun. O that I could now open to you the recesses of his soul! that I could reveal to you the light which darts into the chambers of his understanding! He approaches the world which he has so long seen in faith. The imagination now collects its diminished strength, and the eye of faith opens wide.
Friends, do not stand, thus fixed in sorrow, around this bed of death. Why are you so still and silent ? Fear not to move: you cannot disturb the last visions which entrance this holy spirit. Your lamentations break not in upon the songs of seraphs which enwrap his hearing in ecstasy. Crowd, if you choose, around his couch: he heeds you not: already he sees the spirits of the just advancing together to receive a kindred soul. Press him not with importunities; urge him not with alleviations. Think you he wants now these tones of mortal voices - these material, these gross consolations ? No! He is going to add another to the myriads of the just, that are every moment crowding into the portals of heaven.
He is entering on a nobler life. He leaves you — he leaves you, weeping children of mortality - to grope about a little longer among the miseries and sensualities of a worldly life. Already he cries to you from the regions of bliss. Will you not join him there? Will you not taste the sublime joys of faith? There are your predecessors in virtue; there, too, are places left for your contemporaries.
There are seats for you in the assembly of the just made perfect, in the innumerable company of angels, where is Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, and God, the Judge of all.
Death of Gertrude, and the Lament of Outalissi.
Hushed were his Gertrude's lips; but still their bland
And beautiful expression seemed to melt
She presses to the heart no more that felt.
And features yet that spoke a soul more fair.