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pate; and if the doctrines of his faith be true, there is nothing incredible in such a circumstance; if it be true that a world of surpassing glory is prepared for his reception the moment he shall have left the body, then there is nothing incredible in the supposition, that coruscations of the brightness belonging to it should dart upon him as he is passing the valley of death; and that not only to illumine the dark and dismal valley through which he is passing, but in some measure to prepare him for the effulgent change he will so soon experience; and if it be true that he is about to enter into the presence of his God and Father, then there is nothing incredible in the supposition that a portion of the felicity which dwells within it should be communicated to him now that he is upon the eve of its entire and full fruition. Such, in fact, is the felicity which he enjoys.
And, oh! as his views of immortal blessedness become more distinct, and as his spirit, in disengaging herself from the things of earth, is more susceptible of impressions from that state of glory, his emotions of joy continue to rise and swell within him,
and so absorb him as to extinguish every other but those of ecstasy and delight.
In the chamber in which the saint of God expires, disconsolate attendants can behold nothing but the convulsive agonies which precede the stroke of death; they hear nothing but the groaning and the shrieking of a nature which is rending and breaking up. The unutterable scenes and the unspeakable words which are so often perceived and heard by the spirit as she is departing, are neither perceived nor heard. by them. The visions of glory with which, in the midst of his dying struggles, the man of God is sometimes favoured, are like the vision of the opening heavens to Stephen, what the nearest by-stander cannot behold, neither can he hear the whisperings of ethereal beings which are then so distinctly heard by the partially disembodied spirit, and with whom an eternal intercourse has already commenced. But, oh! if he sees not the glory, he beholds its reflection upon the countenance which becomes, as it were, the countenance of an angel [Note d]. And if he hear not the whisperings of holy creatures to "come away," he
hears the respondings of him who is departing, saying, "I am coming, I am coming."
How grand, then, is the sight of an expiring saint! To the material eye, which sees not beyond the suffering, and, it may be, agonizing individual, there is indeed nothing that is grand or elevating in such a sight, but every thing that is humiliating and repulsive; since, in the dying chamber of the most righteous character the only scene which it beholds is that of an intellectual and moral being, upon the point not only of descending from the high eminence of existence, but of becoming a mass of corruption loathsome to behold. But, ah! how differently does it appear to the eye of faith and in the light of that revelation which has scattered the darkness of the tomb, which has told us of heavenly things, and which has given us a glorious insight into the future circumstances of the sons of God. Thus contemplated, a righteous man, even in the midst of his mortal struggles, is beheld as languishing into life, as upon the eve of glory, as about to behold the face of God, to mingle with the spirits that are before him, and to be rewarded
with immortal honours. Hence the glory into which he will so soon enter, the felicity he will so soon enjoy, the dignity to which he will so soon be raised, and the honours with which he will so soon be crowned, give a grandeur to his position; and that not only in the view of angels, who attend the death-bed of the just, as upon a post of honour and of joy, but in the view also of him whose faith can look beyond the expiring struggles, and the awful event in which they will terminate, to the glory that shall follow. Such an one looks with admiration upon a holy character as he is about to die; for he sees him as upon the verge of glory, as upon the eve of joining the holy multitude that are above, of associating with the highest and brightest spirits of the universe,—and, oh! not excepting the uncreated Spirit himself.
When faith is able thus to contemplate the approaching destiny of the saint of God, there is something nobler in the sight of his departure to it. Oh, there is a grandeur in the setting of his sun on earth, although it may sometimes set in clouds and darkness, when
she can gaze upon the splendour with which it will arise in a higher and holier region. So far, however, from setting in clouds and darkness, it will not unfrequently set with a dignity and a brightness which, whilst they command the admiration of those who behold them, are prophetic of the glory with which it will appear in the kingdom of his God. Hence, the sight of a holy man upon the verge of his departure, with his wings on the stretch for heaven, with his hope blooming with ethereal blessedness, and with the graces which have so long adorned his character, brightening as he is about to mingle with "the just made perfect," is, notwithstanding the humiliating circumstances necessarily connected with it, the grandest which faith can witness. At such a sight she gazes with admiration; and long after his righteous spirit has effected her escape from earth-like the men of Galilee, she looks stedfastly towards heaven, and traces her progress to the very throne of God. Upon the mind of even ordinary spectators, a sight like this is not without effect. In the presence of such a scene many an unbelieving heart has