Billeder på siden
[ocr errors][merged small]









Author of, Dialogues of Devils, Looking Glass, fc.

And deliver them, who, through fear of Death, were all their life time

subject to bondage.-HEB.ii. 15. He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second dcath. Rev. ii. 11. .


[ocr errors]


The favourable reception which DEATH, A vision, has met with by the more pious and thoughtful; and the frequent accounts I have had of its usefulness, especially to the weary and heavy laden christian, have induced me to en-' deavour to make it, as much as possible, still more acceptable, and to print it in a more suitable form for a family book, as well as greatly to enlarge upon several circumstances therein related.

The subject is of the highest importance; Death casts the die, and unalterable fixes, for ever fixes our existence, either in a state of the purest holiness and consummate felicity, or in the blackest horror, and most aggravated torments, in the howling regions of infamy and despair. It is of universal concern: all are equally interested in it; for “ all must die.” This point admits of no controversy ; nor can any man appeal from the awful decision. We may in other things, perhaps, allowable differ ; but here our judgment must be unanimous, whilst we visit the tombs of our ancestors, and daily tread upon dust once inhabited by immortal spirits. “ Your fathers, where are they? The prophets, do they live for ever ?” Burying places discover graves of every dimension, from the infant of a span to the swain of tallest

The hoary head, though frequently unnoticed, proclaims aloud the swift approach of Death to venerable age, ripening for the grave by a series of bodily infirmities

The young in years; the bloom of youth, and strength of manhood, in this unequal war can make no greater resistance than tottering weakness. Almost every day produceth fresh testimony that youth is by no means an insurance from Death; nor rubust and brawny limbs a security from the grave. The greatest monarch comes down here to a perfect equality with the basest beggar; and the most delicate epicurean ranks only with the menial drudge, or scullion in the kitchen. Neither robes of the finest lawn, nor crowns of the purest gold, have power to exempt their wearers from the pains and


horrors of a gloomy Death-bed, and its inevitable consequences. How awful is this consideration, “ God hath appointed that all men once shall die!” Must it not affect the mind to think of entering into an unknown state of existence? A state, of which nothing can in this life be learned but from the word of revelation. And is it not still more awful to see, that notwithstanding the absolute certainty, and the vast importance of Death, the far greatest part of mankind pay little or no regard to its dread solemnity ? Men in general will be more curious and exact in their enquiries after even the most trifling commodity they purchase, than about the most suitable preparation for Death. If a trades. man is about purchasing any valuable article, how diligent is he to guard against imposition. If a gentleman purchaseth an estate, how inquisitive is he after its real value, and with what accuracy does he examine the validity of his title: notwithstanding he is to hold it, as it were, only by the hour, or rather by the moment.

Strange it is, but it is true as strange, that the bulk of mankind will take nothing upon trust, except their everlasting concerns. () reader, if thou art one of this thoughtless herd, allow me to tell thee, that thou hast a terrible death-bed, at least a terrible death before thee, which will overtake thee, and will not spare thee one moment because of thine unpreparedness. No'; if thou remainest thoughtless, thou remainest also without excuse; thou hast had, thou still hast monitors enow. The passing bell, whose doleful sound daily salutes thinc ear, calls thee to remember thy mortality ; every newspaper that thou readest, by the accounts of death in it, bids thee look forward to another world; yea, every pain, every symptom of disease summoneth thee to prepare for thy long home. Let no man therefore say, “ he had no warning of his mortality," seeing almost every thing in nature, if duly attended to, proclaims it to thee. Yet man, thoughtless man, goes on under a vain shew, and securely pursues earthly objects with as much assiduity, as if Death had in reality no existence, and as if there was not an awful hereafter consequent upon dissolution.'

Give me leave to deal plainly with thee for once, my reader, for God, thy judge, will one day, and that perhaps very soon, be plain: justly and strictly exact with thee, and with every one ; will call thee to a severe account for the thoughtlessness of thy ways, yea, and visit upon thee, the sad effects of thine own inconsideration. Tremendous must that audit be which is unthought of, and for which thou art unprovided; like that inan without the wedding garment, the sinner shalt pemain speechless..

Thou pressed hard after the perishing riches of this world,

« ForrigeFortsæt »