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the power of the strongest, to deprive us of the relief of death.
Excellent was the advice of Seneca against the fear of death, when he tells us, that to avoid the dread of it, we should frequently contemplate on that event. But like to an unwelcome guest, we elude the visit: still the lectures of time will obtrude themselves, and in spite of every artifice will be heard.
From twenty even to threescore, we are very adroit to parry off the address of
age, and refer it to some one older; but when disguise will serve no longer, and we have rusted out a few years more, it is then only, with some reluctance and reserve, that we give in our names to the list of antiquity!
And at this period, where courteous and respectful attention ought chiefly to begin; to the dishonour of youth, of both sexes, it too often unfeelingly ends. We are apt to
compliment each other,' and gloss over the intermediàte gradations from thirty tò forty with the name of youth; but that forsook ús, never to return again, when we were acquainted with the age of twenty-five!
If the aggregate mass of human existence were put together, and every individual had his share equally apportioned; it might not exceed the pittance of thirty years! but'noť insisting on this calculation, we will allow, what in nature we know is not to be allowed, that to every person, the age of sixty, or even of seventy were granted; yet surely he cannot be said to be young on his journey, who has already reached the half of it: à middle age is all the compliment that can be due to him. It is then downright mock ery to say the same of one, who has completed Half a century!
It is not to produce the hoary veteran of eighty, or it may be of ninety, who, on pur2 B
pose to excite astonishment, will crack his joke, and laugh at the wrecks of time; such rare characters ought no more to be quoted as a general estimate of longevity, than others, who not having run the half of that race, are so often to be opposed against them.
The ancients marked six different stages of life.-Pueritia, which commenced at the fifth year, they called Childhood ;-Adolescentia, Youth, which was understood by them to be from the eighteenth, and even to the twenty-fifth year ;---Juventus, the age from twenty-five to the thirty-fifth year ;-Virilis Ætas, Manhood, from the thirty-fifth to the fiftieth year;-Senectus, Old Age, from fifty to sixty;--Crepita Ætas, Decrepit Age, which ends in death!
Well was the question put, “What is life?" and well was it answered by the same inspired author, in these words : “ It is even à vapour,
for a little time, and then vanisheth away."
“ Life glides away, Lorenzol like a brook,
Not anything but the closest appeals of affection, and the offices due to surviving friends, could damp the good man's desire of death; these indeed, while filling the eye with sympathetic tears, convey to the heart a longing wish, to have a respite, even from his sublimest joys, to mourn a little longer, “ in this vale of sorrow and of tears," to sweeten, if he can, the journey of his fellow flesh and blood; but as a writer truly observes, “when such friends part, it is the surviver dies."
The Gentoo's have a proverb which runs thus : «
Sitting is better than walking, sleep is better than sitting, but death is better than either."
As in vegetable life, so it happens to us: there is a seed time, a spring, a summer, an autumn, and a winter of our existence; and like unto the crops of the field and garden, ģenerations of men and women, by an invariable law of nature, in the same manner succeed each other.
But since we caine into life progressively, it seems congenial with the feelings of nature to be dismissed from it in the same leisurely manner; and hence, in addition to other considerations; is a reason, why sudden and violent deaths, usually affect the mind with most awful sensations: to escape however a tedious and very painful separation of matter and spirit, a quick release were most devoutly to be wished; but not otherwise.
If death were to commit such ravages on the sout, as utterly to destroy it from the capability of future existence, dismal truly would be that extinguisher which degraded