« PredošláPokračovať »
all sublunary concerns, steadfastly believing in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and Saviour of the world. And although it has been said that he changed his religion, yet the imputation is entirely groundless, unless professing to understand the subject better in advanced life, than when he first embraced it in his youth, be considered a change. This he certainly did, as to some theological points; but in theory and practice, he as certainly adhered to the same christian system, as the only genuine, true, and divine medium of salvation for fallen man.
As a member of the Christian church, he was a man of great excellence and utility, and it may be said with truth, that the Elkhorn Association of Baptists in this state, is much indebted to him for that regularity, method, and good order, which conferred upon it a great degree of the respectability which it possessed twenty years ago.
In the private circles and domestic departments of life, he was a man of much practical usefulness, being a cordial friend; and, in religion, of the most liberal spirit, possessing an amiable character, and discharging, with affection, fidelity, and tenderness, the social and relative duties of husband, parent, neighbour, and master. After a life thus spent he died, as might well be expected, with a confident and rational hope of eternal life, through Jesus Christ, the Mediator. Society has lost one of its most valuable members; unitarianism one of its oldest, most firm, and useful friends in the west. He has passed off this stage of action, lamented by his friends, his relations, and his country.
Eternity of God. We receive such repeated intimations of decay in the world through which we are passing; decline and change and loss follow decline and change and loss in such rapid succession, that we can almost catch the sound of universal wasting, and hear the work of desolation going on busily around us. “The mountain falling cometh to nought, and the rock is removed out of his place.
The waters wear the stones, the things which grow out of the dust of the earth are washed away, and the hope of man is destroyed.”. Conscious of our own instability we look about for something to rest on, but we look in vain. The heavens and the earth had a beginning, and they will have an end. The face of the world is changing, daily and hourly. All animated things grow old and die. The rocks crumble, the trees fall, the leaves fade, and the grass withers. The clouds are flying, and the waters are flowing away from us.
The firmest works of man, too, are gradually giving way, the ivy clings to the mouldering tower, the briar hangs out from the shattered window, and the wallflower springs from the disjointed stones. The founders of these perishable works have shared the same fate long ago. If we look back to the days of our ancestors, to the men as well as the dwellings of former times, they become immediately associated in our imaginations, and only make the feeling of instability stronger and deeper than before. In the spacious domes, which once held our fathers, the serpent hisses, and the wild bird screams. The halls, which once were crowded with all that taste and science and labor could procure, which resounded with melody, and were lighted up with beauty, are buried by their own ruins, mocked by their own desolation. The voice of merriment, and of wailing, the steps of the busy and the idle have ceased in the deserted courts, and the weeds choke the entrances, and the long grass waves upon the hearthstone. The works of art, the forming hand, the tombs, the very ashes they contained, are all gone.
While we thus walk among the ruins of the past, a sad feeling of insecurity comes over us; and that feeling is by no means diminished when we arrive at home. If we turn to our friends, we can hardly speak to them before they bid us farewell. We see them for a few moments, and in a few moments more their countenances are changed, and they are sent away. It matters not how near and dear they are. The ties which bind us together are never too close to be parted, or too strong to be broken. Tears were never known to move the king of terrors, neither is it enough that we are compelled to surrender one, or two, or many of those we love, for though the price is so great, we buy no favour with it, and our hold on those who remain is as slight as ever. The shadows all elude our grasp, and follow one another down the valley. We gain no confidence then, no feeling of security by turning to our contemporaries and kindred. We know that the forms, which are breathing around us, are as shortlived and fleeting as those were, which have been dust for centu. ries. The sensation of vanity, uncertainty, and ruin, is equally as strong, whether we muse on what has long been prostrate, or gaze on what is falling now, or will fall so soon.
If every thing which comes under our notice has endured for so short a time, and in so short a time will be no more, we cannot say that we receive the least assurance by thinking on ourselves. When they, on whose fate we have been meditating, were engaged in the active scenes of life, as full of health and hope as we are now, what were we? We had no knowledge, no consciousness, no being; there was not a single thing in the wide universe which knew us. And after the same interval shall have elapsed, which now divides their days from ours, what shall we be? What they are now. When a few more friends have left, a few more hopes deceived, and a few more changes mocked us, “we shall be brought to the grave, and shall remain in the tomb, the clods of the valley shall be sweet unto us, and every man shall follow us, as there are innumerable before us." All power will have forsaken the strongest, and the loftiest will be laid low, and every eye will be closed, and every voice hushed, and every heart will have ceased its beating. And when we have gone ourselves, even our memories will not stay behind us long. A few of the near and dear will bear our likeness in their bosoms, till they too have arrived at the end of their journey, and entered the dark dwelling of unconsciousness. In the thoughts of others, we shall live only till the last sound of the bell, which informs them of our departure, has ceased to vibrate in their ears. A stone, perhaps, may tell some wanderer where we lie, when we came here, and when we went away, but even that will soon refuse to bear us record; “time's effacing fingers" will be busy on its surface, and at length will wear it smooth, and then the stone itself will sink, or crumble, and the wanderer of another age will pass, without a single call upon his sympathy, over our unheeded graves.
Is there nothing to counteract the sinking of the heart, which must be the effect of observations like these? Is there no substance among all these shadows If all who live and breathe around us are the creatures of yesterday, and destined to see destruction tomorrow; if the same condition is our own, and the same sentence is written against us; if the solid forms of inanimate nature and laborious art are fading and falling; if we look in vain for durability to the very roots of the mountains, where shall we turn, and on what can we rely? Can no support be offered; can no source of confidence be named? Oh yes! there is one Being to whom we can look with a perfect conviction of finding that security, which nothing about us can give, and which nothing about us can take away. To this Being we can lift up our souls, and on him we may rest them, exclaiming in the language of the monarch of Israel, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting thou art God." "Of old hast thou laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou