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10 feet, there is not one of you who would not prove how strong are the relentings of nature at a spectacle so hideous as death. There are some of you who would be haunted for whole days by the image of horror you had witnessed,-who would feel the weight of a most oppres15 sive sensation upon your heart, which nothing but time could wear away,-who would be so pursued by it as to be unfit for business or for enjoyment,-who would think of it through the day, and it would spread a gloomy disquietude over your waking moments,-who would 20 dream of it at night, and it would turn that bed which you courted as a retreat from the torments of an evermeddling memory, into a scene of restlessness.
But generally the death of violence is not instantaneous, and there is often a sad and dreary interval between 25 its final consummation, and the infliction of the blow which causes it. The winged messenger of destruction has not found its direct avenue to that spot, where the principle of life is situated; and the soul, finding obstacles to its immediate egress, has to struggle for hours 30 ere it can make its dreary way through the winding avenues of that tenement, which has been torn open by a brother's hand. O! if there be something appalling in the suddenness of death, think not that, when gradual in its advances, you will alleviate the horrors of this 35 sickening contemplation by viewing it in a milder form O! tell me, if there be any relentings of pity in your bosom, how could you endure it, to behold the agonies of the dying man,-as goaded by pain he grasps the cold ground in convulsive energy, or faint with the loss of 40 blood, his pulse ebbs low, and the gathering paleness spreads itself over his countenance, or wrapping himself round in despair, he can only mark, by a few feeble quiverings, that life still lurks and lingers in his lacerated body,‚—or lifting up a faded eye, he casts on you a 45 look of imploring helplessness, for that succor which no sympathy can yield him?
It may be painful to dwell on such a representation, -but this is the way in which the cause of humanity is served. The eye of the sentimentalist turns away from
50 its sufferings, and he passes by on the other side, lest he hear that pleading voice, which is armed with a tone of remonstrance so vigorous as to disturb him. He cannot bear thus to pause, in imagination, on the distressing picture of one individual; but multiply it ten thousand 55 times,—say, how much of all this distress has been heaped together on a single field,-give us the arithmetic of this accumulated wretchedness, and lay it before us with all the accuracy of an official computation,— and, strange to tell, not one sigh is lifted up among the crowd 60 of eager listeners, as they stand on tiptoe, and catch every syllable of utterance which is read to them out of the registers of death. O! say, what mystic spell is that which so blinds us to the suffering of our brethren, —which deafens to our ear the voice of bleeding hu65 manity when it is aggravated by the shriek of dying thousands,—which makes the very magnitude of the slaughter throw a softening disguise over its cruelties, and its horrors,-which causes us to eye with indifference the field that is crowded with the most revolting 70 abominations, and arrests that sigh, which each individual would singly have drawn from us, by the report of the many who have fallen, and breathed their last in agony, along with him? Chalmers.
The Preservation of the Church.
The long existence of the Christian church would be pronounced, upon common principles of reasoning, impossible. She finds in every man a natural and inveterate enemy. To encounter and overcome the unani5 mous hostility of the world, she boasts no political stratagem, no disciplined legions, no outward coercion of any kind. Yet her expectation is that she live forever. To mock this hope, and to blot out her memorial from under heaven, the most furious efforts of fanaticism, the 10 most ingenious arts of statesmen, the concentrated strength of empires, have been frequently and perseveringly applied. The blood of her sons and her daughters has streamed like water; the smoke of the scaffold
and the stake, where they wore the crown of martyrdom 15 in the cause of Jesus, has ascended in thick volumes to the skies. The tribes of persecution have sported over her woes, and erected monuments, as they imagined, of her perpetual ruin. But where are her tyrants, and where their empires? The tyrants have long since gone 20 to their own place; their names have descended upon the roll of infamy; their empires have passed, like shadows over the rock-they have successively disappeared, and left not a trace behind!
But what became of the church? She rose from 25 her ashes fresh in beauty and might. Celestial glory beamed around her; she dashed down the monumental marble of her foes, and they who hated her fled before her. She has celebrated the funeral of kings and kingdoms that plotted her destruction; and, with the in30 scriptions of their pride, has transmitted to posterity the records of their shame. How shall this phenomenon be explained? We are at the present moment, witnesses of the fact; but who can unfold the mystery? The book of truth and life, has made our wonder to 35 cease. THE LORD HER GOD IN THE MIDST OF HER IS MIGHTY.' His presence is a fountain of health, and his protection a wall of fire.' He has betrothed her, in eternal covenant to himself. Her living head, in whom she lives, is above, and his quickening spirit 40 shall never depart from her. Armed with divine virtue, his gospel, secret, silent, unobserved, enters the hearts of men and sets up an everlasting kingdom. It eludes all the vigilance, and baffles all the power of the adversary. Bars, and bolts, and dungeons are no ob45 stacles to its approach: Bonds, and tortures, and death cannot extinguish its influence. Let no man's heart tremble, then, because of fear. Let no man despair (in these days of rebuke and blasphemy,) of the Christian cause. The ark is launched, indeed, upon the 50 floods; the tempest sweeps along the deep; the billows break over her on every side. But Jehovah-Jesus has promised to conduct her in safety to the haven of peace. She cannot be lost unless the pilot perish. Mason.
Let us go back to the rock, where the Pilgrims first stood, and look abroad upon this wide and happy land, so full of their lineal or adopted sons, and repeat the question, to whom do we owe it, that "the wilder5 ness has thus been turned into a fruitful field, and the desert has become as the garden of the Lord ?” 'To whom do we owe it under an all-wise Providence, that this nation, so miraculously born, is now contributing with such effect to the welfare of the human family, by 10 aiding the march of mental and moral improvement, and giving an example to the nations of what it is to be pious, intelligent, and free? To whom do we owe it, that with us the great ends of the social compact are accomplished to a degree of perfection never before re15 alized; that the union of public power and private liberty is here exhibited in a harmony so singular and perfect, as to allow the might of political combination to rest upon the basis of individual virtue, and to call into exercise, by the very freedom which such a union gives, 20 all the powers that contribute to national prosperity? To whom do we owe it, that the pure and powerful light of the gospel is now shed abroad over these countries, and is rapidly gaining upon the darkness of the western world;—that the importance of religion to the 25 temporal welfare of men, and to the permanence of wise institutions is here beginning to be felt in its just measure; that the influence of a divine revelation is not here, as in almost every other section of christendom, wrested to purposes of worldly ambition;—that the holy 30 Bible is not sealed from the eyes of those for whom it ́was intended ;—and the best charities and noblest powers of the soul degraded by the terrors of a dark and artful superstition? To whom do we owe it, that in this favored land the gospel of the grace of God has 35 best displayed its power to bless humanity, by uniting the anticipations of a better world with the highest interests and pursuits of this;-by carrying its merciful influence into the very business and bosoms of men ;
by making the ignorant wise and the miserable happy; 40 by breaking the fetters of the slave, and teaching "the babe and the suckling" those simple and sublime truths, which give to life its dignity and virtue, and fill immortality with hope?-To whom do we owe all this? Doubtless to the Plymouth Pilgrims!-Happily did one 45 of those fearless exiles exclaim, in view of all that was past, and of the blessing, and honor, and glory that was yet to come, "God hath sifted three kingdoms, that he might gather the choice grain, and plant it in the wilderness!" Whelpley.
94. A Future State.
'Tis done! dread Winter spreads his latest glooms,
How dumb the tuneful! Horror wide extends
5 His desolate domain. Behold, fond man!
See here thy pictur'd life: pass some few years,
And pale concluding Winter comes at last,
10 And shuts the scene. Ah! whither now are fled Those dreams of greatness? those unsolid hopes Of happiness? those longings after fame?
Those restless cares? those busy bustling days? Those gay-spent, festive nights? those veering thoughts 15 Lost between good and ill, that shar'd thy life? All now are vanish'd! Virtue sole survives, Immortal, never-failing friend of man,
His guide to happiness on high. And see! 'Tis come, the glorious morn! the second birth 20 of heav'n and earth! awak'ning Nature hears The new-creating word, and starts to life, In ev'ry heighten'd form, from pain and death For ever free. The great eternal scheme, Involving all, and in a perfect whole. 25 Uniting as the prospect wider spreads, To reason's eye refin'd, clears up apace.