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tions, and promise ourselves, beforehand, extraordinary scenes of delight, but, with all our art, can do but little, if any thing at all, to heighten the actual enjoyment.
Religious pleasures are our best, our only support, under the disappointments and calamities of life. There are lesser cares, which a person may possibly divert, at least in some degree, by a course of intemperance and luxury; by constantly inflaming his passions, and doing his utmost to keep reason asleep. But this is not so much the firmness of a man, as the stupidity of a brute. And after all, as insensible as the sinner may appear to be, in the midst of his affected gaiety, his mind may be confused, and an utter stranger to settled cheerfulness and peace. There are some circumstances in which all outward comforts must fail him, and leave him quite destitute of relief. Let us suppose, for instance, that he labors under decays of nature, or is tormented with acute pains, or under the immediate apprehension of death; in such a condition as this, when he is altogether incapable of any of those sensual gratifications, which he has always pursued as the sum of his felicity, will the remembrance of past pleasures refresh and bear up his spirits? Quite the contrary. They must appear, at best, to be insignificant and trifling; and it is natural to expect that a review of the guilty scene will alarm and
fill him with horror, and render his other miseries more heavy and insupportable.
But the good man, who has acted as became him, and steadily adhered to the rules of virtue and religion, has in all such critical seasons of distress a solid and substantial support. His pleasures will not desert him in the very last extremity of nature; but a sense of his Maker's favor, and the prospect of a happy immortality, must needs alleviate the weight of every affliction he suffers, and enable him to bear up under the wastings of a shattered constitution, with resolution and constancy. And surely nothing can be more desirable than to have relief from within, when all is dark and gloomy without us.
THE DEATH OF THE RIGHTEOUS.
'OH most delightful hour by man
The hour that terminates his span,
Worlds should not bribe me back to tread
To see again my day o'erspread
My home, henceforth, is in the skies;
So spake Aspasio, firm possessed
He was a man among the few
And all his strength from scripture drew,
That rule he prized, by that he feared,
THE DEATH OF THE RIGHTEOUS.
For he was frail as thou or I,
But when he felt it, heaved a sigh,
Such lived Aspasio; and at last,
Called up from earth to heaven, The gulf of death triumphant passed, By gales of blessing driven.
'His joys be mine,' each reader cries, "When my last hour arrives.' "They shall be yours,' my verse replies, 'Such only be your lives."
THE VOYAGE OF LIFE.
'LIFE,' says Seneca, 'is a voyage, in the progress of which we are perpetually changing our scenes; we first leave childhood behind us, then youth, then the years of ripened manhood, then the better and more pleasing part of old age.' The perusal of this passage having excited in me a train of reflections on the state of man, the incessant fluctuation of his wishes, the gradual change of his disposition to all external objects, and the thoughtlessness with which he floats along the stream of time, I sunk into a slumber amidst my meditations, and on a sudden, found my ears filled with the tumult of labor, the shouts of alacrity, the shrieks of alarm, the whistle of winds, and the dash of waters.
My astonishment for a time repressed my curiosity; but soon recovering myself so far as to inquire whither we were going, and what was the cause of such clamor and confusion, I was told that we were launching out into the ocean of life, that we had already passed the straits of infancy, in which multitudes had perished, some by the weakness and fragility of their vessels, and more by the folly, perverseness, or negligence of those who undertook to steer them; and that we were