Imatges de pÓgina
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while we fojourn here, while we dwell in thefe houfes of clay. They have nothing to do with the invisible world: they are not adapted to it. And they can take no more cognizance of the eternal, than of the invifible world. Although we are as fully affured of the exiftence of this, as of any thing in the prefent world. We cannot think death puts a period to our being. The body indeed returns to duft: but the foul, being of a nobler nature, is not affected thereby. There is therefore an eternal world, of what kind foever it be. But how fhall we attain the knowledge of this! What will teach us to draw aside the veil

"That hangs 'twixt mortal, and immortal being?"

We all know

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The vaft, the unbounded profpe&t lies before us,"

But are we not conftrained to add,

"Yet clouds, alas! and darkness reft upon it."

7. The most excellent of our fenfes, it is undeniably plain, can give us no affsistance herein. And what can our boasted reafon do? It is now univerfally allowed, Nihil eft in intellectu quod non fuit prius in fenfu: Nothing is in the underflanding, which was not first perceived by fome of the fenfes. Confequently the understanding having here nothing to work upon, can afford us no help at all. So that in fpite of all the information we can gain, either from fenfe or reason, both the invifible and eternal world are unknown to all that walk by fight.

8. But is there. no help? Muft they remain in total darkness, concerning the invisible and the eternal world? We cannot affirm this: even the Heathens did not all remain in total darkness concerning them. Some few rays of light have

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in all ages and nations gleamed through the fhade. Some light. they derived from various fountains, touching the invisible world. The heavens declared the glory of God, though not to their outward fight: the firnament fhewed to the eyes of their understanding the existence of their Maker. From the creation they inferred, the being of a Creator, powerful and wife, juft and merciful. And hence they concluded, there must be an eternal world, a future ftate to commence after the present, wherein the juftice of God in punishing wicked men, and his mercy in rewarding the righteous will be openly and undeniably displayed in the fight of all intelligent creatures.

9. We may likewife reasonably fuppofe, that fome traces. of knowledge, both with regard to the invifible and the eternal world, were delivered down from Noah and his children, both to their immediate and remote defcendents. And however thefe were obfcured or difguifed by the addition of number. lefs fables, yet fomething of truth was ftill mingled with them, and thefe ftreaks of light prevented utter darkness. Add to this, that God never in any age or nation, left himfelf quite without a witness in the hearts of men; but while he gave them rain and fruitful feafons, imparted fome imperfect knowledge of the Giver. He is the true light that still, in foine degree, enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world.

10. But all thefe lights put together availed no farther, than to produce a faint twilight. It gave them, even the most enlightened of them, no yxos, no demonftration, no demonflrative conviction, either of the invifible, or of the eternal world. Our philofophical Poet jully terms Socrates

"The wifeft of all moral men."

that is, of all that were not favoured with divine revelation. Yet what evidence had he of another world, when he addreffed those that had condemned him to death.

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"And now, O ye Judges, ye are going to live, and I am going to die. Which of thefe is beft, God knows: but I fuppofe, no man does." Alas! What a confeffion is this? Is this all the evidence that poor, dying Socrates had, either of an invisible, or an eternal world! And yet even this is preferable to the light of the great and good Emperor, Adrian. Remember, ye modern heathens, and copy after his pathetic addrefs to his parting foul. (For fear I fhould puzzle you with Latin, I give it you in Prior's fine translation.)

"Poor, little, pretty, fluttering thing,

Muft we no longer live together?
And doft thou prune thy trembling wing,
To take thy flight, thou knowest not whither.

Thy pleafing vein, thy humorous folly,
Lies all neglected, all forgot!

And pensive, wavering, melancholy,

Thou hopeft and feareft thou knoweft not what.'

11. "Thou knoweft not what!" True, there was no knowledge of what was to be hoped or feared after death, till the Sun of Righteoufnefs arose, to dispel all their vain conjectures; and brought life and immortality, that is, immortal life to light through the gospel. Then, (and not till then, unless in fome rare inftances) God revealed, unveiled the invisible world. He then revealed himself to the children of men. The Father revealed the Son in their hearts: and the Son revealed the Father. He that of old time commanded light to fhine in their hearts, and enlightened them with the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jefus Christ.

[To be concluded in our next.]

VOL. XIII.

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A Short

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A Short Account of Mr. GEORGE SHAD FOR D

[Written by Himfelf.]

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Was born at Scotter near Kirton in Lindsey, Lincolnshire, Jun. 19. 1739. When I was very young, I was uncommonly afraid of death. At about eight or nine years of age, being very ill of a sore throat and like to die, I was awfully afraid of another world; for, I felt my heart very wicked, and my confcience fmote me for many things that I had done amifs.

As I grew up I was very prone to speak bad words, and often to perform wicked actions. We lived by a river side, where a of part my cruel fport was to hurt or kill the poor innocent fowls. One day feeing a large flock of ducks fitting clofe together, I threw a flick with great violence, killed one of them upon the fpot, and was highly diverted at feeing it die, till I faw the owner of it come out of his house and threaten me feverely. I was then forely troubled, and knew not where to run. I knew I had finned, and was greatly afraid left it fhould come to my father's knowledge, therefore I dare not go home for a long time.

I was very prone to break the fabbath, and being fond of play, took every opportunity on Sunday to fleal away from my father. In the forenoon indeed, he always made me go to church with him, and when dinner was over, he made me and fifter read a chapter or two in the Bible, and charged me my not to play in the afternoon: but notwithstanding all he said, if any perfon came in to talk with him, I took that opportunity to feal away, and he faw me not till evening, when he called

me to an account.

I wished

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I wished many times that the Rev. Mr. Smith, the Minifter of the parish, was dead, because he hindered our sports on the Lord's day. One Sunday finding me and feveral others at football, he purfued me near a quarter of a mile. I ran until I was just ready to fall down; but coming to a bank, over which I tumbled, I escaped his hands for that time. My confcience always troubled me for these fins: but having a flow of animal fpirits, and being tempted of the devil, and drawn by my companions and evil defires, I was always carried captive by them.

My mother infifted on my faying my prayers every night and morning at leaft; and fent me to be catechized by the minifter every Sunday. At fourteen years of age my parents fent me to the Bishop to be confirmed; and at fixteen they defired me to prepare to receive the bleffed facrament: for about a month before it, I retired from all vain company, prayed and read alone; whilft the Spirit of God fet home what I read to my heart. I wept much in fecret, was afhamed of my past life, and thought I would never spend my time on Sundays as I had done. When I approached the table of the Lord, it appeared fo awful to me that I was like to fall down, and as if I was going to the judgment feat of Christ. However very foon my heart was melted down like wax before the fire. These good impreffions continued about three months. For, I often thought "If I fin any more, I fhall have eat and drunk my own damnation, not difcerning the Lord's body.".

I broke off from all my companions, and retired to read on the Lord's day; fometimes into my chamber, at other times into the field; but very frequently into the church-yard, near which my father lived. I have fpent, amongst the graves, two or three hours at a time, fometimes reading, and fometimes praying, until my mind feemed tranfported, in tafting the powers of the world to come. So that I verily believe, had I been acquainted with the Methodists at that time, I fhould have foon found remiffion of fins, and peace with God: but I had B 2

not

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