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should not be known from whom the money came.
By his last will, he bequeathed the future profits


of all his works to benevolent uses ; excepting his
" Meditations," the copy of which he sold during
his lifetime, and applied the sums arising from its
sale and former impressions, amounting to about
seven hundred pounds, to the relief of the poor
and distressed. He said that this money was de-
voted to God ; and that he would on no account
apply it to worldly uses ; that he wrote, not for
profit or fame, but to serve the cause of religion :
and as Providence had blessed his attempts, he
thought himself bound to relieve the distresses of
his fellow-creatures, with the product of his labors.
The cultivation of real religion and holiness in
heart and life, which this good man strenuously
recommended, induced some persons to charge
him with holding tenets injurious to society, and
calculated to make men melancholy, and regardless
of the lawful concerns of this world. But every
charge of this nature is abundantly refuted by his
writings, and the whole tenor of his life ; and par-
ticularly by an excellent and striking passage, in
his " Contemplations on the Starry Heavens ;"
from which the following lines are extracted :

" Some, I believe, are apt to imagine, that they
must abandon all the satisfactions of this world, if
they become zealous candidates for the felicity of
another. But this is a very mistaken notion. Re-
ligion was never intended to strike off the wheels
of business, or to cut asunder the sinews of indus-
try; but rather, to make men industrious from a


principle of conscience, not from the instigations of
avarice ; that so they may promote their immortal
happiness, even while they provide for their tem-
poral maintenance. It has no design to extirpate
our passions, but only to restrain their irregulari-
ties : neither would it extinguish the delights of
sense, but prevent them from evaporating into
vanity, and subsiding into gall. A person may be
cheerful among his friends, and yet joyful in God.
He may taste the sweets of this earthly estate ;
and, at the same time, cherish his hopes of a nobler
inheritance in heaven."

Though this sincere Christian was ardent and
laborious, in serving his Great Master, and in pro-
moting the religious welfare of his fellow-crea-
tures ; yet he had a very humble sense of his own
services ; and expressed to his friends, during his
indisposition, great regret that he had not em-
braced every opportunity afforded him, to advance
the cause of his Redeemer. These expressions
were made with much tenderness of spirit, and
were accompanied with tears. But lest his senti-
ments and views should be misinterpreted, he
added : " Do not think that I am afraid to die. I
assure you I am not. I know what my Saviour
hath done for me, and I long to be dismissed. But
I wonder at the love of Christ, in doing so much
for me ; and lament to think how little I have done
for him."

On a particular occasion, when his physician was


taking his leave, he observed to him, with great
aifectioii and sensibility, that as he had, not long
before, a dangerous fall from his horse, by which
he was much bruised ; and as he had been lately ill,
and then looked very pale; he hoped he would
reflect on those narrow escapes, so often fatal to
others, as a kind of warning from God to him, and
remember them as such; adding: "How careful
ought we to be, to improve those years which re-
main, at a time of life when but few can remain fok

The last illness of this truly excellent man com-
menced m the autumn of the year 1758; and, in a
few months, made a great and affecting progress.
His strength became exhausted, his body extremely
emaciated, and his whole frame so sore, that he
could scarcely bear to be touched, when it was
necessary to move him. Yet, under all this calam-
ity, he was ever praising God for his mercies, and
for enduing him with patience.

About three hours before his death, he strongly
and affectionately urged a friend of his who was
present, to pay all due attention to the care of his
everlasting concerns, as here there is no abiding-
place, no continuing city. He entreated him not
to be overcharged with the cares of this life ; but
to attend, amidst the multiplicity of his business, to
the " one thing needful."

The physician observing the great difficulty and
pain with which he spoke, (for he was almost suffo-


cated with phlegm and frequent vomitings,) and
perceiving by his pulse, that the pangs of death
were coming on, desired that he would spare him-

" No," said he, " doctor, no. You tell me I have
but a few moments to live : oh ! let me spend them
in adoring our great Redeemer." He then repeat-
ed the 26th verse of the 73d Psalm: "Though my
flesh and my heart fail me, yet God is the strength
of my heart, and my portion for ever :" and he ex-
patiated in a most striking manner, on these words
of the Apostle: "All things are yours, life and
death ; for ye are Christ's." " Here," said he, " is
the treasure of a Christian. Death is reckoned in
this inventory; and a noble treasure it is. How
thankful am I for death, as it is the passage through
which I go to the Lord and Giver of eternal life ;
and as it frees me from all the misery you now see
me endure, and which I am willing to endure, as
long as God thinks fit : for I know he will, by and
by, in his own good time, dismiss me from the
body. These light afflictions are but for a moment,
and then comes an eternal weight of glory. O!
welcome, welcome death ! Thou mayest well be
reckoned among the treasures of the Christian. To
live is Christ, but to die is gain."

After these expressions, as the doctor was taking
his final leave of him, the dying saint expressed
great gratitude for his visits and attentions, though
it had been long out of the power of medicines to



cure him. He then paused a little; and being
raised in his chair, he, with great serenity and
sweetness of countenance, though the pangs of
death were upon him, repeated these words:
"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in
peace, according to thy most holy and comfortable
word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation."

In about an hour after he had uttered these ex-
pressions, he yielded up his pious soul to God, with-
out a sigh or struggle, in the forty-fifth year of his



The following account of an affecting, mournftd
exit, and the reflections that accompany it, are
solemn and impressive. We shall present them to
the reader, in the words of Doctor Young, who
was present at the melancholy scene :

" Is not the death-bed of a profligate a prime
school of wisdom ? Are we not obliged, when we
are invited to it ? for what else should reclaim us ?
The pulpit? We are prejudiced against it. Be-
sides, an agonizing profligate, though silent, out-
preaches the most celebrated the pulpit ever knew.
But, if he speaks, his words might instruct the best
instructors of mankind. Mixed in the warm con-
verse of life, we think with men ; on a death-bed,
with God.

" There are two lessons of this school written, as
it were, in capitals, which they who run may read.
First, he that, in this his minority, this field of dis-
cipline and conflict, instead of grasping the wea-
pons of his warfare, is for ever gathering flowers,


and catching at butterflies, with his nnarmed hand,
ever making idle pleasure his pursuit, must pay for
it his vast reversion : and on opening his final ac-
count, (of which a death-bed breaks the seal,) shall
find himself a beggar, a beggar past beggary ; and
shall passionately Avish that his very being were
added to the rest of his loss.

" Secondly, he shall find that truth, Divine
truth, however, through life, injured, wounded,
suppressed, is victorious, immortal : that, though
with mountains overwhelmed, it will, one day,
burst out like the fires of Etna; visible, bright,
and tormenting, as the most raging flame. This
now (oh, my friend !) I shall too plainly prove.

" The sad evening before the death of the noble
youth, whose last hours suggested these thoughts,
I was with him. No one was present but his phy-
sician, and an intimate whom he loved, and whom
he had ruined. At my coming in, he said : ' You
and the physician are come too late. I have nei-
ther life nor hope. You both aim at miracles.
You would raise the dead !' ' Heaven,' I said,

* was merciful — ' * Or,' exclaimed he, ' I could not
have been thus guilty. What has it not done to
bless, and to save me ! I have been too strong for
Omnipotence ! I have plucked down ruin,' I said,

* The blessed Redeemer, — ' ' Hold ! hold ! you
wound me ! That is the rock on which I split : I
denied his name !'

*' Refusing to hear any thing from me, or take


any thing from the physician, he lay silent, as far
as sudden darts of pain would permit, till the clock
struck : then with vehemence he exclaimed : ' Oh !
time ! time ! it is fit thou shouldst thus strike thy
murderer to the heart ! How art thou fled for
ever ! A month ! — O, for a single week ! I ask
not for years ; though an age were too little for
the much I have to do.' On my saying, we could
not do too much, that heaven was a blessed place —
* So much the worse. — 'Tis lost ! 'tis lost I Heaven
is to me the severest place of hell I'

" Soon after, I j^roposed prayer : ' Pray you that
can. I never prayed. I cannot I3ray, nor need I.
Is not heaven on my side already ? It closes with
my conscience. Its severest strokes but second my
own.' Observing that his friend was much touched
at this, even to tears, (who could forbear ? I could
not,) with a most affectionate look, he said, ' Keep
those tears for thyself. I have undone thee : Dost
thou weep for me ? That is cruel. What can pain
me more ?'

" Here his friend, too much affected, would have
left him. ' No, stay — thou still mayest hope ;
therefore hear me. How madly have I talked !
How madly hast thou listened, and believed ! but
look on my present state, as a full answer to thee,
and to myself. This body is all weakness and pain ;
but my soul, as if stung up by torment to greater
strength and spirit, is full powerful to reason ; full
mighty to suffer. And that which thus triumphs


within the jaws of immortality, is doubtless, im-
mortal. And, as for a Deity, nothing less than an
Almighty could inflict what I feel.'

" I was about to congratulate this passive invol-
untary confessor, on his asserting the two prime
articles of his creed, extorted by the rack of nature,
when he thus very passionately exclaimed : ' No,
no ! let me speak on. I have not long to speak.
My much injured friend ! my soul, as my body,
lies in ruins ; in scattered fragments of broken
thought ! Remorse for the past, throws my
thousjht on the future. "Worse dread of the fu-
ture, strikes it back on the past. I turn, and turn,
and find no ray. Didst thou feel half the moun-
tain that is on me, thou wouldst struggle with the
martyr for his stake ; and bless Heaven for the
flames ; that is not an everlasting flame ; that is
not an unquenchable fire.'

*' How were we struck ! yet, soon after, still
more. With what an eye of distraction, what a
face of despair, he cried out : ' My principles have
poisoned my friend ! my extravagance has beg-
gared my boy ! my unkindness has murdered my
wife ! And is there another hell ? Oh ! thou
blasphemed, yet indulgent Loed God ! hell itself
is a refuge, if it hide me from thy frown !' Soon
after his understanding failed. His terrified ima-
gination uttered horrors not to be repeated, or
ever forgotten. And ere the sun (which, I hope,
has seen few like him) arose, the gay, young,


noble, ingenuous, accomplished, and most wretched
Altamont expired !

" If this is a man of pleasure, what is a man of
pain ? How quick, how total, is the transit of
such persons ! In what a dismal gloom they set
for ever! How short, alas! the day of their re-
joicing ! For a moment they glitter, they dazzle !
In a moment, where are they ? Oblivion covei's
their memories ! Ah ! would it did ! Infamy
snatches them from oblivion. In the long-living
annals of infamy their triumphs are recorded.
Thy sufferings, poor Altamont ! still bleed in the
bosom of the heart-stricken friend — for Altamont
had a friend. He might have had many. His
transient morning might have been the dawn of
an immortal day. His name might have been glo-
riously enrolled in the records of eternity. His
memory might have left a sweet fragrance behind
it, grateful to the surviving friend, salutary to the
succeeding generation. With what capacity was
he endowed ! with what advantages for being
greatly good ! But with the talents of an angel,
a man may be a fool. If he judges amiss in the
supreme point, judging right in all else, but aggra-
vates his folly : as it shows him wrong, though
blessed with the best capacity of being right."


Baron Haller — John Howard — Newton's Letters — Mar-


Elizabeth Smith — Elizabeth Carter — Sir William Jones
— Conclusion.


Albert Haller, one of the most illustrious
literary characters of his age, was the son of a
citizen and advocate of Berne, where he was born,
in the year 1708. The accounts of his early dis-
play of talents, are as extraordinary as almost any
upon record. He chose the medical profession, in
which he became very eminent. He was an anat-
omist, a physiologist, and a botanist, of the first
order. It is not too much to say of him, that he
was one of the best informed men in Europe. He
wrote and spoke, with equal facility, the German,
French, and Latin languag^es ; and read all the
other tongues of civilized Europe, except the Scla-


vonic dialects. His acquaintance with books was
so extensive, that it would be difficult to point out
any of the least note, which he had not perused,
and of which the contents did not dwell upon his
memory. He was a poet, too, of distinguished
merit. The critics of Germany reckon Haller
among the first who gave sublimity, richness, and
harmony to their poetical language ; and who de-
scribed nature in its true colors.

The talents and knowledge of Haller, his works
in various departments of science and literature,
and his unblemished integrity and virtue, rendered
him, in the highest degree, respectable among the
learned of Europe ; and his friendship and corres-
pondence were courted by the most celebrated
men of his time. He was professor of medicine
in the university of Gottingen. He filled suc-
cessively the botanical, chemical, and anatomical
chairs ; and raised the reputation of the university
to a very high pitch. There he resided near seven-
teen years ; and then returned to Berne, his native
place, where he was elected a member of the sove-
reign council ; and enjoyed the first authority in
the administration of public affairs, till the time of
his death, which took place in the year 1777.

This great and good man, in the early part of
his life, had doubts concerning the objects of the
Christian faith. But these doubts wer§ dispelled
by a successful application to every branch of
science, on the one hand ; and by a candid exam>



inatioii of the sacred oracles, on the other. Tho
first, by purging his soul, according to his own
emphatic phrase, of arrogance and pride, filled it
with true poverty of spirit. The second convinced
him that the Divine revelation, conveyed in the
Holy Scriptures, is a boon worthy of the merciful
Author of our nature to give ; and such as is fit
for guilty mortals to receive, with humble grati-
tude and reverence.

There are hours of mental depression in human
life, which can neither be prevented nor remedied,
by the most prosperous worldly circumstances, or
by the greatest skill of man. The healing art,
which Haller applied with singular success to the
diseases of the body, could not, as he experienced
in his own case, reach that dissatisfaction with the
present, and that apprehension of a future state,
which so frequently disturb the breasts of man-
kind. But he found other aids, which proved a
sovereign remedy to all his fears and depressions.
The Divine laws were to him a delightful subject
of attention, and a joyful object of hope. His
confidence in the goodness of God, refreshed his
mind ; and so fortified it, that he contemplated,
without dismay, the king of terrors.

The consolations which he felt himself, he was
anxious to impart to others. In imitation of the
Saviour of the world, he went about doing good
to the souls and the bodies of men. He eagerly
seized the numberless opportunities, which his


profession as a physician gave him, of convincing
those with whom he conversed, of the truth, and
of converting them to the practice of the Chris-
tian religion. And this he did, not only by hia
instructions, but by his example. For he was char-
itable to the poor ; he sympathized in the tenderest
manner with the distressed ; and was humane and
just in all his dealings with the sons of men.

A thousand incidents, which passed unheeded
by the vulgar eye, recalled to his mind the Deity.
And when he recollected or heard that great name.,
he gave way, in whatever company or circumstan-
ces he happened to be placed, to some pious ejacu-
lations, with his eyes and hands lifted up towards

While his feeling mind embraced in the bonds
of love all his fellow-creatures, and interested him
in their present and future concerns, there was one
person, Avhom God and nature had recommended
to his peculiar tenderness and care. He had a
daughter, dear to him as his own soul. He knew
the inquietudes, to which the common lot of hu-
manity would subject her through life ; and the
fears that would alarm her tender breast at the
approach of death, of which it was some consola-
tion to him, that " he should not live to be the
mournful witness." To her he addressed, at dif-
ferent times, but in a regular succession, a number
of letters, on the truths of the Christian religion.
They were afterwards, by his permission, published


for the benefit of the world at large. The work
possesses great merit ; and is particularly j^roper
for the perusal and study of young persons.

We shall conclude our account of Baron Haller,
with an extract from the last letter contained in
the publication just mentioned. It marks the
writer's high sense of the importance of religion;
his solicitude for his daughter's happiness ; and his
strong confidence in the future rewards of piety
and virtue :

" Let us employ the time that is present : eter-
nity will be our reward, if we make a good use of
it. Let us always have before our eyes the nature
and consequences of sin : let us remember that it
will deprive us of the favor of God, and expose us
to his displeasure. Reflect on the value of that life
and immortality which Christ has brought to light
by the gospel. The enjoyments of this present short
life, which are indeed but puerile amusements, must
disappear, when placed in competition with the
greatness and durability of the glory which is to

" By the mercy of God, we are restored from the
lowest state of abasement and dejection. We are
animated with the most comfortable promises. We
now walk with confidence in that road, which hag
been marked out for us with so much wisdom ; and
which so well corresponds with our new desires and
abilities. We leave behind us those vices which
tended to estrange us from God and happiness : be-


fore us is a benevolent Being, who offers to the vic-
torious, incorruptible crowns, as the recompense of
victory ; which victory he also helps us to gain. We
may now rest satisfied with resj^ect to our future
condition, without perplexing ourselves about the
trials we shall have to undergo, and which are yet
at a distance. Let us be careful to employ to ad-
vantage the present hour. The means of salvation,
the sacred writings, the precepts of our Saviour, are
in our hands. We insensibly draw near to the de-
sired harbor ; the approaches of dissolution become
less formidable, the nearer we advance to the happy
mansions of eternity, where error and vice will be
disarmed, and have no more power over us.

"Receive, my daughter, these most important
of all truths, from a father, who considers himself
on the verge of life : they are the most precious
marks of tenderness which he can give you. These
instructions would have been less imperfect, if his
capacity had been more extensive. They are, how-
ever, the result of his reflections, and of the re-
searches which he has made after truth ; they are
also the effect of his internal conviction. Your
father, who now addresses you, has had his doubts ;
he has sometimes been mistaken ; and has wished,
in those moments, that the consequences of sin were
not so grievous. He has not been exempt from
falling : but the victorious grace of God has kindly
come to his relief.

" The king of terrors approaches me with hasty


steps : but I behold his advances without dismay.
Beyond that era of my existence, I see objects of
joy and hope, which invite me to leave this world,
and to step forward into eternity ; into mansions of
holiness and bliss, where death shall be banished for
ever, and where sin shall have no place. After
having finished your course, you will, I trust, again
meet your father, in those glorious and peaceful
abodes, where the idea of our frail mortality shall
no longer disturb our breasts, or fill them with
shame ; and where the miseries of this life shall no
longer draw tears from our eyes."



John Howaed, the indefatigable friend of the
poor and unfortunate, was born at Hackney, in the
year 1V26. Of his character and pious labors. Dr.
Aikin speaks in the following terms :

"Among those truly illustrious persons who, in
the several ages and nations of the world, have
marked their track through life, by a continued
course of doing good, few have been so distin-
guished either by the extent of the good produced,
or by the purity of motive and energy of character
exhibited in the process of doing it, as the late
John Howard. To have adoj^ted the cause of the
prisoner, the sick, and the destitute, not only in his
own country, but throughout Europe ; to have con-
siderably alleviated the burden of present misery
among those unfortunate classes, and, at the same
time, to have provided for the reformation of the
vicious, and the prevention of future crimes and
calamities ; to have been instrumental in the actual
establishment of many plans of humanity and utility,
and to have laid the foundation for much more im-
provement hereafter ; and to have done all this, as


a private, unaided individual, struggling with toils,
dangers, and difficulties, which might have appalled
the most resolute; is surely a range of beneficence,
which scarcely ever before came within the com-
pass of one man's exertions."

Attachment to religion was a principle which had
been imbibed by Howard in his youth ; and which
continued steady and uniform through life. Though
he seems early to have made up his mind, as to the
doctrines he thought best founded, and the mode
of worship he most approved, yet religion abstract-
ly considered, as the relation between man and his
Maker, and the grand support of morality, appears
to have been the principal object of his regard.
This excellent principle enlarged his heart, and led
him to commiserate the distresses of his fellow-
creatures of every description ; and at length
prompted him to devote his life to the relief of
suffigring humanity.

Deeply impressed with a sense of the imj^ortance
of his designs, and of the uncertainty of human life,
he was desirous of doing as much as possible within
the allotted limits. And the number of prisons and
hospitals which he visited, in a short period of time,
is surprising. The pious and well-governed dis-
position by which he was actuated, is forcibly ex-
pressed in the following passage extracted from
one of his interesting publications:

" To my country I commit the result of my past
labors. It is my intention again to quit it, for the

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Online LibraryLindley MurrayPower of religion on the mind in retirement, affliction & at the approach of death .. → online text (page 15 of 19)