At peace with all mankind, his mind irradiated with light and enlarged with the most noble conceptions of the divine character and government, bout, he at length lies down in peace and composure upon his dying bed, and gently breathes out—
“Farewell conflicting joys and fears,
Where light and shade alternatedwell;
A brighter, purer scene appears,
Farewell inconstant world, farewell!”
He sweetly sinks to rest, and leaves behind him a good name, that can never die, and an example, for others to imitate, worth more than fortunes in gold. His memory shall survive, when the tomb, on which it is inscribed, shall crumble into ruin, and his example be a light to future generations.
“Be of the same mind one towards another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate.” Romans xii. 16.
That mysterious and incomprehensible Being, who gave us existence, has sown in our nature the seeds of mortality. By the irresistible laws of his empire which he has, from the beginning, established for the regulating of the animal creation, we are soon to be carried to the silent grave. All, without exception, are formed out of equal clay, are subject to the same hopes and fears, joys and sorrows while on earth, and are all destined to the slumbers of death, where we must exhibit the emblem of perfect equality. Immaterial how far one may exalt himself above another while passing through this momentary existence—immaterial how far he may rise above his fellow men in the scale of intellect and refinement—immaterial how exalted the station he may have obtained—how brilliant the powers of his imagination may sparkle, or how soft and sublime his eloquence may flow—immaterial how nobly soever he may dazzle in the sunny smiles of fortune, or how secure he may repose in the fond embrace of friends, yet it is a melancholy truth, that he must, sooner or later, resign the whole, let go his eager grasp on all those pleasing joys, bid an everlasting farewell to those exalted splendors, and descend to the dark shades of death, where the rich and the poor, the servant and his master, the oppressor and oppressed, all lie mouldering and forgotten together.
This solemn consideration, it seems, when forcibly presented to the mind, ought to be sufficient to check the levity of man—to soften his bosom to his fellow beings—to moderate his desire in pursuit of wealth and greatness, and completely to unarm him of all hostile feelings towards those with whom he associates, and with whom he is so soon to lie down in death. This, it seems, is sufficient to make us of one heart and mind in promoting each other’s happiness and welfare in the world, and to make us obedient to the exhortation of the text, not to mind the high things of earth, but to condescend to men of low estate. But such is the strange infatuation of man, that he acts as though his residence on earth were eternal, and as though the whole errand of life consisted in providing for an eternity below.