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religion should not come to the scene of a death-bed, to urge, as a matter of course, its questions or its formalities. Let it speak its holy words, or rest in its holy silence of faith and prayer; but the dying hour is no time for intricate casuistry. Friendship may, indeed, whisper its anxious inquiry, but formality should speak nothing. Abstruse questions of faith, or of experience, should not then be agitated; still less should there be such stress laid, as with surprising frequency is done, upon the question, whether the dying man is willing to die.' No inquiry could be more unsatisfactory as a test of character; and, indeed, it avails nothing but to spread among the living the false impression, that a preparation for another life is a willingness, when it is unavoidable, to leave this. To hear, as we have sometimes heard, lod and agonising voices of prayer, that startled and shocke into temporary consciousness the sinking and bewildered senses of an expiring mortal, has struck us with a horror that overcame our awe even at death, and seemed to turn the solemnities of dissolution into sacrilegious disorder and confusion. So would we not have our own departure marked; but we would that stillness-where all pray in silence, where the affections of the spirit only move in the hushed atmosphere of death, where the soul breathes its utterable thoughts-that stillness should settle down upon that last scene which is to usher us into the world of spirits!"

Having offered these preliminary remarks, we now proceed to give some account of the latter end of several eminent Unitarians. Mr. Cooper, in his "Memoirs of the Life of Dr. Priestley," observes that on Sunday, the day before he died, "He desired me to read to him the 11th chapter of John. I was going to read to the end of the chapter, but he stopped me at the 45th verse. * He dwelt for some time on the advantages he had derived from reading the Scriptures daily, and advised me to do the same saying, that it would prove to me as it had done to him, a source of the purest pleasure. He desired me to reach him a pamphlet which was at his bed's head -Simpson on the Duration of Future Punishment.'

* This verse closes the record of the signal transaction at the grave of Lazarus—and the interesting inferences a Christian would draw from it.


It will be a source of satisfaction to you to read that pamphlet,' said he, giving it to me; 'it contains my sentiments, and a belief in them will be a support to you in the most trying circumstances, as it has been to me. We shall all meet finally; we only require different degrees of discipline, suited to our different tempers, to prepare us for final happiness.' Upon Mr. coming into his room, he said, 'You see, Sir, I am still living. Mr. observed, he would always live. 'Yes,' said he, ‘I believe I shall, and we shall all meet again in another and in a better world.' He said this with great animation, laying hold of Mr. — -'s hand in both his. prayers he had all the children brought to his bed-side as before. After prayers they wished him a good night, and were leaving the room; he desired them to stay, and spoke to them each separately. He exhorted them all to continue to love each other. 6 I am going to sleep,' said he, as well as you, for death is only a good long sound sleep in the grave; and we shall meet again.' He congratulated us on the dispositions of our children; said it was a satisfaction to see them likely to turn out well; -and continued for some time to express his confidence in a happy immortality, and in a future state, which would afford us ample field for the exertion of our faculties."

In the "Memoirs of Gilbert Wakefield," a distinguished scholar, and intrepid Unitarian Christian, we find the following remarks:-"Of the benefits derived from what is called natural religion, he had a much lower opinion than many have adopted. His sense of the necessity and value of revelation was proportionably exalted. The po

pular notion of a soul, and an intermediate state of conscious existence, he regarded as the fond conceits of vain philosophy. Considering death as the utter destruction of the whole man, his hopes of futurity depended solely on the Christian doctrine of a RESURRECTION.

The rapid progress of his disorder allowed scarcely any opportunity of expressing his views upon this subject during his last hours. In the contemplation of death, however, he was happily exempted from those gloomy apprehensions which have embittered the comfort of too many excellent persons whose theological system

Casts round religion's orb, the mists of fear,

Or shades with horrors, what with smiles should glow.

In the sentiments which Mr. Wakefield had embraced, he saw nothing to dismay, but much to console and elevate his mind. The following is the conclusion of his will, made during an indisposition in Dorchester gaol: "I wish to be buried with as little expense and ceremony as is consistent with decorum, and a regard to general opinion; and hope that my family and friends will not lament my death, which is a motive of joy, and not of grief, under an expectation of immortality by the Christian covenant, but rather profit by their fond remembrance of me in avoiding my faults, and imitating my virtues. I come quickly, and my reward is with me; even so come Lord Jesus."

It is obvious from this extract that death, illuminated as it was to the view of Gilbert Wakefield, by the hope of immortality with which he believed he should be invested at the RESURRECTION, was an object to him not of terror but of joy. And, as he paid but little attention to natural religion, it is fair to conclude that his hopes arose entirely from the influence of Christian truth upon his mind.

Next to the name of Gilbert Wakefield (whose autobiography, if the reader has never perused, he would do well to consult), who sacrificed at the altar of truth all his views of earthly interest, may properly be placed that of Theophilus Lindsey, who resigned "a valuable benefice, a favourite residence, and a highly useful situation; and unpatronised, unbefriended by man, committed himself to God, for whose undivided glory he was devoutly jealous.' Of this hero in the cause of Unitarian Christianity, the late Mr. Belsham observes, that "his last work, 'Conversations on the Divine Government, showing that everything is from God, and for Good, to all,' was published when its venerable author was upon the verge of fourscore. It contains his last thoughts upon many subjects of great moment; and it seems to have been intended by him as his final testimony to those great and interesting truths, which, having long been the object of his faith, the theme of his discourse, and the principle of his conduct, he now felt to be the surest and best foundation of his consolation and his hope. The reading of the New Testament (in the Improved Version) was the only reading which interested him for many of


the latest weeks of his life; and the very evening before he was confined to that bed of sickness, from which he rose no more-but a very few days previous to the final dissolution of his feeble frame-he desired to hear, and was pleased and gratified in attending to some portions of the New Testament, which were read to him by a friend. Such was the virtuous and honourable tenor, and such the peaceful close of the life of this sincere and exemplary Christian, this faithful pastor, this holy and venerable confessor; whose character, by the unanimous suffrage of all who had the happiness of intimate access to him, is allowed to have been as free from blemish, and to have approached as near to perfection as human frailty would admit, or as that of any individual since the Apostolic age."*-Belsham's Funeral Sermon, pp. 41, 42, 43, 44.

Dr. Benson, another Unitarian minister, is represented by his biographer, Dr. Amory, as having impaired his constitution by a close application to study. "It is certainly a privilege," continues Dr. A., "and what a Christian would wish, to be discharged out of life, if it please God, when a person is grown unfit for enjoying himself, and being farther useful to the world; and it pleased God to grant our friend the favour of discharging him from the burden of life, by a calm and easy death, and to call him to rest and peace, just when the services and enjoyments of life were at an end with him; and though, in the latter part, his activity and enjoyments were over, there were no inward misgivings, no appearance of anything wrong within; but all remaining was comfort and hope; calmly and at leisure reflecting on the integrity of his heart, and on a life devoted to the honour of God and Christ, and to the service of mankind in their best and everlasting interests. I am in good hands-all will be well;' were words he spoke to a friend just before he closed his public ministry. And but a few hours before he breathed his last, a long and intimate friend, perceiving, as he thought, some small remains of hearing and understanding, said to him, 'God will be with you, he hath said it I will never leave thee nor forsake

* The last part of this extract may appear to the casual reader something like exaggerated praise; but let him consult the "Life of Theophilus Lindsey," by Belsham, and, we apprehend, he will not then consider the expressions as overcharged.-[ED.]

thee.' Upon this, he lifted up his hands, and just opened his eyes, as feeling and enjoying what was said, and, then closing them, dropt into an easy slumber, and awoke no more,

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Dr. Kippis, in his "Life" of the celebrated Dr. Nathaniel Lardner, author of many useful and profound works on Gospel History, &c., has not recorded any death-bed colloquies; but the satisfaction of the latter with the faith he had embraced may be inferred from his having never expressed any doubts upon the subject. If a tree is known by its fruits and this is a position laid down by Jesus of Nazareth, who was a man approved of God-we may join with Mr. Radeliffe in saying, "This was the disciple whom Jesus loved." For, to use the words of another writer, it may be asserted with truth, that, up to the period of his death, "No writer, from the very existence of Christianity, ever conferred so essential service upon this religion, or contributed more to clear up its evidences, or elucidate its antiquities. Accordingly, there is no country where the Christian religion is professed, in which his name is not held in the greatest esteem. Every church would have been proud to boast of him as their member, and his voluminous productions have been translated into almost all the languages of Europe.

Dr. Lardner certainly possessed a very clear and sound understanding and great shrewdness of judgment. His industry in the pursuit, and perseverance in the investigation of truth, are without example. But the quality by which he was chiefly distinguished was the candour and ingenuity of his mind. He examined everything without prejudice. Seated, as it were, in a more elevated sphere than other men, he was not subject to have his understanding darkened by clouds, and jaundiced by the noxious mediums of partiality, bigotry, and enthusiasm; he has, therefore, been as successful in refuting the false and suborned evidences of Christianity, as in asserting and illustrating the true. Thus he has contributed more than all the mistaken zeal and pious frauds of a thousand saints and pontiffs could have done to the rendering it that simple, venerable, attractive and engaging structure which God and Jesus intended it. It is no longer obscured by imposture, and disfigured by the false props and buttresses that were brought to support it."

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