Page images
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

only on a level with the brute creation. If, in the prosecution of the important study of your profession, you can deduce no other notions than such as lead to infidelity, beware lest God should smite you in his anger for converting the evidences of his existence into testimonies against him ; and lose no time in rooting out from your mind those wretched doctrines of mistaken science, which have led you to think, and from thinking, to work yourself into a persuasion, that you are not an accountable being, and that

your passions are the effect of your organic structure, so that the one cannot be altered without the other. Go, Sir, I beseech you, go and gaze upon the structure of the human body with higher and more enlarged views; see, as the blessed Psalmist says, how wonderfully and fearfully man is made,' what a marvellous piece of mechanism his body is, and from this, endeavour to convince yourself, that no other than a Being infinite in wisdom and in power can have constructed it; and that the breath of life can be regarded only as the Spirit of God infused into the wondrous frame; and as you proceed to consider all the higher faculties of man, I trust that you will cease to consider him as a

I 3

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

being, whose existence is circumscribed within the short limits of this life, but that you will look upon him as one designed for some more important state of existence hereafter. But if this be insufficient to convince you, take up your Bible, look to that which we have the strongest evidence for regarding as the revealed word of God; study its evidences as I have done, (though, I confess with grief and shame, at a much later period than I ought,) and you will there see a communication to our race, from the Almighty himself, which clearly marks us as reserved for higher purposes than those which can be attained in our present state of being. Here seek for the only philosophy in this matter; and make it your prayer to God that you may rightly understand what he here teaches; and you will then, through his blessing, see and know, with deep sorrow for all your past wickedness of thought, that only by the power of an omnipotent Creator man either was or can be formed out of the dust of the earth, and have the spirit of life breathed into him. There, too, will you learn, that though the breath may leave the body, the spirit itself dies not; but goes on existing in a state of consciousness, after the

body is committed to the grave, and will rise to an eternity of glory or 'misery, according as the mortal man may have discharged the several duties required of him by his God. You, Sir, in the course of those operations of nature which God directs, cannot, I should think, calculate upon remaining much longer in the world.” The Anatomist, startled at these words, shrunk back a little. “ I say, Sir, that in the ordinary course of

events, you can be at no great distance from the grave: your time must be

very short, and immense is the work you have to do, if you mean either to die with a composed mind, or with a hope of any thing beyond this world; because, if you are the philosopher you profess to be, you must know that Nature (to use your own language) declares, universally and clearly, that man cannot be subject to the same end with the brute creation; that the superior faculties of the one above the other have been given for purposes beyond those of this short and miserable existence, and that this feeling is inherent in our very nature; since there is no nation or people, however barbarous or uncivilized, that have not given proofs of this sentiment being fixed in their minds, and of having derived from it consolation and support amidst the varied sufferings of this life :- in this universal feeling, it seems impossible to me, and I think, upon reflection, it must do the same with all, not to recognise a most strong, and almost certain evidence of the immortality of the soul. You may disguise your sentiments, and profess to entertain notions at variance with all this; but I call upon you, Sir, to lay your hand upon your heart, and as a man of candour and honesty to tell me, have you not oftentimes felt a something within you giving a plain intimation, if not an absolute assurance, that you should live hereafter ? — a something which has often whispered to you that your speculations are such as have sprung from the pride of philosophy, and not from the suggestions of true wisdom, assisting and directing your researches ? — that a love of singularity, and a desire to surpass those who have hitherto been regarded as the luminaries of the world, have led you to aim at something beyond your reach, and that you would now, but for a certain feeling of false pride, be not unwilling to own your disappointment? Now, if this be the case, and I cannot but think it is, let me beg of you, Sir, to lose no more time, but

of the grave,

to give way to these better thoughts. Standing, as you now appear to be, upon the

very verge it is of the last importance to consider, whether it be not wiser and better at once to remove the veil, which a perverted reasoning has hitherto thrown over your sight, but which you cannot much longer keep before you.

Futurity must, ere long, present itself to your view so strongly, as to make it impossible for you to close your eyes against it. It is obstinacy and maclness, therefore, now to strive longer to avoid looking upon an object, which, if you will not see, you must, at all events, shortly feel, and that with a poignancy proportioned to your present perverseness and self-delusion. Really, Sir, I tremble for you - I tremble to think how you have perverted your reasoning faculties from their right use; how you have trifled with your soul; and how you have been duped by the Tempter of mankind, setting up, as you have done, the suggestions of your frail, erring, and limited reason, in opposition to the lessons of Infinite Wisdom! I tremble for your presumption, but more for the portion that awaits you, if life should close upon you in your present state of mind and thought. Look to history, and the

« PreviousContinue »