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"still in view, his departure was to those abodes^ "which he perceived I was soon to follow. I bore "the affliction, as to outward appearance, patiently '*' and with the magnanimity that became my chanc. "ter; although inwardly the pangs of separation were "severely felt; but I consoled myself with the be"lief that our separation was not to any great dis"tance, and would not continue long; but that we "should shortly and happily meet again."
It is by reflections such as these, my dear friends, that I make my Old Age sit easy and light upon me; and not only disarm it of every thing that would give mental pain, but render it even sweet and delightful—And if I am mistaken, or err in my belief of the Soul's Immortality, it is a pleasing Error; nor, while I live, shall I suffer any man easily to undeceive me, or wrest an opinion from me, that yields me so solid a comfort, and a satisfaction so durable.—And if it be, when I am Dead (as some minute Philosophers imagine), that I am deprived of all perception and sensation; I am safe in this, that, beyond the Grave, these little Philosophists will have no opportunity to laugh at my Credulity. For whether immortal or not, and whatever is to be our future condition; it is proper and even desirable, that as nature has produced nothing that is permanent, and has set linffts to all her works, the frail body of man should drop back into the dust, from whence it was gathered. It is moreover proper* " that as the whole course of
* The passage in italics, as well as some others are from a translation cf the learned James Logan, Esq. made 60 years ago, printed by Benjamin Franklin, at Philadelphia, in the year 1744; who informs uz in the Preface, that " Mr. Logan, (in the 60th year of hi* age, which was aboat the age of Cicero when he wrote bis book), undertook the translation, partly for his own amusement, but principally for the entertainment of a neighbour, then in his grand Climacteric; and, that the notes were drawn Bj> solely on that neighbour's account, who was not so well acquainted as himself with the Roman History and LangHage. Some other friends, however, continues Mr. Franklin, (among whom I had the honour to be Tanked), obtained copies of it in MS. and as I believed it to be in itself equal at least, if not far superior to any ether translation of the same piece [then] extant in our language, besides the advantage it has of so many valuable notes, which, (at the same time that they clear up the Text,) are highly instructive and entertaining.—I resolved to give it an impression, In a large and fair Character, that those who begin to think on the subject of Old-Age, (which seldom happens till their Sight i» somewhat impaired by its approaches) may not, in Reading, by the Pain which small I etters give the eyes, feel the Pleasure of the Mind in the least aHayed."
Life but too much resembles a Farce, of-which Old Age is the last act" we should not too fondly press forward, when we have had enough of it, but prudently retire, without making a Fatigue of what we should endeavour to make only an entertainment.
"Thus far I have written concerning Old Age, to which I wish you may all arrive,that your ownExperience may justify, what you have heard from me!"
If St. Paul had stood in need of any aid from the Philosophy of those who knew not the True God, as was suggested before, this book of Cicero de Senectute, would have been a treasure to him. But he wanted no such aid. His arguments on the Resurrection of the Body from the Grave, rest on a more solid foundation than the guesses and presages of natural Reason, unenlightened by divine Revelation; namely, the proofs and certainty of Christ's own Resurrection*. Besides the Aposde's reasonings on the
* See St. Matthew, Chap. XXVIII; with the Arguments and Proof* rf Christian Writers, such as West and Littleton, Dittos, &c— And St. Paul's own arguments and conclusions, grounded on this Certainty, (as recorded by St. Matthew). See our Text, also, 2 Corin. Chap. V. Ver. 1, 2, 3, 4. Rom. Chap. VIII. Ver. 21, 22, 23. 1 Corin. Chap. XV: from verse 35, to verse 58.
subjects of a Resurrection from the dead and a Judgment to come, we find him particularly engaged on these subjects, viz. bearing Testimony at Jerusalem to the great offence of the Jews, that Jesus whom they had slain on the Cross and had buried, was risen again, and through Him there would be a Resurrection of the dead from the grave. Being persecuted for his opinions, and allowed to plead his own cause he avows this testimony first before Ananias the High Priest*, when he cried out, in the Council,—" Men '" and Brethren! I am a Pharisee and the son of a *' Pharisee—of the Hope and Resurrection of the "dead, I am called in question;"—and afterwards before Felix the Roman governorf. His arguments on this head, were so powerful and piercing that they shook the conscience and the very inmost feeling of his Judge himself. Forf "as he reasoned "of Righteousness, Temperance and Judgment to ''' come, Felix trembled and answered—Go thy 'may "for this time; when I have a convenient season I "will call/of thee" On this passage of holy Scripture, it may be profitable to speak more at laro-e; 'and, indeed my Brethren, if ever since I had the honour of being a Preacher of the Gospel, I have, at one time more than another, wished that I had all that profound Knowledge of the Christian System, all that commanding Force of Eloquence which distin
* Acts. Chap. XXIII. Ver. 6. f Acts, Chap. XXIV. Ver. U, 15.
J Acts, Chap. XXIV. Ver. 25.
guished the Apostle Paul—it has been on reading this passage of Scripture, which always leaves a wonderful impression on the mind, and raises a multitude of ideas, beyond those immediately conveyed by the express words of the text.
The scene it presents is a most striking one—a poor Prisoner in Bonds, pleading his own cause, and the cause of a despised Religion and Crucified Master; yet his Judge himself trembling before him, and overcome with the majesty of Truth. One cannot help, in this place, lamenting the brevity of the Narrative, and wishing for the whole of those powerful Reasonings of Righteousness, Temperance, and Judgment to come, which had such a marvellous effect upon Felix! Much is left to be supplied by the imagination of every Christian expositor, ere such time as he can bring any Judge or Audience of the present day into the trembling state of Felix. This would require all the enlightened zeal and piercing elocution of a Paul himself; and who shall hope to supply his place with justice to the subject?
But let us, as well as we can, with the aid of a careful perusal of his History and Writings, as recorded by St. Luke in the Acts of the Apostles, attempt the arduous task.
The blessed St. Paul, being persuaded of the Spirit, had gone up to Jerusalem for the strengthening of the Infant-Church of Christians, where he was received among the Brethren with much Joy. On the next day after his arrival, he went first to James the Bishop of the place, who had assembled all the Elders or Presbyters to bid him Welcome in the name of the Lord. "And when he had saluted them*, he began to declare particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his Ministry. On hearing this account they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest Brother Paul, how many Thousands of Jews there are, which we have brought to believe in Christ, but yet still they retain many of their old prejudices, and are all zealous of the Laiv; and they are informed concerning thee, thatthou teachest all the Jews which are in thy Mission among the Gentiles, to forsake the Law of Moses, neither to circumcise their children, nor to walk after the customs of their Forefathers—As for us at Jerusalem, we have left the Jews at Liberty in such things; and with respect to the Gentiles under our care, we have also left them at Liberty, coneluding that they need not observe such things; save only that they keep themselves from things offered to Idols, and from Blood, and from Strangled, and from Fornication."
"Now, as it is reported that thou art zealous against the continuation of the Jewish rites, and they know that thou art now come to Jerusalem, the multitude will come together to question thee about these things. Wherefore, do what we advise in this matter. We have four men under a Vow, that they will undergo the Purifications required by the Law. Join thyself to them, in this public Testimony of regard to the L.iw; and all the people shall then be ready to hear thee, after having this proof that the things
* Acts, Chap. XXI. Ver. 19. VOL. I. *