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under similar circumstances will follow. While moralists and divines have incessantly laboured to impress the minds of men with a just sense of the duty of patience and resignation in the hour of sickness; is it not much to be regretted that they have but seldom brought forward the most striking and appropriate illustrations from the pages of history and biography? especially as experience abundantly proves, that men's habits of thinking and acting are influenced by example more than the force of reasoning. I have, therefore, thought it desirable to devote the most particular attention to a selection of the best models of Christian behaviour under the severest trials of pain and sickness. These excellent examples will have answered one part of their design when they shall have been instrumental in producing a like resignation and patience under the chastening hand of Providence; for who can suppose that the aged, the sick, and infirm, can behold the divine lights of faith, hope, and fortitude, which shone so brightly in the chambers of the expiring Hooker and Sancroft, without receiving an emanation therefrom?
Blessed, thrice blessed the man who, from a timely reflection on these scenes of sickness, death, and eternity, draws the practical inference that the duties of religion should be the chief business of life; and correcting his notions of human felicity and greatness, accounts him alone the truly wise and happy man, who, as the evening shades of life approach, shall have secured that invaluable and permanent blessing, the approbation of the Supreme Being for a well spent life, as that alone which will gladden his soul in the night of death, and the glorious morn of the resurrection.
It signifies but little that the lot of one is in this life to
abide in the fields watching the flocks by night; of another that he is tracing the planetary orbs throughout their mazy courses, calling the stars by their names, and thus unveiling the mysteries of nature; of a third, that he bears on his brow the crown of united empire, or in his hand the sword to clear his path to universal dominion ; the expectations and fears of all must soon be reduced to the same plain principles: the characters of all will be judged by the same common standard : the bodies of all will be resolved into the same simple elements; and kings and princes, however exalted; the rich and learned, however flattered and adored, with the poor and illiterate, however despised or unknown, must all pass through the gate of death ere they can enter the kingdom of life.
To inculcate the value of time from the brevity and uncertainty of life, to mortify the insatiable desires of the avaricious with the sensual pleasures of the libertine, to disclose the shattered hopes of ill-directed ambition, to present to the infirm and aged for their imitation, the most perfect examples of faith, fortitude, hope, and resignation in the hour of sickness and death,-in a word, to advance the wisdom of being religious beyond all other objects of our regard, is the author's immediate design in conducting his followers into the chamber of sickness and death.
MONTPELLIER, SOUTH LAMBETH,
Feb. 2d, 1829.
“ These are they which came out of great tribulation.”
Vide Rev. vii. 14–17.
it on here. Ignatius presenting himself before him, avowed his opinions, was cast into prison, and sentenced to be sent to Rome, and devoured by wild beasts. Ignatius, so far from being dismayed, heartily rejoiced at the fatal decree. “ I thank thee, O Lord,” said he, “ that thou hast condescended to honour me with thy love, and hast thought me worthy, with thy apostle St. Paul, to be bound in iron chains." With these words he cheerfully embraced his chains, and having frequently prayed for his church and recommended it to the divine care and providence, he delivered up himself into the hands of his keepers.
The Christians at Rome, daily expecting his arrival, had come out to meet and entertain him, and accordingly received him with an equal mixture of joy and sorrow: but when some of them intimated that possibly the populace might be dissuaded from desiring his death, he expressed a pious indignation, intreating them to cast no obstacle in his way, nor do any thing that might hinder him now he was hastening to his crown. The interval before his martyrdom was spent in prayers for the peace and prosperity of the church. December the 20th, in the year 107, or as some think in 116, he was brought out into the amphitheatre, and the lions being let loose upon him, quickly dispatched their meal, leaving nothing but a few of the hardest of his bones. These remains were gathered up by two deacons, who had been the companions of his journey, transported to Antioch, and interred in the cemetery without the gate, but afterwards, by command of the emperor Theodosius, were removed to the Tycheon, a temple within the city, now consecrated to the memory of St. Ignatius *
He died, it is supposed, in May, anno 167. An apostolic father of the Christian Church and bishop of Smyrna; to which he appears to have been consecrated by St. John ; who also, according to archbishop Usher, directed one of his seven apocalyptical Epistles to him, under the title of the Angel of the Church of Smyrna. Ignatius commended the see of Antioch to the care of Polycarp. The persecution growing violent at Smyrna, and many having already sealed their confession with their blood, the general outcry was, "away with the impious; let Polycarp be sought for.” On this he withdrew privately into a neighbouring village, where he lay concealed for some time, continuing night and day in prayer for the peace of the Church. In order to escape the search which was carried on incessantly after him, he retired into another village, where he was discovered: some say that he had time to escape, but he refused it, saying, “the will of the Lord be done.” Accordingly, he saluted his persecutors
* Chalmers and Cave.