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I am, Sir,. June 24, Racan 's Bergeries are much inferior to his Lyrick Poems; and the Spaniards are all too full of Conceits. July 2, I wou'd beg your opinion too as to another point: It is how far the liberty of Borrowing may extend? I hope to become a Critic by your Preceps, and a Poet by your Example. July 20, AT my return from the North I receiv'd the favour of your Letter, which had lain there till then. It is not enough that nothing offends the Ear, but a good Poet will adapt the very Sounds, as well as Words, to the things he treats of.
The following Examples will make this plain, which I have taken from Vida. Dryden 's Ode on St. For example,. At the fifth. At the fourth. And Quintilian l. IT is too much a rule in this town, that when a Lady has once done a man a favour, he is to be rude to her ever after. But when Mr.
Betty M [ Ungrateful letters that they are! There are various opinions concerning this Creature about town, Mr. If Mrs. There are but two things in the world which could make you indifferent to me, which I believe you are not capable of, I mean Ill-nature and malice. Shadwell was mentioned with honour.
Here, at my Lord H [ I communicated your letter to Mr. The Duke of B [ Dear Sir,. Dear Sir, join in your prayers for me, and know me to be always whether I live, die, or am damn'd as a Poet. London March 31, George and the Government. May 1, No Ideas you could form in the Winter can make you imagine what Twickenham is and what your Friend Mr. Dear Sir, I am. In which I now leave you, and return Wretch that I am! Twickenham, Sept. I think him as good a Doctor as any for one that is ill, and a better Doctor than any for one that is well.
He would do admirably for Mrs. He is a Star that looks as if it were all Fire, but is all Banignity, all gentle and beneficial Influence. Saturday Night. Philips to remember me in his Cyder, and to tell Mr. The Objects that attract this part of the world, are of a quite different Nature. There are certain old People who take up all my time, and will hardly allow me to keep any other Company.
Howara 's and Mrs. Blount 's. I hope Mrs. They tell me that at [ Charity not only begins, but ends, at home. March 20, June Nicholas Tolentine 's Chickens. Thus we proceed apace in converting each other from all manner of Infidelity. Ajax and Hector are no more, compared to Corinaeus and Arthur, than the Guelphs and Ghibellines were to the Mohocks of everdreadful memory.
Twickenham, Oct. But pray tell me, when will you move towards us? If you had an Interval to get hither, I care not what fixes you afterwards, except the Gout. Shake off your Earth like the noble Animal in Milton. Believe, dear Sir, I truly love and value you; let Mrs. Happy they! He carry'd away more Learning than is left in this Nation behind him: but he left us more in the noble Example of bearing Calamity well.
June 2, I begin now to expect you in Town, to make the Winter to come more tolerable to us both. I will not tell Mrs B. Next to God, is a good Man: Next in dignity, and next in value. I want your Company, and your Example. Value to you Three Pence. Our Friend [Page ] Mr. I really much love Mr. I have been near a week in London, where I am like to remain, till I become, by Mr. I have thrown away three Dr. Nay, what is yet more miraculous, I have rival'd St.
Binfield, May 4, Dear Gay,. Arbuthnot, Mr. Dear Gay, adieu. Harcourt made us very much fear. In a word, Y [ Ford, and to Mr. Dear Mr. WElcome to your native Soil! Gay better than I, yet I had not once written to him in all his Voyage. We will feed among the Lilies. Pardon me if I add a word of advice in the Poetical way. London, Nov. I AM extremely glad to find by a Letter of your's to Mr. I can't pretend to entertain either Mr. Pulteney or you, as you have done both my Lord Burlington and me, by your letter to Mr. Bellenden, Mrs.
Arbuthnot and I expect to be treated like Friends. I have been made to expect Dr. I am His, Mr. Congreve 's, and. I Thank you for remembring me. Pray put Mr. As for Mrs. They are in perfect health. Tho' Mrs. Pray tell Dr. Congreve or the Doctor, it is writ to them. Adieu, dear Gay, and believe me while you live, and while I live. The Doctor, Mrs. Howard, and Mrs. Blount give me daily accounts of you. Sunday Night. You need not call the few Words I writ to you either kind, or good; That was, and is, nothing. My Lord Bolingbroke and Mr. Congreve 's death touches me nearly.
It is twenty years that I have known him. Is this a Birth-day? Twick'nam, July I am faithfully. I writ to Mr. Dormer 's, General Dormer 's, and. I am tugg'd back to the world and its regards too often; and no wonder, when my retreat is but ten miles from the Capital. Believe me.
A Friend, [Page ] a Woman-friend, God help me! He turned, established the source of the noise, and stared again at the patch of darkness near the locomotive turntable. Sam McCready had also been watching. He had been there for an hour in the darkness of the abandoned railway yard in the outer suburbs of East Berlin. He had seen, or rather heard, the Russian arrive, and still he had waited to ensure that no other feet were moving amidst the dust and the rubble. However many times you did it, the knotted ball in the base of the stomach never went away.
At the appointed hour, satisfied they were alone and unaccompanied, he had flicked the match with his thumbnail, so that it had flared once, briefly, and died away. The Russian had seen it and emerged from behind the old maintenance hut. Both men had reason to prefer the gloom, for one was a traitor and the other a spy.
McCready moved out of the darkness to let the Russian see him, paused to establish that he too was alone, and went forward. At five paces they could see each other clearly, establish that there had been no substitution, no trickery. That was always the danger in a face-to-face.
Evan Hunter The Chisholms: A novel of the journey West
Mother Russia had no mercy for her traitorous elite. McCready did not embrace or even shake hands. It was a diplomatic function—polite, banal conversation, then the sudden tart remark by the Russian about his own society. The diplomat had given no sign, said nothing. A possible. Colonel Pankratin had been noncommital but had not rebuffed it.
That ranked as positive. McCready had taken over; it was his patch. In he made his own approach, and Pankratin was recruited. No fuss, no outpourings of inner feelings to be listened to and agreed with—just a straight demand for money. People betray the lands of their fathers for many reasons: resentment, ideology, lack of promotion, hatred of a single superior, shame for their bizarre sexual preferences, fear of being summoned home in disgrace.
With Russians, it was usually a deep disillusionment with the corruption, the lies, and the nepotism they saw all around them. But Pankratin was the true mercenary—he just wanted money. One day he would come out, he said, but when he did, he intended to be rich. He had called the dawn meeting in East Berlin to raise the stakes. Pankratin reached inside his trenchcoat and produced a bulky brown envelope, which he extended toward McCready. Without emotion he described what was inside the envelope as McCready secreted the package inside his duffle coat.
According to Pankratin, they were moving into the forests of Saxony and Thuringia, closer to the border, able to range in an arc from Oslo through Dublin to Palermo. In the West huge columns of sincere, naive people were on the march behind socialist banners demanding that their own governments strip themselves of their defenses as a gesture of goodwill for peace.
To Major-General. And a transfer back to Moscow. McCready was impressed. To have a man in the heart of 19 Frunze Street, Moscow, would be incomparable. In California. Deeds in my name. Santa Barbara, perhaps. I have heard it is beautiful there. You will find the money. Then we will talk about an apartment block in California. They parted five minutes later, the Russian to return, in uniform, to his desk at Potsdam, the Englishman to slip back through the Wall to the stadium in West Berlin.
He would be searched at Checkpoint Charlie. The package would cross the Wall by another safer but slower route. Only when it joined him in the West would he fly back to London. Like Morenz, the Herr Direktor was of the generation that could recall the end of the war and the years thereafter, when Germans made do with chicory extract and only the American occupiers and occasionally the British could get hold of real coffee.
No longer. Dieter Aust appreciated his Colombian coffee in the morning. He did not offer Morenz any. Both men were nudging fifty, but there the similarity ended. Aust was short, plump, beautifully barbered and tailored, and the director of the entire Cologne Station. Morenz was taller, burly, gray-haired. But he stooped and appeared to shamble as he walked, chunky and untidy in his tweed suit. The BND is actually headquartered in a substantial walled compound just outside the small village of Pullach, some six miles south of Munich, on the River Isar in the south of Bavaria.
This might seem an odd choice bearing in mind that the national capital since has been in Bonn, hundreds of miles away on the Rhine. The reason is historical. They chose for the head of the new service the former wartime German spy chief Reinhard Gehlen, and at first it was simply known as the Gehlen Organization.
The Mayor of Cologne, Konrad Adenauer, was then a fairly obscure politician. Almost every federal institution was encouraged to establish there, but Gehlen held out and the newly named BND remained at Pullach, where it sits to this day. But the BND maintains outstations in each of the Land or provincial capitals of the Federal Republic, and one of the most important of these is the Cologne Station. It is also full of foreigners, and the BND is concerned with foreign intelligence. The answer was, nothing. You know, of course. His duties will be taken over by his successor.
But he is a much younger man, going places—mark my words. I would like you to take it over. Morenz nodded as if he understood. He did not. Aust steepled his plump fingers and gazed out the window, folding his features into an expression of regret at the vagaries of his fellow man. He chose his words carefully. Of course, our various ministries are happy to arrange visits to fine restaurants, the concert, the opera, the ballet. Paid-for female company. Well, rather than have important foreign visitors accosting hotel porters or taxi drivers, or haunting the red-lit windows of the Hornstrasse or getting into trouble in bars and nightclubs, the government prefers to suggest a certain telephone number.
Believe me, my dear Morenz, this is done in every capital of the world. We are no exception. Aust was shocked. Certainly not. We do not run them. We do not pay them. The client does that. Nor, I must stress, do we use any material we might get concerning the habits of some of our visiting dignitaries. Different physical types. I am asking you to take this over because you are a mature married man. Just keep an avuncular, supervisory eye on them. Make sure they have regular medicals, keep themselves presentable. See if they are away, or unwell, or on holiday.
In short, if they are available. You may on occasion be rung by a Herr Jakobsen. Never mind if the voice on the phone changes—it will always be Herr Jakobsen. Jakobsen will ring you back for the time and place, which he will then pass on to the visitor. After that, we leave it up to the call girl and her client.
Not a burdensome task, really. It should not interfere with your other duties. Morenz lumbered to his feet with the files. Great, he thought as he left the office. The Soviet Union likes to hold two vast parades each year in that square: one for May Day, and the other to celebrate the Great October Socialist Revolution. The latter is held on November 7, and today was the eighth. The technician at his side moved a hand over the controls, and the pan-shot slowed.
The General Secretary himself was not even there. Yuri V. Andropov, Chairman of the KGB from to , who had taken the power in late following the too-long delayed death of Leonid Brezhnev, was himself dying by inches out at the Politburo Clinic at Kuntsevo. He had not been seen in public since the previous August, nor ever would he be again.
Chernenko who would succeed Andropov in a few months was up there, with Gromyko, Kirilenko, Tikhonov and the hatchet-faced Party theoretician Suslov. To one side was the youngest of them all, still an outsider, a chunky man called Gorbachev. The picture froze. Can you enhance? Bring it closer? The technician studied his console and fine-tuned carefully.
The group of officers came closer and closer. Some passed out of eyeshot. The one McCready had indicated was moving too far to the right. The technician ran back three or four frames until he was full center, and kept closing. The officer was half hidden by a full general of the Strategic Rocket Forces, but it was the moustache, unusual among Soviet officers, that clinched it. The shoulder boards on the greatcoat said Major-General.
He was younger than McCready by a decade, a high-flyer with a good degree and private wealth. Barely out of his thirties and already an Assistant Chief. Most men his age were happy to head up a foreign station, delighted to command a desk, yearning to rise to Controller rank. And Edwards was just under the top floor. He mentioned your man, just in case he got his promotion. Our Cousins have always had his product since you brought him in. A step up, Sam.
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A desk, perhaps. It was hot in Cologne that August. Those who could had sent the wives and children away to the lakes, the mountains, the forests, or even their villas in the Mediterranean and would join them later. Bruno Morenz had no holiday home. He soldiered on at his job. His salary was not large and was not likely to increase, for with three years to retirement when he turned fifty-five, a further promotion was extremely unlikely. No one gave him a passing glance.
He had dispensed with his winter tweeds in favor of a seersucker suit that was, if anything, even more shapeless. He sat hunched over his beer and occasionally ran a hand through his thick gray hair until it was awry. He was a man who had no vanity in the area of personal appearances, or he would have put a comb through his hair, shaved a bit closer, used a decent cologne after all, he was in the city that had invented it , and bought a well-tailored suit. He would have thrown out the shirt with the slightly frayed cuffs and straightened his shoulders.
Then he would have appeared quite an authoritative figure. He had no personal vanity. But he did have his dreams. Or rather, he had had his dreams, once, long ago. And they had not been fulfilled. At the age of fifty-two, married, the father of two grown-up children, Bruno Morenz stared gloomily at the passersby on the street. Had he known it, he was suffering from what the German call Torschlusspanik.
It is a word that exists in no other language but means the panic of closing doors. Behind the facade of the big amiable man who did his job, took his modest salary at the end of the month, and went home each night to the bosom of his family, Bruno Morenz was a deeply unhappy man. He was locked into a loveless marriage to his wife Irmtraut, a woman of quite bovine stupidity and potatolike contours who had, as the years ebbed away, even stopped complaining of his lowly salary and lack of promotion.
If he was unkempt with frayed cuffs and a baggy suit, it was in part because Irmtraut had ceased to care about that, either. She kept their small apartment in a featureless street in the suburb of Porz more or less neat and tidy, and his evening meal would be on the table ten minutes after he arrived home, semicongealed if he was late.
His son Lutz was still at home, slumped forever in front of the television set. Bruno had tried; well, he reckoned he had tried. He had done his best, such as it was. Worked hard, paid his taxes, kept his family as best he could, and had little enough fun in life. There would be a small party in the office, Aust would make a speech, they would clink glasses of sparkling wine, and he would be gone.
To what? There would be enough there, more than anyone thought or suspected; enough to buy a retirement home and do what he really wanted. Behind his amiable facade, Bruno Morenz was also a very secretive man. He had never told Irmtraut about any ofhis work, or his secret savings. But that was not his real problem—as he saw it. His real problem was that he wanted to be free. He wanted to start again, and as if on cue he could see how. For Bruno Morenz, well into middle age, had fallen in love.
Head over heels, deeply in love. And the good part was that Renate, the stunning, lovely, youthful Renate, was as much in love with him as he was with her. He would do it; he would tell her. He would tell her he intended to leave Irmtraut well provided for, take early retirement, quit the job, and take her away to a new life with him in the dream home they would have up in his native north by the coast. Because he did not see it and because he was a professional dissimulator, no one else saw it, either. Renate Heimendorf was twenty-six, at five feet seven inches a tall and handsomely proportioned brunette.
At the age of eighteen she had become the mistress and plaything of a wealthy businessman three times her age, a relationship that had lasted five years. When the man dropped dead of a heart attack, probably brought on by a surfeit of food, drink, cigars, and Renate, he had inconsiderately failed to make provision for her in his will, something his vengeful widow was not about to rectify. The girl had managed to pillage their expensively furnished love-nest of its contents, which, together with the jewelry and trinkets he had given her over the years, fetched at sale a tidy sum.
But not enough to retire on; not enough to permit her to continue the life-style to which she had become accustomed and had no intention of quitting for a secretarial job and a tiny salary. She decided to go into business. Skilled at coaxing a form of arousal from overweight, out-of-condition, middle-aged men, there was really only one business into which she could go.
She bought a long lease on an apartment in quiet and respectable Hahnwald, a leafy and staid suburb of Cologne. It was a four-story stone building with one apartment on each floor. Hers was on the second. The sitting room was to the left of the entry hall, the kitchen next to it. Beyond them, to the left of the passage that turned to the right from the hall, were one bedroom and the bathroom. The larger bedroom was at the end of the passage, so that the bathroom was between the two sleeping rooms. Just before the door of the larger bedroom, built into the wall on the left, was a two-yard-wide coat-closet that borrowed space off the bathroom.
She slept in the smaller bedroom, using the larger one at the end of the passage as her working room. Apart from building the coat-closet, her refurbishment had included the soundproofing of the master bedroom, with cork blocks lining the inside walls, papered and decorated to hide their presence, double-glazed windows, and thick padding on the inside of the door. Few sounds from inside the room could penetrate outside to disturb or alarm the neighbors, which was just as well.
The room, with its unusual decor and accoutrements, was always kept locked. The closet in the passage contained only normal winter wear and raincoats. A chest of drawers yielded a smaller array of vestments for clients who had brought nothing with them, such as Boy Scout, schoolboy, and Roman slave apparel. Tucked in a corner were the punishment stool and stocks, while a trunk contained the chains, cuffs, straps, and riding crops needed for the bondage and discipline scene.
She was a good whore; successful, anyway. Many of her clients returned regularly. Yet part of her mind would always remain detached—observing, noting, despising. Nothing of her job touched her—in any case, her personal tastes were quite different. She had been in the game for three years and in two more intended to retire, clean up just once in a rather major way, and live on her investments in luxury somewhere far away. That afternoon, there was a ring at her doorbell. She frowned; a client would only come by appointment. A glance through the peephole in her front door revealed, as in a goldfish bowl, the rumpled gray hair of Bruno Morenz, her minder from the Foreign Ministry.
She sighed, put a radiant smile of ecstatic welcome on her beautiful face, and opened the door. James, London. It was over coffee in the library, beneath the portraits of that group of Regency bucks, the Dilettantes, that Edwards broached specifics. But there is a new era coming, Sam. Now, a riffle through the records shows that you still retain, admittedly on an ad hoc basis, certain assets who really have passed their usefulness.
Old friends, perhaps. No problem, unless they are in delicate positions That was the trouble with records—they were always there, on file. As soon as you paid someone to run an errand, a record of payment was created. Edwards dropped his vague manner. Poltergeist is a full-time staffer of the BND. Get rid of him, Sam. Stop the retainer. To the Berlin Wall going up. He did well then, ran dangerous jobs for us when we needed people like that. We were caught by surprise. He trusts me. It takes years. A small retainer is a tiny price. At the end of that week, Major Ludmilla Vanavskaya sighed, stretched and leaned back in her chair.
She was tired. It had been a long haul. She reached for her packet of Soviet-made Marlboros, noticed the full ashtray, and pressed a bell on her desk. A young corporal entered from the outer office. She did not address him, just pointed to the ashtray with her fingertip. He quickly removed it, left the office, and returned it cleaned a few seconds later. She nodded. He left again and closed the door. There had been no talk, no banter. Major Vanavskaya had that effect on people.
In earlier years some of the young bucks had noticed the shining short-cropped blond hair above the crisp service shirt and slim green skirt and had tried their luck. No dice. At twenty-five she had married a colonel—a career move—and divorced him three years later. His career had stalled, hers taken off.
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At thirty-five she wore no more uniforms, just the severe tailored charcoal-gray suit over the white blouse with the floppy bow at the neck. Some still thought she was beddable, until they caught a salvo from those freezing blue eyes. Fanatics intimidate. An utterly dedicated Communist, ideologically pure of any doubts, she had devoted herself to her self-arrogated pursuit of traitors. She hated them with a cold passion. She had wangled a transfer from the Second Chief Directorate, where the targets were the occasional seditious poet or complaining worker, to the independent Third Directorate, also called the Armed Forces Directorate.
Here the traitors, if traitors there were, would be higher-ranking, more dangerous. Two years of work had gone into that file, although she had had to squeeze that work in between other duties until people higher up began to believe her. Loss of valuable state equipment through gross negligence was bad enough; lack of vigor in the pursuit of the Afghan war was worse; but the file on her desk told her a different story.
She was convinced that somewhere in the army there was a deliberate leak. And he was high, damned high. There was a list of eight names on the top sheet of the file before her. Five were crossed out.
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Two had question marks. But her eye always came back to the eighth. She lifted a phone and was put through to the male secretary of General Shaliapin, head of the Third Directorate. A personal interview? No one else? I see. The problem is, the Comrade General is in the Far East.
Not until next Tuesday. Very well then, next Tuesday. Major Vanavskaya put down the phone and scowled. Four days. Well, she had already waited two years—she could wait four more days. He grinned. He had seen it just once but fallen for it completely. It was what he had always wanted and right where he wanted it—by the open sea, where the brisk winds from the north would keep the air crisp and fresh. Cold in winter, of course, but there was central heating, which would need fixing.
It stands on the open quay right on the Bremerhaven dock front. From the upper windows you can see as far as Mellum Island—we could get a sailboat if things go well and sail there in summer. Completion is at the end of September. Then I can take you away from all this. She could hardly keep herself from laughing out loud. It will be a wonderful life. Do you want to try again? Perhaps it will work this time. But it amused her to prolong his delusion so that his eventual misery would be all the greater. In the back was Sam McCready, who had been summoned from his habitual Sunday pleasures at his apartment in Abingdon Villas, Kensington, by a telephoned appeal from the Assistant Chief.
He had been enjoying a long, deep, hot bath when the call came, with Vivaldi on the stereo and the Sunday newspapers strewn gloriously all over the sitting-room floor. He had had time to throw on a sports shirt, corduroy trousers, and jacket by the time John, who had picked up the Jaguar at the motor pool, was at the door. The sedan swept into the graveled forecourt of a substantial Georgian country house and came to a halt. John came around the car to open the rear passenger door, but McCready beat him to it.
He hated being fussed over. McCready surveyed the mansion. Timothy Edwards, ten years earlier, had married the daughter of a duke, who had been considerate enough to drop off his perch in early middle age and leave a substantial estate to his two offspring, the new duke and Lady Margaret. She had collected about three million pounds.
McCready estimated that about half of that was now invested in a prime piece of Hampshire real estate. He wandered round the side of the house to the colonnaded patio at the back. There were four easy cane chairs in a group. Three were occupied. Farther on, a white cast-iron table was set for lunch for three, Lady Margaret would doubtless be staying inside, not lunching. Neither would he. The two men in the rattan chairs rose.
Edwards looked at McCready and wondered, not for the first time, why his extremely talented colleague insisted on coming to a Hampshire country house party looking as if he had just been gardening, even if he was not staying long. Edwards himself was in brilliant brogues, razor-creased tan slacks, and a blazer over a silk shirt and neckerchief. McCready stared back and wondered why Edwards always insisted on keeping his handkerchief up his left sleeve. It was an army habit, started in the cavalry regiments because on dining-in nights cavalry officers wore trousers so tight that a bunched handkerchief in the pocket might give the ladies the impression they had put on a touch too much perfume.
But Edwards had never been in the cavalry, nor in any regiment. He had come to the Service directly from Oxford. He had the leathery look of a Texan cowhand. In fact, he was a Bostonian. The leathery look came from the Camels he chain-smoked. His face was not suntanned, just medium rare.
That was why they were lunching outside, Sam mused. Edwards would not want the Canalettos covered in nicotine. The woman in the third chair leaned forward and held out a hand. Claudia Stuart, still at forty a great-looking woman. She held his gaze and his hand a mite longer than necessary. Her eyes said she did not believe him. No woman likes to think a man with whom she once offered to share her bed has ever completely recovered from the experience. It had puzzled and frustrated her that she had gotten nowhere. He had never told her what he was doing there.
Actually, he was recruiting the then Colonel Pankratin, she learned later. It was she who had taken him over. Edwards had not missed the body language. He wondered what was behind it and guessed aright. It never ceased to amaze him that women seemed to like Sam. He was so There was talk that several of the women at Century House would like to straighten his tie, sew on a button, or more.
He found it inexplicable. Sweet, loving, and much-loved May, his wife. Three years since she had died. May, who had waited through all the long nights in the early days, always been there when he came home from across the Curtain, never asking, never complaining. Multiple sclerosis can act fast or slow. With May, it had been fast. In one year she was in a wheelchair and two years later gone.
He had lived alone in the Kensington apartment since then. Thank God their son had been at college, just summoned home for the funeral. A butler—there would have to be a butler, thought McCready—appeared with an extra flute of champagne on a salver. McCready raised an eyebrow. McCready sipped. They watched him. Designer beer. Foreign label. He sighed. He would have preferred bitter ale, room temperature, redolent of Scottish malt and Kentish hops.
Very little contact. Fantastic product, and very pricey payments. But hardly any personal meets. Now he has sent a message. An urgent message. The entire Order of Battle. For the whole of the Western front. We want it, Sam. We want it very badly. Too noticeable. He will only hand it over to someone he knows and trusts.
He wants you. Canon Knox Little. Things which make it difficult to say this. The enjoyment of life. Attachment to friends. The anticipated pain of dissolution. Uncertainty about the future. Things which make it easy, at least comparatively, to say this. The pre-decease of Christian friends. Whitelaw, D. The godly, by a spiritual instinct and sagacity, foresee their ends; so did Jacob Genesis , and Joshua Joshua , and Christ John , and Peter 1 Peter Their acts, diseases, and disquietments which they meet withal from the world are as so many petty deaths unto them.
A man that dwells in an old crazy house where the walls fall down, the foundation sinks, the pillars bend, and the whole building cracks, concludes such a house cannot long stand. As for the wicked they are insensible and secure, and though grey hairs, which are signs of old age and death approaching, be here and there upon them yet they know it not Hosea Death is not dreadful to good men.
The apostle speaks of it here not by way of lamentation, but of exultation. Death to him was but a departing from one room to another, from a lower room to a higher, from earth to heaven, from troubles to rest, from mortality to immortality. They are long since dead to the world, and so can part with it more easily. The soul of man is immortal. Death is not an annihilation, but a migration of the soul from the body for a time. The death of the martyrs is a most pleasing sacrifice to God. The death of the martyrs doth confirm the truth.
He looked on his death as an offering on behalf of the gospel. He looked on his death as a departure from every temporal bondage. As a soldier in the army. As a runner in a race. As a faithful servant to his Master. The preciousness of this reward. The excellent Giver of this reward. The solemn time of obtaining this reward. The liberality of the Giver. He looks downward into the grave 2 Timothy whither he was going, and there he sees comfort.
He looks upward, and there he sees heaven prepared for him. But doth not this savour of vain-glory and spiritual pride? Answer: Not at all, for the apostle speaks not this proudly, as if he had merited anything at the hand of God. He speaks this partly to comfort Timothy, and to encourage him to walk in his steps, keeping faith and a good conscience.
To encourage himself against the reproach of his reproaching violent death, he eyes that heavenly reward and that crown of life prepared for such as have fought the good fight as he had done. The view in which the apostle represents his decease. He expresses neither terror nor reluctance, on account of the violent nature of the death which awaited him, but speaks of it calmly as a sacrifice and offering to God.
His last and most solemn testimony would thus be given to the truths of God, which he had everywhere proclaimed; and his blood, when poured out, would simply resemble, as his words imply, the mixture of blood and wine which was poured upon the altar in the ancient sacrifices. His death would merely form the concluding part of that offering, which he had made of himself to the service of his Lord; and he seemed rather to welcome than to withhold the termination of the sacrifice. The decease of every Christian may be likewise called an offering.
The reflections with which the apostle here looks back upon his life on earth. Justly does he speak of his life as a fight, in which he had been engaged, and which he had maintained with the most unshaken resolution to that very hour.
Frederick Forsyth. The Deceiver
This service he farther likens to a race, to one of those contests of bodily strength, or speed, or skill, in which it was common in those days for men to seek the prize of victory, and in which it was accounted the highest earthly honour to gain the corruptible crown. The hopes by which the dying apostle is cheered in view of an eternal world.
You are thus called to exercise a rational regard to your own true happiness, looking forward to an eternal blessedness, which can be compared to nothing less than crowns and kingdoms; a settled approbation of perfect righteousness, desiring to receive, as the sources of your felicity, the approbation and favour and future presence of the righteous Judge of all the earth; a benevolent sympathy in the best interests of others, delighting in the thought that so many of your fellow-creatures may participate in your company, in the same blessed inheritance; and finally, a devout sentiment of love to the Son of God, anticipating with joy His own appearing, as the consummation of all His felicity to your own souls and to multitudes of His redeemed of every age and people.
James Brewster. The quiet courage which looks death full in the face without a tremor. The language implies that Paul knows his death hour is all but here. There is no sign of excitement, no tremor of emotion, no affectation of stoicism in the simple sentences. We have had plenty of changes before.
Life has been one long series of departures. This is different from the others mainly in that it is the last, and that to go away from this visible and fleeting show, where we wander aliens among things which have no true kindred with us, is to go home, where there will be no more pulling up the tent-pegs, and toiling across the deserts in monotonous change. How strong is the conviction, spoken in that name for death, that the essential life lasts on quite unaltered through it all!
How slight the else formidable thing is made. We may change climates, and for the stormy bleakness of life may have the long still days of heaven, but we do not change ourselves. The peaceful look backwards. We may feel like a captain who has brought his ship safe across the Atlantic, through foul weather and past many an iceberg, and gives a great sigh of relief as he hands over the charge to the pilot, who will take her across the harbour bar and bring her to her anchorage in the landlocked bay where no tempests rave any more for ever.
True Tales of Arctic Heroism in the New World, Adolphus W. Greely
Such an estimate has nothing in common with self-complacency. It coexists with a profound consciousness of many a sin, many a defeat, and much unfaithfulness. Let us learn too that the only life that bears being looked back upon is a life of Christian devotion and effort. It shows fairer when seen in the strange cross lights that come when we stand on the boundary of two worlds, with the white radiance of eternity beginning to master the vulgar ell lamps of earth, than when seen by these alone. All others have their shabbiness and their selfishness disclosed then.
The triumphant look forward. There is no profit in seeking to gaze into that light of glory so as to discern the shapes of those who walk in it, or the elements of its lambent flames. Enough that in its gracious beauty transfigured souls move as in their native atmosphere! Maclaren, D. We begin with making some observations on the sources of that consolation which supported this eminent servant of God at the time when his departure was at hand.
It was the reflection upon a well-spent life; it was the consciousness of a strenuous and immovable fidelity in the religious warfare which formed his habitual preparation for death, and laid the foundation of his joyful hopes. The only sovereign and efficacious remedy against the fears of dissolution is to mortify the power of sin within the soul, and to make all our vicious appetites to die before us, for the sting of death is sin.
He that hath risen above the influence of sin can live beyond all possibility of any great annoyance from the terrors of the last enemy. How animating a scene is the deathbed of the righteous man! What can disturb his last and peaceful moments The recollection of his trials and patience, the many acts of piety and benevolence which his memory can then suggest, all rise to view, to refresh his retiring soul, to smile upon his departing spirit, and render it superior to the frowns of death, which he is thus enabled to consider, not as a stern and inexorable tyrant sent to execute the vengeance of heaven, but as the messenger of love and peace commissioned to close a troublesome and mortal life, and to put him in possession of one glorious and eternal.
We wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers, with the rulers of the darkness of this world, with spiritual wickedness in high places. Our combat does not endure only for a little, nor is our security the reward of a few hours of steady opposition, but almost every step we take through the wilderness of life exposes us to some new attack; we are often assaulted by all the deceivableness of unrighteousness, and through the whole of life we maintain an unceasing struggle. Nor are all our enemies open and declared.
Equally dangerous are our secret foes, these insidious passions which lodge within us, ever ready to catch at the bribes of an alluring world, and to open for it a secret passage to the heart. Thus surrounded with dangers on every hand, how absolutely necessary is it to be strong, to quit ourselves like men, to brace the mind with firmness and vigour, to keep the attention constantly directed to every quarter from which we may be assaulted? Thanks be to God, however, we are not left to struggle alone: there is an omnipotent grace which gives strength to the feeble.
The law of the Christian dispensation is this: We are commanded to labour with as vigorous efforts as if the whole success of that work depended on ourselves alone, and, at the same time, with the humility and diffidence of a mind conscious of its own imbecility, and sensible of the necessity of Divine grace to render all its endeavours effectual. The Lord is the strength of thy life, of whom shalt thou be afraid?
The sacred influence of His grace shall continually descend to guide thy doubtful steps, to invigorate every languid effort, to teach thy hands to war and thy fingers to fight, and to crown thee with final success and triumph. Which leads us naturally to turn our thoughts, in the third place, to that blessed and glorious reward, specified in the text, by the expression of a crown of righteousness. This expression has an evident allusion to those crowns bestowed by the ancients on brave and intrepid warriors; to those marks of honour and respect by which they were wont to distinguish particular feats of valour.
How great, O God, is that goodness which Thou hast laid up for them that serve Thee, and wrought for them that fear Thy name before the sons of men. Thou shalt hide them for ever in the secret of Thy pavilion; Thou shalt defend them from the strife of tongues, and from the pride of men. Such honour shall all the saints of God possess; such shall be the reward of the steady friends of Jesus. Thus blessed shall they be who are found holy and undefiled in the world; they shall have a right to the tree of life; they shall enter through the gate into the city, and reign with Jesus for ever and ever.
Our last observation is founded on the declaration in the text, that this honour shall be conferred on those and those alone, who love the appearance of Jesus. Shall the treasures of Divine grace ever be prostituted to enrich the unworthy? No, the decree hath passed, a decree which shall never be reversed, that unless we are renewed in the spirit of our minds we cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.
This decree is no arbitrary law; it is founded in nature; it is implied in the very reason of things, that none but the pure in heart are qualified for relishing the pleasures of that immortal inheritance. For, what is heaven? Not a total alteration of state, but reason, and every pious and virtuous disposition dilated and expanded to its highest pitch. What are the immortal joys which it contains but the security, the increase, and the perfection of virtue?
Main, D. Redford, as he fell down in death. Punshon, working and suffering, fulfilled a sort of double life until his Divine Master called him home. There is one more point of tremendous reminiscence, and that is the last hour of life, when we have to look over all our past existence. What a moment that will be! Helena beside Mrs. Helena, the same island, twenty years afterwards. I place the dying reminiscence of Augustus Caesar against the dying reminiscence of the Apostle Paul. Paul uttered his dying reminiscence looking up through the wall of a dungeon.
God grant that our dying pillow may be the closing of a useful life, and the opening of a glorious eternity. De Witt Talmage. It is the most melancholy circumstance in the funerals of our Christian friends, when we have laid their bodies in the dark and silent grave, to go home and leave them behind; but, alas I it is not we that go home and leave them behind; no, it is they that are gone to the better home, and have left us behind. Matthew Henry,. Stoughton, D. Bengel says that Paul was about to deliver up to Timothy before his decease the lamp or torch-light of the evangelical office.
Bengel alludes, remarks Dr. There is no room for us to play at fighting. If they have slain so many, we must be more desperately valiant. The time of my departure is at hand. Our departure. We loose our cable, and bid farewell to earth, it shall not be with bitterness in the retrospect. There is sin in it, and we are called to leave it; there has been trial in it, and we are called to be delivered from it; there has been sorrow in it, and we are glad that we shall go where we shall sorrow no more.
There have been weakness, and pain, and suffering in it, and we are glad that we shall be raised in power; there has been death in it, and we are glad to bid farewell to shrouds and to knells; but for all that there has been such mercy in it, such lovingkindness of God in it, that the wilderness and the solitary place have been made glad, and the desert has rejoiced and blossomed as a rose. We will not bid farewell to the world, execrating it, or leaving behind us a cold shudder and a sad remembrance, but we will depart, bidding adieu to the scenes that remain, and to the people of God that tarry therein yet a little longer, blessing Him whoso goodness and mercy have followed us all the days of our life, and who is now bringing us to dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
But if I have had to speak in a somewhat apologetic manner of the land from which we depart, I shall need to use many apologies for my own poor talk about the land to which we are bound. Ah, whither goest thou, spirit loosened from thy clay--dost know? Whither goest thou? The answer must be, partly, that we know not. None of us have seen the streets of gold of which we sang just now; those harpings of the harpers, harping with their harps, have never fallen on these ears; eye hath not seen it, ear hath not heard it; it is all unrevealed to the senses; flesh and blood cannot inherit it, and, therefore, flesh and blood cannot imagine it.
Yet it is not unknown, for God hath revealed it unto us by His Spirit. Spiritual men know what it is to feel the spirit, their own new-born spirit, living, glowing, burning, triumphing within them. They know, therefore, that if the body should drop off they would not die. They feel there is a life within them superior to blood and bone, and nerve and sinew. They feel the life of God within them, and none can gainsay it. Their own experience has proven to them that there is an inner life. Well, then, when that inner life is strong and vigorous, the spirit often reveals to it what the world of spirits will be.
We know what holiness is. Are we not seeking it? That is heaven--perfect holiness is heaven. We know what peace means; Christ is our peace. Rest--He gives us rest; we find that when we take His yoke. Rest is heaven. And rest in Jesus tells us what heaven is. The time of our departure, though unknown to us, is fixed by God--unalterably fixed; so rightly, wisely, lovingly settled, and prepared for, that no chance or haphazard can break the spell of destiny. The time is at hand. In a certain sense, every Christian may say this; for whatever interval may interpose between us and death, how very short it is!
Have you not all a sense that time flows faster than it did? In our childish days we thought a year was quite a period of time, a very epoch in our career; now as for weeks--one can hardly reckon them! We seem to be travelling by an express train, flying along at such a rate that we can hardly count the months. Why, the past year only seemed to come in at one door and go out at the other; it was over so soon. We shall soon be at the terminus of life, even if we live for several years; but in the case of some of us, God knows of whom, this year, perhaps this month, will be our last.
Is not this a reason for surveying our condition again?
by Francis J. Hannigan
If our vessel is just launching, let us see that she is seaworthy. It would be a sad thing for us to be near departing, and yet to be just as near discovering that we are lost. But if the time of my departure be at hand, and I am satisfied that it is all right with me, is there not a call for me to do all I can for my household?
Let me try to finish all my work, not only as regards my duty to my family, but in respect to all the world so far as my influence or ability can reach. If the time of our departure is at hand, let it cheer us amid our troubles. Sometimes, when our friends go to Liverpool to sail for Canada, or any other distant region, on the night before they sail they get into a very poor lodging.
What a small room! What a bad look-out! Put up with it, you are away to-morrow. And if the time of my departure is at hand, I should like to be on good terms with all my friends on earth. If the time of my departure is at hand, then let me guard against being elated by any temporal prosperity. Possessions, estates, creature comforts dwindle into insignificance before this outlook.
Lastly, if the time of our departure is at hand, let us be prepared to bear our testimony. We are witnesses for Christ. Let us bear our testimony before we are taken up and mingle with the cloud of witnesses who have finished their course and rested from their labours. Let us work for Jesus while we can work for Him.
How calm his mind! Whilst our views and feelings may be altered by the nearness of the last enemy, to Paul it seemed the same whether death was dimly seen in the distance, or the interval be measured by a single step. The apostle felt himself to be as near to death as that very victim; every preparation having been made, he only had to await the fatal blow.
The other figure is not less beautiful. The apostle had hitherto felt himself bound to the present world as a ship to its moorings, but now anchor was to be weighed, fastenings to be loosened, and sails to be unfurled. But though the vast, the boundless ocean stretched out before him, he felt himself to be no mere adventurer--a Columbus going in search of an undiscovered land. Though known only by report, he knew that the report of this new world was not the speculation or idle conjecture of man.
How intelligent was this confidence! His was not the peace of ignorance, or of a perverted view of the mercy of God. What a contrast does it present even to some of those cases of supposed religions triumph over death which men of the world have quoted from classic antiquity, For what was it that made the apostle so resigned, so willing, so longing to meet death?
Was it a feeling of misanthropy from the base treatment he had received from his fellow creatures, including even his professed friends? Was it disappointed ambition, the world refusing him its laurels? Was it anxious suspense from being in prisons and deaths oft? Was it the infirmity of old age, drying up all the sources of the enjoyment of life?
Here is life reviewed in reference to its conflicts. Life is not only a race, but a conflict--not only a stretching forward for the prize, but one continuous struggle with besetting foes: it calls not only for activities, but resistance. Say you this is a repulsive view of religion? We reply, is not self-denial necessary for success in all the departments of life? Is it not, moreover, as salutary as indispensable? Instead of complaining of this battle of life, ask yourselves if the self-knowledge thereby obtained, the opportunity afforded for the development of graces, the vigour given by exercise to every virtue, be not more than a compensation?
Life is here reviewed in reference to the individual sphere of active duties. We might here propose several questions. We might ask again if the individual believer sooner or later may not find out his particular vocation, and arrive at some satisfactory conclusion as to what end he was born, or for what cause he came into the world.
Do not wants, gifts, counsels of friends, oft unmistakably point to the work assigned by the Disposer of all things? Life is here reviewed in reference to religious beliefs, or our fidelity to truth. Having succeeded in this dreadful work, he went abroad into foreign countries, and, as he was returning, an express met him in London with a letter from his mother, informing him that she was in a deep decline, and would not long survive.
She said she found herself without any support in her distress; that he had taken away that source of comfort upon which in all cases of affliction she used to rely, and that now she found her mind sinking into despair: she did not doubt that her son would afford her some substitute for her religion; and conjured him to hasten home, or at least send her a letter containing such consolations as philosophy can afford a dying mortal. Hume was overwhelmed with anguish, hastened to Scotland, travelling night and day, but before he arrived his mother had expired.
The race was nearly run, the conflict was well-nigh ended; it now only remained that the crown should be bestowed. The crown was to be one of righteousness. For it, usurpers have dethroned monarchs--warriors have stood in the breach--navigators have defied the fury of the deep--philosophers have strained intellect night as well as day; for it the foot-racer, and the boxer, and the charioteer have endured severest bodily discipline--all--all reaching after the goal of worldly honour, all trying to distance their competitors--all dissatisfied with the present, and reaching to that which is before.
Now Christianity addresses such aspirants, and points them to something better, to crowns purer, brighter, and more enduring. But what may be the crowns which the Lord the righteous Judge shall bestow, we shall not venture to describe. Sure we are, they are not merely symbols of sovereignty, or ensigns of victory, or tokens of national gratitude to earthly benefactors. The conqueror there will not be crowned with olives, or parsley, or any other such fading leaves.
It will not consist in the praises of men, or worldly elevation above the millions of our fellow-creatures. It will not be awarded for human merit, nor will the wearer be conscious of any feeling of claim: the weight of his glory will rather weigh him down. It will not be of such a character as shall endanger his holiness, or that shall afterwards require a thorn in the flesh lest the victor should be exalted above measure. It will not be the joy and rapture of an hour, awakened by the excitement of the novelty, to be followed by ennui and disappointment.
It will not awaken envy among the millions of the glorified, but rather raise higher joy as they see one wearing a more brilliant diadem than the rest. The crown will consist in nothing that will divert the mind from the Eternal All, and cause it to seek satisfaction in self. In a word, the honour will consist in the presence and favour and likeness of God. But we pause and tremble, lest we should darken counsel by words without knowledge. As a departure to another country. The sailor does not leave the port with the prospect of an eternal cruise in unknown seas, or for the purpose of ultimately losing himself somewhere in some mysterious, undefined nothing.
As a departure to a better country. He was willing to sail. Now Paul was no misanthrope, who had become so sick of human society that he longed to be rid of it. He was not weary of life. Then why did he wish to go? By no means! As a departure to a better country, which was his home. Paul compared himself to a sailor who, lying in a foreign port, was awaiting orders to sail for home. Such a man, though in a land of pleasure and plenty, would sit and long to be away. As he thought of friends beloved across the sea, he would count the weeks and days when he hoped to see them once again.
As a departure for home, the time of which was fixed. He knows When I shall depart. Whence I shall depart. How I shall depart. As a departure for home, the time of which was near. Thus Paul waited for death. To him the disease, or the accident, or the martyrdom, would be but as the postman who brought the letter--the letter for which he longed with unutterable desire. As a departure for home, for which he was perfectly ready. And so he was. As one by one he saw the cords being unloosened which bound him to this world--as loved ones were taken away--as sickness, disease, or age told him that the time was at hand when he was to depart, he viewed the whole with the complacent satisfaction of the sailor who sees his vessel being unmoored to sail for home.
The character of a faithful minister. He loves the gospel which he preaches. He does not shun to declare all the counsel of God, but endeavours to preach the gospel as fully and as plainly as possible. He will uniformly and perseveringly perform the self-denying duties of his office, which are of a less public nature, but of no less importance, than his ministrations on the Sabbath. In visiting the sick and the dying, he will deal plainly as well as tenderly with them.
Whenever he is called to converse with persons about the state of their minds, whether they are in stupidity, distress, or doubt, he will not daub with untempered mortar, nor endeavour to comfort those who ought not to be com forted, tie will contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. What reasons he may have to rejoice in the near prospect of eternity. He has good reason to rejoice that he chose the work of the ministry in preference to any other employment in life.
The most useful employment must be allowed to be the most important and desirable. He has good reason to rejoice in the close of life and in the view of eternity, that God has enabled him to be faithful. He has good reason to rejoice in the close of his ministry, because God has given him assurance that all his faithful labours shall produce some valuable and important effects, either sooner or later. He has good ground to rejoice when the time of his departure is at hand, because God has promised him an ample reward for all his sincere services. Emmons, D.
The importance of preparation for our departure. This is the last and closing scene of human life. How serious a thing it is to die. Because disease and the period introductory to our dissolution are special seasons given to us in which to glorify God and bring credit to religion.
This is the last opportunity we have of doing anything for God, for the Church, for our families, and for the world. The manner in which a Christian should die. Amidst the darkness, languor, and pain of a sick bed, a Christian man ought to engage in com mending the ways of God and religion to those about him.
We should then attend to the duty of exhorting others who are walking in the ways of the Lord. We ought to commend ourselves and others to God in the devout exercise of prayer. In the exercise of strong faith. Waugh, D. A soul-absorbing interest in the great cause of universal truth and benevolence.
An accurate conception of what death really is to the good. Delightful memories of the manner in which he had spent his life. A soul-enrapturing vision of the future into which he was about entering. We hang black instead of white over the place where the good man gets his last victory. What a pity it was he had to come to this.
By the time people have assembled at the obsequies, that man has been three days so happy that all the joy of earth accumulated would be wretchedness beside it; and he might better weep over you because you have to stay, than you weep over him because he has to go. Now, departure implies a starting-place, and a place of destination. When Paul left this world, what was the starting-point? It was a scene of great physical distress. It was the Tullianum, the lower dungeon of the Mamertine prison.
The top dungeon was bad enough--it having no means of ingress or egress hut through an opening in the top. Through that the prisoner was lowered, and through that came all the food, and air, and light received. It was a terrible place, that upper dungeon; but the Tullianum was the lower dungeon, and that was still more wretched, the only light and the only air coming through the roof, and that roof the floor of the upper dungeon.
It was there that Paul spent his last days on earth, and it is there that I see him to-day, in the fearful dungeon, shivering, blue with cold, waiting for that old overcoat which he had seat for up to Troas, and which they had not yet sent down, notwithstanding he had written for it. Oh, worn-out, emaciated old man, surely you must be melancholy. Why, Paul has an invitation to a banquet, and he is going to dine to-day with the King. Those shuffling feet are the feet of the executioners. Come, now, get yourself ready. He bad nothing to pack up. He had no baggage to take.
He had been ready a good while. Hurry along. But they soon get to the place of execution--Acquae Salvia--and he is fastened to the pillar of martyrdom. What a transition it was I From the malaria of Rome to the finest climate in all the universe--the zone of eternal beauty and health.
From shipwreck, from dungeon, from the biting pain of the elm-wood rods, from the sharp sword of the headsman, he goes into the most brilliant assemblage of heaven, a king among kings, multitudes of the sainthood rushing out and stretching forth hands of welcome; for I do really think that, as on the right hand of God is Christ, so on the right hand of Christ is Paul, the second great in heaven.
He changed kings likewise. Before the hour of death, and up to the last moment, he was under Nero, the thick-necked, the cruel-eyed, the filthy lipped. But the next moment he goes into the realm of Him whose reign is love, and whose courts are paved with love, and whose throne is set on pillars of love, and whose sceptre is adorned with jewels of love, and whose palace is lighted with love, and whose lifetime is an eternity of love.
Now, why cannot all the old people of my congregation have the same holy glee as that aged man had? You say you most fear the struggle at the moment the soul and body part. But millions have endured that moment, and why may not we as well? They got through with it, and so can we. Besides this, all medical men agree in saying that there is probably no struggle at all at the last moment--not so much pain as the prick of a pin, the seeming signs of distress being altogether involuntary.
After God has filled the Bible till it can hold no more with stories of the good things ahead, better not talk about uncertainties. Besides that, it is more healthy there for you than here, aged man; better climate there than these hot summers, and cold winters, and late springs; better hearing; better eyesight; more tonic in the air; more perfume in the bloom; more sweetness in the song. I remark again: all those ought to feel this joy of the text who have a holy curiosity to know what is beyond this earthly terminus.
And who has not any curiosity about it? Paul himself before they died. Friends, the exit from this world, or death, if you please to call it, to the Christian is glorious explanation. It is demonstration. It is illumination. It is sunburst. It is the opening of all the windows. It is shutting up the catechism of doubt and the unrolling of all the scrolls of positive and accurate information.
I remark again: we ought to have the joy of the text, because leaving this world we move into the best society of the universe. What general, what prince, is going up there? Who is the centre of that glittering company? De Witt Talmage, D. It is weakened now as I seem to see the end towards which I have been striving looming in the distance. This presentiment did not interfere with the performance of any duty: it only made me think a great deal more of the future state of being.
That line of mournful significance is the last that was written by Churchill! This is what I have been waiting for, and longing for. Tinling, B.
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I have fought a good fight. The two armies. The army of the saints. The army of the enemy. What kind of a battle? Where fought? Whole world. When shall it be finished? At death for each individual soldier; at the day of judgment for the whole army. Is certain. Shall be held in ever-lasting remembrance. Fletcher, D. It is lawful sometimes to speak of those gifts and graces which God hath given us, that we may comfort and quicken others by our example. The sweetest songs of the saints have been towards their last ends. The sun shines sweetliest when it is setting, the wine of the spirit is strongest in the saints when they are drawing to an end.
His motions are quickest when natural motions are slowest; as we see in Moses his swan-like song Deuteronomy ; Deuteronomy ; Deuteronomy Joshua dying, how sweetly doth he exhort the people to obedience by setting before them the mercies of God Joshua Wicked men when they die they set in a cloud, and like the going out of a candle they leave a stench behind them: as their bodies, so their names rot and stink when they are dead and gone.
As wicked men grow worse and worse and their last days are their worst, so good men grow better and better, and their last days are their best; having but a little time to live in the world, they are willing to leave it with a good savour. The sweet resent which a good conscience hath of a well-spent life is matter of singular comfort and rejoicing in death. Every faithful Christian is a spiritual soldier. For the greater manifestations of His own glory. He could deliver His people without fighting, but then the glory of His wisdom, power and goodness in their preservation and deliverance would not be so perspicuous to the world; nor His justice in downfall of His enemies be so apparent to all.
For the good of His people, hereby He exerciseth their graces and keeps them from rusting. Virtue decays if it have not some opposite to quicken it, and draw it out; hereby also He proves their valour and makes it more apparent to others.