« PreviousContinue »
expedition. The weather was ex-| tremely tempestuous, and very cold, it being late in the year; and the rain fell in torrents. In his impatience to set out, a conveyance not being immediately ready, he mounted an old dray-horse, used in Admiral Mordvinof's family to convey water, and thus proceeded to visit his patient. Upon his arrival, he found the lady dying: this, added to the fatigue of the journey, affected him so much, that it brought on a fever: his clothes, at the same time, had been wet through. But he attributed his fever entirely to another cause. Having administered something to his patient to excite perspiration, as soon as the symp. toms of it appeared, he put his hand beneath the bed-clothes, to feel her pulse, that she might not be chilled by his removing them; and he believed that her fever was thus communicated to him. After this painful journey, Mr. Howard returned to Cherson, and the lady died.
death: but I entertain very dif ferent sentiments. Death has no terrors for me: it is an event I always look to with cheerfulness, if not with pleasure; and be assured, the subject of it is to me more grateful than any other. I am well aware that I have but a short time to live; my mode of life has rendered it impossible that I should recover from this fever. If I had lived as you do, eating heartily of animal food, and drinking wine, I might, perhaps, by altering my diet, be able to subdue it.
But how can such an invalid as I am lower his diet? I have been accustomed, for years, to exist upon vegetables and water; a little bread, and a little tea. I have no method of lowering my nourishment, and consequently I must die. It is such jolly fellows as you, Priestman, who get over these fevers!" Then, turning the subject, he spoke of his funeral; and cheerfully gave directions concerning the manner of his burial. "There is a spot," said he, 66 near the village of Dauphigny: this would suit me nicely: you know it well, for I have often said that I should like to be buried there; and let me beg of you, as you value your old friend, not to suffer any pomp to be used at my funeral; nor any monument, nor monumental inscription whatsoever, to mark where I am laid: but lay me quietly in the earth, place a sundial over my grave, and let me be forgotten." Having given these directions, he was very earnest in soliciting that Admiral Priestman would lose no time in securing the object of his wishes; but go imen-mediately, and settle with the owner of the land for the place of his interment, and prepare every thing for his burial.
It had been almost his daily custom, at a certain hour, to visit Admiral Priestman; when, with his usual attention to regularity, he would place his watch upon the table, and pass exactly an hour with him in conversation. The Admiral, observing that he failed in his usual visits, went to see him, and found him weak and ill, sitting before a stove in his bed-room. Having inquired after his health, Mr. Howard replied, that his end was approaching very fast; that he had several things to say to his friend; and thanked him for having called. The Admiral, finding him in such a melancholy mood, deavoured to turn the conversatiou, imagining the whole might be the effect of his low spirits; but Mr. Howard soon assured him it The Admiral left him upon his was otherwise; and added, "Priest-melancholy errand; fearing at the man, you style this a very dull consame time, as he himself informed versation, and endeavour to divert us, that the people would believe my mind from dwelling upon him to be crazy, in soliciting a
burying-ground for a man then | buried according to the rites of
living, and whom no person yet knew to be indisposed. However, he accomplished Mr. Howard's wishes, and returned to him with the intelligence: at this, his countenance brightened, a gleam of evident satisfaction came over his face, and he prepared to go to bed. Soon afterwards he made his will; leaving as his executor a trusty follower, who had lived with him more in the capacity of a friend than of a servant, and whom he charged with the commission of bearing his will to England. It was not until he had finished this will, that any symptoms of delirium appeared. Admiral Priestman, who had left him for a short time, returned and found him sitting up in his bed, adding what he believed to be a codicil to his will; but it consisted of several unconnected words, the chief part being illegible, and the whole without any meaning. This strange composition he desired Admiral Priestman to witness and to sign; and, in order to please him, the Admiral consented; but wrote his name, as he bluntly said, in Russian characters, lest any of his friends in England, reading his signature to such a codicil, should think he was also delirious. After Mr. Howard had made what he conceived to be an addition to his will, he became more composed. A letter was brought to him from England, containing intelligence of the improved state of his son's health; stating the nature of his occupations in the country, and giving reason to hope that he would recover from the disorder with which he was afflicted.* His servant read this letter aloud: and, when he had concluded, Mr. Howard turned his head towards him, saying, "Is not this comfort for a dying father?" He expressed great repugnance against being
* Mr. Howard's son laboured under an attack of insanity.
the Greek Church; and, begging Admiral Priestman to prevent any interference on the part of the Russian priests, made him also promise, that he would read the Service of the Church of England over his grave, and bury him in all respects according to the forms of his country. Soon after this last request, he ceased to speak. Admiral Mordvinof came in, and found him dying very fast. They had in vain besought him to allow a physician to be sent for; but Admiral Mordvinof renewing this solicitation with great earnestness, Mr. Howard assented, by nodding his head. The physician came, but was too late to be of any service. A rattling in the throat had commenced: the physician administered what is called the musk draught, a medicine used only in Russia, in the last extremity. It was given to the patient by Admiral Mordvinof, who prevailed with him to swallow a little; but he endeavoured to avoid the rest, and gave evident signs of disapprobation. He was then entirely given over; and shortly after breathed his last.
Mr. Howard had always refused to allow any portrait of himself to be made; but after his death, Admiral Mordvinof caused a plaster mould to be formed upon his face: this was sent to Mr. Whitbread. A cast from the same mould was in the Admiral's pos-, session when we were in Cherson, presenting a very striking resemblance of his features.
He was buried near the village of Dauphigny, about five versts from Cherson, by the road to Nichola ef, in the spot he had himself chosen; and his friend, Admiral Priestman, read the English Burial-service, according to his desire. The rest of his wishes were not exactly fulfilled: the concourse of spectators was immense, and the order of his funeral was
more magnificent than would have them to him after our deparmet with his approbation.
A monument was afterwards erected over him this, instead of the sun-dial he had requested, consisted of a brick pyramid or obelisk, surrounded by stone posts with chains. The posts and chains began to disappear before our arrival; and when Mr. Heber made the sketch from which the Vignette to this Chapter was engraven, not a vestige of them was to be seen; the obelisk alone remained, in the midst of a bleak and desolate plain, where dogs were gnawing the bones of a dead horse, whose putrifying carcase added to the revolting horror of the scene. A circumstance came to our knowledge before we left Russia, concerning Howard's remains, which it is painful to relate; namely, that Count Vincent Potocki, a Polish nobleman of the highest taste and talents, whose magnificent library and museum would do honour to any country, through a mistaken design of testifying his respect for the memory of Howard, had signified his intention of taking up the body, that it might be conveyed to his country-seat, where a sumptuous monument had been prepared for its reception, upon a small island in the midst of a lake. His Countess, being a romantic lady, wishes to have an annual fete, consecrated to Benevolence; at this the nymphs of the country are to attend, and to strew the place with flowers. This design is so contrary to the earnest request of Mr. Howard, and at the same time such a violation of the dignity due to his remains, that every friend to his memory will join in wishing it may never be fulfilled. Count Potocki was absent during the time we remained in that part of the world, or we should have ventured to remonstrate: we could only therefore entrust our petitions to a third person, who promised to convey
The distance from Cherson to Nicholaef is only sixty two versts, or rather more than forty-one miles. At the distance of five versts from the former place, the road passes close to the Tomb of Howard. It may be supposed we did not halt with indifference to view the hallowed spot. "To abstract the mind from all local emotion, would be impossible if it were endeavoured, and it would be foolish if it were possible. Whatever withdraws us from the power of our senses; whatever makes the past, the distant, or the future, predominate over the present; advances us in the dignity of thinking beings. Far be from me, and from my friends, that frigid philosophy which might conduct us indifferent or unmoved over any ground that has been dignified by wisdom, bravery, or virtue." So spake the Sage, in words never to be forgotten: unenvied be the man who has not felt their force : lamented he who does not know their author.
ON THE SUPPOSED PRE-EXIS
TENCE OF CHRIST'S HUMAN
IT is an important admonition which the apostle gives the be lieving Hebrews in ch. xiii. 9. of his epistle to them, when he says, "Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines." In opposition to which unstable conduct, so perplexing to themselves and inconsistent with their Christian profession, he recommends it to them to have their hearts blished with grace;" that is, with the free love and favour of God revealed in the gospel through the sacrifice of Christ, of which he had treated so largely throughout the whole of his letter to them.
Among the doctrines which may justly be denominated strange, or foreign to, and inconsistent
with, the true doctrine of the gospel, I am decidedly of opinion, may be reckoned that of the preexistence of Christ's human soul. No advocate of this strange sentiment will be bold enough to affirm that it is expressly taught in either the Old or New Testament, and a sentiment or doctrine which cannot be found in the inspired writings, can have little claim upon the attention of Christians.
One of the most strenuous advocates for this doctrine was the pious Dr. Watts, who, in his WORKS, VOL. VI. Octavo edition, Leeds, 1813. has an elaborate Discourse, the design of which is to" trace out the early existence of Christ's human nature as the first-born of God, or as the first of all creatures, before the formation of the world." p. 581. The Doctor has furnished his readers with the names of thirteen other divines of modern times who have also "professed this doctrine publicly, among whom are Dr. Henry More -Bishop Fowler Mr. Robert Fleming Joseph Hussey-Dr. Gastrell-Dr. Burnett, &c. &c. and as Dr. Watts appears to have read all their Treatises on this subject, it is not unfair to presume that he has carefully gleaned the strength of all their arguments, and presented his readers with whatever can fairly be said on that side of the question. His work now lies before me; but upon an impartial examination of it, I do not find one single argument adduced in behalf of the pre-existence of Christ's human soul that merits attention-nor a single text of scripture brought forward which necessarily implies that sentiment, or which does not admit of an easy and natural solution on the Trinitarian hypothesis, without having recourse to this strange doctrine. Dr. Watts lays down a series of Propositions, such as he thinks lead to the Proof of the doctrine which he proposes to
establish, and illustrates those Pro. positions at considerable length, For instance, Proposition I." It is evident from many places of seripture, that Christ had an existence before he came into this world.” In proof of this he quotes John i. 1, 3, 14. ch. xii. 41. with Is. vi. 1-4. John viii. 48. ch. iii. 30, 31. and vi. 33. cum multis aliis. Now no consistent Trinitarian denies the thing contended for in this first proposition. The simple testimony of scripture, that " God was manifest in flesh"-that Jesus was “Immanuel-God with us"—that the "Child born, and the Son given," Is. ix. 6. was the " Mighty God," necessarily implies all that is contended for in this primary proposition; but not one of the texts quoted by the Doctor contains the smallest allusion to the principle for which he is contending.
His second and third Proposi tions merely go to shew that the scriptures contain evidence that Jesus was a divine person, or truly God. The fourth and fifth are intended to show that those texts which refer to Christ's divine nature, seem to refer to his possessing some intelligent, nature inferior to Godhead, prior to his incarnatiou
but (mark the Doctor's dexterity) having merely hinted at the sentiment he wishes to establish, he declines producing any evidence, but proceeds to PROP. V. that "Whatever scriptures represent Christ as existent before his incar nation in a naturé inferior to Godhead, (the very point to be proved!) do most naturally lead us to the belief of the pre-existence of the human soul."
Thus the reader will perceive how adroitly the learned Doctor has shaped his course, step by step, to the thing which is to be proved. Let us now attend him in his progress, and examine his proofs. In the 3rd SECTION of his Discourse, he adduces" Argu
ments for the pre-existence of Christ's human soul, drawn from various considerations of something inferior to Godhead ascribed to him before and at his incarnation." The first consideration, is, that it was Christ who appeared of old to the Patriarchs, and that such appearances are likened to that of an Angel, or a man, a glorious man distinct from God, and yet such an one in whom Jehovah had a peculiar indwelling, or with whom the divine nature had a personal union.
That it was the Son of God who appeared of old unto the fathers, who is termed "the angel of Jehovah's presence." Is. lxiii. 9.—who appeared to Moses in the burning bush, Exod. iii. 6. who brought Israel out of Egypt, Exod. xx. 23. -and who went before the camp of Israel, Exod. xiv. 19. &c. &c. is an opinion that has been held by many learned men, but it is a mere opinion, and, as I humbly conceive, utterly incapable of any proof-nay, unless I be greatly mistaken, it is an opinion quite at variance with what Paul teaches when he says Heb. ii. 5. that, "Unto the angels God hath not put in subjection the world to come" (or state of the gospel church) of which he was discoursing: as well as with several other texts of the New Testament scriptures, such as, Acts viii. 38, 53. Gal. iii. 19. Heb. ii. 2. and others. Certain it is, that many things are ascribed to Jehovah in one place, which are in another said to be done by angels. Thus, he who spake unto Hagar is called "The angel of the Lord;" yet we are told "She called the name of Jehovah that spake unto her, Thou God seest me." Gen. xvi. 11, 13. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is expressly ascribed to Jehovah, Gen. xix. 24. yet the angels say to Lot "JEHOVAH hath sent us to destroy it," ver. 13. The plagues inflicted upon Egypt
were attributed to Jehovah, Exod. vii.-xiii. Ps. Ixxviii. 43-52. yet JEHOVAH is distinguished from the destroyer, Exod. xii. 23. and we are told the Lord did those things, by sending evil angels among them. Ps. lxxviii. 49. The redemption of Israel out of Egypt is almost every where ascribed to Jehovah's immediate hand, Ex. xiii, 6. and this is asserted in the very preface of their law, ch. xx. 2. yet Moses ordered his Messengers to say to the King of Edom "When we cried unto the Lord he heard our voice, and sent an Angel, and hath brought us forth out of Egypt." Numb. xx. 16. In delivering the law, Jehovah is said to speak with Moses, Exod. xix. 6. to speak all these words, ch. xx. 1. to talk with Israel from Heaven, ver. 22. yet, we are expressly told that the word was spoken by angels, Heb. ii. 2. that it was an Angel that spake to Moses in Mount Sinai, and delivered to him the lively oracles, Acts: viii. 38, 53. How, now, shall we reconcile these things? We cannot say that a created angel was Jehovah, or that Jehovah was his own angel and to affirm that any of these angels was the Son of God, or the human soul of Jesus Christ in his pre-existent state, is to subvert the whole of the apostle's reasoning in Heb. ii. 5. where his object manifestly is to contrast the state of things under the gospel with the former dispensation, and to shew that as the latter had been subjected to the administration of angels, so the former is now wholly under the rule, government and direction of the Son of Godall the holy angels being only his servants, employed by him in ministering to the heirs of salvation. Thus the Doctor's grand proof from the various appearances of Christ's human soul under the Old Testament state of things turns out to be a mere gratuitous assumption. But to proceed.