Journal of Dr GFW
Wednesday, 4 June, 1828
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The morning is warm and pleasant. How beautifully and mildly replendent does you glorious luminary of the day appear just as emerging through faintly crimsoned azure of the last. I gaze with delight. I rejoice at your rapid course. Though every time you appear tells me in plain but silent language that the houl of my earthly dissolution is more near at hand, yet I must hail you in the hope that you are yet to beam on me when happier feelings encircle this mind. Death is always busy. Old and middle-aged, youth and childhood are not exempt from thy touch. When the dread mandate has been issued from omnipotent authority, none can stay thy ruthless career. All must submit. No excuse, no pretext, no sympathy, however heavenly pure, can for one moment remit thy mortal grasp. And sooner or later I must be summoned to stand the great last trial. Awful and solemn is the thought. I now should not tremble if the sentence was at this moment executed. And sooner or later I must be summoned to stand the great last trial. Awful and solemn is the thought. I now should not tremble if the sentence was at this moment executed. And my hope and wish is that when I am called hence, that the dark and Ionesome passage will create no dismay. I have no dread nor fear of the change from mortality to immortality or to stand before the Omniscient Judge in a world of spirits. Futurity to me is a pleasant thought. No dismal swamp of dark despair corrodes these thoughts as I entered them. Every faculty I possess and everything I behold around me is proof strong as holy writ that all is peace and desirable.
These ideas occupied my mind during the preaching of a funeral sermon. The occasion was the death of an elderly man, I think a member of the Moravian Church of this place. The discourse was delivered in the German Language and, of course, not understood by me. Consequently, I had not to attend to the preacher or discourse. A few words in conclusion were spoken in the English Language as a general exordium on the life and character of the deceased individual, both as a religious and moral individual. The speaker declared it to be his belief that the soul of the deceased was then in Heaven singing peons of glory to the ost High and says to the hearers, "My friends, have you any objections, that our Brother's soul should be in Heaven?" This to me appeared to be a very singular interrogation, as I am confident that no individual in this or any civilized community possesses even an atom of good morality, to say nothing of Christianity, could raise the least objection to the happiness of intelligence in Heaven. One thing struck me very much during this solemn scene of committing to its mother dust one of our fellow creatures; namely, that no thoughts of the uncertainty of life seemed to occupy the multitude. All, with the exception of one or two near relatives, appeared quite as indifferent, lively, and unconcerned as usual. I could observe no difference. This probably may be a happy state of the society, feeling a perfect confidence in the Religion they profess, that it inevitably leads its passer to Heaven; or it may be a habit, inculcated from infancy to mature years, and relation to the dead it produces no effect, but it is not agreeable to the mourners, who are deeply afflicted, nor to the scriptures, for they tell us to mourn with those who mourn. It is produced by one of these two causes.