The following extract from a letter of a late nobleman, of loose principles, well known in the gay world, and published as authentic by a respectable prelate, deceased, will show the dreadful vacancy and wretchedness of a mind left to itself in the decline of life, and unsupported by Christian principle.—“I have seen the silly round of business and pleasure, and have done with it all. I have enjoyed all the pleasures of the world, and consequently know their futility, and do not regret their loss. I appraise them at their real value, which in truth is very low; whereas those who have not experienced always overrate them. They only see their gay outside, and are dazzled with their glare; but I have been behind the scenes. I have seen all the coarse pulleys and dirty ropes which exhibit and move the gaudy machine; and I have seen and smelt the tallow candles which illuminate the whole decoration, to the astonishment and admiration of the ignorant audience. When I reflect on what I have seen, what I have heard, and what I have done, I cannot persuade myself that all that frivolous hurry of bustle and pleasure of the world had any reality; but I look on all that is past as one of those romantic dreams which opium commonly occasions, and I do by no means wish to repeat the nauseous dose for the sake of the fugitive dream. Shall I tell you that I bear this melancholy situation with that meritorious constancy and resignation that most men boast? No, sir, I really cannot help it. I bear it because I must bear it, whether I will or no. I think of nothing but killing time the best way I can, now that time is become my enemy. It is my resolution to sleep in the carriage during the remainder of the journey.”
“You see,” reflects the worthy prelate, “in how poor, abject, and unpitied a condition, at a time when he most wanted help and comfort, the world left him, and he left the world.” Compare these words with those of another person, who took his leave in a very different manner: “I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also who love his appearing.” It is observable that even Rousseau himself, though the language certainly did not become his lips, affected in advanced life to derive consolation from Christian principles. In a letter to Voltaire he says, “I cannot help remarking, sir, a very singular contrast between you and me. Sated with glory, and undeceived with the inanity of worldly grandeur, you live at freedom, in the midst of plenty, certain of immortality; you peaceably philosophize on the nature of the soul; and if the body or the heart be indisposed, you have Tronchin for your physician and friend. Yet with all this you find nothing but evil on the face of the earth. I, on the other hand, obscure, indigent, tormented with an incurable disorder, meditate with pleasure in my solitude, and find every thing to be good. Whence arise these apparent contradictions? You have yourself explained them. You live in a state of enjoyment, I in a state of hope; and hope gives charms to every thing.”*
Excerpt from: The Gospel Its Own Witness: The Holy Nature and Divine Harmony of the Christian Religion Contrasted with the Immorality and Absurdity of Deism. Part 1, Chapter VII.
Fuller, A. G. (1988). The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: Controversial Publications. (J. Belcher, Ed.) (Vol. 2, p. 51). Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications.