What would thou be found doing when overtaken by Death?

If I might choose, I would be found doing some deed of true humanity, of wide import, beneficent and noble.

But if I may not be found engaged in aught so lofty, let me hope at least for this--what none may hinder, what is surely in my power--that I may be found raising up in myself that which had fallen; learning to deal more wisely with the things of sense; working out my own tranquillity, and thus rendering that which is its due to every relation of life. . . .

If death surprises me thus employed, it is enough if I can stretch forth my hands to God and say,

"The faculties which I received at Thy hands for apprehending this thine Administration, I have not neglected. As far as in me lay, I have done Thee no dishonour. Behold how I have used the senses, the primary conceptions which Thou gave me. Have I ever laid anything to Thy charge? Have I ever murmured at aught that came to pass, or wished it otherwise? Have I in anything transgressed the relations of life? For that Thou did beget me, I thank Thee for that Thou has given: for the time during which I have used the things that were Thine, it suffices me. Take them back and place them wherever Thou will! They were all Thine, and Thou gave them to me."

If a man depart thus minded, is it not enough? What life is fairer and more noble, what end happier than his?

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