Judith Sargent Murray Society
JSM's dates: 1751-1820
The Repository. No. II.
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This essay appeared in the October 1792 edition of the Massachusetts Magazine under the name "Constantia." It examines death, dissimulation, and Spring.

The Repository. No. II.
Surely death, the dissolution of the animal, cannot with propriety, by the rational christian, be viewed as a deplorable event -- the body resteth quietly in the grave -- it is pained no more, neither can it again agonize its etherial inhabitant -- the soul, released from its clay built tenement, wings its way to regions of immortality -- if such an event can furnish matter for lamentations, we might with infinitely more justice, regret the emancipation of the imprisoned mortal who hath long groaned beneath the oppressive hand of assuming power.

TO an ingenuous mind dissimulation is an arduous task -- there is nothing sits so awkward upon the generous, and the frank, an an appearance of disguise -- minds naturally good ought rather to exterminate every unworthy propensity, than to assume a veil of mystery, which is always suspicious -- yet the most laudable actions, however open, when commented upon by a misjudging world, are often cloathed in the dark hue of error, and are produced as spots in the most unexceptionable characters -- the world is a base culmination -- innocence will not be too much alarmed at its censures -- a conspicuousness of rectitude will generally support the spirit, and render it superiour to the insinuations of detraction.

HOW sweet the vernal season -- every thing looks gay and smiling around -- it is at it were the morning of existence -- or, rather it is the birth day of nature -- a day on which she is annually invested with the powers of renovation -- on which she seems by her energetic efforts, to challenge, from her animated, and intelligent children, the highest style of applause. See the pursing stream no longer arrested in its meandering flow, gently murmurs along -- the budding trees are invested in its limpid surface, and the verdant meads once more assume their glossy mantle -- the little lambs are gaily striking upon the enamelled lawn -- pretty creature -- emblem of innocence, and expressive figure of the meekness of thy God, how interesting doth thy appearance render the scene -- how are my ideas expanded, my spirit elevated, and every thought impressed with the animating glow of gratitude unutterable.

A religious awe imperceptibly pervades -- devotion kindles in my breast, and with sacred transport I prostrate myself at the feet of that immaculate lamb, who yielded himself an expiatory sacrifice to rescue from perdition a rebellious world.



2007 © Bonnie Hurd Smith

Independent scholar and author Bonnie Hurd Smith is the president and CEO of History Smiths, a marketing company that works with businesses to incorporate history -- their own and their community's -- into their branding, marketing, and community outreach to attract customers, boost customer loyalty, and secure a high status reputation in the communities they serve.