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Letters from an Ancient Mind

My dear young friend,

How wonderful the news! Your leeches must indeed be skillful to know that the baby will be a boy. Another son! I am honored to know that one of his names will be Isaac. It is a blessing in a time of trial.

I will not conceal it from you, my young friend. The doctors hold out little hope that I will run my course much longer. I cannot hear it – my hearing is not what it was – but they tell me that the sounds of my heart are those of a man who will not live long.

It does not pain me to know that I am dying. Most of my good friends have departed long ago; I am a relic of a bygone age. My grandchildren and my great-grandchildren are now my delights. They are young; they will mourn but go on, as they should.

Now I have the privilege of dying as a Christian . Before the advent of our Lord this would have been a misery. Even the holiest of men feared to die. Now that death is conquered by our Lord and Savior; it is no longer ours to fear, but to embrace. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord – how I long for release!

It has pleased my Lord to give me a long life in which to train myself to this end. It is normal for man to fear death; but the Holy Spirit within and the church without agree: I have nothing to fear. Long have I anticipated this time; I am ready, at last. Perhaps this is why he allowed such long life; that I was not ready in my younger days.

Would that you were here with me! I fear for your time. Have you ever seen the glory of a Christian dying? It is a magnificent sight. I hope to present all my family with such glory, that they may know the firm confidence I have in my Lord and Savior.

It is likely I shall not be able to write again. I have instructed my servant to advise you of all things needful, but I feel in my body the weakness of my heart. I was young; I am old and soon will be with the Lord. Do not weep for me; I go to my reward, and gracious is He who gives that reward. May your end be as sweet, and your life be kept in His.

With the blessings of God, I remain,

Isaac the alchemist

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