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in a moment they go down to the grave, and rest in that dark and silent abode. "Thy pomp," says the prophet Isaiah, " is brought do<vn to the grave, and "the noise of thy viols; the worm is spread under "thee, and the worms cover thee."
4.' Death cuts us osf from our best and dearest friends; from our nearest and most beloved relations. Friendship, when rightly placed, and founded in virtue, is one of the most innocent and agreeable enjoyments of human life. It is that point, where mutual considence and mutual intercourse are sully established; and, whether it be founded on the similarity os temper and manners, or arise naturally from the connections of lise, and the habits of giving and receiving assistance, it-sooths the heart of man, and promotes the amiable seelings of human nature. But, whatever pleasure we now enjoy in the conversation or correspondence of our friends, death will soon tear us from their tenderest embraces, and send us to that place of solitude and darkness, where, as He^ekiab says, we shall behold man no more, with the inhabitants of the world. The God of nature has implanted, in the breasts of near relations, a tender love to each other; as, that of husbands and wives, of parents and children. But the inexorable hand of death breaks asunder these nitural ties. It snatches the beloved wise from the arms of her disconsolate husband, and tears the smiling insant from the bosom of its weeping mother. How vain, then, how empty and insufficient are our dearest comforts ! and what little reason have we to set our hearts upon them!
Lastly,. Death cuts us off from all the seasons of grace, and advantages we now enjoy. We have many precious opportunities put into our hands; our lot is cast i» an age of light and knowledge; we are planted in the courts of the Lord, and under the dews of heaven. But death will soon put an end to all those advantages. Our day of grace cannot be
lengthened lengthened beyond the limits of our natural lise. Death wiH soon put to silence the molt saithsul preachers, or Hop your ears from hearing the joysul sound of the gospel. There are no offers of mercy; no tenders of lise and salvation, beyond the grave. As soon as you enter the silent house, your place is sixed for eternity; you mull then hear, and read, and pray no more. Your employment, then, is rapturous praise, or unceasing and unavailing lamentation.
Thus, I have endeavoured to give you a view of death, as it cuts us off from the world and all its enjoyments. Let us now attend to the improvement we ought to make of these observations.
1. They should teach us not to set too high a value on the honours, and riches, and pleasures of this lise. Wise men esteem those things most, which are most lasting and permanent. But there is nothing in this world lasting and permanent. The world, and ths fashion of it, pass away, God indeed allows us ca value the things of this world; but still in subordination to himself, and the concerns of his glory. Let us never, then, preser the vanities which perish, to the interest of our fouls; or lay them in the balance with the things of eternity. Again,
2. From this subject, we should learn, not to allow our thoughts and our time to be too much occupied with the enjoyments of this world. What our Saviour says concerning jhe necessaries of lise, may, with equal justice, be applied to the superfluities of it. "Take no thought for your lise, what ye shall "eat, or what ye shall drink; or for your body, what "ye shall put on. Is not the lise more than meat, "and the body than raiment I" It is indeed astonishing, to see how busy, how anxious, how indesatigable some men are in heiping up the wealth of th'l3 world; others, in grasping at its honours; and~ r.ot a tew, in projecting the gratisication of sensual ^ appetites alone. One would be* apt to think, they
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did not at all believe in their separation from those enjoyments. But, how soon will death spread darkness over the visionary scene, and demonitrate the folly of their imaginary prospects!
3. This subject should teach us to be moderate in the enjoyment of those blessings which God, in his providence, has been pleased to allow us. Those who are prosecuting an important journey, do not stop to examine every beautisul prospect, nor load themselves with any thing which will retard their progress, and be useless at the end of it. Our existence in this world, is a journey from earth to heaven. The true Christian is crucisied to (he world, and the world to him. You must disengage your hearts not only from the sinsul pleasures, but from the lawsul enjoyments of this lite. Although you have enlarged your barns, and multiplied your possessions; though you have amassed more wealth than'you can employ, and are eager in the pursuit of many pleasures ; yet, carry this reflection along with you, that this very night thy soul may be required of thee. Happy, indeed, is the man, happy the Christian, who can say, when the summons of removal is put into his hands: "Fare"well, vain world; I leave thee with peace, and re"signation of mind. Though I have lived in thee, I "never placed my happiness in any thing thou couldst "afford; and now I can cast thee. off with as great "ease, as a man does his garment when he lies down "to sleep."
Lajlly, Since death cuts us off from this world and all its enjoyments, let us, while we possess them, make them subservient to the glory of God, and the everlasting interest of our souls in a suture world. If God has given you more honour than others, employ it in advancing religion, in encouraging piety) and, in another world, God will put upon you more v abundant honour. If he has added wealth to your cup of blessing, relieve your brethren in distress. Cast your bread upon the waters, and you shall sind
it it after many days; for he that hath pity on the poor, lendeth to the Lord. In a word, whatsoever your hand sindeth to do, for the glory of God, and the good of others, do it with all your might; for there iino work,- nor device, nor wisdom, nor knowledge in the grave, whither we ave all hastening.
BEATH THE SEPARATION OF THE JSOUi
Job xiv. 10.—Man dieth, and ivajleth anay; yea, man giveth up the gho/l, and where is he?
TXE ATH is justly styled the King of Terrors.
1 3 There is a natural fear of death in every living creature. Even those which want reason, and the death of which puts an end to their existence, have a strong aversion to dissolution. Instinct teaches the beasts to sly from it. But there is sar greater reason for mankind, who are endowed with immortal souls, to be afraid of death: for it does not put an end to their being, as it does in the case of brutes; it only changes the manner of their existence. This horror of death is so deeply rooted in the human mind, that the greater part of men would rather choose to continue a life of poverty and want, of sickness and pain, than desire its termination. There is something so terrible in the apprehension of death, that nature recoils, and starts back at the thought, The prospect of dissolution suggests to the minrl many important reflections. We are not only cut oil from all our dearest enjoyments, but we are separated