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the heavenly paradise above, or in the place os perpetual torment? What idea have you-formed os aw invisible world? Whither does your conception lead. you, when you reflect on destruction from the presence of the Lord, and on his savour, which is lise? Eternity lies before you, and you are hastening forwards. What exemption do you claim from the dominion of the grave, and the stroke of the king of terrors? What is your opinion of an eternal world? We surely are not laying before you things doubtsul. in their issue, or uncertain in their operation. Since. the creation of the world, vanity is written on the pride of man; and his strength, and glory, and beauty, have bejen laid in the dust.
Let us therefore frequenrly and seriously meditate on death. Without being ?11 our lisetime subject to bondage, seeing we have a sure foundation of hope, let every ordinary occurrence, every revolution of season, and every change of circumstance, bring toour mind, that, in a short time, we must put off' this tabernacle of the body, and lay it down in the grave. When we lie down to sleep, let us meditate on sleep as the image of death, and remember, that, in a sew days, we must sleep in a bed of dust. When we awake, perhaps this may be the last morning we • ihall enjoy before that of the resurrection. Thus, even 'he most common and ordinary actions of our lives may be improved to remind us of death; nay, almost. every thing around us, and every condition of lise in which we are placed, should lead us to the same: pious meditations.
When you behold the flowers of the sield, youi mould think with the prophet, that all flesh is grass, and the goodliness thereof as the flower of the sield: in the morning, it flourisheth and groweth up ;' in the evening, it is cut down, and withereth'. Man is as vanity; his days are as a shadow that pasleth away. Man's lise is as the wind; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again. When you .look up to the heavens, and behold their beauty and their glory, N j considerconsider that if you be serious Christians, God hath formed you, not always to dwell on this earth, but to dwell for ever with himself in the heavenly world. If your prosperity and your family shall increase, let not this banish from your mind proper reflections on death: in a little time you must give place to your children, and leave your enjoyments to their possession. Whatever be our condition in-the world, and in whatever manner we may be employed, let us lift up our hearts to God in such serious meditations as these.
But how many, instead of considering their latter end, persist in a careless and thoughtless indisserence, as if this world and they were to be everlasting and inseparable companions; or, at best, as if both foul and body were to be destroyed by death! They spend their time in dissipation and vanity, in making provision for the flesh, to sulsil the lusts and affections thereof; but death and eternity are not in all their thoughts. How, alas! has the God of this worid blinded their eyes, that the daily instances of the mortality of their sellow-creatures cannot awaken them out of this fatal lethargy! Oiners' fatisfy themselves with a sew good wishes, or fome supersicial thoughts; but never think of making it the business of their lives to prepare for eternity. Such men labour under a gross delusion, a most miserable infatuation: for death is approaching, and every day brings you nearer to the grave; nay, you know not but it may be at the door: and yet you are unprepared for the summons, and regardless of the consequence's. O, foolish men, when will you be wise? How long shall such vain thoughts lodge within you?
I beseech you, therefore, by the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and as you value the falvation and happiness of your own fouls, awake out of this fatal sleep, before your eyes be closed in darkness; and speedily begin this great and necessary work, the seEiou6 preparation for death and eternity. Of all the
labour labour which you can sind to do under the sun, there is none fo folemn and important as this. If you die in your sins, strangers to the Captain of your falvation, ignorant of the power of religion in the heart, in a state of nature and enmity with God, your misery will be inexpressible, and your condition hopeless for ever. But, to die in peace and friendship with God, through the blood of Jesus, and, at the close of a lise of holy obedience, to die in union with Christ, and under the gracious influence of his Spirit, this is to deprive death of his sting; this is to leave a world of sin, darkness, and forrow, and to enter into a world of immortal light and lise, to be with Christ, and to behold his glory. Let not, then,the trifling affairs of this present, uncertain, -and transitory lise, make you forget the hour of your departure: but let it be your great concern to meditate often, and seriously, on death; and make such essectual preparation for it, as will give you hope in the prospect, and comfort in the time. And in order to this, study above all things, by serious repentance, and sincere faith in the mercy of God through Christ, to get your peace made with him, and your title to a blessed immortality secured. And, sinally, let the lively views of your latter end powersully influence you to the study and practice of holiness. Let your loins be always girt about, and your lamps burning, that you may be ready to enter in, before the door be shut. Be diligent in the improvement of the talent with which you are entrusted, for, in a very little, death will bring you that awsul meflage, " Give "an account of thy stewardship, for thou must be no "longer steward." And blessed is that servant, whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall sind fo doing.
To conclude: Let us caresully guard against whatever may be displeasing to God, and hurtsul to the peace of our own minds. And let us cultivate those graces and virtues, and be diligent in the discharge of those duties, which may make us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the faints.. Our time of
warfare warfare and combat, of labour and susfering, will soon be over. Let us be caresul to sill it up with all that fruitsul service, which will render our great and sinal account comfortable. In a word, let us live to Chrilt; and then, to die, will be our unspeakable and 'everlasting gain. The hour of death is the hour of triumph to the Christian. In the valley and shadowof it, the rod and the staff of the Almighty, support him. When his heart and his flesh fail within him, God is the strength of his heart,. and his pprtion for ever.
THE GROUNDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT UNDEl$. AFFLICTION STATED.
But David encouraged hhnself in the Lord his God.
X oils and the wicked more plainly from one another, than the means by which they support themselves in affliction, and the methods they take to obtain relief. Wicked men, under the pressure of distress, fly to every worldly object, which, they think, can administer the least alleviation of their pain. Forsaking the Fountain .of living waters, they hew out for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold "o water. Thus; Saul, in one of the most distressing situations of his lise, applied for relief to a woman who had a familiar spirit: and, in like manner, when Ahaz, one of his successors in the throne, found himself too weak for his enemies, he sirst courted the aid of the Assyrians; but being difappointed srom that quarter, he facrisiced to the gods of Damascus, and faid, " Because the gods of the king of "Syria help them, therefore will I facrisice to them, -" that they may help me alfo." And thus it is with all men of unlanctisied hearts. They go on, from
i Samuel Xxic. 6.
nothing that distinguishes the righte