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such a sentiment working in the heart, and sometimes breaking forth from the lips of men. Many, very many there are, who, on one occasion or other, have experienced this weariness of life, and been tempted to wish that it would come to a close. Let us now examine in what circumstances this feeling may be deemed excusable; in what it is to be held sinful; and under what restrictions we may, on any occasion, be permitted to say, My soul is weary of my life.
I SHALL consider the words of the text in three lights: as expressing, First, The sentiment of a discontented man: Secondly, The sentiment of an afflicted man: Thirdly, The sentiment of a devout
I. LET us consider the text as expressing the sentiment of a discontented man; with whom it is the effusion of spleen, vexation, and dissatisfaction with life, arising from causes neither laudable nor justifiable. There are chiefly three classes of men who are liable to this disease of the mind; the idle; the luxurious; the criminal.
First, THIS weariness of life is often found among the idle; persons commonly in easy circumstances of fortune, who are not engaged in any of the laborious occupations of the world, and who are at the same time without energy of mind to call them forth into any other line of active exertion. In this languid, or rather torpid state, they have so many vacant hours, and are so much at a loss how to fill up their time, that their spirits utterly sink; they become
burdensome to themselves, and to every one around them; and drag with pain the load of existence. What a convincing proof is hereby afforded, that man was designed by his Creator to be an active being, whose happiness is to be found not merely in rest, but in occupation and pursuit! The idle are doomed to suffer the natural punishment of their inactivity and folly; and from their complaints of the tiresomeness of life there is no remedy but to awake from the dream of sloth, and to fill up with proper employment the miserable vacancies of their days. Let them study to become useful to the world, and they shall soon become less burdensome to themselves. They shall begin to enjoy existence; they shall reap the rewards which Providence has annexed to virtuous activity; and have no more cause to say, My soul is weary of my life.
Next, THE luxurious and the dissipated form another class of men, among whom such complaints are still more frequent. With them they are not the fruit of idleness. These are men who have been busied enough; they have run the whole race of pleasure; but they have run it with such inconsiderate speed, that it terminates in weariness and vexation of spirit. By the perpetual course of dissipation in which they are engaged; by the excesses which they indulge; by the riotous revel, and the midnight, or rather morning, hours to which they prolong their festivity; they have debilitated their bodies, and worn out their spirits. Satiated with the repetition of their accustomed pleasures, and yet unable to find any new ones in their places; wandering round and round their former haunts of joy, and ever returning disappointed;
weary of themselves, and of all things about them, their spirits are oppressed with a deadly gloom, and the complaint bursts forth of odious life and a miserable world. Never are these complaints more frequent than at the close of rounds of amusement, and after a long repetition of festal pleasures; when the spirits which had been forced up, as by some intoxicating drug, to an unnatural height, subside into profound dejection. What increases the evil is, that it is not among the infirm, and the aged, but among the young, the gay, and the prosperous, who ought to be reputed the happiest men, that this distaste of life most frequently prevails.
When persons of this description, in their peevish and splenetic hours, exclaim, My soul is weary of my life, let them know, let them be assured, that this is no other than the judgment of God overtaking them for their vices and follies. Their complaints of misery are entitled to no compassion; nay, they are sinful, because they arise from a sinful cause; from a mind broken and debased by luxury and corruption. They are the authors of their own misery, by having thrown away on the follies of the world those powers which God had bestowed on them for nobler ends. Let them return to the duties of men and Christians. Let them retreat from frivolity, and abstain from exLet them study temperance, moderation, and self-command. By entering on a virtuous and manly course of action, and applying to the honourable discharge of the functions of their station, they will acquire different views. They will obtain more real enjoyment of life, and become more willing to prolong it. But, after the warnings which God has given them of their misbehaviour by the inward misery
many things have occurred, of which we had no expectation; some, perhaps, that have succeeded beyond our hopes; many, also, that have befallen us contrary to our wish? How often were each of us admonished that there are secret wheels, which, unseen by us, bring about the revolutions of human affairs; and that, while man was devising his way, Providence was directing the event?
That scene is now closed. The tale of that year has been told. We look forward to the year which is beginning; and what do we behold there? — - All, my brethren, is a blank to our view: A dark unknown presents itself. We are entering on an untried, undiscovered country, where, as each succeeding month comes forward, new scenes may open; new objects may engage our attention; changes at home or abroad, in public or in private affairs, may alter the whole state of our fortune. New connections may be at hand to be formed, or old ones just about to be dissolved; perhaps, we may have little more to do with this world, or with any of its connections; we may be standing on the verge of time and life, and on the point of passing into a new region of existence. In short, the prospect before us is full of awful uncertainty. Life and death, prosperity and adversity, health and sickness, joy and trouble, lie in one undistinguishable mass, where our eye can descry nothing through the obscurity that wraps them up.
While it is thus certain that our times are not at our own disposal, we are taught by the text, that they are in the hand of God. This may be considered in two views. Our times are in the hand of God, as
ness of sincere and deep repentance. We can do no more than exhort them to atone as much as is in their power for the evils they have committed; and to fly to the divine mercy through Jesus Christ for pardon and forgiveness. Let us now,
II. TURN to persons of another description, and consider the sentiment in the text as extorted by situations of distress. These are so variously multiplied in the world, and often só oppressive and heavy, that assuredly it is not uncommon to hear the afflicted complain that they are weary of life. Their complaints, if not always allowable, yet certainly are more excusable than those which flow from the sources of dissatisfaction already mentioned. They are sufferers, not so much through their own misconduct, as through the appointment of Providence; and therefore to persons in this situation it may seem more needful to offer consolation, than to give admonition. However, as the evils which produce this impatience of life are of different sorts, a distinction must be made as to the situations which can most excuse it.
SOMETIMES, the exclamation in the text may be occasioned by deep and overwhelming grief. When they whom we had most affectionately loved, and in whom we had placed the felicity of our days, are taken away, our connection with life appears to be dissolved. Why should we survive those to whom ❝ our souls were tied? Would to God we had died "before them! Now when they are gone, all plea"sure and hope is gone as to us. To us the sun no longer shines with its usual brightness. No longer