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3. From the example of this young man, learn the uncertainty of life ; learn the necessity of being prepared, even in youth, for a close of our days. We all know that we must enter into the tomb. The tempter would in vain say to us, as to our first parents, “ Ye shall not die ;" we should not believe him. But he says to us, · You shall not die so soon;' and almost every one listens to him. Almost every one supposes that his life will be long, and places a wide
a interval between the present moment and death, which will close his eyes upon the earth. This imaginary interval weakens the impression of death, and makes us careless of preparing to render it happy. Be instructed by the example in the text, and by that of the countless young men whom you have known, who have been cut off in the flower of their days, in the midst of their expectations and their hopes of reaching an advanced old age. Hear, mortals! hear, dust and ashes, the words of your Lord! words which are verified by every day's experience: 66 - Be ye also ready; for ye know not the hour in which the Son of man shall come.” This is not all; you know not the place, nor the manner in which the Son of man shall come. Let every one, then, say to himself, • I shall die; the sentence of death is irrevocable; but when shall it be executed? Will it be when old age has bent my body to the ground ? Will it be in the midst of my course? Will it be in this year that I shall be laid in the tomb? Will it
I be in a month, in a week, in a day? God of my
life! thou alone knowest I shall die ; but how, or where? Who can calculate all the avenues to dea'h? Who can tell which of the arrows of the king of terrors shall pierce my heart ? Every where death takes his stand; he approaches us in a thousand different
forms, and every where our last hour may sound.' These solemn considerations (and not the less so· lemn because they are common) should surely incite us to vigilance, should surely lead us to prepare for eternity. You, who have so many years neglected the calls of God; you, who are occupied only with the festivities and employments of earth; you, who are still impenitent, may, perhaps, to
mor, row lie cold in the grave. And will you be careless and indifferent in such a situation? Will you waste your time, and neglect your duties, and forget all serious things, when tomorrow you may appear at the bar of God?
4. Let this history teach us not to love with too much ardour the things of this life. If you have family and personal mercies, be thankful to God for them, and enjoy them. Let your heart be filled with gratitude while you remember, that the continuance of them is no less a favour than the restoration of them would be. But yet fix not your affections inordinately upon any created good; we know not how soon our dearest comforts may become the occassion of our deepest sorrows. Suffer not your hearts to have an earthly idol, or you prepare for yourselves the keenest woes. Testify to the truth of this, you who, like
. the widow of Nain, have been bereft of
offspring; ye afflicted Rachels, “ who are mourning for your children, and refusing to be comforted, because they are not.” How many dear, but illusive expectations did
you form concerning these children! In how many dreams of the beart did you indulge! With what confidence did you look forward to the period when you should see them beloved, respected, honoured by their fellow-men! How did it mitigate the bitterness of apprehended death to believe
that they would be nigh you, to smooth your dying pillow; to close your eyes, and receive your last sigh. Have these hopes been all blasted? They are a true . image of all other earthly hopes. Have all your expectations of felicity from them been frustrated ? so will all other expectations which are founded on the world. Raise then your thoughts above it, and place your affections on those things which can never be taken from you.
5. This history reminds us of that affecting but salutary truth, that the most dear and intimate relations which we form must be dissolved by death ; and incites relatives and friends so to live that the survivers
may not at that solemn moment be overborne with sorrow. Yes, the time is certainly coming, when in anguish you shall see all your mutual affection, all your pleasant intercourse, ending in ghastly looks and in dying pangs; when one of you shall with grief mark the convulsive struggles of the other; when his hand shall give you the pressure of affection for the last time; when his final groan shall vibrate on your ear. Oh! in such a situation what comfort has the surviver except in the hope that the departed friend is happy; and if he cannot scripturally and rationally entertain this hope, what can exceed his misery! Oh! what a sword pierces through the souls of those who weep for wicked, though near relatives and friends; and who, in looking towards the future, see nothing but what is dark, dismal, and afflictive. Will you, who are careless and irreligious, continue to give this terror to your friends? When you are sick, they tremble and are in pain; they fear for two lives at once, that of the body, and the infinitely more important life of the soul. If you die in such a situation, they refuse to be comforted; they esteem
themselves undone, because you have plunged into eternal despair. On the contrary, if they are assured of your pardon and acceptance with God, through Christ, the bitterness of their affliction is removed. If you are sick, they can with comfort go to Christ, saying, in the language of the sisters of Lazarus, " Lord, he whom thou lovest is sick.” If in bidding them farewell, you can say as Christ did to his disciples, “ I go, but it is to come again,” what a consolation will be left to them! Since, then, like this widow and her son, we must be separated from each other, and since there must be so great a difference in the friends who survive us, according as we die impenitent or the children of God, let me exhort you, relatives and friends, to live together as heirs of eternal life, uniting your prayers, and giving mutual examples of piety, that so you may fit each other for heaven, and leave a testimony in each other's bosom of your preparation for eternity. Then, whoever of you die first, the parent or the child, the husband or the wife, the brother or the sister, the surviver in imagination can trace you to heaven, and safely lodge you in the embraces of the Saviour. When they have laid your body in the grave, they will be solaced by the sweet hope that your soul is with the redeemed of the Lord, and is waiting to hail them on their deliverance from earth.
6. This history shows us whither we should flee in a season of great affliction. As no physician could restore the widow's son, so none could heal her wounded spirit. But there was one at hand, of whom she little thought, who was able to do both. The same Almighty Deliverer is ever nigh unto us, and calls us to himself when we are bowed down with trouble. Do you say, weeping parent, Qh, that he had been
near when the darlings of our hearts were snatched away from us, and we left them in the dust! He was near; for he holds the keys of death ; by his
appointment they were taken from you. He will say unto them at the last day, “ Arise,” and if they sleep in him, and you devote yourself to him, there shall be a re-union far more rapturous than that between this mother and her son.
LIFE OF CHRIST.
MESSAGE OF JOHN-COMMENDATION OF HIM-REPROOF OF
PHARISEES, CHORAZIN, &c.—THANKS FOR REVELATION OF THE GOSPEL TO BABES-INVITATION TO WEARY AND
MATTHEW xi. 2, &c.
John the Baptist had now for a long time been confined in prison, in consequence of the boldness and freedom with which he had reproved the vices of Herod. His disciples, however, had access to him, and related to him the election of the twelve apostles, and the numerous miracles wrought by Jesus. On hearing this intelligence, he sent two of his disciples to the Redeemer to ask him, “ Art thou he who should come," the promised and long-ex