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SERM. wise as not to avail himself of any, though XII. he is alive to do it. He “ wantetb under

standing,” though every thing is at hand to convince him of the lapse of time, and the frailty of all sublunary things; yet cannot he get discernment enough to learn “ so to number bis days," as to apply bis beart unto wisdom.It is, generally speaking, therefore, more reasonable to weep for the fool that is living, than for the wise that are dead; for as my text further expresses it,

the life of the fool is worse than death." But what then is this folly that is worse than death ? Surely it is the folly of not providing, as we should do, against the stroke of death. And what can contribute more to the correction of such folly, than such an awful and solemn sight as is now before us ? The fool in holy writ is he who trusteth too much to the things of this world. To riches or honor, power or fame. Now what becomes of these at the hour of death? Is not every thing brought to the same end? Is not the scene before us applicable to all alive? There is but one lesson to be learnt from it, namely,

that

XII.

that except virtue and true religion, no- SERM. thing in this world is to be depended upon as a security against the stroke of death. By death, strength is brought low; beauty consumed ; power dissolved; riches scattered; wit silenced; the prince can no

l more avoid it than the peasant; the rich than the poor ; nor yet to any certainty, the young more than the aged; for the arrows of death are always flying abroad, and what can ward them off, or hide us from them ? Death overcomes us as easily in the fenced city, as in the open hamlet; in the bosom of our friends, as in the midst of our enemies; in the crowded street, as in the howling wilderness; on dry land as on the wide sea ; in the moment of mirth and joy, as in the hour of darkness and dismay. Such a scene as that now before us, should make rather a stronger impression, or at least give greater warning to the

and pated, than to the aged and infirm. The latter will probably have been wise enough to gather instruction from the gradualdecay of nature, and to have put themselves into

gay and dissia

young

a course

SERM. a course of religious preparation for that
XII. awful hour, which, though it may not be

nearer to them, than to many much
younger around them, cannot in the course
of things be very far from them.-To them
such scenes as these, if they have been so
wise as I have described, may rather raise
than depress their spirits ; since the Gospel
of Jesus Christ has opened to us a view of
the future state prepared for us. They
will regard the lifeless corpse, as a burthen
laid aside, which confined the soul to a
scene unfit for it; they will rather feel a
longing desire themselves to put off their
earthly tabernacle of clay, to be clothed
upon with the celestial body prepared for
them, and to be admitted to the presence
of their Maker. They will contemplate
such a scene, with a pious hope that their
deceased friends are only removed to a
state of rest and happiness, a little before
them; that it is their turn to follow soon,
and then they may again be united, in a
state infinitely more desirable, abounding
in all rational delight, and free from all
corroding cares. But the
But the young should

regard

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regard a scene like this with peculiar awe SERM. and consideration ; it is seldom that death appears so near to them, as in fact it always is; they are too likely to pass from such sights with a careless confidence that their hour is remote, and that they may have many years to come of mirth and pleasure, before it becomes a duty to fit themselves for such an end; but the folly of such inconsiderate minds is “ worse than death."

. We should rather weep for those liable to fall into such dangerous mistakes, as the text directs, than for those who have died in mature age, after having been brought to a sense of their weakness and infirmities. What a change is it for the young to be arrested in the midst of their vain delights, and with all their follies on their head to descend to the grave of death! Yet the instances of this are many and frequent, and therefore it amounts to an unquestionable truth, that the apprehension of death should make a stronger impression on the young than on the old. The old may look to it, as a rest from their labours, but upon the young it may come as a thief in the night,

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unawares

SERM. unawares and unexpected ; and if they XII. have neglected all improvement of their

minds, and all preparation for eternity, may end all their pleasures here, not to be renewed or compensated in the life to come. Such occasions as the present, therefore, to have their full effect, should be considered in different points of view. While every consolation that can be drawn from them should be laid before the afflicted, to cheer and comfort them under their heavy weight of sorrow, every warning and instruction that they can afford to the inconsiderate and thoughtless, should also be insisted on. It is of no account to number the years of the friend departed; we all stand on the same precipice. The youngest person among us may be the next subject of all these mournful rites, so precarious and uncertain is this mortal life. But to have proof of the precariousness of our present state, is but a small use to be derived from such scenes as these, because, however dull men may be in discerning this great truth, there is nothing which is more notorious, or more obvious

to

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