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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,
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 consi`dered 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 common apprehension. But there is SERM. another great use to be drawn from the XII. scene before us. Either we are now.committing to the dust the body of a miserable sinner, or of a fellow-creature who perhaps has set us an example, which, if we would wish to be partakers of God's heavenly kingdom, we should do well to follow. It is not a thing becoming the place I am speaking from, to go a step beyond the truth; but yet I think I see reason to speak with some confidence of the virtues of her whose loss we now deplore. There are those present to pay respect to her memory, whose very presence and lamen tations afford proof enough that in some of the first and highest duties of human life, she so acquitted herself as to merit the esteem, the love, and affection of such as were dependent upon her care and attention, in those most essential points. If we have now to commit to the ground the remains of a faithful and affectionate wife, a fond and careful mother, and, above all, a sober and pious Christian, as appears manifestly to be the case, we need enquire no P 2 further;
SERM. further; these are virtues which will asXII. cend to heaven as memorials in her behalf, and we may feel already assured that she is in possession of a crown of righteousness, or so well certified that it is in store for her, that her soul is in peace, and full of hope and joy.
In the book of Revelations, a mysterious book in general, yet abounding in such interesting displays of a future state, as that we might well receive it, on this account alone, as a book of divine authority, there are such descriptions of the happiness prepared for the righteous, as may serve both to comfort those who have to deplore the loss of friends, as to animate the most unconcerned toapply their minds to the cultivation of such virtues as may enable them to become partakers of the bliss so pictured forth for their encouragement. Among other descriptions, perhaps the following is as striking as any." There shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain; for the former things are passed away; they "shall hunger no more, neither thirst any
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But the Lamb which is in the midst SERM.
of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead XII. "them unto living fountains of water, and "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." Though here is no great display or parade of the glories of heaven, yet what can be more calculated to sooth and comfort us under any afflictions of life, than to be assured of such a fact, that there is a state attainable by all of us, where sorrow, and pain, and care shall no more disturb us?-that there is a merciful and compassionate Redeemer, always standing ready before the throne of God, to plead for the pardon and forgiveness of the humble and contrite sinner; ready, by the application of his own exalted merits, to blot out all our iniquities, and wipe away all our tears, whether they be those of sorrow or repentance ?
To conclude-The scene before us is awful and solemn. It may seem as if some were more concerned in it than others, but it is not really so. We are all equally concerned in this evidence of the frailty of human