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house of Prayer; he walks in innocence before God, and man.
Then is the time, for the sower of the seed, to pour into the opening furrows its abundance ; that the well cultivated soil may bring forth fruit abundantly, to the glory, and praise, of God. And yet,
alas ! in this adulterous, and sinful, generation, how frequently does cold neglect, or callous indifference, overcast these blessed hopes of future harvest. Woe to them by whom such offences come, when the Lord of the harvest shall thrust in His sharp sickle; when He Who lent the talents shall enquire, into their abuse !
In this behold the vanity of human life. That Son, whose birth, for many months of sorrow, a fond Mother eagerly expected, a fondly anxious Father prayed ; that Son, with every opening promise, is resigned to others' heedless care.
A more numerous family have withdrawn their attention from this hapless child, at the very period of his life when he most requires it: or the allurements of worldly pleasure have torn them away from his eternal interests.
Think not that our Church condemns harmless pleasures, or prefers austere hypocrisy to the unfeigned cheerfulness of true Religion. There is a time for all things : even the Soul requires repose from the fatigues of intense thought; or man's boasted reason becomes as weak, and perishable, as his earthly frame.
But the only true way to enjoy what the World calls pleasure, is to partake of it sparingly; and never when opposed to our duty. And, in truth, what task is more delightful than to lead our children's steps in the ways of piety, and peace? What music so grateful to a Parent's ear as the well-merited praises of his Child? What encouragement so great to the Ministers of God, as when they see the smile of innocence on the blooming countenances of your children; or meet the youthful candidates for life, and immortality, humbly kneeling with them at His Altar, seeking the Communion of their Lord?
Let us then turn from a picture of sorrow; and hope that all who now hear a weak pleader for their eternal happiness, may live virtuously in this Life, everlastingly in a better! And let us proceed in considering the eventful fits, and changes, of this transitory World; wherein old Age, and infirmity, daily approach with rapid step, and hurry us away to the
grave. After a young man has escaped the perils of Infidelity, Atheisnı, and the contagion of those vicious allurements, which altogether beset his path, when first he quits his Parents roof: many are the cares of Manhood.
Yet Religion will bear him pleasantly even through the busy scenes of life; and with a due regard to that, his first interest, he will find time for every social duty.
If he has large concerns in traffic, a virtuous man will remember that six days are granted to labour; "the seventh is the Sabbath of the Lord his God.”
If, arrived at maturer years, he is blest with a pious, and amiable, Wife, and an increasing family; let him enquire into the care bestowed
upon his own Infancy, and return it to his children. For so wisely has God ordained all things; that a perpetual succession of the generations of the children of men shall, each, learn kindness to those who come after them; from that which they themselves experienced from a prior race of mankind,
It is one means of perpetuating a scarce, but invaluable virtue among mankind-gratitude; the very nurse and guardian of all other good qualities, both for this World, and a better.
Advancing still in years, the increasing demands of a rising family, and a sense of his own growing infirmities, are apt to depress even a manly spirit. Disappointed hopes lead him to think seriously of some rest for his body, some calm retirement for his mind. But here again the Christian feels the imperative duties of his high calling, and manfully stands up against the sorrows of the World: for he looks forward to Eternity, that certain refuge of the opprest.
And here, if there be present any cold- , hearted man, whose hoarded gold teaches him to think the Christian's consolations vain; let him look into his own heart, and ask where are its joys? That question will excite such doubts, such terrors, ; as may save his Soul alive: and lead him to repent and amend, lest God say unto him “ thou fool, this night thy Soul shall be required of thee.'
As the infirmities of " threescore years and
ten,” the limited period of the generality of mankind, bow down a weary frame; O how forcibly we perceive the Psalmist's justice in his serious picture of the life of man. And if he reach “ fourscore years, his strength then is but labour and sorrow, so soon passeth
away, and we are gone."
But a virtuous life, while health, and spirits, cheer our course; a pleasing retrospect into years of gratitude to Heaven, benevolence to man: these will soften the pains of dissolution; strewing the opening blossoms of Paradise
upon the very pillow of Death. And who knows, short-sighted as we all are into the ways of God; who but hopes, and believes, if a Christian; that such consolations were mercifully given to our pious friends; as they gently fell asleep, to wake no more in a World whose sorrows they have left for ever.
If their excellent examples ; if the glorious hopes of Redemption which guided their exemplary lives can influence the hearts of men: I will say to you all, and to my own Soul, in our Saviour's own emphatic words;
Go, and do thou likewise !"