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If, then, "God hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son," we have received through that merciful dispensation a consolation for our fears, and a remedy for our disorders; thence we learn that sin can be forgiven, and how our weakness may be strengthened. Hope succeeds to despair when we contemplate such a provision for our frailty; when we find that God has by "the Gospel of his grace," confirmed all the assurances of mercy which he had before given, supplied all that yet was lacking, confirmed all that was promised, and brought in "an everlasting righteousness." These are unspeakably important truths; but short may be the time which remains to ourselves, for securing the blessings which they make known to us. The awful hour of death is one in which we shall fully learn the value of the righteous man's hope. It is a season which will so surely come, and which may be so near, that the contemplation of it ought to quicken us in the pursuit of those blessings, which are designed to deliver us now from the fear of it, and hereafter from its power. We seek to impress upon you the certainty of death, that you may consider its consequences; that you may make the inquiries which it suggests; that you may realize the unseen verities which lie beyond the grave, and which are eternal. We proclaim to you, with reference to eternity, the doctrines of God's word, with all

their evidence, their obligations, and their consequences; you hear them for eternity. The decision to which you come respecting them is a decision for eternity. Let then our inquiries ever be pursued with a corresponding seriousness; let the illusions of time be dissipated, and the fascinations of sense lose their power over our souls, that we may learn to walk by the faith of things unseen, though by the sight of them we cannot; that we may have our conversation in heaven even while we remain upon earth.

We have more than once touched upon the old and trite subject of death. But often are the most important truths obvious and familiar; and therefore are they so, because they are important. It is not, however, certain that, because they are familiar to us, we have duly profited by them. Let us then, in conclusion, once more renew the recollection of our mortality; and advert to the striking remark of Solomon, "One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh ; but the earth abideth for evera."

Contrast the continued succession of the generations of men, with the permanency of the earth upon which they live. Compared with their fleeting existence, it may be said to "abide for ever." After how short a period do we find

* Eccl. i. 4.

nearly all those, amongst whom we used to dwell, and with whom we were formerly connected, displaced and gone; and succeeded by others who have started into existence since ourselves! Nay, how soon are all the actors on this busy scene completely changed; for "there is none abiding." Soon the place that knoweth us now, shall know us no more; and others will occupy the estates which were ours, and the dwellings we have inhabited. Our bodies are "houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust;" and all that we can call ourselves dwells in these frail tenements. The works of man often long outlive him. What purpose do the magnificent ruins of the cities of the wilderness, and the massy piles that adorn the banks of the Nile, now serve, but to make us wonder at the skill and diligence of those longforgotten people, of whose manners, history, and language, we have now scarcely any record; and to cause us profitably to muse on the shortness of human life, and the instability of human grandeur! But we need not visit these distant wonders to have a sensible proof of the same truth; and one which may perhaps be at once more familiar and impressive. We are here surrounded by some of those edifices, which are the ornament of our country, and which excite and gratify the curiosity of the inquiring stranger. They have served the purposes of many generations that

are past; they serve ours now; and will probably continue to invite, receive, and instruct, generations yet unborn. And in this place, assuredly, we may most strikingly see how quickly one generation passeth away, and another cometh! A period of four or five years here almost changes the scene. Those, who remove from hence, do indeed for the most part go to form a portion of the permanent population of some other place. But what occasions the demand for their services in this place or in that, but the removal of some of our race by death? This perpetual change, and constant transition, are caused by the openings which death has somewhere made. The fluctuations and varying features of social life as certainly result from this cause, as motion in the natural world from a vacuum. Survey the permanent population of this or of any other place, and it will appear, that many of those, who, on setting out in life have little success and employment, in a few years become prosperous, and, with their families, are established in life. Why? Because many of their former rivals have been removed, and they have succeeded to their abodes, connexions, and emoluments. Thus is our prosperity, nay even our very means of subsistence, derived from the mortality of our predecessors and ancestors: and that of our successors and of posterity will depend equally upon


Death is the debt of nature; it meets us in every time, place, and concern of life; so true is it, that "in the midst of life we are in death," and that "one generation passeth away, and another cometh."

When we look round on the great congregation assembled in God's house, and recollect that, considering it collectively, we can assign the period within which all of us will have undergone the pangs of death; we might sit down, and, like the Persian monarch, weep at the melancholy reflection, did we not remember again, that another generation will ere that have gradually arisen, upon whom the sun will shine as brightly; for whom the earth will bring forth as plentifully; whose will be all the joys and cares, the comforts and disappointments that we have experienced; and who will share the same bounty and protection of the same God. All will be well ordered with respect to the fortunes and changes of the world in general. But will it be well with us as individuals? We know the limit beyond which we cannot survive, but we know not within how small a span of time we have yet to move. We know also, that whenever "the body shall return to the earth as it was, the spirit shall return to God who gave it;" to render its account before him then, and at the appointed day before the general assemblage of all generations. And let


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