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GENESIS, xlvii. 8.
"AND PHARAOH SAID UNTO JACOB, HOW OLD ART THOU?"
NOTHING can be more exquisitely simple and affecting, than the answer which this inquiry drew from the venerable patriarch: "The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers, in the days of their pilgrimage."
But I shall not stay to enlarge upon the circumstances of this particular case. I shall, at once, propose the words of my text, as a question, which every individual who hears me would be wise in often putting, with solemn seriousness, to
* Preached on New-Year's Day.
himself. The inquiry is suited, with a peculiar fitness, to the present moment. We have arrived, this day, at the commencement of another year. One of those brief periods, so few of which make the whole of life's amount-one more of these has closed. Another year has joined the years beyond the flood; and left us so much nearer our latter end. We have, this day, as it were, taken one step more, down that descent, which brings us to the boundless ocean of eternity, where all is to be left behind, and we are to embark for ever. Are we preparing for the voyage? Are we in readiness, like those who know not at what instant the summons may arrive? Are we making our calculations, like those who really believe that the day of eternity will shortly dawn? Do we often examine, how the glass of life is running? Do we inquire of conscience, like one who called to the prophet, and said, "watchman, what of the night?" Do we, in a word, often put the serious question to ourselves, "How old art thou?"
But since this may not be the case, and since, at all events, it is a matter on which we cannot be too frequently reminded; I desire to address myself to each individual in this assembly, separately, and with all the pointed application of a personal inquiry, and to say; how much of the time allotted you here is gone? how near are you, in the