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Men are not the same through all divisions of their ages: time, experience, self-reflections, and God's mercies, make in some well-tempered minds a kind of translation before death, and men to differ from themselves as well as from other persons. Hereof the old world afforded many examples to the infamy of latter ages, wherein men too often live by the rule of their inclinations; so that, without any astral prediction, the first day gives the last: men are commonly as they were ; or rather, as bad dispositions run into worser habits, the evening doth not crown, but sourly conclude the day. — SIR T. BROWNE, Christ. Mor., P. 2, S. vi.
— And yet, as youth leaves a man, so age generally finds him. If he passes his youth juggling, shuffling and dissembling, it is odds but you will have him at the same leger-de-main, and showing tricks, in his age also. And if he spends his young days whoring and drinking, it is ten to one but age will find him in the same filthy drudgery still, or at least wishing himself so. And lastly, if death, (which can not be far off from age,) finds him so too, his game is then certainly at the best, and his condition (which is the sting of all,) never possible to be better. – SOUTH, Sermons &c. (Education of
Education and position in society modify our tastes and sentiments and habits : but they do not alter the essential qualities of human nature, the observation of which in one class of persons can
not fail to teach us much of what we want to know as to others. — SIR B. BRODIE, Autobiography, Works, vol. i.
I told the King, that in the course of my life, I had never observed men's natures to alter by age or fortunes; but that a good boy made a good man; and a young coxcomb, an old fool; and a young fripon, an old knave; and that quiet spirits were so, young as well as old, and unquiet ones would be so, old as well as young. — SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE, Memoirs &c., 1709, p. 260.
This life is long enough for a race, for a warfare, for a pilgrimage. It is long enough to fight and contend with this world, and all the temptations of it. It is long enough to know this world, to discover the vanity of it, and to live above it. It is long enough, by the grace of God, to purge and refine our minds, and to prepare ourselves to live for ever in God's presence. And when we are in any measure prepared for Heaven, and possessed with great and passionate desires of it, we shall think it a great deal too long to be kept out of it. - DEAN SHERLOCK, Discourse concerning Death, ch. iii, s. ii.
To be able to contemplate with complacency either issue of a disorder which the great Author of our being may in his kindness have intended as a warning to us to prepare for a better existence, is of prodigious advantage to recovery, as well as to comfort; and the retrospect of a well-spent life is a cordial of infinitely more efficacy than all the resources of the medical art. — SIR H. HALFORD, Essays, 1833, i.
The storms of life are over; and trials and losses now belong to the past: they have indeed left their mark; the power of enjoying outward things is not what it once was, the animal spirits are at a lower pitch, not much of brilliancy remains; but a calm and thoughtful contentedness is left, a cheerful trust, an unselfish pleasure in the happiness of others, and much power withal of making them happier. The evening of life may be greytoned; but it need not be dull. It may have a sober brightness of its own; and, above all, it may be brightened more and more with the light that shines from above and beyond, — the true ' light of life.'— THE REV. F. BOURDILLON, Lesser Lights, 2nd. Ser., Naomi.
XII. LOOKING TO FUTURITY.
LD men go to death; death comes to young
men. – HERBERT, Facula Prudentum.
It is indeed the nature of earthly comforts to afford more delight in their hopes than in their enjoyment. But it is much otherwise in Heavenly things, which are of that solid and substantial perfection, as always to satisfy, yet never to satiate ; and therefore the delight, that springs from the fruition of those, is still fresh and verdant; nay, we may add this yet farther, that the very expectation of Heavenly things, if rational and well-grounded, affords more comfort than the possession and enjoyment of the greatest earthly contents whatsoever. — SOUTH, Sermons &c. (1 John iii. 3).
Good men have enough of this world, and are sufficiently satisfied that none of these things can make them happy, and therefore can not think it any disadvantage to change the scene and try some unknown and unexperienced joys. For, if there be such a thing as happiness to be found, it must be something which they have not known yet, something that this world does not afford. — DEAN SHERLOCK, Discourse concerning Death, ch. i, s. iii.
“ It is done." What a word is that, my brethren! As it sounds, what a world of busy restlessness it seems to cut off at once. Well may it! for it is the end of the whole world itself, of all but God. How it seems to cut us short; what a sudden shock it would give us mostly, were we to hear it at once, when He Who created time, shall bid it cease to be. Here we are ever doing ; well, if it be well-doing! Here, we are mostly ever planning, toiling, looking forward to things in time, things which may be or may not be, hoping, fearing, living more in that which shall be, than in that which is; restless, never at one stay; if we have not, aiming to have; if we have, aiming to have more, or what we have not; everything is but a step to that which lies beyond : in nothing are we beings of the day; in joy, we long for other joys; in grief, we grieve yet more in dread of the morrow than of to-day! What a lesson we are to ourselves, if we would read ourselves and our own instincts aright, that there is but one future to look to, that which shall have no future; one end to aim at, even Him Who hath no end; one Joy, one Love, one Peace and Rest, where joy shall not, in the tumultuous way of joys of this earth, displace joy, because it shall be in Him, the Self-same, the Unchanging. — DR. PUSEY, Sermons, from Advent to Whitsuntide, 1848, serm. i.