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gling in the agonies of death: and then, O, then! how will it sting your consciences, if, while you had health and strength, you trifled away your time, and forgot the important business of life, till you are just leaving the world ! —You think, it may be, that religion is a gloomy thing; that it would damp the gaiety of your spirits, and unfit you for social life. This is a common, but great mistake. From what has been just related, concerning our young, departed Friend, you cannot but see, that she found it produce the reverse of a gloomy temper: yea, that she found it inspire her with such a gaiety of disposition, as death, even gloomy death could not destroy. In what a poor case must she have been, when seized by the fatal distemper, and when she saw her dissolution at hand, if she had not been acquainted with God, and enjoyed a sense of his favour! Her youth, her beauty, had she been the fairest of all the daughters of Eve, and her agree able worldly prospects, what could they have done for her? they would have delivered her up to the keenest anguish, and abandoned her to utter destruction. But, believing in Jesus Christ, and having a sense of his love warm in her heart; her prospects were glorious, and her end triumphant. Say not, then, that the religion of Jesus is a gloomy thing: and remember, that if ever you be truly happy, you must be religious.-Nor is the religion, I now recommend, an unsociable thing. She will not, indeed, send you to balls, play-houses, or masquerades, in order to contract an acquaintance with the children of dissipation, or to meet your associates. No; she being of celestial origin, despises such entertainments, as mean and low, as sinful and
devilish; as entirely unworthy an immortal mind, that has the glory of heaven in view. But she will lead you to the garrets of the poor and the beds of the sick, to pity their distresses and relieve their wants. She will bring you to religious assemblies, where you shall have communion with the children of light, and fellowship with Jesus Christ. Yea, she will lead you to the Scriptures and the closet, and there introduce you to an audience with the King Eternal; and finally, she will fit you to associate with angels, around the throne of the Lamb. Such is her nature, and such is her dignity! Where, then, ye young and gay; where is
ambition for high life? for here, I will venture to say, here we have it, in the noblest sense of the phrase. For this life is worthy of a rational being; worthy of an immortal soul; worthy of the christian character; nay, more, the oracles of heaven call it, the LIFE OF GOD.* Consider what I say, and the Lord give you understanding in all things!
You, my dear young friends, who believe in Jesus and love religion, especially such as are members of this community; how shall I address you? The answer is obvious: Watch and pray; that, when the heavenly Bridegroom comes, he may find you ready; having your loins girt, and your lamps burning. God is, in this event of his providence, loudly calling upon you, to take heed how you spend your timé. Watch therefore, against your youthful lusts; and against a light, trifling, carnal spirit. Watch, diligently, against that detestable temper, pride; and cultivate, with all assiduity, that amiable grace, humility. Young persons are very apt to imagine
* Eph. iv. 18.
themselves much wiser, in the things of God, and of greater abilities, than they really are.—Watch against an itch of novelty, both as to doctrines and ministers. For to gratify such an inclination, is the way never to be established in your judgment;" never to enjoy solid peace in
your minds.-Watch against a dull formality, in the performance of devotional duties; and take heed that you do not make the religious conduct of cold, lifeless professors, whoever they be, a pattern for your imitation. Watch, then, for ye know not but the time of your departure may be at hand.
What shall I say to my senior friends? Do you know the Lord ? Be thankful, then; be ye also watchful. Watch, especially, against worldlymindedness. Remember who it is that says, Take keed, and beware of covetousness.f See to it, while diligent in your lawful, civil employments, that you do not suffer the hurries of business to incroach on the time which ought to be devoted to God and communion with him.-Watch against a lukewarm frame of mind; into which older professors are so ready to fall, though it be an abomination to the Lord. Take heed that you do not slumber and sleep, while the Bridegroom tarries; for if you do, the midnight-cry may greatly alarm you.g But, such is our propensity to a drowsy frame of mind, that we have need of the warnings of God, in his word; of the warnings of God, in his providence; and, above all, of the Divine Spirit's agency, to keep us awake. Remember, my brethren, that, in proportion to your superior knowledge of divine things, and your longer standing in the church of God, you ought to be examples to the younger members of this christian society-examples, in the exercise of every holy temper, and in the performance of every commendable deed. This, let me tell you, your age and character require.
* 2 Tim. iv. 3, 4. + Luke xii, 15, Rev. iii. 15, 16. $ Matt, xxy, 5, 6,
Perhaps there may be some of my hearers, that are past the meridian of life, and are far advanced in years: whose time, and strength, and care, are so engrossed by the world, that they can scarcely spare a single hour in a week, to examine the state of their souls, to read the holy word, or to converse with God in prayer; but live, as though the great business of life were, to raise their families in the world, and to die rich. But why, Oye plodding sons of industry! “why all this toil for triumphs of an hour? What though ye wade in wealth, or soar in fame;" it will all quickly end in, “Here HE LIES." Why, then, should ye seek your happiness, in loading yourselves with thick clay,* or so carefully worship at the shrine of Mammon? Such a conduct, as one poetically expresses it, is “ guilt's blunder, and the loudest laugh of hell.”+ To see the generality of youth, vain, and giddy, and forgetful of eternal things, is awful; but, to see grey hairs playing the fool, is shocking indeed! It islike detecting a convict, in the commission of a capital criine, when under the gallott's.-Nor is the guilt less, though the conduct be different, if, instead of seeking satisfaction in riches, you seek it in the ways of prodigality and sensual gratifications. For, such being your course of life, you are sure to perish, if you die in your present condition, * Hab. ii. 6.
† Night Thoughts.
May God awaken your sleepy consciences! May omnipotent grace deliver your wretched souls from impending ruin !
I shall now conclude, with a word to the surviving parents of our deceased sister. When I consider your present affliction, my honoured friends, as having lost an amiable daughter, a dear and an only child, just arriving at a state of maturity; I cannot but feel for you; and, I dare say, there are few, in this numerous assembly, who do not sympathize with you. It is really a cutting stroke, and the hand of God is heavy upon you. But He is an uncontrolable Sovereign, and must be obeyed. Yet, when I consider what mercy is mixed with judgment; what reason you have to conclude, that God has taken your daughter to himself-taken her to the enjoyment of infinite bliss and eternal honour, I sincerely rejoice: and here, 'let me tell you, Christianity bids you rejoice. While you mourn, therefore, and cannot but mourn, as parents, you are called to rejoice, as Christians--Permit me now to reinind you, that as a time of affliction is a proper season for self-examination; so it behoves you to consider well, how it is with your souls. Are you ready for death, and fit for glory? Is Jesus precious, and are the ways of holiness delightful to you? Be careful, that you suffer not an ensnaring world to have your affections. Diligently watch, lest the hurries of trade should intrude on the consecrated hour, the precious moments, which onght to be sacred to retirement and an intercourse with God. Remember, that the Most High is speaking to you, by this dispensa.