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not what a day may bring forth (e). Death comes: and in a moment fweeps away thee and thy plans for ever. As for man, bis days are as grafs as a flower of the field, fo he flourisheth. For the wind paffeth over it, and it is gone and the place thereof shall know it no more (ƒ). Can riches bribe death, or make a bargain with the tomb? As the flower of the grafs fhall the rich man pass away. For the fun is no fooner rifen with a burning heat but it withereth the grafs, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perifbeth: fo alfo fhall the rich man fade away (g). During the period which has elapfed fince I first undertook the office of inftru&ing you, however imperfectly yet according to the extent of my knowledge, in the word of God and the gospel of his Son; how many fchemes and projects formed by your neighbours and by your relations have been disconcerted by death! How many perfons, whom in fucceffive years I have beheld and addreffed from this place, have vanished from among the children of men, and have left their stations to be filled by you! Where are now the plans to which many of them had given up their hearts; the confident expectations
(e) Prov. xxvii. 1. (f) Pfalm ciii. 15, 16. (g) James,
i. 10, II.
of worldly acquifitions which occupied their bofoms; the health and length of days which they had promised themselves that they fhould enjoy! All are utterly at an end. The plans, the expectations, the promises are no more. And they who formed and cherished them, for ever removed into another state of being, are awaiting a refurrection of life, or a refurrection of damnation. If other warnings are ineffectual; receive inftruction from your departed parents and near kindred. Think what would be the advice which they would now convey to your ears, were it poffible that from their prefent abode. they could hold communication with you. For what is your life? Is it not a vapour that paffeth away? Who is there among us that can affure himself that he fhall fee the close of the year, which is now be gun? Who is there among us, my brethren, that can promise to himself that he shall be found to-morrow in the land of the living? We may all be alive to-morrow. But that we who are now affembled together shall not all be alive when twelve months fhall have performed their courfe, is as nearly certain as any thing is upon earth. If but one of us fhall before that time be numbered with the dead; who is that perfon? Every one of us Y 4
may look up to heaven in aweful suspense, and fay, Lord! is it I? Learn then through the grace of God fo to number your days, that you may apply your hearts unto wisdom (b). Form no plans in your own ftrength. Form no diftant plans. Form one plan, and one plan only, with folicitude: and let that plan be to be religious. On earth you are sojourners and pilgrims. Of the world to come you will be inhabitants for ever. The things that are feen are temporal; the things that are not feen are eternal (i), If you are not yet a true fervant of Christ Jefus; if you have not yet that genuine faith which work, eth by love; if it be not yet your meat and drink, your fupport and your comfort, stedfaftly to live unto God and unto Chrift, habitually to strive in every particular to perform at all hazards as an obedient and affectionate fon the will of your heavenly Father: feek the grace of God while yet it may be found. The prefent year may look upon your grave.
III. The apoftle, in the next place, teaches us what is the frame of mind, with which all our purposes should be formed. Ye ought to fay; If the Lord will, we shall do this or that. In all our undertakings, in all our in(i) 2 Cor, iv. 18.
(b) Pfalm, xc. 12.
tentions and our profpects, let us remember that God is the Mafter, that we are the fervants; that we are nothing, that God is every thing. He fitteth in the heavens, and his kingdom ruleth over all. He lifteth up, and he cafteth down: the difpofal of the lot is with Him and in his hands are the iffues of life and death. He is the God of all To Him we ought in all things cheerfully to fubmit ourselves. For what can Man dó against Him? What can man do without Him? How fhall any plan take effect but by his fupport? How shall any plan fail, if it be fupported by Omnipotence? He is the God of all wifdom. Man is loft in ignorance. He knows not what objects to purfue. He knows not what measures will contribute to the fuccefs of his purfuit. How fhall he choose aright? How fhall he direct his fteps aright? By committing himself to his Maker. Set your affections on thofe objects, which God in his holy word points out as alone worthy of a Chriftian's regard. Pursue them on those principles, and by those methods, which the fame holy word enjoins as alone lawful to a Chriftian. Then will the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of Wisdom, maintain you under his unerring guidance. God is the God of all goodness. It is he who of his own free bounty
has bestowed upon you life, and all its bleffings. What good gift is there, which he is not ready to bestow upon you? He who spared not his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all: how shall be not with Him alfo freely give us all things (j)? Will you not truft your interefts, present and future, in the hands of your Creator, your Preserver, your Redeemer? Let his power, his wisdom, his love be your confidence. Let his pleasure be your delight. When you meditate upon any defign; let it be the language not merely of your lips, but of your heart, "If the Lord will, my purpose will be established.” Entertain not a wifh that it should be accomplished, unless it be wholly conformable to the will of God. Commit thy way unto the Lord, and be fall bring it to pass (k); if it be for thy good that it should be brought to pass. Or if he forefees that its accomplishment would not be for thine advantage; he fhall provide for thee real bleffings in the place of that imaginary good, that actual evil, which thou hadst ignorantly chosen for thyself.
IV. The apostle proceeds to admonish us, that the prefumption with which men look forward to the accomplishment of distant (j) Rom. viii. 32. (k) Plalm xxxvii. 5.