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duced into your chamber, to beguile the tedious hours: and all that come to visit you are cautioned not to drop a word about death, or danger, for fear of hurrying you. At length the symptoms grow, more threatening, and so many of Death's harbingers show themselves, that you cannot help taking notice of them. You see, by the looks of those about you, that you are given over; and you feel within yourselves that you have but a little while to live-then-O the confusion, the consternation, the horror and anguish, that wring your very souls. All the sins that ever you committed are set in dreadful array; and every one of them, as it comes up, plunges a dagger in your heart. You begin to feel what an evil and bitter thing it is to sin against God. The sorrows of death compass you about, and the pains of hell take hold upon you.” You weep; you tremble ; you even roar, by reason of the disquietness of your hearts: and, to complete your guilt and wretchedness, you fly to opiates or intoxication for relief;--and in this state of stupidity or distraction you are seized by the king of terrors, who with one tremendous blow hurls your bodies into the grave, and your souls into
And thus endeth a life of pleasure !
O how different this from the closing scene described under the last head! There, like a summer's evening, all was calm and serene. Not at all afraid of evil tidings, his “ heart was fixed, trusting in God.” He knew, that “if this earthly house of his tabernacle were dissolved, he should have a building of God; an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” This made
him confident, and willing " rather to be absent from the body,” that he might “ be present with the Lord.” And when“ He which testifieth these things, saith, Behold, I come quickly," he with eager exultation springs forward to meet him, saying, “ Amen; even so; come, Lord Jesus.”
You are affected-you wipe your eyes, and smite upon your breast, and cry, 66 Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his !” No, that will not do: there must be something more--there must be a great deal more than that. If you would die like them, you must live like them : if you would be happy then, you must be holy now. However, while your heart is softened by this tender scene, go home, and pray, Lord, show me the path of life.”
AT THE FUNERAL OF MR. JOHN WHITFIELD,
WHO DIED IN DECEMBER, 1772.
Eccles. VII. 2.
It is better to go to ihe house of mourning than to go
to the house of feasting ; for that is the end of all men ; and the living will lay it to his heart.
you say ; but who do you think will believe it? That is a strange paradox indeed! The house of mourning! Why, the very mention of it is enough to make one melancholy. What! go to hear nothing but sighs, and sobs, and bitter lamentations ! --One crying, Oh, I have lost the best of husbands; and another, Oh, I have lost the best of fathers; and another, Oh, I have lost an affectionate brother and faithful friend !-every one aggravating his own loss as the greatest, and filling the house with the most heart-piercing shrieks and groans !would you have us go to such a house as this? Would you have us prefer such a dismal scene as this, to our jovial meeting, where all is festivity and joy? You might as well say that darkness is better than light, and that the grave is preferable to a palace. No, no; say what you will, you never shall persuade us to leave those houses where we have spent so many happy days, and happy nights too,
to go to a house where the only entertainment we can expect is to weep ourselves blind."
I can easily believe you, though you will not believe me. It is too true, I am afraid, that no persuasions of mine will be able to draw you to the house of mourning. O my friends! the arrows of Death are flying among us thicker than common. Many are falling on this side of us, and on that; and we know not at whom Death may be even now levelling the fatal shaft. Only think a moment, what if it should be at one of you!—The thought may give you pain; but let me beseech you to pursue it a little further. Think, whether you are prepared to go from this house to your bed, from your bed to the grave, from the grave to --
Whither, oh whither would be your next remove ?
If you still persist in your refusal, and will not be persuaded; forgive me this wrong, if I compel you to go. Curiosity hath brought you here, and now you must go further, whether you consent or no: and I hope, painful as it may seem at first, that you will not repent your visit. However, to compromise the matter as well as I can,
I. I will go with you to the house of feasting, and see what is to be learnt there ;
on condition that II. You will go with me to the house of mourning, and see what is to be learnt there ;
and if you are not convinced by what you there
see and hear, then we will consider, III. The Preacher's reason for the preference.
Come then, I. Let us go to the house of feasting, That you may not think we condemn all feasting
as unlawful. “ It is good and comely,” says the Preacher, (Eccl. v. 18.)" for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him ; for it is his portion." Religion doth not forbid a free and cheerful use of the portion God gives us, but rather requires us to be generous to ourselves and others, in proportion to what his providence bestows; and good diet greatly conduces to lively spirits. We may even, on particular occasions, mix with a large company, when the provision will be consequently better and more plentiful than usual, so long as everything is conducted with decency and good-humour; for our Saviour himself thought it not inconsistent with the dignity and purity of his character to visit such parties, and to honour the feast with his presence. Let us go, then, and see what we can learn from a feast.
1. We learn the greatness and goodness of God.
The first sight of such variety and profusion fills us with grateful admiration of that great and gracious Being, the Most High, Possessor of Heaven and Earth, who openeth his hand and satisfieth the desire of every living thing. We recollect with thankfulness the original grant, in the 28th verse of the 1st chapter of Genesis, where God gave our first parents “ dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowls of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” ticularly affected with the thought, that God should make the whole creation so subservient to our use, not merely to answer the demands of nature, but to gratify the luxury of appetite ; that he
We are par