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us up, —or a quinsy stop our breath! Every pore of our bodies is a door at which death may enter. O then, live for ETERNITY, and seek immediately the favour and the peace of God. Time indeed to you may seem long, but study well that fine representation of it by Dr. Young, lest you should squander it away, and neglect your eternal welfare : “ Time in advance, behind him hides his wings, And seems to creep, decrepit with his age : Behold him when passed by; what then is seen But his broad pinions, swifter than the winds !”
Ten years to come seem long to youth ; to aged persons, three score years and ten appear nothing when viewed in retrospect.
CICERO considered this short period of our life on earth as a state of trial, or a kind of school in which we were to improve and
prepare ourselves for that eternity of existence which was provided for us hereafter ; that we were placed therefore here by our Creator, not so much to inhabit the earth, as to contemplate the heavens ; on which were imprinted, in legible characters, all the duties of that nature which was given to us. He observed that this spectacle belonged to no other animal than man; to whom God, for that reason, had given an erect and upright form, with eyes not prone, or fixed upon the ground, like those of other animals, but placed on high and sublime, in a
situation the most proper for this celestial contemplation ; to remind him perpetually of his task, and to acquaint him with the place whence he sprung, and for which he was finally designed.
The belief of a particular providence, is the most animating persuasion that the mind of man can embrace; it gives strength to our hopes, and firmness to our resolutions; it subdues the insolence of prosperity, and draws out the sting of affliction. In a word, it is like the golden branch to which Virgil's hero was directed, and affords the only secure passport through the regions of darkness and sorrow.
When I look upon the tombs of the Great, every emotion of envy dies in me; when I read the epitaphs of the beautiful, every inordinate desire goes out; when I meet the grief of parents upon a tomb-stone, my heart melts with compassion ; when I see the tomb of the parents themselves, I consider the vanity of grieving for those whom we must quickly follow. When I see kings lying by those who deposed them, when I consider rival wits placed side by side, or the holy men that divided the world with their contests and disputes, I reflect with sorrow and astonishment on the little competitions, factions, and debates of mankind. When I read the several dates of the tombs, of some that died yesterday, and some six hundred years ago, I consider that GREAT DAY, when we shall all of us be contemporaries, and make our appearance together!