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blessings, and for personal holiness," for this is the will of God, even our sanctifica tion." “ If thou knewest the gift of God, thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water." Let us take the apostle's requests for the Ephesians, (chap. iii. 16-20,) as models for our own; and though we ask much, we cannot ask so much as the hearer of prayer can confer; for he is “ able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” “ Unto him be glory in the church, by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end." Amen.
THE DEATH OF THE RIGHTEOUS, A CALL FOR
Preached on the Death of a Lady of Quality, connected with the
Parish and Congregation.
ISAIAH LVII. 1, 2. The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart; and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. He shall enter into peace : they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his
uprightness." What the Israelites said to Moses in the wilderness, under the distress of a retributive judgment for sin, “ Behold we diewe perish-we all perish”—may be applied to every generation of mortal men. If we come forth like the grass in the morning of life, and flourish a while in the bloom of youth, like the grass, too, we wither and die. Like the autumnal leaf, we fade; and detached from our hold on life by every blast of disease that sweeps over us with power, we drop into that ever-rolling tide of mortality, which, with an irresistible flood, carries one generation after another into a land of forgetfulness-a vast eternity, whence they do not return.
“ Behold we die!" who can shut his eyes on this awful truth? If any one is so exalted in “ the pride of life,” as to forget death, and dreams of nothing but many years yet to come, the Providence of God rebukes this presumption, and by the most frequent and the most affecting instances of human frailty, strikes home to the most insensible and secure, a resistless conviction of the amazing uncertainty of the life of man. Have we not been taught it of late with lesson upon lesson ?* Has not the grave recently and repeatedly opened its mouth, to disclose the brevity of life? The strength of manhood has fallen, as soon as the yielding frame of childhood, or the feebleness of decrepit age. The bands of conjugal life have been broken; husband and wife have been sundered by death, and sometimes have gone together “ the way of all the earth.” The heads of families have been
• An unusual frequency of death had occurred in the Parish, to the circumstances of which, allusion was here particularly intended.
taken away; or, if these are spared, the members have been diminished ; and these are but the wonted vicissitudes of sublunary things, though among ourselves certainly of late more frequent, and more striking in the circumstances that attended them.
But wherefore do we refer at present to a topic which is so familiar to you all ? Certainly not with a view to recal painful feelings to those whom God has comforted for past bereavements; and not with a design to deepen wounds of grief for recent loss, which are not yet mollified or closed. We would rather wipe away a tear from affliction, than untenderly solicit an excess of sorrows, which it is piety to moderate, and an exercise of grace well pleasing in the sight of God to restrain. Yet when we perceive so many falling around us, and so many living as if they were never to die, it is our duty to lift up a warning, as well as a consoling voice, in order to rouse the thoughtless, by such awakening calls from the grave, to entertain at length the serious consideration of their latter end. And as, in this view, it is proper to notice in their season, examples of mortality in general, and without reference to character, so there are some deaths which have a peculiar claim on
our more solemn observationdeaths which occur among the people of God; the disregard of which marks an obdurate age, and constitutes in the text a subject of complaint against the men of Israel in the prophet's day. He was sent to his countrymen to complain of their sinful inattention to those providences of God, by which righteous and merciful men were removed from the earth; and this was done, first, to admonish them of the loss which they themselves had sustained by those bereavements; and, in the next place, to vindicate the divine goodness in the perhaps early and unexpected removal of such persons from the land of the living, by opening up a view of the blessedness of their condition beyond the grave. On each of these departments of the subject, we shall offer a few illustrative remarks..
I. If men regard the interests of the present time; if public tranquillity and social order are dear to them; and if it be good for them to dwell in a land on which no vials of wrath are poured from above; then ought they to value the righteous and the merciful while alive, and to lament their decease as a general calamity, as in truth it is; for such characters are a blessing to the places around