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of life," by the easy and peaceful end of those who have walked therein. It were worth while to be a Christian, if it were only for the supports Christianity administers in sickness. You know “it is appointed to all men once to die.” Even you yourselves, young and healthy, as you may now be, and far as you may put the evil day from you, yet you cannot but know that you must one day die, as well as others; and you see, from the instance before us, that it is possible to die young. God, that weakened her strength in the way, may shorten your days; and ' suppose he should--suppose you were this evening to be attacked with a cough, or a pain in the side, or spitting of blood, or any of the other symptoms of a consumption. At first, perhaps, you take no notice of it: or hope. by air and exercise, or by rest and relaxation, to shake it off again. By degrees the disorder increases : business, and even diversions, grow burdensome; and you cannot bear. late hours and riotous excesses, which have been the greatest pleasure of your life. You begin to grow uneasy and fretful, and inwardly curse the distemper; and perhaps blaspheme the God that sent it upon you, or that doth not heal it again at your prayer. By and by you are alarmed, and in the greatest hurry send away for the physician, and submit to the most nauseous and mortifying regimen, and beg him to exert his utmost skill to rid you of this tormenting cough. A momentary mitigation gives you new spirits, and you do not doubt: but, when spring comes on, or a little good weather, that you can go abroad, you shall soon get well again ;--and no one must undeceive you. every amusement that can be thought of is intro
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 ånd 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, " 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 the 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.
“ So 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 momentwhat 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.
you may not think we condemn all feasting