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immortal glory and happiness, not to be blind and deaf to the repeated warnings given you by your kind parent God. Though the aMictions do not happen immediately to you, they happen for you; and though all seems well at present, which of you knows how soon the Lord may visit you in his fierce anger? Which of you, young or old, can say that your souls will not next, perhaps this very night, be required of you? And think, O think, if you have never been led to remember God, by the repeated warnings given you in this world, how unfit a time it will be to remember him, when you are just stepping into the next; when (as you have seen in the case of many younger and stronger than most of you here), you shall be struck senseless on a death-bed at once, and know not the father that begat you, nor are conscious of the tears of her that gave you suck?
If you can but think on these things, the vanity of this world, and the eternity of the next; if you can but think on the value of those souls, for which a God incarnate died, and sealed a covenant of grace with his blood, into which you have solemnly sworn yourselves; surely you will stop your ears against the allurements of the flesh, and the “ Voice of the charmer, charm he ever so wisely.” It may easily be gathered from what has been said, that this life has no continuance of unmixt pleasure for us; and that what alone can alleviate its evils, or make its goods give us any substantial joy, is a frequent reflection on the present state of things, and the drawing near to God, in holy remembrance of his adorable attri. butes, and our own absolute dependence on him.
Behold then once more this very God himself invites you to draw near to him, and commemorate him at his holy table*. Let him not, therefore, invite you in vain. Do not shamefully renounce your most exalted privilege, and wilfully cut yourselves off from the society of God's universal Church.
You all know what is required to make you meet partakers of this holy communion. It is a stedfast faith in the Gospel-promises and the mercies of God; a sincere repentance for past offences; an unfeigned purpose of future amendment, and an unbounded charity and benignity of heart towards all your fellowmortals, however seemingly different in sentiment and persuasion.
If you have these dispositions either begun now, or continued down to this day, from some earlier period of your lives, you need not fear, in all humility, to approach this holy communion.
“Up, escape for thy life; look not behind thee; stay not in all the plain; fly to the mountain, lest thou be consumed;" was the alarm rung in the ears of Lot by his good angels? Even so, permit me, in the sincerity of my heart, to alarm and exhort you. Up! fly for your lives to the mountain of your God. Let not your souls find any rest in all the plain of this life, till you have fixed on the everlasting rock of your salvation, and secured your interest in God, through Christ. Let no excuses detain you, nor linger while the danger is at hand.
I hope you will excuse my warmth on this occasion. I wish I had no ground for it. But the shafts of death fly thick around us. You cannot but miss many whom you saw here a few sabbaths ago; and some of them younger and stronger than most of you, particularly that dear youth, whose sudden and much lamented death has forced this train of reflection from me.
Such a dispensation ought to give particular warning to all; but to you more especially his dear companions and school-mates, I would apply myself; not doubting but the moral of his death will be acceptable to you, however unfavourably grave and serious subjects are generally received by persons of your years.
From the example before you, let me intreat you to be convinced that you hold your lives on a very precarious tenure, and that no period of your age is exempted from the common lot of mortality. But a few days ago, the deceased bore a part in all your studies and diversions, and enjoyed a share of health strength and spirits, inferior to none here. You all knew and loved him, and I beheld
you bedewing his
grave with becoming tears. Oh then! let it be your care so to behave yourselves, that, at whatever period you may be called from thence, you may fall equally beloved, and equally lamented.
Indeed, if any external circumstances could have arrested the inexorable hand of death; if any thing that nature could give, or a liberal education bestow, could have saved such a rising hope of his country; late, very late, had he received the fatal blow! He bid
fair to have been the longest liver among you, and my eyes would have been for ever closed, before any one had been called to pay the tribute due to his memory. But the disease was of the most obstinate kind. All the power of medicine, and all the love we bore to him, could not gain one supernumerary gasp. He fell in his bloom of youth; and, as I long loved, so I must long remember him, with pious regard.
To the will of Heaven, however, mine shall ever be resigned. “ Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil also ? The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord?” I sincerely believe that my dear pupil, , your deceased school-mate, is now in a far better state than this. He has happily escaped from a world of troubles. He has but just gone a little before us, and perhaps never could have gone more beloved, more lamented, or more prepared for an inheritance
What stronger proofs of affection could any one receive than he did? Though at a distance from his immediate connexions, strangers tended his sick-bed with paternal care. Strangers closed his eyes,
while their own trickled down with sorrow. Strangers followed him to the grave in mournful silence; and when his dust was committed to dust, strangers paid the last tributary drop?
Yet, after all, to have a son so loved and so honoured, even by strangers, and to be surprised with the news of his death before they heard of his sickness, must be a severe blow to the distant parents
But, why, alas! did this thought occur? Again my affections struggle with reason-again nature, thou wilt be conqueror-I can add no more. I have now done the last duty of love-let silent tears and grief unutterable speak the rest!
COMPRISING THE CHIEF HEADS OF THE FOREGOING
DISCOURSE; COMPOSED TO BE SUNG AFTER IT.
FATHER of all! still wise and good,
Save us from fortune's hollow smile,
Sometimes thy chast'ning hand employ,
Oft let us drop a pensive tear,
Teach us, while woes and deaths are nigh,
• The learned reader need not be told that the author here had Mr. Gray's" beautiful Hymn to Adversity before him.