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death in the chambers of our princes, held out no warning to ourselves. Perbaps we fancied, that when his desolating steps were seen within our palace-gates, our own lowlier abodes inight be spared from his wasting visitations ? But alas ! has this been the case? Has not the destroying angel been busy around us? Have we no friend to lament, no parent nor child to deplore: Have the ties of affection remained unbroken? Has no link been severed from the chain of social love? Even within the narrow circle of our weekly assemblage for the duties of public worship, does the eye miss no countenance, on which it had long been accustomed to rest? Is no voice silent, which had duly, every revolving sabbath, joined in the common sacrifice of prayer and praise? Do we trust in our youth and strength ? Do we expect to ward off the assaults of death, by the vigour and activity of our frames : Or do we hope to move bim to compassion, by the tenderness of our age, or that in his indiscriminating harvest, the green corn will be spared, and the ripe alone be taken? Has the past year, my brethren, afforded us no proofs of the futility of such imaginations ? Do we know of none, who welcomed its dawn with all the buoyant aspirations of youth and health, who are now cold in the silent grave; the bright promise of their future years, buried in the night of the tomb, and the light of their earthly hopes quenched for ever? Has not the lamp of thousands been extinguished, almost ere it had been kindled into flame? Yes, my brethren, since you last met at this season, the cherub smile of infancy, the generous glow of youth, the vigorous arm of manhood, as well as the weakness of declining age, have become the prey of the spoiler. “ Yet, strange, the living lay it not to heart.” The instruction which such fearful lessons are calculated to convey, seldom sinks deep into our minds. We see our friends and acquaintance fall around us, like leaves before the autumn blast, and yet take no warning from their fate. Each succeding year reduces the circle within still narrower limits, and yet we deem ourselves secure. We are cased it would seem in armour of proof. The arrow that fieth by night, and the pestilence that walketh in noon-day, have no terrors for us. But the fate of those who are gone before, affords us an awful proof of the fallibility of such dreams of exclusive privilege.

Shall we not then profit by their error, instead of becoming the dupe of it ourselves ? Shall we pot be prepared for the summons, whenever it may arrive, rather than be surprised in an hour when we are not aware: Shall we not watch and pray, that we may be ready at the master's coming? It is a fearful thing, my brethren, to


fall unprepared into the hands of the living God; to be called before his tribunal, with our sins around us, unrepented of and unforgiven. Yet to this dreadful alternative we must all subunit, if we persist in our heedless career, regardless of his menaces or his invitations. This life is a state of probation and self-denial. We are placed here, not to consider the world as our only home, our first and final resting place; but as a preparation for another and a better state of existence. We are surrounded indeed by allurements and temptations, but we may not yield to their witcheries and intoxications, which beguile only to betray. We are commonly, indeed, blind to this inevitable result of earthly indulgence; we will not see in guilt, that its end is misery. But enquire, I beseech you, for yourselves. Ask those who have drank the deepest of the cup of sinful pleasures, what has been the fruit of their excesses? Have they derived the satisfaction which they had anticipated? Does no remorse for talents wasted, and time mispent, ever intrude upon their hours of mirth? Are their slumbers unbroken by visions of evil perpetrated, and of injuries inflicted? Does not the curse of the friendless and forsaken, sit heavy on the soul of him who has made them destitute? Do not the wrongs of the widow and the orphan, press with fearful force upon the conscience of the oppressor

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and the false-hearted? When the accents of prayer and thanksgiving fall upon the ears of one who is an alien from God's service, does no pang follow the reflection, that he has never prayed ? Will the pillow of sickness be smoothed, or the bed of death made tranquil, when the sufferer remembers that he has made no peace with God, that he has laid up no treasures in heaven? Are sins unatoned for, guilt unpardoned, fit ministers to berald the departing soal into the

presence of its Maker? If there be one here present, who has lived till this hour in unthinking and careless security; “who has forsaken' the guide of his youth, and forgotten the covenant of his God;" to whom each revolving year, has been marked only by deeper and blacker guilt; I implore him to pause one moment, ere he advance farther in the path of perdition. Let hin consider what must be the consequences of his fatal obstinacy, if he turn not from his present ways. Perhaps he means to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, and then return to the forsaken temples, and neglected worship of Jehovah; perhaps he deems that whilst in health, and in the vigour of his strength, he has nothing to do with the sacraments and services of religion; that it will be time enough to become a partaker in them, when oppressed by sickness or bowed down by age. Fatal delusion! to wait for seasons that may ne

the grave.

ver come, opportunities that may never be found. Oh! let him rather learn from sad experience, that in a day, in an hour, in a moment, his place on the stage of life may be vacant, and that the sickness to which he looks forward may be the sickness of death. The destroyer gives not always warning of his approach. Many are cut off so suddenly, as to pass from a state apparently of perfect health, to the stillness and silence of

Do instances like these, contain nothing to alarm our fears; nothing to remind us, that our own fate may, like theirs, be in an instant decided ? Do we not dread that God, justly provoked by our lengthened obduracy, inay leave us to the guidance of our own depraved affections, and the sway of our own ungoverned appetites, and in the words of the Apostle, give us over to a reprobate mind?” The commencement of a new year,


a season which we are wont to celebrate, with feelings of joy and gladness; and to some, perhaps, the considerations which I have urged to day, may seem intended to check those emotions of pleasure, with which we generally welcome in this annual festival. But true religion has no necessary connexion with monkish austerity and gloom, nor does Christianity look, with an unwilling eye, upon those innocent and social delights, which bind man closer to man, which call forth and en

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