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is rapidity of growth and declension. Ages are renew
ed, but the figure of the world passeth away. God on20 ly remains the same. The torrent that sweeps by, runs
at the base of his immutability; and he sees, with indignation, wretched mortals, as they pass along, insulting him by the visionary hope of sharing that attribute,
which belongs to Him alone. 25
It is to the incomprehensible oblivion of our mortality, that the world owes all its fascination. Observe for what man toils. Observe what it often costs him to become rich and great--dismal vicissitudes of hope and
disappointment--often all that can degrade the dignity 30 of his nature, and offend his God! Study the matter of
the pedestal, and the instability of the statue.--Scarce is it erected--scarce presented to the stare of the multitude--when death, staring like a massy fragment from
the summit of a mountain, dashes the proud colossus 35 into dust! Where, then, is the promised fruit of all
his toil ? Where the wretched and deluded being, who fondly promised himself that he had laid up much
goods for many years ?--Gone, my brethren, to his account, a
naked victim, trembling in the hands of the living God! 40 Yes, my brethren, the final catastrophe of all human pasa
sions, is rapid as it is awful. Fancy yourselves on that bed from which you never shall arise, and the reflection will exhibit like a true and faithful mirror, what shadows
we are, and what shadows we pursue. Happy they 45 who meet that great, inevitable transition, full of days!
Unhappy they who meet it but to tremble and despair ! Then it is that man learns wisdom, when too late ; then it is that every thing will forsake him, but his vir
tues or his crimes. To him the world is past; digni50 ties, honors, pleasure, glory; past like the cloud of the
morning! nor could all that the great globe inherits, afford him at the tremendous hour, as much consolation, as the recollection of having given but one cup of cold
water to a child of wretchedness, in the name of Christ 55 Jesus !
114. Death of Hamilton. - A short time since, and he who is the occasion of our sorrows, was the ornament of his country. He stood on an eminence; and glory covered him. From that em
inence he has fallen---suddenly, forever, fallen. His 5 intercourse with the living world is now ended; and
those who would hereafter find him must seek him in the grave. There, cold and lifeless, is the heart which just now was the seat of friendship. There, dim and
sightless is the eye, whose radiant and enlivening orb 10 beamed with intelligence; and there, closed forever are
those lips, on whose persuasive accents we have so often and so lately hung with transport.
From the darkness which rests upon his tomb there proceeds, methinks, a light in which it is clearly seen 15 that those gaudy objects which men pursue are only
phantoms. In this light how dimly shines the splendor of victory--how humble appears the majesty of grandeur. The bubble which seemed to have so much so
lidity has burst : and we again see that all below the sun 20 is vanity.
True, the funeral eulogy has been pronounced. The sad and solemn procession has moved. The badge of mourning has already been decreed, and presently the
sculptured marble will lift up its front, proud to perpet25 uate the name of Hamilton, and rehearse to the passing traveller his virtues.
Just tributes of respect! And to the living useful. But to him, mouldering in his narrow and humble habit
ation, what are they?-How vain? how unavailing ? 30
Approach, and behold--while I lift from his sepulchre its covering. Ye admirers of his greatness, ye emulous of his talents and his fame, approach, and behold him now.
How pale ! how silent! No martial bands admire the adroitness of his movements. No fascina35 ted throng weep--and melt—and tremble at his elobim !-During a life so transitory, what lasting monu40 ment then can our fondest hopes erect?
quence !--Amazing change. A shroud! a coffin ! a narrow subterraneous cabin! This is all that now remains of Hamilton! And is this all that remains of
My brethren! we stand on the borders of an awful gulf, which is swallowing up all things human. And is there, amidst this universal wreck, nothing stable, noth
ing abiding, nothing immortal, on which poor, frail, dy45 ing man can fasten ?
Ask the hero, ask the statesman, whose wisdom you have been accustomed to revere, and he will tell you. He will tell you, did I say? He has already told you,
from his death-bed, and his illumined spirit still whispers 50 from the heavens, with well-known eloquence, the solemn admonition :
“Mortals! hastening to the tomb, and once the companions of my pilgrimage, take warning and avoid my
errors-Cultivate the virtues I have recommended55 Choose the Savior I have chosen-live disinterestedly
Live for immortality; and would you rescue any thing from final dissolution, lay it up in God.” Nott.
115. The Crucifixion. When our Redeemer expired on the cross, sympathizing nature was convulsed! The sun was suddenly enveloped in midnight darkness, and confusion reigned!
But I shall pass by these terrific events, in order to lead 5 your attention to more important objects.
The cross erected on Mount Calvary was the standard of victory, to which even thought was to be led captive, and before which imaginations were to be cast down ; that is to
say, human wisdom and skeptic reluctance. No voice 10 sublime was heard sounding from a thunder-bearing
cloud, as of old from the heights of Sinai! No approach was observed of that formidable Majesty, before whom the mountains melt as wax! Where, where was the
warlike preparation of that power which was to subdue 15 the world ? See the whole artillery collected on Mount
Calvary, in the exhibition of a cross, of an agonizing
Religious truth was exiled from the earth, and idolatry sat brooding over the moral world. The Egyptians, 20 the fathers of philosophy, the Grecians, the inventors of
the fine arts, the Romans, the conquerors of the universe, were all unfortunately celebrated for the perversion of religious worship, for the gross errors they ad
mitted into their belief, and the indignities they offered 25 to the true religion. Minerals, vegetables, animals, the
elements, became objects of adoration; even abstract visionary forms, such as fevers and distempers, received the honors of deification : and to the most infamous
rices, and dissolute passions, altars were erected. The 30 world, which God had made to manifest his power,
seemed to have become a temple of idols, where every thing was god but God himself!
The mystery of the crucifixion was the remedy the
Almighty ordained for this universal idolatry. He knew 35 the mind of man, and knew that it was not by reason
ing an error must be destroyed, which reasoning had not established. Idolatry prevailed by the suppression of reason, by suffering the senses to predominate,
which are apt to clothe every thing with the qualities 40 with which they are affected. Men gave the Divinity
their own figure, and attributed to him their vices and passions. Reasoning had no share in so brutal an er
It was a subversion of reason, a delirium, a phrensy. Argue with a phrenetic person, you do but the 45 more provoke him, and render the distemper incurable.
Neither will reasoning cure the delirium of idolatry. What has learned antiquity gained by her elaborate discourses ? her reasonings so artfully framed? Did Pla
to, with that eloquence which was styled divine, over50 throw one single altar where monstrous divinities were
worshipped ? Experience hath shown that the overthrow of idolatry could not be the work of reason alone. Far from committing to human wisdom the cure of such a
malady, God completed its confusion by the mystery of 55 the cross. Idolatry (if rightly understood) took its rise
from that profound self-attachment inherent in our nature. Thus it was that the Pagan mythology teemed with deities who were subject to human passions, weak