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righteousness, that we are to abound in the hopes of glory. It is by adding to our faith all the vir. tues of the Christian character, that we are to make our calling and election sure. If we do this, we shall never fall, but an entrance will be ministred to us abundantly into the kingdom of Christ.
The Death of the Young lamented and improved.
A Funeral Sermon.
'JOB xiv, 19.
Thou destroyeft the Hope of man.
OPE is a principle, which prompts all our actions, and animates us in all the business of life. Whatever we undertake, we are influenced by the hope of some good to compensate our la. bours.
“He that ploweth, ploweth in hope ; and he that thresheth, is partaker of his hope." But the hope of man, though ordinarily in some degree realized, is frequently disappointed. Job observes, that even a mountains decay, and rocks are removed ; that waters wear the stones and wash away the things which grow out of the earth, and God destroyeth the hope of man.” This observation is verified, not only in floods, storms, and droughts, which cut off the hope of harvest, but in a thousand other unexpected occurrences, which defeat our worldly designs. The truth of it is never more visibly manifested, and more fenfibly felt, than when hopeful youths are snatched out of life, just as their promising virtues and talents begin to raise the expectations of those who know them. Such events Job seems to have had in view, for he adds, “ Thou prevailedt forever againft him, and he pafseth ; thou changeft his countenance, and sendest him away."
The young are the hope of man. But this hope is often destroyed.
The young are the hope of man.
The human kind is continued by succession. “ One generation pafseth away, and another cometh.”. The mortals now on the stage are foon to withdraw, and return no more.
Were the race of men to be terminated with the present generation, and the earth to become a dreary waste, as foon as they were gone, the prospect before us would be covered with an impenetrable gloom; our labours would languish, and our enterprise cease. But in the melancholy afsurance of our own speedy departure, our minds are comforted, and our prospects brightened, by the expectation that another generation will fucceed us, and still another, and that the succession will be continued for ages unknown. The youths now rising up are our hope and joy. These are soon to fill our places, enter on our labours, take the benefit of our improvements, and add to them improvements of their own, which the shortness of our time will not permit us to make. We seem to ourselves, as if we should live in them after we are dead.
The rising generation is an effential link in the long chain of human fuccefsion. As we have been the instruments of bringing them into existence,
so they, in their turn, will be the instruments of bringing forward another generation, and these again of another; and thus the succession is to be maintained, until that diftant period, when the earth itself thall pass away.
The young are the hope of society. They are soon to Itand in our lot; to poffefs our property; to take up our duties; to sustain our offices ; to enjoy our privileges, and hand them forward to the mortals, who will succeed them.
We value the gospel, which, by the piety of our fathers, has been transmitted to us. We view it as a most precious gift of God to fallen men. We know it to be the great charter of our eternal hopes. What it is to us, the fame muft it be to all who come after us. Could we believe, that they who shall live here fome centuries hence, would be ftrangers to divine revelation ; in this fad anticipation, we should lament their unhappy fate, and think it would be good for them not to be born. But we look on the youth now advancing forward, and hope, that by their means this richest of all blessings will be transmitted to distant ages. We refolve to commit it to them, to educate them in the knowledge of it and inculcate upon them its facred importance. We hope, that they, in their turn, will do the same, when a new generation shall follow them, and that thus remote ages will be pious and happy by the vir. tue and fidelity of the youths, who are now growing up under our care.
Some of us feel old age invading them ; others see it advancing toward them. We realize, that soon we shall be taken off from the active labours of life, and placed in a helpless and dependent condition. In the forethought of this evil day, we have comfort in our children, who, we think, will naturally care for us, nourish our feeble age, sustain our trembling frame, and requite the kindness we have shewn to them. “ As arrows in the hands of the mighty, so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver fall of them. They shall not be ashamed, but fhall speak with the enemies in the gate."
There are fome youths, of whom it may be said with special propriety, “ They are the hope of man.
When we see young men of promifing abilities, aspiring geniuses, and virtuous habits, coming forward into life, it is natural and just to hope, they will be blessings in society and in all their relations. We please ourselves with the expectation, that they will do much good in their day; will pro-, mote the interest of virtue and religion within their sphere ; advance the honour and happiness of the families to which they belong ; and, if they should stand at the head of families, the young, under their care, will be trained up to piety and use. fulness ; and thus innumerable blessings will descend to those, who shall hereafter be born.
As the young, in general, so the virtuous young in particular, are the hope of man. But this hope, as Job obferves, is often destroyed. The premature deaths of promising youths disappoint our flattering expectations. Instances of this kind are recorded in scripture, and still occur in the course of providence.
But why must it be so ?—Why may not our innocent hopes be realized ? —Why may not pi. ous and promising youths be fpared for a comfort to their friends and a blessing to the world ?“God's ways are not as our ways, nor his thoughts. as our thoughts. As the heavens are above the carth, so are his thoughts and ways above ours.".