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the same truth to your survivers. Remember that death constantly advances to you; and dare not to defer to a distant period your reconciliation with God, and your preparation for eternity.' Do you not hear others, who exclaim, Mortal man, esteem not yourself one moment free from the assaults of death; his arrow often flieth in darkness, and we have no warning of our danger till we feel it at our heart? The angel of destruction often wraps himself in invisibility, and we dream not of our peril till his stroke has laid us in the dust. Thus suddenly were we removed from earth: one moment beheld us secure and thoughtless, the next saw us taking the fearful plunge into eternity, and heard our irrevocable sentence pronounced by our Judge. Be instructed by our fate; for on you also death may suddenly descend like the vulture on his careless and unsuspecting prey; you also may in an instant be carried from the pleasures and pursuits of earth to the tremendous scenes of eternity.' In this manner do the dead preach to us the shortness and uncertainty of life, and a thousand other voices confirm their instructions Let us listen to some of those other witnesses, and let us strive to feel these salutary lessons, and to repress every sentiment inconsistent with the condition of a transitory, shortlived being.

Open then your scriptures, and see if they do not echo the voice of the dead; see in what terms they speak of that life in which you now exult, and which you fondly hope will be continued yet for a long time? They accumulate image upon image to teach you your frailty and instability; they range through all nature to find similitudes which will impress strongly upon your minds this important conviction. Some

times they represent to us our days under the emblem of a flower, which has scarcely expanded its leaves before it is withered: the wind blows upon it; it languishes on its stalk and perishes. Elsewhere our days are compared to the grass, verdant in the morning, cut down before the evening, and then destined to the commonest uses; to a shadow without any real substance; to a smoke which is dissipated by the air almost as soon as it rises; to a dream which amuses us for an instant and then is gone. Our days, still cry the scriptures, are swifter than those streams which impetuously roll their waves along, and advance with inconceivable rapidity towards the ocean, there to be swallowed up: they are like the flight of the eagle, when it cleaves the air and descends with rapidity on its prey. In. this manner the scriptures speak of the duration of human life; and when you examine your constitution and nature, can you doubt for a moment of the propriety of these representations? Look at yourselves, examine this nice and complicated machine, the human frame; behold the thousand delicate and almost imperceptible springs that are necessary to be continually kept in order, to prevent it from rushing to ruin; consider the almost infinite number of veins, of arteries, of nerves, of vessels, which compose this wonderful fabric, and then instead of expecting for a very long period to protract your days, you will be filled with wonder that you have not long since been laid in the dust. Every pore affords an avenue to death; every member opens him access to the seat of life: the air which you breathe, and which is necessary for the support of life, may carry death to your heart: the seeds of those disorders which may tear and destroy your constitution, were

perhaps sown at your birth, and may be already sprouting: the next breath which heaves your lungs may take in something, which no human skill can expel, and which may suspend for ever the vital functions. Place yourself in what situation you please; use the wisest precautions that the most skilful physicians can devise, yet still your body will be continually tending to dissolution; yet still the perpetual diminution of your strength will not be interrupted; yet still each day in your life will be a new combat with death, which, at length victorious, will exhaust this force, will break these springs, will destroy this machine, and reduce to its first principles this animated dust!

When you en

Do you say, Notwithstanding these representations, we see persons who have arrived to an advanced old age, and why may we not hope to attain the same period? I appeal to these very persons to prove the brevity of our lives. Yes, I address myself to you, old men, who wear those honours of the hoary head, which most of us who now throng the lists of life will never attain! Speak, and declare the shortness of human life! tered upon the world, and looked to the career that you were just about commencing, there appeared a vast interval between you and advanced age. You have passed over this interval, you have weathered the storms of time for sixty or seventy years; and now, from the elevated point where you stand, review the ground over which you have gone, and tell us whether this career, which at a distance appeared to you so extensive, does not now, that you have examined it more nearly, appear to have diminished to a span? Does it not seem that there is only a very little distance between the moment which

witnessed your birth, and that which is at present flying from you? Does it not appear that you only made one step, and passed from the torpid state of infancy to the vigour and sprightliness of youth? you advanced another step, and the swelling feature, the strengthened muscles, the deepened voice, warned you that you had started into manhood; another step succeeded, and to your astonishment the blossoms of the grave were upon your head, the hand of time impressed upon you the marks of approaching dissolution; and the relaxed nerves, the failing organs, the full feature melted down, showed you that you were in the vale of years! And now, having thus rapidly flown over life, though you may still flatter yourselves that you will remain some period longer upon earth; yet, look! you already touch the tomb-look! there is only an imperceptible line between you and eternity-look! the arrow of death already presses against your heart! What the experience of the aged thus proves, their observation of human life will still more abundantly confirm. Speak again, old men, and tell this people how few of those who set out with you in the morning of life, still accompany you in your journey. Tell them, though your heart must fill at the sad remembrance, that almost all your companions in early days have long since dropped away, and that you are left in a new generation! Tell them how often your bosom has been rifled of its dearest friends, till at last you are left to stand like a solitary pillar in the desert, while those that formerly reared their heads by your side are lying in ruins around you! Go, old men, visit the places of your nativity and childhood; then inform us of the revolutions you have seen, and your artless descriptions

will preach to our hearts the shortness of human life with the most persuasive eloquence. You will tell us, that abodes in which you had once been happy, were now occupied by new inhabitants, whilst their former tenants were lying in the grave. You will tell us, that you every where met with those of whom you had no remembrance; that, although the houses and trees beneath which you once sat with your friends, still remained, more long-lived than man, and recalled to you former scenes, yet the face which used so often to kindle into a smile at your approach, was now disfigured by corruption; and the hand which had so often given to yours the pressure of affection, was cold and motionless. You will tell us that, in inquiring for your former associates, you received as the almost uniform answer, "He is dead, and his body moulders in that grave." You will tell us, that the very few old friends whom you found amidst this scene of anguish, appeared broken down, and changed in every feature, and resembled some aged oaks stripped of all their honours, and ready to yield to the first storm. Such is the account that almost every old man would give us in returning from the scenes of his early life; and does it not most strongly prove the shortness of our abode on earth?

But why need we appeal to the experience of the aged? None of us have been for so short a period in the world, that we have not had opportunity to witness the same truth. Where is the family in which death has never made a fatal breach? Where is the parent or friend who has never had cause to mourn? Where is he who never had those ties which bound him to another rent asunder? Recall, each for yourself, the last tremulous accents, the

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