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for this assistance at the dawning of this blessed day; we prayed for it as we ascended this pulpit, and again before we began this exercise; with prayer for divine assistance we began this discourse, and now we are go ing to pray for it again. My dear brethren, unite your prayers with ours, and let us mu tually say to God;

O thou rock of ages! Thou author of those great mysteries, with which the whole Christian world resounds to day! make thy 'work

the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,' Heb. xii. 4. 12. At other times we summon you to suffer a death more painful than your own; we require you to dissolve the tender ties that unite your hearts to your relatives and friends; we adjure you to break the bonds that constitute all the happiness of your lives, and we utter this language, or shall I rather say, thunder this terrible gradation in the name of the Almighty God, Take now thy son-thine only son- -Isaacwhom thou lovest-and offer him for a burnt-perfect,' Deut. xxxii. 4. Let the end of all these mysteries be the salvation of this people. Yea, Lord! the incarnation of thy Word; the sufferings, to which thou didst expose him; the vilals of thy wrath, poured on this victim, innocent indeed in himself, but criminal as he was charged with all our sins; the cross to which thou didst deliver him; the power that thou didst display in raising him from the tomb, conqueror over death and hell; all these mysteries were designed for the salvation of those believers, whom the devotion of this day has assembled in this sacred place. Save them, O Lord! God of peace! who didst bring again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make them perfect in every good word to do thy will; work in them that which is well-pleasing in thy sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen,' Heb. xiii. 20, 21.

'The love of Christ constraineth us.' This is our text. Almost every expression in it is equivocal: but its ambiguity does not diminish its beauty. Every path of explication is strewed with flowers, and we meet with only great and interesting objects even conformable to the mysteries of this day and the ceremony that assembles us in this holy place. If there be a passage in the explication of which we have ever felt an inclination to adopt that maxim, which has been productive of so many bad comments, that is, that expositors ought to give to every passage of Scripture all the different senses which it will bear, it is this passage, which we have chosen for our text. Judge of it yourselves.

There is an ambiguity in the principal subject, of which our apostle speaks, The love of Christ. This phrase may signify either the love of Christ to us, or our love to him.

There is an ambiguity in the persons who are animated with this love. The love of Christ constraineth us; St. Paul means either the ministers of the gospel, of whom he speaks in the preceding and and following verses; or all believers, to the instruction of whom he consecrated all his writings.


There is also an ambiguity in the effects, which the apostle attributes to this love. He says, The love of Christ constraineth us,' the love of Christ uniteth, or presseth us. The love of Christ constraineth us,' may either signify, our love to Jesus Christ unites us to one another, because it collects and unites all our desires in one point, that is, in Jesus Christ the centre. In this sense St. Paul says, 'Love is the bond of perfectness,' Col. iii. 14, that is to say, the most perfect friendships, that can be formed, are those which have love for their principle. Thus if


offering upon one of the mountains, which I will tell thee of,' Gen. xxii. 2. To-day we demand all these. We require more than the sacrifice of your senses, more than that of your riches, more than that of your impatience, more than that of an only son; we demand a universal devotedness of yourselves to the author and finisher of your faith;' and to repeat the emphatical language of my text, which in its extensive compass involves, and includes all these duties, we require you 'henceforth not to live unto yourselves: but unto him, who died and rose again for you.' As we have great designs upon you, so we have great means of executing them. They are not only a few of the attractives of religion. They are not only such efforts as your ministers sometimes make, when uniting all their studies and all their abilities, they approach you with the power of the word. It is not only an august ceremony, or a solemn festival. They are all these put together. God has assembled them all in the marvellous transactions of this one day.

Here are all the attractives of religion. Here are all the united efforts of your ministers, who unanimously employ on these occasions all the penetration of their minds, all the tenderness of their hearts, all the power of language to awake your piety, and to incline you to render Jesus Christ love for love, and life for life. It is an august ceremony, in which, under the most simple symbols that nature affords, God represents the most sublime objects of religion to you. This is a solemn festival, the most solemn festival that Christians observe, this occasions them to express in songs of the highest joy their gratitude and praise to their deliverer, these are their sentiments, and thus they exult, The right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly!' Ps. cxviii. 15. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ,' Eph. i. 3. Blessed be God, who hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,' 1 Pet. i, 3.


And on what days, is it natural to suppose, should the preaching of the gospel perform those miracles which are promised to it, if not on such days as these? When, if not on such days as these, should,' the sword of the spirit, divide asunder soul and spirit, joints and marrow,' Eph. vi 17; Heb. iv. 12, and cut in twain every bond of self-love and sin? To all these means add the supernatural assistance that God communicates in a double portion in these circumstances to all those, whom a desire of reconciliation with heaven conducts to this assembly. We have prayed

my text were rendered love uniteth us together, it would express a sentiment very conformable to the scope of St. Paul in this epistle. He proposes in this epistle in general, and in this chapter in particular, to discourage those scandalous divisions which tore out the vitals of the church at Corinth, where party was against party, one part of the congregation against another part of the congregation, and one pastor was against another pastor.



The love of Christ constraineth us' may also signify, the love of Christ transports us, and carries us, as it were, out of ourselves. In this case the apostle must be supposed to allude to those inspirations, which the pagan priests pretended to receive from their gods, with which, they said, they were filled, and to those, with which the prophets of the true God were really animated. The original word is used in this sense in Acts, where it said, Paul was pressed in spirit, and testified to the Jews, that Jesus was Christ,' chap. xviii. 5. This explication approaches still nearer to the scope of St. Paul, and to the circumstances of the apostles. They had ecstacies. St. Peter in the city of Joppa was ' in an ecstacy.' St. Paul also was caught up to the third heaven,' chap. x. 10, not knowing whether he was in the body, or out of the body,' 2 Cor. xii. 2, 3. These ecstacies, these transports, these close communions with God, with which the inspired men were honoured, made them sometimes pass for idiots. This is the sense which some give to these words, We are fools for Christ's sake,' 1 Cor. iv. 10. This meaning of our text well comports with the words which immediately precede, Whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God; or whether we be sober, it is for your cause;' that is to say, if we be sometimes at such an immense distance from all sensible objects, if our minds be sometimes so absent from all the things that occupy and agitate the minds of other men, that we seem to be entirely 'beside ourselves,' it is because we are all concentrated in God; it is because our capacity, all absorbed in this great object, cannot attend to any thing that is not divine, or which does not proceed immediately from God.


The love of Christ constraineth us.' This expression may mean, (my brethren, it is not my usual method to fill my sermons with an enumeration of the different senses that interpreters have given of passages of Scripture: but all these explications, which I repeat, and with which perhaps I may overcharge my discourse to-day, appear to me so just and beautiful, that I cannot reconcile myself to the passing of them over in silence. When I adopt one, I seem to my self to regret the loss of another.) This, I say, may also signify, that the love of Jesus Christ to us surrounds us on every side;' or that our love to him pervades, and possesses all the powers of our souls.

The first sense of the original term is found in this saying of Jesus Christ concerning Jerusalem, The days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee and compass thee round, and keep


thee in on every side,' Luke xix. 43. The lat ter is a still more beautiful sense of the term, and perfectly agrees with the preceding words, already quoted, 'If we be beside ourselves, it is to God.' A prevalent passion deprives us at times of the liberty of reasoning justly, and of conversing accurately. Some take these famous words of St. Paul in this sense, I could wish myself accursed from Christ for my brethren,' Rom. ix. 3, and these of Moses, 'Forgive their sin, and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book,' Exod. xxxii. 32. Not that a believer in Christ can ever coolly consent to be seperated from Christ, or blotted out of the catalogue of those blessed souls, for whom God reserves eternal happiness: but these expressions flow from transports of love' in holy men. They were beside themselves,' transported beyond their judgment. It is the state of a soul occupied with one great interest, animated with only one great passion.

Finally, these words also are equivocal, If one died for all,' that is to say, if Jesus Christ has satisfied divine justice by his death for all men, then, all they who have recourse to it, are accounted to have satisfied it in his person. Or rather, 'If one died for all,' if no man can arrive at salvation but by the grace which the death of Christ obtained for him, then are all dead,' then all ought to take his death for a model by dying themselves to sin. Agreeably to this idea, St. Paul says, We are buried with him by baptism into death,' Rom. vi. 4, that is, the ceromony of wholly immersing us in water, when we were baptized, signified, that we died to sin, and that of raising us again from our immersion signified, that we would no more return to those disorderly practices, in which we lived before our conversion to Christianity. 'Knowing this,' adds our apostle, 'in that Christ died, he died unto sin once; but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God,' ver. 10. Thus in my text, 'If one died for all, then were all dead,' that is, agreeable to the following words, 'He died for all, that they which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves: but unto him, which died for them, and rose again.'

Such is the diversity of interpretations, of which the words of my text are susceptible. Nothing can be farther from my design, nothing would less comport with the holiness of this day, than to put each of these in an even balance, and to examine with scrupulosity which merited the preference. I would wish to unite them all, as far as it is practicable, and as far as the time allotted for this exer cise will allow. They, who have written on eloquence, should have remarked one figure of speech, which, I think, has not been observed, I mean, a sublime ambiguity. I understand by this, the artifice of a man, who, not being able to express his rich ideas by simple terms, of determinate meaning, makes use of others, which excite a multitude of ideas; like those war-machines that strike several ways at once. I could show you many examples of these traits of eloquence both in sacred and profane writers: but such discussions would be improper here. In general, we are fully persuaded, that

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the design of St. Paul in my text is to express the power of those impressions, which the love of Jesus Christ to mankind makes on the hearts of real Christians. This is an idea that reigns in all the writings of this apostle; and it especially prevails in this epistle, from which our text is taken. We all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory; even as by the spirit of the Lord,' 2. Cor. iii. 18. AÏways bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body,' chap. iv. 10. Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory: while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal,' ver 16.-18. He that hath wrought us for the self same thing, is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit,' chap. v. 5. are willing rather to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord,' ver. 8. Again in the text, The love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.' This is the language of a soul, on which the love of Christ makes lively and deep impressions.



Let us follow this idea, and, in order to unite, as far as union is practicable, all the different explications I have mentioned, let us consider these impressions,

that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.'

I. Let us consider the impressions of the love of Christ on us in regard to the vehe mence of those desires, and the vivacity of those sentiments, which are excited by it in the soul of a real Christian. I am well aware that lively sentiments, and vehement desires, seem entirely chimerical to some people. There are many persons, who imagine that the degree, to which they have carried piety, is the highest that can be attained; that there is no going beyond it; and that all higher pretensions are unsubstantial, and enthusiastical. Agreeably to this notion, they think it right to strike out of the list of real virtues as many as their preachers recommend of this kind, although they seem celebrated in Scripture, and beautifully exemplified in the lives of the holy men of old. I am speaking now of zeal and fervour. This pretence, all extravagant as it is, seems to be founded on reason, and has I know not what of the serious and grave in its extravagance. It is impossible, say they, that abstract truths should make the same impressions, on men composed of flesh and blood, as sensible objects do. Now all is abstract in religion. An invisible Redeemer, invisible assistance, an invisible judge, invisible punishments, invisible rewards.


Were the people, whom I oppose, to attri bute their coldness and indifference to their own frailty; were they endeavouring to correct it; were they succeeding in attempts to free themselves from it; we would not reply to their pretence: but, when they are systematically cold and indolent; when, not content with a passive obedience to these deplorable dispositions, they refuse to grant the ministers of the gospel the liberty of attacking them; when they pretend that we should meditate on the doctrines of redemp tion and on a geometrical calculation with equal coolness; that these words, God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son to save it,' should be pronounced with the same indifference as these, 'The whole is greater than a part,' this is the height of injustice. We are not obliged, we think, to reason with people of this kind, and while they remain destitute of that faculty, without which they cannot enter into those demonstrations, which we could produce on this article, it would be in vain to pretend to convince them.


I. In regard to the vehement desires and sentiments they excite in our hearts. This love constraineth,' it possesses, it transports



II. In regard to the several recipients of it. The love of Christ constraineth us,' us believers, and particularly us ministers of the gospel, who are heralds of the love of God.

III. In regard to the consolations which are experienced through the influence of love in the miseries of life, and in the agonies of death, of which the apostle speaks in the preceding verses.

IV. In regard to the universality of that devotedness, with which these sentiments inspire us to this Jesus, who has loved us in a manner so tender. He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.'

After we have considered these ideas separately, I will endeavour to unite them all together, and apply them to the mystery of this day. God grant, when you come to the table of Jesus Christ, when you receive from our hands the bread and the wine, the symbols of his love, when in his name we say to you, This is my body, this is my blood;' you may answer, from the bottom of a soul penetrated with this love, The love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead; and

After all, we glory in being treated by persons of this kind in the same manner, in which they would have treated saints of the highest order, those eminent pietists, who felt the fine emotions, which they style enthusiasm and fanaticism. What impressions of religion, had Moses, David, Elias, and many other saints, a list of whom we have not time to produce? Were the sentiments of those men cold, who uttered their emotions in such language as this? O Lord! I beseech thee, show me thy glory,' Exod. xxxiii. 18. O Lord! forgive their sin, or blot me, I pray thee, out of the book,' chap. xxxii. 32. I have been very jealous for the

Lord God of hosts,' 1 Kings xix. 10. 'The, me,' Gal. ii. 20. He that has wrought us
zeal of thine house hath eaten me up,' Ps. for the self-same thing is God, who also has
lxix. 9. How amiable are these tabernacles, given unto us the earnest of his Spirit. The
O Lord of hosts! My heart and my flesh cry love of Christ constraineth us, because we
out for the living God. When shall I come, thus judge, that if one died for all, then
and appear before God? Before thine altars, were all dead.' This is the language of a
O Lord of hosts, my king, and my God!' Ps. heart inflamed with an idea of the love of
lxxxiv. 1-3. As the hart panteth after Christ.
the water brooks, so panteth my soul after
thee, O God! My soul thirsteth for God, for
the living God!' chap. xlii. 1, 2. Love is
strong as death. Jealousy is cruel as the
grave. The coals thereof are coals of fire.
Many waters cannot quench love, neither can
the floods drown it,' Cant. viii. 6, 7.


II. Let us consider the impressions of the
love of Jesus Christ in regard to the dif
ferent receivers of it. The love of Christ
constraineth us,' us, that is to say us be-
lievers, whatever rank we occupy in the
church: but in a particular manner us apos-
tles of the Lord. I have already intimated,
that my text may be considered as an ex-
plication of what related to the apostles

the foregoing verse. What idea had St.
Paul given of apostleship in the preceding
verses? He had represented these holy men
as all taken up with the duties of their of-
fice; as surmounting the greatest obstacles;
as triumphing over the most violent con-
flicts in the discharge of their function; as
acquitting themselves with a rectitude of con-
science capable of sustaining the strictest
scrutiny of men, yea of God himself; as
deeply sensible of the honour that God had
put upon them, by calling them to such a
work; as devoting all their labours, all their
diligence, and all their time, to the salvation
of the souls of men. We must repeat all the
foregoing chapters, were we to confirm these
observations by the apostle's own words. In
these chapters we meet with the following
expressions. Our rejoicing is this, the tes-
timony of our conscience, 2 Cor. i. 12.
'Thanks be unto God, which always causeth
us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest
the savour of his knowledge by us in every
place,' chap. ii. 14. We are not as many,
which corrupt the word of God: but as of
sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God
speak we in Christ,' ver. 17. If the minis-
tration of death, written and engraven in
stones, was glorious, so that the children of
Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of
Moses, for the glory of his countenance,
which glory was to be done away; how shall
not the ministration of the Spirit be rather
glorious? chap. iii. 7, 8. 'All things are for
your sakes, that abundant grace might re-
dound to the glory of God,' chap. iv. 15. To
the same purpose are the words immediately
preceding the text. 'Whether we be beside
ourselves, it is to God, or whether we be
sober, it is for your cause.'
What cause pro-
duced all these noble effects? What object
animated St. Paul, and the other apostles, to
fill up the noble character they bore in a man-
ner so glorious? St. Paul tells you in the
text, The love of Christ constraineth us;'
that is to say, the love of Jesus Christ to his
church makes such deep and lively impres-
sions on our hearts, that we can never lose
sight of it. We think we can never take too
much pains for the good of a society, which
Jesus Christ so tenderly loves. We are so
filled with gratitude for his condescension,
first for incorporating us into this august
body, and next for substituting us to act in
his place, that we rejoice in every opportuni-
ty of sacrificing all to express our sense of it.



If religion has produced such lively sentiments, such vehement desires in the hearts of those believers, who saw in a very imper-in fect manner the objects, that are most capable of producing them, I mean the cross, and all its mysteries, what emotions ought not to be excited in us, who behold them in a light so clear?


Ah, sinner! thou miserable victim of death and hell, recollect the means that grace has employed to deliver thee! raised from the bottom of a black abyss, contemplate the love that brought thee up, behold, stretch thy soul, and measure the dimensions of it. Represent to thyself the Son of God enjoying in the bosom of his Father ineffable delights, himself the object of his adorable Father's love. Behold the Son of God casting his eyes on this earth, touched with a sight of the miseries into which sin had plunged the wretched posterity of Adam; forming from all eternity the generous design of suffering in thy stead, and executing his purpose in the fulness of time. See him, whom angels adore, uniting himself to mortal flesh in the virgin's womb, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger at Bethlehem. Represent to thyself Jesus suffering the just displeasure of God in the garden of Gethsemane; sinking under the weight of thy sins, with which he was charged; crying in the extremity of his pain, O my Father! if it be possible, let this cup pass from me! See Jesus passing over the brook Cedron, carrying to Calvary his cross, execrated by an unbridled populace, fastened to the infamous instrument of his punishment, crowned with thorns, and rent asunder with nails; losing sight for a while of the love of his Father, which constituted all his peace and joy; bowing under the last stroke, and uttering these tragical words, which ought to make all sinners shed tears of blood, My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me? Ah! philosophical gravity! cool reasoning! how misemployed are ye in meditating these deep mysteries! How excellent is thy loving kindness, O God!' Ps. xxxvi. 7. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night-watches,' Ps. lxiii. 5, 6. The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us,' Rom. v. 5. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for

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These are the true sentiments of a minister of the gospel. When I speak of a minister of the gospel, I do not mean a minister by trade and profession only, I mean a minister by inclination and affection. For, my brethren, there are two sorts of ministers, the one I may justly denominate trading ministers, the other affectionate ministers. A trading minister, who considers the functions of his ministry in temporal views only, who studies the evidences and doctrines of religion, not to confirm himself, but to convince others, who puts on the exterior of piety, but is destitute of the sentiments of it, is a character sordid and base, I had almost said odious, and execrable. What character can be more odious and execrable, than that of a man, who gives evidence of a truth, which he himself does not believe? Who excites the most lively emotions in an auditory, while he himself is less affected than any of his hearers? But there is also a minister by inclination and affection, who studies the truths of religion, because they present to him the most sublime objects, that a reasonable creature can contemplate, and who speaks with eagerness and vehemence on these truths, because, he perceives, they only are worthy of governing intelligent beings.


the impressions of the love of Jesus Christ III. Let us add a few considerations on in regard to the consolations which they afford in the miseries of life, and in the ago nies of death.'

tian surmount pain? By what unheard of By what unheard of secret does the Chrissecret does he find pleasure in the idea of death? 'The love of Christ possesseth us, because St. Paul informs us in the text. we thus judge, that if one died for all, then all dead,' this is the source of the consolawere all dead. If one died for all, then were tions of a dying man, this is the only rational system that men have opposed against the fears of death. All besides are vain and feeble, not to say stupid and absurd.

under the fear of death than the presumpWhat can be more improper to support us tions, the uncertainties, the tremulous hopes of a Socrates, or a Seneca, or other pagan philosophers?

the fear of death than distant consequences What can be less likely to arm us against drawn from confused notions of the nature of the soul, such as natural religion affords? What can be less substantial than vague speculations on the benevolence of the Supreme Being?


What effects does a meditation of the love of God in Christ produce on the heart of such a minister? St. Paul mentions the effects in the text, The love of Christ constraineth, surroundeth, presseth, transporteth, him. My brethren, pardon me if I the greatest part of you are not capable of say entering into these reflections; for, as you consider the greatest mysteries of the gospel only in a vague and superficial manner, you neither know the solidity nor the beauty of them, you neither perceive the foundation, the connexion, nor the glory of them. Hence it is, that your minds are unhappy when they attend long to these subjects; reading tires you, meditation fatigues you, a discourse of an hour wears out all your patience, the languor of your desires answers to the na- shudder when I see a miserable creature The pains that precede it, terrify me. I ture of your applications, and your sacrifi- burning with a fever, suffocated, tormented, ces to religion correspond to the faintness of enduring more on a death-bed than a crimithose desires, and to the dulness of those ap-nal suffers on a scaffold or a wheel. When plications, which produced them. not thus with St. Paul, nor is it thus with into which I must shortly come. It was I see this, I say to myself, this is the state such a minister of the gospel as I have described. As he meditates, he learns; as he learns, his desire of knowing increases. He sees the whole chain of wonders, that God has wrought for the salvation of men; he admires to see a promise made to Adam renewed to Abraham; he rejoices to find a promise renewed to Abraham confirmed to Moses; he is delighted to see a promise confirmed to Moses published by the prophets, and long after that publication accomplished by Jesus Christ. Charmed with all these duties, he thinks it felicity to enter into the views and the functions of Jesus Christ, and to become a worker together with him,' chap. vi. 1; this work engrosses all his thoughts; he lives only to advance it; he sacrifices all to this great design; he is 'beside himself. Why? constraineth him.' The love of Christ

rify me. The sacrifices to which death calls us, termy soul with insufferable grief, I am not I am not able, without rending able to look at the dismal veil that is about to cover every object of my delight. Ah! how my strongest bonds, leaving my nearest recan I bear to contemplate myself dissolving lations, quitting, for ever quitting, my most tender friends, and tearing myself from my own family?

dy, terrifies me. I cannot without horror
The state into which death brings my bo-
figure to myself my funeral, my coffin, my
grave, my organs, to which my Creator has
so closely united my soul, cold and motion-
less, without feeling and life.

fore which death will place me, terrifies me.
Above all, the idea of a just tribuna', be-
My hair starts and stiffens on my head, my
blood freezes in my veins, my thoughts trem-

any thing be less capable of supporting us unCan any thing be more extravagant, can der the fear of death, than that art which worldlings use, of avoiding the sight of it, and of stupifying the soul in tumult and noise?

us not affect an intrepidity which we are inLet us not assume a brutal courage; let capable of maintaining, and which will deceive us, when the enemy comes. Poor mortal! victim of death and hell! do not say, 'I am increased in goods, and have need of nothing,' Rev. iii. 17, while every voice around thee cries, Thou art poor and miserable, blind and naked.' Let us acknowledge our miseries. Every thing in dying terrifies me.


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