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PRAISE IN LIFE AND IN DEATH.
[Rev. BENJAMIN CARPENTER.]*
E will sing praises to our God, while we have
our being. When we awake in the morning, refreshed with sleep; when we welcome the light of the sun, and go forth to the duties and enjoyments of the day, our voice of thanksgiving shalt thou hear, O Lord.
When we rest from our labour in the evening, and lie down on our bed of peace, then will we call to mind thy care over us, and praise thee, our God, who hast provided sleep for man.
When all nature smiles around us; when the earth is covered with grass, and adorned with flowers ; when the valleys stand thick with corn, and the trees are laden with fruits; when the tuneful birds warble their notes in thy praise, and numerous tribes of living creatures exult in thy bounty; we also will join the general song, and adore the riches of thy goodness.
In the barren months of winter, when the fields and groves no longer rejoice, when the feathered choir are no longer heard, and many of thy creatures are buried in forgetfulness; then our souls shall not forget thee, our lips shall not be silent in thy praise.
* Mr. Carpenter died at Old Swinford, Worcestershire, November 23rd, 1816. Aged 64.
When thou fillest our cup with blessings, and causest the voice of health and gladness to be heard in our dwellings; when our path is pleasant, and our prospects are cheering; then shall our tongues be employed in extolling thy loving kindness.
And when months of vanity and wearisome nights are appointed unto us; when dangers encompass our path, and sorrows depress our hearts; even then will we manifest our submission to thine infinite wisdom. Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be on the vines ; though the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields yield no meat; though the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; yet will we rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of our salvation.
Amidst all the changes of life and the various dispensations of thy providence; in abundance and in want; in success and in disappointment; in health and in sickness; in all things will we acknowledge and celebrate the goodness which, by useful discipline and trial, conducts us to a blessed and everlasting life.
And in the last solemn scene, when we lie on the bed of death : when our tongues can no longer express our thoughts, and all our bodily powers shall fail; then it shall be the language of our hearts, Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
THE BENEFIT OF SICKNESS.
(wasse's REFORMED DEVOTIONs.]
COME, let us praise the goodness of God who
orders every thing for the best: our life and our death are equally his care.
The Lord casts us down upon the bed of sickness; and draws the curtain between the world and us.
Shutting out all its vain designs; and contracting our business to a little chamber. In that quiet solitude, he speaks to our hearts, and sets our whole life, as in a mirror, before us.
There he discovers to us the treachery of the world, and invites us by the exhibition of its vanity, to prepare for a better.
Thither he sends his messengers of peace to perfect our reconciliation.
Oh! how different are the thoughts of that hour from those of careless unreflecting health!
How do we now censure what we once esteemed ! How easily are we led to wiser resolutions !
When our unruly senses are rebuked with pains ; and the fears of death teach the rashness of our minds sobriety;
When the occasions of sin are removed from our way, and every thing about us exhorts to repentance ;
Adored be thy name, O Lord! whose mercy sanctifies into a blessing even the chastisement of thy rod.
Thou bringest us low to awaken our humility, and prescribest sickness to cure our infirmity.
Thou commandest, and the grave is inexorable, with it is no respect of persons.
Thou tellest us by experience that all must die: but kindly hidest in clouds and darkness the time and place;
That every where we may be upon our guard, and, through all our days, may be looking for thy
Thou teachest us by the removal of those whom we love to renew the contemplation of our own grave, and the wholesome thoughts of a future world.
Let not, O Lord! these gracious designs be lost upon us ;
But let such scenes be attended with the most serious reflections upon our own mortality.
And oh! cause every meditation of this nature to make us the more diligent in preparing for our latter end.
DEATH THE LOT OF ALL MEN.
(wasse's REFORMED DEVOTIONS.
and that which is to come is unenjoyed. The present moment flies away, never to return.
Already we are dead to the years that we have lived, and we shall never live them over again,
We begin our race in weakness; and during our whole course, are exposed to innumerable dangers.
If we escape the hazards of childhood, and pass the rash adventures of youth,
Our own superfluous cares deliberately consume us, and the crosses of the world wear out our lives.
If by uncommon success we overcome all these, and still bear up our prosperous head ;
We are sure that at last, old age will find us, and bow down our strength to the grave ;
The grave, from which no privilege can exempt; the grave which no earthly power can controul.
At its call, the rich leave their wealth ; at its call, beauty and strength inherit corruption.
The busy man must find a time for death, though his full employment spare none to provide for its approach.
This when I consider I tremble and am afraid, since no one can tell how soon he may be called.
To-day, we are in health among our friends, tomorrow we are arrested by the hand of death.
Nature may faintly struggle for a time, but nature must yield at last, and be sown in dishonour.
Perhaps when we are mouldering in the grave, we shall be no more remembered than if we had never been.
Only our faith and our obedience, they will follow, and attend us into the world to come.
Give us eternal rest, O merciful God, and may the light of thy countenance shine upon us for ever!