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to continue on the borders of the grave, when every tie which connects them with life is broken? Let the wicked fear to die, for fearful is the fate that awaits them; the sorrows they endure here are but the beginning of their woes; every step brings them nearer, not only to the grave, but to the eternal gulf; they are hastening where there is darkness and no light, sorrow and no joy, torment and no end, no intermission; death to them is the officer sent to arrest them, and to deliver them to the judge, that the judge may deliver them to the tormentors; but it comes to you in a different form, as a black messenger, it is true, but still a messenger of mercy, sent by your heavenly Father to remove you from all that pains and oppresses you, and to introduce you to the reign of life, to the society of the celestial temple, and to the enjoyment of the paradise of God.”

How blessed is your condition contrasted with that of the aged transgressor. How many there are of this description. It is always affecting to contemplate the condition of a sinner. The most attractive circumstances ought never to hide from our view the fearful destiny which hangs over his guilty head. When surrounded by the splendours of wealth, the gaieties of pleasure, and the flatteries of the world ; when exhibiting the interest of youth, and the sprightliness of wit, we ought not to forget, that these circumstances do not in the least alter bis condition in relation to God, nor can they avert the punishment that awaits him. But in the case of the aged transgressor, who is become grey in iniquity; who, throughout a lengthened life, has persisted in impenitence; whose habits of irreligion and contempt of God are all rooted and confirmed ; who is seen cleaving to sin, even when the power of enjoyment has left him ; who, at the time when the world is forsaking him, still clings to it with eager and pertinacious grasp, and evinces an anxiety to put away the thought of death in proportion to the nearness of its approach; there is in his case a variety of circumstances peculiarly affecting. There is an aggravation connected with bis guilt, and an hopelessness attaching to his condition, which do not belong to the earlier stages of existence. On him the mercies of a lengthened life have been bestowed in vain ; multiplied years have only served to multiply his sins; life is coming to a close, and yet not one day has been spent to any good purpose: nothing has been done for the soul and for eternity. Hope, which in other cases supports us, fails us here; for how difficult is the conversion of an aged transgressor. Miserable is his situation

even now.

Under the distresses which embitter old age he has none of the comforts of religion to support him. His nights are wakeful, but he has no pleasing recollections on the past to cheer bis solitary hours; his flesh is pained, but he has no consoling prospects in the future to mitigate his sufferings. Instead of having reason to expect relief under his burden of infirmity, it is aggravated by a sense of unpardoned sin. In a short time God will take him away from the frailties of age, but it will be to deliver him to the pains of hell. The sins of a long life must be answered for. These require a furnace seven times hotter than usual, and they will have it. This life has been a treasuring up of wrath against the day of wrath. You have seen the agonies of a suffering infant; and did not the thought strike you, if original sin is thus punished, what do the transgressions of a long life deserve? If those things are done in the green tree, what will be done in the dry? It is truly painful to behold such characters, and from them the mind eagerly turns away to mark the aged saint, rich in faith, and mature in holiness. The one is like a stagnant pool, in whose dark and corrupt waters venomous creatures have been multiplying, and rank weeds and noisome exhalations make it the object of disgust; the other is like the stream purifying in its course, and flowing onward to the sea with a current clear yet majestic. Be thank

ful, christian reader, to him who hath made thee thus to differ ; ascribe it entirely to the riches of God's grace, and be it your great concern that the last portion of your existence may, beyond every preceding one, tend to “shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into marvellous light."

AFFLICTION IN THE PROSPECT OF DEATH.

If sin be pardon'd, I'm secure,

Death has no sting beside;
The law gives sin its dreaded power,

But Christ for sin has died.

THOUGE I WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH, I WILL FEAR NO EVIL : FOR THOU ART WITH ME ; THY ROD AND THY STAFF, THEY COMFORT ME.

PSALM XXIII., IV.

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Death is an event which it is impossible for the human mind to contemplate with indifference: in itself it is awful, the object of instinctive aversion ; every thing that has life flees from it, and manifests the primary aim of all its powers and faculties to be preservation, or the avoidance of that state which terminates existence. Dreadful as death is to all sentient beings that move on the face of the earth, it is yet more dreadful to man, to whom, by his circumstances, it is most importavt, because by the gift of reason he is qualified to reflect on its evils; to him as existence is more dignified, so it is more sweet, and he clings to it with proportionate tenacious

To resign this pleasing conscious being, and to die, is a revolting thought. Who hath not trembled in the anticipation? Who hath not felt unutterable emotions as he hath beheld the victim of death stretched forth in humiliation and helplessness ? for how much there is in death to excite melap

ness.

AFFLICTION IN THE PROSPECT OF DEATH.

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choly and dread. There is the novelty of the case. Who knows what it is to die? No one has ever returned from the struggle to tell us what is meant by a conflict with the last enemy, and our own experience can furnish us with no assistance ; imagination, therefore, which usually magnifies an unknown evil, is left to cherish its worst and most gloomy anticipations. There is a dissolution of our connexion with the present world; with all those scenes with which we have been sensibly conversant, and of which alone we have any clear and adequate ideas; and with all those endeared objects to whom nature or friendship hath intimately united our hearts, and from whom to be separated is as the rending asunder of our own flesh. There is the destruction of the body, that marvellous fabric, which in its contrivance and execution displays in so striking a manner the wisdom and skill of the great Creator. How awful the stroke which dislodges the soul from its earthly tabernacle, and reduces the body, now warm and animated, and which we can hardly look upon without regarding it as our very self, into a lifeless clod, a foul mass of corruption and rottenness. There are all the fearful harbingers of dissolution. Death is usually preceded by agonizing pains and afflictions. The house must be shaken before it comes down. The fortress must be assaulted before a breach can be effected. The vessel must be tossed by the storm before it is broken to pieces. These are circumstances afflictive in themselves, but peculiarly fearful as precursors of this great adversary. There is, too, all that follows death. It is the gate to eternity. It conducts us into the presence of the just and holy One. It places us before the tribunal of divine justice. It connects us either with heaven or hell, and affixes to our destiny the seal of eternal happiness, or eternal woe. No wonder, therefore, that men should regard it with apprehension and repugnance, and that through the fear of death they should be all their life-time subject to bondage. Some, indeed,

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