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Have you not observed that what seemed dead in the mind, only required circumstances to revive it? With what freshness and force, have things long forgotten, spung up in the memory, when recalled by occurrences? Thus all the history of man will hereafter be, in order to be tried....and tried in order to be approved or condemned. "Wherefore, "beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be dili"gent that ye may be found of him in peace, without "spot, and blameless."

With this solemn thought, let us close the period of our time that is now going to be numbered with the years before the flood. It has seen many carried down to their graves, and has brought us so much nearer our own. "The fathers....where are they? And the pro" they live for ever? Man goeth to his long "home, and the mourners go about the streets." And when a few years are come, we shall go the way whence we shall not return. We are accomplishing as an hireling our days! and our neighbors, our friends, our relations, will soon seek us....but....we shall not be. Let us sing,

"Lord, what a feeble piece,

"Is this our mortal frame?

"Our life, how poor a trifle 'tis,
"That scarce deserves the name !

"Alas, the brittle clay,

"That built our body first!

"And ev'ry month, and ev'ry day,

""Tis mould'ring back to dust.

"Our moments fly apace,

"Nor will our minutes stay;

"Just like a flood our hasty days

“Are sweeping us away.

"Well, if our days must fly,

"We'll keep their end in sight,
"We'll spend them all in wisdom's way,
"And let them speed their flight.

"They'll waft us sooner o'er

"This life's tempestuous sea;

"Soon we shall reach the peaceful shore
"Of blest eternity.”




-As soon as I shall see how it will go with me.—Phil. ii. 23.

I HAVE the pleasure to address you on the first day

of another year. The day is only distinguished from others by human institution....but this has given it various advantages and characters, natural and civil, intellectual and moral.

It is often a season of peculiar transactions; in which persons balance their accounts, commence business, form connections.


It is a period marked by humanity and benevolence. Children beseech time mercifully to spare the guides of their youth. The father and mother hope to see their dear offspring long coming around them. husband congratulates the desire of his eyes, and the wife hails the companion of her journey. Frindship renews every lively desire....and all, however indifferent at other times, yield to custom, and wish your returns of this day to be many and happy.

It is a season of thankfulness and joy. We praise the Preserver of men, who has held our souls in life, and carried us through the unnumbered dangers of another year...while our feelings are tempered to solemnity by the reflection, that many have finished their course, and that we look for some of our own relations or acquaintances in vain!

For it is a period of seriousness and recollection. It

reminds us of the instability of the world, and the rapidity of time. Of this indeed, every day, and every hour should remind us; but the changes made, and the losses occasioned by these variations, are too common, and inconsiderable to awaken reflection-but the termination of a year rouzes even the careless, impresses even the insensible and if we do not allow the subject to operate on the mind-who does not feel for the moment, the sentiment of Job; “when a few years are "come, I shall go the way whence I shall not return!"

But there is another relation in which we may consider this day. When we begin a new division of time, we naturally look forward, and endeavor to penetrate our future condition. The prospect is intimately connected with many of our duties, and will become injurious, or profitable, according to the manner in which it is indulged. Let us then confine our attention to this view of the subject. And consider, I. Our inability to determine our future circumstances. II. Shew what use we should make of our ignorance. And, III. Search for something to satisfy and comfort us under all our suspension and uncertainty.

I. Though the endowments which distinguished the apostles, were extraordinary, they were not absolute, but limited in their exercise, by him who gave them. -In some cases Paul could discern spirits, and foretel things to come-but in others he was held in ignorance, and could only reason from probabilities. Thus he said to the church of Ephesus," and now behold I "go, bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing "the things that shall befal me there." He was now a prisoner at Rome. His trial was depending, but the result of it he was unable to determine. He could therefore only form his plan conditionally, and resolve to send Timothy to the Philippians, "so soon as he "should see how it would go with him."

And will not this apply more fully to our circumstances?

When we look into futurity, all that meets the eye is

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a dark unknown. Even in those cases in which God has announced things to come, the prophecy is wrapped up in so much obscurity, that the fulfilment and the explanation generally arrive together. We can previously ascertain nothing. And how often has this been exemplified in the calculations of wise men-and some not very wise with regard to those predictions which remain to be accomplished. Not only have they been drawn off from more useful duties, but they have frequently survived their laborious schemes, and been ashamed of the confidence with which they have published them. After gazing from the tower of their folly, they found that God had gone by in another road than that which they had appointed him, and had used other instruments than those which they had put into his hands. They did not consider that the anvantage of prophecy is to be derived from the completion; and that so far is a previous knowledge of it necessary, that it would in many instances prove hurtful, and often prevent the accomplishment. "It is not for us to know the times and the seasons which the Father "hath put into his own power."

In the course of a few years only, how have all our conjectures been disappointed! More than once we imagined that we had seized the clue, and the skein of Providence seemed likely to be unravelled-but suddenly we found it more entangled than before. And would any one now undertake to determine, what will be the state of the nations of the earth a few months hence ?

Sometimes a cloud, no bigger than a man's hand, has overspread the heavens; and from apparently inadequate causes, events have arisen the most astonishing. While on the other hand, the best concerted plans, and the most powerful resources have failed. Some are offended at the word chance; but the scripture employs it, and it is as proper a term as we can use. If ndeed we apply it to God it is profane-for "known i' unto God are all his works from the beginning; his

"council shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure. But what is council to him, is chance to us: we know nothing before it arrives. The consequences of things would be known, if these things themselves moved on in one even, regular course, and always terminated uniformly, in the same manner-but when we see them often turning up contrary to their natural tendencywhen we see that "the race is not to the swift, nor the "battle to the strong, nor yet bread to the wise, nor "riches to men of understanding, nor fayor to men of "skill❞—our anticipations must be always liable to uncertainty; time and chance happeneth to them all.

What says your own history? He has led you, but it has been by a way which you know not-and perhaps you hardly know it now. How wonderful have been the removals of your habitation, and the connections which you have formed: How strange and unlooked for have been both your friends and your enemies !— Some have acquired wealth, and others filled offices, towards which they could not have formerly aspired. Had these changes, a few years before, been foretold, they would have appeared incredible, and we should have said “if the Lord should make windows in heav"en, might this thing be."

So little have we been capable of judging aright, that we have in a thousand instances mistaken our real welfare; we have desired enjoyments, which would have been a snare; and have been afraid of trials which have proved to be some of our chief mercies. When he was approaching to empty us from vessel to vessel-to keep us from settling upon our lees; when he came to prune away our suckers-that we might bring forth more fruit: we mistook the friend for an enemy: and said, all these things are against me, when they were all working together for our good.

Nor have you any information that can enable you to see how things will go with you for a single year. You know not how it will go with your health this

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