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desirable, even though you may have lived to God and walked in friendship with him before this painful visitation, to have your mind brought more from the world, to have deeper and more solemn impressions of that important period when the body will fall into the hands of death.
It is not the first time, perhaps, that you have thought of dying, or professedly prepared for it. This you have done when you have reclined upon your bed at night, or previously committed your soul and body into the hands of a gracious God and Saviour. But to look at death, and contemplate him when he is apparently at a great distance, is a different thing to viewing him near at hand, so as to behold distinctly his features, and feel the first stroke of his icy hand upon the mortal frame. Endeavour, then, to familiarise yourself with the last enemy, whether your sickness is of an alarming nature or possessing no dangerous symptoms.
And is life so contracted in its span, so rapid in its flight, so important in its issues ? the great concern should be to improve its brevity by applying the heart unto wisdom. Is the body so constantly liable to pain, sickness, disease, and death? how desirable, how necessary to be always ready to put off the dying tabernacle, and put on the heavenly and enduring house of glory.
O thou eternal Jehovah, before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting thou art God. One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh, but thy years fail not. With deep humiliation would we acknowledge the frailty of the body we inhabit. O how has sin defaced the beauty and affected the life of man. In every weakness, in every pain, the desolations and deserts of sin are manifest, Thou turnest man to destruction, thou makest his days as an handbreadth, and even in this thy procedure, we perceive that thou art holy thy in ways and righteous in thy works.
Thou hast, O Lord, brought thy servant into a weak and afflicted state of body; O may he be led to see the truth of thy declaration, that man is of few days and passeth away as a shadow. O may a fact so solemn in its nature, and so important in its results, be now deeply impressed upon his heart. By thy gracious teaching may he form a correct estimate of human life. May he be assisted in this season of retirement, to number his fleeting days, that he may seriously apply himself to the attaining of that heavenly wisdom, the experience of which will be so serviceable in the hour of affliction and the season of death. His days which are few and evil, are apparently drawing to a close; they
“ Few are thy days and full of woe,
O man of woman born,
And the Lord commanded the man saying, Of the tree of knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die, Gen. ii. 16, 17. And unto Adam, God said, Because thou hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee saying, thou shalt not eat of it; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return to the ground; for out of it thou wast taken; for dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return, Gen. iii. 17, 19. Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death hath passed upon all men, for that all have sinned, Rom. v. 12. It is appointed unto all men once to die, but after this the judgment, Heb. ix. 27. For to him that is joined to all the living, there is hope; for a living dog is better than a dead lion: for the living know that they must die, but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more reward; for the memory of them is forgotten, Eccl. ix. 4, 5. One dieth in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet: his breasts are full of milk, and his bones are filled with marrow. Another dieth in the bitterness of his soul, and never eateth with pleasure; they shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them, Job xxi. 23.- 26. For we must needs die, and are as water spilt upon the ground which cannot be gathered up again, 2 Sam. xiv. 14. I know thou wilt bring me to death and to the house appointed for all living, Job xxx. 23. My heart is sore pained within me, and the sorrows of death are fallen upon me; fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, Psa. lv. 4,5. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death, I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus, I die daily, 1 Cor. xv. 26, 31. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand; I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith, and henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me in that day, 2 Tim. iv. 6,7. Into thine hand I commend my spirit; thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth, Psa. xxxi. 5. For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day, 2 Tim. i. 12. Yea, though 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, Psa. xxiii. 4. O death, where is thy sting! 0 grave, where is thy victory! The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law, but thanks be to God who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Hosea xii. 14. Isa. xxv. 8. Psa. cxvi. 15. Eccl. vii. 1. Isa. lvii. 1. Psa. xxxvii. 37. 2 Kings xxii. 20. Prov. xiv. 32; xxiii, 18. 1 Cor. iii. 22. Rev. xiv. 13; XX. 4.
ADDRESS. There is something in the departure of a soul from the body where it has been used to dwell in perfect friendship, very appalling. Death is the last enemy, but not the least formidable. We are accustomed to associate with the dissolution of the outward frame