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not seen that are eternal. 1 Cor. iv. 18. And his conversation will be in heaven. Phil. iii, 20;
A man that adopts the sentiment in my text will set immediately about the work of preparation for death, will without any delay, set his house in order. Being struck with a sense of the shortness. and uncertainty of life, he will summon every fac-> ulty of his soul to the most vigorous exertion in this great work; will do with his might what his hand findeth to do : He will not put off that work. until to-morrow that should be attended to to-day, since he knows not what a day may bring forth. He will pay a diligent attention to the means of grace. Prayer, reading, meditation and attending religious institutions, will be matters of serious importance. When men are apprehensive that they are drawing near the eternal world, they commonly have very different views of many external duties that they despise in days of health : Visits from ministers and pious friends, prayerand religious conversation now appear valuable. The man that really expects soon to die, like Paul in the. text, will be solemn, serious and honest; will not. trifle with sacred things; but will açt in view of a judgment to come. Further. They who are
They who are properly looking out for death, look upon it as an event to which they are exposed at any time, at any place, or on any... occasion, at home or abroad; and they will endeavor not to engage in any work inconsistent with being called immediately before the bar of Christ. A willingness to depart out of time and to land on the shores of immortality, comports with the nature of the duty under consideration. With what holy and extatic joy does the apostle in the chapter and verse from which our text is selected, anticipate the approaching moment of his departure.
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. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his
appearing.” In a word ; To live as expectants of death, is to do the work of every day in the day ; that we faithfully discharge the duties we owe to God, to. ourselves and fellow creatures : That we live in the daily exercise of christian graces, and preserve in holy obedience in a constant dependence on the mercy of God through Jesus Christ. We are now to attend to the importance of the duty, or the propriety of our living in the constaat expectation of death.
We argue from divine injunctions. How constantly and forcibly is the sentiment enjoined in the word of God. "Watch therefore. Be ye also ready. Let your loins be girded about and your lights burning," &c. Are the repeated admonitions of him who spate as never man spake. To live in the constant expectation of death is falling in with the dictates of the written word of God, and with the examples of the people of God, who attained to eminent degrees of piety. They considered themselves as strangers and pilgrims on the earth ; that their days were as a shadow, and that the time is short. The dispensations of Di. vine Providence illustrate the same idea, that the time of our departure is at hand, and call for correspondent depórtment. The history of mankind; the repeated instances of death within our own observation, point us to the grave, and proclaim with united voice, that “ There is but a step between us and death." Men of every character, station, age, and relation in life are daily falling victims to the king of terrors, and leave us this
kind admonition, that the time of our departure is at hand.
If we were to look round on the various instru. ments of death, we learn the propriety of constant watchfulness. Almost every thing we behold is armed with deadly weapons, and ready to destroy: Even when we think we are fleeing from the enemy, we often run into the arms of death. The feeble and delicate state of our bodies loudly proclaims our approaching dissolution. The pains and infirmities which have already racked this earthly house of our tabernacle, show us that it cannot be long before it will crumble and fall. When I turn my eyes around on this congregation, I behold evident signatures of death in every countenance, which speak the language in the text, The time of my departure is at hand.
Suitably to imbibe this sentiment would have a happy influence on us in every department of life.. -Or ministers and people, parents and children, friends and neighbors. "We should lay hold of every opportunity to admonish, reprove and in
Did we consider on all occasions, that it la more than posible that we are giving our last suilding advice, would it not make a great alteration as to the manner of our addresses? Keeping death a 100 great a distance tends to make us cold and incren:about the things of religion. It is when the occasion of that foolish jesting and levity in which we are too prone to indulge.This renders our visits among our friends so very barren, and turns our conversation on subjects of no importance.--Was it constantly sounding in our ears ; The time of my departure is at hand! it would have a salutary influence on our conduct, and others would derive unspeakable advantage from it. I might further add, as an incentive ta. the duty under consideration, That to live in the
constant expectation of death is the only way to be prepared for it, and obtain a victory over it. The *Teason that this enemy breaks in upon us with such terror and surprize, is because we do not watch or keep awake. When our blessed Lord calls upon us to watch, he takes the metaphor from the centinels that stand on guard or on the watchtower. The word signifies to keep awake. If we view death at a great distance, and so fall asleep, should he come at such a moment, we fall an easy prey to the king of terrors. On the other hand, do we stand looking for, and hastening to the coming of the Lord, with our loins girded about and our lights burning, that when Christ shall come and knock, we may open immediately, we shall have the blessedness of those servants whom the Lord when he cometh shall find so doing. This no doubt supported our reverend father, whom God has lately called home; he could say ainidst the agonies of dissolving nature, “ Death has no terrors to me.' This account I lately had from one living in the family at the time of the Doctor's death. His usual calmness and fortitude of mind shone conspicuous in his last moments, and astonished spectators. In a word, the magnis tude and importance of death, judgment and eternity should command the utmost attention, watchfulness and circumspection.
The subject, thus far illustrated, suggests a number of thoughts, which if pursued by way of improvement, would afford us useful instruction.
In the first place, It is natural to observe that it is very probable that there are many people that will never be saved. They are on the very borders of the grave; they have but a few moments to live, and yet have done nothing to prepare for death, and have no disposition to do any thing. The work is great and they are fully determined to do
nothing by way of preparation. This no doubt is the case with many present. We may
further observe that there is but a lit. tle difference between men's outward circumstances; between the rich or the poor, the old and the young: Death will, in a moment or two, lay all on a level.--There is but a very little difference be-. tween the dead and the living, only a single step.
We are taught once more by a review of this subject, that all disputes about religion will soon subside. 'Tis vain for men to spend their time in warm and angry contentions about matters that will be decided in a single moment..
66 The time of our departure is at hand."
How ministers are to preach, and how people are to hear, and how all ought to conduct in every place and on all occasions, are easily deducible from the preceding discourse, viz: In the constant view of death and the eternal world. The sound should always be in our ears, “ The time of my departure is at hand !” and should have a commanding influence on all our behavior.
We should by this subject be led to examine ourselves, and take a review of our past life ; since we are soon to leave this world, and our endless happiness or misery depends on the man.. ner in which we improve the present life. Blessed are all they who can adopt the language of the dying apostle, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith,” &c.
In a particular manner, we ought to be excited to the utmost diligence in religion, since our time is so short, and since the sentiment is so powerfully inculcated by the deaths of others, with whom we yesterday conversed. :
The recent instance of mortality speaks with too much energy, to be disregarded. Perhaps scarcely ever was there a death in which we were