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sions which you feel, and pious resolutions which you form, and that you pay the vows which your Lips have uttered in the day of trouble. If religious sentiments should seem to abate, awaken them by. recurring to the present painful scene. May your affliction, which for the present is grievous, yield to you and to your surviving children, the peaceable fruits of righteousness; and may happy experience teach you and them, that God is faithful in his cor
We take a share in the sorrow of our young friends, who are now lamenting the sudden and untimely death of their beloved sisters. May God impart to you his comforting and sanctifying grace, lead you to a wise improvement of this solemn warning, and prepare you for that world, where is no more death, and where all tears will be wiped away. Your wise and pious attention to this provi dence will be a comfort to you, a refreshment to your parents and an instructive pattern to the young around you.
To the young in general this providence speaks aloud.
You are now in the same blooming health, as were those departed youths a few days ago. You see numbers older than you, and flatter yourselves that your death is remote. Might not they, the moment before the snare fell on them, indulge the same flattering thoughts? They are gone. Their surprising death forbids your confidence in futurity, your boasting of tomorrow. Among those of your age, the proportion of deaths by disease is less, but the proportion by casualty is great-. er, than among those in more advanced life. It seen s to be the intention of providence to rebuke the gaiety incident to your age, and urge that serious meditation on death, which you are too unapt to admit.
Consider, I beseech you, how certain death is how near it may be; how suddenly it may surprise you; and how unable you will be to escape from it, when once it arrests you. Examine your past manner of life. What, my dear friends, have you been doing? To what objects have your thoughts been directed? To what purpose has your time been employed? What preparation have you made for another world? Are you in readiness for a sudden death?
Attend to your salvation. It is the one thing needful. Attend to all the duties of religion. These are the means of salvation. Never neglect a present duty in reliance on a future opportunity. The future is uncertain. Never think yourselves safe, till the temper of religion is formed in your hearts, and the practice of it becomes pleasant to your souls. Dedicate yourselves to God to serve him in newness of life. Do it without delay. Do it now. Do it in humble reliance upon, and fervent supplication for the presence of his sanctifying Spirit. Whatever evidence you have, or may hereafter have of the sincerity of your repentance, and the soundness of your conversion, indulge not such a confidence of your safety, as shall make you careless of duty. Whenever you thus pervert your hopes, you betray the corruption of your hearts. It is by walking in the fear of God that you will walk in the comforts of the Holy Ghost.
If a sense of the importance of religion is, by the late providence, or other means, awakened in you, do nothing to extinguish it. You will thus grieve the spirit. Serious sentiments suppressed may not return.
Shun all vain and sinful company. Say with David, "Depart from me, ye evil doers, for I will keep the commandments of God." Perhaps you will ask, whether all social amusements are crimi
nal? We need not say that they are. But in order to judge of the expedience of particular amusements, enquire, What effect they usually have on those who frequently practise them, or have on yourselves? If in their nature, by frequency or through excess, they dissipate religious convictions, silence an awakened conscience, beget an indifference to the exercises of devotion, and thus produce an habitual carelessness of mind in spiritual concerns, then you know, that they are so far unsafe, and so far you must decline them. Let the care of your salvation predominate in your minds, and you will seldom find it difficult to judge what recreations you may use, or how far you may use them. Let this then be your rule; never to seek such company as would corrupt your virtue, nor to pursue such amusements as would extinguish your seriousness; never to neglect real duty for the sake of a mere pleasure, nor to hazard your eternal salvation for a transient entertainment.
If any of you are under serious impressions, let
the late providence fix them, and give them permanence. Contemplate the uncertainty of life, which you have been so solemnly taught, and hold yourselves in readiness for death, which may nearly await you. When you go forth to your labors, set God before you, act as in his presence, and commend yourselves to his protection. Let the future world be much in your thoughts, and keep up a regard to it in all that you do. Let your attendance on the exercises of devotion be made subservient to charity and piety, peace and holiness; thus your zeal will provoke very many.
The late providence deserves the serious attention, not of the afflicted parents only, but of heads of families in general.
You see the uncertainty of the lives of your children. Do your duty to them while they are with VOL. I. Bb b
you. Give them timely instructions and warnings. Moderate your natural affection for them as children; but increase your religious concern for them as immortal beings, who are to exist in another world, and who, while they are here, must be trained up for a happy existence. Commend them to the providence and grace of God in your daily prayers, encourage every virtuous appearance, check every evil propensity, and animate them in the religious life by exhibiting the amiableness of it in your own.
Let us all stand prepared for the changes of this mortal state. The most of us can say, "Our houses are in peace, our children are about us, the candle of the Lord shines on our heads, and there is no rod of God on our dwelling." But soon the scene may be shifted; we cannot tell what shall be on the morrow; what tidings the next hour may bring. Death may now stand unseen at our door, with a warrant to arrest some of our number. Soon our pleasure may be turned into anguish, our joy into mourning. Let our hearts be fixed, trusting in the Lord, that we may not be afraid of evil tidings.
To conclude; Awakened by the late loud and solemn admonition, let us immediately prepare for our departure hence, and for the changes, which await us while we are here. For this For this purpose we must make religion our employment, heaven our object, and God's word our rule of conduct. We must walk by faith in unseen things, secure an interest in the promises, cast our cares on the providence of God, and commit our souls to him in well-doing, as to a faithful Creator. Keeping heaven in our eye, let us move on toward it with a steady pace, accounting all the sufferings of the present time unworthy to be compared with the glory, which shall be revealed. And let us esteem nothing dear to us, that so we may finish our course with joy, and lay hold on eternal life.
LUKE, xiv. 24.
I say unto you, that none of those men, which were bidden, shall taste of my supper.
HESE words are the conclusion of the
well known parable of the marriage feast. It is thus introduced," A certain man made a great supper and bade many." The introduction in St. Matthew's relation of it, is a little varied; "The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, who made a marriage for his son."
It was common among the Jews, and other ancient nations, for rich and great men to make feasts for the entertainment of such as they chose to honour. The guests invited were usually their friends and favorites. At these feasts were provided all accommodations, which were necessary to render the conviviality delightful. There were garments to ar