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for the guilty to fall into the hands of the SERM. living God; but while there is life there is

XX. generally hope ; and proper behaviour, with sincere resolutions of reforming, if we recover, may induce God to try us a little time longer, or to accept our repentance, if we die; whereas doing nothing at all must in every light be hurtful to us. As it is appointed to all men once to die, those who have reached any advanced period of life cannot, even with the appearance of reason, complain when they are called on to partake of the common lot; but the reluctance of the young to quit the world seems at first sight more allowable, and there are others besides themselves who hastily term their sentence hard. But it should be remembered, that as God gave, so he has a right at any time to take away; that we exist a moment, is owing to his goodness, and therefore there can be no ground for murmurs when he decrees that VOL. I.




SERM. we shall live no longer. Besides, we are

all fully apprized of the uncertainty of our
continuance here; how very small a por-
tion of the human species, comparatively,
lives to be old; and to how much smaller
a portion can their length of days be called
a blessing. Too many have reason to wish,
either from crimes into which they fall,
or misfortunes which they undergo, that
it had pleased God to take them to himself
in their prime. If the dying person be
unfit for a change, it is his own fault; he
must endeavour to do what he can, and
others must take warning by him; but if
he be prepared, how happy is his case ;-
“ speedily, perhaps, is he taken away, lest
« wickedness should alter his understand-
“ ing, or deceit beguile his soul.” Such
are the virtues which we should practise,
and such the sentiments which we should
entertain in the hour of sickness. I do not,
however, pretend to have exhausted the



subject; much more might be said on it; SERM. and when you come to the last scenes of this life, much more may

be necessary for you to know and to practise : you will do well, therefore, to consult on that awful occasion with your prudent and sincere friends, and more particularly with your minister. It is clearly his duty, and I should hope that in most cases it will be his pleasure, to be of all the assistance to you in his power. We would not intrude ourselves upon any one; but when we are actuated by feelings suitable to our sacred office, we cannot but experience the greatest satisfaction in having our assistance called for, and in enjoying the opportunity of smoothing the bed of sickness, and preparing, to the best of our abilities, the dying person to stand before his judge.

I shall conclude with earnestly requesting you frequently to place before your minds the solemn period, concerning which I have been discoursing; a period, to which we are all


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SERM. hastily approaching, and at which some of

us, most probably, shall very soon arrive. Such meditations, frequently repeated, will be the most powerful motives with us so to conduct ourselves, as can alone give us fortitude to support the bodily pains to which we may be doomed, and alone enable us to meet our dissolution undisturbed by anguish and terror, and inspire us with a decent confidence to stand before our judge, and afford us a well-grounded expectation of receiving

favourable sentence,





1 PETER V. 70


Casting all your care upon him, for he careth

for you. To cast their care upon God, is one of the s ERM. duties which the Apostle enjoins his disciples, towards the conclusion of this epistle ; and he persuades them to the observation of the injunction by the strongest of all arguments—" for God careth for you.”

In the following discourse, I shall explain what is meant by casting your care


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