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SERM. we shall live no longer. Besides, we are XX.
all fully apprized of the uncertainty of our continuance here; how very small a portion 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.
XX. 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 Y 2
SERM. I have been discoursing ; a period, to which XX.
we are all 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 wellgrounded expectation of receiving a favourable sentence.
OF CASTING YOUR CARE UPON GOD.
1 PETER V. VII.
Casting all your care upon him, for he careth
To cast their care upon God, is one of the SERM.
XXI. 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
SERM upon God; secondly, what you are to un XXI.
derstand by God's caring for you; and, lastly, I shall endeavour to shew the force which there is in God's caring for you, to induce you to cast your care upon him.
No command can be so plainly given but that some will mistake it; and there have been persons who have imagined that, by being ordered to cast their care upon God, was meant that they should take no care or trouble, themselves, of any kindthat they should be altogether idle-and not in any shape concern themselyes with earthly affairs ;—but this is both contrary to reason and to many express commands of scripture :-it is contrary to reason, to suppose that we should be sent into this world and be required to pay no attention to its concerns--it is contrary also to reason to suppose that so many faculties, so · many talents, so.many passions, so much ability to be useful to our fellow-creatures,