Personal Affliction and frequent Reflection upon [...] Life, of great Use to lead MAN to the Remembrance of GOD. A SERMON, Preach'd on Sunday Sept. 1, 1754, in Christ-Church, PHILADELPHIA; Occasioned by the Death of a beloved PUPIL, Who departed this Life, August 28, 1754, in the 16th Year of his Age.

By W. SMITH, M. A. Professor of Phi­losophy in the Academy of PHILADELPHIA.

PHILADELPHIA: Printed and Sold by B. FRANKLIN, and D. HALL, at the New-Printing-Office. 1754.


To the YOUTH of the ACADEMY, &c.

BEING advised that the Publication of the fol­lowing Discourse might be of some Use, I believe the Propriety of this Address to you will be rea­dily acknowledged. The Reflections contained in it poured themselves upon my Mind on the Death of One, who but a few Days ago bore a Part in all your Studies and Diversions, and enjoyed a Share of Health, Strength and Spirits inferior to none of you. As you all knew and loved him;—as I beheld many of you weeping over his Grave, I am inclined to think the MORAL of his Death will be acceptable to you at least, however un­favorably grave and serious Subjects are generally re­ceived by People of your Years.

YOUR own Experience now convinces you that you hold your Lives on a very uncertain Tenure, and that no Period of your Age is exempted from the common Lot of Mortality. Hence every wise Person, young or old, must think it his grand Concern to be always pre­pared to meet Death. As for you, who are yet under the Direction of others, if you behave so as to merit the Esteem of your Parents, Instructors, and good Men that you are conversant with, you need not doubt of merit­ing also the Love of God in Christ. Thus, however early your Summons from Life may be, you shall nei­ther [...] unprepared nor unlamented.

THO' perhaps there is not a more affecting Incident in this World than the Death of a hopeful Youth, libe­rally educated, and just stepping into a Life of honest Ac­tion, yet those can never be said to have died untimely, or to have lived in vain, who leave such an amiable Cha­racter behind them, as your deceased School-fellow did.

THAT he truly deserved the Esteem he enjoyed I can vouch from Experience. He grew up under me. With Pleasure I marked his gradual Improvements. My high­est Hopes were fixed upon him. To me he never was [Page] once wanting in Duty or Affection, and I returned him my warmest Regard. By a like Conduct you may com­mand a like Esteem from your Instructors, tho' I hope, none of us shall ever be called to give a like public Te­stimony of it towards any of you.

AS such a Testimony of Love to the Deceased, a Good-natur'd Reader will candidly receive the following Sermon. If there is any Merit in it, I would ascribe it wholly to the Influence of the Subject; for such was my Indisposition in Body as well as Spirits, during the very short Time I had to prepare it in, that if it had not been to ease a full Heart, I was incapable of writing at all. I do not, however, offer want of Time as any Apology for the Performance. It is my Opinion that much Correction, or indeed any Change that I could make, either in the Language or Method, would be for the worse. I followed the Train of Reasoning which the Text pointed out, and which naturally offered itself to my Mind; and were I to see a Discourse artfully ranged into Heads, divided and subdivided, I should hardly be persuaded that it had been dictated or inspired by real Grief.

I AM obliged to some among you for the affectionate Verses sent me on this Occasion. I thought the greatest Honor I could do, either to them or myself, was to pre­fix them, together with your Names; conscious that so much Tenderness and Goodness of Heart, manifested by Persons so young as you are, might attone for far greater Faults than any of you can well fall into. With Regard to the Critics, if we have any such, I wish them something better worthy of their Animadversions than this pious Collection of our Tears. The Man who can refrain from publishing his Grief, till he can do it in all the Elegance of Language and Sentiment, may be justly suspected to have felt no real Grief. To lose a fair Opportunity of Action, thro' too scrupulous a Regard to Reputation, is mean and selfish; and therefore whatever Merit we may claim as Writers, I hope we shall always, as at present, have the superior Merit of shewing ourselves warm for our Friends, tender in our Natures, and ready to em­brace every Opportunity of doing Good.

[Page v]

VERSES TO THE Rev. Mr. SMITH, On hearing his SERMON, upon the Death of his hopeful Pupil, our dear Fellow-student, * Mr. WILLIAM THOMAS MARTIN.

I CALL no Aid, no Muses to inspire,
Or teach my Breast to feel a Poet's Fire;
Your soft Expression of a Grief sincere,
Brings from my Soul a sympathizing [...]
Taught by your Voice, my artless Sorrows flow;
I sigh in Verse, am elegant in Woe,
And loftier Thoughts within my Bosom glow.
For when, in all the Charms of Lang [...] [...],
A manly Grief flows, genuine, from the Breast,
What gen'rous Nature can escape the Wound,
Or steel itself against the Force of melting Sounds?
O! could I boast to move with equal Art
The human Soul, or melt the stony Heart;
My long-lov'd Friend should thro' my Numbers shine,
Some Virtue lost be wept in every Line;
For Virtues he had many—'Twas confest
That native Sense and Sweetness fill'd his Breast.
But cooler Reason checks the bold Intent,
And, to the Task refusing her Consent,
[Page vi]This only Truth permits me to disclose,
That in your own, you represent my Woes;
And sweeter than my Song, is your harmonious Prose!

On the same, by a Fellow-student.

AND is your Martin gone? Is be no more,
That living Truth, that Virtue seen before?
Has endless Night already hid the Ray,
The early Promise of his glorious Day?
That Grief, great Mourner! in such Strains exprest,
Shews he was deep implanted in your Breast.
Yet bark! soft-whispering Reason seems to say,
Cease from your Sorrows, wipe these Tears away.
He's gone, he's past the gloomy Shades of Night,
Safe-landed in th' eternal Realms of Light.
Happy Exchange! to part with all below,
For Worlds of Bass, where Joys unfading flow,
And fainted Souls with Love and Rapture glow.

On the same, by a Fellow-student.

WHILE for a Pupil lost, your Sorrow flows,
In all the Harmony of finish'd Prose;
While melting Crouds the pious Accents hear,
Sigh to your Sighs, and give you Tear for Tear;
We too, in humble Verse, would [...]eat the Theme,
And join our Griefs to swell the general Stream;
For we remember well his matchless Power,
To steal upon the Heart, and chear the social Hour.
Ah! much-lov'd Friend too soon thy Beauties fade!
Too soon we count thee with the silent Dead!
[Page]Thou, late the fairest Plant in Virtue's Plain,
The brightest Youth in Wisdom's rising Train;
By Genius great, by liberal Arts adorn'd,
By Strangers seen and lov'd, by Strangers mourn'd;
Blest in a tender Brother's friendly Breast;
And in paternal Fondness doubly blest!
Art thou now sunk in Death's tremendous Gloom,
Wrapt in the awful Horrors of a Tomb?
Ah me! bow vain all sublunary Joy!
Woes following Woes, our warmest Hopes destroy!
But Hark!—some Voice celestial strikes mine Ear,
And bids the Muse her plaintive Strains forbear.
"Weep not fond Youths,—it cries, or seems to cry,—
"He lives, your MARTIN lives, and treads the Sky:
"From Care, from Toil, from Sickness snatch'd away,
"He shines amid the Blaze of Heaven's eternal Day.

On the same.

CHECK, mournful Preacher! check thy
streaming Woe,
Pierce not our Souls with Grief too great to know;
He joys above whom we lament below.
Snatch'd from our Follies here, he wing'd his Way,
To sing HOSANNAS in the Realms of Day.
With him, the Fight of Life and Death is o'er,
And agonizing Throes shall pain no more;
No more shall fell Disease, with wasteful Rage,
Blast the fair Blossoms of his tender Age;
Transplanted now, he blooms a heav'nly Flow'r,
Where Spring eternal decks yon Amarinthine Bower.
Thy pious Sorrows, SMITH, to future Days,
Shall bear his Image, and transmit his Praise.
Still, still I feel what thy Discourse imprest,
When Pity throb'd, congenial, in each Breast:
[Page viii]When deep Distress came thrilling from thy Tongue,
And sympathizing Crouds attentive hung.
To mourn for thy lov'd Pupil all approv'd;
On such a Theme, 'twas Virtue to be mov'd.
Whoe'er these tender Pages shall explore,
Must learn those Griefs the Pulpit taught before.

On the same.

O DEATH! could manly Courage quell thy
Or rosy Health protract the fatal Hour;
Could Tears prevail, or healing Arts withstand
Th' unsparing Ravage of thy wasteful Hand;
Then MARTIN still had liv'd a Father's Boast,
Nor had a Mother's fondest Hopes been lost;
Then SMITH thy darling Youth, thy justest Pride,
With Virtue's first Examples long had uv'd.
But he is blest where Joys immortal flow;
Cease Tears to stream, be dumb the Voice of Woe.
Releas'd from Vice, in early Bloom set free
From the dire Rocks of this tempestuous Sea,
The youthful Saint, in Heavn's ambrosial Vales,
With Glory crown'd aetherial Life inhales.
No more let Grief repine, or wish his Stay,
In this dark Gloom, this Twilight of our Day.
Rather we'll hail him fled from Night's Domain,
Array'd in Light to tread the azure Plain.
There Science dwells;—before the mental Eye
Nature's stupendous Works unfolded lie,
There Wisdom, Goodness, Power diffusive shine,
And fire the glowing Breast with Love divine.
[Page 1]

PSALM xlii. 6. O my God! my Soul is cast down within me, there­fore will I remember Thee—

IT is elegantly said by the Author of the Book of * Job, who seems to have experienced all the dire Vicissitudes of Fortune,—"That Man is born to Troubles, as the Sparks fly up­wards."—These Troubles, however, as he further observes, serve the wisest Purposes, inasmuch as they are not the Effects of what is called blind Chance, but of that unerring Providence, which gra­ciously conducts all Events to the general Good of the Creature, and the final Completion of Virtue and Happiness.—"Affliction comes not forth from the Dust, neither does Trouble spring out of the Ground."—Very far from it. At that great Day, when the whole Council of God shall be more per­fectly display'd to us, we shall be intimately con­vinced, that all His Dispensations are wise, righte­ous and gracious; and that, "Tho' no Cha­stening for the present seems joyous, but grievous, nevertheless it afterwards yields the peaceable Fruit of Righteousness to them that are exercised there­by ."

OF the Truth of this we might soon be con­vinced at present, were we but wise, and suffered ourselves to reflect on what we daily see. It is [Page 2] with the greatest Injustice, as well as Perverseness▪ that Men ascribe their Sins altogether to worldly Temptation, and inveigh upon all Occasions against this Life upon Account of its Vanities. These, if well attended to, would perhaps put us on our Guard against Sin; and, upon Enquiry, it will be found that the great Source and most prevailing Cause of all Iniquity, is a stupid Listlessness, and want of Consideration. The Lusts and Pleasures of Life are only the Means by which our great Adversary lulls us into Security or [...], which, like some vast Weight, oppresses the more generous Efforts of the Soul, and bears all silently down be­fore it, unless check'd by the powerful Hand of Affliction.

HENCE then, were I capable of wishing Evil to any Person, I could not wish a greater to my greatest Enemies, than a long and uninterrupted Prosperity. A flattering Calm portends a gathering Storm; and, when the Stream glides smooth, deep and silent on, we justly suspect that the Sea, or some Declivity, is near; and that it is soon to be lost in the vast Ocean, or tumble down some dreadful Fall or craggy Preci­pice. I sincerely pity those, who were never visited with Adversity, and who never took Time to con­sider whence they came, where they are, or whither they are bound. If I loved them I could not but be apprehensive lest, being drunk with Prosperity, they should swim smoothly from Joy to Joy along Life's short Current, till down they drop, thro' the Pit of Death, into the vast Ocean of Eternity! In such a Case, what more charitable Wish could be indulged toward such Persons, than that the chasten­ing Hand of Heaven might fall heavy upon them, arrest them in their thoughtless Career, and teach them to pause, ponder and weigh the Moment— [Page 3] the eternal Moment—"of the Things that belong to their Peace, before they be hid from their Eyes."

THAT there should be any Persons, endowed with Reason and Understanding, who never found Lei­sure in this World seriously to reflect, or to en­quire for what End they were sent into it, would seem incredible, did not Experience assure us of it. There are really so many affecting Incidents in Life (perhaps graciously intended to awaken Reflection) that their Hearts must be petrify'd indeed, one would think, and harder than Adamant, or the nether Millstone, who can live in this World with­out being sometimes affected, if not with their own, at least with the human Lot.

I HOPE it is far from being my Character that I am of a gloomy Temper, or one that delights to dwell unseasonably on the dark Side of human Af­fairs. Our Cup here is bitter enough, and Misfor­tunes too thick sown, for any One who loves his Species, to seek to embitter the Draught, by Evils of his own Creation. But there is a Time for all Things; and, on some Occasions, not to feel, sym­pathize and mourn, would argue the most savage Nature.

THE Sun has lately risen dark upon me; and this Day, every Thing that comes from my Mouth will, in spite of me, be tinctur'd with Melancholy. It is, however, a virtuous Melancholy, which it would be impious to check; and therefore, if it is publickly indulg'd on this Occasion, I hope it will be thought excusable. You know it is natural for those who are sincerely afflicted to believe that eve­ry Person is obliged to sympathize with them, and attend patiently to the Story of their Woe. But [Page 4] whether this be your present Disposition or not, I shall say nothing which you are not as much con­cern'd to receive deeply into your Hearts, as I am desirous to pour it from mine.

I WOULD only strive to persuade you, that a con­stant Feast was never intended for us here; and that it is the good Will of your Father, that you should be frequently roused by what happens a­round you, to cherish serious Reflection and reli­gious Mourning, which may be recompenced with eternal Joy. That you should do so is highly rea­sonable in itself; for, next to the immediate Praises of the Deity, there is not an Exercise that tends more to ennoble the Soul, than frequently to cast an Eye upon human Affairs, and expatiate upon the various Scene, till we lead on the sacred Power of * religious Melancholy, and feel the virtuous Purpose gently rising in our sympathising Bosoms, thrilling through our inmost Frame, and starting into the social Eye in generous Tears.

SCORN'D be the Man whose proud Soul pretends never to be cast down from the lofty Throne of Sto­ic Insensibility. He may arrogantly boast that no­thing can move him, while the World goes well with him; but let Heaven strip him of his gaudy Plumes, and throw him back naked and despicable into that World, where he had fixed his Heart, he will find to his Cost that, tho' he never had the Virtue to be cast down and feel for Others, yet he will have the Weakness to be cast down to the very [Page 5] lowest Pitch, and become the most abject despondent Thing alive, for Himself. When his transient Ho­nors are thus fled, his haughty Looks will be hum­bled. He will then begin to contemn his past Folly, and enter deeply into his own Bosom. He will no more rely on the Smiles of Fortune, or the Flatte­ries of Men; but acknowledge, from dear-bought Experience, that in this Life there is no sure Refuge but God, nothing permanent but Virtue, nothing great but a humble Heart; and that the only Way to be happy Men, is to remember always that we are but Men,—poor dependent mortal Men.

BUT, besides personal Affliction (which is per­haps a last Resource, and sometimes dangerous, as it plunges some into invincible Despair) the All-gracious Governor of the World, still watchful to turn every Event to the Good of his Creatures, without violating their moral Liberty, has many o­ther Ways of leading them to the Remembrance of him. Whether we look within or around us, we shall find enough in the Prospect to humble our Souls, and convince us that, not trusting to any Thing in a World where all Enjoyments are fleet­ing, we shall then only be safe in it, "when we have put on the Breast-plate of Righteousness, and arm'd ourselves with the Sword of the Spirit*."

"FEW and evil are the Days of our Pilgrimage here." God never intended this World as a last­ing Habitation for us; and Evil is so blended with Good, that we cannot reasonably set our Affections upon it. Wailing, weak and defenceless, we are ushered into it. Our Childhood is trifled away in rov­ing from Toy to Toy. Our Youth is a Scene of Fol­ly and Danger; our Manhood of Care, Sollicitude, [Page 6] Toil and Disappointment. Our Old Age—if haply we reach Old Age—is a second Childhood. Wither­ed, wan, and bow'd beneath our Infirmities, we be­come, as it were, a living Hospital of Woes; a Bur­den to ourselves, and perhaps a Nusance to others.

IN each of these Stages, the Number of Evils is greatly encreased, partly by our own Miscon­duct, and partly by our necessary Connexions with others; for the equitable Judgments of God are often general. "All Things come alike to all Men; and there is but one Event to the Righte­ous and the Wicked §." Moreover, many of those Evils are of such a Nature, that no Prudence of ours can either foresee or prevent them. All the Stages of Life necessarily subject us to Pains and Diseases of Body, and many of them to the acuter Pains of an anxious Mind. Upon the whole it appears that our Life is but a Vapor, which is seen a little While, and then vanisheth away, as a Tale that is told, and remember'd no more; or as a Wind that passes over, and cometh not again.

THE Man must be thoughtless, indeed, who is not humbled with these Reflections. But suppose his own Life should pass over as happily as pos­sible, and he should feel but few of these Evils; yet, unless he shuts his Eyes and his Ears from the World, he must still find something in it, which ought to move the tender Heart to Sorrow and Remembrance of God.

OUR blessed Saviour himself, tho' more than human, and conscious of no personal Ill, cast his Eye upon Jerusalem, and wept over it, on Ac­count of its impending Fate. Just so, if we calm­ly [Page 7] cast an Eye upon the World, we shall drop a Tear over it on Account of the unavoidable Mis­fortunes that prevail in it.

DON'T we often see Tyranny successful, ruth­less Oppression and Persecution ravaging the Globe, the best of Men made Slaves to the worst, and the lovely Image of the Deity spurn'd, dishonor'd, disfigur'd! How many Men, of genuine Worth, are cast out by Fortune to mourn in solitary Places, shivering with pale Distress, unseen, unpitied, for­lorn and helpless! How many pine in the Confine­ment of Dungeons, without enjoying the com­mon Air, or the Common Use of their own Limbs! How many are chain'd down, for Offences not their own, to the Gallies for Life! How many bleed beneath the Sword, and bite the Ground in all the sad Variety of Anguish, to sate the cruel Ambition of contending Tyrants! How many are deprived of their Estates, and disappointed in their most sanguine Expectations, by the Malice of secret and open Enemies, or, which is far more piercing, the Treachery of pretended Friends! How many boil with all the Tortures of a guilty Mind, and the bitterest Remorse for irreparable In­juries! How many pursue each other with the most implacable Malice and Resentment! How many bring the acutest Misery upon themselves by their own Intemperance! How many condemn their Souls to a kind of Hell, even in their own Bodies, by an unhappy Temper, and the violent Commo­tions of disorder'd Blood! How many are com­pletely wretched in their Families, and constantly gall'd by the unavoidable Misfortunes of their dearest Friends! On one Side the Distress of the Needy, the Injuries of the Oppressed, the Cries of the Widow and Orphan, pierce our ears. On [Page 8] the other Side, we hear the Voice of Lamentation and Mourning; our Friends and Neighbours weeping for dear Relations suddenly snatch'd away, and re­fusing to be comforted because they ARE NOT. Here one's Heart is torn asunder by having a beloved Wife or Child snatch'd from his Side! There ano­ther wails with the Loss of an affectionate Parent or Brother! Here sturdy Manhood drops instantly beneath the sudden Stroke! There blooming Youth —be still now my bleeding Heart, wring me not thus with streaming Anguish—there blooming Youth falls a premature Victim to a Doom seeming­ly too severe! Beneath the cold Hand of Death, the Roses are blasted; restless Agility and Vigor are become the tamest Things; and Beauty, Elegance and Strength, one putrid Lump!

SURELY, if we would think on these, and such Things, which ought not to be the less striking for being common, and which render this Life a Scene of Suffering, a Valley of Tears, we could not set our Hearts much upon it, but should be arrested even in the Mid-career of Vice, and trem­bling learn to weigh the Moment of Things, and secure the one Thing needful. All the tender Pas­sions would be waken'd in our Bosoms. Our sym­pathizing Souls would be cast down within us, and alarm'd at their own Danger, would rave round from Stay to Stay, calling incessantly for Help, till they could find a sure and never-failing Refuge.

BUT where is this never-failing Refuge to be found? It becomes me now to point out some e­ver-flowing Spring of Comfort, some eternal Rock of Salvation, for the Soul, after having thus mu­ster'd up such a baleful Catalogue of unavoidable Miseries, to alarm and humble her,—Now, as I [Page 9] have hinted before, this eternal Refuge is pointed out in the Text. In such Circumstances, we shall never find Rest, but in resolving with holy Da­vid—"O my God! my Soul is cast down within me, therefore will I remember thee."

WITHOUT remembering that there is a God, that overrules all Events, what Hope or Comfort could we have, when we reflect on all the aforesaid unavoidable Miseries of Life, and many more that might be named? Did we, with the Atheist, be­lieve them to spring up from the Dust, or to be the blind Effects of unintelligible Chance, and of undirected Matter and Motion, what a poor Condi­tion should we think ourselves in here? Would not all appear as "a Land of Darkness, as Darkness itself, under the Shadow of Death, without any Order, where the Light is as Darkness *?" Surely we could not wish to live in this World upon such a precarious Footing; and yet we should not know whither to fly from it, unless into the darker State of dreary Annihilation, at the Thoughts of which the astonished Soul shudders and recoils. Upon such a Scheme, all our Hopes would be thin as the Spi­der's Web, and lighter than Chaft that is dispersed thro' the Air. Our Adversity would hurry us into the most invincible Despair, and our Prosperity would be as a Bubble bursting at every Breath. Philosophy would be a Dream, and our boasted Fortitude meer unmeaning Rant.

BUT on the other Hand, if, when our Souls are cast down within us, we will remember that there is a God, whose great View in creating was to make us happy, whose Design in afflicting is to reclaim us, and who governs the World by his Providence [Page 10] only to conduct all to the greatest general Good— then, and then only, have we sure Footing. We shall neither raise our Hopes too high, nor sink them too low. If Fortune is kind, we shall en­joy her Smiles without forgetting the Hand that guides her. If she frowns, we shall feel our Woes as Men, but shall robly bear them as Chri­stians. For if we are really Christians, our holy Religion teaches us that this Scene of Things is but a very small Part of the mighty Scheme of Heaven; —that our present Life is only the dim [...] of our Existence;—that we shall shortly put off this Load of Infirmities, and be translated to a State, where no Temptations can assail, no Fears distress us; but where "every Tear shall be wip'd from our Eyes, and where there shall be no more Death, nor Sorrow, nor Crying, nor Pain, because the for­mer Things are passed away *."

IF we are thus intimately convinced that unerr­ing Wisdom, Power and Goodness, hold the Reins of the Universe, and are at Peace in our own Consciences, the Storm of the World may beat a­gainst us; but, tho' it may shake, it can never overthrow us.

"ALTHOUGH the Fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall Fruit be on the Vines; tho' the La­bor of the Olive shall fail, and the Fields shall yield no Meat; tho' the Flock shall be cut off from the Fold, and there shall be no Herd in the Stall; yet will we rejoice in the Lord, and we will Joy in the God of our Salvation."—Although Mis­fortunes should besiege us round and round; tho' Woes should cluster upon Woes, treading on the Heels of each other in black Succession, yet when we remember God, and fly to him as our Refuge, [Page 11] we shall stand collected and unshaken, as the ever­lasting Mountains, amid the general Storm.

WITH our Eye thus fixt upon Heaven, trusting in the Mercies of a Redeemer, and animated by the Gospel Promises, we shall urge our glorious Course along the Tract of Virtue, bravely withstanding the Billows of Adversity on either Side, and triumph­ing in every Dispensation of Providence, Tho' Death should stalk around us in all his grim Ter­rors;—tho' Famine, Pestilence and sell War should tear our best Friends from our Side;—tho' the last Trump should found from Pole to Pole, and the whole World should tremble to its Center;— tho' we should see the Heavens open'd, our Judge coming forth with Thousands and ten Thousands, his Eyes flaming Fire, the planetary Heavens and this our Earth wrapt up in one general Conflagra­tion;—tho' we should hear the Groans of an ex­piring World, and behold Nature tumbling into universal Ruin;—Yet then, even then, we can look up with Joy, and think ourselves secure. Our holy Religion tells us, that this now glorify'd Judge was once our humbled Redeemer;—that he has been our never-failing Friend, and can shield us in the Hollow of his Hand. The same Religion also assures us, that Virtue is the peculiar Care of that Being, at whose Footstool all Nature hangs; and that, far from dying or receiving Injury amid the Flux of Things, the fair Plant, under his wise Go­vernment, shall survive the last Gasp of Time, and bloom on thro' eternal Ages!

AND now, my respected Audience, I think it is evident that if we search all Nature thro', we shall find no sure Refuge but in keeping a clear Con­science, and remembering God. If we constantly [Page 12] exert ourselves to do our Duty, and remember that there is an all perfect Being at the Head of Affairs, the worst that can happen to us can never make us altogether miserable; and without this, the best Things could never make us in any Degree happy.

IF therefore, it is one great Design of all Afflic­ction, to bring us to such a Remembrance, and make us examine into the State of our own Souls, I thick I may be permitted to beseech you, by your own Hopes of immortal Glory and Happi­ness, not to be blind and deaf to the repeated Warnings given you by your kind Parent God. Tho' the Afflictions do not happen immediately to you, they happen for you. And tho' all seems well at present, which of you knows how soon the Lord may visit you in his fierce Anger? Which of you, young or old, can say your Souls will not next, perhaps this very Night, be required of you? And think, O think, if you have never been led to re­member God, by the repeated Warnings given you in this World, how unfit a Time it will be to re­member Him, when you are just stepping into the next;—when (as you have seen lately in the Case of many younger and stronger than most of you, here present) you shall be struck senseless on a Death-bed at once, and know not the Father that begat you, nor are conscious of the Tears of her that gave you Suck?

IF you can but think on these Things,—the Va­nity of this World, and the Eternity or the next; —if you can but think on the Value of those Souls, for which a God incarnate died, and sealed a Covenant of Grace with his Blood, into which you have solemnly sworn yourselves;—surely if you weigh these Things, you will stop your Ears against [Page] the Arts of the Charmer, charm be ever so wisely. In vain shall the World pour her Syren Song in your Ears, saying—"Behold here the true Path to Hap­piness. Why will you, O Man, bestow your La­bor and Toil for that which you are never sure to attain? Why will you refuse the Pleasures I con­stantly offer you? See all the rest of Nature this Moment happy without Toil or Care! You alore, who are Lords of this World, are miserable by your own Folly! Come on, then! enjoy the good Things that were made for you. Fill yourselves with costly Wines and Ointment. Crown your­selves with Rose-buds before it be too late, and bring every Flower and Fragrance of the Spring under Contribution to their Master."

In vain, I say, shall the World tempt you thus. The Reflections which I have indulged above will sufficiently convince us that this Life has no such unmixt Pleasures as these for us; and that what alone can either alleviate the Evils of this World, or make its Goods give us any substantial Joy, is to remember and draw near to God.

BEHOLD then, once more, this very God himself invites you to draw near to him; and commemorary him at * his holy Table. Let him not, therefore, invite you in vain. Do not shame­fully renounce your most exalted Privilege, and voluntarily out yourselves off from the Society of GOD'S universal Church. You all know what is required to make you worthy of this exalted Pri­vilege. It is a stedfast Faith in the Gospel-promi­ses, and the Mercies of God; a sincere Repentance for past Offences; an unfeigned Purpose of future Amendment, and an unbounded Charity and Be­nignity [Page] of Heart towards our Fellow-mortals, however seemingly different in Sentiment and Pro­fession from us. If we have these Dispositions, either begun now, or continued down to this Day from some earlier Period of our Life, we can never come unworthily.

"Up! escape for thy Life! look not behind thee; stay not in all the Plain! escape to the Moun­tain, lest thou be consum'd*—" was the Alarm rung in the Ears of Lot by his good Angels. Just so permit me to alarm you; and O were my Voice like Thunder, that it might be heard thro' every Corner of this City, while I warn you to escape from the Destruction that hangs over you! Up! fly for your Lives to yonder Mountain of your God! Let not your Souls find any Rest in all the Plain of this Life, till you have fix'd on the ever­lasting Rock of your Salvation. Let no Excuses detain you, nor linger while the Danger is at hand. Haste ye, this precious Moment, lest it should be the last, haste ye to secure your Interest in the Blood of Christ, and renew your Covenant with him. By these Means, whatever may happen hencefor­ward, you shall be safe—eternally safe from every Thing that can really hurt you.

I HOPE you will excuse my Warmth and Fears for you on this Occasion. I wish I had no Ground for it. But you cannot but miss several whom you saw here last Sacrament-day, and some of them younger than most of you, particularly the dear Youth, whose much-lamented Death forced this Train of Reflection from my Heart. But one Sab­bath has interven'd since twice I had the Honor to preach from this Place, and twice that Day he was [Page 15] of the Audience. At that Time I believe none of you dream'd he was so soon to be the Subject of Grief to many. You all saw him; and who once saw, must have lov'd him. If glowing Health, Strength, Beauty and Gracefulness of Person;—if a Genius excellent by Nature, and carefully adorn'd by all the Aids of a liberal Education; —if the E­steem of his Instructors, and mine in particular, in whose Bosom he had long grown up;—if the Tears of his Fellow-students, and especially of affection­ate Brothers, with whom he liv'd in constant Har­mony;—if the Love of the fondest Parents, who perhaps the very Moment of his Dissolution were concerting Schemes for his future Honor in Life, but are now sadly bewailing his present Lowness in Death;—if these Circumstances—and perhaps none were ever more moving—if these Circumstances, I say, could have arrested the inexorable Hand of Death, and sav'd such a rising Hope of his Coun­try, late, very late, had he received the fatal Blow! He bid fair to have been the longest Liver among us, and my Eyes would have been for ever closed before any One had dropt that Tear to his Memory, which is this Moment forced from me. But the fell Disease was of the most invete­rate Kind. All the Power of Medicine, and all the Love we bore to him, could not gain one super­numerary Gasp. He fell, his Age almost Sixteen; and as I long lov'd, so must I long remember him with pious Regard.

TO the Will of Heaven, however, I hope mine shall always be wholly resign'd. "Shall we receive Good at the Hands of God, and shall we not re­ceive Evil also."—"The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the Name of the Lord!" I sincerely believe my dear Pupil is in a [Page 16] Far better State than this. He has happily escaped from a World of Troubles. He has but just gone a little before us, and perhaps never could have gone, in any Period of his Life, more beloved, more lamented, or more prepared for Happiness, if unsullied Innocence and Purity of Manners be the Means of Happiness.—Strangers tended his Sick-bed with paternal Care. Strangers closed his Eyes, while their own trickled down with Sorrow. Strangers followed him to the Grave in mournful Silence; and, when his Dust was committed to Dust, Strangers paid the last tributary Drop— Yet after all to have a Son so beloved and so honor­ed even by Strangers, and to be surprized with the News of his Death, before they heard of his Sick­ness—what a severe Blow to the distant Parents! —This Thought unmans me—again my Af­fections struggle with Reason—Nature! thou art Conqueror—I can add no more—I have now done the last Duty of Love—let silent Tears and Grief unutterable speak the rest!—


A HYMN, comprising the chief Heads of the foregoing Sermon, com­posed to have been sung after it was delivered.

FATHER of all! still wise and good,
Whether Thou giv'st or tak'st away's
Before thy Throne devoutly bow'd,
We hail thy providential Sway!
SAVE us from Fortune's hollow Smile,
That lures he guardless Soul to Rest;
A Round of Pleasure is but Toil,
And who could bear a constant Feast?
SOMETIMES thy chast'ning Hand employ,
Gently to rouse us, not to pain!
Sometimes let Sorrow prove our Joy,
And scatter Folly's noisy Train!
OFT let us drop a pensive Tear,
O'er this much-suffering Scene of Man▪
Acute to feel what others bear,
And wise our own Defects to scan.
TEACH us, while Woes and Deaths are nigh,
To think on Thee, and weigh our Dust;
Well may we mark the Hours that fly,
And still find Leisure to be just.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.