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SERMON IX.

ON THE SHORTNESS OF LIFE.

Munier.

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SERMON IX.*

GEN. xlvii. 9.

The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been. ') of to'o ci

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AMONG the various reflections to which the return of a New Year gives occasion, perhaps the most generally felt is that which relates to the rapidity of time and the shortness of human life. b.rum ft:

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LXD 971

At such remarkable epochs, every one is led-is forced, in a manner to look backward; and it is not without surprise that we measure the length of way which we have already left behind.

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Preached on New-Year's Day.

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Already in the decline of life! I remember, as if it were yesterday, the clamorous pastimes of my childhood; I recall, like some festival but just gone by, the peaceful days when I enjoyed those commendations and caresses which our venerable relatives love to bestow on us in youth;-and now I am myself at the head of a family; I am myself become the object of those attentions, which it was my delight to offer to them who are now no more.” Already in the vigour of my years -! Hardly seems it an hour, since I was in the midst of the wild joys of youth: it appears

to me like one of those bright and fleeting visions, which, on awaking, seem to have lasted but an instant."

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In vain have many events occurred to fill up the interval we thus contemplate; in vain may an unbroken succession of pains and pleasures, of disappointments and successes, of sudden changes, revolutions, and catastrophes, have diversified the series of days that have passed over our heads; in vain may those days, while in the act of going by, have appeared insufferably

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long-they are gone-the eagle's flight appears to us less rapid; and scarcely can we now conceive it possible, that we should ever have charged the flight of time with sluggishness.

Such, My Brethren, I am almost sure, is the tenor of those feelings and reflections which are common to you all, this day. I would venture to assert, that in the midst of the increasing business, the absorbing cares and pleasures, which distinguish the present period, each of you has more than once exclaimed to himself: "Is it possible, that the year can have already elapsed? Is it possible, that this can be already the twentieth, the fortieth, the sixtieth, which I have witnessed? Is it possible, that I can be so far advanced in my course, so near to the goal which irrevocably marks its close?" And even were I required to assign the cause of that shade of sadness, of those serious looks, that, in spite of yourselves, mix with the tokens of reciprocal affection which, on such occasions, are more numerous and more lively than usual, I should not hesitate to attribute them to the deeper and more distinct conviction, suggested by the return

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