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“ It is appointed unto man once to die."-HEB. ix. 27.
There is a solemn time to come,
When Death will lay us low,
Of endless joy, or woe.
Death is the greatest physical evil that can happen to man. avert, and wisdom may save us from most other evils, but death is one which nothing can put off or prevent. Death is the most ancient and inveterate
enemy of man.
When our first parents sinned, he entered into the world, and ever since that time has reigned with unrelenting severity. Death is our most inexorable, and determined foe. Nothing can satiate his appetite, or change bis will. The former augments with the increase of the world, and the latter becomes more obstinate with that increase. He devours thousands upon thousands for his daily meal; and though we may earnestly entreat for a few more hours or minutes, we cannot gain them, if he once resolves upon smiting us. While Death is such a dreadful foe, he is also the most uncompromising one.
He listens to no proposals, nor accepts of any terms, but cuts down all without distinction. He feeds upon
the poor babe, the ardent youth, the adoring husband, and the grey
headed father. He never studies our circumstances, connexions, or situations. The most impoverished, and the most affluent; the greatest enemies, and the most attached friends, alike feel the stroke of his tremendous scythe. He enters into the cottages of the humble, and the palaces of the great; causes the beggar Lazarus to fall as the rich Dives; makes the poor Slave, as mighty as his proud lord, bestows equality upon all, and opens the grave as the receptacle of all.
Such is Death! and a more formidable enemy cannot oppose us, especially if we bear in mind, that when he arrests us, it is to conduct us to an eternal world, where there is no change. He speaks with a voice strong enough to rend heaven and earth. God of his infinite mercy grant, that all who read
this, may hear it to their soul's everlasting joy!
I would remark, Ist. That the hour of death is uncertain. That we must die, is well known; but the time of our death is a secret lodged in the bosom of God. As we cannot tell when we shall die, we ought to be the more concerned. In the most important of earthly concerns, we observe the greatest precaution, and try to guard against every uncertainty ; but how much more requisite is it, that we act thus in the solemn affairs; of eternity. But, alas ! man will not behave thus wisely ; he acts as though death were a trifle, and deems it unnecessary to prepare for it. Man pushes death from his thoughts, and exerts himself to forget Death, but he does not forget us.
He is about our paths, and our lying down,” and will come upon us in all his terrors, when we little expect him.
“ In death's uncertainty thy danger lies.
Is death uncertain ? therefore thou be fix’d,
ear, All expectation of the coming foe. Rouse, stand in arms, nor lean against thy spear, Lest slumber steal one moment o’er thy soul, And Fate surprise thee nodding. Watch, be
strong: Thus give each day the merit and renown Of dying well, though doomed but once to die.”
2udly. Death is a great enemy to a sinner. He who has always lived unmindful of God, will never be happy hereafter; because to be happy in another world, we must be holy in this.
. This is not rant, but truth, and declared in the following words: “ Without holiness no man shall see the Lord."*
* Heb. xii. 14.