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RELIGION AND MORALS. As we have reason to believe that an original Discourse, adapted either for parochial or family use, would be considered by many of our Readers as a desirable addition to the CHRISTIAN REMEMBRANCER, we have determined, for the future, to prefix to every Number of it such a Sermon, as from its simplicity of style and purity of doctrine might best answer the purpose for which it is intended. SERMON ON THE NEW YEAR. - is hoc ipdeed, a more painful feel.
inng, thay wbieå the heart, full of Psalm xxxix. 5.
its own bitterness and sorrow, Lord, let me know mine end, and the kijous jot to whom it shall impart number of my days; that I may be cer
its troubles, nor upon whom it shall tified how long I have to live.
repose its grief. Such was the case WHEN he wrote the Psalm from with David; destitute of every. which these words are taken, David earthly comforter and friend, he appears to have laboured under the flies for consolation and support to deepest affliction both of mind and a higher power, and pours forth his body. The account which he gives tears and his prayers into tbe bosom of his own feelings and conduct at of his father and his God. My the time, is a very remarkable one. heart was hot within me, and while Knowing how useless and how wick- I was thus musing, the fire kindled, ed are all clamorous and hasty com- and at the last I spake with my plaints, he determines to be silent, tongue. Lord, let me know mine and to give his enemies no advan- end, and the number of my days ; tage over him. I said, I will take that I may be certified how long I heed to my ways; that I offend not have to live. These are not the in my tongue, I will keep my mouth words of fretfulness or despair, but as it were with a bridle, while the the words of soberness and truth. ungodly is in my sight. But though He does not ask with idle curiosity he abstained from every expression, to kuow the exact day and hour on of peevishness or desperation, he which his life shall end-that is not might have innocently and reason- his meaning:---He only asks to be ably catered, like righteous Job, so convinced of the shortness of his into a justification both of himself days, as to be enabled thereby the and of bis God. Remembering, better to bear his present sorrows, however, from the example of Job, and to prepare for his future end. how liable, even in this respect, he This he asks, that he may be serti. was to be mistaken; he kept silence, fied how long he has to live ; that yea, even from good words; but it he may know and feel how short a was pain and grief unto him. There space even the longest life affords REMEMBRANCER, No. 37.
for the exercise of piety and obedi- What would be the jmer liate conence, and that as he is certified of sequence of this ? affairs of its shortness, so he may
be certified the world around us would be imof its value. This sense of the mediately plunged into utter conwords agrees exactly with the trans- fusion. Who would sow, if he did lation of them as we find it in the not hope to reap, who would labour Bible, “ Lord, make me to know and toil if he was certain that he mine end, and the measure of my should not enjoy the fruits ? All days ; what it is, that I may know activity, all motive, all spirit, would how frail I am. The sum and sub- be destroyed; and in their stead stance, indeed, of his request, is would succeed envy, jealousy, and contained in the last verse of the repining. Nor with respect to the Psalm ; an entreaty it is, in which soul itself, would the change be for he will be joined most earnestly by the better. If a young man, in the every one among us, who knows hope only of living fifty years, thinks that he is a stranger only, and a that he may safely spend the first sojourner upon earth, as all his half of them in vice and folly, what fathers were. The entreaty is this, would he do if he was certain ? O spare me a little, that I may re- Would he not the more securely put cover my strength, before I go hence off his repentance and enjoy his sin ? and be no more seen. May God in How would the day of reformation, his mercy grant that, in the case of year after year, be delayed; till at every one of us, it may be go:: :: .length:in the agony of despair, even
But many of us, however-earn-: with the time open before bim, he estly they would pray for this, would! Would imagine that it was too late. pray for something more. We often. On the other hand, if a young man think that if we kuew ibe precise...in the vigour of health and strength time of our end, and the exact were assured that in one short year number of our days, we should be his soul would be required of him, the better and the happier creatures. how would his thoughts be drawn We should not be lhe better, but off from his duty to man, and fixed the worse for this addition to our only upon his duty to God, he would knowledge. It would make us more forget that both these duties should unliappy, more vicious, and more be discharged together ; in his desperate. To shew this will be anxiety and alarm for his own hapone of the chief objects of the pre- piness, he would neglect those ex. sent discourse. Let us consider ertions by which he might encrease then, First, the wisdom of God in the happiness of others. Most hiding from us the exact time of our wisely therefore, and most mercifully end.
to ourselves and to others, has God Secondly, The mercy of God in concealed from our eyes the exact giving us the means so to know our measure of our life and number of end and the number of our days as our days. to apply our hearts unto wisdom. But in return for this, God has
Först. God in his wisdom has hid given us the means so to know our from us the exact number of our end and the number of our days, as days. Suppose now, for a moment, to apply our hearts unto wisdom. that the Almnighty was to reveal to The experience of every hour will each of us the precise length of his teach us that our days are at best existence: suppose he was to reveal but a span long, and that every man to one that he should live fifty years, living is altogether vanity. The to another that he should live ten, term of our appointed time nust to another that he should live one, conclude quickly, and it may conto another that this very night his clude suddenly How soon are the soul should be required of him, youngest and the strongest called
from this world to another, how The duties which all of us in our rapid is their departure, how unex- respective stations have to dispected their summons ! These are charge, will teach us also to know the warnings which a merciful God our end. If high and low, rich and gives to us that remain, these are poor, have each a task to perform, among the means which his wisdom and each an account to give, will employs to teach us how near our they not each inquire what is the own end may be, and how short the time allowed them for their work, number of our days. Guided by and what is the day on which their these awful lessons, let us upply our stewardship must be resigned? Let hearts to wisdom. Let the very un- a man once seriously think of his certainty of life teach us to do the duty, and he will think also of his work of him that sent us, while it is ond. He that knows how much he day, for the night cometh, and has to do, will number well the quickly cometh, when no man can days which are given him to do it. work.
Be they many or be they few, he Disease and pain, disappointment will take care that they shall all be and sorrow, are also among the well employed ; and that when the means which the Almighty uses to Lord cometh, however suddenly, he bring us to a knowledge of our shall not find him sleeping. latter end.
While all things go But the greatest of those means smoothly on, we are little inclined which the Almighty has given us of to believe that they will ever cou- knowing our end and the number of clude; the greater our enjoyments .our days, is his Holy Word. There are, the longer we think that they are the promises, there the proswill last, and in our prosperity we pects, there the -hopes which unite say that we never shall be removed. thirga present: to things future, o death, says the son of Sirach, earth to heaven, time to eternity. how bitler is the remembrance of thee There it is that we are certified how to a man that liveth at rest in his long we have to live, not in this possessions, unto the man that hath short and troublesome world, but nothing to vex him, and that hath in the kingdom of God, and in the prosperity in all things. Most presence of the Lamb. By faith we merciful then is the Almighty in know that our end in this life is but these his dispensations of affliction our beginning in another; by faith and pain, that wean our souls from we know that death is but the stream the seductions and the vanities of that divides the wilderness in which the world, and direct our eyes to as strangers and pilgrims we now that better country, to which we wander, from the Canaan of our are all fast travelling. When the everlasting inheritance. Here we judgments of God are in the earth, have no abiding city, but we seek then it is that men will learn righ- one above, whose maker and whose teousness. And under tribulation builder is God. This is our real and sorrow the thought of his latter end, for this, by the grace of God, end will be a thought of comfort to let all our days be numbered, that every Christian soul. Then it is whether our Lord shall call us that he will number his days with sooner or later, we may ever be satisfaction and joy; he will see prepared to obey. Knowing then how short the space of bis earthly the end, and the number of your trial is, and how everlasting is his days let your loins be girded about, reward. Heaviness may endure for and your lights burning, and ye a night, but joy cometh in the morn- yourselves like unto men that wait ing ; in that eternal morning which for their Lord. Blessed are those sball hereafter rise and shine upon servants, whom the Lord, when he every suffering servant of God.
cometh, shall find watching : and if
he come in the second watch, or we give of the talent committed to come in the third watch, and find our charge? Have we improved our them 80, blessed are those servants. minds as we ought, in useful know
At no time do these thoughts ledge, have we strengthened them come home with more seriousness as we ougbt, in the faith of the to our souls, than at this season, Gospel ? What progress have we when by the blessing of God, we made in our duty to God or to are passing from one year to ano. man in the course of the departed ther. By years our short span of year? In what are we better this life is measured, by years our days day, than we were this day twelveare numbered. And surely we must month ? Have we prayed with more see the wisdom and adore the mercy earnestness, have we attended the of God in thus directing our thoughts, holy Sacrament more often, have at stated intervals, to that end to we thought more seriously of our which we are all approaching. latter end? Have we increased in
The passage from one year to our charities, have we become kinder another is a sort of stand in the neighbours and better friends? What pilgrimage of our lives—it is a pro- bad habit have we subdued, what jecting point from which a prospect Christian virtue have we cultivated ? may be taken, both of what is past In one word, are we better ?- for if and of what is future. It is well we are not better we are worse : then that we should take due:ad-gur hearts are more hardened, our vantage of this wise-end merciful feelings more insensible. dispensation; that we should mark : The year is past, and we are the flight of our lives and pause--: now entering into another, of which, and look backwards and forwards, who among us can be assured that and consider how our decayipt stands he will be permitted to see the end ? for the days that are gone, and how "How many, even among ourselves, it may stand for those which are 10 who were present with us at the come. A year is at all times a very beginning of the departed year, have considerable portion of our exist, been summoned, before its concluence; but how soon is it gone! To sion, from life to death, from time the youngest of us it does not ap- to eternity. Let these things teach pear long, but as we proceed on- us to know our end and the number ward in life, it will appear shorter of our days, how small it must be, and shorter. For we compare each how much smaller it may be. The succeeding year not with itself days of our years are but three score alone, but with the whole space of years and ten, but how few, comour lives which is past. The larger paratively how very few, arrive at then the portion of time which we that period. How many are cut off have already gone - through, the from the land of the living in the shorter will the next approaching in- vigour of manhood, in the fower of terval appear. We all from expe- their youth, and in the pride of rience know the truth of this; and their strength. we often with a sigh lament that May we all, as we retire to our every year appears to pass away chambers and are still, consider how quicker than the last. How much soon we also must pass away and be then does the value of every moment gone; and how our years are bringthat remains, increase upon us, ing to an end as it were a tale when we know with what fearful that is told. And when we thus haste even the longest life is rolling retire, may the Father of mercies onward to eternity.
influence those moments and those The year is past - how has it thoughts, on which perhaps our lot been spent-To what purpose has in eternity itself may depend. May it been applied ? What account can be, in whose hands are the issues