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to the thoughts of the young, than of the old: Feebleness of spirit renders melan-4 choly ideas more oppressive; and after: ** having been so long accustomed and enured to the world, men bear worse with any thing which reminds them that they must soon part with it.—However, as to part with it is the doom of all, let us take measures betimes for going off the stage, when it shall be our turn to withdraw, with decency and propriety ; leaving nothing unfulfilled which it is expedient to have done before we die. To live long ought not to be our favourite wish, so much as to live well. By continuing too long on earth, we might only live to witness a greater number of melancholy scenes, and to expose ourselves to a wider compass of human
He who has served his generation faithfully in the world has duly honoured God, and been beneficent and useful to mankind; he who in his life has been respected and beloved ; whose death is accompanied with the sincere regret of all who knew him, and whose memory is honoured ; that man has sufficiently fulfilled
his course, whether it was appointed by Providence to be long or short. For honourable age is not that which standeth in length of time, nor that which is measured by number of years ; but wisdom is the
hair to man; and an unspotted life is old age*.
ECCLESIASTES xii. 5. -Man goeth to his long home, and the mourner's go
about the streets.
This is a sight which incessantly presents itself. Our eyes are so much accustomed to it, that it hardly makes any impression. Throughout every season of the year, and during the course of almost every day, the funerals which pass along the streets show us man going to his long home. Were death a rare and uncommon object; were it only once in the course of a man's life, that he beheld one of his fellow-creatures carried to the grave, a solemn awe would fill him ; he would stop short in the midst of his pleasures; he would even be chilled with secret horror.. Such impressions, however, would provee unsuitable
to the nature of our present state. When they became so strong as to render men unfit for the ordinary business of life, they would in a great measure defeat the intention of our being placed in this world. It is better ordered by the wisdom of Providence, that they should be weakened by the frequency of their recurrence, and so tempered by the mixture of other passions, as to allow us to go on freely in acting our parts on earth.
Yet, familiar as death is now become, it is undoubtedly fit that by an event of so important a nature, some impression should be made upon our minds. It ought not to pass over as one of those common incidents which are beheld without concern, and awaken no reflection. There are many things which the funerals of our fellowcreatures are calculated to teach; and happy it were for the
and dissipated if they would listen more frequently to the instructions of so awful a monitor. In the context, the wise man had described, under a variety of images, suited to the eastern style, the growing infirmities of old age, until they arrive at that period which con
cludes them all; when, as he beautifully expresses it, the silver cord being loosened, and the golden bowl broken, the pitcher being broken at the fountain, and the wheel at the cistern, man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets. In discoursing from these words, it is not my purpose to treat, at present, of the instructions to be drawn from the prospect of our own death: I am to confine myself to the death of others; to consider death as one of the most frequent and considerable events that happen in the course of human affairs ; and to show in what manner we ought to be affected, first, by the death of strangers, or indifferent
persons; secondly, by the death of friends; and thirdly, by the death of enemies.
I. By the death of indifferent persons ; if any can be called indifferent to whom we are so nearly allied as brethren by nature, and brethren in mortality. When we observe the funerals that pass along the streets, or when we walk among the monuments of death, the first thing that naturally strikes us is the undistinguishing blow with which that common enemy levels