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on the New Year. Serm. 34. blood of God; what love is this ! Go home, and forget it if you can. I may as well bid you live without breathing if you can.
Seventhly, Let me conclude with this reflection : how honourable, how happy, how glorious are the fons of God! how immense their privileges ! how rich their inheritance! Why then are they so backward to enter upon it! how unaccountable, how absurd their eager attachment to this world, and their unwillingness to die! Why so much afraid of ascending to their Father's house? Why so shy of glory and bliss ? Why so fond of slavery and imprisonment ? O! my brethren, be always on the wing, ready for flight, and be always looking out, and crying, Come, Lord Jefus, come quickly. Amen.
blife to their Fathedie! Why To on this world, how ab
Jer. xxviii. 16. This year thou shalt die. * VIT HILE we are entering upon the threshold of
VV a new year it may be proper for us to stand, and pause, and take a serious view of the occurrences that may happen to us this year, that we may be prepared to meet them. Future contingencies are indeed unknown to us; and this ignorance is as agreeable to our present state, and as conducive to our improvement and happiness, as our knowledge of the things which it concerns us to know. But though we cannot predict to ourselves the particular events that may befal us, yet the events of life in general,
* This Sermon was preached at the college at Nassau-Hall, and consequently to a number of young persons, Jan, 1, 1761. The Author died the 4th of February following.
in a vague indeterminate view are not so contingent and unknowable as to leave no room for rational suppositions, and probable expectations. There are certain events which regularly happen to us every year, and therefore we may expect them this year. There are others sometimes occur in the compass of a year, and sometimes do not; such are many of the blesfings and afflictions of life; of these we should be apprehensive, and prepare for them. And there are events which we know are before us, and we are sure they will occur : but at what particular time they will happen, whether this year or next, whether this day or to-morrow, is to us an utter uncertainty. Such is that interesting event the close of the present life, and our entrance into eternity. That we must die, is as certain as that we now live; but the hour or year when, is kindly and wisely concealed from us, that we may be always ready, and stand in the posture of constant vigilant expectations ; that we may not be surprised. But certainly it becomes us to reflect seriously upon the mere poflibility of this event happening this year, and realize to ourselves those important consequences that result from this supposition. The mere possibility of this may justly affect us more than the certain expectation of any other futurity. And it is not only possible, but highly probable, death may meet some of us within the compass of this year. Yes, it is highly probable that if some prophet, like Jeremiah, should open to us the book of the divine decrees, one or other of us would there see our sentence, and the time of its execution fixed. Thus faith the Lord this year thou malt die. There some of us would find it written, · This year thou shalt enjoy a series of prosperity, to try if the goodness of God will lead thee to repentance. Others might read this melancholy line, This year fhall be to thee a series of afflictions; this year thou shalt lose thy dearest earthly support and comfort; this year thou shalt pine away with fickness, or agonize with
my spirit, to read this tremenus fecurity! Om
torturing pain, to try if the kind severities of a father's rod will reduce thee to thy duty. Others, I hope, would read the gracious decree, This year thy stubborn spirit, after long resistance, shall be sweetly constrained to bow to the despised gospel of Christ. This year shalt thou be born a child of God, and an heir of happiness, which the revolution of years shall never, never terminate.' O happy and glorious event! May we hope this mercy is reserved among the secrets of heaven for any thoughtless impenitent finner among us! And that the decree will bring forth this year! this year which finds us in a dead sleep, ftupidly careless of our everlasting interest, and which, if like the preceding, will be a season of thoughtless impenitence and presumptuous fecurity! Others perhaps would read this tremendous doom, . This year my spirit, so long resisted, frall cease to strive with thee; this year I will give thee up to thine own heart's lufts, and swear in my wrath thou shalt not enter into my reft.' 0 ! dismal sentence ! None can equal it in terror but one, and that is, depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire : and the former is an infallible presage of the latter. Others (O! let our souls dwell upon the thought !) would probably find the doom of the false prophet Hananiah pronounced against them: Thus faith the Lord, behold, I will cast thee from off the face of the earth : this year thou shalt die.
This year you may die, for your life is the greatest uncertainty in the world. You have no assurance of another year, another day, or even another moment.
This year you may die, because thousands have died since the last new year's day; and this year will be of the fame kind with the last; the duration of mortals; a time to die. The causes of death, both in the human constitution and in the world without, will exist and operate in this year as well as in the last.
This year you may die ; for thousands of others will die : it is certain they will, and why may not you? What peculiar security have you to confide in? This year you may die, though you are young; for the regions of the dead have been crowded with persons of your age ; and no age is the least security against the stroke of death
This year you may die, though you are now in health and vigour, and your constitution seems to promise a long life ; for thousands of such will be hurried into the eternal world this year, as they have been in years past. The principles of death may be even now working within you, notwithstanding the feeming firmness of your constitution; and you may be a pale, cold, lifeless corpse, sooner than the invalid whose life is apparently near its close.
This year you may die, though you are full of bufiness, though you have projected many schemes, which it may be the work of years to execute, and which afford you many bright and flattering profpects. Death will not consult your leisure, nor be put off till another year, that you may accomplish your designs. Thousands have died before you, and will die this year amidst their golden profpects, and while spinning out their eternal schemes. And what has happened to them may happen to you...
This year you may die, though you have not yet finished your education, nor fixed in life, but are preparing to appear in the world, and perhaps elated with the prospect of the figure you will make in it. Many such abortive students are now in the dust. Many that had pafled through a laborious course of preparation for public life, and had inspired their friends, as well as themselves, with high hopes, have been snatched away as they were just stepping upon the stage : and this may be your doom also.
This year you may die, though you are not prepared for it. When death shows you his warrant under the great seal of Heaven, it will be no excuse to plead, 'I am not ready. Though the consequence of your dying unprepared will be your everlasting ruin, yet that dreadful consideration will have no weight to delay the execution.
amidst theive died beforaccomplish
hope the cof a length of short abortive lite
This year you may die, though you deliberately delay your preparation, and put it off to some future time. You may fix upon the next year, or the decline of life, as the season for religion; but that time may never be at your disposal. Others may live to fee it, but you may be ingulphed in the boundless ocean of eternity before it arrives, and your time for preparation may be over for ever.
This year you may die, though you are unwilling to admit the thought. Death does not flacken his pace towards you, because you hate him, and are afraid of his approach. Your not realizing your latter end as near, does not remove it to a greater distance. Think of it or not, you must die : your want of thought can be no defence; and you know not how soon you may feel what you cannot bear to think of.
This year you may die, though you may strongly hope the contrary, and flatter yourself with the expectation of a length of years. You will not perhaps admit the thought of a short abortive life; but notwithstanding this, you may be a lifeless corpfe before this year finishes its revolution.
Thus it appears very possible, that one or other of us may die this year. Nay, it is very probable, as well as possible, if we consider that it is a very uncommon, and almost unprecedented thing, that not one should die in a whole year out of such an assembly as this. More than one have died the year past, who made a part of our assembly last new year's day.
Therefore let each of us (for we know not on whom the lot may fall) realize this possibility, this alarming probability, · This year I may die.'
And what if you should ? Surely you may be startled at this question : for 0! the surprizing change! 0! the important consequences !
If you should die this year, then all your doubts, all the anxieties of blended hopes and fears about your state and character will terminate for ever in full con