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in that fatal night, when the destroying angel sheathed his arrows in all the pride of their strength.-Some, sinking to the floor from their easy chair, and deaf, even amidst the piercing shrieks of their distracted relations;—some, giving up the ghost as they sit retired, or lie reclined under the shady arbour, to taste the sweets of the flowery scene;-some, as they sail, associated with a party of pleasure, along the dancing stream, and through the laughing meads. Nor is the grim intruder mollified, though wine and music flow around;-some intercepted, as they are returning home; and some interrupted, as they enter upon an important negociation; some arrested, with the gain of injustice in their hands; and some surprised in the very act of lewdness, or the attempt of cruelty.
Legions, legions of disasters, such as no prudence can foresee, and no care prevent, lie in wait to accomplish our doom. A starting horse may throw his rider; may at once dash his body against the stones, and fling his soul into the invisible world. A stack of chimnies may tumble into the street, and crush the unwary passenger under the ruins. Even a single tile, dropping from the roof, may be as fatal as the fall of the whole structure. So frail, so very attenuated is the thread of life, that it not only bursts before the storm, but breaks even at a breese. The most common occurrences, those from which we suspect not the least harm, may prove the weapons of our destruction. A grape-stone, a despicable fly, may be more mortal than Goliath, with all his formidable armour.-Nay, if God give command, our very comforts become killing. The air we breathe, is our bane; and the food we eat, the vehicle of death. That last enemy has unnumbered avenues for his approach; yea, lies intrenched in our very bosom, and holds his fortress in the seat of our life. The crimson fluid, which distributes health,
is impregnated with the seeds of death; heat may inflame it, or toil oppress it, and make it destroy the parts it was designed to cherish; some unseen impediment may obstruct its passage, or some unknown violence may divert its course; in either of which cases, it acts the part of a poisonous draught, or a deadly stab.
Ah! in what perils is vain life engag'd!
What slight neglects, what trivial faults destroy
The all-surrounding heaven, the vital air,
Since then we are so liable to be dispossessed of this earthly tabernacle, let us look upon ourselves only as tenants at will, and hold ourselves in perpetual readiness, to depart at a moment's warning. Without such an habitual readiness, we are like wretches that sleep on the top of a mast, while a horrid gulph yawns, or furious waves rage, below. And where can be the peace, what the satisfaction of such a state ?—Whereas, a prepared condition will inspire a cheerfulness of temper, not to be dismayed by any alarming accident; and create a firmness of mind, not to be overthrown by the most threatening dangers. When the city is fortified with walls, furnished with provision, guarded by able and resolute troops, what have the inhabitants to fear? what may they not enjoy? So, just so, or rather by a much surer band, are connected the real taste of life, and the constant thought of death.
DEATH is, in itself, a most serious and distressing event. It is nature's supreme evil, the abhorrence of God's creation-a monster, from whose touch every living thing recoils; so that to shrink from its ravages upon ourselves, or upon those whom we love, is not an argument of weakness, but an act of obedience to the first law of being a tribute to the value of that life, which is our Maker's gift. The disregard which some of old affected, to whatever goes by the name of evil; the insensibility of others, who yielded up their souls to the power of fatalism; and the artificial gaiety, which has occasionally played the comedian about the dying bed of" philosophy, falsely so called," are outrages upon decency and nature. Death destroys both action and enjoyment-mocks at wisdom, strength, and beauty-disarranges our plans-robs us of our treasure-desolates our bosoms-breaks our heartstrings-blasts our hopes. Death extinguishes the glow of kindness-abolishes the most tender relations of man-severs him from all that he knows and lovessubjects him to an ordeal, which thousands of millions have passed, but none can explain; and what will be as new to the last, who gives up the ghost, as it was to murdered Abel-flings him, in fine, without any avail from the experience of others, into a state of untried being. No wonder that nature trembles before it; reason justifies the fear; religion never makes light of it; and he who does, instead of ranking with heroes, can hardly deserve to rank with a brute.
THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST.
"THE Son of Man shall come in his glory."
The last great period of all things is at length arrived. Already has the trumpet sounded, and the dead have arisen, and the sea has given up the dead which are in it; already has the mighty angel lifted up his hand to heaven, and sworn "by Him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there shall be time no longer;" already has the sun been darkened, and the moon stripped of her light, and the stars have fallen from heaven; when lo, the Son of Man cometh with power and great glory, and every eye seeth him. "The Son of Man!"-It is, it is He, the brother, the friend of man, who appears: who is seated on yonder radiant throne, in whose glory all those resplendent orbs of light are absorbed, extinguished, lost; He it is, thus highly exalted, far above all principalities, and powers, and every name that is named; the same who once dwelt among men upon earth; who went about doing good, alleviated the miseries of mankind, himself "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." He it is, who submitted to poverty with the poor, who wept with the mourner, who suffered reproach with the despised, who took on him the form of a servant, who became obedient unto death; and who was, who did, who endured all this, in the bowels of friendship, in the disinterested ardour of fraternal affection.
He shone then, in the glory of humanity and mercy, of meekness and condescension, of patience and resignation; his present glory is that of universally acknowledged supremacy; of unrivalled, unlimited, uncontroulable authority; of inflexible justice; of a love,
whose height and depth, whose length and breadth, surpass knowledge. He who enters on the scene as "the Son of Man," is quickly transformed into "the king," the Lord of angels, the dispenser of kingdoms, the dread arbiter of life and death, holding in his hand the tremendous "key which opens, and no man can shut, and which shuts, and no man can open."
"The Son of Man-in glory!" The very object that was seen on earth. Great from first to last is the mystery of godliness! God "made manifest in the flesh;" humanity exalted to supreme command over universal nature, all things put under his feet, all the angels of God commanded to worship him; and Deity descended to the unterrifying perception of mortals, to the performance of the tenderest offices of humanity, to the most intimate communications of mutual love. Blessed source of hope for eternity! The source of being, of light, of joy; He who is to support our felicity for ever and ever, is intimately united to us, knows our frame, can completely adapt his supplies to our constantly recurring, growing necessities.
THE RESURRECTION AND JUDGMENT.
"AND I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God."
What a vast assembly! What an august convocation is here! Adam now beholds the long line of his posterity; and they behold their common father. Europeans and Asiatics, the swarthy sons of Africa, and the savage tribes of America here mingle together. The Jew and the Samaritan, the Christian, the Pagan, and the Turk, meet here in peace, alike forgetful of