which they contended, and which received their ashes, still subsists; but their places know them no more. The sun which enlightened them, shone upon their graves; and, undisturbed by their dissolution, continued its splendid course in the heavens, to publish to their successors the greatness of its Creator. Reflections of this kind, though affecting, are useful; they teach us to make a proper estimate of human life; they show us its littleness in itself, and the wisdom of combining its pursuits with our eternal destination.. Ye who are scheming, plotting, contriving, only for this world, look back to past generations, and see how little you will gain, even if all your expectations be accomplished! What those generations now are who forgot God before the flood; or who in after-times reared those pyramids which so long have survived the assaults of time; or who reared or overturned the ancient universal monarchies: what those generations are to us, ours will be to our successors; unloved, seldom thought of, leaving few traces of its existence. The tree will still stand, be covered with new leaves; but we shall have fallen and been forgotten.

II. But we may apply the text not only to generations, but also to every individual; and with respect to our bodies, how easy is it to show that "we all do fade as a leaf!"

Mortal man! consider thy body, and acknowledge this truth. It is indeed "fearfully and wonderfully made," and displays the perfections of its Creator. But the very delicacy of its formation renders it more liable to destruction. It is only surprising that a machine so complicated, consisting of so many thousand veins, and nerves, and vessels, and springs, should continue in order for a week or for a day. In

whatever situation we place ourselves, whatever care we take of it, it will gradually decay; nothing can prevent its dissolution: each day of our life is a new combat with death, which, finally victorious, will break down this fabric, and reduce to its first principles this animated dust. To this state we are hourly advancing. As the various tinges of the leaves become imperceptibly stronger and stronger, till they fall; so on us are insensibly impressed indications of the diminution of our vigour and the approaching termination of our days.

But the leaf does not always remain till autumn gradually separates it from the parent tree: often it is nipped off in an instant by a sudden frost, or rudely torn away by the fury of the storm. Like this leaf we too may fall, and never attain the period of old age. How few arrive at the ripeness of age, and sink under the inevitable decays of nature! "Our foundation is in the dust, and we are crushed before the moth." Ten thousand circumstances, which we can neither foresee nor avert, may cut short our days. Every pore affords an avenue to death. Violent disease may in a few hours do the work of years in breaking down the system. The food that we eat, incapable like that of Eden, of rendering us immortal, may lay the foundation of incurable diseases. The air that is necessary for life may be loaded with pestilential vapour, and the next breath that we draw may take in something that no human skill can expel. Every where we are encompassed by so many perils, that we should long since have perished, had not a particular providence watched over us: every where our last hour may sound.

"We all do fade as a leaf." The lives of the antediluvian patriarchs might have been compared to

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the tree which endures for centuries: but the longest lives among us are too short to be compared to the more durable productions of nature, or even to the works of art. The oaks which our fathers planted, will afford shade to our descendants after we have perished from the earth. Cities, states, and empires will remain, when those who inhabited them pass away and are forgotten. Nay, the monuments of human power will resist the corrosions of time, when the hands that reared them are dissolved in the grave.

"We all do fade as a leaf." How loudly is this proclaimed by observation and experience! Where are those who began with us the career of life? How many of them have dropped into the dust and are forgotten? Where are the friends with whom we associated in the morning of our days? Them we have not forgotten; but many of them are removed into the eternal world, and we are prosecuting our journey through earth without them. Where are those with whom in past years we associated in scenes of business, of pleasure, or of devotion? How many whose names are blotted for ever from the list of life! Yes, recollect how often thou hast been called to mourn; of how many dear friends and relatives thy bosom has been rifled: recollect that the separations thou hast endured have also been experienced by others: consider that at this moment many tender ties, which have been cemented by years, are dissolving; many parents gazing on the cold corpses of their children; many children weeping over the authors of their days; many wives and husbands torn from the hearts of those who loved them: with these reflections go to the repositories of the dead, and mark how many hillocks rest upon

those bosoms, which lately beat high with life, and hope, and pleasure; but now, frozen by the touch of death, have for ever ceased to palpitate; and then confess with the prophet, that "we all do fade as a leaf."

III. This is no less true concerning the faculties of our mind.

From the intimate and mysterious connexion of the body and the spirit, they mutually and powerfully affect each other; and when the body is debilitated by sickness or by age, the mind also loses its vigour. Few considerations are more humiliating than the assurance that our intellectual powers may thus fade as a leaf," and we sink into second childishness. And how many illustrious instances of this kind have occurred! How often is the understanding impaired long before the dissolution of the body! That same Warburton, who astonishes us by his powers, becomes an idiot

"From Marlborough's eyes the tears of dotage flow,
"And Swift expires a driveller and a show."

The memory is no more permanent than the understanding. The ideas, as well as the children of our youth, often die before us; and our minds represent to us those tombs to which we are approaching, where, though the brass and marble may remain, yet the inscriptions are often effaced by time, and the imagery worn away. The imagination loses its liveliness and vigour, and is incapable of its former flights and transports. The affections lose their warmth and vivacity, and the pleasures of sense and science charm not as they once did.


Thus with respect to the whole man, it is true that "we fade as a leaf;" and like it we must soon fall. We shall no longer be seen in our occupations, in our families, nor in the church of God. On our grave-stones, and on the hearts of our friends, this inscription will be imprinted, Here he once lived: but these memorials are also perishable; happy for us if, real children of God, our names are registered in the Lamb's book of life, a record that shall never perish. Such are some of the truths of which the fading, falling leaves, that are now scattered in our paths, should remind us. Let us listen to these mute preachers, and properly estimate our earthly state.

My brethren, the truths which have been announced to you in this discourse are so indubitable, and so interesting to us, that one would suppose they never could escape from our minds; yet, alas! we seldom seriously think of them; we crowd our lives with business and pleasure, so as to give no room for the remembrance of death. Let me beseech you at last to awake! to close your hearts for a time against the noisy, seductive scene around you, and to think seriously of yourselves, of your true situation, and the duties which thence result.

1. Do we fade as a leaf? Let us then moderate our desires after the enjoyments, the riches, and honours, of a world that we may be called to leave to-morrow. Think of the coffin, the worm, and the shroud; all that will soon be left you of your worldly acquirements! Think how incapable the objects to which too many give their whole souls, will be to support your fainting spirit amidst the last struggles of labouring nature! Think how ineffectual they will be to procure you pardon or acceptance at the bar

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