over his corpse. But though dead, he yet spoke : spoke to his surviving parents and the age in which he lived, and still continues to speak unto us. His early and his sudden death teaches us the most solemn and interesting truths; teaches us the vanity of worldly prospects and pursuits; teaches us that youth and health cannot secure us against death; teaches us that the period of our dissolution is uncertain, and that there is not a moment of our lives in which we may not be deprived of existence.

But is Abel the only one of the dead who thus affectingly addresses us? No: the same lessons are announced to us by the united voices of that vast multitude who, like him, are early and suddenly brought to the tomb. The same lessons are announced (oh, with what force!) to you, young men, by him who so lately was your associate and fellowstudent, by him who so lately was seated with you in this sacred place, but on whose cold and unpalpitating breast the dust of the church-yard now presses; who now lies beneath the earth in a slumber so profound, that he will be waked only by the trump of the archangel.*

Come then, my brethren, and let us listen to these interesting preachers. Let us quit for a little time the commerce of the living, and go to gain instruction from the dead. Let us transport ourselves in imagination to those places where darkness and corruption reign; to those graves where the worm will perhaps shortly riot on our bodies, and where the corpses of those who have died before us already are deposited. Let us fix our eyes on the cold ashes,

* This discourse was preached at Princeton, occasioned by the death of one of the students of the college.

the dry bones, the frightful skeletons, which are there to be found. In the midst of this gloomy scene a midnight stillness, an appalling silence seems to dwell; but how instructive, how eloquent is this silence! Does not a monitory voice proceed from the bottom of these tombs, and address your heart with an emphasis, with an energy, which the language of the living cannot rival? Let us listen to this voice, and impress its advices deeply on our soul.

The dead then speak to us and teach us,

I. That all those projects and anticipations, those pursuits and enjoyments, which have not a reference to our eternal state, are vain, foolish, and delusive. Whilst we neglect to remember the narrow limits of human life and our approaching dissolution, the prospects, the occupations, and the pleasures of this world appear to have solidity and value, and to be worthy of our cares and desires. But the dead speaking to us, dissipate this illusion, and show us that our earthly projects are buildings raised upon the sand, which can be overthrown not only by storms and tempests, but even by every little gust of wind; that those pleasures and pursuits which are terminated on worldly things, are unworthy the solicitude of him who has an immortal soul to save, and an endless heaven for which to prepare. They show us from their own experience, that all things below the sun are transient and fading; that however closely we embrace them, death will speedily unclasp our arms and tear us from them; that we should therefore not fix our hearts upon them, but attend chiefly to those infinitely more magnificent and durable enjoyments that lie beyond the grave. Is not this, young men, the advice given you by your

former associate? Hark! while he exclaims, I have now stood before the tribunal of my Judge, the impartial bar of my God. From that elevated station I looked back upon the concerns of earth, and they dwindled in importance to a point, to a nothing; I looked forward to that eternity which is before me, to that eternity which shall only be commencing when countless millions of years shall have past, and I felt that it alone deserves the pursuit and the labours of man. I looked at my right hand, and beheld the ineffable splendours of that heaven reserved for the children of God, and I wondered at the folly, the blindness, the stupidity, of those who could barter it for the vain and unsatisfactory pleasures of earth; I looked at my left hand, and beheld the unspeakable agonies of the accursed, who are groaning under the pressure of almighty vengeance; I listened to the shrieks, the howlings, the agonized cries which re-echo round their dreary abode, and I shuddered for those wretched mortals who still expose themselves to all these tortures, though God and the Saviour woo them to be happy. You, like me, young men, must stand at this tribunal; you must behold these overpowering spectacles; you must spend an eternity either in the glories of paradise or the tortures of hell! in time then prepare to meet your Judge; learn properly to estimate the concerns of time; let God, and heaven, and eternity, principally engage your affections and desires; live conformably to the sublimity of your destination; live as becomes the heirs of immortality." Ah! my brethren, can you be insensible to such a call as this? Though you can resist the entreaties of your preachers, can you close your ears against a voice from the dead? Can you be unaffected by the words of one who

once was engaged in the same studies, pursuits, and occupations with you, and who now only entreats you to secure your own felicity.

And do all those of you, my people, whose chief desires are fixed upon the world, who spend your lives in the eager pursuit of its perishable vanities, to the forgetfulness of God and your souls, listen to the dead speaking to you, and suspend those anxious cares, moderate those excessive desires for earth, which now possess you? You, like them, must pass through the valley of death; from your closing eyes the world must recede as it has from theirs; in that eventful moment a sense of the insignificance of earthly things will break in upon your minds like light from heaven, all your worldly acquisitions will be viewed by you with cold contempt, and nothing then will afford you satisfaction and give confidence to your soul in its approaches to God, except the sentiments of religion, and the persuasion of an interest in the Redeemer. Listen then to the voice of the numberless dead, and learn to sit loose to the earth and its enjoyments. Ambitious men! some of these dead cry to you, I have been surrounded by that glory which dazzles you; I have possessed those dignities for which you are struggling; I have been eulogized and applauded by men: but whither have all my honours conducted me? To the tomb! Whither will yours conduct you? To the tomb!' Covetous men! listen to what some of these dead cry to you: I have accumulated riches; I have heaped treasure upon treasure; I have acquired revenues almost exhaustless. But of them all, what have I carried with me to the grave? A coffin and a shroud! What will you carry with you of the riches that you are amassing? A coffin and a shroud! Sensualists!



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listen to what some of these dead cry to you: indulged myself in every pleasure; I have refused nothing to my senses; I have rioted in sensual joys. But where did these joys terminate? In the tomb, in remorse, in perdition! What you are, I have been; what I am, you will shortly be.' O death! let thy voice ever echo in our ears; it is. terrible only to those souls that are enslaved to earth, and devoted to the world. Let it often remind us that we are born for immortality, and that an eternity of life and of glory should constantly engage our thoughts, our desires, and our pursuits.

II. The dead speak to us, and declare that life is both short and uncertain. We all of us acknowledge that we must die; we none of us are so foolish as to hope for an immortality upon earth. But we delude ourselves with the belief that death is yet at a great distance; that many years will pass before his arrows will pierce our heart. Visit the repositories of the dead, and learn that "man that is born of a woman, is of few days: that he fleeth as a shadow, and continueth not." Do you not there hear those who were most advanced in age saying to you: My associates spoke of the length of my life, of the number of my years, but now that I compare this life with the eternity which for me has swallowed up all time, how does it appear? Less than an atom, compared to the immensity of the universe; less than a drop of water, compared to the extended ocean.' Do you not hear others, and among them him who was so lately taken from us, crying even to the young,


It is but a little time since I was as full of life, of health, of cheerfulness, as you; and now I afford you a proof of the brevity of human life? Profit by this instruction before you in your turn shall teach

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