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“ Fathers in Peace, and be buried in a good old “ Age;" and this Faith of Abram, in the promises of God, as revealed to him in the Vision, “was “ accounted to him for Righteousness."*
We see from this short History, what God points out to Abram, “ as an exceeding great Reward, and one of his highest Blessings upon Earth,” namely, “ a numerous Posterity, and living to a good old Age;" having been useful and upright in our Dayvirtuous Citizens, stedfast Friends, venerable Fathers and Mothers—and then at last, to depart in Peace with God and Man, full of Years, respected in our Neighbourhood, and almost adored in our Families!
How much of this Blessing was applicable to our venerable Friend now departed, (who was almost a Patriarch in Years and Progenyt) those who have known him nearest and longest can best testify. His numerous Family of Descendants bear full Testimony to one Part; and some of us can further witness, with great Truth and Feeling, how earnest and assiduous were his Endeavours to promote those public undertakings in which we have been engaged, for the instruction of the rising Generation;s and other Works of common Benefit to the Country.
Zealous he was also for the advancement of Religion, and the support of its holy Ordinances; constant in his attendance in the House of God's Worship, and at the blessed Sacrament; of which he was an earnest Partaker last Christmas-Day, although then labouring under many infirmities of Body, and expressing his full persuasion to Me, that it would be the last Christmas Sacrament he should ever receive
* Gal. Chap. iii. Ver. 6.
† I have written to Albert Gallatine, who married his Grand-daughter, and his Grand-son Joseph Nicholson, Member of Congress, (bred up under my Care at Washington College) to send me the list of their Grandfather's Family, Children, &c.
| The founding of Washington College, whereof he was the oldest Visitor and Governor.
And now bidding Farewel—a long Farewelto the Deceased; let us, who are yet numbered among the Living: make some earnest inquiry—“How we may best be preparing ourselves to go to our Fathers in Peace, whether summoned from this World in our earlier Years; or, peradventure, spared to a good old Age?"
Although old Age, by many, be not considered as such a Blessing, that weought to pray for it to God; yet still, in Scripture, it is reckoned among the Blessings which God bestows upon particular Persons, for the special purposes of his Providence—as upon Job, Isaac, David, 'Jehoiada, who (like Abram) are said to have died of “a good old Age, or full of Days, Riches and Honours, while, to others, it is reckoned a blessing that their days were shortened ;-as those of good“ king Josiah, who was timely taken away, that he might not live to see the Evil that was to come.” Moreover, Length of Days, is ordinarily called a blessing; inasmuch as it is promised in the fifth Commandment, as a reward of their Righteousness, that the days of those who obey their Parents, should be Long in the Land; and Samuel, by the command of God, pronounced it as a Curse upon
Eli_“ That there should not be an old man in all his family."
But the truth is, that our gray hairs are only a Crown of Glory in this way of Righteousness; and, in the same way, the hairs of youth itself, are full of Honour and Glory. And since none of us have the promise of Abram, that we shall live to a good Old Age, let us be striving in time to live such a Life, as through the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, will prepare us to die in Peace, at whatever age we may be called.
To live thus is a Duty incumbent upon all; and upon the Young as much as the Old. For suppose you are yet in the bloom of Youth, or at least are not past the middle stage of Life, and Time hath not yet showered his snows upon your heads;-yet still you are to consider, that your days are as fileeting and uncertain as those of gray Hairs.
I will, therefore, offer a short Address to those of every Age and Description, on this important subject. And first, to those of younger years, and upon whose heads, Time hath not yet showered his snows.
Consider that even your days are as fleeting and uncertain as those of riper Age. If you survey yonder graves, you will see them of every size, and opening their mouths for every Age and description of Men, from Childhood up to ripest years. Be ye therefore, always ready. No Meditation more seri- . ous, no Lecture in Philosophy more instructive, no Precept of Religion more serviceable than the call to consider the shortness and uncertainty of Life,-the vanity of all things in it,—the Misery and Frailty of
fallen unregenerate man! This you may read, as the inscription of every Grave-stone you survey; you may see it in the fall of every Leaf; bear it in the toll of every funereal Bell; and feel it in the Beat of every Pulse; calling upon you to be prepared in time to remember your Creator in the Days of your Youth, before the evil days come; before the corruptions of the world take hold of you, and rooted Habits of Vice and Folly may have endangered your Happiness and Salvation.
Think how glorious it is to give to God, the first and best of your days, when the heart yet remains a noble sacrifice, worthy of being offered to Him! How honourable and praise-worthy it is, to exert yourselves in the early part of Life in the attainment of Leanning and Wisdom, and all those necessary Arts and Accomplishments, which will enable you to come forth on the Theatre of action, with Virtue and Dignity ; striving to distinguish yourselves, in the sight of God and your Country, by every action that is glorious and Praise-worthy—having the Precepts of Religion, and the happiness of mankind, as the Rule and Scope of all your conduct! If
you act thus, your Death will be honourable, even at the earliest period of Life; and if you live to old Age, such a Course of Righteousness, and the joyous Reflections which it will produce, will be your Crown of Glory !
And now, in the second place, as to us, whose gray bairs are giving us Warning, that our Race is nearly run; certainly much need not be said on this occasion. Our long Experience in the world will, doubtless, lead us to improve this, and every such like Occasion of committing the Bodies of our Friends to the Dust, towards securing the one thing needful.
The irregularities of youth, are the chief cause of an infirm and painful old Age-and at that period, they will speak to us; “ whether we will hear, or whether we will forbear.”
Having at that stage of life, nothing in this world, to support us against the consciousness of former Guilt, our only comfort will be in our fying to Christ; in the stedfast Faith,—" That he purchased for us, a Redemption, not merely from temporal, but ever. lasting Evils; that, through Him, our God was not now*, such a God as under the Law, scarcely to be propitiated with Thousands of Rams; or ten thou. sand Rivers of Oil; but a reconciled God, drawn in the most amiable and adorable Light! That we are not left under the Sentence of our first Parents, to cry out, “ O wretched men that we are, who shall deliver us from this Body of Death?” But, that we can ook up to our blessed Redeemer, who hath opened to us anew and living Way-away in which we may be first justified in the Sight of God, then pardoned of our Sins; then sanctified, assisted, and invigorated, in the Discharge of our Duty.
This plan is matter of wonder and Joy, even to the holy Angels; as thereby the efficacy and Dignity of Grace are maintained, and yet the Will of Man left free; that, by it, also, our own Righteousness is
* Some thoughts in this Sermon necessarily occurred in the former, from the Text-" The Ilvary Head is a Crown of Glory,” &C.