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but before its anniversary return, your power and patronage shall have passed to other hands : The venal crowd shall have forsaken your threshold; death shall have laid you low, and brought you to that house where the small and the great, the servant and the master, lie down undistinguished together! Prepare to appear before the tribunal of that supreme Judge," with whom there is no respect of persons, and who shall render to every man according to his works."
Ye high-minded possessors of the wealth of this world, who "trust in your wealth and boast yourselves of the multitude of your riches!" How many such are this day saying by their conduct, with the rich man in the parable, each to himself, "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry!" but the day is coming forward, within this year, when God shall say to this or the other secure worldling," Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee." "Turn away thine eyes, then, from beholding vanity." Seek the true riches, the unfading inheritance; seek them in the right order, and they are assuredly thine forever.
Ye who are devoted to sensual
` enjoyments ! "whose god is your belly" who are led captive by "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life"-this year, Death, unwelcome messenger ! may snatch some of you away from the haunts of dissipation, from the assemblies of gaiety, or from the convivial board, where you labour, in noisy mirth, to drown the recollection of the past, and
the care of the future; saying, with the disciples of Epicurus, "Let us eat and drink to-day, for to-morrow we die." Should the awful summons meet you in such circumstances as these, with what consternation will your souls be overwhelmed? Like the king of Babylon, when at his impious feast he beheld the hand-writing on the wall, "Then the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against the other."
Many poor afflicted ones, who have spent their days in obscurity, under the pressure of accumulated hardships, shall, indeed, this year, obtain a release from the troubles of a present life, and pass, according to their respective characters, to regions of perfect bliss, or of severer endless wo.
This year too, as in all those that have gone before, Death shall approach his destined victims in various ways and forms. Growing infirmities, slow wasting disease, or the multitude of years, shall prove to many the sure harbingers of mortality. Acute disease frequently makes the transition short, from the vigour of health to an untimely grave. Should war continue its ravages, how many lives, dragged forth by mad ambition, or engaged in the honourable defence of their country, may be expected to fall in deadly conflict! Of those "who go down to the sea in ships," it may be feared, that not a few shall, in the raging deep, find a watery grave. Nor shall even the merciless element of fire, probably, want its
victims. Nay, some souls, it may be presumed, without the least previous warning, escaping almost the sensation of dying, may suddenly, in a moment, drop their mortal bodies, and launch into eternity, whilst engaged in their ordinary occupations or duties, in the market or in the field, in their own house, or in the house of God. Whatever the designs of Providence to such individuals may be, their example sounds aloud to survivors the momentous admonition, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might. Be ye therefore ready also, for the Son of Man cometh at an hour when ye think not,"
Youth and Beauty, whilst rejoicing in the days of youth, in the days of the gladness and gaiety of their heart, intent only on present joy, may receive the unwelcome call to go down to the dark and silent grave, and to appear before God in judgment.
The man of business, in the vigour of age, careful and cumbered about many things, unmindful that one thing is needful, anxious to advance his fortune, and lay up a provision for old age; who has no time to think of his soul, and to prepare for eternity; may yet, in the course of this year, find leisure to die, and give account of himself to God.
This year too, as in every former year, is there not reason to apprehend, that Death, by unwelcome visits, may destroy, in many cases, the happiness of domestic society? disjoining, by a heartrending stroke, the strongest and most endearing ties by which human hearts can be united; anatching the smiling, prattling
child, from the embrace of the fond reluctant parent; cutting down by a stroke the more advanced offspring, the promised staff and solace of parental age; or, by taking away its natural head and protector, constraining the bereaved family to say, "We are orphans and fatherless; our mothers are as widows!" Such scenes as these exhibit, in the most affecting form, the vanity of human comforts, and strongly enforce the apostle's admonition, "But this I say, brethren, the time is short; it remaineth, that both they that have wives, be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as tho' they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as tho' they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it; for the fashion of this world passeth away."
Amidst all the vicissitudes of time, "the word of the Lord abideth forever." And the relation which individuals bear to the dispensation of mercy, discovers farther, and deeply interesting prospects, in consequence of the changes that may be expected, in the course of the year that is now begun.
"Do the prophets live forever?" The gospel of Christ is justly denominated, The Everlasting Gospel; but those, who preach it," are not suffered to continue by reason of death.” To many invested with the sacred office, the great Lord will ere long say, "Give an account of thy stewardship, for thou mayest be no longer steward." Το the unfaithful servant, how tre mendous the summons! Blessed is that minister, who, having
studied through life to approve himself to God, and to commend himself to the consciences of men, is able, in such a prospect, to say with Paul, "I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand; I have fought the good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness."
The gospel is appointed to be preached to every creature," but multitudes of wretched mortals refuse to hear it. They make light of the gospel, and despise its ordinances; they forsake the Christian assemblies, and profane the day of God. Enslaved by vice, they are forced to take refuge in infidelity; and joining the tribe of scoffers, they mutually harden one another, and make strong the bands of wickedness. How many such shall, in the course of this year, be arrested in the career of impiety! Yes, proud and haughty scorner, know that the day is at hand, when thou shalt appear before the despised Saviour, provoked by thine impenitence and hardness of heart to act as the righteous Judge, and pronounce the irreversible sentence, "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me."
How difficult is it to convince many, who profess the gospel, of the reality of eternal things, and to engage their attention to the great concerns of salvation! Though their character be remote from infidelity or profligacy, they are strangers to the power of vital godliness. They hear the truths of the gospel,
and perhaps avow an approba.. tion of them; but they perceive not their intrinsic glory, nor feel the importance of them to their own happiness. They pass their days in security, and expect that all shall be well with them at last. But "wo to them that are at ease in Zion!" To many of this description the last year of life is arrived. The day of sal vation shall quickly go down; all opportunities of improvement shall soon be past; and to a long eternity they shall bewail their folly, because "the things that belong to their peace are hid from their eyes" forever.
It is the glory of the gospel, that it reveals a method of divine acceptance, at once honourable to God, and safe for sinful men ; "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith." "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness, to every one that believeth." Much is it to be lamented, that many "being ignorant of the righteousness of God," or too proud to submit to it, "go about to establish their own righteousness." They expect eternal life as the reward of some good thing done by themselves: or, if they admit (as who can refuse to admit?) that they are chargeable with some imperfections, they will be indebted to Jesus for that portion of righteousness, which is necessary to supply their own deficiency; and are willing, at most, to divide with the Saviour of sinners the glory of their salvation. Thus they fatally stumble at that very stone which God has laid in Zion, as the only "sure foundation, and chief corner stone." No description of human characters is more inac
cessible than this, to the truth and grace of the gospel. If to any such self-righteous, self-deceiving souls, this shall prove a dying year, they shall, alas! too late discover, that they are indeed "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." How awful the thought, that amongst the professors of Christianity, some assume that sacred name with no other view than to
"make a gain of godliness!" Tho' conscious of the insincerity of their hearts, they call Jesus, Lord, and join themselves to the number of his disciples, only that they may acquire reputation among men, or in some other way promote their worldly interest. But "let the sinners in Zion be afraid; let fearfulness surprise the hypocrites;" the year of vengeance may now be This year, O false professor, in some fatal hour, death may place thee before the Judge of all. Though thou shouldst succeed in deceiving thy fellow mortals to the end of life," God will not be mocked." Thy secret hypocrisy shall at last be unveiled; "the hidden things of dishonesty shall be brought to light;" and "what is the hope of the hypocrite," or what hath he gained," in the day that God taketh away his soul?"
How vast the number of individuals, belonging to these various classes of ungodly or unbelieving men, to whom the year which hath now commenced is pregnant with everlasting destruction!
But "though all men have not faith," yet there are some who believe and obey the gospel. Amidst all the degeneracy of the times, the Lord has still reserved a peo
ple for himself, who know his name, and have tasted his love; who "live by the faith of the Son of God," and "walk in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of their life. To the friends of Jesus, the prospect of dying this year, ought to give no dismay. They have reason rather to expect it with joyful hope. Many "old disciples" shall this year arrive at their Father's house. Many who groan being burdened in this earthly tabernacle," shall soon obtain the long desired release, and enter into rest. And, O thou afflicted soul, "tossed with tempest, and not comforted," by reason of perplexing doubts and fears, and the tedious painful conflict with temptation and sin, rejoice, and "lift up thy head, for the day of thy redemption" draweth nigh. Soon shall "the days of thy mourning be ended," "Thy warfare shall be accomplished," and thou thyself be "more than a conqueror through him that loved us." Are any cut down in the midst of their days, and in the midst of useful service to the church and to the world? Those who survive may have cause to regret the loss, but the servant of God is called to a more extensive sphere of service; to sublimer enjoyments; to a purer and nobler society above. In every possible case, "blessed are the dead who die in the Lord; they rest from their labours and their works do follow them." Happy art thou, O Christian, if the commencement of this year beholds thee" abounding in the work of the Lord," and 66 waiting for his salvation." But it shall indeed be the happiest of all the years thou hast ever seen,
if its conclusion find thee with dismissed--perhaps forever! Christ, and with God above, pause for a moment, and lift up "serving him day and night in thy soul to Heaven, and address his temple." to thyself this solemn inquiry, If I should die this year, where shall my eternal habitation be?
"O that they were wise; that they understood this; that they would consider their latter end."
"Lord, so teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom."
Such are some of the prospects which this, the first day of the year, presents to our contemplation. Thousands, amongst whom there may be some who now read these lines, shall find them fully realized before its next return.
Reader, before the subject be
MEMOIRS OF PRESIDENT captivating and impressive. Con.
veying his ideas with the utmost facility, and, by the aid of a lively imagination, imparting the charms of novelty, even to common subjects, he could not fail to rivet the attention of his pu pils. And generously communicative, as he was, of his ample intellectual treasures, he was scarcely less sure to enrich their minds. But while thus assiduous to promote the literary improvement of the youth committed to his charge, he was still more anxious and engaged to cultivate their hearts. He considered religion as unspeakably the best and brightest of all accomplishments; the only sure. foundation, either of usefulness, honour or felicity. He there. fore bent his principal attention, as every instructor should, to impress the youthful mind with the importance of this object. He seized with avidity every occasion to inculcate on his pupils, in private, the worth of their souls, and the pressing necessity of
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THE eminence and lustre of Mr. Davies' character as a Presi dent, were generally confessed. In his mode of governing the college, the firmness of authority was tempered with benignity, mildness and condescension. He watched over his pupils with the tender solicitude of a father. He repressed their youthful irregu larities by the gentlest methods possible; nor did he ever inflict punishment, without evident reluctance and pain. The consequence was, that he was equally revered and loved by every member of his literary family. They esteemed it not a confinement, but a privilege and happiness, to be under his care. They complied with his injunctions, and the general regulations of the seminary, less from fear, than from principle and inclination. In his method of instruction, there was something unusually