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not, they ought not to be the full accomplishment of our wishes. Such laurels as we aspire at are not gathered in fields of battle. The path to that eminence, to which we travel, is not covered with human gore. The acclamations we love are not excited by wars, and rumours of wars, the clangour of arms, and the shoutings of armed men.
Were our pleasure, though not of the purest sort, perfect in its own kind, we should experience a rise in happiness! But can we enjoy our victories without mourning for the miseries, which procured them ! Vur triumphs indeed abase and confound our enemies, and make them lick the dust; yet these very triumphs present one dark side to us. Witness the many wounds, which I should make a point of not opening, were it not a relief to mourners to hear of their sufferings, were it not equitable to declare to those, whose sorrows have procured our joy, that we remember them, that we are concerned for them, that we sympathize with them, that we are not so taken up with public joy as to forget private woe. Witness, I say, so many desolate houses, ainong us. Witness this mourning in which so many of us appear to-day. Witness these affectionate Josephs, who lament the death of their parents. Witness these Marys and Martlias, weeping at the tomb of Lazarus. Witness these, distressed Davids, who weep as they go, and exclaim, o Absalom my son! my son, Absalom! would God I had died for thee! 0 Absalom my son, my son! 2 Sam. xviii. 33. Witness these Rachels, who make Rama echo with their cries, refusing to be comforted, because their children are not, Jer. xxxi. 15..
My dear brethren, on whom the hand of God is heavy, ye sorrowful Naomis, ye melancholy Maras, with whom the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly, Ruth i. 20. we share your griefs, we mix our tears with yours, we feel all the blows, that strike you. O fatal victory! ( bloody glory! you are not fruits of righteousness,
Christians, if our joy be mixed, it is because our righteousness is mixed. Let us not search for our misfortunes in any other cause. Let us do, when any thing is wanting to complete our joy, what the ancient people of God did, whenever they were conquered. The congregation was assembled, the ephod was put on, the oracle was consulted, inquisition was made from tribe to tribe, from family to fainily, from house to house, from person to person, who ic was, whose sin had caused the loss of the victory, or the
loss of a regiment, and when he was discovered he was put to death. Joshua, after he had met with a repulse before Ai, and had lost thirty-six men, rent his garments, and lay on his face upon the earth before the ark of the Lord. In like manner, let us, my brethren, at the remembrance of nfected countries, fields of battle covered with carcases, rivers of blood dying the soil, confused heaps of dead and dying fellow-creatures, new globes of fire flying in the air, let us examine ourselves. Happy, if, as in the case just now mentioned, only one criminal could be found among many thousands of innocent perons ! Alas! we are obliged, on the contrary, to lament, that there is hardly one innocent among thousands of the guilty. .
Where is the Achan, who imbitters the glorious and immortal victories, which God grants to Israel? What tribe, what family, what house shall be taken? Is it the magistrate? Is it the people? Is it the pastor? Is it the flock? Is it the merchant? Is it the soldier ? Ah ! my brethren! do you not hear the oracle of the Lord answering from the terrible tribunal erected in your own consciences ? It is the inagistrate; it is the people; it is the pastor; it is the flock; it is the merchant; it is the soldier.
It is that magistrate, who, being required to have always before his eyes that God, by whom king's reign, and that throne, before which the greatest monarchs of the world must be judged, is dazzled with his own grandeur, governed by a worldly policy, and hath more at heart to enforce the observation of his own capricious orders than those rules of eternal rectitude, which secure the safety and happiness of a nation.
It is that people, who, instead of considering the felicity of that nation, whose God is the Lord, are attempting to be happy independently of God; choosing rather to sacrifice to blind chance than to him, who is the happy God, and who alone dispenses prosperous and adverse circumstances.
It is that minister, who, instead of confining his attention to the discharge of all the duties of his office, performs only such parts as acquire him a popular reputation, neglecting private duties, such as friendly and affectionate repironstrances, paternal advice, private charities, secret visits, which characterise the true ministers of the gospel.
It is that congregation, which, instead of regarding the word dispensed by us as the word of God, licentiously turns all public ministrations into ridicule, and under pretence of
ingenuity and freedom of thought encourages infidelity and irreligion; or, at best, imagines that religion consists more in hearing and knowing than in practice and obedience.
It is that soldier, who, though he is always at war with death, marching through fires and flames, hearing nothing but the sound of warlike instruments crying to him with a loud and dreadful voice, remember, you must die, yet frames a morality of his own, and imagines, that his profession, so proper in itself to incline him to obey the maxims of the gospel, serves to free him from all obligation to obedience.
Ah! this it is, which obscures our brightest triumphs' ; this stains our laurels with blood; this excites lamentations, and mixes them with our songs of praise. Let us scatter these dark clouds. Let us purify our righteousness in order to purify our happiness. Let religion be the bridle, the rule, the soul of all our councils, and so may it procure us unalterable peace, and unmixed pleasure ! or rather, as there is no such pleasure on earth, as imperfection is a character essential to human affairs, let us elevate our hearts and minds to nobler objects, let us sigh after happier periods, and let each of us seek true glory in the enjoyment of God. God grant us this grace! To hiin be honour and glory for over, Amen.
Barzillai was a very aged man, even fourscore years old,
and he had provided the king of sustenance while he lay at Mahanaim : for he was a very great man. And the king said unto Barzillai, Come thou over with me, and I will feed thee with me in Jerusalem. And Barzillaz said unto the king, how long have I to live, that I should go up with the king unto Jerusalem? I am this day fourscore years old : and can I discern between good and evil ? can thy servant taste what I eat, or what I drink? can I hear any more the voice of singing men und singing women ? wherefore then should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord the king? Thy servant will go a little way over Jordan with the king : und why should the king recompense it me with such a reward? Let thy servant, I pray thee, turn back again, that I muy die in mine own city, and be buried by the grave of my father, and of my mother : but behold thy servant Chinhani, let him go over with my lord the king, and do to him what shall seem. good unto thee. And the king answered, Chimnham shall go over with me, and I will do to him that which shall seem good unto thee : and whatsoever thou shalt require of me, that will I do for thee. And all the people went over Jordan: and when the king was come over, the king kissed Barzillai, and blessed him; and he returned unto his own place.
WWE propose to examine to day, my brethren, how far - VV. business, the world, a court are fit for a young man, and how far they agree with a man in the decline of life,
It is a prejudice too common in the world, that there are two ways to heaven, one way for young men, and another way for men in years. Youth is considered as a sort of title to licentiousness, and the most criminal pleasures. Virtue is usually regarded as proper for those, who cannot practise vice with a good grace. God forbid, such a pernicious maxim should be countenanced in this pulpit! Let us not deceive ourselves, my brethren, the precepts of the inoral law are eternal, and fitted to all ages of life. At fifteen, at twenty, at thirty, at forty, at fourscore years of age, what the apostle asfirms is true, they that do such things, shall not inherit the kingdom of God, Gal. v. 21. These things are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. There is no dispensation in these cases on account of age. At any age they that do such things, shall not inherit the kingdom of God. .
. It is, however, clear, that circumstances sometimes change the nature of moral actions; that an action is innocent, when done in some circumstances, which ceaseth to be so, when it is done in different circumstances; and, to come to the design inentioned at the beginning of this discourse, it is clear, that business, the world, a court, to a certain degree suit a young man, and that they are unfit for a man in the decline of life. ' .
Each part of this proposition, my brethren, is contained in the text, as we are going to shew you. Barzillai, by committing his son' to king David, and by allowing Chimham to avail himself of the favour of his prince, teacheth us how far business, the world and a court become a young man. Barzillai, by wishing only to retreat into retirement and silence himself, teacheth us how far a court, the world and business become an old man ; or rather, he teacheth us, that they do not become him at all, and that there is a certain time of life, when the wise man takes leave of the world.
ham to'king his son are goingon, my brethre
I. We suppose, Barzillai was a good man, and that his example sufficiently proves it. Indeed this man is very little known. I recollect only three places in scripture, where he is spoken of. The first is in the seventeenth chapter of the second book of Samuel. There we are told, that Barzillai was of the tribe of Gilead, of the city of Rogelim, ver. 27. and that he was one of those, who brought refreshments to