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happen to us in this world, and to judge SERMON of the time when it is fit for us to be removed from it.
Even that ignorance of our destiny in life, of which we sometimes complain, is a signal proof of his goodness. He hides from us the view of futurity, because the view would be dangerous and overpowering. It would either dispirit us with visions of terror, or intoxicate us by the disclosure of success. The veil which covers from our sight the events of this and of succeeding years, is a veil woven by the hand of mercy. Our times are in his hand; and we have reason to be glad that in his hand they are kept, shut out from our view. Submit to his pleasure as an almighty Ruler we must, because we cannot resist him. Equal reason there is for trusting in him as a Guardian, under whose disposal we are safe.
SUCH is the import of the text, that our times are in the hand of God.
SERMON hands of God as a Governor and Ruler ; in the hands of God as a Guardian and Father. These separate views of the text require on our part, separate improve
SEEING our times are not in our own hand, seeing futurity is unknown to us, let us, first, check the vain curiosity of penetrating into what is to come. Conjecture about futurity we often must; but upcn all conjectures of what this year is to produce, let us lay a proper restraint. Let us wait till God shall bring forward events in their proper course, without wishing to discover what he has concealed; lest, if the discovery were granted, we should see many things which we would wish not to have seen.
The most common propensity of mankind is to store futurity with whatever is agreeable to them; especially in those periods of life when imagination is lively, and hope is ardent. Looking forward to the year now beginning, they are ready to promise themselves much from the foundations of prosperity which
they have laid; from the friendships and SERMON connections which they have secured ; from the plans of conduct which they have formed. Alas! how deceitful do all these dreams of happiness often prove! While many are saying in secret to their hearts, To-morrow shall be as this day and more abundantly, we are obliged in return to say to them, Boast not thyself of to-morrrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. I do not mean that in the unknown prospect which lies before us, we should forbode to ourselves nothing but misfortunes. May it be the pleasure of Heaven that this year run on in a placid and tranquil tenor to us all! But this I say, that in such foresight of futurity as we are allowed to take, we may reckon upon it as certain, that this year shall prove to us, as many past have proved, a checquered scene of some comforts and some troubles. In what pro
portion one or other of these shall prevail in it; whether, when it ends, it shall leave with us the memory of joys or of sorrows, is to be determined by him in whose hands our times are. Our wisE 2
SERMON dom is to be prepared for whatever the
year is to bring; prepared to
ANOTHER important instruction which naturally arises from our times not being in our own hands is, that we ought no longer to trifle with what it is not in our power to prolong: but that we should make haste to live as wise men; not delaying till to-morrow what may be done to-day; doing now with all our might whatever our hand findeth to do; before that night cometh wherein no man can work.
Amidst the uncertainty of the events which are before us, there is one thing we have too much reason to believe, namely, that of us who are now assembled in this congregation, and who have seen the year begin, there are some who shall not survive to see it close. Whe ther it shall be you, or you, or I, who shall be gathered to our fathers before the revolving year has finished its round, God alone knows. Our times are in his
hand! But to our place, it is more than SERMON probable that some of us shall have gone. Could we foretel the month, or the day, on which our change was to happen, how diligent would we be in setting our house in order, and preparing ourselves to appear before our Maker? Surely, that ought to be prepared for with most care, concerning which we are ignorant how soon it is to take place. Let us therefore walk circumspectly, and redeem the time. Let us dismiss those trivial and superfluous cares which burden or corrupt our life, in order to attend to what is of highest importance to us as men and Christians. The beginning of each year should carry to us all a solemn admonition of our folly in neglecting to improve suitably the years that are past. It should call up mispent time into our view; and be like the hand coming forth upon the wall, in the days of Belshazzar, and writing in legible characters over against us, "Oman!"
thy days are numbered; thou art weighed "in the balance, and found wanting; take "care lest thy kingdom be on the point of "departing from thee."