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will be no room for inactivity and sloth-no room for the too common presumption of prosperity, I shall ne. ver be moved-never see misfortune, forrow, sickness
With the influx of wealth into our country, we observe, as is usual, an increase of luxury and diffipation. May our young people be guarded amidst the allurements which surround them. May any, who have erred in the ensnaring path of pleasure, think on the ifsue, and turn their feet into virtuous paths. Make hafte, and make no delay to keep God's commandments. Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace ; thereby good shall come unto thee.
THE INSTABILITY OF LIFE.
JAMES iv. 13, 14, 15,
GO TO NOW, YE THAT SAY, TO-DAY, OR TO-MORROW, WE WILL GO INTO SUCH A CITY, AND CONTINUE THERE A YEAR, AND BUY, AND SELL, AND GET GAIN : WHEREAS YE KNOW NOT WHAT SHALL BE ON THE MORROW: FOR WHAT IS YOUR LIFE! IT IS EVEN A VAPOUR THAT APPEARETH FOR A LITTLE TIME, AND THEN VANISHETH AWAY. FOR THAT YE OUGHT TO SAY, IF THE LORD WILL, WE SHALL LIVE, AND DO THIS, OR THAT.
HUS the apostle addressed men who presumed on future time and opportunity to accomplish their projections for this world. In the first of the verses now read, he gives us their language. To-day, or tomorrow, we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy, and sell, and get gain. In the next verse, he expoftulates with them on their presumption; as the future events of this world are unknown, and life itself is extremely short and precarious. Ye know not what will be on the morrow: For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisbeth away. He proceeds in the last verse to point out the course of duty and wisdom. Ve ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
First, Of the confidence of those who presume on future time and opportunity to accomplish their secular projections.
Confident of to-morrow, of future years, they calculate on ways and means of accumulation, and pursue their object without respite, through every difficulty and hazard. This presumption forms the character, not of the worshipper of mammon only ; but also of the lover of pleasures, and of the lover of fame. They alike presume on future accessions to their present gratifications, unmindful of him who holdeth their souls in life; from whom come riches, and honour, and all the bounties of nature,
pow. er to enjoy our portion. Far from having reached the fummit of their earthly wishes, they pursue, with unremitting ardour, their favourite paflion.
See childhood and youth presuming that they shall arrive at man's estate, and then enjoy life better than at present. See manhood presuming on years preferable to the past, seeking rest in some worldly good, pursuing it with increaling ardour, reaching forth to grasp it while it flies from them-consuming their precious time and advantages in exertions for that which fatisfieth not. See the race of mortals fagacious in adapting means to their ends; exerting all their powers in the use of those means, compassing sea and land, and fearching the bowels of the earth, vigilant of every opportunity, to obtain and secure their hearts' desire ; laying their account for earth and time, as though nothing were superior or comparable—as though nothing were real, but things seen. To-morrow, or the next year, or in a few years at least, they hope to acquire such property, or fame, or rank in life; or such connections and eligible situation.
Good men have too ardent earthly wishes. In their prosperity they are ready to say, I shall never be moved. They are in danger of taking too much thought for the morrow-of labouring too much for the things of this life--of favouring too much the things that be of men-of presuming on future seasons and advantages to improve their
worldly condition, and provide for posterity-But,
SECONDLY, The future events of this world are unknown--life itself is extremely short and precarious, Ye know not what will be on the morrow: For what is
jeur life? It is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
The instability of human life, from infancy to gray hairs, is obvious. Admit that the infant may live to fourscore-or that the youth and middle-aged may reach that term. Is it known what is before them in the world? what will be their relations and connections, situation and circumstances; their state of body or mind? The scenery of the world is continually shifting. Some are coming forward on the stage, and others withdrawing from it. Some, who are qualified and inclined to act a worthy part, are prevented; for others step forward before them. Some, who were performing well their part, are thrust aside, as prejudice and party prevail. Some, in the midst or morning of usefulness, while the hopes of their friends and the public were raised, are, by the act of providence, removed, or rendered unfit to do the good for which they seemed to be raised up. The Arbiter of events “ setteth up one, and putteth down “ another. He maketh poor, and he maketh rich. “ He giveth wisdom and might; and he turneth wise “ men backward, and weakeneth the strength of the
mighty;" while “ to those who have no might he “ increaseth strength. He woundeth and healeth, he “ killeth and maketh alive.” Those who are in health, affluence or honour to-day, may to
morrow be under excruciating pain, or reduced to indigence, or fall into neglect. Those whose mental powers are now clear and strong, may, in an hour or moment, be deprived of the regular exercise of them. Those who are highly favoured, in the health, reputation, benevolent difpositions and usefulness of their tenderest collections, may experience a sudden reverse. There is no certain dependence on the prosperous state, or success, or kind aid, of those who are now our greatest outward comforters. Their change of state, in a very little time, may be as a sword piercing through the foul. Or they
may be removed to that world from which none re
When he who lent them calleth, we must resign them. We may not ask him why he taketh away what he gave. “ He changeth the times and “ seasons” in the natural, the civil, and the moral world-in respect to individuals, families and communities. The changes in the feasons of the year are not more certain than in the life of man. Spring and fummer, feed time and harveft, autumn and winter have not ceased. In the natural world, a calm fucceeds to a ftor:n, and a storm to a clear day. After a bright, serene morning, the heavens blacken, the tempest gathers, the thunder roars, and the floods come. In human life, the candle of the Lord may shine on our tabernacle to-day. To-morrow may be a day of darkness. We may be toffed with tempeft, and not comforted. We are constantly liable to a variety of difafters, pains, diseases and sorrows. In an instant the moft eligible ftate may be changed. The height of prosper. ity may be followed by the depths of advertity. There is no reason to presume that a fimilar change can never take place in our own condition, as we every day observe in that of others. As well might we presume that we shall never die, although we are constant witnesses to the removal of all ages and orders.
« Every man walketh in a vain shew : Surely they
are disquieted in vain.” If we look round us, or call to mind what we ourselves have experienced, we can but see the folly of a dependence on future health and success in life; or on the continuance, health, usefulness, aid and comfort of thofe whom we moft value. We see that human wishes are disappointed, human hopes deitroyed. While we apprehend no evil, it may be at the door. When men cry, “ Peace and safety, " we may expect a sudden reverse. Nebuchadnezzar vaunted, “Is not this great Babylon that I have built
by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty. While the word was in his mouth,