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CHR IS TI A N
As we have reason to believe that an original Discourse, adapted either for parochial or family use, would be considered by many of our Readers as a desirable addition to the CHRISTIAN REMEM
BRANCER, we have determined,
for the future, to prefix to every
Number of it such a Sermon, as from its simplicity of style and purity of doctrine might best answer the purpose for which it is intended.
When he wrote the Psalm from which these words are taken, David appears to have laboured under the deepest affliction both of mind and hody. The account which he gives of his own feelings and conduct at the time, is a very remarkable one. Knowing how useless and how wicked are all clamorous and hasty complaints, he determines to be silent, and to give his enemies no advantage over him. I said, I will take heed to my ways; that I offend not in my tongue, I will keep my mouth as it were with a bridle, while the ungodly is in my sight. But though he abstained from every expression of peevishness or desperation, he might have innocently and reasonably entered, like righteous Job, into a justification both of himself and of his God. Remembering, however, from the example of Job, how liable, even in this respect, he was to be mistaken; he kept silence, yea, even from good words; but it was pain and grief unto him. There
ReMEMBRANcer, No. 37. "
is no ivdeed, a more painful feel...tig, 'h. the heart, full of ... its own. .bitterness and sorrow, , knows lict to whom it shall impart
... its troubles, nor upon whom it shall
...repose its grief. Such was the case with David : destitute of every earthly comforter and friend, he flies for consolation and support to a higher power, and pours forth his tears and his prayers into the bosom of his Father and his God. My heart was hot within me, and while I was thus musing, the fire kindled, and at the last I spake with my tongue. Lord, let me know mine end, and the number of my days; that I may be certified how long I have to live. These are not the words of fretfulness or despair, but the words of soberness and truth. He does not ask with idle curiosity to kuow the exact day and hour on which his life shall end—that is not his meaning.—He only asks to be so convinced of the shortness of his days, as to be enabled thereby the better to bear his present sorrows, and to prepare for his future end. This he asks, that he may be sertijted how long he has to live ; that he may know and feel how short a space even the longest life affords for the exercise of piety and obedi- What would be the immed liate conence, and that as he is certified of sequence of this affairs of its shortness, so he may be certified the world around us would be imof its value. This sense of the mediately plunged into utter conwords agrees exactly with the trans- fusion. Who would sow, if he did lation of them as we find it in the not hope to reap, who would labour Bible. “Lord, make me to know and toil if he was certain that he mine end, and the measure of my should not enjoy the fruits 2 All days ; what it is, that I may know activity, all motive, all spirit, would how frail I am. The sum and sub- be destroyed; and in their stead stance, indeed, of his request, is would succeed envy, jealousy, and contained in the last verse of the repining. Nor with respect to the Psalm ; an entreaty it is, in which soul itself, would the change be for he will be joined most earnestly by the better. If a young man, in the every one among us, who knows hope only of living fifty years, thinks that he is a stranger only, and a that he may safely spend the first sojourner upon earth, as all his half of them in vice and folly, what fathers were. The entreaty is this, would he do if he was certain 7 O spare me a little, that I may re- Would he not the more securely put cover my strength, before I go hence off his repentance and enjoy his sin 3 and be no more seen. May God in How would the day of reformation, his mercy grant that, in the case of year, after year, be delayed; till at every one of us, it may be so.: "... length;in the agony of despair, even But many of us, however-earn.” with the time open before him, he estly they would pray for this, would :would imagine that it was too late. pray for something more...We often. On the other hand, if a young man think that if we knew the precise... in the vigour of health and strength time of , our end, and tite.txirct were assured that in one short year number of our days, we should be his soul would be required of him, the better and the happier creatures. how would his thoughts be drawn We should not be the better, but off from his duty to man, and fixed the worse for this addition to our only upon his duty to God, he would knowledge. It would make us more forget that both these duties should unhappy, more vicious, and more be discharged together; in his desperate. To shew this will be anxiety and alarm for his own hapone of the chief objects of the pre- piness, he would neglect those exsent discourse. Let us consider ertions by which he might encrease then, First, the wisdom of God in the happiness of others. Most hiding from us the exact time of our wisely therefore, and most mercifully end. to ourselves and to others, has God Secondly, The mercy of God in concealed from our eyes the exact giving us the means so to know our measure of our life and number of end and the number of our days as our days. to apply our hearts unto wisdom. But in return for this, God has First. God in his wisdom has hid given us the means so to know our from us the exact number of our end and the number of our days, as days. Suppose now, for a moment, to apply our hearts unto wisdom.
that the Almighty was to reveal to each of us the precise length of his existence: suppose he was to reveal to one that he should live fifty years,
The experience of every hour will teach us that our days are at best but a span long, and that every man living is altogether vanity. The
to another that he should live ten, term of our appointed time must to another that he should live one, conclude quickly, and it may conto another that this very night his clude suddenly. How soon are the soul should be required of him. youngest and the strongest called