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PSALM lxxiv. 16, 17.
The day is thine, and the night is thine ; thoạ
hast prepared the light and the sun.--Thou hast set all the borders of the earth; thou hast made summer and winter.
W HOEVER attentively considers the short
ness and uncertainty of human life, will want no arguments to persuade him to a frequent review of his past actions and the state of his eternal interests. Amidst the toils and tumult of the world, he will stand still for a moment; he will set its giddy pursuits and pleasures at a distance; and, anticipating that awful moment when death shall knock at the door, will ask himself in an hour of seriousness and retirement, -Am I prepared for such a visit? Have I so settled the great business, for which I came into the world, that I can calmly meet the
great Judge of quick and dead, and give up my accounts with joy?
These are thoughts at all times interesting and important, and therefore never will be far from the breast of a wise man.
But they will more especially present them . selves to our minds whenever we look upon our past lives, and revolve the various changing scenes and seasons we have gone through in our passage through the world. At such a time we cannot forbear reflecting that every change of season brings us one step nearer to the gate of eternity; that thousands of those, who but a few months ago were our fellow-travellers or companions through life, are now mouldering in the silent grave; that it is through the mercy of God that we have been thus far preserved from the decays of age and the fatality of disease; but that even our period cannot be very distant;,
—a few days, or months, or years, will mingle us also with the ashes of our forefathers, and sign our eternal doom.
Such reflections as these will naturally lead us to praise God, the giver of all good things, for his past mercies ; and at the same time to inquire seriously what use we have made of them;
whether we have so numbered our days as to apply our hearts unto wisdom; whether our length of days has added to our virtue and happiness, or has increased the number of our sins and follies. And where this inquiry is made with earnestness and sincerity, whilst it disposes us to implore the continuance of his protection, who ruleth over all, it will also inspire us with resolutions of amendment for the time to come; that with the increase of our days we may also increase in the knowlege and fear of God, and in all those spiritual graces which adorn the Christian life. .
To assist you, therefore, in such holy meditations; and in obedience to that duty which calls upon me to endeavour to raise your minds from earth, to heaven; from the visible creature, 'to God 'the invisible Creator; I have made choice of the words of the Psalmist, in which he praises God for his goodness in fixing all the bounds of the earth, and appointing the revolva ing times and seasons for the benefit and convenience of man:-" The day is thine, and the “ night is thine; thou hast, prepared the light " and the sun.-Thou hast set all the borders “ of the earth ; thou hast made summer and 65 winter."
“ The day is thine, and the night is thine. * Some indeed have fancied them the work of chance, or the necessary effect of second causes, and co-eval with God himself: but the sweet singer of Israel, who better knew the footsteps of divine Providence, attributes them to God as their proper author :-" The day,” says he, “ is thine, and the night also is thine;" that is, they are both his peculiar work, which he first formed by his divine power, and which he has since maintained in the same wise order from the beginning of the world. And, therefore, in another place, he mentions the day and night among those things which more eminently declare the glory of their Creator : “ The hea«6 vens,” says he, a declare the glory of God, " and the firmament sheweth his handy-work: “ day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto 6 night uttereth knowledge.”
. And well may we join with the Psalmist in -ascribing the vicissitude of day and night to the hand of an all-powerful and intelligent cause, which is God, rather than to blind chance or unintelligent destiny: for in these there is neither order, nor succession, nor constancy; but nothing can be more constant and regular than the succession of day and night; and that not in one country or climate only, but in all