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What could be wanting to finish such a picture of a happy man?-Surely nothing except a virtuous disposition to give a relish to those blessings, and direct him to make a proper use of them.He had that too; for he was a perfect and upright man-one that feared GOD, and eschewed evil.

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In the midst of all this prosperity, which was as great as could well fall to the share of one man, whilst all the world looked gay, and smiled upon him, and every thing round him seemed to promise, if possible, an increase of happiness; in one instant -all is changed into sorrow and utter despair.

It pleases GoD, for wise purposes, to blast the fortunes of his house, and cut off the hopes of his posterity, and, in one mournful day, to bring this great prince from his palace down to the dunghill. His flocks and herds, in which consisted the abundance of his wealth, were part consumed by a fire from heaven, the remainder taken away by the sword of the enemy: His sons and daughters, whom it is natural to imagine, so gooda man had so brought up in a sense of their joy and pleasure in their future lives ;-natural prospect for a parent to look forwards at, to recompense him for the many cares and anxieties which their infancy had cost him!these dear pledges of his future happiness were all, all snatched from him at one blow, just at the time that one might imagine they were beginning to be the comfort and delight of his old age, which most wanted such staves to lean on; And as circumstances add to an evil, so did they to this; for it fell out not only by a very calamitous accident, which was grievous enough in itself; but likewise upon the back of his other misfortunes, when he was ill prepared to bear such a shock; and, what would still add to it, it happened at an hour when he had least reason to expect it, when he would naturally think his children secure and out of the way of danger-"For whilst they VOL. III.


"were feasting and making merry in their eldest "brother's house, a great wind out of the wilder 66 ness smote the four corners of the house, and it "fell upon them."

Such a concurrence of misfortunes is not the common lot of many; and yet there are instances of some who have undergone as severe trials, and bravely struggled under them, perhaps by natu ral force of spirits, the advantages of health, and the cordial assistance of a friend; and with these helps, what may not a man sustain ?-But this was not Job's case; for scarce had these evils fallen upon him, when he was not only borne down with a grievous distemper, which afflicted him from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot,but like, wise his three friends, in whose kind consolations he might have found a medicine, even the wife of his bosom, whose duty it was, with a gentle hand, to have softened all his sorrows,-instead of doing this, they cruelly insulted and became the reproachers of his integrity. O Gop! what is man when thou thus bruisest him, and makest his burden heavier, as his strength grows less? Who, that had found himself thus an example of the many chances and changes of this mortal life;when he considered himself now stripped and left destitute of so many valuable blessings, which, the moment before thy providence had poured upon his head; when he reflected upon this gay delight, some structure, in appearance so strongly built, so pleasingly surrounded with every thing that could flatter his hopes and wishes, & beheld it all levelled with the ground in one moment, and the whole pros pect vanish with it, like the inscription of an enchantment;-who, I say, that had seen and felt the shock of so sudden a revolution, would not have been furnished with just and beautiful reflections upon the occasion? and said with Job, in the words of the text, "That man that is born of a woman, is

"of few days, and full of misery ;-that he com "eth forth like a flower, and is cut down; he "fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not."

The words of the text are an epitome of the nas tural and moral vanity of man, and contain two distinct declarations concerning his state and condition in each respect.

First, That he is a creature of few days; and, secondly, that those days are full of trouble.

I shall make some reflections upon each of these in their order, and conclude with a practical lesson from the whole.

And, first, That he is of few days. The comparison which Job makes use of, That man cometh forth like a flower, is extremely beautiful, and more to the purpose than the most elaborate proof, -which, in truth, the subject will not easily admit of;-the shortness of life being a point so generally complained of in all ages since the flood, and so universally felt and acknowledged by the whole species, as to require no evidence beyond a similitude; the intent of which is, not so much to prove the fact as to illustrate and place it in such a light as to strike us, and bring the impression home to ourselves, in a more affecting manner.

Man comes forth, says Job, like a flower, and is cut down. He is sent into the world the fairest and noblest part of God's works,-fashioned after the image of his Creator, with respect to reason and the great faculties of the mind. He cometh forth glorious as the flower of the field; as it surpasses the vegetable world in beauty, so does he the animal world in the glory and excellency of his nature.

The one-if no untimely accident oppress it, soon arrives at the full period of its perfection,— is suffered to triumph for a few moments, and is plucked up by the roots in the very pride and gayest stage of its being; -or if it happens to escape the hands of violence, in a few days it necessarily sickens of itself, and dies away.

Man likewise tho' his progress is slower, and his duration something longer, yet the periods of his growth and declension are nearly the same, both in the nature and manner of them.

If he escapes the dangers which threaten his tender years, he is got soon into the full maturity and strength of life; and if he is so fortunate as not to be hurried out of it then, by accidents, by his own folly and intemperance-if he escapes these, he naturally decays of himself;-a period comes fast upon him, beyond which he was not made to last. Like a flower of fruit which may be plucked up by force, before the time of their maturity, yet cannot be made to outgrow the period when they are to fade and drop of themselves; when that comes, the hand of nature then plucks them both off, and no art of the botanist can uphold the one, or skill of the physician preserve the other, beyond the periods to which their original frames and constitutions were made to extend. As GOD has appointed and determined the several growths and decays of the vegetable race, so he seems as evidently to have prescribed the same Jaws to man, as well as all living creatures, in the first rudiments of which, there are contained the specific powers of their growth, duration and extinction; and, when the evolutions of those animal powers are exhausted and run down, the creature expires and dies of itself, as ripe fruit falls from the tree, or a flower preserved beyond its bloom, drops and perishes upon his stalk.

Thus much for this comparison of Job's, which tho' it is very poetical, yet conveys a just idea of the thing referred to." That he fleeth also as a "shadow, and continueth not,”-is no less a faithful and fine representation of the shortness and vanity of human life; of which one cannot give a better explanation, than by referring to the origi nal, from whence the picture was taken.-With

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how quick a succession do days, months and years, pass over our heads? how truly like a shadow that departeth, do they flee away insensibly, and scarce leave an impression with us?-When we endeavor to call them back by reflection, and consider in what manner they have gone, how unable are the best of us to give a tolerable account!-and, were it not for some of the more remarkable stages which have distinguished a few periods of this rapid progress-we should look back upon it all, as Nebuchadnezzar did upon his dream, when he awoke in the morning ;-he was sensible many things had passed, and troubled him too; but had passed on so quickly, they had left no footsteps behind, by which he could be enabled to trace them back. Melancholy account of the life of man! which generally runs on in such a manner, ás scarce to allow time to make reflections which way it has gone.

How many of our first years slide by in the innocent sports of childhood, in which we are not able to make reflections upon them?-how many more thoughtless years escape us in our youth, when we are unwilling to do it, and are so eager in the pursuit of pleasure, as to have no time to spare, to stop and consider them?

When graver and riper years come on, and we begin to think it time to reform and set up for men of sense and conduct, then the business and perplexing interests of this world, and the endless plotting and contriving how to make the most of it, do so wholly employ us, that we are too busy to make reflections upon so unprofitable a subject.As families and children increase, so do our af fections, and with them are multiplied our cares and toils for their preservation and establishment;-all which take up our thoughts so closely, and possess them so long, that we are often overtaken by grey hairs before we see them, or

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