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them to curse the day in which they were born! Let we tell you, my young hearers, your life was not given for this world's purposes; and if you spend it for them, you will spend it very much in vain. Your souls, your immortal souls cannot be satisfied as you hope. You need what the world cannot give. The sooner you are convinced of it the better. You eed the favor of God. You need the blood of atonement, and the sustaining grace of the Holy Spirit. As you pass on in life, your hopes will be often disappointed, your world will become a blank to you, and your life a burden! What gives you most happiness will soon give you most pain; what now multiplies your joys will soon multiply and embitter your sorrows; for death will cut down your friends around you! It will make the world a solitude, and life itself a distress. As you part with them, as you bear away their bones to the land of silence, your hearts will sink within you: and how will you bear the superadded distress of the thought, that your impiety embittered the dying hours of the friend, the father, the mother you will see no more? Oh, if you but had then that sweet hope that you should see them in heaven, how it would blunt the sting that enters into your soul! how it would make you realize that life is something more than a sickening scene, and death something else than an eternal separation.


3. How greatly desirable is early piety. This was one of the conclusions which Solomon drew from his varied experience and extensive observation. He had tried the world. He well knew its worth. He had tried religion too; and having felt how strong an enforcement for religion could be gathered from all that the world contains; in this Book his mind takes a truly philosophical sweep over the whole range of an earthly existence, and then comes to the conclusions which such a view could not avoid. Early piety is one of these conclusions-"Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth." Notice how he arrives at this conclu sion. Both observation and experience help him to it. “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity," is an expression containing the condensation of all that he felt and knew about the world. I hated life, is a description of one of his bitter experiences, after he had tried to force the world to make him happy. He wished to save young people from the toilsome and tearful career that he had himself run, while seeking his happiness in luxury and splendor and "amusements," in songs and science, and whatsoever his heart desired under the sun. He holds up before them the whole world as it is, when taken as a portion, vanity, vanity, vanity, written in letters of fire all over its splendor and pomp and merriment, and even science. He opens to them his heart, his own heart, torn with vexation, and sick of life even, while its fondness hung round things under the sun. They may glance at the picture, and

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then at the heart; and having done so, may take their choice, whether they will spend their earliest and best days for such vanity, only to give such vexation. But if they will hear him, an old practitioner, an old observer, he tells them in the twelfth chapter, the sentiments which he now entertains, burnt into his heart by the bitterness of an experience from which he would dissuade them. "Remember Now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; while the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened; nor the clouds return after the rain. In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders shall cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows shall be darkened. And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low; and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird; and all the daughters of music shall be brought low; also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail; because man goeth to his long home; and the mourners go about the streets; or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel be broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."

What is it all? all the world? all life? Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, all is vanity. I hated life. And shall the young run the same round? shall they lend their minds to the same dream, and their hearts to the same sickening? Shall their best energies be expended in vain? Will they not believe, without the bitterness of a trial, that the world cannot answer their purpose? Will they not believe philosophy, gathering up all the worth of the world, and labelling it all, vanity? Will they disbelieve history, biography, experience, the grave and God,—all which urge them to the conclusion of the whole matter, that, to fear God and keep his commandments is the whole of man? (12: 13). But, by and bye, (if they should live), their best days spent, old, worn out, and good for nothing, their bones shaken at the grave's mouth; will they then first begin to think, that God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil? (12: 14).-Early piety would save them from a world of vexation. Nothing but early piety can save many of them from hell. Few of them will live to be old.

My young friends: living in such a world, and hasting to such a tribunal, does thoughtlessness or merriment become you? Must you live to be "amused," and then die to be lost? Remember, you must have a meeting with God! Hide, you cannot! Shrink,

you cannot! You must stand there, where the throne blazes, and endless ruin or eternal bliss begins! Despair, perdition, are unnecessary. God waits to be gracious. He calls you to Christ. He offers you heaven. You may be saved, if you will. But let me tell you, He will soon take back His offers of fatherly and gracious kindness and love. That throne of grace on which He sits, shall soon be taken down, and He will rear on the spot His throne of judgment! "Every man's work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is." (1 Cor. 3: 13). "For behold the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, that it shall leave neither root nor branch." (Mal. 4: 1). If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (1 Peter 4: 18). In view of that dreadful day and all its results-now, in your youth-now, before you hate life, make your choice betwixt vanity and heaven-truth and falsehood -sin and holiness-the eternal friendship and eternal enmity of God! But, oh! choose wisely, and live for ever.

If you will not choose so, reflect,

4. How strong is the power of sin over the human heart! Men will spend their lives in the very way to make life itself a distress. They will live for the world in a way to poison life's good, and force from their own lips the bitter confession, "I hate life, because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me, all is vanity and vexation of spirit." It need not be. This life, as an introduction into heaven, may be joy in God, and the triumph of hope over gloom, dissatisfaction, and anguish.

5. Finally, this discussion ought to be a lesson to us on the matter of a worldly prosperity. One of the most amiable sins (if I may speak so), certainly one of the most excusable (if again I may speak so), is the anxiety of parents for the prosperity of their children. But amid that desired prosperity, their very children may yet hate life. Let us not expend our affections unwisely. Let us be more anxious, that our children shall be disgusted with a life spent for the world, than that they shall be satisfied with it. Let us be more desirous that they shall be happy in heaven, than prosperous on earth. Let us consult for them, not merely as formed for this world, but as accountable, immortal beings, formed for eternity. If we live to the next Lord's day, let us come to the Lord's table with prayer for them; that our life and our death may not be embittered with the thought of their impiety. If the God of mercy will hear our prayers, and bring them yet to that table with us, we will no longer say--" I hate life"-we will exclaim, Lord, "Now lettest thou thy servants depart in peace, for our eyes have seen thy salvation."-God grant it. Amen.



No. 3. Vol. XXIII.

MARCH, 1849.

Whole No. 267.



New London, Connecticut.


"More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold.”—PSALMS 19: 10.

WHEN, half a century ago, the first settlers of Western New York were about leaving their home in New England for what was then a wilderness, the entire village, we are told, assembled with them at the house of God, where together they had so often worshipped. There, by the minister of Christ, they were addressed on the subject of their expedition-were commended to heaven by prayer, and then, amid weeping and sadness, took their mournful farewell-no more, as they supposed, again to meet their friends on earth. They went forth somewhat as the first settlers of New England went when leaving the shores beyond the Atlantic, with no thought of ever returning. And going with these feelings, no wonder they turned their thoughts to the religious themes suggested by the separations of life as of death, and desired to be commended to Him, without whose care no one is ever safe.

A feeling kindred to theirs doubtless originated the interesting and salutary custom which prevails here, and at other whaling ports, of preaching on board the vessel that is soon to go forth with those who follow their calling on the waves-counseling her crew from the oracles of God, and commending them to Him who rules alike on the land and on the deep. And surely the same course is most appropriate in the circumstances that assemble us this morning; assemble us in the house of God, when, but for the severity of the season, we might be gathered on the departing ship. These circumstances need no explanation. Multitudes, as we all know,

A discourse preached to a company of California emigrants, and eminently adapted to the signs of the times.-Ed."

are going forth from every port of our land; all eager and joyous with hope; all, desiring-most, expecting wealth; all, now in health; most, looking forward to the time when they shall return again, with competence, if not with riches; some, intending to settle in their new abode, and planning for business, and dreaming of prosperity and happiness there.

But of all these, numbers-great numbers, will beyond question be disappointed. Though with confidence they may

"Map their future, like some unknown coast,
And say, here is a harbor-there a rock-
The one we will attain-the other shun;
They will do neither!'

Some, doubtless, will have sunk to their last sleep, and their bodies be committed to the ocean-registered for the voyage to a distant shore, they will have made the voyage to eternity-long before the vessel in which they started will have reached its intended port! Some will be the victims of the sickness, and sorrow, and suffering, which are watching in ambush all along the pathway of the future; and some, instead of gathering riches from the desert, will leave their bones to bleach and whiten its sands! And even of those who are spared and in safety reach the end of their course, multitudes will fall short of their expectations. They will find the gold of the future, like its happiness, a thing that flies as they advance; and while the few, as in the lottery, succeed perhaps abundantly, the great mass will never grasp their anticipated prosperity. The history of extensive emigration has almost ever been the history of benefit to the country in the end, but of hardship, privation, disappointment, suffering to individuals, at the outset and in their progress: and there is no reason why the immense emigration now going forth from every part of our land should be an exception; while there is danger that an emigration for gold, infatuated, anti-social, irregular as in many respects it must be, will be attended with peculiar evils. With all these possibilities, probabilities, then gathering about it, well does it become those who are going forth, to go with thoughtfulness; and as they go, to hear what God, by his truth, may speak unto them. If the Roman soldier, heathen as he was, would not go out to battle without consulting the auspices of the soothsayer, much more should those who are going out to the adventures, it may be to the severest hardships of the battle of life, inquire as they go, for counsel, wisdom, and direction, at the oracles of the living God.

One of the many responses from those oracles is sounded to us in the text. Speaking of the teachings of God's Word-of its instructions, counsels, directions, warnings, and of their fitness and value to guide us in our daily conduct, the Psalmist declares, "More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold." Two thoughts, then, are here suggested for our consideration:

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