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SER M. nations may have plac'd upon it, but ac
cording to that which in it self, and in the accounts of right Reason and Religion, it really bears.
The Preacher therefore hath, in this Chapter, laid together a Set of Religious Paradoxes; which, however they may startle and shock us a little, upon the first hearing, yet, when closely examin'd, will
appear to be clear unquestionable Truths, by which the whole course of our Lives ought to be steer'd and
In the first Verse of this Chapter (the Verse before the Text ) he tells us, that
Good Name is better than precious Ointanent, and the Day of one's Death than the Day of one's Birth. A Good Name is bete ter than precious Ointment ; i. e. rich Oils, and sweet Odors, (in the use of which the People of the East much delighted) are not half fo grateful, or valuable, as a good Reputation, well founded : This is more truly fragrant, more diffufive of its influence, more durable : it gives
a Man greater comfort and refreshment, s ER M.
And agen, The day of one's Death is better than the day of one's Birth; i. e. the day of the Death of such an one, as possesses and deserves a Good Name ; of such an one, as hath liv'd well, and dy'd well, is preferable by far to the day of bis Birth: for it gives him admittance into a State of perfect rest and tranquillity, of undisturb’d joy and happiness ; whereas the Day of his Birth was only an Inlet into a troublesome World, and the beginning of sorrows.
And then it follow's, very naturally, in the words of the Text, that It is better also to go to the House of Mourning, than to go to the House of Feasting. As Death to a good Man is more advantageous than Life ; so to a wise Man the Contemplation of the First is more desirable than all the Enjoyments of the Latter: He had much rather be pre
SER M. fent at the fad Solemnities of a Funeral,
than partake of those Festival Rejoycings, which are usual in all Nations, but especially among the Jews, at the Birth of a Child.
Hard Doctrine this, to the Men of Liberty and Pleasure! who have said to themselves, Come on, let us enjoy the things that are present, let us fill our selves with cofly Wine and Ointments, and let no Flower of the Spring pass by us ; let us crown our selves with Rose-buds before they be witherd: Hard Doctrine, I say, it is to such Men as these ; and which will run the hazard of not being entertain'd by them. The Wise Man therefore hath condescended to prove, as well as assert it, and to back the severe Rule, he hath lay'd down, with very convincing Reasons : for that, faith he, is the End of all men, and tke Living will lay it to heart. As if he had said, This Dark and Melancholly State it will one day certainly come to Our share to try; and what must sometime or other be undergone, ought to be consider'd beforehand : this is the End of all
men ; and all Men therefore should have SER M.
VI. their Eye and their Thoughts upon it. And then farther We are most of us so immers'd in the Pleasures, and so taken up with the Follies of Life, that we need all methods of reducing our stragling Thoughts and Desires, and of giving our selves a serious Frame and Composure of Mind : and of all Methods, this of repairing to the House of Mourning is 'best adapted to that Good End, and will soonest and most effectually bring it about ; The Living will lay it to beart.
I have largely explain’d the Connexion and Meaning of the Words, which have been pitched upon to employ Your Thoughts on this mournful Occasion. The next thing should be, to excite You to a compliance with the Direction there given, by the particular Arguments suggested in the Text, and by several other powerful and moving Considerations : to prove to You, the Folly and Emptiness of a Life led all in Mirth and Jollity, and Pleasure; the Wisdom and Reasonableness of shifting the Scene sometimes, of
SER M.turning the Gloomy side of things to
wards our selves, of exchanging the House of Feasling for the House of Mourning, and of making a discreet and decerit use of those sad Opportunities of Reflection, which God, mercifully severe; is pleas'd to put into our Hands.
But I am prevented in this part of my Discourse, by the Pious Design of this present Assembly ; You are already doing that which I should recommerid tơ You from the Text ; paying the Tribute of Your Tears to the Memorý of Onez whose Wortli you knew; and whose Loss You sensibly feel ; and bewailing Herz under the different Characters She bore of a Wife, a Daughter, a Relation, à Mistress, a Friend.
All, therefore, I have to do, on this Occasion, is; to fall in with Your Pious Grief, already rais'd, and to bear a part in it, by dwelling togethe with You a while on the Character of that Incoinparable Lady, whose Death we lament; by aniting; as well as I am able; the scatterd