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such a' sentiment working in the heart, and sometimes breaking forth from the lips of men. Many, very many there are, who, on one occasion or other, have experienced this weariness of life, and been tempted to wish that it would come to a close. Let us now examine in what circumstances this feeling may be deemed excusable; in what it is to be held sinful; and under what restrictions we may, on any occasion, be permitted to say, My soul is wcary of
I SHALL consider the words of the text in three lights: as expressing, First, The sentiment of a discontented man: Secondly, The sentiment of an afflicted man: Thirdly, The sentiment of a devout
I. Let us consider the text as expressing the sentiment of a discontented man; with whom it is the effusion of spleen, vexation, and dissatisfaction with life, arising from causes neither laudable nor justifiable. There are chiefly three classes of men who are liable to this disease of the mind; the idle; the luxurious; the criminal.
First, This weariness of life is often found among the idle; persons commonly in easy circumstances of fortune, who are not engaged in any of the laborious occupations of the world, and who are at the same time without energy of mind to call them forth into any other line of active exertion. In this languid, or rather torpid state, they have so many vacant hours, and are so much at a loss how to fill
their time, that their spirits utterly sink; they become burdensome to themselves, and to every one around them; and drag with pain the load of existence. What a convincing proof is hereby afforded, that man was designed by his Creator to be an active being, whose happiness is to be found not merely in rest, but in occupation and pursuit! The idle are doomed to suffer the natural punishment of their inactivity and folly; and from their complaints of the tiresomeness of life there is no remedy but to awake from the dream of sloth, and to fill up with proper employment the miserable vacancies of their days. Let them study to become useful to the world, and they shall soon become less burdensome to themselves. They shall begin to enjoy existence; they shall reap
the rewards which Providence has annexed to virtuous activity; and have no more cause to say, My soul is weary of my life.
Next, The luxurious and the dissipated form another class of men, among whom such complaints are still more frequent. With them they are not the fruit of idleness. These are men who have been busied enough; they have run the whole race of pleasure; but they have run it with such inconsiderate speed, that it terminates in weariness and vexation of spirit. By the perpetual course of dissipation in which they are engaged; by the excesses which they indulge ; by the riotous revel, and the midnight, or rather morning, hours to which they prolong their festivity; they have debilitated their bodies, and worn out their spirits. Satiated with the repetition of their accustomed pleasures, and yet unable to find any new ones in their places; wandering round and round their former haunts of joy, and ever returning disappointed; weary of themselves, and of all things about them, their spirits are oppressed with a deadly gloom, and the complaint bursts forth of odious life and a miserable world. Never are these complaints more frequent than at the close of rounds of amusement, and after long repetition of festal pleasures; when the spirits which had been forced up, as by some intoxicating drug, to an unnatural height, subside into profound dejection. What increases the evil is, that it is not among the infirm, and the aged, but among the young, the gay, and the prosperous, who ought to be reputed the happiest men, that this distaste of life most frequently prevails.
When persons of this description, in their peevishi and splenetic hours, exclaim, My soul is weary of my life, let them know, let them be assured, that this is no other than the judgment of God overtaking them for their vices and follies. Their complaints of misery are entitled to no compassion ; nay, they are sinful, because they arise from a sinful cause ; from a mind broken and debased by luxury and corruption. They are the authors of their own misery, by having thrown away on the follies of the world those powers which God had bestowed on them for nobler ends. Let them return to the duties of men and Christians. Let them retreat from frivolity, and abstain from ex
Let them study temperance, moderation, and self-command. By entering on a virtuous and manly course of action, and applying to the honourable discharge of the functions of their station, they will acquire different views. They will obtain more real enjoyment of life, and become more willing to pro
But, after the warnings which God has given them of their misbehaviour by the inward misery
they suffer, if they still continue to run the same intemperate round, and to drain pleasure to the last dregs, it shall come to pass, that they who now contemn life, and are impatient of its continuance, shall be the persons most eager to prolong it.
When they behold it in reality drawing towards a close, and are obliged to look forward to what is to come after it, they shall be rendered awfully sensible of its value. They will then grasp eagerly at the flying hours; anxious to stop them if they could, and to employ every moment that remains in repairing their past errours, and in making their peace, if possible, with God and heaven. According as they have sown, they now reap. They are reduced to eat the fruit of their own ways, and to be filled with their own devices.
THERE remains still a third class of those who from discontent are become weary of life; such as have embittered it to themselves by the consciousness of criminal deeds. They have been, perhaps, unnatural to their parents, or treacherous to their friends; they have violated their fidelity; have ensnared and ruined the innocent; or have occasioned the death of others. There is no wonder that such persons should lose their relish for life. To whatever arts they may have recourse for procuring a deceitful peace, conscience will at times exert its native power, and shake over them its terrific scourge. The internal misery they endure has sometimes arisen to such a height, as had made them terminate, with their own hands, an existence which they felt to be insupportable. — To the complaints of such persons no remedy can be furnished, except what arises from the bitterness of sincere and deep repentance. We can do no more than exhort them to atone as much as is in their power for the evils they have committed; and to fly to the divine mercy through Jesus Christ for pardon and forgiveness. Let us now,
II. Turn to persons of another description, and consider the sentiment in the text as extorted by situations of distress. These are so variously multiplied in the world, and often so oppressive and heavy, that assuredly it is not uncommon to hear the afflicted complain that they are weary of life. Their complaints, if not always allowable, yet certainly are more excusable than those which flow from the sources of dissatisfaction already mentioned. They are sufferers, not so much through their own misconduct, as through the appointment of Providence; and therefore to persons in this situation it may seem more needful to offer consolation, than to give admonition. However, as the evils which produce this impatience of life are of different sorts, a distinction must be made as to the situations which can inost excuse it.
SOMETIMES, the exclamation in the text may be occasioned by deep and overwhelming grief. When they whom we had most affectionately loved, and in whom we had placed the felicity of our days, are taken away, our connection with life appears to be dissolved. Why should we survive those to whom
our souls were tied? Would to God we had died « before them! Now when they are gone, all plea“ sure and hope is gone as to us.
To us the sun no “ longer shines with its usual brightness. No longer