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Honour to departed Excellence an incitement to Virtue.

memorial beyond the grave: they would have their reputation survive, when the body, in which they thought and acted to acquire it, shall have returned to dust,

We as naturally shrink from the thought of being forgotten, and indulge the fond contemplation, that our lives may obtain a lasting, and honoured memorial; as we dread the extinction of our being, and desire to continue it with increasing felicity. In the ardour and vivacity of youth, although informed that man is born to trouble as the sparks Ay upward, we look forward to uninterrupted prosperity and ease. In the pride and vanity of more mature years, we are concerned to admit the imagination that, our name will be soon unheard, our actions unknown, in the scenes, where we have so much enjoyment of the present, with so much hope of the future. Yet it is not very easy to determine which of these sentiments is the more inconsistent with the order of things, and the circumstances of our being. They are scarcely less reasonable than an expectation never to see death; of attaining to immortality, without the separation of the

soul

Honour to departed Excellence an incitement to Virtue.

soul from the body.' To be forgotten should be considered, what to the greater part of mankind it really is, no less the law of our being, than to die. We know that multitudes were before us, of whose lives our own age has no records, of whose existence there is no evidence, except that the living race must have had

progenitors. Yet, the contemplative and ardent mind, harmonizing with both its immortality and weakness, fondly indulges the hope of achieving for itself a more fortunate memory; of escaping the oblivion into which so many myriads have sunk to rise no more, till the last trumpet shall sound.

If men establish a business; they wish it to be continued after them; although they should have no heirs, by whom it may be exercised, If they purchase an estate with the earnings of their industry; one pleasure of the possession is the imagination that, their names will be transmitted with it to posterity. If they only plant a tree; they are elevated with the thought that, it may flourish to after ages, a memorial of the hand that reared it. * To the justice of these sentiments, I am per

suaded,

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Honour to departed Excellence an incitement to Virtae.

suaded, the hearts of all that hear me respond. Appealing to your feelings, your observation, and experience, my brethren, let me ask you, what person, of ariy virtuous susceptibility, does not desire to be esteemed and loved? Who ever left this abode of mortality, where, although we have much of trouble and disquietude, we have also much enjoyment, without a sigh for the fond remembrance of those, who sbared his fortunes, possessed bis affections, or where the objects of his charities ? Who has not been cheared in the thought of living to fame, when he shall be dead to nature ? V:'hat good man ever left the scene of his virtues, without a desire to be survived by a memorial, that might be the honoured although shadowy, representative of his zeal and diligence to serve God, and do good to his fellow-creatures.

These feelings, my brethren, are not confined to high birth, to power, to wealth, or distinction. They are co-extensive with the nature and condition of man. They pervade society in all its gradations, existing in the cottage, as well as in the palace. If the monarch govern by law and justice; if the hero

conquer

Honour to departed Excellence an incitement to Virtue.

conquer by skill and valour; if the statesman and patriot serve their country by wisdom and eloquence; the husbandman also has acted his part in useful and honest labour. Those have sought, and obtained a place in the annals of fame; he desired, and shall have a good report in the little village, that has witnessed his industrious and honest life. And, let me ask the poorest among you, my brethren, whether you do not find this a very grateful refection, and whether it may not sometimes impart a chearfulness to the gloomy toils, in which you discharge your humble duties; whether you do not find it both a consolation in troubles and an inducement to obey the will of Heaven, in supporting the existence, which God has given you, by the means which He has appointed, till it shall please Him, either to promote you to a better condition in this world, or remove you to the rest of eternity?

Here I am bound again to admonish you that, in many minds, there is less sense of moral and religious obligation, than desire of consideration, honour and distinction in the world. Sacrifices of duty are often made for the empty

applause

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Honour to departed Excellence an incitement to Virtue,

applause of the undiscerning crowd. But whosoever does this, is neither just nor wise. He perverts a natural and salutary propensity, given for an incitement of virtue, to a cause of iniquity. He is ungrateful to the Almighty, whose gift he abuses ; treacherous to himself, in that he forfeits the claim to respect, which truth and sincerity always confer; an impostor to the world, whom he has deluded with false appearances and pretensions. You must admit, my brethren, that however frequent this character may be, nothing is more inconsistent with wisdom than for a man so to make himself the proper object of scorn to others, and of reproach to the honest scrutiny of his own mind. He, who has thus lived, will not leave behind him the memory of the just. He may be caressed and respected in his own times ; but, to the age, that survives him, the disguise, which covered his deformity, will be removed. His true character will then appear; and the memorials, which remain of him, will be a do- . cument against falsehood and imposture.

As it often happens that the base and the worthless are extolled and respected; so like

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