this statement it appears, that a proportion of about one in six lived to or beyond the common term of life. Though a temperate, regular and simple mode of living, the mode of former days, rather than the present, may contribute to long life, and one place be more friendly to health than another; yet long life and health are the gift of God. “He it is, that sets the bounds of our habitation, which we cannot pass.” Among the deaths above enumerated, there are some, that took place, not by the common laws of mortality, through sickness or decay;1 but by suicide and casualty. Three put an end to their own lives; three were killed by falling from carts or wagons; one by falling from a tree; and one by drowning. The two deacons, who were in office at the beginning of the term now under review, lived to a good old age; one seventy-nine, the other ninety years. They both died the same month of the same year.2 Our brethren, who sueceeded them, and are now in office, we hope will long be continued to us.3 The ministers who assisted in the ordination of your pastor, are all, except one,4 gathered to the congregation of the dead. Thus we see what great and affecting changes take place, within a small compass, in the course of a few years. And if we may judge the future by the past, we may view in prospect what changes and events will be brought to pass, “when a few years are come.” Time is hastening to finish my course and yours, and to add us to the number of those that are gone; “a few years more” will close our probationary state, and when we part, it will be to meet not again, until the dead, both small and great, shall stand before God. The gospel will be preached here by another pastor, and new professors of religion will here attend on the ordinances of Christ, and unite in these services and exercises of God's holy worship, after we shall sleep in the dust; for the church must and will abide; it is the constant object of the divine care; and “the gates of hell cannot prevail against it.” Of the three hundred and forty-three deaths that have taken place in the course of twenty-one years, there are many whom you dearly loved, and who live in your constant and affectionate remembrance, whose names cannot be
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1 The average number of deaths yearly is about fourteen. In the close of the summer of 1802, the dysentery and fever prevailed, and carried off many children and young persons. Thirty-six were added to the congregation of the dead. Early in the fall of 1805 the same mortal sickness returned, and increased the average number of deaths to thirty-four.
2 Deacon Joseph Adams died May 3, 1794, aged seventy-nine. Deacon Thomas Hall died May 29, 1794, aged ninety. They were both chosen into office Dec. 5, 1769, in which they continued more than thirty-five years.
4 Rev. Dr. Osgood, of Medford, who made the concluding prayer. The introductory prayer, by the Rev. Mr. Jackson of Brookline. The sermon was preached by the Rev. Dr. Fiske, of Brookfield [Uncle of Rev. T. Fiske.], from these words in Luke XII. 32:—‘Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.’ The sermon is printed and published with other sermons of his, in an octavo volume. The charge was given by the Rev. Mr. Cushing of Waltham. The consecrating prayer by the Rev. Mr. Clark of Lexington; and the right hand of fellowship by the Rev. Mr. Hilliard of Cambridge.
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