Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

supposes that he will be that one exempt, while the nine are by death disposed of as he pleases. It is obvious that nine out of the ten must be disappointed; and yet, instead of asking, 'Is it I?' and acting upon the possibility that it may be, every one concludes—it is not I, and acts upon that conclusion. There is no living man whose time will not be shorter than he expects it to be; and for this plain reason, that he never anticipates the period of his death. It is placed by him merely among remote probabilities. Reader, is it not so with thyself? When, then, you take into the account your expectations of life, you may well say, 'How short my time is.'

There is but one view more of the subject which we will present. 6 Time is short,' compared with eternity. Here we are at once overwhelmed. Eternity baffles all our comprehensions. Comparisons do not even bring the subject within the view of our minds. A powerful writer has said There is a great difference between one drop of water, and the twenty thousand baths which were contained in that famous vessel in Solomon's temple, which, on account of its matter and capacity,

6

[ocr errors]

In

was called the sea of brass; but this vessel itself, in comparison of the sea, properly so called, was so small, that when we compare all it could contain with the sea, the twenty thousand baths, that one hundred and sixty thousand pounds weight, appear only as a drop of water. There is a great difference between the light of a flambeau and that of a taper; yet, expose them both to the light of the sun, and the difference becomes imperceptible. like manner, eternal duration is so great an object, that it causeth every thing to disappear that can be compared with it. A thousand years are no more before this, than one day, and these terms, so unequal in themselves, seem to have a perfect equality when compared with eternity. We, minute creatures, consider a day, an hour, a quarter of an hour, as a very little space in the course of our lives; we live without scruple, a day, an hour, a quarter of an hour:-but we are very much to blame; for this day, this hour, this quarter of an hour, should we lose even a whole age, would be a considerable portion of our life. But, if we attend to the little probability of our living a whole age; if we reflect that this little space of time, of which we are so

profuse, is the only space we can call our own; if we seriously think that one quarter of an hour, that one day, is the only time given us to prepare our accounts, and to decide our eternal destiny, wẹ should have reason to acknowledge, that it was madness to lose the least part of so short a life. But God revolves (if I may so speak) in the immense space of eternity. Heap millions of ages upon millions of ages, add new millions to new millions, all this is nothing in comparison of the duration of an Eternal Being.'* Compared with eternity, then, how short my time is.'

But short as it is, it is long enough to do the great work of preparation for eternity; and he who wastes it, loses his soul. Reader, how are you taking advantage of this short time? Are you seeking to use it to the purposes of salvation? Young has eloquently said

'On all important time, through every age,

Though much, and warm, the wise have urged; the man

Is yet unborn, who duly weighs an hour.

'I've lost a day'-the prince who nobly cried,
Had been an emperor without his crown;
Of Rome? say rather lord of human race!
He spoke as if deputed by mankind.

* Saurin.

So should all speak: so reason speaks in all.
From the soft whispers of that God in man;
Why fly to folly, why to frenzy fly
For rescue from the blessings we possess?
Time, the supreme! Time is eternity;
Pregnant with all eternity can give.'

THE PEARL DIVER.

I Go to risk, for a muscle's shell,

The worth of my mortal breath;
To take the life in his quiet cell,
I plunge to the gates of death.

I sink, to snatch from his ocean bed,
The child of a world of brine,
To pluck a pearl for a lofty head,

While the billows roll over mine.

To

I take my breast, with its vital spark,
Far under the booming tide,

for gems,

in the fearful dark,

grope
To kindle the eye of pride.

The casket spared, with its tender clasp, By the monsters that roam the sea,

« VorigeDoorgaan »