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THE ENGLISH PRESBYTERIAN MESSENGER.
REDEEMING THE TIME.
Tre past and time present—"Walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise," redeeming both.
But how can the past be redeemed ? The days that are gone cannot be recalled, cannot by any possibility be relived. It is quite true, and a very solemn thought it is. We sometimes hear men lamenting their past conduct, and loudly affirming that if they had their lives to live over again they would direct their course differently. Vain regret !-thoughtless assertion! Every day, hour, moment, that rolls by into the past is sealed there, and remains a fixture till the great day of account. A deed once done remains done; there is no such thing as undoing it. A thought once cherished, however much deplored afterwards, leaves an impression on the years that are fled. Sins, shortcomings, neglects, follies, ingratitudes—evil thoughts, passions, tempers, words, all, the moment they come into existence, are stereotyped as on adamant. And though you weep bitter tears of remorse the instant after the act is perpetrated or the passion indulged in, your tears will not wash away the sin.
Yet, through the influence of divine grace, the past may, in a certain sense and degree, be recovered. Conversion to Christ sanctifies memory, and thus not only deprives the past of its remorseful sting and silences its accusing voice, but actually presses it into the aid and profit of the present. And the record of time misspent now resembles the huge snake from which the deadly sting has been extracted--unpleasant to look at, but no longer alarming or wounding the soul. It furnishes lessons and warnings for our future guidance, and exerts a salutary influence on all our conduct. It no longer terrifies, but admonishes. It is no longer an accuser, but a counsellor.
Many years have elapsed since you stood at your mother's knee listening with childlike simplicity and earnestness to her words of love and wisdom. Many important events may have occurred since those days of innocence and peace, and may seem to separate, as by a seething ocean, the two extremities of your earthly life. But what is it that recalls so vividly those early scenes ? what mysterious power that reawakes that tender voice so long silent, or that raises up from the dead those words and counsels so long forgotten ? The mother, though now mingling with dust, is teaching the man through the child. You bend to the holy influence. You again listen to the maternal lessons, so sacred in their love, so divine in their form; and by this lowly cominunion with your childhood-by this sweet and reverential contact with her who was the light of your first years—you feel your heart purified and strengthened, and in many ways made better. And thus those precious opportunities, so long gone by and for many years apparently fruitless, have not been in vain—they have been redeemed-memory, under the influ
No. 229.-New Series.