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vated by labour, and he advised that, , his tongue that the parting hour had if possible, he should be required to come. It was a calm, solemn scene. remain in bed. It was not difficult Few words passed between us, but we to show him the desirableness of this, | understood each other's silence. though he knew quite well that there “Robert," I said at last, " what sort was no prospect of his ever rising of look-out have you?" from that bed. He lay for many | “Ah, Sir," he said, “I can hardly tell weeks of most excruciating suffering; you. I am in such pain that I feel as if and whenever I asked him if he I had no look-out at all." wished me to pray for his bodily re “What! none" lief, or for his removal from this world “Oh! there is hanging just before of pain, he always replied with a me something like a thick carpet. I cheerful smile, “ As you like, Sir; but cannot see through it. It has been there help me to pray that I may have no a very long time. It is very thick. I wish for myself but what God means wish I could see through it. But God to grant me." This was evidently has put it there. I suppose he means the tenor of his mind: not the ima to hide something from me." gination that it was so, but his pre- « Yes; of course he does. But is the vailing desire and heart-prayer. He carpet always there, and nothing else?" never asked me to pray for him in his “Yes, Sir, it is always there, but it presence, but to help his prayers with is not as it used to be. I don't like to mine. Oh, it was good for one of us look at it too much. Let us pray, will so to pray, for he knew how Robert you? You know what I want, don't Gray's prayers had often helped him to you ! pray and to preach! I wonder how 1 We prayed for some minutes--not many of our hearers understand this ? very continuously, but in mingled whisIs it not one of the secret causes of the | pers. When I rose from the floor, I singular success of some men of God ? asked him if he dared to look at the
I have only space, at present, to de carpet now. He smiled, and said, “ The scribe one of my interviews with this Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be with holy man; not that it was in any way you in your pulpit, and in every sick an exception to the rest, but because it man's chamber. I feel that I am going. lives in my memory with special sacred That curtain is not so thick as it was. ness, as the last, and as most frequently It is getting thinner and thinner, Sir, present to my mind's vision. He had especially in the middle"--pointing been suffering, for more than a week, forward his pale finger and soon, the most exhausting agonies, and we | Lord Jesus, I shall see thee in the light were sure, by many signs, that nature behind." I left him. We met no more. could not hold out much longer. We That evening he was removed to the both had the feeling that we should light side of that DARK LOOK-OUT, and meet on earth no more; and Robert I rejoiced in the ripening of a soul for expressed by his eyes rather than by heaven.
TIME: OR, REFLECTIONS FOR THE NEW YEAR.
" Time speeds away, away, away;
present and to come, there can be no No eagle through the skies of day,
“ parenthesis in eternity.” With JeNo winds along the hills, can flee hovah duration is the same, and has So swiftly or so smooth as he.
been, and ever will be the same, wheLike fiery steed, from stage to stage
ther or not designated by the dividing He bears us on-from youth to age; Then plunges in the fearful sea
terms of years or ages. These are but Or fathomless eternity !"
accommodations to our limited powers
of conception, and by them are deeply Our immortal Watts has said of time, | impressed upon us the shortness and that, "like an everflowing stream, it hastiness of our life here. makes haste into eternity, and is for
"We take no note of time but by its loss." ever lost and swallowed up there; and while it is hastening to its period, it To God, however, there is no loss of sweeps away all things with it which time, for he holds all the past in the are not immortal. There is a limit grasp of his Almighty mind, as enappointed by Providence to the du- tirely as all the present and the future. ration of all the pleasant and desirable "A thousand years in his sight are scenes of life, to all the works of the but as yesterday when it is past." We hands of men, with all the glories and cannot, at least in this stage of our excellences of animal nature, and all being, dispense with the divisions of that is made of flesh and blood. Let time into hours, and days, and years, us not dote upon anything here below, which rush past, and bear us with for Heaven hath inscribed vanity upon them in their hasty flight. it. The moment is hastening when All our time is made up but of mothe decree of Heaven shall be uttered, ments, which are of quicker flight than and Providence shall pronounce upon anything else in the universe. We every glory of the earth, Its time cannot recognise their existence as shall be no longer.'"
measurable, só rapidly do they fly The true Christian, with this pro away from us. While we attempt to spect distinctly before him, feels, how speak of them they are gone and numever, no dismay. He can calmly hear, bered with the awful past. “We have in anticipation, the awful voice of the but a moment,” says a great and good angel-commissioner, as he stands with man, “in our power, and a moment one foot on the earth and the other on that is lost in the very instant in which the sea, declaring the moment come for we think to grasp it. Time is so sub. the consummation of all things. He tle in its nature, that it were to weigh has his eye unflinchingly fixed upon a the fire and measure the wind to strive region and a state where all is change- to stay this Proteus ; in an instant he less as the throne of God, and perfect vanishes, and while you think to show as His divine character. Time is but a him with your finger, he is gone." day, or rather, but a night, for of it, as Nothing is so evanescent as human à state of ignorance, will be born the life. In God's word it is compared to day of our immortality. It is but a "a flower of the field, that to-day is, moment contrasted with infinite dura- and to-morrow is cast into the oven"tion, “a parenthesis in eternity.” It is, to "a weaver's shuttle"-to "an arrow's however, only such in regard to our Aight"-to "a vapour which appeareth views of it. To the eye of Him who for a little while, and then vanisheth comprehends at a glance all the past, 1
"I have seen the morning vapour 1 years, yet is their strength labour and Scatter'd by the eve of day;
sorrow, for it is soon cut off,"-- the I have seen the evening taper
brittle thread that detains us to earth Shine, and glimmer, and decay; And bethought me as I stood,
is soon snapped asunder, “and we fly Such is man's similitude !
away." “ Thou carriest them away as "Man is like a vapour flying
with a flood. They are as a sleep. In With the twilight o'er the dale ;
the morning they are like grass that Man is like a pale lamp dying
groweth up; in the morning it flourishIn its solitary cell.
eth and groweth up, and in the evenLight and shade, and ill and good,
ing it is cut down and withereth.” Such is man's similitude."
There is, however, a state into which The best, and wisest, and oldest of we shall pass, "where life is not a men have been of one opinion respect dream;" where duration, unmarked by ing the brevity of life, and the fleetness the succession of years and ages, is of time. Job lived more than two everlasting ; where the being of men hundred years, and he found trouble shall receive the stamp of eternity, and and sorrow, and pronounced life but a lose for ever the character of frailty shadow. David, under the strong light and feebleness. How vastly different of eternity, and in contrast with the are the two states of existence for Divine nature, viewed his own existence which man is destined! A short, as defective and short-lived, and ex. hasty, troublous hour spent in this sinclaimed, “ Lord, make me to know mine blighted world, ushering him into an end, and the measure of my days, what unending condition of happiness or it is”-how limited, and short, and misery. soon run out my little term of life. It is impossible adequately to conu that I may know," and duly consider, ceive the difference between man here and constantly bear in mind, “how and man beyond the limits of time. frail I am," — or “what time I have His powers here, however expanded here.” “Behold, thou hast made my and noble, are but the mere capacities days as a hand-breadth, and mine age of an infant intellect compared with is as nothing before Thee :"—then, those of his spirit either in bliss or rising from the view of his own nothing-woe hereafter. How precious, then, is ness to the general view of the frailty time, which is so obviously the seedof human nature, he exclaims—“Verily, plot of eternity! What fruits of joy every man at his best state is altogether or woe will be reaped from it! Though vanity,"— man thoroughly established we pass our years thus swiftly, yet and settled in the earth, surrounded their transactions must regulate our with all the blandishments of the best state in the world to come. How imstate here below, is, nevertheless, portant, therefore, is it that we should vanity. “He walks only in a vain show, now " exercise ourselves unto godliand is disquieted in vain" about the ness,” that we may find our expanded things that surround him. Men heap powers sources of happiness throughout up riches, which they shall only leave eternity — that we, while our flying to unknown heirs, who will be equally moments bear us so quickly away to vain and transitory with themselves. the infinite realities of the unseen state, It is the witness also of another saint should prepare to pass our eternity in of God, who had as good an opportu- the realms of the pure and the good, in nity as David of judging of the na- the presence of God, and not in the reture and brevity of life, that “wegions of darkness and unutterable woe. spend our years as a tale that is told" Reader, learn the momentous import of --that “the days of our years are the apostolic injunction to redeem the threescore years and ten, and if by time, because thy conduct here will fix reason of strength they be fourscore thy condition there.
CONSECRATION TO GOD, THE FIRST DUTY OF THE YEAR.
"Consecrate yourselves to-day to the Lord."-EXODUs xxxii. 29. It is by no means an easy thing to our heads, and how many changes lead these trifling and wayward hearts have those years witnessed! How much of ours to that serious consideration of goodness and mercy have we experiencd their state before God, which so well every year that we have lived, and how befits them. Many voices, both from imperfectly have we acknowledged that without and from within, are ever and goodness and mercy! How many sins anon calling us to solemn thoughtful- and shortcomings have we been chargeness, but those voices are too often un- able with in bygone years, and how heard and unheeded. Men at large are little have we mourned over them so absorbed and engrossed with the busy before God! How many opportupursuits of this world, that they imagine nities for usefulness have passing years they have no time to give to the con- afforded us, and how little have we cerns of the world to come. Even those really improved those opportunities! who profess to be influenced by a better These are self-inspections and self-inquihope, are too prone to chime in with ries demanded of us to-day, to which we the ordinary thinkings of their fellow do well to betake ourselves. All of them men, to have but little real sympathy urge us to consecrate ourselves to God. with spiritual objects, to refuse to pay There is such a thing as consecration any earnest attention to God's teach- to God. In the very act of creating ings, and to manifest in spiritual things us, God, in the highest sense, consean indisposition to act on those views crated us to himself. Desecration, the of common sense and self-interest which result of satanic malignity and human they uniformly act upon in all temporal depravity, too soon followed this origimatters. Many are the means which nal consecration. That desecration is God, in his love and wisdom, employs universal. All the human race now for the purpose of rousing us from this come into the world the possessors of state of dangerous apathy, and inducing depraved and perverse hearts, and they us to think and act as we ought. Not make it abundantly manifest, that in only does he speak to us in his word and the whole tenor of their lives they are in his gospel, by his Spirit and by his alienated from God. It is God's graprovidence; but his voice is heard in all cious purpose, however, to reconcile us the revolutions and alternations of sea- to himself, and in doing so to bring us sons, in time's rapid and resistless pro- back again to the state from which we gress, as it speeds onwards to its have departed, and to restore us to the final close. The first day of a new enjoyment of the privileges which we year is surely a day that suggests many have forfeited. In the carrying out deeply impressive and most important of his own infinitely wise purposes for thoughts to all of us. The mind that bringing about this end, he consecrates gives itself at all to reflection, if it has his own Son to the work of our Surety any measure of true sensibility in it, and Saviour, and ratifies the act of can scarcely fail to be somewhat soft- consecration by that baptism of blood ened and chastened on such a day, which Jesus underwent. It is when Many remembrances, chequered as coming to God through him, we are aceverything earthly is, but fraught with cepted of God, for his sake, that our valuable instruction, as all God's teach- consecration to God begins; and when ings are, suggest themselves to us. his Spirit descends upon us, and dwells How many years have rolled over within us, and our natures undergo a
divine change, and our lives are bronght and hindering all efforts for its reinto a measure of conformity to the moval. will and image of God, the consecra- ' Could we but know the blessedness tion becomes more perfect and more which is connected with such an advancecomplete.
ment in God's ways, the attainment of There is a personal consecration to such nearness to God, such intimate which God calls us, a consecration union and communion with Him, we which involves in it much that is con- should surely be led at once to seek nected with our soul's highest interests. blessings so desirable, and to secure It is the more unreserved surrender of them in immediate and thorough conthe heart to God. It is the obtaining secration of heart to His service. of more realizing discoveries of all the There are many considerations sug. truths of God's holy word. It is the gested by the arrival of this day which manifestation of more thorough dedi- are well fitted to lead to immediate cation to every active service and duty consecration to God, in order that we to which God is pleased to call us. may enjoy the blessings which God has
If there is a consecration that is per promised to bestow upon us. sonal, there is also one that is social. The thought of years that have passed It is the consecration of God's people in away, and that have borne a record in their spiritual association with each reference to us, which we may well other. It is the Church becoming to the mourn over, should prompt us to imfullest extent what it ought to be the mediate consecration to God. Some of pillar and ground of the truth. It is us have seen many years. All of us the more entire devotedness of churches can number several years. Those years to Him who is the "head of the body will now and then, as memory does its --the Church.” It is the enjoyment by work, rise up before us and invite us to churches of " times of refreshing," not examine them. Many are the favours at long intervals, but frequently, if not which in the course of bygone years constantly. It is every church becom- a gracious God has conferred upon us. ing a witness for Christ, and giving its Not a few trials and troubles have pertestimony so clearly and so decidedly haps been allotted to us--of sins, many that none can challenge it. This con- and great, we can scarcely fail to be secration will manifest itself in various conscious. How much wiser and better ways. We must hold fast the truths might we have been than we now are! of Christ's Gospel, ever remembering How much more might we have done, that it is only by their faithful main- both for God and for man, than we have tenance, that the real prosperity of yet done! Many & duty which we churches can be secured.
might once have discharged, and which This consecration to God, both in its we may deeply lament our neglect of, personal and social aspects, is very apt it is impossible for us to discharge now. to be looked at as a thing that is desir- Many a false step which we might once able, but impracticable, a sort of attain- have avoided, and which we may now ment which it is all very well to talk bitterly regret ever having taken, it is about, but which it is really impossible impossible for us to retrace now. But to reach ; a virtue which we would, no while we cannot alter the past, we may doubt, be the better of, but which after learn from it to be more wise and holy, all we may contrive to do without. | more faithful and consistent, more Such notions, common as they may be, spiritual and devoted for the future. are at utter variance with the spirit of Let the time that is past suffice, and true religion, are indicative of a fear-more than suffice for the life so carnal fally low state of piety in the soul, and and worldly, which we have heretofore are calculated to continue and confirm led. To-day let each one of us mingle the evil by repressing all desire, with adoring praise of God's great good