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ETERNITY AND TIME.
TIME is the duration of creatures in the present state. It commenced at the creation, and near six thousand years of it are since elapsed; and how much of it yet remains we know not. But this we know, that the duration of the world itself is as nothing in comparison of eternity. But what is our duration compared with the duration even of this world? It is but a span, an hair's breadth; sixty, seventy, or eighty years, is generally the highest standard of human life, and it is by far the smallest number of mankind that arrive at those periods. The most of them are like a flower blasted in the morning, or at noon; and we have more reason to expect it will be our fate than to hope the contrary. Now the span of time we enjoy in life is all our time; we have no more property in the rest of it, than in the years before the flood. All beside is eternity. Eternity! We are alarmed at the sound! lost in the prospect! Eternity with respect to God, is a duration without beginning as well as without end. This is inalienably entailed upon us, poor dying worms; and let us survey our inheritance. Eternity! it is a duration that excludes all number and computation; days, and months, and years, yea, and ages,
are lost in it, like drops in the ocean. Millions of millions of years, as many years as there are sands on the sea shore, or particles of dust in the globe of the earth, and those multiplied to the highest reach of number, all these are nothing to eternity. They do not bear the least imaginable proportion to it, for these will come to an end. It is a line without end; it is an ocean without a shore. Alas! what shall I say of it! It is an infinite unknown something, that neither human thought can grasp, nor human language describe.
Now place time in comparison with eternity, and what is it? It shrinks into nothing, and less than nothing. What is that little span of time in which we have any property? Alas! it is too
diminutive a point to be conceived. Indeed, properly speaking, we can call no part of time our own but the present moment, this fleeting now; future time is uncertain, and we may never enjoy it; the breath we now respire may be our last; and as to our past time, it is gone, and will never be ours again.
Oh, there are hours, aye, moments, that contain Feelings, that years may pass and never bring; Which, whether fraught with pleasure or with pain, Can hardly be forgot; as if the wing
Of time, while passing o'er, had power to fling
A darkening shade, or tint of happier hue,
While I stood still, and looked upon the moonlight view.
I thought of some, who once beheld, like me,
One of those visions morning slumbers shed
Nor did I wish it. No, dear Mary, no!
Pleasures eternal, deathless, and divine?
Yet, when I saw the pale moon coldly shine
Its beams sleep sweetly on thy peaceful sod,
And thou thyself hast sought thy Father, and thy God!
For thou wert numbered with the 'pure in heart,'
MEANS OF PRODUCING
1. WHEN any thing happens to our displeasure, let us endeavour to take off its trouble by turning it into spiritual or artificial advantage, and handle it on that side in which it may be useful to the designs of reason. For there is nothing but hath a double handle, or at least, we have two hands to apprehend it. When an enemy reproaches us, let us look on him as an impartial relater of our faults, for he will tell the truer than thy fond friend will; and thou mayst call them precious balm though they break thy head, and forgive his anger while thou makest use of the plainness of his declamation. The ox when he is weary treads surest; and if there be nothing else in the disgrace, but that it makes us to walk warily, and tread sure for fear of our enemies, that is better than to be flattered into pride and carelessness. This is the charity of christian philosophy, which expounds the sense of the divine providence fairly, and reconciles us to it by a charitable construction; and we may as well refuse all physic, if we consider it only as unpleasant to the taste; and we may find fault with the rich vallies of