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"All Power is given unto Me in Heaven The Streams, 472
and in Earth," 97
"Pray ye that your Flight be not in
One by One, 132
Jesus in the Midst, 36
In Memoriam, 199
In Most Affectionate Remembrance
Bulgarian Atrocities, 494
Changes in Religious Opinion, 183
Church of the Future, 492
Swedenborg, Emanuel, 345
Handbill Tracts, 451
of Harrogate, 91, 499
Heywood, 188, 282
Presentations of New Church Works,
Ramsbottom, 93, 191, 355
Scotland-Annual Meeting of the Scot-
Students' and Ministers' Aid Fund,
THE NEW YEAR.
A SERMON BY MR. COLLING.
"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” -PSALM Xc. 12.
KNOWING the frailty of our mortal tenement of the flesh, and knowing too that under the most favourable circumstances of health our sojourn must be brief in this lower world, it is extremely natural for us to count the passing years, to regard with peculiar feelings the end of one and the commencement of another year; and, with mingled regret and hope, with alternating depression and elatedness, literally to “number our days." We feel that we have a journey to go, that life is a way, and that we are wayfarers. We know that we can go this " way " but once, and that we can not return a single step. The passing years are therefore like measured road-marks—they remind us of the retreating period of cradled infancy, and of the apparently more rapid oncoming of decrepid age and final dissolution.
Yet there are comparatively few who reach the threescore years and ten which the Psalmist declares to be the days of the years of the life of man, or the fourscore which, while they indicate strength, are yet labour and sorrow. In the great majority of cases the allotted span of existence is very brief indeed, and in the comparatively rarer cases in which what is called "a good old age" is arrived at-what are 70, 80, and even 100 years in the march of time, in the progression of events which are measured by the never-ceasing alternations of day and night, and the natural seasons? The gulf of the past, the illimitable future— what is man, or even whole generations of men, in comparison with these? If we look back, we know that countless millions of human
beings have hurried through a brief career and passed away from the stage of natural life. If we venture to look into the future, we are equally certain of the brevity of what is called the term of life; we can have no reasonable doubt that myriads will come and go as they have come and gone-some taken away in infancy, like the scarcelyformed buds of the sweet flowers, which expectant love watches over, some in early youth, when the mental powers and the heart's dispositions are gradually unfolding themselves and giving some indications of the future man, some in primer life, when the fruits of manhood -of manly aims and energies-are given forth and wear the impress of the internal or angelic quality of life.
But it is not in early youth that the mind occupies itself in any serious reflection either on the brevity or the issues of life. In childhood and early youth the thoughts, affections, and purposes centre in the present, the past awakens no painful reflection, the future awakens no anxiety and thoughtful apprehension. Whatever be the pleasures or the pains of early life, they belong to the now. Even the "yesterday" and the "morrow" of childhood's thought are nothing but as they concern the now. For this reason, too, the impressions of joy and sorrow are equally fleeting-sweet joys and laughing delights they have, but then the memory of them is evanescent, they too have their little sorrows, crosses, vexations and tearful troubles, but they are soon forgotten. And very beautiful is the fact that it is sothere is time enough for deep reflection when the various mental faculties are matured, and the mind is free to determine and to act. There is time enough for earnest reflection, for thoughtful retrospection and grave anticipation, when the mind has realized the fact that life is full of responsibility, and that every day has its allotted duty. Then it is that we begin in the most literal sense to "number our days." The poet Young has said, "We take no note of time but by its loss," and it is only in more mature age that we even think of the loss of time. Then it is that we begin to count the days as they pass, apparently with more haste than before, and to regret that another day has been added to the number. Then it is that we contrast the span of days which we have measured with the vague uncertainty of the days we may be permitted to count. We contemplate our nearness to the grave by the lengthening track which memory traces behind us. To the thoughtful and reflective there are many circumstances which occur in their daily experience that, like silent monitors, remind them that this is but a transitory existencethat this world is not the final home of man, and that nothing is more