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origin, nature, and duration of time; and they have drawn conclusions favourable to the cause of virtue, truth, and piety; while another class of men, in considering the subject, have indulged in conjectures calculated to mislead the inexperienced, and gratify the sceptical. The latter indulging in a strain of human reasoning, and wholly disregarding revelation, the pure source of all intelligence on this momentous question, have given rein to the most vague fancies, and have endeavoured to prove, that there is no such thing as time; in fact, they declare that the world is eternal.

It is not my intention to discuss the arguments which have been so plausibly advanced on this head, because in the word of God, there is such decided proof to the contrary, “ he who runs

may read, and a way-faring man though a fool cannot err therein."

In this chapter I purpose making a few remarks on the nature and importance of time; and I pray God to bless them to the eternal profit of some

poor sinners.

Time in its most comprehensive meaning is the duration of the world, and in this acceptation it is opposed to eternity ; but time as it respects man, is positively only the limited period of his earthly existence. He has an appointed time on earth, and what does it concern him, or what security will it afford if he be told that before his birth nearly 6,000 years had elapsed, and when he dies perhaps a few more centuries will pass away. His utmost hold on time is a mere span, and however desirous he may be to have it increased,

the desire is futile, for “his days are as the days of an hireling,”* and his life “ even as a vapour which appeareth for a little time, then vanisheth away.”f Time therefore to man is very brief, and at best a rapid stream, flowing impetuously towards the boundless ocean of eternity. Fleeting as it is, man acts as though it were to last for ever.

Man sees continually the uncertainty and rapidity of time, and while he complains of it, cares nothing for its loss unless it robs him of some fond anticipation. “He spends his years as a tale that is told,” but rarely reflects on the past, or provides for the future. If he ever mourn the brevity of time, it is because it will not wait till he has completed some loved-project, or accomplished some proud * Job vii. 1.

+ James iv. 14.

scheme. When permitted to pursue his golden dreams without interruption, he talks of the end of time without concern; but if thwarted in his purposes, brought low by disease, baffled by circumstance, or arrested by the solemn voice, of that unshrinking foe, who cries out, “ this night thy soul shall be required of thee;" he confesses the emptiness of time, and in a few hours vainly attempts to improve a life spent in presumption and evil. Such is man unpossessed of genuine religion! He is a philosopher in prosperity, a coward in adversity, and a fool in every thing.

Man is continually warned of the shortness and importance of time, and he sees the value of it in stance that happens. The infant declares its brevity, so does the young man, and so does the old. How quickly

every circumthey disappear! no sooner did we begin to live than we began to die. Man is told how important time is, by the bitter anguish, and death-bed accusations of his neighbour, or departing friend, who having mispent time, are about to stand naked and unembodied spirits, before the bar of that God, who requires an account of the deeds done in the body. All the seasons, the whole of nature, and the varied beauties of the earth, picture the flight, and declare the value of time. We are no sooner delighted with the change of seasons than they are gone; and we no sooner behold the beauties of the fields or gardens, than they pass away; but man heeds not the lesson afforded; to him may justly be applied the wordsthe harvest is past, and the summer is ended, but he is not saved.

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