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Yet ask no payment, save one smile refined
Of grateful love ; one tear of contrite pain ! Meekly ye forfeit to your mission kind,
The rest of earthly sabbaths.—Be your gain A sabbath without end, ʼmid your celestial plain! VANITY INSCRIBED ON ALL THINGS.
TIME, like a long flowing stream, makes haste into eternity, and is forever lost and swallowed up there; and, while it is hastening to its period, it sweeps away all things with it which are not immortal. There is a limit appointed by Providence to the duration of all the pleasant and desirable scenes of life, to all the works of the hands of men, with all the glories and excellences of animal nature, and all that is made of flesh and blood. Let us not dote upon any thing here below, for Heaven hath inscribed vanity upon it. The moment is hastening when the decree of Heaven shall be uttered, and Providence shall pronounce upon every glory of the earth, "Its time shall be no longer.'
What is that stately building, that princely palace, which now entertains and amuses our sight with ranks of marble columns and wide spreading arches ? that gay edifice which enriches our imagination with a thousand royal ornaments, and a profusion of costly and glittering furniture ? Time and all its circling hours, with a swift wing are bounding away; decay steals upon it insensibly, and a few years hence it shall lie in mouldering ruin and desolation. Unhappy possessor, if he have no better inheritance !
What are these visible heavens, those lowering skies, and this globe of the earth? They are indeed the glorious workmanship of the Almighty. But they are waxing old, and waiting their period too, when the angel shall pronounce upon them that time shall be no more. The heavens shall be folded up as a vesture, the elements of the lower world shall melt with fervent heat, and the earth, and all the works thereof, shall be burned with fire. May the unruinable world be but my portion, and the heaven of heavens my inheritance, which is built for an eternal mansion for the Son of God! These buildings shall outlive time, and nature, and exist through unknown ages of felicity!
What have we mortals to be proud of in our present state, when every human glory is so fugitive and fading ? Let the brightest and the best of us say to ourselves, that we are but dust and vanity.
Even those noble powers of human life, which seem to have something angelical in them, I mean the powers of wit, and fancy, gay imagination, and capacious memory, they are all subject to the same laws of decay and death.
What though they can raise and animate beautiful scenes in a moment, and, in imitation of creating power, can spread bright appearances and new worlds before
the senses and souls of their friends ? What though they can entertain the better part of mankind, the refined and polite world, with high delight and rapture? These scenes of rapturous delight grow flat and old by a frequent review, and the very powers that raised them grow feeble apace. What though they can raise immortal applause and fame to their possessors? It is but the immortality of an empty name, a mere succession of the breath of man, and it is a short sort of immortality too, which must die and perish when this world perishes; a poor shadow of duration, indeed, while the real period of these powers is hastening every day. They languish and die as fast as animal nature, which has a large share in them, makes haste to its decay; and the time of their exercise shall shortly be no more.
The God of nature has pronounced an impassible period upon all the powers, and pleasures, and glories of this mortal state. Let us then be afraid to make any of them our boast or our happiness, but point our affections to those divine objects, whose nature is everlasting; let us seek those religious attainments, and those new created powers of a sanctified mind, concerning which it shall never be pronounced, that their time shall be no longer.
Oh! may every one of us be humbly content, at the call of Heaven, to part with all that is
pleasing or magnificent here on earth. Let us resign even these agreeable talents when the God of nature demands; and when the hour arrives which shall close our eyes to all visible things, and lay our fleshly structure in the dust, let us yield up our whole selves to the hands of our Creator, who shall reserve our spirits with himself; and while we cheerfully give up all that was mortal to the grave, we may lie down full of the joyful hope of a rising immortality. New and unknown powers and glories, brighter flames of imagination, richer scenes of wit and fancy, and diviner talents are preparing for us when we shall awake from the dust, and the mind itself shall have its faculties in a sublime state of improvement. These shall make us equal, if not superior to angels, for we are nearer akin to the Son of God than they are, and therefore we shall be made more like him.
OF THE MISSIONARY ENTERPRISE.
In the most enlarged sense of the terms, 'the field is the world. Our design is radically to affect the temporal aud eternal interests of the