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"What is your life? It is even a vapour, which appeareth for a little time, and then vapisheth away.”
Yes—all may grace our mortal day,
That warms the heart, and wins the eye,
From rapture to satiety.
And that which melts the heart of stone,
But time glides on,—and all are gone. And thou—whom Heaven's high will denies
To soar above thy fellow-men, For thee as dear a home
rise In village cot—or mountain glen; Where loving and beloved again,
Thy hopes—thy heart may rest on one: Oh! what is life?-time flies—and then
Death speeds his dart—and both are gone.
Thy misery need not last for aye-
Why waste in hopeless grief away?
If friends are fled, and thou alone, Thy God will prove a firmer stay
Seek Him-time flies--and thou art gone.
Oh! what are all the gauds of earth
Love's melting smile—young beauty's bloomThe pomp of wealth-the pride of birth,
Are these remembered in the tomb? No! sunk in cold oblivion's gloom
They lie—their very names unknown The mouldering marble tells their doom,
They lived—time fled- and they are gone. So shalt thou fall—but dost thou deem
To sleep in peace beneath the sod? Dash from thy soul that empty dream,
And know thyself—and know thy God. Nor earth, nor time restrain his rod;
And thou—a few short summers flown, Thou treadest the path thy father trod,
'Thy doom is fixed, and-hope is gone. Chained to the dust, from whence we spring,
Why thus from yon bright skies be driven? O turn to your eternal King
Believe-repent--and be forgiven.
While life and light are yet thine own;
Time glides along--and thou art gone!
A due sense of Time, hastening to its period, will furnish us with perpetual new occasions of holy meditations.
Do I observe the declining day and the setting sun sinking into darkness? So declines the day of life, the hours of labour, and the season of grace. O may I finish my appointed work with honour before the day is filed! May I improve the shining hours of grace before the shadows of the evening overtake me, and my time of working is no more !
Do I see the moon gliding along through midnight, and fulfilling her stages in the dusky sky? This planet also is measuring out my life, and bringing the number of my months to their end. May I be prepared to take leave of the sun and moon, and bid adieu to these visible heavens and all the twinkling glories of them! These are all but the measure of my time, and hasten me on towards eternity.
Am I walking in a garden, and stand still to observe the slow motion of the shadow upon a dial there? It passes over the hour-lines with an imperceptible progress, yet it will touch the last line of daylight shortly: so my hours and my moments move onward with silent pace; but they will arrive with certainty at the last limit,
how heedless soever I am of their motion, and how thoughtless soever I may be of the improvement of time, or of the end of it.
Does a new year commence, and the first morning of it dawn upon me? Let me remember that the last year was finished, and gone over my head, in order to make way for the entrance of the present; I have one year less to travel through this world, and to fulfil the various services of a travelling state: may my diligence in duty be increased, since the number of my appointed years is diminished !
Do I find a new birthday in my survey of the Calendar, the day wherein I entered upon the stage of mortality, and was born into this world of sins, frailties, and sorrows, in order to my probation for a better state? Blessed Lord, how much have I spent already of this mortal life, this season of my probation, and how little am I prepared for that happy world! How unready for my dying moment!
I am hastening hourly to the end of the life of man which began at my nativity; am I yet born of God? Have I begun the life of a saint? Am I prepared for that awful day which shall determine the number of my months on earth? Am I fit to be born into the world of spirits through the strait gate of death? Am I renewed in all the powers of my nature,
and made meet to enter into that unseen world, where there shall be no more of these revolutions of days and years, but one eternal day fills up all
the space with divine pleasure, or one eternal
of my neighbour conveyed to the grave, alas! their months and minutes are all determined, and the seasons of their trials are finished for ever; they are gone to their eternal home, and the state of their souls is fixed unchangeably: the angel that has sworn their time shall be no longer, has concluded their hopes, or has finished their fears, and, according to the rules of righteous judgment, has decided their misery or happiness for a long immortality. Take this warning, O my soul, and think of thy own removal.
Are we standing in the churchyard, paying the last honours to the relics of our friends? What a number of hillocks of death
all around us! What are the tombstones, but memorials of the inhabitants of that town, to inform us of the periods of all their lives, and to point out the day when it was said to each of them, Your time shall be no longer? O may I learn this important lesson, that my turn is hastening too; such a little hillock shall shortly arise for me in some unknown spot of ground, it shall cover this flesh and these bones of mine in darkness, and shall hide them from the light of the sun, and from the sight of man, till the heavens be no more.
Perhaps some kind surviving friend may engrave my name, with the number of my days, up