ON TIME AND ETERNITY
Consider first, how precious a thing time is which we are so apt to squander away, as if it were of no value. Time is the measure of our lives; therefore as much as we lose of our time, so much of our lives is absolutely lost. All our time is given us, in order to our employing it in the service of our Maker, and by that means securing to our souls a happy eternity; and there is not one moment of it in which we may not store up for ourselves a treasure for eternity; so that, as many as we lose of these precious moments, they are so many lost eternities. Our time is a talent with which God has entrusted us, and of which he will one day demand of us a strict account how we have spent every hour of it. Our salvation or damnation for eternity will depend upon the good or bad use of our time. Ah! how little do we think of this? How little do we think of the sins we are daily guilty of, in squandering away so much of this precious time?
Consider 2ndly, how short is the whole time of this mortal life; a mere nothing compared with eternity, and how very quickly it passes away. When past 'tis gone - it is no more; it leaves no footsteps behind it. The time to come is not ours: we cannot promise ourselves one moment of it. The present time is all we can call our own, and God only knows how long it will be so. It fies away in an instant, and when once it is gone it cannot be called back. Our hours, one after another, all post away with precipitate haste into the vast gulf of eternity, and are swallowed up there, and then appear no more. The very moment in which we are reading this line is just passing, never, never more to return. And as many of these hours, as many of these moments as are once lost are lost for ever: the loss is irreparable. Learn hence, O my soul, to set a just value upon thy present time - learn to husband it well, and employ it all to the best advantage.
Consider 3rdly, that as all time is short and passes quickly away, so all the temporal enjoyments of the honours, riches, and pleasures of this world are of the like condition: they all pass away with time - they are all transitory, uncertain, and inconstant. Only eternity and the goods or evils which it comprises, are truly great, as being without end, without change, without comparison; admitting of no mixture of evil in its goods, nor any alloy of comfort in its evils. O how quickly does the glory of this world pass away! How very soon will all temporal grandeur, all worldly pride and state, all the riches and pleasures of worldlings, be buried in the coffin! A few short years are more than any one can promise himself. and after that, poor sinner, what will become of thee? Alas! the worms will prey upon thy body, and merciless devils on thy unrepenting soul! Thy worldly friends will all forget thee. The very stone on which thou hast got thy name engraved will not long outlive thee. O how true is that sentence: 'vanity of vanities, and all is vanity but to love God, and to serve him alone!' - Kempis.
Conclude to make such use of this present time and of all temporary things as to make them serviceable to thy soul in her journey towards eternity. But take care not to let thy heart cleave to them by any disorderly affection, lest thou be entangled in them and perish with them.