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A New Year's Meditation. All
men are travellers upon earth, whose days are as a shadow. View them in every situation and condition, and you will find this to be an irrefutable truth. Here verily we have no abiding place. Through this world we merely pass, as the way to another. If we become strongly attached to life, as if it would always continue; if we strike our roots deep in the earth, flattering ourselves that we will successfully resist the attacks of time, we prepare for ourselves bitter sorrow, and agonizing regret,
Sin hath produced this melancholy state of things. By it, we are put under the ban of God's empire, and wander up and down among the tombs in this dying world, not knowing how soon his arm will reach us, and bring us before him, to account for our deeds. We are driven from the presence of God, into the world cursed for our sakes, and must toil among thorns and thistles for our support and convenience. Every thing around us is subject to change, and transient in its nature. Lover and friend are removed from us, and our acquaintance drop into darkness. Generations have already gone to · the land of forgetfulness, and generations are going. All that we see, all that we experience, al that we anticipate, prove that here we have no home, but are travellers on the earih, whose journey is abridged
by a thousand circumstances, and who are rapidly and unceasingly hastening to their permanent habitation.
Such is human life! an eventful journey to eternity! What manner of persons ought we then to be in our conversation and conduct? This is an interesting inquiry, worthy of our most reverent and steady attention. To answer it will be the object of the present meditation.
1. As travellers on earth, whose days are as a shadow, and none of whom abideth, we ought habitually to look forward to eternity, our home. There, two kinds of abode await the whole race of mankind; one of perfect happiness, and the other of unmingled misery. Between the two, a great gulf is fixed, so that they which would pass from heaven to hell, cannot: neither can they pass to heaven, that would come from hell.
Our future state we ought ever to bear in mind, in all our pilgrimage. The information Scripture gives us on this subject, is clear, explicit, and interesting. It admits of no doubt; it allows no hesitation on our part. We ought to live with a wise reference to eternity : for what will it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his soul; or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? To forget the future whilst enjoying the present, in our temporal affairs, is improvident and criminal, and always brings along with it its punishment. To do so in our eter- . nal interests, displays the extreme of folly, of debasement, and of sin. It discovers a lamentable derangement of our intellectual powers, an unpardonable ignorance of our true state here, and a wilful want of preparation for entering on a future state. To stay here or go hence, is not a matter of choice to us. We are subject to HIM, who called us into being, and who bids us at his pleasure return to dust. Shall we say we will not think of our home?
Or shall we conduct as if resolved to banish every idea of this home from our minds? Rather let us pray, Lord make us to know our end and the measure of our days, what it is! As we pass on, along the road of life, we ought habitually to muse upon the end of our journey, looking towards it with steadfast eye; never losing sight of it; dwelling upon it again and again, till it be familiar to us, the first subject of meditation in the morning when we rise from our beds, and the last in the evening before we fall asleep. Thus doing, we will be often asking ourselves, what will the end of these things be, in which we are engaged ? We will examine ourselves narrowly, and give heed to our ways, lest we stumble and fall.
2. As travellers to eternity, we ought to be solicitous about the way which leads to a happy home, to everlasting salvation. Inattention to his way leads the traveller into by-paths, where he wanders oftimes, until he perishes, far from his abode. It is not material what way a man takes, if he only thinks it the right way. There is but one way to heaven. It is narrow, beset with difficulties, ascending a steep and rugged hill. The pilgrim who essays to reach its summit, is oftimes wearied with toil, and almost abandons his design ; but by faith he sees the prospect before him, and is reviyed.
For our direction we have the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. With these in our hands, and the Spirit who dictated them in our hearts, we need not fear of falling into any essential mistake. But they who abandon this directory, and grieve the Holy Spirit by resisting his operations, have no guide. They soon stray, and continue straying in the paths of error. Their passions mislead them ; the world beguiles them ; Satan leads them captive at pleasure. Flowers may apparently spring up under their feet. The scenes they behold may be beautiful; the country through which they pass full of delights. Soon, however, darkness descends upon them, and
age destroys their susceptibility of pleasure. The end of their journey appears full before them. It is not thee, Oh Jerusalem above! Thy gates do not unfold to them, to receive them. Mountains rise up before them, enveloped with mists; dark mountains, which they reach-on which their feet stumble, and they fall—no more to rise. Such is the end of thousands, sad and melancholy. Such will be the end of all who do not seek to know theright way, the way God has revealed. That way
is Jesus Christ, who hath purchased salvation for all who believe in him, and practise holiness. There is salvation in none else; for there is no other name given under heaven among men, whereby we can be saved! All who come unto the Father by him, shall in no wise be rejected; but whosoever denieth the Son, denieth the Father als), and there is no life in him. Words cannot be more explicit than those of Scripture on this subject. Scripture must then be read with attention and perseverance; the preached word heard with reverence on every occasion; fervent and unceasing prayer offered up to God, that what we read and hear, we may understand and practise; and living faith, the gift of God, must be exercised. If we neglect the means of salvation, and do not believe the testimony of God concerning his Son, we cannot be solicitous about the way to heaven. If we say we are, we deceive ourselves; we are merely sporting to our own undoing. If we are in earnest, like a traveller lost, we will eagerly ask of all we meet, what course we must pursue. We will consult all the guides we find, and follow all the rules prescribed. We will distrust ourselves, our prejudices, our passions, the conclusions of our own judgment, because we realize that we are lost and ignorant of our way, and will yield ourselves to the guidance of God's Holy Spirit.
3. As travellers to eteruity, we ought to guard against every temptation on the way, so that we do