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than has been done in any previous hour, since duration began to be marked into time. We shall be unwilling to yield to the languor, which, if all the operating powers everywhere should in an equal degree suffer it, it would be like death throughout the creation. We shall dread the impiety of slighting or wasting a portion of time, on which the Deity places all the value which he places on 80 much progress of his designs towards completion, and his works towards perfection, as can be accomplished within that space.
Thus all the active principles and powers in the universe, even to the impulse that moves the last orb in the extremity of the creation, and the energy that may even have carried a daring adventurer beyond that limit, seem to combine to urge on our minds the value of Time. But if our thoughts dwell too long on views thus extending into immensity, they may make the utmost labours that we can accomplish within a given space of time, appear so inexpressibly diminutive, as to tempt us to repine at our littleness, and abandon all effort in despond. ency. It might seem in this wide system a very trivial consideration, what use we may make of our few moments, or whether any use at all. We might be inclined to say, the whole sum of operations will be neither more nor less, our insignificant efforts being added or withheld. We must therefore be careful to retain a strong sense of our individual duty, and of the importance of our own actions as to our own interests, while we feel the astonishment of so vast a view ; and having taken a general impression of the worth of time, from all that is done in it, let us continually return to the consideration of its value to us, as illustrated by the good that we may obtain or accomplish in each given portion of it. This possible good should be strictly associated in our minds with every day and every hour, so that we shall constantly spend it with a precise consciousness of its value, and of the expense in spending it being equal to all that it could be employed to gain. What class of acquisitions and performances shall be kept in view as possible to us, within the respective periods of time, will greatly depend on what pursuits we most approve, and what characters we most admire. It will depend also in a considerable degree on our specific department and station in life. An artificer, a student, a merchant, and a statesman, will necessarily have different views of what would be the utmost good which they could realize within a certain space; and all would be aware that they could not. accomplish signal things every day and every hour. Many spaces of the most indefatigable life, even in the most elevated departments of human action, must be of a common kind, and would be insignificant if they were not the connect, ing pieces between the more important successive actions, and preserving the continuity of the train. In selecting, however, the possible attainments and performances to be often recalled to the mind, as giving the value of time, it will be well for a man to take those of the very highest degree in the sphere of excellence within his power, and never let his estimate of time rest on that lower level to which its practical improvement must descend at many intervals, and during even long spaces. His estimate should be above the average value of time, if I may so express it, in order to prevent his habitual efforts from falling very much below it. The greatest value of any day should be taken as the fixed value of every day. Thus a man whose situation and powers are of that order which admits of great enterprise, of extensive bounties, or of any exertions which would have a great effect on mankind, ought to consider each portion of time in which any of these exertions could be made, as exactly equal in worth to the effect of such exertions. At the dawn of any day he ought to reflect, that on this day a noble enterprise may be undertaken, the effects of which may extend through a district, a province, or perhaps a nation, and may go down to distant years. Such enterprises have often been undertaken in past times, and each had its appropriate day of commencement; perhaps such enterprises will somewhere be undertaken this day; this day is perfectly capable of such, and
capable to him, since the means are in his hands, and the field of action is plain liefore him. He might perform some signal act of beneficence. There will be hours enough in the day ; they pass away indeed very fast; but still they would stay long enough for him; the sun which is risen and now shines, would light him on his way to where this act would be done ; and before it sets, we may trust that somewhere on earth, such generous things will be done ; he at least has the power that one such should be done. Now the utility of such an enterprise--the worth of such a signal act of beneficence—is precisely the value of this day to this man. And if the day shall pass away without this or any equivalent occupation, the amount of what he has wasted is the amount of all this good which he has not effected. And this is not all; for he may justly be held to have committed all the evil, which these exertions would have removed or prevented. A man whose employment is science, as he may be supposed much inferior to Sir Isaac Newton, will not at the dawn of the day fix his estimate of the coming day at the same high pitch as Sir Isaac might justly have done, in the morning of that day in which he saw the apple fall from a tree ; but he ought to fix it at the pitch of the best improved day that he has ever himself known. He can recollect what a considerable space of knowledge he went over, v: the luminous conception of some important principle which he acquired on a p:18t day of most resolute and patient application. Let the value of that day form the estimate with which he begins the pursuits of this. It is possible his utmost efforts may not obtain quite the same measure of success again as in that past instance; but it is equally possible that they will; and it is certain they will be more powerfully animated by acting on such an estimate of what they ought to effect, than if they were made according to a lower scale of duty and expectation.
Assuming the same principle in relation to the moral improvements of character, we may assert that to a vain and wicked man the value of the day is equal to that of an absolute reformation of his conduct; equal at least to the commencement of such a reformation. For his conscience is sunk into a melancholy degree of apathy, if it does not remind him this morning that his reformation is the most positive duty of this day. Here and there an individual will be .happy enough to accomplish this duty; and then the difference at the setting sun between the moral situation of one such individual, and another man who closed yesterday in the same unhappy spirit and course in which this now reformed man also closed it, and who will end the present day just like the pastthis signal difference gives the value of this short course of hours. And this is their value, not only to him that is reformed, but to him that is not; for why will not he also derive the inestimable benefit ? The same duty, danger, motives, arguments, and pursuits are placed before him.
With regard to the whole of the time comprised within the limited duration of life, we may justly assert that the value of this little accumulation of short periods is equal to that of the eternal felicity which it is the supreme concern of vime to secure, and to which a wise improvement of it will lead.
Another expedient for fixing the estimate of time would be to consider the very great importance felt to be connected with small portions of it in cases of great emergency. And most of us can recollect within our own experience occasions when a day or an hour has been felt of extraordinary value, and has been improved with an anxiety and an effort far beyond the usual tone of our activity.' When, for instance, through inattention, indolence, or mistake, we have deferred some indispensable undertaking till within a very short time of the hour when it absolutely must be finished, and have only just then learnt the whole of its importance, we have felt a few hours a piece of property which silver and gold could not rival. We have looked at the clock, or at the altitude of the sun and the extent of the shadows towards evening, with an anxious wish to find that we have one hour, or one half hour, more to come than we thought; and have been impatient and indignant at any intrusion or incident which attempted to steal a few minutes away. Men whose profession requires them to make, before numerous or imposing assemblies, intellectual exhibitions which require muc): previous labour, and whose dilatoriness or avocations often defer this preparation till near the time for the public appearance, can easily tell how much moro important a portion of time one hour has then seemed to become than the aggregate hours of many preceding days. It were easy to imagine much stronger cases; that, for example, of a man who should be appointed to meet his trial for life or death, at a time so very near, as but just barely to allow the space needful for preparing his means of justification, which are to be laboriously assembled perhaps from many resources of argument and evidence. He would feel as if a few days or hours comprised the whole value of those years of protracted life which he might wish yet to live. Or we may imagine the situation of a man, unexpectedly summoned to go at a few hours' warning on a remote and a dangerous enterprise. What a misfortune he would deem it to be compelled to lose one of those few hours which were all the time allowed him for a short adjustment of his affairs, for the indispensable preparations, and for his parting advice and benedictions to his dearest connections. He would wonder and regret to find that time is so short, and would perceive the termination successively of each of those few hours with a sentiment something like that with which he would witness the death of a friend. We can represent to ourselves the feelings of a man of high virtue holding some commission of great power and importance, which is shortly to expire; as in the instance of Epaminondas and Pelopidas, who saved their country by commanding the Theban army, but were at a given day to resign the command; or as in the case of a noble-spirited governor of a province who is soon to leave it. This virtuous governor would have highly prized every day from the very commencement of an office which gave him so much power to do good; but the concluding days would seem so transcendently precious that he would probably feel wonder and regret that he should not have placed a higher value on all the preceding. On these concluding days he would almost lament the necessity of intermitting his exertions for the sake of refreshment and repose. It would be impossible for him to spend in light occupation, or to forgive himself if he did so spend, one hour in which a petition might have been heard, an inportant investigation concluded, an useful order issued, or an abuse reforined. He would feel as if all the people of his province were suddenly become his children, and he were bound to make all the efforts for their welfare that a dying father does for his family. No prolix conversation even with his friends could be endured ; much less any idle chatting with mere acquaintance in order to preserve civility. When he awoke on the very last day of his office he would feel deep emotion, to think that now a few hours were ihe utmost scope of his extensive power of utility, and that he coul' not expand and multiply his powers far beyond those of a mere individual in order to do full justice to this concluding day. If he were a man of piety, he would in an earneat short petition implore that he might this one day at least not live in vain ; that hereafter he might be able to look back to this one day at least without feeling the guilt of indolence.
If we may be allowed to suppose, according to a popular representation of the fact, that Pythias had to return from some distance, to prevent the sacrifice of his incomparable friend, and that accidents or winds interrupted and retarded his journey, it may be imagined what would be his estimate of time when he was approaching the last hours of the allotted period. He might possibly have been economical and avaricious of time while prosecuting in former seasons his philosophical studies; but he had never till now felt all the worth of a few fleeting moments. A few hours were now distinctly measured against the life of his friend, and all the value which he attributed to that life belonged to those hourg. He would utter the bitterest reproach that short hasty expres. sions could convey, against any person that attempted to detain him one moment by any frivolous claim of business or offer of pleasure. Still more: bitter reproaches would seem to strike against his own heart—if he happened, in passing, to glance on a dial and see the shadow falling on the mark of even a more advanced hour than he had feared. At seeing 80 much of the time departed, and the rest departing, he would feel a severer distress than was ever suffered by a miser in observing a band of robbers carrying away his treasure, while he himself remained behind fastened to the spot by bonds. The minuteness with which he might have been adjusting some of his affairs in the presumption that he should have quite time enough left, would appear to him a detestable waste of it. And he would have been happy that those affairs could have been consigned to confusion and ruin, if but one of the hours consumed upon them could now be recovered. The remaining leagues and the remaining hours would be incessantly compared, with a trembling anxiety; and as he urged his course forward, and sometimes passed by numbers of easy and indolent people, he would say to himself with vexation,“ What plenty of time every creature seems to have but myself !”
A milder but still more dignified exemplification of the powerful conviction which time can give of its value on particular emergencies, might be imagined in the feelings and conduct of Daniel and his friends, during the short suspension of the fatal decree against all the wise men of Babylon. Though these four young men were probably less fond of life than any of the class threatened by the decree, yet they had many reasons for wishing to reserve it for some nobler danger. And each of them besides would feel an anxiety for the life of his friends, though he had felt none for his own. A long respite they knew would not be granted, and the next morning might terminate their lives, and fill the city and empire with mourning, if their intercessions with Heaven should fail. If only a few hours were allowed for those intercessions, we may well imagine that no interval of trifling interrupted them ; that the earnestness of their prayers and their solicitude for their friends, became still deeper as the successive constellations appearing on the horizon indicated how fast the time was elapsing. While they waited for the signs that some Divine communication was approach. ing, they would observe with a deep and pensive emotion that another and still another hour was departed, and no voice was heard, and no vision disclosed. The exercise of faith, submission, and prayer, would come to its hardest crisis at the dawn of the day; and except to Daniel, whose anxiety and devotion had been soothed into a slumber, in which the great secret was revealed to him, the glimmering of the morning, perhaps, appeared as a warning that the season now approaching must be expected with the solemnity which belongs to the last + hour of life.
These illustrations will instantly be allowed to prove the inestimable worth of the particular portions of time that happen to co-exist with some extraordinary occasions ; but I have introduced them to show the value of Time in general I consider such emergencies as a kind of tests which have happened to be applied at some one point of the continuous whole of a man's time, and proving the general quality while operating on a small single part. And with certain allowances for the difference of the departments of action in which different men are to be employed, and for the obvious consideration that duties of different orders come in the whole train of duty, I maintain that the value of each portion of our time, after we have attained to an age of anything like mature reason, is substantially the same as of any particular portion which may happen to be spent under circumstances of extreme emergency, and is to be estimated by the same standard. And if this be true, how little are men m
general apprised what a precious article they are consuming, and how inch less than the just severity of remorse do any of us feel for having consumed so large a measure of it in vain!
THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH.
BY THE REV. E. L. FORSTER.
“A spiritual house.”—1 Peter ii. 5. The sacred writers compare the Church, terials of which it was composed, though of Christ to many striking and significant 80 exquisitely beautiful, were earthly and objects. It is frequently spoken of as a perishable. Like all other buildings, howvineyard. Sometimes it is compared to a ever solid and firmly bound together, it garden, and still more frequently to the was destined to decay, and to become a Temple which was erected by Solomon, and desolation and a ruin. Not a vestige of it which was distinguished for its extent and now remains to remind us of its former magnificence. This is a figure which the grandeur and importance; but the spiritual apostle Paul seems to have been very fond house, the Church of Jesus Christ, is comof. We constantly meet with it in his ex posed of living and enduring stones. It is traordinary writings. In his first letter to to know no decay. The tooth of time is the Churol at Corinth he says, “ Know ye never to eat away its walls, nor the rust of not that ye are the temple of God, and ages to affect its stability. Amid the that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If changes which are constantly taking place any man defile the temple of God, him upon this earth of ours, it stands firm, like shall God destroy : for the temple of God the solid rock which the furious waves of is holy, which temple ye are.” Then again the sea in vain seek to overthrow. We are in his Epistle to the Ephesians he says, not about, on the present occasion, to view " Now therefore ye are no more strangers the Church of Christ in all its beautiful and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the and varied aspects. In discoursing on its saints, and of the household of God; and nature and constitution, we might speak of are built upon the foundation of the its voluntary character. We might show apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself you that it is completely independent of all being the chief corner-stone; in whom all Governmental or State patronage and conthe building fitly framed together groweth trol; that it is an institution that has unto a holy temple in the Lord; in whom flourished in spite of the bitter, and comye also are builded together for a habitation bined, and persevering opposition of pagan of God through the Spirit." The apostle and anti-Christian governments; and that Peter makes use of the same, or nearly the the less they meddle with it, the better it same, figure in the words of the text when | is for both. We might refer you to the be speaks of the Church of Christ as "& history of the past to prove to you that spiritual house." There is doubtless an wherever earthly princes and governors allusion here to the Temple at Jerusalem, have taken the Church of Christ under which was emphatically the house of God, their fostering care, or have sought to where he took up his spiritual abode, and make it an engine of statecraft and political where he permitted his people to hold aggrandisement, that it has suffered irreblessed and sanctifying communion not parable injury at their hands. It is not only with each other, but with himself. our intention to take so general and comThe Church of Jesus Christ thus figura prehensive a view of the subject, but tively described by one striking touch of rather to seize hold of one beautiful feature the apostle's pencil, is one of the most im. or characteristic of the Church of Christ, portant institutions which has ever been viz., that which is sugggested by the words established in the earth. The Temple of of the text. It is its SPIRITUALITY that Jerusalem was indeed glorious in its we would direct your attention to. It is structure, in its services, and in the moral here called by Peter “a spiritual house.” ends to be answered by it; but the ma- . I. We would remark that it is spiritual