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THE LAST DAY OF THE YEAR.
"Woe unto us! for the day goeth away, the shadows of the evening are stretched out." Jer. vi. 4.
THE last day of the year induces a variety of reflections, to a thoughtful mind. It is a day that will never more return. It terminates a circle of time, and it involves an inquiry, "How have I filled up that circle?"
“The day goeth away." This sentence is true of the day of life, which is rapidly departing, and will soon end. How soon, none can conjecture. Although some persons live the full age of man, and others even beyond that period, yet how many die in youth! What numbers have been removed into the unseen world by disease, by fire, by shipwreck, and by other means. Our life is constantly "going away."
"And every beating pulse we tell,
Leaves but the number less."
"The day goeth away." How true is this of worldly enjoyments! Pleasure captivates the mind, and allures its votaries to scenes of dissipation and excess; with what avidity do mortals pursue the various things upon which they place their affections. By them night is turned into day; the theatre, the ball-room, the assembly, are resorted to with eagerness and fond expectation. The avaricious seek nothing but the accumulation of wealth, and the ambitious pant after fame. But the evening will come, the day will depart, and leave these victims of folly to exclaim, Woe! is me; for the day goeth away, the shadows of the evening are stretched out!
"The day goeth away," and reminds us how soon the day of gospel opportunities will depart. It is a bright and glorious day, ushered in by the Sun of Righteousness; light, life, and healing are communicated by its beams.
"Thrice happy are they, who hear and obey,
And share in the blessings of this gospel day!"
But alas! there are multitudes who are ignorant of these blessings ; "They stand all the day idle," indifferent to the things that make for their peace; the day is departing from them. Already the shadows of the evening are falling, and will What darkness will then overtake them,
soon be stretched out.
what gloom will then oppress them, what despondency will then settle upon them! How will they exclaim when the day of grace is past, and the day of salvation is for ever departed from them. Woe, woe, unto us!
How happy are they who are convinced of their past misimprovement of the day ere it is entirely departed, and from a fear of eternal misery, and a desire for eternal blessedness, earnestly, ardently, diligently, and prayerfully seek the blessings of the day; every encouragement is afforded to them in the invitations and promises of the gospel of God, who is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which is lost. Let, then, the careless be aroused; let the thoughtless begin to consider; let the irresolute come to a decision; let the contrite confess their sins, and seek an interest in the pardoning blood and justifying righteousness of Jesus, that instead of lamenting, they may rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Penryn.
ANSWER XVIII.—Spiritual profit.
MR. EDITOR,-While reading your number for November, my attention was attracted to the 18th Question of the Enquirer, concerning "Spiritual profit."
The word preached being one of the means of grace, and the writing of divines being nothing more than "a preaching of the gospel to the eye, as the voice preacheth it to the ear;" to make use of their works is nothing more than to appropriate to ourselves one of the means appointed for our salvation.
So long as a judicious selection is made; so long as the books made use of throw light upon the sacred volume, and lead us to this great source of truth; so long as they quicken our diligence in studying it, and serve rather as handmaids than as rivals, they may be read with propriety and profit. But let us ever beware of reading in any but a prayerful spirit. How vain will be our search after truth, if we do not pray for the enlightening influences of the Holy Spirit. But if he "take of the things of Christ, and shew them unto us," our eyes will be opened to behold won
drous things in the divine law. Without His blessed aid, our imagination may be charmed, our sensibilities awakened, and our mind instructed, but our heart will continue at enmity towards God, and our life will remain uninfluenced by his holy precepts.
"If we, being evil, know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more shall our heavenly Father give his Holy Spirit to those that ask him?" S. F.
JUDGMENT is God's strange work, (Isa. xxviii. 21,) foreign to his nature; unusual in his providence. He loves to have it prevented, and goes about it with reluctancy. "How shall I give thee up, Ephraim ?-mine heart is turned within me; my repentings are kindled together." (Hos. xi. 8.) How shall I give thee up, London; my favorite city, and the place of my rest? In thee I have been honored; my covenant has been owned; my name and sanctuary, and sabbaths, reverenced. In thee many of my faithful servants have witnessed to my truth and honor. They have, for my sake, hazarded their temporal interests and comforts, and counted not their lives dear. How shall I give thee up, for whose prosperity and peace they offered their daily fervent prayers?" I would hope that we have an interest in this God as our fathers' God.
Shall we fly from Him? How vain! We can no more fly from his power than his presence. How foolish and absurd would it be to fly from a refuge, a defence. No; rather let us fly to him. Let us come to him with lamentation and weeping for our sins let us humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, and he shall exalt us in due time.
Say you that a deluge is coming on? There's the Ark of God; get into it and be saved. Say you that the morning lowers, the clouds look black with vengeance, ready to break down on a guilty Sodom? Yonder stands Zoar; fly to it and be saved. There is the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to seek and save those that are lost there is authority in his name, and compassion in his nature: make him your friend, and nothing shall truly hurt you: let us hearken to his weighty instruction to fear God, and then we have nothing else to fear.-Milner.
But ransom'd, and among
His form I see;
Where nature's pain and grief
But cease to be.
THE DIAL OF FLOWERS.
[The idea of this beautiful poem is taken from the Dial of Flowers, formed by the celebrated botanist Linnæus. As the attention of your youthful readers has lately been called to that individual and his "Lapland Tour,"* the above lines, it was thought, would not be out of place at this time.-Note to Editor.]
'TWAS a lovely thought, to mark the hours
As they floated in light away,
By the opening and the folding flowers
That laugh to the summer's day.
Thus had each moment its own rich hue,
And its graceful cup and bell,
In whose coloured vase might sleep the dew
Like a pearl in an ocean shell.
To such sweet signs might the time have flowed
In a golden current on,
Ere from the garden, man's first abode,
The glorious guests were gone.
So might the days have been brightly told,
So, in those isles of delight, that rest,
Hath sought-but yet in vain.
Yet is not life, in its real flight,
Marked thus-even thus on earth,
By the closing of our hope's delight,
Oh! let us live, so that flower by flower,
A ling❜rer still for the sun-set hour,
A charm for the shaded eve.
See our last year's volume, p. 50.