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of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers : our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding. O Lord our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name, cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own." Happy would it be for society, my friends, and happy for themselves likewise, were such views of their responsibility to God, generally prevalent amongst those who possess the greatest abundance of this world's goods ! Nor can any consideration have a more evident tendency to promote them, than that one of our own utter helplessness, as displayed by the brevity of our earthly existence.

But further, one general lesson of instruction, very forcibly conveyed by the text, is, that we ought to set some limits to our anxiety about the concerns of this life, as well as to our eagerness to accumulate its possessions. For a person whom circumstances compelled to make a temporary stay in any distant country, after having set out upon a journey homeward, to employ himself incessantly, and weary himself almost to death, in accumulating property which, though valuable where he was, could not be of the slightest use to him on his arrival at his final destination, nay, of which he knew that he would not be permitted to take with him so much as a single particle at his departure, would surely be looked upon, and justly looked upon, as the height of folly. And yet, my friends, if the representation of the present existence, given in the text, be correct; if we be, indeed, so long as we continue in this life, strangers and sojourners; and if, when we receive the inevitable summons to depart from it, we must relinquish for ever all claim to our possessions, however numerous, is not the folly of the imaginary person to whom we have been referring imitated by thousands ? Is it not imitated by all who aim at the acquisition of wealth for its own sake, or suffer their eagerness to acquire it to lead them into the commission of sins, or the neglect of duties, by which their happiness in a future and endless existence may be affected ? May not similar remarks be applied, with equal justice, to those whose eagerness in the pursuit of present pleasure has power to seduce them into a participation of forbidden indulgences ; and, indeed, to all, whatever may be their easily besetting sin, who exhibit, in their ordinary course of conduct, a greater anxiety about the concerns of time than about those of eternity?

And this brings us to the second general lesson of instruction which may be derived from the text, namely, that the leading object with every one of us ought to be the acquisition, in as great perfection as possible, of those intellectual and moral qualities, on the possession of which we have been expressly taught that our dignity and happiness in the future state is to depend. What those qualities are, we enjoy the most ample means of ascertaining. The moral nature we possess must of itself go

far towards informing us ; and, as believers in revelation, we are favoured with effectual means of confirming or rectifying its dictates in the express authority of Scripture. Can any one of us, that considers the character of the present existence, and is convinced of its imperfect and temporary nature, entertain a doubt as to the propriety of our making the attainment of these qualities the object of our most earnest prayers, and of our most ardent and constant efforts ?

Let us then, my fellow Christians, earnestly resolve, each for himself, to follow these meditations into practice. Let us endeavour, in future, to be more moderate in our attachments to earth, and more ardent in our aspirations after heaven. Another year has lately opened upon us. There is a blank page spread before us, upon which, should it please the Allwis

Disposer of events to spare our lives so long, we shall have it in our power to inscribe, in legible characters, against the day of its final perusal, many an act of duty, and many an effort of self-denial, and many a deed of beneficence.Oh ! let us resolve not to neglect so precious an opportunity. Let us determine to make the year, upon which we are entering, a year of much mental and moral improvement. May the blessing of a kind and gracious Providence accompany our efforts, and enable us so to pass through the few remaining years of our earthly sojourn that we may find at last, to our unspeakable delight, our names written in the Lamb's book of life, and be permitted to mingle with the happy inhabitants of the city, which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God! Amen.



John viii., 12.

I am the light of the world.

THERE are few objects in nature more generally useful to mankind, or that contribute more largely to their happiness, than light. It is this which supplies us with the means of discovering by the eye the nature and qualities of distant objects. It is this, too, which enables us to pursue with comfort our daily occupations, which invites man to go forth to his work and to his labour, until the evening. It is this that, by the innumerable variations which take place in the manner of its being reflected by the objects that surround us, gives rise to all those countless varieties of colour that supply our senses with so rich a feast. It is this which, daily issuing from the sun, gradually draws over the surface of the earth its robe of beauty ; imparts a gem-like lustre to the dew of the morning; makes the still face of ocean to resemble a sheet of silver; summons the choir of birds to commence


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