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was excited to a degree which defies the power of language to express. Thought succeeded thought-the review of one event followed that of another with inconceivable rapidity. All the scenes of his past life seemed crowded into a single group, and yet each so stood out in its individuality that he could not help deciding on its character. It was really nothing more nor less than a sort of sitting in judgment on himself. And this whole scene was compressed into the narrow limits of two minutes-that being the precise time he was in the water. What a fact have we here! No wonder we find the person himself asking, Have we not in this occurrence an indication of that almost infinite power of memory which we shall feel after
To me there is a world of instruction in a single reliable account like this. It gives us a whole chapter on the imperishable nature of mental impressions, and helps us to understand something more of the yet unexplained problems of our own existence. Who can tell the effect on the mind of the coming of the last messenger, or the blowing of the final trump? Is it possible to imagine how vividly all the emotions and events of the present life may reappear when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption?
The case of Dives is exactly in point. Here is a person who, after wasting life in self-indulgence and sumptuous fare, has just reached the eternal world and commenced his existence there. Time with him has become eternity. But mark, there is no break in the
continuity of his being, no cessation of thought, no pause in the working of memory. Let his prayer for a drop of water, and his anxiety for the five brethren left behind, tell how his mind is employed. Every past transaction now comes up again. The purple and fine linen, the loaded table, and the neglected beggar are all recollected, and each adds bitterness to his cup of woe.
This involves, if I mistake not, the great principles on which the final judgment is to be conducted. Each, in that grand assize, must give account of himself to God, that "every one may receive according to the things he hath done, whether good or bad." How particular and specific! But this, and many similar declarations, can never prove true, unless the mind shall then and there recall all its bygone feelings and exercises. Memory is no less necessary on the part of man, than is rectitude on the part of God. In no other way can the reckoning be such that every individual shall be either acquitted or condemned out of his own mouth. The whole life long will then come up for review. This is the point at which we stop between the past and the future, and from which we shall proceed never to pause again for ever.
Now, my young friends, should not such thoughts as these be often revolved in your minds? That within you which we call life-intellectual, immortal lifenever rises into higher value than when we thus contemplate its separate portions as constituting one whole. It is the same conscious, reflecting being to
day as yesterday, and in another world as in this. There is a process going forward, as it respects yourselves, far more wonderful than that by which multitudes have the features of their face transferred to the polished plate. That merely gives the lineaments of the external man, and gives them on a perishable substance; but, in the case before us, the impression is upon mind-undying mind-and when once fairly taken can never wear out.
Will you not stop, then, and ask yourselves what kind of pictures you are now sitting for? Suppose that every sin you commit should produce a visible mark on your forehead, not to be concealed from either friend or foe, and which must always tell of crime and ignominy. The mark would seem as dreadful as that upon doomed Cain. But are you not aware that a polluted thought harboured, a bad habit formed, a malignant passion indulged, will produce a scar on the soul, which all the ointments of the apothecary can never remove? Once do wrong, and a blot is made which nothing but the blood of Christ can ever wash away. Adhere to you it must in life, in death, and in eternity. Every act is opening a fountain which will send forth its streams of blessing or cursing over the whole field of your existence.
Listen to a simple tale. "The nails are gone, but the marks are there," said a weeping child to a father who had promised to drive a nail into a post for every wrong act his son did, and to pull one out for every right act. At length, such was the good conduct of
the boy that the last nail was extracted. But, to the surprise of the father, who congratulated him upon the fact, the child cried out with tears, "Yes! the nails are gone, but the marks are there still." Ah, the overwhelming power of memory! Give me pain, give me poverty, give me loss of friends, give me anything in the long catalogue of human ills, sooner than make conscience my tormentor.
Have you seen some idle boy cutting his name into the bark of a tender tree? Little does he think, as letter after letter is formed, how they will all live, and grow and stand more distinctly out, as year upon year adds to the size of the tree. Every incision of the knife remains and becomes increasingly legible as time elapses. What an emblem of the power which memory will give to those acts in which thousands of youth now thoughtlessly indulge! The bad deed once perpetrated, looks worse and worse as weeks and months pass away. Forgotten it will never be. It is certain to reappear and tell its tale of sadness over and over again, in the chamber of disease, on the dying bed, and in the ages of eternity. The evil cannot be got rid of. No human expedient can chase the guilt
What an argument have we here for living according to the requirements of the gospel! Cherish those virtuous feelings which come from the Spirit and the cross of Christ, and what remains to you of the present life will be soothed with peace and gilded with hope; and when you pass into eternity, it will be to
be followed with reminiscences which shall fill all the future with the effulgence of Paradise itself.
THE THREE TRAVELLERS.
AN OLD APOLOGUE VERSIFIED.
THREE travellers journeyed in pleasant communion,
Thus counselled the First:-"You must seek not to
In the barren and desolate regions of earth: In man's busy haunts you are likely to greet me, Where the chirp of the cricket is heard on the hearth
"Where the feast is in progress of brisk preparationWhere smoke lightly curls round the chimney's tall spire
Where tapers gleam forth from the bright habitation:
There enter, and hail the kind aspect of Fire !"