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LECT. I.-Divine Arithmetic.
PSALM xc. 12. --So teach us to number our days, that we
may apply our hearts unto wisdom,
My young friends,
TIME is short, eternity will last forever: Youth and beauty are but fading flowers : Health is the greatest blessing we can enjoy : Therefore, let us improve the morning of life. Youth is indeed a time of harvest, in it you may reap an abundant crop of real pleasure and useful knowledge. Now it is summer time with my dear young friends, but remember that the winter of old age will soon approach. Make your hay while the sun shines. “ Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.”
Time is represented as a little old man with a bald head, except a lock of hair on the forehead, intimating that we should improve the present moment, for when it is
it cannot be laid hold of; he has also an hour-glass and a scythe, beside him or in his hand, all of which are to remind us that all things beneath the sun are transitory and swiftly pass away. told that time has four eyes, two before and two behind, two of which are always open and two are shut, to denote that time regards what is past as well as what is to come. Time is also painted with four wings, two stretched out as if he was flying, and two lying close to his back, as if he was standing still. Time and tide, the proverb says, stay for no man. You may think that there is time enough yet to think of religion, death and eternity ; but remember how much there is to do, and how short a space of time there
may be to do so great a work. Bad children are in general very great wasters of time. As every shred of gold is precious, so is every moment of time; make good use of your time if
you wish to be happy in eternity ; yesterday cannot be recalled ; seize time by the forelock.
“One lock in front the ancients placed ;
The head behind was bald,
Can never be recalled." To-morrow is not yours; to-day is all that you can call your own, which, if you delay, you lose, and when lost, it is lost forever; one day present, is worth two to come ; time is given us that we may prepare for eternity, and eternity will not be too long to regret the loss of our time, if we have mispent it. Time is one of those blessings which we want most, but use the worst, and for which we must give an account when time shall be no more.
A very rich, but a very wicked man, wha died in England some years ago, with his last agonizing brcath cried out £20,000 for a week, $60,000 for a day, and £100,000 for an hour , with these awful but unavailing expressions on his lips, he expired, leaving behind him a solemn warning to all to redeem their time. O my dear young friends, let us turn the words of our text into a prayer,
say with Moses, that holy man of God, “ so teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
I. Let us view the school in which this holy art of numbering our days is taught. The only school in which we can learn to number our days, improve our time, and apply our hearts to true wisdom, is a present world; it is in this life only that we can seek the salvation of the soul, and by the Spirit of God be prepared for eternal life in the world to come. In what respect does this world resemble a school? In a school, different branches of education are taught; it is there that children are learned to speak properly, to think closely, to hear attentively, to read correctly, and to copy faithfully whatever is laid before them for imitation. In the world, different examples of evil and good are before our eyes, and those who cannot read books, can read lives, and though unable to copy a single letter in the alphabet ; yet you can and do follow the examples of others, and tread in the steps of playmates, school fellows and pa. rents. Youth is too apt to follow a bad example rather than a good one.
This world is a place of learning and its inhabitants are growing wi ser every day. In a school, children are under some restraint; it is so in the present world, what a great regard have many for the opinion of the world; many there are who would not be ashamed to sin openly, were it not for fear of what the world would say of them. In a school, children are divided into different classes ; the world, or the people in it, are divided by the Bible into two great classes, the righteous and the wicked, or the good and the bad ; in a school, there is sometimes much noise and bustle, especially in coming in going out and ; so it is with many persons, there is much noise and bustle when you enter this world, and when you go out; in a school, the scholars frequently remove and others fill their places; so it is in the present world, one generation passeth away and another cometh ; in a school there is a vacation or holi. day, children usually rest from their lessons and duties for a time; at death, when persons leave the present world, they rest from all their toils and all their labours, they die and go to their long home.
“ 'Tis God has placed us in this school,
Where ev'ry lesson of his grace,
Prepares us for a heavenly place.” II. Enquire for the Teacher. The art of numbering our days, is a holy art, and can be taught only by a divine teacher, it is heavenly wisdom to which we are to apply our hearts, and this can only be done by the assistance of a divine
teacher. It is the Lord alone that can give us time, it is to him that we must give an account of a talent so precious, and it is him alone that can teach by his Spirit how to improve it; happy my dear young friends, will it be for you to have such a Teacher as the Spirit of the Lord.
It is the Lord alone that can teach us the true value of our time, we are often reminded in the word of God, of the shortness of time; What is your
life? saith the apostle, it is even as a vapor which soon passeth away ; remember the time is short, redeem the time because the days are evil ; God who is liberal in all other blessings, teaches us by the wisdom of his providence how careful we ought to be in the improvement of our time, God never gives two moments together, he gives us only the second as he takes away the first, and keeps the third moment entirely in his own power, and we are left in an absolute uncertainty whether he will give it us or pot.
“ To-day improve is Wisdom's voice,
To-morrow folly cries,
To-day the sinner dies." III. The scholars are mentioned next in the words of the text; so teach us ; one is saying Lord teach me, and another is saying Lord teach me, and a third saying Lord teach me. But this is what you ought to say, Lord teach as all. The scholars are very numerous ; what