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minded, the difference between those who are seeking God, and those who are living after the fashion of the world.

Now, let us consider whether we do truly, and in the scriptural sense of the term, believe our Lord's words in the text: “ Heaven and earth shall pass away : but my words shall not pass away.” Here are two points declared to us, what will pass away, and what will not pass away, and the Christian's faith regards both of these together : it is of no less importance to believe in the perishableness of the one, than in the eternity of the other. We must remember this, even while we are considering the two things separately.

First, then, our Lord declares to us, “Heaven and earth shall pass away." By “heaven and earth” are meant this state of things of which we have experience, this earth as it is an habitation of human beings; the sun as it is a light to us, the moon and the stars as in any way connected with man.

We know that we ourselves shall all die; nay, we know also by past experience that nations many times die; and so far as it is a death to perish utterly from the knowledge of future ages, so there are many generations of the whole human race, which in this sense are to us dead.

But our Lord's words go further than this ; they tell us that there will be an absolute end of all worldly things whatever, not merely great changes, partial destructions, and partial restorations, that some countries should be swallowed up by the sea, or covered with sand, that some languages shall cease to be spoken; but that all languages shall cease, all countries be desolate, all the human race come to an end. This certainly, and more it may be which we cannot yet comprehend, is contained in our Lord's words, that “ heaven and earth shall pass away.”

But yet I quite allow that this portion of the text without the other might, and I think would, have very little practical effect.

For granting that heaven and earth shall pass away, and that our highest earthly labours are bestowed therefore on that which is perishable, yet still if this perishable is all that we know of, it becomes after all of very great and paramount importance to us; it may be but a poor thing to love, but love we must by the very necessity of our nature; and we must love this, if we know of nothing better. And therefore simple declarations of the perishableness of earthly things are really of no effect whatever. No man heeds them, or can heed them ; for our nature repels them. The poor man's pittance is no less dear to him than the king's treasure is to the king, and reasonably, because it is his all. And so if this earth be our all, the knowledge that it were 'to perish to-morrow would not, and I think ought not, to make us love it less fondly to-day. It is however altogether 'different when we take in the second part of the text, and are told that Christ's words shall not pass away. For if there be any thing in the world eternal, then that which is perishable, even though it may last for many years, or many ages, must become infinitely insignificant in comparison. If all that we do or can love must perish together, our love for it may nevertheless be very intense; but if some of the things which we love will remain for ever, and some only perish, then 'the difference in the value of the two does become enormous. And so of our works : if some of them must pass away utterly, and some abide for ever, the glory and value of the first becomes as nothing, by reason of the greater glory of the second.

Now then, the two parts of the text so taken together, we do not commonly in the scriptural sense of the term believe. It does not signify whether we disbelieve both parts or one, or if one only, which of the two parts it be. But it does appear impossible that we could believe both, and yet could live as we do'very often live, and love as we very often love.

For consider, if our Lord's saying be true, how very little difference there is between the oldest of us and the youngest.

I am not at all considering the uncertainty of life; but take a person of twelve years old, and suppose that he will live till he is ninety, and take a person of ninety and suppose that he is to die next month. I ask what, if our Lord's saying be true, is the difference between them? Very great, if one half of it only be true; believe only that heaven and earth will pass away, and then the difference between twelve years of age and ninety is indeed enormous; one has spent his all, the other has nearly his all to spend. But how is it, if the other half of our Lord's words be true also, if there be something which shall not pass away? Then it is manifest that the difference between the boy and the old man is absolutely nothing; its importance is just the importance of seventy-eight years compared with eternity. The boy can work, must work for this eternity, as much as the old man must work for it, I say, because all that he does affects his eternal condition for the better or for the worse. Neither is it true that the young mind is absolutely the slave of present things, and can in no degree live by faith. Offer a very young boy a week or a month of pleasure, and tell him at the same time that when the month is over he must go through a year of extreme hardships and suffering, is it quite certain that the present would so overbear the future, as that he would certainly embrace the offer? I do not think that he would, if he believed as firmly in the after suffering as in the present enjoyment. Neither do

. I think that we, whether old or young, should prefer the things which will pass away to the things which will not pass away; or that we should incur an eternity of suffering for the sake of seventy years of pleasure, supposing that they could be secured to us, if we believed as surely in the eternal things as in the temporal. I cannot but conclude then, that although we all confess with our lips the doctrine of the resurrection, and the judgment, and of eternal life and death, yet that we do not all really believe it.

Nay, I may even go farther and say, that practically we do not even believe, many of us, our Lord's first words, that heaven and earth shall

pass away. Is it not even true that some of us scarcely seem to believe that we ourselves shall pass away? Is it not true that the sight of death, when it comes near to us, startles us as something utterly strange? It wakens us as from our dream that we should go on living as we had gone on; it brings us a book to read, the character of which we had till then never studied. And this same thing happens to the old sometimes, to all at least but the very old. The grown man too seems to have been dreaming that he should not pass away. Death is to him also no less wonderful than it is frightful. The perishableness of earthly things had not really impressed him, because he had not believed in the eternity of heavenly things. Indeed it is much the most effectual as well as the

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