And praying each that as the years roll on,
Laden with pleasures soon forever gone,
Each year shall bring but added virtues forth,
And leave behind the impress of their worth;
Till every heart to innocence be tuned,
Nor sinful pleasures ever dare intrude,
To mar the image God has made and blest,
With means of pleasure, happiness and rest;
That all may find, in holy joys and pure,
Relief from care, for every sorrow cure;
And live to be in holy pleasures blest,
Till earthly toil is changed for heavenly rest.
It is profitable for us to meditate on such a character as Christ’s, if by dwelling upon it we become even in one respect like him. The more we know of him, the more we shall love him; for his character is love. We should imitate the example of Mary, who was first at the door of the sepulchre where Jesus was laid. She had great love for him, and her faith in him was as strong as her love. She was not a stranger to the miracles which he performed while here on earth. She had seen him, and she knew that in him perfection dwelt. So we should try to be first in doing any act of kindness or benevolence, not in a spirit of unholy emulation, but from a love of doing good. By cultivating this spirit we shall be happy in life, and prepared for death. We shall be far happier than those who seek worldly honors; and more than all, we shall leave a name behind us more precious than fame or wealth can bestow. When I was young as are many of you to whom I am now speaking, I had not the privilege of worshipping God as we now do. I was taught that a greater part of the human family will be destroyed, and will have no part in the heavenly kingdom. But thanks be to God that he has now opened the eyes of many to see him a Father to the fatherless, and a sure help in time of need. When such thoughts take possession of the heart, we view him in his true character.
In order to serve him as we ought, we should commence in youth. Christ said, “they that seek me early shall find me.” The whole life is short, if happily spent in his service. We have every encouragement to trust wholly in his kind care and keeping, for his watchful eye is ever over us. If you seek Christ in youth, nothing will be lost, but much will be gained. When I look back upon the early days of my life, I regard them as lost to the true service of Christ. It was impressed upon my young mind, that God was filled with anger and wrath; and still I was told that I must love him with my whole heart. I am sorry to say it, but I fear I had no true love for him at that time. If the path in which I have walked has been desolate and dreary, I do not desire that others should walk in it. If God is seen in his true loveliness, the young, as well as the old, will love his holy name.