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Parish Papers eBook

Norman Macleod
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 266 pages of information about Parish Papers.

All of us, I daresay, know from experience what is meant by thoughtlessness or indifference about our state for ever.  There are, no doubt, some who, from having had a godly upbringing in their youth, or at least religious instruction, have always thought more or less about what would become of their souls.  Perhaps these thoughts made them uneasy, afraid, or anxious; but still they were often in their mind, especially in times of sickness, or when death came near their doors, or any event occurred which obliged them to think of eternity, and of what might happen to themselves if they were to die suddenly, and appear before God.  But there are others, again, who seem never at any time to have had a serious thought about their life after death.  They have, perhaps, not had the same advantage with those I have been speaking of, but from infancy have lived among worldly-minded people, who gave the impression, by their conversation and general conduct, on week-days and Sundays, that this world was everything, and the next world nothing; that this world alone was real; and that man’s chief end was to labour in it, and for it alone, to make money in it, be happy in it, get everything for self out of it, and, as a matter of hard necessity, at last die in it, and go from it—­Whither?  Ah! who could tell that?—­who ever thought of that? To them it seemed that death ended all that was reality, and began all that was visionary.  But whether early education is to blame, certain it is that many people do come to this state.  They seem stoneblind to the future.  Not one ray of light gets an entrance into their spirits from the great and eternal world, on whose confines they every moment live.  They think, fear, hope, rejoice, plan, and purpose; but always about this world,—­never about the other!  To rise in the morning; to be occupied during the day; to buy and sell, and get gain; to talk on politics or trade; to gossip about people, and all they speak or do; to marry or give in marriage; to have this meeting or that parting; to give a feast or partake of one; to fear sickness, and to keep it off; or to be sick, and to try and get better:—­all this sort of life, down to its veriest trifles, they understand and sympathise with, and busy themselves about.  But what of God and Christ?—­of eternal joy or sorrow?—­of how a man should live to God, please Him, enjoy Him, love Him, and walk daily in fellowship with Him?  What of such questions as,—­What shall become of us in eternity?  What shall we do to be saved?  How shall we obtain life eternal?  How shall we fulfil the end of our being?  All this—­oh, strange mystery!—­has no interest to them.  These thoughts, or any like these, never cross their mind, perhaps, from morning till night, or from the first till the last day of the year.  They may, perhaps, have heard these words, read them in books, or heard ministers speak them from the pulpit on Sunday, and they know that the words have to do with what they call “religion,”

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