Time and Eternity
by Inglis Fleming
Time is hurrying us on towards eternity.
We know not the year, the month, the day, the hour, the minute we shall reach the close of our present life, and yet—oh, the folly of it!—many drift on as though all would close when they “shuffle off this mortal coil.”
Where shall I spend eternity? What a question is this! Men consider well where they will spend their lives—whether they will remain in the land of their birth or emigrate; whether they will stay in the city, town, or village where their parents have brought them up, or go into other centres of industry. But where we spend our lives here is a small matter to where we shall spend eternity. And yet “spend” is an incorrect word to use as to eternity, for eternity can never be “spent.” It never wears away. It is a constant now. A thousand, a million years, a million of millions of years, and eternity will be as young as ever. Where will you be in eternity?
What is eternity? “The lifetime of God,” said a child in reply to the question.
Oh, my reader, awake from your sleep! Face the question, Where will you be in eternity, during “the lifetime of God”?
Let not the fear of man—his laugh, his taunt, his gibe, his jest—lead you to put off decision. But now flee from the wrath to come.
If you were in danger of being suffocated in a burning building, would you hesitate to flee because some drunken man in his folly laughed at your fear? Men in their sins are, as it were, drunk with pleasure or business. They will not consider their latter end, and think mad those who turn to God and receive His salvation. The madness is theirs. Be not like them. Let nothing lead you to hesitate another hour.
Remember the words of our Lord, “What Shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” What will the greatest honours of this world—its greatest riches and glories—appear like in the light of eternity? Like mere bubbles on the torrent of Time, which glistened a moment in the sunshine and vanished for ever, so will the choicest of this world’s favours seem when gazed at from the shores of eternity.
And will you barter away your soul for these trifles—these unreal things?—for they do not last. They are but temporal things. The unseen things are the eternal ones.
“There is another world,” said a dying man with his last breath. He was a famous scholar, and had written much. But all his learning had been the learning of this world. It was merely man’s wisdom, which comes to naught. Alas! it was only as he was crossing the threshold into eternity that the truth of another world—the real world—burst upon his view. Have you thought of it? Have you prepared for it? A death-bed, if such be your portion, is no place to consider such matters. Put not off till tomorrow the settlement of the question, “Where shall I spend eternity?”
Scattered Seed 1903, p. 99