"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom." Eccles. 9:10

We have here a solemn warning, peculiarly impressive to some, yet applicable to all. To the AGED CHRISTIAN, these words seem to say, "You are nearing the grave, and you have still much to do. Seek to realize the position in which you stand. You are 'a worker, together with God,' in the world--placed here to advance His glory--to promote the interests of His kingdom--to improve every talent entrusted to your care. The time, in which you can labor and show diligence, is rapidly passing away. Opportunities of doing good are not to be recalled at will. If not seized upon at the moment, they are gone forever. The sunshine is declining--the shadows are falling longer and deeper around you--the evening of life is closing in--the last, the eleventh hour will soon be here; therefore take heed, and 'whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.'"

To the YOUNG, a similar warning is given, "Look abroad on the world--see, there, the field for labor, the field you are called upon to assist in tilling. Are there no hungry to be fed? no naked to be clothed? no ignorant to be instructed? Have you time for pleasure and gaiety--time for worldly interaction and the festive scene--but none for works of charity and labors of love? How is it with your own spiritual condition? Are you growing in grace? increasing in the love of prayer? more earnest in studying God's Word? in seeking the illumination of the Holy Spirit? Remember who it was that suggested the momentous question, 'What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?'"

He, who is indifferent about his own state before God, will scarcely be interested in regard to the condition of his fellow-men. To struggle in behalf of others, we must first struggle for ourselves--real religion knows nothing of that spurious charity which would attend to all to the neglect of self, and seek to promote the salvation of the souls of others, while the man allows his own to perish. Every man's own soul is, to him, a treasury of heavenly treasures--the salvation of that soul ought to be to him "the one thing needful." See yon swimmer struggling amid the foaming billows--he gazes round him with an anxious eye--he grasps the floating spar--his shipmates are wrestling with the angry waves--but what to him is the danger of others compared with his own?--he sees the distant shore--oh! that he might plant his foot on the stable rock--he presses on--leaves behind him the struggling crowds; his first and chief anxiety is to reach the shore--to save his own life.

Or, see that crowded hall where thousands have assembled to hear the message of the gospel--a cry is raised that the building has given way--the immense assemblage is moved--onwards the excited thousands rush--friends, acquaintances, all are left behind--escape is the only, the all-pervading thought; and, as they hurry along, every eye is fixed on the doorway, and every heart beats with the desire for self-preservation. Even so, with regard to the salvation of the soul. "Escape for your life," is the warning given; the time is short and uncertain--if you do not secure it before you go to the grave, afterward it will be impossible.

And, if there is much to be done for ourselves, there is much, too, for others. How numerous the claims from the domestic circle! Parents! those children who surround you, look up to you for instruction; and this you are to enforce, by the uniform illustration of a holy and devoted life, and by the fervor of persevering and importunate prayer. Have you a family altar? Is the Sabbath hallowed in your dwelling? Have you endeavored to obey the Savior's injunction, "allow them to come unto me, and forbid them not?"

Reader! whoever you are, there is a work assigned you. Something may be done for God--some department of Christian benevolence there is, in which you are called to put forth the activities of your nature. It does not require very splendid talent to be useful. The great thing needed, is a sincere and earnest desire to do good. God requires of you, not according to what you have not, but according to what you have. Oh, how many are there, living on from day to day in selfish indolence, instead of laboring "to do what they can," in the circle in which they move, for the good of men, and for the glory of God! How many are spending their lives without one effort to make "a bad world better!" They are satisfied if they led, as they imagine, harmless lives--forgetting, that sins of omission as well as sins of commission--duties neglected as well as duties performed, are noted down in the book of God's remembrance.

Christian reader! are you doing "what your hand finds to do" in the work of the Lord? Thank God! there is no one without opportunity--no one without encouragement. The man, to whom God has entrusted the talent of wealth, may help in sending the gospel--the good news of a Savior's love--to those who have never yet heard of the name of Jesus. He may send the devoted missionary to bear the tidings of salvation to far-distant lands, and what is his encouragement? "My word shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and prosper in the thing whereunto I sent it." This is his encouragement--better far and more enduring than the monumental grave-stone--that every soul converted, is reclaimed to God--every soul brought to the saving knowledge of Christ, becomes an heir of eternal life--every soul rescued from the dominion of Satan, from the tyranny of sin, is a glorious monument of Divine power and Divine grace, that will stand imperishably through eternity to honor God.

The Christian whose power is more limited, may still contribute to this glorious work according as the Lord has blessed him, yes even although he treads the path of poverty, and can spare but little of his worldly substance--he may give kind and sympathizing words--he may cheer and encourage others in well-doing--he may be a friend to the friendless and a strengthener of those who are ready to faint--he may address the words of warning to those who are careless and indifferent about their religious interests--and, above all, he may exercise a powerful and persuasive influence, by a daily, consistent Christian walk--by showing to all around him, "brotherly kindness and charity," and by manifesting in every word and action, "meekness, forbearance, patience, humility, long-suffering."

To give diligence in all this, he must be a man of watchfulness and prayer--he must feel and realize that the cause of Christ has been, as it were, committed to his care, and that he must lose no opportunity, while life is prolonged, to uphold and to extend it. Just in proportion as he apprehends what Christ has done for his own soul, will he be constrained "henceforth to live, not unto himself, but unto Him who died for him, and rose again," and feel that he is bound to lay out his time and talents for the promotion of his Master's glory, and the good of his fellow-men. And knowing that life is short--and the time for showing fidelity in the vineyard of his Lord rapidly passing away, he will put forth all his energies--and strive with ever-increasing diligence, to do the work of Him who has sent him.

Reader! remember the animating promise, "Be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life." The rewards of eternity--while all purchased by the blood of Christ--will be conferred according to the amount of diligence and fidelity shown upon earth. And while it is, indeed, a glorious thing, to have an entrance into that bright world of bliss, which "eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man;" yet, oh, surely the true child of God should desire, not only to enter, but to enter joyfully--to enter "abundantly"--to secure the most radiant prize--the choicest crown of glory--to have a place near the celestial throne, a lofty station in the Savior's kingdom.

To be privileged to enter the gates of the heavenly Jerusalem, is an honor far too great for sinful man; and, he who is permitted to mingle with the glorious company who stand upon the sea of glass, will find eternity too short to utter all his Savior's praise. But, as an eminent servant of God has said, "it is indolence, and not humility, which would make contentment with the lowest, a reason for not aspiring to the highest. To tell you, therefore, that "in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom"--it is telling the wrestler, that the glass is running out, and the game is not won--it is telling the warrior, that the shadows are thickening, and the victory is not complete--it is telling the racer, that night is drawing on, and the goal is not reached. It is just blowing an alarm-peal--just the upbraiding of lethargy--just the animating to effort. Is it a time to be idle, when each moment's delay may take a pearl from the crown--sway from the scepter? Is it a time to be inactive, when every second leaves me a step lower than I might have ascended in the scale of triumph and of majesty? Is it a time to sit with folded hands, when the grave is opening, and there is work to be done which can only be done here, and the day is approaching, on which rewards shall be bestowed, and perhaps, as yet, I am but last in the rank of candidates?"

Rather, ought we not to rouse ourselves to redoubled diligence--to manly, vigorous effort--to toil, endurance, suffering, and shame, if need be, for the cause of Christ? saying, "Whatever our hand finds to do," God helping us, "we will do it with our might," for "the night is far spent, and the day is at hand."

Reader! labor to do God's work, and be this your daily prayer–

"Now may grace be imparted to each one of us--so to believe and to rejoice in Christ Jesus--so to follow His footsteps, and to imitate His example--that, finally, we may all meet together, as His ransomed people, in the heavenly kingdom!"

"Oh! grant that I may love You first,
The source of all my heart desires;
While forth upon my brethren burst
The kindly beams Your love inspires.

"Give me strong faith, to know, to feel,
And to believe You ever near;
Watching my wayward spirit's weal,
Receiving each repentant tear.

"So, safely through this world's turmoil,
Unhurt, untainted, may I roam,
Until o'erpast each mortal toil,
I find in heaven a welcome home."


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