Teach us to number our days…

(John Fawcett, “The Important Journey from this World to the Next” 1774)

This is a journey which may be near at hand. “I am this day going the way of all the earth.” For anything we know, the journey may be just before us–there may be but a step between us and death!

We have perpetual admonitions respecting the shortness and uncertainty of life. The Word and the ministers of God unitedly call our attention to those subjects, and we ought earnestly to pray that the Lord would teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. “Show me, O LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.” Psalm 39:4

Our days are but a span, a hand-breadth, an inch or two of time.

Life is but a vapor that appears for a little season, and then vanishes away.

Life is but like a flower of the field, which quickly fades, withers and dies away….

While the man is vainly dreaming of years of felicity on earth, God says unto him, “You foolish mortal, this night shall your soul be required of you!” Thus the words of inspiration are verified: “In an hour when you think not, the Son of man will come.” The living know that they must die. All men are sensible that they must go on this journey sooner or later, but the general part of mankind consider it as at a considerable distance.

What numbers do we hear of who are cut off by sudden death! Many are called to set out on this journey at a moment’s warning. … The call is often given at an unexpected moment….

If we are the children of God–then it is a journey to Heaven, to the regions of immortal light and felicity; to “a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

But if we are the children of the wicked one–then it is a journey to Hell, to the abodes of darkness, horror, and black despair, “prepared for the devil, and his angels.” The broad way of self-indulgence, folly and wickedness–most certainly leads to eternal damnation. Can we conceive anything more dreadful than the doom of a dying sinner? To be driven from the presence of Christ as accursed, and to be consigned to everlasting misery–who can for one moment bear the thought! If a man knows himself to be in danger of this, in danger every hour, every moment–should he not eagerly and earnestly cry out, “What must I do to be saved!”

Oh what a solemn journey is that which we have before us! A journey to eternity, a journey which will bring us where we must be, not for an age only, but for millions of ages!

May our hearts be dead to all earthly good. May our affections be set on things above, and our thoughts be in Heaven–that better country to which we are going, and where we will dwell forever.

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