A traveller, some years ago, tells that in the room of a hotel where he lodged there was hung a large printed sheet, with these solemn words:—
“Know these things, O Man,—
A GOD, a Moment, an Eternity.”
Surely it would be our wisdom to think on words like these,—so brief, yet so full of meaning.
Richard Baxter mentions the case of a minister of his day, the whole tone of whose life-preaching was affected by the words which he heard when visiting a dying woman, who “often and vehemently” (he says) “did cry out” on her deathbed, “Oh, call time back again, call time back again!” But the calling of time back again is as hopeless as the shortening of eternity. “This inch of hasty time,” as that noble preacher calls it, cannot be lengthened out; and if not improved or redeemed, is lost for ever. While God lives, the soul must live; for “in Him we live, and move, and have our being.”
Our internal future is no dream nor fable. It will be as real as our past has been,—nay, more so. Unbelief may try to persuade us that it is a shadow or a fancy. But it is not. It is infinitely and unutterably real; and the ages before us, as they come and go, will bring with them realities in comparison with which all past realities will be as nothing. All things pertaining to us are becoming every day more real; and this increase of reality shall go on through the ages to come.
Whither? whither? This is no idle question; and it is one to which every son of man ought to seek an immediate answer. Man was made that he might look into the long future; and this question is one which he ought to know how to put, and how to answer. If he does not there must be something sadly wrong about him. For God has not denied him the means of replying to it aright.
Horatius Bonar, How Shall I Go to God? And Other Readings (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1881), 58–60.