From the Charleston Observer.
Mr. Editor- Not long since, my attention was arrested by reading the following lines on Eternity, in a discourse delivered nearly a half century ago. The writer's text was Matt. 25c 41v. 'Then shall he say unto them on the left hand, depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.'- After describing the curse under which the finally impenitent will hereafter be shut up, their misery, the punishment of loss, and a sense in hell, their society that of devils, he considers the Eternity of the whole. With the hope, Mr. Editor, (should you think them worthy of a place in your interesting paper,) that they will beat the eye, and arrest the attention, of some of your readers, and lead them to reflect, as it did the writer of these remarks on that eternal state before them, and especially if impenitent, on the eternity of misery to which they are exposed, they are copied for the Observer.
'If I could,' says the writer 'I would shew [sic] you what eternity is- I mean the creature's eternity. But who can measure the waters of the ocean, or who can tell you the days, years, and ages of eternity, which are infinitely more than the drops of the ocean! None can comprehend eternity, but the eternal God. Eternity is an ocean whereof we will never see the shore: it is a deep where we can find no bottom; a labyrinth from whence we cannot extricate ourselves, and where we shall ever lose the door. There are two things one may say of it. (1) It has a beginning. God's eternity has no beginning, but the creature's eternity has. Sometime there was no lake of fire; and those who have been there for some thousands of years, were once, in time, as we now are. But (2) it shall never have an end. The first who entered into the eternity of woe, is as far from the end of it, as the last who shall go thither, will be at his entry. They who have launched out furthest into that ocean are as far from it as ever. Wherefore, eternity, which is before us, is a duration that hath a beginning, but no end. After millions of years past in it, still it is a beginning. God's wrath in hell will ever be the wrath to come. But there is no middle in eternity-when millions of ages are past in eternity, what is to come; no not so much as one drop of water falling from the tip of one's finger bears to all the waters of the ocean. There is no end of it; while God is, it shall be. It is an entry without an outgate, a continual succession of ages, a glass always running which shall never run out.
'Observe the continual succession of hours, days, and months, and years, how one still follows upon another, and think of eternity, wherein there is a continual succession without end.- When you see a water running think how vain a thing it would be, to sit down by it, and wait till it should run out, that you may pass over-look how new water still succeeds to that which passeth by you, and therin you will have an image of eternity, which is a river that never dries up. They who wears [sic] rings, have an image of eternity on their fingers; and they who handle the wheel have an emblem of eternity before them; for to which part soever of the ring or wheel one looks, one will still see another beyond it.- When you look to a mountain, imagine in your hearts, how long would it be ere that mountain should be removed, by a little bird coming but once every thousand years and carrying away but one grain of dust thereof at once; the mountain would at length be removed that way, and brought to end, but eternity will never end. Suppose this with respect to all the mountains of the earth; nay with respect to the whole globe of the earth; the grains of dust whereof the whole earth is made up, are not infinite, and therefore the last grain would at long-run, come to be carried away, in the way supposed, but when the slowest work would be brought to an end, eternity would be in effect but beginning.
These are some rude draughts of eternity, and now add misery and woe, to this eternity, what tongue can express it? what heart can conceive it? In what balance can that misery and that woe be weighed?'
Careless reader, pause-and reflect whether you are going! Examine your hopes for eternity!