Are You Thinking Eternal Thoughts?

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Insensibility to eternal things in beings who are standing on the brink of eternity is a madness which would be considered a wonder if it were not so common. Suppose we had the prospect of inheriting a great estate and a splendid mansion which we knew would be ours in a few days, and in the meantime we rented a paltry cottage in bad repair, ready to fall, and from which we knew we must at all events soon be turned out. Would it be wisdom or common sense to overlook totally our near and noble inheritance and to be so fondly attached to our falling tenement that we spent a great part of our time and thoughts in supporting its ruins by props, and concealing its decay by decorations? To be so absorbed in the little sordid pleasures of this frail abode so as not even to cultivate a taste for the delights of the mansion where such treasures are laid up for us—this is an excess of folly which must be seen to be believed.When we are indifferent to eternal things, we add to our peril. If shutting our eyes to a danger would prevent it, to shut them would not only be a happiness but a duty. But to trade eternal safety for momentary ease is a wretched bargain. The reason why we do not value eternal things is because we do not think of them. The mind is so full of what is present that it has no room to admit a thought of what is to come. We are guilty of not giving the same attention to an eternal soul which prudent souls give to a common business transaction. We complain that life is short, and yet throw away the best part of it, only giving over to religion that portion which is good for nothing else. Life would be long enough if we assigned its best period to the best purpose.


PRACTICAL PIETY by Hannah More, 1811, The Influence of the Religion of the Heart, on the Conduct of the Life, Chapter 17, “Insensibility to Eternal Things”

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