“HOW LONG IS ETERNITY?”
“How long is Eternity?” asked a little boy of six years of age. The father sat silent. “Father” said the child again, “How long is Eternity? Won’t you tell me?” Still there was no reply. The fact was, that, until that hour, the father had never thought about eternity. He had lived as though there would be no hereafter. The present world was all he had ever thought about; but now the question of his own child had awakened other thoughts and feelings. The child may have thought no more of his question; not so the father. Wherever he went, and whatever he was doing, the thought was ever present to his mind, “How long is Eternity?”
At length he went to a neighbour, and asked him what he thought about it? “Eternity?” said he, “we can have no idea of the length of Eternity. I once heard a minister say, that if a drop were taken from the ocean once in a thousand years, there would come a time, after millions and millions of ages, that the ocean would be emptied even by that single drop once in a thousand years. Again it has been said, that if a little bird were to take a single grain of a huge mountain, once in a thousand years, there would come a time when that mountain would be completely removed, or levelled; and yet, after the millions and millions of years thus occupied. Eternity, would only just then be beginning.”
“How long is Eternity?” still rung in the man’s ears; and the more he thought of it, the more alarmed he became; for with the thoughts about the length of Eternity, came thoughts about the number and weight of his sins. Sleep forsook him: a horrible dread came over him. He found no rest. In this state he went to see an old minister, to whom he told his distress. The old man listened to his story, and then he pointed him to the sinner’s Friend! He spoke of Jesus and His great Salvation; of His blood that blots out all sins, and of His robe that covers the nakedness of the sinner. He saw and believed; and the question “How long is Eternity?” no longer gave him pain; for he knew that he would pass that Eternity in the presence of God and the Lamb!
Gospel Magazine 1857