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HOW, AND WHY IT IS TO BE REDEEMED.
I would consider these particulars: 1. What that Time is which we are to redeem. 2. What it is to redeem that Time. 3. How that Time is to be redeemed. 4. Why that Time is thus to be redeemed.
: The first of these, What that Time is, that is to be redeemed. The philosophers trouble themselves much what Time is, and leave it very difficult; but we shall not need to trouble ourselves with that enquiry. The Time that is here meant, seems to be under this double relation : First, in relation to some apt season for any thing to be done ; and then it is properly called opportunity, which is nothing else but the coincidence of some circumstances accommodated to some action suitable to it: as the Time for the husbandman to reap his corn, is when the corn is ripe, and the weather seasonable ; it is Time for the smith to forge iron when it is hot, and therefore malleable. And fo in matters moral; it is a Time to show mercy when an object of misery occurs, and a power to give relief. This, as I take it, is that which the Greeks call raiços, or opportunity. Secondly, in relation to that continuance of the duration of the reasonable creature in life, in this world, or the Time of our life.
II. To redeem Time, therefore, is in relation to both these ; viz. 1. In relation to seasons and opportunities; the redemption of Time in this respect is, 1. Diligently to watch and observe all fitting seafons and opportunities of doing all the good we may, whe
ther ther in relation to Almighty God, his service and glory; in relation to others, in all acts of charity and justice; in relation to ourselves, in improvements of know.. ledge, piety, and virtue. 2 Industriously to lay hold of all these opportunities, and not to let them slip, but to apply suitable actions to suitable opportunities when they occur. 2. In relation to the Times of our lives; and so we are said to redeem our Time. 1. When we constantly employ our Time, and leave as few vacuities and inte"ftitia 1 in it without employing it. The oppofite to this is idleness, or doing nothing. 2. When we employ our Time constantly in doing something that is answerable to the value and usefulness of our Time. The opposites to this are, first, the sinful employment of our Time, which is indeed worse than idleness : Or, secondly, the vain, and impertinent, and unprofitable employment of our Time, as Domitian did in the killing of fies. 3. When we employ our Time, not only in things profitable, but in such things as are of greatest use and importance; and therefore such employments as are of greatest importance and concernment ought to take up the greatest and most confiderable part of our Time ; otherwise we are imprun dent and irrational in the improvement or redemption of our Time. And therefore this redeeming of our Time is ordinarily called husoanding of our Time, in resemblance of the husbandman's proceeding with his ground. If the husbandman doth not at all till and sow his ground, but is idle; or if he takes much pains in tilling of his ground, and fows nothing but cockle and darnel, or such hurtful seeds; or if he fows not that which is hurtful, but sows light or unprofitable corn; or fows that ground with a more ignoble and unuseful grain, which would with more reason and ad. vantage be employed to a more noble grain, that would yield more profit'; or if he fows a suitable grain, but observes not his season proper for it, that man is an ill husband of his ground: And he that with the like
negligence or imprudence husbands his Time, is an ill husband of his Time, and doth not redeein it as he is here directed. But of this more in the next.
III. How Time is to be redeemed. The partie cular methods of huibanding of Time under both the former relations, viz. in relation to opportunity, and in relation to our Time of life, fhall be promiscuously fet down. Now the actions of our lives may be distinguished into several kinds, and in relation to those several actions, will the employments of our Times be diversified. 1. There are ac. tions natural; such as are eating, drinking, fleep, mo. tion, rest. 2. Actions civil; as provision for families, bearing of public offices in times of peace or war; moderate recreations and divertisements ; employments in civil vocations, as agriculture, mechanical trades, liberal profeflions. 3. Actions inoral; whether relating to ourselves, as fobriety, temperance, moderation, (which though they are rather habits than actions, and the actions of them rather consist in negatives than positives, yet I stile them actions) or relating to others, as acts of justice, charity, compassion, liberality. 4. Or lastly, actions religious, relating to Almighty God; as invocation, thanksgiving, inquiring into his works, will, obedience to his law and commands, observing the folemn seasons of his worship and service, and which must go through and give a tincture to all the rest ; a habit of fear of him, love to him, humility and integrity of heart and soul before him; and in fome, a habit of religion towards God in his Son Jesus Christ, which is the maynum oportet, the one thing necessary, and over-weighs all the relt upon this account: 1. In respect of the excellency and sovereignty of the object, Almighty God, to whom we owe our being, and the strength and flower of our souls. 2. In respect of the nobleness of the end thereby, and therein to be attained ; for whereas all the reli serve only to the meridian of this life, the latter hath a prospect to an eternal life. 3. In respect of the VOL, I.
if they nam nip incidence
nobleness of the habit itself, which hath an universal in. fluence over all the rest of the before-mentioned relations, and advanceth and improveth, and ennobleth them. It would be too long to prosecute the methods of redeeming the Time in the particular relation to all these actions in this sheet of paper, therefore in this pursuit of the manner of redeeming the Time, I shall fet down only these generals.
1. We are to negle&t no opportunity that occurs to do good; but 1. To watch all opportunities that offer themselves in order thereunto. 2. To seek for them, if they offer not themselves. 3. To use them, and not to let them slip.
2. In the coincidence of opportunities of several kinds, and suiting to several actions, to give those the prelation 1 that correspond to the most worthy actions ; and in the coincidence of opportunities for actions of equal moment, to prefer such as are most rare, and probably of unlikelihood to occur again, before those that are under a probability of frequent occurrence.
3. We are to be very careful to leave 110 baulks or in, terspersions of idleness in our lives. Those men that have most employment, and of the most constant nature, cannot choose but have certain interstitia between the varieties of business, which may be fitted with employments suitable to their length or qualities; and it becomes a good husband of his Time, to have some designations and destinations of businesses that may be suitableto thenature, quality, seasons, and morce3 of those vacant interstitia. An industrious husbandman, tradefman, scholar, will never want business fitted for occafional vacancies and hore subsecivæ4. Gellius' Noetes Atticæ have left us an experiment of it. And a Chriftian, even as such, hath ready employment for occasional interstices, reading, praying ; the crumbs and fragments of Time would be furnished with their suitable employments; 'tis precious, and therefore let none of it be lost. preference. • ? scatterings. S occasions. “ leisure hours.
4. Much Time might be saved and redeemed: in re trenching the unnecessary expences thereof in our ordinary sleep, attiring and dressing ourselves, and the length of our meals, as breakfasts, dinners, suppers; which especially in this latter age, and among people of the better sort, are protracted to an immoderate and excessive length. There is little less than ten or twelve hours every day spent in these refections, and their appendencies, which might be fairly reduced to much less..
5. Take heed of entertaining vain thoughts, which are a very great consumption of Time, and are very in. cident to 2 melancholy and fanciful persons, whom I have known to sit the greatest part of several days in projecting what they would do if they had such estates, honours or places, and such kind of unprofitable and vain meditations; which humour is much improved in them that lie long in bed in a morning.
6. Beware of too much recreation. Some bodily exercise is necessary, for sedentary men especially,; but let it not be too frequent, nor too long. Gaming, taverns, and plays, as they are pernicious, and corrupt youth; so if they had no other fault, yet they are justly to be declined in respect of their excessive expence of time, and habituating men to idleness and vain thoughts, and disturbing passions and symptoms when they are past, as well as while they are used. Let no recreations of any long continuance be used in the morning, for they hazard the loss or discomposure of the whole day after.
7. Visits made or received, are for the most part an intolerable consumption of time, unless prudently ordered, and they are for the most part spent in vain and impertinent discourses.. 1. Let them not be used in the morning. 2. If the visits be made to, or by per fons of impertinence, let them be short, and at such times as may be best fpared from what is more useful or necessary, yiz. at meals, or presently after. 3. But if the persons to be visited, are men of wisdom, learning
* too much indulged by