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deem those portions of Time that our life and health lend us, for this great and one thing necessary.
And now, if a man shall take a survey of the common course, even of the Christian world, we shall find the generality of mankind the veriest children, fools, and madmen, that ever nature yielded. The very folly of children in spending their time in rattles, and hobby-horses, is more excusable than theirs, whose reason and experience should better instruct them. There is not any man so senseless, but he knows he must die, and he knows not how soon he shall hear of that fad fummons; and if he were so brutish as not to think of it, or believe it, yet the weekly bills of mortality give him daily instances of it: and yet if we do but observe the world of men, they do for the most part wholly trifie away their time in doing that which is evil; or in doing nothing; or in doing nothing to any purpose, or becoming a reasonable nature. One man trifles away his time in feasting and jollity; another in gaming or vain and unnecessary recreations in hunting, hawking, bowling, and other wasteful expences of time, another in fine clothes, powderings, and painting and dressing; another in hunting after honours and preferments, or heaping up of wealth and riches, and lading himself with thick clay; another in trivial speculations, possibly touching some criticism or grammatical nicety; and all these men wonderfully pride themselves as the only wise men, look big and goodly, and when they come to die, all these prove either vexations and tortures of a mifpent time; or at least, by the very appearance of lickness and death, are rendered poor, empty, infipid, and insignificant things, and then the minister is fent for, and sacraments, and nothing but penitence and complaints of the vanity of the world, the unhappy. expences of Time, and all the wealth and honour would be presently facrificed for the redemption of those mispent hours, and days, and years that cannot be recalled, nor redeemcd by the price of a world.
But the great misery of mankind is this, they cannot, nor will not, in the times of health, anticipate the consideration of death and judgment to come; nor put on any apprehensions or thoughts, that the Time will come when things will be otherwise with them than now it is : or that they will be driven into another kind of estimate of things than now they have, and this their way is their folly. Man being in honour, in health, in life, understandeth not, but becomes like the beasts that perish 1.
4. I come to the reasons why we ought thus to redeem our Time, which may be these:
1. Our Time is a Talent put into our hands by the great Lord of the whole family of heaven and earth, and such whereof we are to give an account when our Master calls ; and it will be a lamentable account, when it shall consist only of such Items as these : Item, So much of it spent in plays, and taverns, and gaming. Item, So much of it spent in sleeping, eating, drinking. Item, So much spent in recreations and pastimes. Item, So much spent in getting wealth and honour, &c. and there remains so much which was spent in doing nothing.
- 2. Our Time is an universal talent, that every man that lives to the age of discretion, hath. Every man hath not a talent of learning, or of wealth, or honour, or subtilty of wit to account for ; but every man that lives to the age of discretion, hath Time to account for.
3. Every man hath not only a talent of Time, but every man hath a talent of opportunity, to improve his talent in some measure, put into his hand. The very works and light of nature, the very principles of natural religion, are lodged in the hearts of all men ; which by the help of his natural reason, he might exercise to some acts of service; duty and religion towards God. But the Christian hath much more.
4. The redemption and improvement of our Time is the next and immediate end why it is given, or lent Psal. xlix. 12.
us, and why we are placed in this life; and the wasting of our Time is a disappointment of this very end of our being; for thereby we consequently disappoint God of his glory, and ourselves of our happiness. • 5. Upon the management and disposal of our Time depends the everlasting concernment of our Souls. Ex hoc momento pender Æternitas 1. If it be redeemed, improved, and employed as it ought to be, we shall in the next moment after death, enter into an immutable, eternal, and perfect state of glory; if it be either sinfully or idly spent, we fall into an everlasting, irrecoverable, and unchangeable state of misery.
6. The business we have to do in this life, in order to the cleansing of our fouls, and fitting them for glory, is a great and important business, and the Time we have to live hath two most dangerous qualities in reference to that business. 1. It is bort : our longest period is not above eighty years, and few there be that arrive to that age. 2. It is very casual and uncertain; there be infinite accidents, diseases, and distempers that cut us off suddenly ; as acute diseases, such as fcarce give us any warning; and considering how many strings as it were, there are to hold us up, and how small and inconsiderable they are, and how easily broken, and the breach or disorder of any of the least of them may be an inlet to death, it is a kind of miracle that we live a month. Again, there be many difeases that render us in a manner dead while we live, as apoplexies, palfies, phrensies, stone, gout, which render our Time either grievous, or very unuseful to us.
7. Time once loft, is lost for ever ; it is never to be recovered; all the wealth of both the Indies will not redeem nor recal the last hour I spent; it ceaseth for ever.
8. As our Time is short, so there be many things that corrode and waste that port Time : so that there ·remains but little that is serviceable to our best employment. Let us take but out of our longest lives, On this circumstance depends the eternal salvation of souls. .
the weakness and folly of childhood and youth, the impotency and morosity of our old age, the Times for eating, drinking, sleeping, though with moderation; the Times of fickness and indisposedness of health ; the Times of cares, journeys, and travel ; the Times for neceffary recreations, interview of friends and relations, and a thousand such expences of Time, the residue will be but a small pittance for our business of greatest moment, the business I mean, of fitting our souls for glory; and, if that be mispent, or idly spent, we have lost our treasure, and the very flower and jewel of our Time. . 9. Let us but remember, that when we shall come to die, and our souls sit as it were hovering upon our lips, ready to take their flight, at how great a rate we would then be willing to purchase fome of those hours we once trifled away, but we cannot. · 10. Remember that this is the very elixir, the very hell of hell to the damned spirits, that they had once a Time, wherein they might, upon easy terms, have procured everlasting rest and glory; but they foolishly and vainly mispent that Time and season, which is now not be recovered.
THE Great Lord of the World hath placed the children of men in this earth as his Stewards; and according to the parable in Matth. xxv. he delivers to every person his talents, or stock of advantages or opportunities : to some he commits more, to some less, to all some. .
This stock is committed to every person under a trust, or charge, to employ the same in ways, and to énds, and in proportion suitable to the talents thus coinmitted to them, and to the measure and quality of them.
The ends of this deputing of the children of men to this kind of employment of their talents are divers : 1. That they may be kept in continual action and motion suitable to the condition of reasonable creatures, as almost every thing else in the world is continued in motion suitable to its own nature, which is the subject of the wise man's discourse : All things are full of
labour l' 2. That in thatregular motion they may attain ends of advantage to themselves; for all things are so ordered by the most wise God, that every being hath its own proportionable perfection and happiness, inseparably annexed to that way and work which his providence hath destined it unto. 3. That in that due and regular employment, each man might be in some measure serviceable and advantageous to another. 4. That although the great Lord of this family can * Eccl. i. 3.. ..."