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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 an, other 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 ".

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 fpent 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 fpent in doing nothing.

2. Our Time is an universal talent, 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. 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 i Psal. xlix. 12.

us,

every man that

The very

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 concernixent of our ioills. Er bc momento pendet Äternitas 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 fin. fully 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 souls, and fitting them for glory, is a great and important bufin /s, and the Time we have to live hath two mst dangerous qualities in reference to that business. 1. It is short : 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, diseaies, and distempers that cut us off suddenly ; as acute diseases, such as scarce 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 dileases 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 lost, is lost for ever; it is never to be recovered; all the wealth of both the Indies will not redeem nor recall the last hour I spent; it ceaseth for ever.

8. As our Time is short, so there be many t.bings that corrode and waste that short 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

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 'I imes of sickness and indisposedness of health ; the Times of cares, journeys, and travel ; the Times for necessary 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 mifpent, 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 fit as it were hovering upon our lips, ready to take their flight, at how great a rate we would then be willing to purchase some 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

THE GREAT AUDIT:

WITH THE ACCOUNT OF

THE GOOD STEWARD.

The Great Lord of the World hath placed the chil. dren of men in this earth as his Stewards; and according to the parable in Matth. 25, he delivers to every person his talents, or stock of advantages or opportunities: to some he commits more, to some less, to all fome.

This stock is committed to every person under a trust, or charge, to employ the fame in ways, and to ends, and in proportion suitable to the talents thus committed 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 fuitable to the condition of reafonable 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!' 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, infeparably 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. 8.

receive

receive no advantage by the service of his creatures, because he is perfect and all-sufficient in himself; yet he receives glory and praise by it, and a complacency in beholding a conformity in the creature, to his own most perfect will.

To the due execution of this trust committed to the children of men, and for their encouragement in it, he hath annexed a rewar' by his promise, and the free appointment of his own good pleasure; this reward therefore is not meritoriously due to the employment of the talent ; for as the talent is the Lord's, so is the strength and ability whereby it is employed; but by his own good pleasure and free promise, the reward is knit to the work. In this case therefore the reward is not demandable, so much upon the account of the divine justice, as upon the account of the divine truth and fidelity. On the other side, to the male-administration of this trust, there is annexed a retribution of punishment; and this most naturally and meritoriously, for the law of common justice and reason doth most justly subject the creature, that depends in his being upon his Creator, to the law and will of that Creator, and therefore having received a talent from his Lord, and, together with his being, an ability to employ it according to the will of his Lord, a non-employment, or mis-employment thereof doth most juftly oblige him to guilt and punishment, as the natural and just consequent of his demerit.

Of the Perfons that do receive thefe talents, fome do employ them well, though in various degrees; fome to more advantage, some to less; and although the best husbands come short of what they should do, and at best are in this respect unprofitable servants; yet if there be a faithful, conscientious and sincere endeavour to employ that talent to their master's honour, they are accounted good stewards, and the merits of Christ supply by faith that wherein they come short.

On the other fide, some persons are unfaithful Stewards of their talents, and these are of three kinds : 1. Such as wholly misemploy their talents, turning them

to

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