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ter state ? Blessed Lord, how much have I spent already of this mortal life, this season of my probation, and how little am I prepared for that happier world? How unready for my dying moment? I am hastening hourly to the end of the life of man which began ạt my nativity; am I yet born of God ? Have I begun the life of a saint ? Am I prepared for that awful day which shall determine the number of my months on earth? Am I fit to be born into the world of spirits through the strait gate of death ? Am I renewed in all the powers of my nature, and made meet to enter into that unseen world, where there shall be no more of these revolutions of days and years, but one eternal day fills up all the space with divine pleasure, or one eternal night with long and deplorable distress and darkness?
When I see a friend expiring, or the corps of my neighbour conveyed to the grave, alas ! Their months and minutes are all determined, and the seasons of their trial are finished for ever ; they are gone to their eternal home, and the estate of their souls is fixed unchangeably : The angel that has sworn their time shall be no longer, has concluded their hopes, or has finished their fears, and, according to the rules of righteous judgment, has decided their misery or happiness for a long immortality. Take this warning, O my soul, and think of thy own removal.
Are we standing in the church.yard, paying the last honours to the relicks of our friends? What a number of hillocks of death appear all round us ? What are the tomb-stones, but memorials of the in:
habitants of that town, to inform us of the periods of all their lives, and to point out the day when it was said to each of them, “your time shall be no longer.' O may I readily learn this important lesson, that my turn is hastening too; such a little hillock shall short. ly arise for me in some unknown spot of ground, it shall cover this flesh and these bones of mine in dark. ness, and shall hide them from the light of the sun, and from the sight of man till the heavens be no more.
Perhaps some kind surviving friend may engrave my name with the number of my days, upon a plain funeral stone, without ornament and below envy : There shall my tomb stand among the rest as a fresh monument of the frailty of nature and the end of time. It is possible some friendly foot may now and then visit the place of my repose, and some tender eye may bedew the cold, memorial with a tear : One or another of my old acquaintance may possibly attend there to learn the silent lecture of mortality from my grave stone, which my lips are now preaching aloud to the world: And if love and sorrow should reach so far, perhaps while his soul is melting in his eyelids, and his voice scarce finds an utterance, he will point with his finger, and shew his companion the month and the day of my decease. O that solemn, that awful day, which shall finish my appointed time on earth, and put a full period to all the designs of my heart, and all the labours of my tongue and pen!
Think, O my soul, that while friends or strangers are engaged on that spot, and reading the date of thy
departure hence, thou wilt be fixed under a decisive and unchangeable sentence, rejoicing in the rewards of time well-improved, or suffering the long sorrows which shall attend the abuse of it, in an unknown world of happiness or misery.
Reflect. III. We may learn from this discourse, the “stupid folly and madness of those who are terri. bly afraid of the end of time whensoever they think of it, and yet they know not what to do with their time as it runs off daily and hourly.' They find their souls unready for death, and yet they live from year to year without any further preparation for dying: They waste away their hours of leisure in mere tri. fing, they lose their seasons of grace, their means and opportunities of salvation, in a thoughtless and shameful manner, as though they had no business to employ them in; they live as though they had nothing to do with all their time but to eat and drink, and be easy and merry. From the rising to the setting sun, you find them still in pursuit of impertinencies; they waste God's sacred time as well as their own, either in a lazy, indolent, and careless humour, or in fol. lowing after vanity, sin and madness, while the end of time is hastening upon them.
What multitudes are there of the race of Adam, both in higher and lower ranks, who are ever complaining they want leisure; and when they have a release from business for one day, or one hour, they hardly know what to do with that idle day, nor how to lay out one of the hours of it for
purpose? Those in higher station and richer circum.
stances, have most of their time at their own com-
O the painful and the unhappy ignorance of the
What sottish inconsistency is found in the heart and practice of sinful men, Eccles. ix. 3. “ The heart of the sons of men, is full of evil, madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go down to the dead."
O that these loiterers would once consider that time loiters not; days and hours, months and years, loiter not; each of them flies away with swiftest wing, as fast as succession admits of, and bears them on. ward, to the goal of eternity. If they delay and linger among toys and shadows, time knows no delay; and they will one day learn by bitter experience what substantial, important, and eternal blessings they have lost by their criminal and shameful waste of time. The Apostle Peter assures them, 2 Pet. ii. 3. Though they slumber and sleep in a lethargy of sin, so that you cannot awaken them, yet'their judgment lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth .not.' The awful moment is hästing upon them which shall teach them terribly the true value of time: Then they would give all the golden pleasures, and the riches and the grandeur of this world, to purchase one short day more, or one hour of time, wherein they might repent and return to God, and get within the reach of hope and salvation : But time and salvation and hope are all vanished, and fled, and gone out of their reach for ever.
Reflect. IV. Learn from such mediations as these, “the rich mercy of God, and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, in giving us so long a warning, before he swears that time shall be no more. Every stroke