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gument for a future state. If a just God preside over the affairs of this world, we cannot but suppose he must either here or hereafter bring things to a balance.
Lastly, we ought to lay it down as a certain rule, from which we ought never to depart, that nothing can be our real interest, but what is also our duty; and that our duty always is our real interest. We should therefore fix in our minds a firm persuasion~a steady resolution, never to yield to any solicitations of pleasure, or interest, that may draw us aside from our duty; nor be affrighted from it by any difficulties with which the world may threatėn us. Our duty should always be the great pole-star to direct us: we should have it always in our eye: the current may drive us, or the storm may force us from our course; but still we should endeavour to recover it, and never be at rest till it appear again in fight. The religious man may surely turn every event to his fpiritual advantage. As all nature is at God's disposal, we may rest satisfied that He, who suffereth not a sparrow to fall to the ground without his knowledge, will not suffer his faithful servants to be afflicted beyond what is proper
for them. Let us then to the last
hold fast our integrity, and not be weary of well-doing; asíuring ourselves, that nothing is more &rue than the doctrine of the text;-that what a man soweth, that he Mall. also reap: for he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that fozcih to the spirit, shall of the spirit reap life everlasting.
EPH. V. 16.
REDEEMING* THE TIME, BECAUSE THE DAYS
HIS paffage occurs twice in scripture. In
the epistle to the Colossians, itappears rather as a prudential caution. It is introduced with these words: Walking with wisdom towards them that are without t.-- But in the passage before us, I
* The same word, etayopasw, is made use of in purchafing a commodity, and in redeeming the world by Christ. This laxness, I should think, might bring some little difficulty on the doctrine of the redemption, if it were not secured by various other modes of expressing the same idea; such as, Ephes. i. 14.--. Theff. v. 10.--1 Tim. i. 15.-1 Tim. ii. 6. —2 Tim. ii. 10.- Titus, ii. 14.—Heb. i. 3.—xi. 14, 17.Heb. iv. 16.-V, 9.-vii. 25 & 27.-Heb. ix. 12, 28, &c. + Colos, iv. 5.
fee see nothing that has any reference to worldly matters; but much that has reference to spiritual. At least, the words seem capable of a much higher, a more general, and a more instructive interpretation, than a prudential onc. I mean, therefore, to consider them in this enlarged fense; and to take occasion from them to press upon you firk, the necessity of a religious improvement
of your time; and, secondly, to explain the reason given for it-because the days are evil.
I. To redeem a thing, is to take it out of a state of bondage and restraint, and to place it again in its proper situation; generally paying some consideration as the price of redemption. Thus we redeem a man from prison by paying his debts; and thus our bleflcd Saviour redeemed us by dying for our sins.
To redeem our time, therefore, is to restore it from some abuse into its proper channel ; paying, as the price of its redemption, our forrow for what is past. Or, in other words, to redeem our time consists in correcting the abuses, of it; and in spending it, for the future, in a rational and religious manner.
That we may be enabled to spend the future in a proper manner, it behoves us to examine, in what way we have spent the past. Year after year passes over us. Many of us have seen a great number of these portions of tinie fleet away, which must, on the whole, either have been redeemed, or must now be a heavy burden upon us.
That we may the better ascertain the use we have made of our past time, once in our own power, let us consider it in three points of light: as having been well employed-or ill employed or mispent, in a sort of trijiing way, between both.
That part of our time which hath been well employed-which, amidst the business of this world, and an honest attention to our calling, hath been dedicated to God by piety and devotion-by acts of kindness to man-by conquering our bad habits, and forming in ourselves good dispositions-by instructing our families, and breeding them up in the fear of God; stands in little need, we hope, of being redeemed. We presume there is nothing here, but such infirmities as will be pardoned through the merits of Christ.