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was in the days of Solomon, as the stones of the street, and nothing accounted of. They act as if time were as plenty as silver was then, and as if they had a great deal more than they needed, and knew not what to do with it. If men were as lavish of their money as they are of their time; if it were as common a thing for them to throw away their money, as it is for them to throw away their time, we should think them beside themselves, and not in the possession of their right minds. Yet time is a thousand times more precious than money; and when it is gone, cannot be purchased for money, cannot be redeemed by silver or gold.—There are several sorts of persons who are reproved by this doctrine, whom I shall particularly mention.

1. Those who spend a great part of their time in idleness, or in doing nothing that turns to any account, either for the good of their souls or bodies; nothing either for their own benefit, or for the benefit of their neighbour, either of the family or of the body-politic to which they belong. There are some persons upon whose hands time seems to lie heavy, who, instead of being concerned to improve it as it passes, and taking care that it pass not without making it their own, act as if it were rather their concern to contrive ways how to waste and consume it; as though time, instead of being precious, were rather a mere incumbrance to them. Their bands refuse to labour, and rather than put themselves to it, they will let their families suffer, and will suffer themselves: Prov. xix. 15. “An idle soul shall suffer hunger.” Prov. xxii. 2. “ Drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.

Some spend much of their time at the tavern, over their cups, and in wandering about from house to house, wasting away their hours in idle and unprofitable talk which will turn to no good account: Prov. xiv. 23. “ In all labour there is profit; but the talk of the lips tendeth only to poverty." The direction of the apostle, in Eph. iv. 28, is, that should “ labour, working with our hands the thing that is good, that we may have to give to him that needeth." But indolent men, instead of gaining any thing to give to him that needeth, do but waste what they have already: Proy. xviii. 9. “ He that is slothful in his work, is brother to him that is a great waster."

2. They are reproved by this doctrine who spend their time in wickedness, who do not merely spend their time in doing nothing to any good purpose, but spend it to ill purposes. Such do not only lose their time, but they do worse; with it they burt both themselves and others.- Time is precious, as we have heard, because eternity depends upon it. By the improvement of time, we bave opportunity of

escaping eternal misery, and obtaining eternal blessedness. But those who spend their time in wicked works, not only neglect to improve their time to obtain eternal happiness, or to escape damnation, but they spend it to a quite contrary purpose, viz. to increase their eternal misery, or to render their damnation the more heavy and intolerable.

Some spend much time in revelling, and in unclean talk and practices, in vicious company-keeping, in corrupting and ensnaring the minds of others, setting bad examples, and leading others into sin, undoing not only their own souls, but the souls of others. Some spend much of their precious time in detraction and backbiting; in talking against others; in contention, not only quarrelling themselves, but fomenting and stirring up strife and contention. It would have been well for some men, and well for their neighbours, if they had never donc any thing at all; for then they would have done neither good nor hurt. But now they have done a great deal more hurt than they have done or ever will do good. There are some persons whom it would have been better for the towns where they live, to have been at the charge of maintaining them in doing nothing, if that would have kept them in a state of inactivity.

Those who have spent much of their time in wickedness, if ever, they shall reform, and enter upon a different mode of living, will find, not only that they have wasted the past, but that they have made work for their remaining time, to undo what they have done. How will many men, when they shall have done with time, and shall look back upon their past lives, wish that they had had no time! The time which they spend on earth will be worse to them than if they had spent so much time in hell; for an eternity of more dreadful misery in bell will be the fruit of their time on earth, as they employ it.

3. Those are reproved by this doctrine, who spend their time only in worldly pursuits, neglecting their souls. Such men lose their time, let them be ever so diligent in their worldly business; and though they may be careful not to let any of it pass so, but that it shall, some way or other, turn to their worldly profit. They that improve time only for their benefit in time, lose it; because time was not given for itself, but for that everlasting duration which succeeds it.—They, therefore, whose time is taking up in caring and labouring for the world only, in inquiring what they shall eat, and what they shall drink, and wherewithal they shall be clothed; in contriving to lay up for themselves treasures upon earth, how to enrich themselves, how to make themselves great in the world, or how to live in comfortable and pleasant circumstances, while here; who busy their minds and employ their strength in these things only, and the stream of whose


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affections is directed towards these things; they lose their precious time.

Let such, therefore, as have been guilty of thus spending their time, consider it. You bave spent a great part of your time, and a great part of your strength, in getting a little of the world; and how little good doth it afford you, now you have gotten it! Wbat bappiness or satisfaction can you reap from it? will it give you peace of conscience, or any rational quietness or comfort? What is your poor, needy perishing soul the better for it? and what better prospects doth it afford you of your approaching eternity ? and what will all that you bave acquired avail you when time shall be no longer.


An Exhortation to improve Time.

CONSIDER what bath been said of the preciousness of time, bow much depends upon it, how short and uncertain it is, bow irrecoverable will it be when gone. If you have a right conception of these things, you will be more choice of your time than of the most fine gold. Every hour and moment will seem precious to you. But besides those considerations which have been already set before you, consider also the following.

1. That you are accountable to God for your time. Time is a talent given us by God; he hath set us our day; and it is not for nothing, our day was appointed for some work; therefore he will, at the day's end, call us to an account. We must give account to him of the improvement of all our time. We are God's servants; as a servant is accountable to his master, how he spends his time when he is sent forth to work, so are we accountable to God. If men would arigbt consider this, and keep it in mind, would they not improve their time otherwise than they do? Would you not behave otherwise than you do, if you considered with yourselves every morning that you must give an account to God, how you shall have spent that day? and if you considered with yourselves, at the beginning of every evening, that you must give an account to God, how you shall have spent that evening ? Christ hath told us, that “ for every idle word wbich men speak, they shall give account in the day of judgment,” Matt. xii. 36. How well, therefore, may we conclude, that we must give an account of all our idle mis-spent time!

2. Consider how much time you have lost already. For your having lost so much, you have the greater need of

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diligently improving what yet remains. You ought to mourn and lament over your lost time; but that is not all, you must apply yourselves the more diligently to improve the remaining part, that you may redeem lost tine.--You who are considerably advanced in life, and have hitherto spent your time in vanities and worldly cares, and bave lived in a great measure negligent of the interests of your souls, may well be terrified and amazed, when you think how much time you have lost and wasted away.-- In that you have lost so much time, you have the more need of diligence, on three accounts.

(1.) As your opportunity is so much the shorter.Your time at its whole length is short. But set aside all that you have already lost, and then how much shorter is it! As to that part of your time which you have already lost, it is not to be reckoned into your opportunity; for that will never be any more; and it is no better, but worse to you, than if it never had been.

(2.) You have the same work to do that you had at first, and that under greater difficulties. Hitherto you have done nothing at all of your work, all remains to be done, and that with vastly greater difficulties and opposition in your way than would have been if you had set about it seasonably. So that the time in which to do your work is not only grown shorter, but your work is grown greater. You not only have the same work to do, but you have more work; for while you have lost your time, you have not only shortened it, but you have been making work for yourselves. How well may this consideration awaken you to a thorough care, not to let things run on in this manner any longer, and rouse you up immediately to apply yourselves to your work with all your might:

(3.) That is the best of your time which you have lost. The first of a man's time, after he comes to the exercise of his reason, and to be capable of performing his work, is the best. You have lived in sin till past your youth, have lost the best part. So that here are all these things to be considered together, viz. that your time in the whole is but short, there is none to spare; a great part of that is gone, so that it is become much shorter ; that which is gone is the best; yet all your work remains : and not only so, but with greater difficulties than ever before attended it; and the shorter your time is, the more work you have to do.

What will make you sensible of the necessity of a diligent improvement of remaining time, if these things will not a Sometimes such considerations as these bave another effect, viz. to discourage persons, and to make them think, that seeing they have lost so much time, it is not worth their wbile to attempt to do any thing now. The devil makes fools of them; for when they are young, he tells them, there is

time enough hereafter, there is no need of being in haste, it will be better seeking salvation hereafter, and then they believe him. Afterwards when their youth is past, he tells them, that now they have lost so much, and the best of their time, that it is not worth their while to attempt to do any thing; and now they believe him too. So that with them no time is good. The season of youth is not a good time; for that is most fit for pleasure and mirth, and there will be enough afterwards; and what comes afterwards is not a good time, because the best of it is gone. Thus are men infatuated and ruined.

But what madness is it for persons to give way to discouragement, so as to neglect their work, because their time is short! What need bave they rather to awake out of sleep, thoroughly to rouse up themselves, and to be in good earnest, that if possible they may yet obtain eternal life! Peradventure, God may yet give them repentance to the acknowledgment of the truth, that they may be saved. Though it be late in the day, yet God calls upon you to rouse, and to apply yourselves to your work; and will you not hearken to his counsel in this great affair, rather than to the counsel of your mortal enemy?

3. Consider how time is sometimes valued by those who are come near to the end of it. What a sense of its preciousness have poor sinners sometimes, when they are on their death-beds ! Such have cried out, Oh, a thousand worlds for an inch of time! Then time appears to them indeed precious. An inch of time could do them no more good than before, when they were in health, supposing a like disposition to improve it, nor indeed so much ; for a man's time upon a death-bed is attended with far greater disadvantage for such an improvement as will be for the good of his soul, than when he is in health. But the near approach of death makes men sensible of the inestimable worth of time. Perbaps, when they were in health, they were as insensible of its value as you are, and were as negligent of it. But how are their thougbts altered now! It is not because they are deceived, that they think time to be of such value, but because their eyes are opened ; and it is because you are deceived and blind, that you do not think as they do.

4. Consider what a value we may conclude is set upon time by those who are past the end of it. What thoughts do you think they have of its preciousness, who bave lost all their opportunity for obtaining eternal life, and are gone to bell? Though they were very lavish of their time while they lived, and set no great value upon it, yet how have they changed their judgments! How would they value the opportunity which you have, if they might but have it granted to

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