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ancient patriarch, when he exclaimed, “ I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee,”—by meditating on all the reasons, so far as we may comprehend them, of the Almighty's hatred towards moral evil in all its forms and all its degrees,—by dwelling on all the overwhelming indications which he has given in his Providence and in his Word of the light in which he views it,-seek to sympathize with God in his emotions towards “ that abominable thing which the soul of Jehovah hateth ;” that, moved with deep contrition, with that “godly sorrow that worketh repentance not to be repented of," exclaiming with Job, “Behold I am vile, what shall I answer thee? Wherefore, I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes,” ye may sincerely seek (and seeking sincerely ye shall assuredly obtain) salvation from your guilt, through the blood of Jesus,--salvation from your pollution, by the Spirit of the Lord. To every one of you the hour is hastening on when you must see God face to face. To every one of you the call is sounding even now, “ Prepare to meet thy God.”
EPHESIANS, v. 16.—“Redeeming the time.”
THROUGH the preserving and protecting providence of the Most High, my brethren, we are met once more upon the opening Sabbath of another year; and while I do most sincerely present to you the ordinary salutations of the season, and offer up for you the desires which friend is now accustomed to express for friend, that, if consistent with the Almighty's purposes, you may yet behold the frequent return of this anniversary, I wish to tell you on what grounds I offer this request for you, not merely as a friend, but as a minister. There are, I trust, those among you for whom to wish long life is not to wish any personal advantage,- for whom, although to live is Christ, to die would be gain,who might sympathize with the apostle's feelings when he said, “We are confident, yea, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord.”_"To depart and to be with Christ is far better, "-to whom
“ The less of this cold world, the more of heaven;
Yet doth it seem to us desirable, without venturing to prescribe to the unsearchable and often mysterious wisdom of the Supreme, that for you “to abide in the flesh is more needful" for the Church, in order to “ the furtherance and joy” of our common faith; “only let your conversation be such as becometh the gospel of Christ,” “ that Christ may be magnified in your bodies, whether it be by life or by death,"_" that whether present or absent ye may be accepted of him.”
But are there not, my brethren, multitudes among us in another state, and of another character, for wishing whom a lengthened term of days to come there are yet weightier and more peremptory reasons,-those, I mean, who, so far from having made their calling and election sure, by adding to faith the virtues, and graces, and charities of the gospel, have yet to be awakened from a state of habitual negligence respecting “ the things which belong to their eternal peace,"—have yet to be cured of that fatal procrastination which has already stolen from them so many years of life, and is ready to rob them of the glories of immortality,—who have yet to “enter in at the strait gate,”—who have the life of personal Christianity yet to begin? To them,
my brethren, in their present condition, how terri. ble a thing it were to die !—to die !—to perish from the land of hope, -to lose at once and for ever the season of opportunity,—to exchange the last possibilities of safety for the stern assurance of everlasting despair! For them, O God, wilt thou not pardon us should we forget to add the conditions which thy sovereignty demands, when we beseech thee, Spare them, spare them yet a little while, before
hence and are no more seen. may peradventure be the salvation of their souls,it will be at least a postponement of their wo."
To those, I say, who are not yet Christians in spirit and in truth, the addition of another year to their earthly existence will be the postponement of their wo,-it may be the salvation of their souls. Would to God that it may prove the latter !-for, after all, how worthless a gain would be one year's delay of a calamity that is to last for ever,-twelve rapid months subtracted from the sum of innumerable ages! How much more precious the approaching year will deserve to be accounted, if, by its due improvement, you may secure that inestimable acquisition which shall not merely abate for you a few days of suffering from an eternity of wo, but change eternity itself from a waste of boundless, burning agony into an ocean of illimitable, unimaginable joy! If improved, my brethren, it may, but that it may it must be improved ; and I say, as
to the yet unbelieving and unregenerate, so to those also who have already entered on the paths of genuine religion,—those who have already committed their interests to Jesus as the Saviour, and devoted themselves to Jesus as their Lord, that, in order to the accomplishment of all those important purposes to which the prolongation of their earthly lives is intended to contribute, it is necessary that they should diligently turn to account those additional days, or months, or years, which may be measured out to them by him with whom is the number of our months,-in whose hand are all our times. The subject, therefore, with which I propose to occupy your thoughts at present is the duty of improving time; and, in exhorting you to this important duty, I shall tell you, in the first place, why, and, in the second, how, you should improve this inestimable talent.
In order to invest the exhortation in question with Divine authority,—the authority of the Sacred Word, I know not where I could find a more emphatic passage than that before us, where the apostle admonishes the professing Christians of his own age to “ redeem,” or, as we are rather disposed to translate his words, to purchase “ time.” The original expression is not limited in meaning to the recovery or ransom of what is lost, but intimates generally the securing by price of what is valuable. The admonition, as addressed originally to the Ephe