election sure; the fitting and purging of myself to be a vessel of glory and immortality, and fitted for the use of my great Lord and Master; the casting of myself into such a frame and posture of mind and life, that I may be fitted and ready to die, and give up my account to my Lord with peace, and chearfulness, and comfort; so that if I should, either by the hand of some disease or casualty, or other providence, receive this solemn message, Set thy house in order, for thou shalt die ; I might receive it with as much readiness, willingness, and chearfulness, as a faithful and diligent servant would receive this command from his master, You must take such a journey for me to-morrow. These, and such like businesses as these, besides the constant tenor of a just, virtuous, and pious life, are the most important businesses of a Christian.

We know not whether the grace and opportunity that God hath lent us, and we have neglected in our lives, shall ever be afforded again to us in the times of our sieknesses, or upon our death beds, but the little portion of time in our lives and healths are furnished with thousands of invitations and golden opportunities for these great works. Let us therefore redeem these portions of time that our life and health lends us, for this great and one thing necessary.

And now, if a man shall take a survey of the scomnion course, even of the Christian world, we shall find the generality of mankind, the veriest

children, fools, and madmen, that ever nature yielded. The very folly of children in spending their time in rattles and hobby horses, is more excuseable than theirs, whose reason and experience should better instruct them. There is not any man so senseless but he knows he must die, and he knows not how soon he shall hear of that sad sunimons; and if he were so brutish as not to think of it, or believe it, yet the weekly bills of mortality gives bim daily instances of it; and yet if we do but observe the world of men, they do, for the most part, wholly tritle away their time, in doing that which is evil; or in doing nothing; or in doing nothing to any purpose, or becoming a reasonable nature. One man trifles away his time in feasting and jollity; another in gaming, or vain and unnecessary recreations, in hunting, hawking, bowling, and other wasteful expenses of time; another in fine clothes, powderings, and painting, and dressing; another in hunting after honours and preferments, or heaping up wealth and riches, and lading himself with thick clay; another in trivial speculations, possibly touching some criticism or grammatical nicety; and all these men wonderfully pride themselves as being the only wise men, look big and goodly; and when they come to die, all these prove either vexations and tortures of a mispent time, or at least, by the very appearance of sickness and death, are rendered poor, empty, insipid, and insignificant things ; and then the minister is sent for, and sacraments, and nothing but penitence and complaints of the vanity of the world, the unhappy expenses of time, and all the wealth and honour would be presently sacrificed for the redemption of those mispent hours, and days, and years, that cannot be recalled, nor redeemed by the price of a world. 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 another kiud of estimate of things than now they have, and this their way, is their folly. Man being in honour, in bealth, in life, understandeth not, but becomes like the beasts that perish, Psalm xlix. 12.

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 spent in sleeping, eating, drinking. Item, so much spent in recreations and pastimes. Item, $o much spent in getting wealth and honour, &c.; and there remains so much which was spent in doing nothing

2. Our time is an universal talent, that

every man, that lives to diseretion, 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. The very 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 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 concernment of our souls. Ex hoc momento pendet æternitas. 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 perfeet state of glory; if it be either sinfully or idly spent, we fall into an everlasting, irrecoverable, and upchangeable 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 business, and the time we have to live, hath two most 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, diseases, 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 month. Again, there be many diseases that render us, in a manner, dead while we live, as apo plexies, palsies, frenzies, stone, gout, which renders our time either grievous, or very unuseful to us.

7. Time once lost, it 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 things 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, the weakness and folly of childhood and youth, the impotency and morosity of old age; the times for eating, drinking, sleeping,


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