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MEDITATION IV.

From Eph. vi. 16. Redeem the time. 1. TIME is one of the most precious blessings, which man enjoys in this world, a jewel of inestimable worth : It is a golden stream continually running down by us, yea, carrying us all along with it: It is a stream running from one ocean to another, from an eternity behind us, to an eternity before us.

2. That which makes time so precious mainly, is, that the salvation of our precious and 'immortal souls, through all eternity, depends thereupon. Upon the improvement of this short moment of time, depends a long-lasting, and never-ending eternity.

3. The expense which God the author of time is at, to create and beget it for us, shows the preciousness of it. Why? God, by his almighty power, doth continually wheel about these great luminaries of sun, moon and stars, in their annual and diurnal revolutions, to beget and furnish time to us; and these do never halt nor stop. nor come short of their appointed times of rising and setting, and all for the service of man, that he may have time for the service of his Maker, and the saving of his soul.

4. The haste that time doth make, and the consideration of its shortness, that it will quickly be gone, and that a mipute of it can never be recalled, shows forth its preciousness.

5. Also the important business we have for every moment of our time, although each of us had a thousand years to live, the service of God, and saving of our souls, is such a vast work, as would require every minute of it.

6. We are ready to pass into another world, an eternal state, where every minute of our time must be accounted for, and then it must fare with us eternally, as we have spent and improven this short time here.

7. For as precious as time is, it is undervalued and lavished away more than any thing else. It is seldom taken notice of, until it is quite past away from us; we never consider its worth and usefuloess till it is just ending. Hence Solomon saith, Eccl. ix. 12. “ Man knoweth pot his time."

8. 'Tis most just that he who hath the ordering and disposing of all things else concerning us, should be also the supreme Lord and disposer of our time, and therefore hath right to determine what time is to be allotted for our work, and what for his : And most just it is, that he, from whom we have all our time, should have his choice of it.

9 Of all time Sabbath-time is the most precious and valuable; it being the time God has allotted and set apart for himself, and upon the improveinent whereof the glory of God and salvation of our souls depend in a most peculiar manner; it being the day of special access to God, and of free commerce and correspondence between heaven and earth. It is heaven's weekly market day, or God's dealday to the poor and needy; the day of access to God's presence-chainber. Time by some is compared to a gold ring, and the Sabbath to she sparkling diamond, which gives it its lustre, and heightens its value. Wherefore, if we be wise, we will show a peculiar esteem for the Sabbath above all the days of the week; we will reckon every moment of Sabbath-time most precious, and desire that none of it may be mispent. What Christ said to his disciples concerning the loaves and the fishes, the like he seems to speak to us concerning his holy day, “ Gather up the fragınents,” gather up all the parcels, the spare hours and minutes of it; account them as precious as the goldsmith doth the smallest filing of his gold, and let nothing of Sabbath-time be lost.

Exhortation. Above all time redeem carefully Sabbathtime, and improve it diligently. Consider what a blessing the Sabbath is to you, if rightly improven : 1. An ion for refreshing the weary traveller, that hath been toiled and tossed with storms through the week. 2. It is Christ's weekly market.day, wherein he sets forth the richest wares and commodities for us to buy, “ without money and without price," Rev. iii. 18. 3. It is the King of heaven's public deal-day, wherein he deals his bread to the hungry, and gives alms to the poor and needy. 4. It is the conversion, of inbringing and gathering the elect. Multitudes have been brought in to Christ this day. 5. It is a day of access to God, and correspondence with heaven; a day when Christ is to be seen and conversed with. You may not only have correspondence with Christ at a distance. but imine. diate access.

You inay be taken into the palace, the prea

sence chamber, and see the King in his beauty, hear his voice, get the kisses of his mouth, the embraces of his arms; and should not tbis time be redeemed ? 6. It is the day of heaven's festival, wherein Christ useth to feast his saints with the fatness of his house. 7. It is a day of reaping and gathering, and for laying up in store for the time to come. 8. A day for ascending the mount of transfiguration, to see Christ transfigured; a day of ascending to mount Pisgah, to see the land that is afar oft.

2. Redeem Sabbath-time, for it is flying fast away; you may bave but a few more Sabbaths to enjoy. The Sabbath is fast approaching that will be your last Sabbath, after which

you

shall see no more in this world. 3. Redeem Sabbath-time, for much depends on it, the glory of God, and salvation of your immortal souls through eternity. So important is the business that depends on the improvement of your Sabbath-time, that it would call for the improvement of every moment: Yea, though each of you had ten thousand Sabbaths to spend, the service of God, and saving of your souls, is such a vast work, as would require every minute of them.

4. Redeem Sabbath-time, for we cannot recall one Sabbath that is past ; no, though we had a world to give for one Sabbath, we could not recall it. O many will be put one day to wish and cry in vain, O to recover one of these Jost Sabbaths, wherein I had the free rich offer of a cruci. fied Christ.

5. Redeem Sabbath-time, for you are just ready to pass into another world, where you must give a strict account of every Sabbath you have enjoyed, and answer for every minute of precious Sabbath-time. How will you answer for all the Sabbaths you have misimproven, for the Sabbaths of threescore years, which are above three thousand : O that will be a terrible item in the accounts of old graceless sinners.

Directions in redeeming Sabbath time. 1. Carefully avoid whatever hinders it; as, 1. Atheism, or misbelief of the truth, and of the great end and design of the Sabbath. 2. Ignorance. Many are so ignorant, that they think if they pass away the Sabbath without any gross breach of it, they do well enough. 3. Sloth and laziness. Up and be doing.

2. If you would redeem Sabbath-time, repent of former misimprovements, and humble yourselves for lost Sabbaths, and cry for mercy through Christ's atoning blood.

3. Study to recompence former mismanagements by your future diligence; as a traveller who finds himself like to be benighted by his former laziness mends his

pace,

and

goes as many miles now in one hour, as formerly he did in two.

4. Spend every Sabbath now as it were your last; and this approaching Sabbath be as diligent on it, as if it were your last: prepare for it in the evening; get up early next morning, pray, read, meditate, examine yourself, and wrestle for God's presence with you in the ordinances.

5. Hearken presently to Christ's calls in the word; beJieve and embrace Christ's doctrine and his righteousness, and close with him as your only help and remedy.

MEDITATION V,

Upon John xx. 20. And when he so said, he showed them his hands and his feet. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.

This was the first Christian Sabbath, and upon it the disciples met for the work and duties of the day, prayer and godly conference. Well, did the disciples meet for this work ? Christ will not let them part without his

peace and blessing. He comes in the midst of them, when the doors were shut; no doors nor bands can shut out Christ's presence from his disciples; and what is his salutation to them? “Peace be unto you." A most comprehensive blessing! This was the legacy he had left thein a few days before, and now he makes prompt and ready payment of it to them, he will not be long owing it. Quest. What sort of peace is it? Ans. Peace with God, peace of conscience, and peace with one another. This was a blessing most suitable to them, who were so full of fears and disorders.

After this salutation he gives them a most comfortable discovery of his pierced hands and side, to convince them of the truth of his resurrection, which they were still in doubt of, by the marks and scars of the wounds which had

been made a few days before by the nails and spear: he shows them that the body they now saw alive, was the same individual body they and many others had seen dead on the cross a few days before. From this,

Observe 1. That Christ retained the scars of his wounds after his resurrection. He was not ashamed of them, but gloried in them, as conquerors glory in the marks of their wounds after bloody battles. Moreover, Christ had use for them ; 1. They were to speak on earth, and demonstrate the truth of his resurrection to the world, particularly to convince unbelieving Thomas. . 2. They were to speak in heaven, by the intercession that he makes for his people there, in doing whereof he shews his wounds, and therefore he ascended with them, and now appears in midst of the throne as a lamb slain, with his wounds as it were bleeding afresh, Rev. v. 6. S. Nay, he retains them, that he may come back with them; for it seeins they will be then visible, that enemies may look on him whom they pierced, Rev. 1.7. “ Behold he cometh with clouds : and every eye shal! see him, and they also which pierced him."

2. Observe the condescension and pains of a crucified Jesus to satisfy his disciples. He shewed them his hands : He is at pains first to open his hands, to let them see the marks of the wounds he got by the nails driven therein. Next he opens his breast, to let them see the wound he got in his side by the spear that was thrust into it. O the condescension of our Lord, to confirm the faith of his poor staggering and doubting disciples.

3. Observe the effect and impression of this sight upon the disciples, “ they were glad when they saw the Lord," It revived their drooping spirits, it convinced their doubting hearts, and strengthened their faith; and faith produces joy, Rom. xv. 13. 1 Pet. i. 8. Now Christ fulfilled what he said, John xvi. 22. “ I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice.”

Doctrine. A believing and appropriating view of the wounds of a crucified and

risen Jesus, is a most joyful sight. Quest. What grounds of joy have we in this sight? Ans. i. This sight shews that Christ hath loved us, and given himself for us, who were objects of wrath.

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