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of thy sins, without allowing thee time to repent? Or even should this not be the case, still how canst thou be assured, that thou wilt be disposed to repent, when the hour of death approaches? May not God in vengeance harden thy heart, against the power of grace, and withdraw that mercy, which thou hast so often rejected? Or even if thou shouldst be disposed to repent, why shouldst thou hope, that that repentance will be effectual to salvation ; or what plea hast thou to be accepted at the eleventh hour, who hast deliberately and wilfully stood all the preceding day idle? No: though it proceed from the weakest of human tongues, yet let this solemn truth sound in thine ears, deluded sinner, as if it were from the voice of an angel, that there is little likelihood that God will accept the dregs of that life, the prime and vigour of which thou hast spent in the service of the devil.
Thus we see the various stratagems by which sin triumphs over the weakness of man! Thus by degrees is his integrity seduced, his reason perverted, his judgment corrupted, and his hopes of glory frustrated and defeated! And we must with sorrow confess, that even Babylon in ruins affords not so melancholy a spectacle, as this once glorious heir of immortality thus sunk into corruption and buried in sin.
Let us not, then, be wanting in our endeavours for our own safety, by guarding our hearts with all diligence ; since from them are the issues of life. Here the first assaults of sin are made, and here must the guard of virtue be placed to repel the fiery darts of the wicked. We must suspect its approaches under every disguise, and be prepared against it in every moment; since, like the ambushed Indian, it often wounds most dangerously when unsuspected and unseen. But I must be suffered to repeat, that we must more particularly be watchful, that it does not seduce our integrity under the specious appearance of innocence, of pleasure, of profit, of custom, or example. These, these are the intoxicating ingredients, which sweeten the deadly potion of sin, and conceal its bitter consequences from the sinner. Against these therefore, must we employ our utmost vigilance, against these exert the combined strength of reason and religion. Yet after all, when we have used our utmost endeavours and circumspection; when we have done all that mortal strength can accomplish; we must confess that all our labour will be fruitless, without the assistance and co-operation of divine grace. This, this alone is the heavenly shield, which can render us invulnerable to the assaults of sin, and guard us against the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil.
To this, therefore, as to our only sure and iine pregnable fortress, let us fly with open arms in the day of distress. For this let us not cease to prostrate ourselves in prayer before the footstool of that God, whose all-seeing eye pervades the frame of nature, and whose all-powerful arm can alone direct and support our trembling steps. And may the all-gracious Parent of the universe ever afford us. such a measure of his holy spirit, that we may be safe under the shadow of his wings here, and eternally happy in his kingdom hereafter !
EPHES. v. 16.
Redeming the time.
T lias been justly remarked, that there are
many truths of the greatest importance, which by frequent repetition seem to lose all their weight and influence upon the minds of men.
Thus we hear men daily complaining of the shortness of life and certainty of death; and yet, as if no such truth existed, they are constantly forming long and distant schemes for enjoying the one, but making no preparations against the other. And the same thing is no less true with regard to our time. We are all of us ready to acknowledge its great value and importance, to lament its swift lapse and our own inability to recall it; and yet, as if we did not believe the very truths we speak with our tongues, we all of us prodigally waste it in indolence; in vices, or at least in trifles and follies unworthy of a reasonable being
The fact is, these solemn truths, which are thus ever in our mouths, too often die upon our lips, and do not reach the heart. We echo back the common voice of past agés, without thought, and without examination. No one is disposed to dispute the justice of observations which come so well recommended, and in so unquestionable a shape; and therefore we suffer them to pass on, without staying to consider the great and important lessons they teach. We number our days, but we do not apply our hearts to wisdom.
On this ground, I hope, I may be justified in calling your attention to so common and trite a subject as the use and value of time. For though many of you may have frequently considered-it already with due attention and seriousness, yet some there aré, perhaps, the thoughtless and giddy wanderers in the flowery paths of the spring of life, to whom the subject is new; and even those to whom it is not so, will' find no loss,' I trust, in the review of so excellenit aosubject, The language of my text calls upon us to redeem the time : that is, to put every part of it to a good use; to employ the present time in laudable persuits, to repair the neglects and failures of the past by a double diligence; and to prevent and anticipate the future by a wise foresight and circumspection. These are the