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sible of what they lose by such a fatal practice, their health, their credit, and their peace of mind here, and, what is an infinitely greater loss, their souls hereafter ; could . they but feel the comfort of being sober, and careful, and prudent ; of breeding up their families in decency and order ; of being affectionate to the wife of their bosom, and doing their duty to the children, which the Lord hath given them : certain I am, that they would flee from the unwholsome, intoxicating liquor, as " from the face of a “serpent;" and from those haunts which furnish them with it, as from “ the pit " of hell."
We will now consider, in the second and last place, the duty of not wasting the fragments of our time. If the present life were the whole of our being; if, after having been in this world for a few years, it was ordained that man should go hence, and be no more “ seen” in any other place; we might then say, with some of the thoughtless heathen, 66 let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we “ die;". and apply our time to no other purpose than amusement, or worldly business, or waste it in complete idleness. But, my christian brethren, this life is only an infinitely short part of our existence; there is a state beyond the grave; " whither we
“ are going," that shall last for ever ; a state of happiness to the wise and good, and of misery to the foolish and wicked. Yet a little while, and we shall all follow our fathers to the tomb. Yet a little while, and “the trumpet shall sound, and the dead « shall be raised.” Yet a little while, and
we shall all stand before the judgment- seat of Christ, to receive according to " the deeds done in our bodies, whether they “ be good, or whether they be evil.” Yet a little while, and we shall all receive one or other of these two sentences, -" Come, “ye blessed of my Father, receive the king“ dom prepared for you from the foundation " of the world;" or, “ Depart from me, ye “ wicked, into everlasting fire prepared for “ the devil and his angels.” Hence you see, it becomes a matter of infipite consequence to us, in what manner we pass our time during our stay in this life ; and a Juty of great importance not to waste even “the fragments" of it, but to apply then to the glory of God, the good of our neighbour, and the benefit of our own souls. I do not mean to say, that none of our time should be spent in innocent enjoyment; because this would be telling you what the scriptures do not warrant me to assert. No, God is too good a master to expect such
severe service from us. He is willing that man should
rejoice in the work of his “ hands;" He has told us that there is “ " time to laugh," as well as to be sad; all He expects is, that our pleasures should be innocent, and have nothing of vice in them; and that while we amuse ourselves, we should not forget Him. If we are good stewards of our time, we shall find sufficient oppor. tunity of reasonable and virtuous enjoyment; without taking those portions from it, which ought to be given to God, and to our callings of life. We may, at proper seasons, seek for wholsome and rational recreation, both without doors and within ; though, I believe, it will be found by those who have tried the experiment, that, next to the pleasures afforded by religion and benevolence, by worshipping God, and doing good to man ; the best, the purest, and the most durable, are those, which we receive in the bosom of our own, families, and making our wives and children partners in our joys. But, though some of the
fragments of our time may be thus applied ; yet the greater part of them should certainly be devoted to “ the one thing “ needful,” the care of our everlasting salvation. When we consider how much a christian has to do in this life, that he may secure a happy immortality; how many enemies he has to contend* with, “ the “ world, the flesh, and the devil;" how many spiritual dangers he has to guard against ;' he will certainly see, that he has not much time to spare for the common amusements of life. Nay, what is more, he will also see, that even its necessary business should not prevent him from strictly attending to his religious duties. To neglect God for the sake of “the meat that perisheth ;" is as bad as forgetting Him in diversion or idleness. It may, indeed, increase a man's gains here, but it will be attended with térrible loss in the end. - For what shall it
profit a man, if he gain the whole world, 5 ånd lose his own soul; or what shall a " man give in exchange for his soul?”
[For the Fifth Sunday in Lent.]
JOHN viji. 51.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man keep
my saying, he shall never see death.
HE portion of scripture appointed for
the gospel of the day relates a conversation which Jesus had with the unbelieving Jews, in the Temple at Jerusalem. It is taken from a chapter, in which Christ endeavours to convince his hearers that he was come from God; and that they were in a most dangerous state, if they did not believe in him: in which he proves to them the divinity of his person, and the dignity of his office; and rebukes their hardness of heart, which would lead them to reject, persecute, and crucify them, and make them at last die in their sins. " Which of you," says he,