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in this world, let us remember the apostolical injunction, "In all things give thanks;" and in order to stir ourselves up to the obeying it, let us only recount the mercies we have received through our Lord Jesus Christ, at sundry times, and in divers manners, spiritual and temporal, from the day of our birth to this present moment; and the result will be, it must be, that we shall all, the poorest and most afflicted among us, make the Psalmist's resolution our own; "I will always give thanks unto the Lord, his praise "shall ever be in my mouth:" and whenever, like holy Daniel, we kneel "upon our knees to pray," we shall, at the same time, like him, "give thanks "before our God."
Thus therefore, does Daniel not only strip us of every excuse for neglecting our devotions, but gives us likewise full instructions how to perform them, with regard to place, posture, time, and matter. And let the blessed effect and reward of his devotion fire our souls to an imitation of so great and glorious an example. Would we be delivered from the power of the devil, and the bitter pains of eternal death? Would we be holy, and just, and good? Would we be filled with wisdom and understanding in the counsels of the Almighty? Would we be high in the favour of Heaven? Nay, would we be saved from temporal calamities, and brought to honour, esteem, and reverence, in the sight of men? Constancy in prayer can open a way to all these blessings. For if we ask, why Daniel was preserved from the lions? Why he was endued with such innocency of life? Why he was admitted into the secrets of the divine economy?
Why he was styled, by way of eminence, "the man "greatly beloved?" and why the name of God was glorified by his promotion in a Heathen court? The answer to all is-" He kneeled upon his knees three "times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God."
THE REDEMPTION OF TIME.
EPHESIANS, v. 16.
Redeeming the time.
MAN is often in Scripture compared to a merchant; and there are three things more especially, which, considered in that capacity, he is enjoined to purchase at any rate. The first is the kingdom of heaven, likened by our Saviour, in one of his parables, to a "pearl of great price, which a merchant
having met with, went and sold all that he had, "and bought it." The second is truth. "Buy the "truth," saith Solomon, "and sell it not." The third purchase we are to make is that mentioned in the text: "Redeeming the time." And this, indeed, opens the way to the other two; since it is by a right employment of our time, that we come to a knowledge and love of the truth, which leads us to the kingdom of heaven, through him who is "the way, "the truth, and the life."
The phrase, "redeeming the time," supposes us
to have been formerly negligent in this sort of spiritual traffic, and so to have suffered loss; which, therefore, we are to make up, by taking every opportunity of trading to advantage for the future.
The inestimable value and right improvement of time are, therefore, the subjects suggested to our meditations by these words of the apostle; in the prosecution of which let us consider, why time should be redeemed, and how it may be redeemed.
Time, little as men account of it, is the most choice and precious thing in the world. "The mer"chandise of it is better than the merchandise of "silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold." And this God seems to have pointed out to us, by the very manner of his giving it, so different from that in which he vouchsafes his other gifts. For, whereas he is graciously pleased to bestow many of them upon us in large quantities, so that we can keep some store of them by us, with time it is not so. Of that there is but a moment in the world at once, which is taken away when another is given. If therefore the value of a thing rises in proportion to its scarceness, what shall a man give, or rather what shall he not give, for the redemption of time, which is thus dealt out by Heaven, like some rich and invaluable cordial, in single drops, to the end, doubtless, that not one of them should be suffered to fall to the ground? We take no account of time, but by the loss of it; the clock which strikes, informs us-not that we have so much in our possession, but that so much is gone from us; for which reason it hath been styled "the "knell of a departed hour," which rings out for the
death of another portion of our time, admonishing us to make a better use of that which remains. The present moment only is our own. As to the future, God alone knows whether they will ever be present to us and for the past, they are never more to return; which is a
Second reason why time ought to be redeemed by all means in our power, because, when once past it never returns. The merchant, who knows that there is a precious commodity to be purchased at a reasonable rate, by which his fortune may be made at once; and knows withal, that, if he miss this, he shall never have such another opportunity; what pains will he not take? How early will he rise? how late take rest? How diligent will he be in fitting out his vessel? With what haste will he put to sea? With what earnestness and anxiety will he watch the wind, and spread all his sails, to catch every breath that may waft him in time to the port from which he is bound? This is our very case to a tittle. Time is that precious commodity, by a right use of which our fortunes are made for ever, for ever and ever, to all eternity. And time, when once gone, never returns. For where is yesterday? It is "with the
years beyond the flood;" and we can as soon bring back one as the other. Were all the princes of the earth to unite the wisdom of their counsels, and the might of their kingdoms, they could not recall one single moment. How plain and obvious is this to the common sense of every man! But who is there, that pays so much regard to this well-known truth, as to regulate his conduct by it, and to make his