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word of God teaehes us, that if we neglect our salvation in the present day of grace, the angel, in my text, is ready to swear, that time shall be no longer.
Here permit me to put in a short word to those who have lost much time already.
friends! begin now to do, what in you lies to regain it, by double diligence, in the matters of your salvation, lest the voice of the archangel should finish your time of trial, and call. you to judgment before you are prepared.
What time lies before you, for this double improvement, God only knows: The remnant of the measure of your days is with him, and every evening the number is diminished: Let not the rising sun upbraid you with continued negligence. Remember your former abuses of hours, and months, and years, in folly and sin, or, at best, in vanity and trifling: Let these thoughts of your past conduct, lie with such an effectual weight on your hearts, as to keep you ever vigorous in present duty. Since
bave been so lazy and loitering, in your christian race, in time past, take larger steps daily, and stretch all the
powers of your souls to basten towards the crown and the prize. Hearken to the voice of God, in his word, with stronger attention and zeal to profit : Pray to a long-suffering God with double fervency; cry aloud, and give him do rest, till your sipful soul is changed into penitence, and renewed to holiness, till
have some good evidences of your sincere love to God, and unfeigned faith in bis Son Jesus. Never be satisfied till you are come to a well-grounded hope through grace, that God is your friend, your reconciled Father, that, when days and months are no more, you may enter into the region of everlasting light
But I proceed to the last general remark. « Learn the unspeakable happiness of those who have improved time well, and who wait for the end of time with christian hope.” They are not afraid, or, at least, they need not be afraid of the sentence, nor the oath of this mighty angel, when he lifts up his hand to heaven, aud swears with a loud voice, there shall be time no more.
O blessed creatures! Who have so happily improved the time of life and day of grace, as to obtain the restoration of the image of God, in some degree, on their souls, and to recover the favour of God through the gospel of Christ, for which end time was bestowed upon them: They have reviewed their follies with shame in the land of hope; they have mourned and repented of sin, ere the season of repentance was past, and are become new creatures, and their lips and their lives declare the divine change. They have made preparation for death, for which purpose life and time were given. Happy souls, indeed, who have
šo valued time, as not to let it run off in trifles, but have obtained treasures more valuable than that time, which is gone, even the riches of the covenant of grace, and the hopes of an eternal inheritance in glory.
Happy such souls, indeed, when time is no more with them! Their happiness begins, when the duration of their mortal life is finished. Let us survey this their happiness in a few particulars.
The time of their darknesses and difficulties is no longer : The time of painful ignorance and error is come to an end : You shall wander no more in mistake and folly; you shall behold all things in the light of God, and see him face to face, who is the original beauty, and the eternal truth. You shall see him without veils and shadows, without the reflecting glass of his word and ordinances, wbich, at best, gives us but a faint glimpse of him, either in bis nature or wisdom, his power or goodness. You shall see him in himself, and his Son Jesus, the brightest and fairest image of the Father, and shall know him, as you are known ; 1 Cor. xiii. 10, 12.
There is no more time for temptation and danger : When once you are got beyond the limits of this visible world, and all the enticing objects of Aesh and sense, there shall be no more hazard of your salvation, no more doubting and distressing fears about your interest in your Father's love, or in the salvation of bis beloved Son.
There is no more time nor place for sin to inhabit in you : The lease of its habitation in your mortal body, must end, when the body itself falls into the dust : You shall feel no more of its powerful and defiling operations, either in heart or life, for ever.
The time of conflict, with your spiritual adversaries, is no longer. There is no more warfare betwixt the flesh and spirit, no more combat with the world and the devil, who, by a thousand ways, have attempted to deceive you, and to bear you off from your heavenly hope. Your warfare is accomplished, your victory is complete, you are made overcomers through him that has loved you.Death is the last enemy to be overcome; the sting of it is already taken away, and you have now finished the conquest, and are assured of the crown; I Cor. xv. 56, 57.
The time of your distance and absence from God is no more: The time of coldness and indifference, and the fearful danger of backslidings, is no more : You shall be made as pillars in the temple of your God, and shall go more out : He shall love you like a God, and kindle the flames of your love to so intense a degree, as is only known to angels, and to the spirits of the just made perfect.
There is no more time for you to be vexed with the society of sinful creatures : Your spirit within you shall be no more ruffled and disquieted with the teizing conversation of the wicked, nor shall you be interrupted in your holy and heavenly exercises by any of the enemies of God and his grace.
The time of your painful labours and sufferings is no more. Rev. xiv. 13. Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, for they rest from all their labours that carry toil or fatigue with them : There shall be no more complaints nor groans, nu sorrows or crying ; the springs of grief are for ever dried up, neither shall there be any more pain in the flesh or the spirit. God shall wipe uway all tears from your eyes, and death shall be no more; Rev. xxi. 4.
It is finished, said our blessed Lord on the cross : It is finished, may every one of his followers say at the hour of death, and the end of time: My sins and follies, my distresses and my sufferings, are finished for ever, and the mighty angel swears to it, that the time of these evils is no longer : They are vanished, and shall never return. O happy souls, who have been so wise to count the short and uncertain number of your days on earth, as to make an early provision for a removal to heaven. Blest are you above all the powers of present thought and language. Days, and months, and years, and all these short and painful periods of time, shall be swallowed up in a long and blissful eternity, the stream of time which has run between the banks of this mortal life, and bore you along amidst many dangerous rocks of temptation, fear and sorrow, shall launch you out into the ocean of pleasures which have have no peroid. Those felicities must be everlasting, for duration has no limit there ; time, with all its measures, shall be no more. Amen.
Occasioned bg the decease of Mrs. Sarah Abney, Daughter of the late Sis
Thomas Abney, Knt. Preached April 2, 1732. Dedicated to the Lady Abney, Mother of the deceased, and to Mrs. Mary
and Mrs. Elizabeth Abney, her two surviving. Sisters.
MADAM, If so
sorrows could be diminished in proportion to the multitude of those who share in them, the spring of your tears would have been drawn almost dry, and the tide of grief have sunk low, by being divided into a thousand streams. But though this cannot afford perfect relief to your ladyslip, yet it must be some consolation to bave been blessed witb a daughter, whose removal from our world could give occasion for so general a mourning.
I confess Madam, the wound which was made by such a smarting stroke is not to be healed in a day or two, reason perunits some risings of the softer and kinder passions in such a season ; it shews at least that our bearts are not marble, and reveals the tender ingredients that are moulded up in our frame; nor does religion permit us to be insensible when a God afflicts, though he doth it with the hand of a father and a friend. Nature and love are full of these sensibilities, and incline you to miss her presence in every place where she was wont to attend you, and where you rejoiced in her as one of your dearest blessings. She is taken away indeed from mortal sight, and to follow her remains to the grave, and to dwell there, gives but a dark and melancholy view, till the great rising-day. Faith may discern the distant prospect, and exult in the sight of that glorious futurity; yet I think there is also a nearer relief Madam, to your sorrows. By the virtues which shope in her life, you may trace the ascent of her spirit to the world of immortality and joy. Could your Ladyship keep the eye of your soul directed thither, you would find it an effectual balm for a heart that bleeds at the painful remembrance of her death. What could your Ladyship have asked as a higher favour of heaven, than to have born and trained up a child for that glorious inheritance, and to have her secured of the possession beyond all possible fear or danger of losing it.
This Madam, is your own divinest hope for yourself, and you are has. tening on toward that wlessed society, as fast as days and hours give leave. When your thoughts descend to this lower world again, there are two living comforts near you, of the same kind with what you have lost: May your Ladyship rejoice in them get many years, and they in you! And when Jesus, who hath the keys of death, and the invisible state, shall appoint the hour for your ascent to heaven, may you leave them behind to bless the world with fair examples of virtue and piety among men, and a long train of services for the interest of their Redeemer.
If I were to say any thing young Ladies to you in particular, it should be in the language of our Saviour and his beloved apostle, “ Hold fast what you have till the Lord comes, that none may deprive you of your crown. Take heed to yourselves that you lose not the things which you have wrought, but that ye receive a full reward.” Go on and persevere as you have begun, in the path of true religion and happiness: And in this age of infidelity and degenerate life, be ye daily more established in the christian faith and practice, in opposition to the smiles and frowns, and every snare of a'vain delusive world. Let this one thought set a double guard upon you, that while your elder sister was with you, it was something easier to resist every temptation, when she had pronounced the first refusal : Her steadiness was a guard, which you have vow lost, but you have an almighly God io covenant on your side, and " the grace of our Lord Jesus is sufficient for you.
To his care my Lady, I commend yourself, and your whole family with affectionate petitions, and am,-----MADAM,
Your Ladyship's inost obliged, and faithful servant, London, April 29, 1732
DISCOURSE II.—The Watchful Christian dying in Peace.
A FUNERAL SERMON, &c. IT is an awful providence, which hath lately removed from among us a young person, well known to most of you, whose agreeable temper and conduct had gained the esteem of all ber acquaintance, whose constitution of body, together with the furniture of her mind, and circumstances in the world, concurred to promise many future years of life and usefulness. But all that is born of the race of map is frail and mortal, and all that is done by the hand of God is wise and holy. We mourn, and we submit in silence. Yet the providence bath a voice in it, and the friends of the deceased are very solicitous, that such an unexpected and instructive appearance of death might be religiously improved to the benefit of the living. For this end I am desired to entertain you at present, with some meditations on those words of our Saviour, which you read in Luke xii. 37.-- Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord, when
he cometh, shall find watching. VARIOUS, and well chosen are those parables, whereby our Saviour gave warning to his disciples, that, when he was departed from this world, they should ever be upon their guard, and always in a readiness to receive him at his return; because he would come on a sudden, and in such an hour as they thought not, to demand an account of their behaviour, and to distribute his recompences according to their works. There are two of these parables in this chapter: But to enter into a detail of all the particular metaphors, wbich relate to this one, whence I have borrowed my text, would be too tedious here, and would spend too much of the present hour. Without any longer preface, therefore I shall apply myself to improve the words, to our spis ritual profit, in the following method :
I. I shall enquire what is meant by the coming of Christ, in the text, and how it may be properly applied to our present purpose, or the hour of death.-II. I shall consider what is implied in the watchfulness, which our Saviour recommends. III. I shall propose some considerations, which will discover the blessedness of the watchful soul in a dying hour.-IV. I shall add some practical remarks.
First, Let us enquire, what is meant by the coming of Christ in my text. The coming of Cbrist, in some of these parables, may have reference to his speedy appearance, in the course of his providence, in that very age, to judge and punish the Jewish nation, to destroy their city, and put an end to their church and state, for their many heinous iniquities, and the most provoking crime of rejecting and crucifying the Son of God.--But these words, in their supreme and most important sense, always point to the glorious appearance of Christ at the last day,