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The important duty is—“Redeeming the time.” This does not mean that we can buy back time, or recall the past. No, time once gone, is irrecoverably gone.
But it does mean, that we are so to improve time, the time of youth especially, that none of it is to be wasted in the service of sin and folly. We redeem time when we make the most of it for both worlds, especially when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and secure the salvation of our souls. As long as this is neglected, time may be improved for this world, but the day of salvation is unimproved and wasted. No man would risk his property on the continuance of the life of another, even for one year, without the prospect of gain; and shall we risk our souls on the continuance of our own life, which may he far shorter than a year, when there is not only no prospect of gain, but certain loss, and it may be irretrievable loss? We redeem time when we make progress in knowledge and holiness. Sin is always making progress in the sinner, and shall not knowledge and holiness always make progress in the saint? We are always making progress to the grave, and shall we not, at the same time, make progress to heaven? We redeem the time when we labour for the good of others. By our instructions, by our exertions, by our prayers, and by our example, we must try to bring men to Christ and salvation. We redeem the time, when we spend every day by making some preparation for a better world. Why prepare, by a life of exertion, for a retired and happy home on earth, where our residence must be short, and not prepare for a happy home in the heavens, where the saint shall dwell for ever?
The duty enforced by a powerful motive—“Because the days are evil.” The days in which the apostle lived were evil, because of persecution. In preaching the gospel, his life was every moment in danger, especially from his own countrymen. Every effort he put forth to enlighten and save, stirred up angry passions, and kindled revengeful opposition, hence his need of redeeming the time. We have no such evil days, yet we have days of abounding iniquity, and great indifference to religion. Days of sinning, are days of danger, and days of merited judgment. Sin is rushing like a torrent, let us try to stem it, or escape from its violence. Our days are few, as well as evil. “Are not thy days few ?” Do not make them fewer by lying too long in bed. The longest life is but an inch of time, and not too long to prepare for eternity. Let us seize the moments as they pass, and spend them in doing good, for every experienced Christian bears this testimony: I regret that I served sin, Satan, and the world, so long.
WORDS OF PEACE. “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace."
-John xvi. 33.
THE words of Christ are vastly important—they are designed to lead to Himself—and they are designed to make us happy.
Christ's words are important—“These things I have spoken unto you.” “ These things” refer to Christ's valedictory address to His disciples, contained in three chapters. The principal topics are, Christ's mediation-our union to Him—and the work of the Holy Spirit. Sin had shut man out of paradise and erected a barrier between heaven and earth, which he could not pass, but Jesus, as mediator, obeyed that law which man broke, and died that death which man deserved to die; hence the barrier is removed, there is a new pathway to heaven, and man now enters the holiest of all by the blood of Jesus. This great thing Jesus makes known when He says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life : no man cometh unto the Father but by Me." Our union to Him is illustrated by the vine and the branches. This union is spiritual-intimate -profitable--and indissoluble. Its bond is faith, and it teaches us, not only to draw from Him all our nourishment and spiritual supplies, but it teaches us, that we are wholly dependant
on Him, and that unless we hold Him fast we will be withered branches, and fit only for the fire. Another important thing is the work of the Holy Spirit. “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart I will send Him unto you.” He convinces of sin-He enlightens the mind-He renews the will—and He disposes us to believe in Jesus. Holy Spirit, touch my heart, shine into my soul, and witness with my spirit that I am a child of God!
They are designed to lead to Himself—“That in Me.” “In Me” means, united to Christ, for every disciple is in Christ, as the branch is in the tree, and as the stone is in the building. Jesus is a mighty Saviour, a Saviour universally accessible, and the only Saviour, and by believing His word, and fixing our faith in Him, we are united to His person and interested in His work. We join His standard, we swear allegiance to Him, and we identify ourselves with His cause. This union is effected by the Holy Spirit and by faith. “Hereby we know that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit.” Hence, the distance between Christ in heaven and the believer on earth, is overcome by the omnipresence of the Spirit. Believers realize this union in all its completeness, when they receive Jesus as their Saviour, for He is said to dwell in their hearts by faith. “If any man be in Christ,
WORDS OF PEACE.
he is a new creature." “ Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Thus we believe the things that Christ hath spoken, and they lead us to Christ, they conduct us into the ark, and they constitute us living stones in the great building of which Christ is both the head and the foundation.
They are designed to make us happy — “Ye might have peace.” This peace comes directly from Christ, as water comes from a fountain, and as light comes from the sun. Peace drawn from any other source is false peace. It is "peace in believing,” it "passes all understanding,” and the world can neither give it nor take it away. Peace with God-peace of conscience--and peace with all men, begin the golden age of the soul, furnish it with a continual feast, and gladden it with perpetual sunshine. While God is angry with the wicked every day, yet having peace in Christ and from Christ, God is no longer angry with me-He has freely pardoned all my sinsHe has received me into His favour and family -He will cover me with His pavilion from the strife of tongues-He will protect and bless me through life-and give me eternal peace and rest in a better world. Let this peace be the delight of my soul!
“ Fierce passions discompose the mind,
As tempests vex the sea ;