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sting or no: Whether it be taken away hy the blood of Christ ? Is this blood sprinkled on my conscience, by the humble exercise of faith on a dying Saviour Are the terrors of death removed, and am I prepared to meet it by the sanctifying influences of the blessed Spirit ? Have I such an interest in the covenant of grace as takes away the sting of death, as turns the curse into a blessing, and changes the dark scenes of death into the commencement of a new and everlasting life? This is that preparation for dying for which our time of life was given us, and happy are those who are taught of God to make this use of it.
Judgment is making haste towards us; months and days of divine patience are flying swift away, and the last great day is just at hand: Then we must give an account of all that has been done in the body, whether it has been good or evil; 2 Cor. v. 10. And what a dismal and distressing surprize will it be, to have the Judge come upon us in a blaze of glory and terror, while we have no good account to give at his demand? And yet this is the very end and design of all our time, which is lengthened out to us on this side the grave, and of all the advantages that we have enjoyed in this life, that we may be ready to render up our account, with joy to the Judge of all the earth.
Heaven is not ours by birth and inheritance, as lands and houses op earth descend to us from our earthly parents.
We as well as they are by nature unfit for heaven and children of wrath; but we may be born again, we may be born of God, and become heirs of the heavenly inheritance through Jesus Christ: We may be renewed into the temper and spirit of heaven; and this life is the only season that is given us for this important change : Shall we let' our days and years pass away, one after another in long succession, and continue the children of wrath still? Are we contented to go on this year as the last, without a title to heaven, without a divine temper, and without any preparation for the business, or the blessedness of that happy world ?
VI. When this life comes to an end, “ the time of all our earthly comforts and amusements shall be no more." We shall have none of these sensible things around us to employ or entertain our eyes or our ears, to gratify our appetites, to sooth our passions, or to support our spirits in distress. All the infinite variety of cares, labours and joys, which surrounded us here, shall be no more ; life with all the busy scenes, and the pleasing satisfactions of it dissolve and perish together: Have a care then that you do not make any of them your chief hope, ior they are but the things of time, they are all short and dying enjoyinents.
Under the various calamities of this life we find a variety
of sensible reliefs, and our thoughts and souls are called away from their sorrows by present business, or diverted by present pleasure; but all these avocations and amusements will forsake us at once, when we drop this mortal tabernacle; we must enter alone into the world of spirits, and live without them there.
Whatsoever agonies or terrors, or huge distresses we may meet with in that unknown region, we shall have none of these sensible enjoyinents to soften and allay them, no drop of sweetness to mix with that bitter cup, no scenes of gaity and merriment to relieve the gloom of that utter darkness, or to soothe the anguish of that eternal heart-ach. O take heed my friends, that your souls do not live too much on any of the satisfactions of this life, that your affections be not set upon them in too a high degree, that you make them not your idols and your chief good, lest you be left helpless and miserable under everlasting disappointment, for they cannot follow you into the world of souls : they are the things of time, and they have no place in eternity. Read what caution the apostle Paul gives us in our converse with the dearest comforts of life ; 1 Cor. vii. 29. The time is short; and let those who have the largest affluence of temporal blessings, who have the nearest and kindest relatives, and the most endeared friendships be mortified to them, and be in some sense, as though they had them not, for ye cannot possess them long. St. Peter joins in the same sort of advice ; 1 Pet. iv. 7. T'he end of all things is at hand, therefore be ye sober, be ye moderate in every enjoyment on earth, and prepare to part with them all when the angel pronounces, that time shall be no longer: His sentence puts an effectual period to every joy in this life, and to every hope that is not eternal.
Thus we have taken a brief survey, what are the solemn and awful thoughts relating to such mortal creatures in general, which are contained in this voice or sentence of the angel, that time shall be no longer. In the
Second place, let us proceed further and enquire a little “ what are those terrors which will attend sinners, impenitent sinners at the end of time.
I. “A dreadful account must be given of all this lost and wasted time. When the judge shall ascend his throne in the air, and all the sons and daughters of Adam are brought before him, the grand enquiry will be, what have you done with all the time of life in yonder world? “ You spent thirty or forty years there, or perhaps seventy or eighty, and I gave you this time with a thousand opportunities and means of grace and salvation ; what have you done with them all? How many sahbaths did I afford you? How many sermons have you heard? How many seasons did I give you for prayer and retirement and converse with God and your own souls? Did you improve time well? Did you pray? Did you converse with your souls and with God? Or did you suffer time to slide away in a thousand impertinences, and neglect the one thing necessary
?" II. “A fruitless and bitter mourning for the waste and abuse of time,” will be another consequence of your folly. Whatsoever satisfaction you may take now in passing time away merrily and without thinking, it must not pass away so for ever. If the approaches of death do not awaken you, yet judgment will do it. Your consciences will be worried with terrible reflections on your foolish conduct.
O could we but hear the complaints of the souls in hell wliat multitudes of them would be found groaning out this dismal note, “ how hath my time been lost in vanity, and my soul is now lost for ever in distress :" How might I bave shone among the saints in heaven, had I wisely improved the time which was given me on earth, given me on purpose to prepare for death and heaven? Then they will for ever curse themselves, and call themselves eternal fools for hearkening to the temptations of flesh and sense, which wasted their time and deprived them of eternal treasures.
III. Another of the terrors which will seize upon impenitent sinners at the end of time, will be endless despair of the recovery of lost time, and of those blessings whose hope is for ever lost with it. There are blessings offered to sinful miserable men in time, which will never be offered in eternity, nor put within their reach for ever. The gospel liath no calls, no invitations, no encourageinents, no promises for the dead who have lost and wasted their time and are perished without hope. The region of sorrow, whither the judge shall drive impenitent sinners, is a dark and desolate place, where light and hope can never come: but fruitless repentance, with horrors and agonies of soul, and doleful despair reign through that world, without one gleam of light, or hope, or one moment of intermission. Then will despairing singers gnaw their tongues for anguish of heart, and curse themselves with long execrations, and curse their fellow-sioners, who assisted them to waste their time, and to ruin their souls.
IV. The last terror I shall mention, which will attend sinners at the end of time is, “ an eternal suffering of all the painful and dismal consequences of lost and wasted time." Not one smile from the face of God for ever, not one glimpse of love or mercy in his countenance, not one word of grace from Jesus Christ, who was once the chief messenger of the grace of God, not one favourable regard from all the holy saints and angels; but the fire and brimstone burn without end, and the smoke of this their torment will ascend for ever and ever, before the throne of God and the Lamb; Rev. xiv. 11.
Who knows how keen and bitter will be the agonies of an awakened conscience, and the vengeance of a provoked God in that world of misery? How will you cry out, “ O what a wretch have I been, to renounce all the advices of a compassionate Father, when he would have persuaded me to improve the time of youth and health! Alas, I turned a deaf ear to his advice, and now time is lost, and my bopes of mercy for ever perished. How have I treated with ridicule among iny vạin companions, the compassionate and pious councils of my aged parents, who Jaboured for my salvation? How have I scorned the tender admonitions of a mother, and wasted that time in sioning and sensuality, which should have been spent in prayer and devotion; And God turns a deaf ear to my cries now, and is regardless of all my groanings.” This sort of anguish of Spirit, with loud and cutting complaints would destroy life itself, and these inward terrors would sting their souls to death, if there could be any such thing as dying there. Such sighs, and sobs, and bitter agonies would break their hearts and dissolve their being, if the heart could break, or the being could be dissolved : But immortality is their dreadful portion ; immortality of sorrows, to punish their wicked and wilful abuse of time, and that waste of the means of grace they were guilty of in their mortal state.
[“ Here this discourse may be divided.”] I proceed in the last place to consider what reflections may be made on this discourse, or what are some of the profitable lessons to be learned from it.
Reflection I. We may learn with great evidence, the inestimable worth and value of time, and particularly to those who are not prepared for eternity. Every hour you live, is an hour longer given you to prepare for dying, and to save a soul. If you were but apprized of the worth of your own souls, you would better koow the worth of days and hours, and of every passing moment, for they are given to secure your immortal interest, and save a soul from everlasting misery. And you would be zealous and importunate in the prayer of Moses the man of God, upon a meditation of the shortness of life; Ps. xc. 12. So teach us to number our days, as to apply our hearts to wisdom: that is, so teach us to consider, how few and uncertain our days are, that we may be truly wise in preparing for the end of them.
It is a matter of vast importance, to be ever ready for the end of time, ready to hear this awful sentence, confirmed with the oath of the glorious angel, that time shall be no longer. The terrors, or the comforts of a dying bed depends upon it: The solemn and decisive voice of judgment depends upon it: The joys and the sorrows of a long eternity depend upon it: Go now, careless sinner, and, in the view of such things as these, go trifle away time, as you have done before; time, that invaluable
treastre! Go, and venture the loss of your souls, and the hopes of heaven, and your eternal happiness, in wasting away the remoant hours or moments of life : But remember the awful voice of the angel is hastening towards you, and the sound is just breaking in upon you, that time shall be no longer.
II.“ A due sense of time, bastening to its period, will furnish us with perpetual new occasions of holy meditation.”
Do I observe the declining day, and the setting sun, sivking into darkness? So declines the day of life, the hours of labour, and the season of grace : O may I finish my appointed work with honour ere the light is fled! May I improve the shining hours of grace ere the shadows of the evening overtake me, and my time of working is no more!
Do I see the moon gliding along through midnight, and fulfilling her stages in the dusky sky? This planet also is measuring out my life, and bringing the number of my months to their end. May I be prepared to take leave of the sun and moon, and bid adieu to these visible heavens, and all the twinkJing glories of them! Thiese are all but the measurers of my time, and hasten me on towards eternity.
Am I walking in a garden, and stand still to observe the slow motion of the shadow upon a dial there? It passes over the hour lines with an imperceptible progress, yet it will touch the last line of day-light shortly: So my hours and my moments move onward with a silent pace; but they will arrive with certainty at the last limit, how heedless soever I am of their motion, and how thoughtless soever I may be of the improvement of time, or of the end of it.
Does a new year commence, and the first morting of it dawn upon me? Let me remember, that the last year was finished and gone over my head, in order to make way for the entrance of the present : I have one year less to travel through this world, and to fulfil the various services of a travelling state: May my diligence in daty be doubled, since the number of my appointed years is diminished !
Do I find a new birth-day, in my survey of the calendar, the day wherein I entered upon the stage of inortality, and was born into this world of sins, frailties, and sorrows, in order to my probation for a better state ? Blessed Lord, how much have I spent already of this mortal life, this season of my probation, and how little am I prepared for that happier world? How unready for my dying moment ? Ian hastening hourly to the end of the life of man, which began at my nativity: Am I yet born of God? Have I begun the life of a saint? Ain I prepared for that awful day, which shall deterinine the number of my months on earth? Am I fit to be born into the world of spirits through the straight gate of death ? Ain I renewed in all the powers of