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doth frustrate evil designs ; sometimes he doth visit by fickness, diseases and pain ; and these are to be looked on as God's awakening of us.

Now to make out my observation, that all times are not alike. Was it alike with Saul, when he was making havock of the church, and haling men and women to prison, that professed the name of Chrift; and when Christ Jesus appeared to him in a vision from heaven; saying, Aets ix. 4. Saul, Saul, why perfecutest thou me? it was not alike with the cripple, Afts iii. 6. when he lay so many years at the gate, and when Peter said unto him, rise up and walk. It was not alike with him that lay at the pool so many years, and was not able to go in of himself, nor to get any one to help him ; as when he was spoken to, to rise up and walk, John v. 8. Elifba, 1 Kings xix. 19. was but a common man till Elijah called him ; the child might have continued dead long enough, 2 Kings vi. 34. had not Elias stretched himfelfupon it. The beafts that were affected, Gen. vii. 8, 9. went into the ark, but the rest tarried abroad and perished in the flood. Lazarus; John xi. 43. underour Saviour's power, though dead four days, is brought to life again. When this voice from God, Eph. v. 14. Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead and Christ pall give thee life, is heard, the effect will follow. There is a great deal of difference between the day of God's grace and power, and man's weakness and infirmities. Sometimes we are more than men through divine grace and affistance ; other times we are less than ourfelves. It was fo with

David; when the spirit of God was upon him, how doth he defy the armies of the aliens ; but at another time, I shall one day perish by the hand of Saul. A vast difference there is, when we are under divine motion, and when not; and therefore every man ought when he is in a good disposition, and well affected, to follow those impressions, for then that will be done which at another time will not be done.

VI. There is a vast difference between the flourishing condition of life, health, and strength ; and the hour of sickness, weakness and death. In the former there is the vigour of nature ; in the latter 'tis enough for a man to bear his infirmities. The most we can then expect to do, is to bear up against the pangs of death, and dismal apprehensions of it. And he is mad that hath a days work to do when he is going to bed.

We see what great mischief came upon one's being late on his journey, Judg. xix. the Levite being overtaken in the night. Wemustknow that the work of conversion is a sober, serious and deliberate work, and ought not to be deferred to fickness and the hour of death, which is an hour of hafte, hurry and confusion. It is the greatest business of life, and of concernment to eternity ; and shallwe prefer things that are trifles in comparison, and bestow all our time, and thoughts and care upon them, and leave that which is fundamental to the state of eternity to the last ? especially considering,

First, That no man is sure of warning, or of a moderate, leisurely fickness. Some drop down all on the sudden, and never have the use of reason to

speak

{peak a word; as they that die of apoplexies, lethargies and the like.

Many die before either they themselves, or they that are about them, are aware ; but if they die not so soon, a man may be non compos mentis, through the heightof his disease: and if not so, there is very great danger of despairing ; if the foundation of hope be not laid before ; for, take it for granted, there are none so much in danger of despairing at the time of death, as they which have been most prefumptuous in the course of their lives.

Again, the enemy of our souls, who hath been so ready to deceive us in life will double his diligence at the hour of death. So that, if we are not now able to withstand his temptations, how shall we be able to do it, when we shall have less ability, and he come upon us with more force and violence.

Further, sometimes men expect assistance from friends ; but they may be absent when we want them ; or they may prove like Job's friends, miscrable comforters. But if this should be otherwise, it is then too late to begin a new scene of life, and learn the knowledge of religion ; for knowledge is leisurely gotten, and with difficulty ; but however, that is no time for practice. If a man could be made fit for it, and taught in a moment, he hath no time to perform and exercise religion. The mind cannot be discharged of its ill habits in a moment, which have been settled by conversation, and the work of a man's life.

VII. And lastly ; now, and hereafter, the present and the future, this world and the world to come, are not alike, for the concerns of our souls. For now VOL, I,

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is

is the time of working out our salvation ; the next

world will be for reckoning, and in judgment : As this life leaves ús, eternity will find us. See therefore what great advantages we have in this day, and let us make use of them. We have the direction of holy fcripture, which we may read as often as we will : we have friends and guides for the instruction of our souls; we have all God's institutions and appointments, and the divine Spirit's assistance, and the gospel promises to assure us that our applications to God shall not be in vain, if they be fincere.

But then for hereafter ; what word of promife in all the bible, for any thing that is to be done by us here- after ? what scripture doth say, that that may be done hereafter which is now neglected ? No ; we read, Prov. i: 26. That because I called, and ye would not answer, I will then laugh at your destruction, and mock when your fear cometh : and Luke xvi. we read of the rich glutton, that he is tormented ; and poor Lazarus, that made an advantage of his poverty, and did his work in this world, he is comforted. If therefore we are real, fincere, and hearty in our religion, we shall not put it off. Matters of weight and moment we do not put off at large, but we apa point a fit and convenient time ; and if the thing be of concernment, we will appoint a time near and certain ; for delays and put-offs are next to denials,

From hence, I infer,
1. That we are to discern the time.
2. That we are to use the time. And

3. That we are to recover the time which is loft of mispent,

1. That

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1. That we are to discern the time.

This was wanting in them, Luke xii. 56. Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky, and of the earth ; but how is it that ye do not discern this time? This, as it argues stupidity, so it is a forerunner of ruin, Luke xix. 44. They shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee, and they hall not leave in thee one stone upon another, because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. This is an account of Jerusalem's doom. To know time and season in every profeffion and way of living, is a principal piece of skill. No good is to be done in any way, if this be not understood, Ecclef. iii. 11. He hath made every thing beautiful in his time, and ver. 1. To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven ; and the misery of man is great, because he does not difcern this time, Ecclef. viii. 6. Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him. For the purpose of religion, the time of youth, and nature's strength ; the time before men are acquainted with evil; the time of God's affistance, indulgencey grace, and favoura ble acceptance, are most proper : these make the time properly for working. Elder years are attended with weakness and infirmities, which greatly indispose for action, especially if we are to begin a new thing. This is rather a time of patience and paffion, than of work.

2. That we use the time. That time is lost that is not used; the virtue of it consists in the use of it. The true improvement of time, is in the recovery of our felves by reconciliation with God : our D 22

minds

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