SERMON LIX

SERMON LIX.

A New-year's Gift.

Rom. xii. 11. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep ; for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed?

TIME, like an ever-running stream, is perpetualty gliding on, and hurrying us and all the sons of men into the boundless ocean of eternity. We are now entering upon one of those imaginary lines of divifion, which men have drawn to measure out time for their own conveniency; and, while we stand upon the threshold of a new year, it becomes us to make a solemn contemplative pause; though time can make no pause, but rushes on with its usual velocity. Let us take some suitable reviews and profpects of time past and future, and indulge such reflections as our transition from year to year naturally tends to suggest.

The grand and leading reflection is that in the text, with which I present you as a New-Year's Gift j Knowing the time, that it is now high time to awake out tfJleep.

The connection of our text is this:—The apostle having enjoined sundry duties of religion and morality, subjoins this consideration, namely, that the time remarkably required them j as if he should fay, Be subject to magistrates, and love one another, and that the rather, knowing the time, that it is now high time, or the proper hour, f to awake out of sleep. A

sleepy

* This Sermon is dated Nassau-Hall, Jan. i, 17^0,

sleepy negligence as to these things is peculiarly unseasonable at such a time as this.

The Romans, to whom this epistle was written, were christians indeed, in the judgment of charity :. they were such, whose salvation the apostle could point at as near approaching; Now, fays he, is your salvation nearer than when you believed: And yet he. calls even upon such to awake out of steep. Even sincere christians are too often apt to fall into negligence and security; they contract an idolent, dull, lazy temper, as to the duties of religion and divine things: sometimes their love languishes, their zeal cools, and they become remiss or formal in their devotions. Now such a state of dulness and inactivity is often represented by the metaphor Sleep: because as Sleep disables us from natural actions, and blunts our animal fenses, so this spiritual steep indisposes the foul for the service of God and spiritual sensations.

Hence it follows, that to awake out of sleep, signisies to rouse out of carnal security, to make off spiritual floth, and to engage in the concerns of religion with vigour and full exertion, like men awake.

And as even christians are too often liable to fall into some degrees of spiritual steep, as they often nod and slumber over the great concerns of religion, which demand the utmost exertion of all their powers, notwithstanding the principle of divine life implanted in them, there is great need to cast even upon them to awake. Thus the apostle rouses the Roman christians, including himself among them, as standing in need of the fame excitation. It is high time for us, fays he ; that is, for you and me, to awake out of sleep.

This is a duty proper at all times. There is not one moment of time in which a christian may lawfully and safely be secure and negligent. Yet the apostle intimates, that some particular times call for peculiar vigilance and activity; and that to steep at such times is a sin peculiarly aggravated. Now, fays

he, he, it is high time for us to awake out of Jleep: this is. not a time for us to sleep: this time calls upon us to rouse and exert ourselves: this is the hour for action : we have slept too long already : now let us rouse and rise.

The apostle also intimates, that the serious consideration and right knowledge of time, is a strong excitement to awake out of sleep. Knowing the time, fays he, that now it is high time to awake out of Jleep; that is, your knowing and seriously considering the importance, the uncertainty, and the shortness of time in general, and the peculiar circumstances of the present time in particular, may be sufficient to rouse you. Natural sleep should be in its season: They that Jleep, Jleep in the night. But, says he, wd are 'all the children of the light, and the children of the day. We are brought out of darkness into the glorious light of the gospel; therefore let not us sleep, as do others. Consider the time, that it is day-light with you ; and you cannot but be sensible, that it is now high time for us to awake out of sleep: this is the hour to rise. Therefore let us awake to righteousness.

The reason the apostles urges upon the Roman christians to awake at that time, is very strong and moving: it is this; Now is our salvation nearer than •when we believed. Salvation is hastening quick towards us upon the wings of time. As many years as are past since we sirst believed in Christ, by so many years nearer is our salvation: Or, as he expresses it in the next verse, The night is far spent, the day is at hand. The gloomy, turbulent night of the present state is near over; the dawn of eternal day is just ready to open upon us; and can we sleep at such a time? What, sleep on the very threshold of heaven! sleep, when salvation is just ready to embrace us! sleep, when the dawn of celestial day is just about shining around us! Is it possible we should sleep at such a time? Must not the prospect of everlasting salvation so near us, the thought that in a very little time we shall be in heaven, rouse us, and six us in a posture of eager expectation and constant watchfulness?

The text implies, that christians should always be growing in grace; and that the nearer their salvation is, the more lively and zealous should they be; and since it is nearer this year than the last, they ought to be more holy this year than the last. The nearer they are to heaven, the more heavenly they should be. The approach of salvation is a strong motive to holiness; and the stronger, by how much the nearer it is.

My chief design at present is to lead you to know the time, and to make such reflections upon it as its nature and circumstances require, and as are suited to our respective conditions.

The sirst thing I would set you upon, as a necessary introduction to all the rest, is the important but neglected duty of self-examination. " Methinks it may shock a man to enter upon a new year without knowing whether he shall be in heaven or hell before the end of it: and that man can give but a very poor account of the last year, and perhaps twenty or thirty years before it, that cannot yet give any satisfactory answer to this grand question. Time is given us to determine this interesting point, and to use proper means to determine it in our favour. Let us therefore resolve this day, that we will not live another year strangers to ourselves, and utterly uncertain what will become of us through an endless duration. This day let us put this question to our hearts? "What am I? Am I an humble, dutiful servant of God? or am I a disobedient, impenitent sinner? Am I a disciple of Christ in reality? or do I only wear his name, and make an empty profession of his religion? Whither am I bound? for heaven or hell? Which am I most sit for in temper? for the region of perfect holiness, or for that of sin and impurity? Is it not time this inquiry should be determined? Shall I stu

pidly delay the determination, till it be passed by the irrevocable sentence of the supreme Judge, before -whom I may stand before this year is at a close? Alas! if it should then be against me, my doom will be remediless. But if I should now discover my case to be bad, blessed be God, it is not too late to alter it. I may yet obtain a good hope through grace, though my present hope mould be found to be that of the hypocrite."

If I mould push home this inquiry, it will probably discover two sorts of persons among us, to whom my text leads me particularly to address myself; the one, entirely destitute of true religion, and consequently altogether unprepared for a happy eternity; and yet careless and secure in that dangerous situation; the other, Christians indeed, and consequently habitually prepared for their latter end; but criminally remiss or formal in the concerns of religion, and in the duties they owe to God and man. The one, funk in a deep fleep in sin; the other nodding and flumbering, though upon the slippery brink of eternity. Now as to both these sorts of persons, it is high time for them to awake out of fleep. And this exhortation I would press upon. them, sirst, by some general considerations common to both; and then, by some particular considerations proper to each respectively.

The general considerations are such as these: I. Consider the uncertainty of time as to you. You may die the next year, the next month, the next week, the next hour, or the next moment. And I once knew a minister f who, while he was making this observation, was made a striking example of it, and instantly dropt down dead in the pulpit. When you look forward through the year now begun, you fee what may never be your own. No, you cannot call one day of it your own. Before that day comes,

you

f The P(.ev. Mr. Conn of Bladensburgli, in Maryland.

you may have done with time, and be entered upon eternity. Men presume upon time, as if it was certainly entailed upon them for so many years; and this is the delusion that ruins multitudes. How many are now in eternity, who begun the last year with as little expectation of death, and as sanguine hopes of long life, as you have at the beginning of the present? And this may be your doom. Should a prophet, instructed in the secret, open to you the book of the divine decrees, as Jeremiah did to Hananiah, some of you would no doubt fee it written there, this year thoujhalt die. Jer. xxviii. 16. Some unexpected moment in this year will put an end to all the labours and enjoyments of the present state, and all the duties and opportunities peculiar to it.

Therefore if sinners would repent and believe; if they would obtain the favour of God, and preparation for the heavenly state; and if saints would make high improvements in religion; if they would make their calling and election sure, that they may not stumble over doubts and fears into the presence of their judge; if they would do any thing for the honour of God, and the interests of the Redeemer's kingdom in the world; if they would be of service to their families, their friends, their country and mankind in general, now is the time for them to awake out of fleep, and set about their respective work. Now is the time, because this is the only time they are certain of. Sinners! you may be in hell before this year sinishes its round, if you delay the great business of religion any longer. And saints! if you neglect to improve the present time, you may be compelled to shoot the gulph of eternity, and launch away to unknown coasts, full of fears and perplexities; you may be cut off from all opportunities of doing service to God and mankind, of endeavouring to instil the principles of religious knowledge and practice into the minds of your dear children, and those under your care, unless you catch the present hour. For remember, time is uncertain.

Vol. III. Uu Youth, Youth, health, strength, business, riches, power, wisdom, and whatever this world contains, cannot ensure it. No, the thread of life is held by the divine hand alone; and God can snap it asunder, without warning, in whatever moment he pleases.

II. Consider the shortness of time as to you. Time, in its utmost extent, including what is past from the creation, and what is future to the conflagration, is nothing to eternity. But the time of your life is vastly shorter. That part of time which is parcelled out to you, is not only uncertain, but extremely short: it is uncertain when it will end, but it is absolutely certain it will end very soon. You cannot hope to surpass the common standard of long lives: and that is but seventy or eighty years. Nay, you have but very little reason to hope you shall arrive to this. The chance against it, if I may so speak, is at least ten to one; that is, there are at least ten that die on this • side of seventy or eighty, for one that lives to that period: it is therefore far more likely that you will never spend seventy or eighty years upon earth. A shorter space than that will probably convey you from this world to heaven or hell. And is it not high time then for you to awake out of fleep? Your work is great; your time is short: you have none to spare; none to trifle away: it is all little enough for the work you have to do.

III. Consider how much of your time has been lost and mispent already.

Some of you that are now the sincere servants of God, may recollect how late in life you engaged in his service; how long you stood idle in his vineyard, when his work was before you, and his wages in your offer. How many guilty days and years have you spent in the drudgery of sin, and in a base neglect of God and your immortal souls! Others of you, who have the noble pleasure of reflecting that you devoted yourselves to God early, in comparison of others, are yet sensible how many days and years were lost before

you

you made fa wife a choice, lost in the sins and follies of childhood and youth. And the best of you have reason to lament how much precious time you have miipent, even since you heartily engaged in the service of God; how many opportunities, both of doing good to others and receiving good yourselves, you have lost by your own carelessness. How many seasons for devotion have you neglected or mifimproved! O! how little of your time has been devoted to God and the service of your souk! How much of it has been wasted upon trifles, or in an over eager pursuit of this vain world? Does not the loss, upon the whole, amount to many days, and even years? And a day is no small loss to a creature, who has so few days at most to prepare for eternity.

As to many of you, is it not sadly evident you have lost all the days and years that have rolled over your heads? you have perhaps managed time well as to the purposes of the present life; but that is but the lowest and most insignificant use of it. Time is given as a space for repentance and preparation for eternity: But have you not entirely lost it, as to this grand use of it? Nay, are not your hearts more hard, and you less prepared for eternity now than you were some years ago? Have you not been heaping up the mountain of sin higher and higher every day, and estranging yourselves from God more and more? To heighten the loss, you should consider it is irrecoverable. Nothing is more impossible than to recal past time. It is gone! it is gone for ever! Yesterday can no more return than the years before the flood. Power, wisdom, tears, intreaties, all the united efforts of the whole universe of creatures, can- never cause it to return.

And is there so much of your time lost ? lost beyond all possibility of recovery? And is it not high time for you to awake out of sleep? Have you any more precious time to throw away? Shall the time to come be abused and lost, like the past? Or will you

not not endeavour to redeem the time you have lost, in the only way in which it can be redeemed, that is, by doubling your industry in time to come? Much must now be done in a little time, since you have now but little left. You have indeed had 10, 20, 30, or 40 precious years; but, alas! they are irrecoverably lost. And may not this thought startle you, and cause you to awake out of sleep? The loss of the fame number of kingdoms would not be half so great. To a candidate for eternity, whose everlasting state depends upon the improvement of time, a year is of insinitely greater importance than a kingdom can be to any of the sons of men.

IV. Consider, the great purposes of the present life can be answered only in time; for there are certain important duties peculiar to this world, which, if unperformed here, must remain so for ever, because eternity is not the season for them.

Both worlds have their proper business allotted them; and the proper business of the one cannot be done in the other. Eternity and time are intended for quite different purposes. The one is seed-time; the other, harvest: the one is the season for working; the other, for receiving the wages: and if we would invert the unchangeable order of things, and defer the businefs of life till after death, we sliall sind ourselves miserably mistaken. Therefore, if saints would make progress in the religion of sinners, I mean that religion which becomes our present sinful state; that religion which is a course of discipline to prepare and educate us for heaven; which is a painful process for our resinement, to qualify us for that pure region; if they would cherish a noble ambition, and not only ensure happiness, but high degrees of it; if they would be of service to mankind as members of civil or religious society; and particularly, if they would be instrumental to form others for a blessed immortality, and save souls from death, by converting sinners from the error of their way 5 if they would do these things, the

present

present life is the only time. In heaven they will have more noble employ. These things must now be done, or never. And O! what pious heart can bear the thought of leaving the world while these ars undone? Would you not desire to enter into heavea ripe for it? To be completely formed by your education, before you enter upon a state of maturity? O! does not your heart burn to do something for that gracious God and Saviour, that has done and suffered so much for you! to be an instrument of some service to the world, while you are passing through it? If this be your desire, now is the time. When once death has laid his cold hand upon you, you are for ever disabled from such services as these. Then farewell to all opportunities of usefulness, in the manner of the present life. Then, even your children and dearest friends may run on in sin, and perish, while it is not in your power so much as to speak one word to dissuade them. Therefore, enter upon this new year with hearty resolutions to be more zealous and laborious in these respects than you have ever yet been.

Again, If sinners, who now are in a state of condemnation, would escape out of it; if they who are at present slaves to sin would become sincere converts to righteousness; if they would use the means of grace for that purpose, now is the time. There is none of this work in hell: they no sooner enter into the eternal world, than their state will be unchangeably and eternally sixed. The present life is the only state of trial; and if we do not turn out well in this trial, we shall never have another. All are ripe for eternity, before they are removed into it; the good ripe for heaven, and the wicked ripe for hell; the one, vessels of mercy afore-prepared for glory; and the other, vessels of wrath sitted for destruction, and for nothing else: and therefore they must remain for ever in their respective mansions. In hell indeed sinners repent; but their repentance is their punishment,

and

and has no tendency to amend or save them. They mourn and weep; hut their tears are but oil to increase the flame. They cry, and perhaps pray; but the hour of audience and acceptance is past—past for ever! The means of srace are all srone: the fanctifying influences of the spirit are all withdrawn for ever. And hence they will corrupt and putrify into mere masses of pure unmingled wickedness and misery. Sinners! realize this thought, and sure it must rouse you out of sleep. Trifle on a little longer, and it is over with you: spend a few days more as you have spent your time past, and you will be ingulphed in as hopeless misery as any devil in hell. Another year now meets you, and invites you to improve it to prepare for eternity; and if you waste it like the past, you may be undone for ever. Therefore, take Solomon's warning, whatsoever thy hand jindeth to do, do it "with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor wisdom, nor knowledge in the grave, whither you are going. Eccl. ix. 10.

These considerations, methinks, must have some weight, both upon slumbering christians and impenitent sinners, to persuade them to awake out of sleep. I now proceed to a few considerations peculiar to each.

Upon slumbering saints I would again try the force of the apostolic consideration in my text; awake, for now is ycur salvation nearer than when you believed. Heaven may be only at the distance of a year or an hour from you: it is, however, certainly nearer today than ever it was before. As many days as are past, so much the less time have you to groan away in the present life.. And shall you indeed, in so short a time, be imparadised in the bosom of your God? Shall you so soon have done with all the sins and sorrows that now oppress you? Are your days of warfare with temptation so near a close? Shall you so soon be advanced to all the glory and blessedness of the heavenly state, and be as happy as your nature

can can bear? Is this indeed the case? And must not the prospect rouse you, and sire your hearts? Is not salvation the thing you have been longing and labouring for? And now, can you slumber when it is so near? Can you fleep when the night of life is so far spent, and the dawn of eternal day is ready to shine around you ? Can you fleep on the brink of eternity, on the threshold of heaven?

The apostle here intimates, that the approach of salvation is great cause of joy to believers—cause of joy, though death lies between, and salvation cannot reach us till we pass through the gloomy vale. Therefore, believers, I may wish you joy, in prospect that you shall soon die. This wretched world shall not be your residence always. Your worst enemies upon earth or in hell will not be able to consine you here the length of Methuselah's age, much less for ever. You may rejoice in the prospect of your speedy dissolution, because death is not nearer to you than your salvation. Before your cooling clay is shrouded, your enlarged souls will be in heaven. You will be striking instances of the truth of Solomon's remark, that the day of one's death is better than the day of his birth. Eccl. vii. 1. Your death will be your birth-day, which will introduce you into a better world. Mortals in their language will pronounce you dead; but angels will shout an immortal born ! born to an everlasting life! born to a crown! born to an inheritance incorruptible, and that fadeth not away. And must not the prospect of this glorious day so near rouse you out of fleep ? Can you not watch one hour, or one year? shall salvation surprize you asleep?

Some of you perhaps are now thinking, " O! if I were certain my salvation is so near, it would even transport me, and inspire me with flaming zeal and unwearied activity. But alas! I am afraid of a disappointment. It is true, I cannot but entertain some humble hope, which the severest trial cannot overthrow. But O! what if I should be mistaken! This

jealousy jealousy makes me tremble, and shrink back from the prospect."

This may be the case of many an honest foul. But can this be pleaded as a reason or excuse for security? Alas! can you sleep in such a dreadful suspense? sleep, while you are uncertain what shall become of you through an endless duration? If you have not the sure prospect of salvation to awaken you, methinks the fear of damnation must effectually do it; for it is certain, one or the other is near you : therefore endeavour, by severe self-examination, to push the matter to some certain issue. Resolve that you will not spend another day, much less another year, in a state of such dangerous, alarming uncertainty. If this point is not yet determined, it is certainly high time for you to awake out of Jleep.

Consider farther how far your religious improvements have come short of your own resolutions and expectations, as well as your obligations. Ye happy fouls, who now enjoy a good hope through grace, recollect the time when you were in a very different and more melancholy condition ; the time when your spirits bled with a thousand wounds; when the terrors of the Lord set themselves in array against you, and the thunders of Sinai rung the most alarming peals in your astonishing ears; when the arrows of God stuck fast in you, and the poison of them drank up your spirits; when guilt lay heavy upon your consciences, and funk you down into the depth of despondency; when you were haunted with alarming apprehensions of divine vengeance night and day; when you went about crying for a Saviour—" O ! for a Saviour!"—but your cries seemed to be in vain; O ! what were then your vows and resolutions, if it should please God to deliver you! Did you then expect you would fall asleep so soon after your deliverance? Recollect also the happy hour, when the face of a reconciled God sirst smiled upon you, when Jesus appeared to your minds in all the attractive glo

ries of a Saviour, an all-sufficient Saviour in a desperate case; when he delivered your foul from death, your feet from falling, and your eyes from tears; when he inspired your desponding hearts with hope, and revived you with the heavenly cordials of his love; O! what then were your thoughts and resolutions? How strongly were you bent to make him returns of gratitude! how sirmly did you bind yourselves to be his servants for ever! But how soon, alas! did you begin to {lumber! Hbw far short have you fallen of your vows and promises! Recollect also what were your expectations at that memorable time. O! would you then have believed it, that in the space of 10 or 20 years you would have made such small progress in your heavenly course, as you have in fact done? Had you not better hopes! But, alas! how are you disappointed! what sorry servants have you been to so good a master, in comparison of what you expected! And can you bear the thought of slumbering on still? O! shall this year pass by like the former? Sure you cannot bear the thought. Therefore awake out of sleep; rise and work for your God.

Let me conclude my address to you, with this advice: Begin this new year by dedicating yourselves afresh to God, and solemnly renewing your covenant with him. Take some hour of retirement, this evening, or as soon as you can redeem time. Call yourselves to account for the year past, and all your life. Recollect your various insirmities, mourn over them, and resolve, in the strength of divine grace, you will guard against them for the time to come. Examine yourselves both as to the reality of your religion, and as to your prosiciency in it. Conclude the whole by casting yourselves anew upon Jesus Christ, and devoting yourselves for this new year entirely to him; resolved to live more to him than you have hitherto done, and depending upon him to conduct you safe through whatever this year may bring forth, whether prosperity or adversity, whether life or death. This

Vol. III. X x is is the true and only means whereby we can attain that happiness we ought all to be in pursuit of: that pleasure which will never end.

Let me now address a few considerations to impenitent sinners, peculiarly adapted to them.

Consider what a dreadful risk you run by neglecting the present time. The longer you indulge yourselves in sin, the harder it will be to break osf from it; and do you not then run the risk of cementing an eternal union with that deadly evil? The longer you cherish a wicked temper, the stronger the habits of sin will grow. And are you not in danger of becoming eternal slaves to it! The longer you continue impenitent, the harder your hearts will grow; the oftener you do violence to your consciences, the more insensible they will become. And are you not taking direct ways to consirm yourselves in impenetrable hardness of heart, and contracting a reprobate mind? The more you sin against God, and grieve his Spirit, the more you provoke him to withhold the influences of his grace, and in righteous judgment to give you up. And dare you to run so dreadful a risk as this? The more time you waste, the greater is your work, and the less your time to perform it. By how much the longer you waste your time, by so much the shorter you make your day of grace. Alas! the day of your visitation may be drawing fast towards evening, when the things that belong to your peace will be eternally hid from your eyes. Is it not then high time for you to awake out of sleep? Will you rather run such a dreadful risk than rouse out of your stupid security? O! what wil l be the end of such a course!

Let me deal plainly and without reserve with you, on a point too dangerous to allow of flattery. If you do not now awake, and turn your attention to the concerns of your souls, it is but too probable you will still go on in carnal security, and at last perish for ever. Blessed be God, this is not certain, and therefore fore you have no reason to despair; but it is really too probable, and therefore you have great reason to fear. This alarming probability, methinks, must force its evidence upon your own minds, upon principles you cannot reasonably dispute. You have lived twenty, thirty, or forty years, or more, in the world. In this time you have enjoyed the same means of grace which you can expect in time to come. You had done less to provoke the great God to cast you off: your sinful habits were not so strong, nor yotir hearts sb much hardened through the deceitfuiness of sin; you were not so much inured to the gospel, nor were your consciences so stunned by repeated violences, as you may expect in time to come: and the longer you live in this condition, the more and more discouraging it will grow. I will by no means limit a sovereign God in the exercise of his free grace. But this is evident, that in human view, and according to appearances, it was much more likely you would have been converted in time past, than that you will be converted in time to come. The most hopeful part of life is over with you: and yet even in that, you were not brought to repentance. How much less likely is it then, that you will be converted in time to come?

Suffer me to tell you plainly (for it is benevolence that makes the declaration) that I cannot but tremble for some of you. I am really afraid some of you will perish for ever ;—and the ground of my fear is this: The most generous charity cannot but conclude, that some of you are impenitent sinners ; your temper and conduct proclaim it aloud: and it is very unlikely, all things considered, that you will be ever otherwise. Since you have not repented in the most promising season of life, it is much to be feared you will not repent in the less promising part of it. And since no impenitent unholy sinner can enter into the kingdom of heaven, it is much to be feared yon will perish for ever; not because the mercy of God,

or or the merit of Christ, is insufficient to save you, if you mould apply to him for it according to the terms of the gospel; not because your case is in itself hopeless, if you would awake out of sleep, and seek the Lord in earnest: nor because you have not sufficient encouragement for laborious endeavours j but because it is too likely you will go on careless and iecure, as you have done, and persist in it, till all your time is gone, and then your case will be desperate. I honestly warn you of your danger, which is too great to be concealed. And yet I give you sufficient encouragement to fly from it, while I assure you, that if you now lay your condition to heart, and earnestly use all proper means for your conversion, you have the utmost reason to hope for success: as much reason as the saints now in heaven once had, when in your condition; and in your condition they once were.

Therefore, now, sinners, awake out of sleep. Instead of entering upon this new year with carousals and extravagancies, consecrate it to the great purpose for which it is given you, by engaging in earnest in the great work of your salvation. What meaneji tbouy 0 Jleeper? Arise, call upon thy God, if so be he will think upon thee, that thou perish not. Jonah i. 6. Awakey thou that sleepeft, and arise from the dead, that Christ may give thee light. Eph. v. 14.

Consider, this year may lay you low in the dust of death. How many are now in the grave, who saw the last new-year's day! And though I cannot point out the persons, yet, without a spirit of prophecy, I may venture to foretel, that some of us will be in heaven or hel l before this year performs its round; some grey head, or some sprightly youth; perhaps you, or perhaps I. And since none of us know who it shall be, none of us are exempted from the necessity of immediate preparation. O! that we may all be so wise, as to consider our latter end!

I beg leave of my promiscuous auditory to employ a few minutes in addressing myself to my important family, whom my paternal affection would always single out from the rest, even when I am speaking in general terms to a mixed crowd. Therefore, my dear charge, my pupils, my children, and every tender and endearing name! ye young immortals, ye embryo-angels or infant-siends, ye blooming, lovely, fading flowers of human nature, the hope of your parents and friends, of church - and state, the hope, joy, and glory of your teachers ! hear one that loves you; one that has nothing to do in the world but to promote your best interest; one that would account this the greatest blessing he could enjoy in his pilgrimage, and whose nights and days are sometimes made almost equally restless by his affectionate anxieties for you; hear him upon a subject in which you are most intimately interested; a subject the most important that even an apostle or an angel could address you upon; and that is, the right improvement of time, the present time, and preparation for eternity. It is necessary that you in particular, you above all others, should know the time, that it is now high time for you to awake out of sleep. I make no doubt but you all look upon religion as an object worthy of your notice. You all as certainly believe there is a God, as that there is a creature, or that yourselves exist: you all believe heaven and hell are not majestic chimeras, or fairy lands, but the most important realities; and that you must in a little time be the residents of the one or the other. It cannot therefore be a question with any of you, whether you shall mind religion at all! On that you are ail determined. But the question is, what is the most proper time for it? whether the present, or some uncertain hereafter? And in what order you should attend to it, whether in the sirst place, and above all, even in your early days? or whether you should not rather indulge yourselves in the pleasures of youth for some

time, and then make religion the dull business of old age. If any of you hesitate upon this point, it may be eafily solved. This is the most convenient, promifing season for this purpose that you are likely to see: never will you live more free from care, or more remote from temptation. When you launch out into the noise, and bustle, and hurry, and company, and business, and vice of the world, you will soon sind the scene changed for the worse. He must be a tempter to himself, who can sind a temptation, while immured under this roof, and immersed in books. Never will you fee the time, in your natural state, when your sins will be so conquerable, and your hearts so tender, and susceptive of good impressions; though even now, if you know yourselves, you lind your sins are invincibly strong to you, and your hearts impenetrably hard. Therefore now, my dear youth, now in this inviting season, awake out of sleep; awake to righteousness, and sin not. 1 beg you would not now commit sin with a design to repent of it afterwards; for can you be so foolish, as knowingly and deliberately to do that which you explicitly intend to repent of? that is, to do that which you intend to wish undone, and to lament with broken hearts that ever you did it. Can Bedlam itself parallel the folly of this? O take warning from the fate of your wretched predecessors in this course. Could you ask the crowds of lost ghosts, who are now suffering the punishment of their sin, whether they intended to persist impenitent in it, and perish? they would all answer, that they either vainly flattered themselves they had repented already, or intended to repent before they died ; but death seized them unawares, and put an end to all their sanguine hopes. Young sinners among them imagined they should not die till old age; and old age itself thought it might hold out a few days longer, and that it was time enough to repent. But, O L they have now discovered their error, when it is too late to correct it. Therefore do not harbour one

thought

thought of putting off repentance to a sick bed, or to old age; that is the most inconvenient and desperate season in your whole life; and if you six upon this, one would think you had viewed your whole life on purpose to sind out the most unsit and discouraging period of it for the most necessary, disficult and important work in the world. Come then, now devote yourselves to God, and away with all excuses and delays. Remember, that upon the principles I have laid down, principles that must gain your assent by the force of their own evidence, I fay, remember, that upon these principles it is extremely likely you will always persist impenitent in sin, and perish for ever, if you waste away the present season of youth, destitute of vital religion. You may every day have less and less hope of yourselves: and can you bear the thought of perishing for ever? Are your hearts so soon arrived to such a pitch of hardiness, as to be proof against the terrors of the prospect? It cannot be? for who among us can dwell with the devouring fire-? Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings? Isa. xxxiii. 14. As for such of you as have not the great work to begin, I have only this to say, Besledfajl, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lor-d, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Cor. xv. 58.