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who came into the city, and shewed to the chief priests all the things that were done, viz. The earthquake, angel's descent, &c. Mat. xxviii. 11.
4. Christ had given fufficient proof of his divine mission to the Jews before, by the miracles he wrought, which they blasphemously opposed, and maliciously prosecute him to death as a traitor; and therefore, because of their malice and obstinacy, they were unworthy of such a privilege as his conversing with them.
s. Though he had appeared to them, these malicious men would not have acknowledged him to be the per. son that was crucified, but would have alledged he was an impostor, set up by the Christians to personate the true Jesus, and been more enraged against his follow. ers than ever.
6. Though Christ had risen and appeared in such a manner, yet Deists would have quarrelled the testimony of witnesses the same way they do now, saying, “ How should we believe the report of others, and credit what we see not with our own eyes," &c. Christ's miracles were as publicly transacted as could have been desired; all men, and the greatest enemies, were allowed to witness the same ; yet Deists now treat them as mere forgeries, and so would they have done Christ's appearing even to the whole Jewish sanhedrim. · Improvement. From the resurrection of Christ, we . may infer, that death is fairly overcome, and swallowed up in victory. Christ went into the very den of this dragon, and foiled it. Now, though it retains its dart, yet it hath left its sting in Christ's side, so that the believer may triumph, as I Cor. xv. 55. 56. 57. “ O death where is thy sting! O grave where is thy victory. The sting of death is lin; and the strength of fin is the law. But thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The true believer need not have any flavilh fear of death, though it frighten, yet it cannot hurt him. 2. Ler believers dispose and employ their bodies, as those who know what is prepared for them at the resurrection. 3. Let us all secure to ourselves an interest in Christ and his blessed resurrection. 'Tis this hope that supports under all the troubles of this life.
: MEDITATION IV.
From Eph. vi. 16.
Redeem the time.
1. TIME is one of the most precious blessings which man enjoys in this world, a jewel of i estimable worth: It is a golden stream continually running down by us, yea, carrying us all alongst with it: It is a stream running from one ocean to another, from an eternity behind us, to an eternity before us..
2. That which makes time so precious mainly, is, that the salvation of our precious and immortal souls, through all eternity, depends thereupon. Upon the improvement of this short moment of time, depends a long-lasting, and never ending eternity.
3. The expence which God the author of time is at, to create and beget it for us, thews the preciousness of it. Why? God, by his almighty power, doth continually wheel about these great luminaries of sun, moon, and stars, in their annual and diurnal revolutions, to beget, and furnish time to us; and these do never halt nor stop, nor come short of their appointed times of rising and setting, and all for the service of man, that he may have time for the service of his Maker, and the saving of his soul.
4. The halte that time doth make, and the confideration of its shortness, that it will quickly be gone, and that a minute of it can never be recalled, shews forth its preciousness.
5. Also the important business we have for every moment of our time, although each of us had a thou. sand years to live, the service of God, and saving of our fouls, is such a vast work, as would require every minute of it.
6. We are ready to pass into another world, an eternal state, where every minute of our time must be accounted for, and then it must fare with us eternally, as we have fpent and improven this short time here.
7. For as precious as time is, it is undervalued and lavished away more than any thing is. It is feldom taken notice of, until it is quite past away from ys; we never consider its worth and usefulness, till it is just ending. Hence Solomon faith, Eccl. ix. 12. “ Man knoweth not his time.”
8. Tis most just, that he who hath the ordering and disposing of all things else concerning us, should be also the supreme Lord and disposer of our time, and there, fore hath right to determine what time is to be allotted for our work, and what for his : And most just it is, that he, from whom we have all our time, should have his choice of it.
9. Of all time Sabbath-time is the most precious and valuable ; it being the time God has alloited and set apart for himself, and upon the improvement whereof, the glory of God and salvation of our souls, depend in a molt peculiar manner, it being the day of special ac. cels to God, and of free commerce and correspondence between heaven and earth. It is heaven's weekly mar. ket day, or God's deal-day to the poor and needy; the day of access to God's presence-chamber. Time by fome is compared to a gold ring, and the Sabbath to the sparkling diamond, which gives it its lustre, and heightens its value. Wherefore, if we be wise, we will hew a peculiar esteem for the Sabbath above all the days of the week; we'll reckon every moment of Sabe bath-time most precious, and desire that none of it may be mif-spent. What Christ said to his disciples concerning the loaves and the fishes, the like he seems to peak to us concerning his holy day, “ Gather up the fragments,” gather up all the parcels, the spare hours and minutes of it; account them as precious as the goldsmith doth the smallest filings of his gold, and leç nothing of Sabbath time be loft.
Exhortation. Above all time redeem carefully Sab. bath time, and iinprove it diligentiy. Consider what a blessing the Sabbath is to you, if rightly improven; 1. An inn for refreshing the weary traveller, that hath been toiled and tossed with storms through the week. 2. It is Christ's weekly market-day, wherein Chrilt sets Vol. IV.
forth the richest wares and commodities for us to buy “ without money and without price," Rev. iii. 18. 3. It is the king of heaven's public deal-day, wherein he deals his bread to the hungry, and gives alms to the poor and needy. 4. It is the day of conversion, of inbringing and gathering the elect. Multitudes have been brought in to Christ this day. 5. It is a day of access to God, and correspondence with heaven; a day when Christ is to be seen and converfed with. You may not cnly have correspondence with Christ at a dift. ance, but in mediate access. You may be taken into the palace, the presence-chamber, and see the king in his beauty, hear his voice, get the kisses of his mouth, the en braces of his arms; and should not this time be redeemed? 6. It is the day of heaven's festival, where, in Christ ufeth to feast his saints with the fatness of his house. 7. It is a day of reaping and gathering, and for laying up in store for the time to come. 8. A day for ascending the mount of transfiguration, to fee Christ transfigured, a day of afcending to mount Pisgah, to See the land that is afar off.
2. Redeem Sabbath-time, for it is flying fast away; you may have but a few more Sabbaths to enjoy. The Sabbath is fast approaching that will be your last Sabbath, after which you shall see no more in this world.
3. Redeem Sabbath-time, for much depends on it, the glory of God, and salvation of your immortal souls through eternity. So important is the business that depends on the improvement of your Sabbath time, that it would call for the improvement of every moment; Yea, though each of you had ten thousand Sabbaths to spend, the service of God, and saving of your souls, is such a vast work, as would require every minute of them.
4. Redeem Sabbath-time, for we cannot recall one Sabbath that is paft; no, though we had a world to give for one Salbath, we could not recall it. O many will be put one day to wish and cry in vain, 0 to recover one of these loft Sabbaths, wherein I had the free rich offer of a crucified Christ.
5. Redeem Sabbath-time, for you are just ready to pals into another world, where you must give a strict account of every Sabbath you have enjoyed, and answer for every minute of precious Sabbath-time. How will you answer for all the Sabbtahs you have misimproven, for the Sabbaths of threescore years, which are above three thousand : O that will be a terrible Item in the accounts of old graceless Ginners.
Directions in redeeming Sabbath time. 1. Carefully avoid whatever hinders it; as 1. Atheism, or misbelief of the truth, and of the great end and design of the Sabbath. 2. Ignorance. Many are so ignorant, that they think if they pass away the Sabbath without any gross breach of it, they do well enough. 3. Sloth and laziness. Up and be doing.
2. If you would redeem Sabbath-time, repent of former milimprovements, and humble yourselves for lost Sabbaths, and cry for mercy through Christ's atoning blood.
3. Study to recompence former mismanagements by your future diligence; as a traveller who finds himself like to be benighted by his former laziness, mends his pace, and goes as many miles now in one hour, as formerly he did in two.
4. Spend every Sabbath now as it were your last; and this approaching Sabbath be as diligent on it, as if it were your last; prepare for it in the evening ; get up early next morning, pray, read, meditate, examine yourself, and wrestle for God's presence with you in the ordinances.
s. Hearken presently to Christ's calls in the word;' believe and embrace Christ's doctrine, and his righteo ousness, and close with him as your only help and Temedy.