years that are past, and to see that they have not quite misspent a life, which at best is but short.

And lastly, to those who have but seldom thought of these matters, it may be of use to be put in mind, that there is one year more of a short life passed over their heads; that the next, for aught they know, may be their last; and that it will be much for their advantage to begin a new year and a new life together. To come therefore to the matter before us.

Custom and civil respect lead us, on this day, to wish one another an happy new year. But religion would have us to improve this ceremony to better purposes. To consider, for example, that the beginning of this year has put an end to another year: for which, and for all the time which we have spent, we are accountable to God. That it is, to us, utterly uncertain what this year, which we are now entering upon, may bring forth. But that this we are very sure of within a few years, we, and all men now living, shall be in another world, in a state of eternity, either of happiness or misery; and for aught we know, this great change may happen to you, or me—to be sure, to some of us-before the end of this very year we are now entering upon.

Thus you see, that the very mentioning of a new year will naturally put us upon many serious thoughts.

To assist your meditations, therefore, I will put you in mind of a few particulars, which the words of the text will furnish us with; that you



may make a good use of the day, and the season, which God has put into your power.

For the present day only we may call our own; that which is past is not to be recalled; and that which is to come, is in the hand of God, to give or deny it us, as he thinks fit.

The particulars, therefore, which I would desire you to consider along with me, are these:

I. Let us consider that our days are few, and therefore our time is precious.

And is not this acknowledged by us all, and complained of as a great misfortune,―That our lives are short; that we are no sooner come into the world, and to years of discretion, but we are immediately called upon to prepare to go out of it; and that whether we are prepared or not, leave it we must, either with or against our wills? Yes; all this is acknowledged; and there would be no need of speaking of the shortness of our lives, but that the greater part of us live as if we did not really believe what we so frequently acknowledge and complain of.

It would not become one (who himself has too many) to expose the infirmities of mankind; but it is necessary that we should not deceive ourselves, while we pretend to set a value upon that which in truth we do not regard.

If a man is very much concerned to prolong his life; if he spares no money, neglects no advice, consults his friends and physicians, and all this to add a few days to the number of his years; all this would look as if we did really value our time, and think it so short, that all cost and pains are too little that are bestowed

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upon prolonging it to its utmost period. do men indeed count their time precious? That will best be seen by considering how they use it while they have it; for if a man who takes great care of himself in the time of sickness, as soon as he recovers, shall run into new disorders; if a man, while he is under the apprehensions of death, laments the shortness of his days, as having but a few to spend to any good purposes; if such a person, when he is out of such fears and danger, shall live at all adventures, and return again to his follies; it is a sign that he values a long life, not for any wise purposes, but to spend it upon his lusts.

Thus the worldling and covetous man complains of the shortness of life, because he has but a few years to get a great estate in. The drunkard thinks that time passes away, and that death is hastening on to interrupt his pleasures. And even those that are now careless, and have so much time upon their hands that they do not know how to spend it, will one day think it very short, when they come to consider how little use they have made of it.

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And now you see the reason why men call time precious, and think life very short. Not that they would make good use of it, were it ten times as long; but that they might have more time, one to idle and saunter away his life in vanity and trifles; another to leave a greater estate than a blessing to his posterity; another would have more time, that he may spend it upon his lusts. Some wish a long life, that they may enjoy the estates their ancestors have left

them; others, that they may spend them, and leave none to their posterity. Those that are in easy circumstances, think life too short, and desire to live longer, that they may have all the good that this world can afford; and those that are poor and in want, would live longer to see an end to their miseries, and a change for the better.

In short; all agree in this,-That our days are few, and our time precious; and but too few consider the true end of life, or resolve to make the best use of so precious a thing.

If our days were so many that we could not number them, a man would have some excuse, though he should fling some of them away upon vanity and nothing; but when he that can count three score and ten, or fourscore, can number the years of the longest life, it should not seem to be great wisdom to lose much of our time without considering what may come hereafter.

If our days are but a span long, we may better see to the end of them; and it is unpardonable not to consider our latter end, when we are complaining of it, as coming too fast upon us.

It was, perhaps, the long lives of those before the flood, that made them so wicked as to deserve to be destroyed by a general deluge. They reckoned upon four or five hundred years at least, and death at such a distance did not affect them with what must follow: they kept far from them the evil day, till at last they for"got that such a time was ever to come, and this made them secure and wicked beyond example. But for us to know and confess that our days are few, and that we are, within a very short

space of time, to leave this world, and to give an account of what we have done here, and yet to have no more concern upon our spirits than if we were never to die, is somewhat unaccountable: and if we complain of the shortness of our lives, and yet make no better use of them, we shall complain without pity, and perish without relief.

After all, our time is truly short: we ought to know this, and to consider it seriously, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom; that we in this our day, know the things that belong unto our peace, lest they be for ever after hid from us.


Even they that are young, ought to know this, for the days will come in which they will have a nearer sight of death. They that are in health, ought not to forget it, for, ere long, sickness and death will put them in mind of the folly of not thinking of them sooner.

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But if the young and the healthful have reason to reflect upon the shortness of life, much more reason have they to do so, with concern and thoughtfulness, who have spent much of their time in sin and folly, who are already in years, and have done nothing towards their errand - into this world.

Those who are of a weak constitution ought to consider this in earnest; and they that are old should ever have it in their thoughts.

They that have done little good, ought to think the time short in which they are to make amends for their negligence; and they that have done much wrong, may well fear the time

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