A SERMON Preached July 2, at the FUNERAL OF Mr John Wells Late Pastor of Olave-Jury, London.

By Thomas Watson, late Minister of the Gospel in Stephens Walbrook, London.

LONDON, Printed for Tho. Parkhurst at the Bible and Three Crowns in Cheapside near Marcers-Chappel, 1676.

TO THE READER.

Good Reader,

AT the Request of some friends I have been induced to pub­lish this Sermon: it is swel­led something bigger in the Press; But the matter I had prepared before, only there wanted Time to serve it in. If thou reapest any benefit by this en­suing Discourse, I shall not repent that it was made publick.

Thine to serve thee THO. WATSON.

TIMES SHORTNESS.

I COR. VII. 29.‘But this I say, Brethren, the time is short.’

THe blessed Apostle in these words shews us what our station in the world, and all our Secular enjoy­ments are; they are mi­nute and transient, But this I say, Brethren, the time is short.

The Text consists of two parts:

1. A Kind Compellation [...], Bre­thren.

2. A Seasonable Admonition, [...], The time is short.

1. A Kind Compellation, Brethren. The Saints of God are Brethren. They [Page 2] are eodem sanguine conglutinati August., cemen­ted together with the blood of Christ.

Then let there be no strife among them, seeing they are brethren, Gen. 13. 8. Belie­vers are regenerated by the same Spirit, they suck the same Breasts, the Promises; they wear the same Garment, Christs Righteousness; they sit at the same Board, the Table of the Lord; they partake of the same Glory, the inheritance in light, Col. 1. 12, and shall they not love! There ought to be no contending among Gods people, but who should love most1 Pet. 3. 8..

Satan leaps at discord, he warms him­self at the fire of mens Passions. If he can­not divide the Spiritual members from their Head, he will endeavour to make them smite one against another. If he cannot keep the Saints from Heaven, he will en­deavour to make them fall out by the way. It was ill for Abrahams Herd-men and Lots to fall out when the Canaanite was in the Land, Gen. 13. 7. 'Tis an ill time for Ma­riners to be fighting when the enemy is boring an hole in the bottom of the Ship. Take heed the Popish Enemy doth not [Page 3] enter at your breaches. Let Christians re­member they are Brethren. Unity among Brethren, resembles the harmony among Angels. Psal. 133. 1, 2, Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell toge­ther in unity; it is like the precious oint­ment upon the head, as the dew of Hermon. 'Tis compared to ointment, because it is sweet; and to the dew of Hermon, because it makes every thing fruitful. The Primi­tive Christians were of one heart, Act. 4. 32. Let us pray, That that Golden Motto may be written upon England, Cor unum, via una, one Heart, and one way; Jer. 32. 39. What a blessed place will Hea­ven be, where our light shall be clear, our love shall be perfect, our joy shall be full!

2. A Seasonable Admonition, The time is short. This word [Time] I shall take more strictly for the term and period of mans life, The time is short. The divers instances of Mortality may serve as so many Commentaries upon the Text. The Greek word for short [...]. alludes to Mariners, who roul up their Sails and bring them into a narrow compass when the Ship [Page 4] draws near the Harbour. So though the sails of mans life were spread larger in the times of the Patriarchs, yet now God is folding up these sails in a narrower com­pass, Tempus contractum est, the Time is short: the Scripture frequently asserts the brevity and transitoriness of mans life, Psal. 89. 97, Remember how short my time is Quantillum sit tempus me­um. Gejer.. Psal. 39. 5, Behold, thou hast made my days as an hand-breadth; which is the least of the Geometrical measures. Job useth three elegant Metaphors to set forth the shortness of mans life, Job 9. 25, My days are swifter than a Post, they are passed away as the swift ships, as the eagle that hasteth to her prey. If we look to the land, there mans life is like a swift Post; if we look to the Sea, there it is like a swift Ship; if we look to the air, there it is like a flying eagle.

Life is compared to a cloud, Job 7. 9, a cloud is a vapour drawn up by the Sun into the middle-region of the air; when this cloud comes to its full proportion, it is soon dispersed and blown away with the wind. Life gathers as a cloud, bigger and [Page 5] bigger, but on a sudden it is dissipated by death. Our life is but as a point to the GlobePunctum est quod vivimus & puncto mi­nus. Sen., nay it is less, Psal. 39. 5, My age is as nothing [...]before thee. There is but a span between the Cradle and the Grave. Solomon saith, There is a time to be born, and a time to die, Eccles. 3. 3, but menti­ons no time of living, as if that were so short, it were not worth speaking ofVita adeò parum a morte distat ut ipsa mors sit. Musc..

Quest. In what sense is the time of life short?

Answ. 1. It is short in respect of the uncertainty, it may instantly expire. A man that holds a Farm at the will of his Landlord, if he be asked how long time he hath in the Farm, he will say, no time at all, because he is sure of none, he may be turned out the next hour. So our time is short because uncertain. Hezekiah, it is true, had a lease of fifteen years sealed, Isa. 38. 5, but we have no such lease seal­ed us, death may be within a days march of us.

Quis scit an adjiciant hodiernae crastina vitae tempora, dii superiHorat▪.

There are so many casualities, that it is a [Page 6] wonder if the slender thread of our Life be not cut off by untimely Death. Have you not seen a Virgin on the same day dressed in her Bride-apparel, and her Winding-sheet.

2. Time is short in respect of the im­provement. If we reckon that for Time which is well spent, then Time is brought into a narrow compass indeed: a great part of our Time lies Fallow: take from our life all the time of Eating, Drinking, Sleeping, besides idle impertinencies, and then how short is out Time! How little is the time wherein we can truly say, Hoc Vixi, This time I have lived! O how little is the time which is spent with God! Time misimployed, is not Time lived, but Time lost Diu suit in mundo non vixit. Sen..

3. Time is short compared with Eter­nity. There is no Prospective-glass to see to the end of Eternity. Eternity is a Day that hath no Sun-settingUna dies con­tinua occajum non habens. Gerh.. It is a Circle without beginning or end. Eternity is a sum that can never be numbred, a Line that can never be measured: reckon as many millions of years as there have been mi­nutes [Page 7] since the Creation, and they stand for Ciphers in Eternity. The most ele­vated strains of Rhetorique cannot reach EternityCogita cen­tum millia an­norum, cogita decies Centena millia annorum, Cogita mille milliones anno­rum, immò sae­culorum non­dum in choasti aeternum. Corn. à Lap.: It is a Sea without Bottom and Banks. Time may be com­pared to a spot of Earth lying at the mouth of the great Ocean; Time is a Spot on this side Eternity; and what a little of that Spot is Mans life! Thus you see in what sense Time is short.

It will not be long before the Silver cord be loosed, and the Golden bowl bro­ken, Eccles. 12. 6. By the Silver Cord I understand the Pith or Marrow of the Back, which for its whiteness is called Silver: this Silver Cord will soon be loosed. By the Golden Bowl is meant the Meninx, or Skin, wherein the Brains are enclosed as in a Bowl; this Golden Bowl will soon be broken. Time goes on apaceAnimantis cu­jusque vita in fuga est.. The Poets painted Time with Wings, because it flies so fast. In Jo­shua's dayes, when the Sun and Moon stood still, Time went on. In Hezekiah's Reign when the Sun went Ten degrees backward, Time went forward. Our whole life is [Page 8] nothing else but a passage to Death, where there is no staying by the way, or slack­ing our pace.

Vse 1. See what a poor inconsiderable thing Life is. The time is short, and upon this small Wire of time hangs the Weight of Eternity. Life is but a short Scene Acted here. It is but [...] a Vapour or puff of Wind, Jam. 1. 4ut Vir Cres­cit Vita de­crescit, Senec.. Life is made up of a few flying Minutes. Oh then how imprudent are they, who to save their Lives will damn their Souls! He were unwise, who to preserve a short Lease would lose his Freehold: How many such are there who to preserve this short Life will take indirect courses, defraud and oppress, and to build up an Estate will pull down their Souls; many to save their Skins will deflour their Conscience: Spi­ra to preserve his Life abjured the Faith.

The Irish make great reckoning of their Skimeter (a Warlike Weapon) and will endure a blow on the Arm to keep their Skimeter from being hurt. To this Skimeter I may compare the Soul: bet­ter it is to endure a blow on our Body, [Page 9] or Estate, than suffer our precious Soul to be endamaged. The Soul is the Man of the Man: The Soul of Plato, is Plato: The Soul is the Princely part, Crowned with Reason; it is Dei insignita imagine Bern.; it carries in it some faint Idaea or Resem­blance of the Trinity. The Soul is a rich Diamond set in Clay: what folly is it for saving the Clay, to lose the Dia­mond! Like Tiberius the Emperour, who for a draught of Water lost a King­dom.

Vse 2.Use 2. Ex­hort. Br. 1. Is Time so curtail'd and short­ned? Let us often contemplate the short­ness of LifeVive memor Lethi. Pers.. Feathers swim upon the Water, but Gold sinks into it. Light Feathery-spirits float in vanity; but seri­ous Christians sink deep into the thoughts of their sudden change; Deut. 32. 29, O that they were wise, that they would consi­der their latter end. Forgetfulness of the latter end, makes Life sinful, and Death formidable. People naturally shrink back from the thoughts of Death: Amos 6. 3, They put far away from them the evil day. When they are young, they hope they shall [Page 10] spin out Life to the Blossoming of the Al­mond Tree; and when old age comes, they hope to renew their strength as the Eagle Nemo putat se citò moritu­rum. Aug.: though their Bodies are subject to corruption, and they feel the symp­toms of mortality in them, Deafness of Hearing, here is Death creeping in at the Ear; Dimness of Sight, here is Death creeping in at the Eye: yet so frantique are they, as to perswade themselves of long life. Bodily diseases are but Deaths Har­bingers, which go before to bespeak a Lodging for Death. Why then do men dream of an Earthly Eternity? Psal. 49. 11, Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever. Where is the Man that contemplates Times Short­ness, or makes another's Death a Look­ing-glass in which he may see his own dying Face.

Some may say, this Discourse of the Shortness of Time is fit for such as are Consumptive, whom the Physicians have given over; but for their parts they are well in health, and may live these many years [...]. Chrys..

[Page 11] But though your Blood be fresh in your Veins, and your Bones are full of Marrow, you know not how short your time may be: He was not sick, nor in fear of sickness, who said, Soul take thy ease, but that night Death sealed him a Lease of Ejectment, Luke 12. 20. Fresh­ness of Complexion is sometimes a light­ning before Death. The metal of which Glass is made, when it begins to shine, is nearest melting. Persons likely enough to live, have been suddenly taken a­way, by Squinisies, Convulsions, Appoplexies. How soon may Death sound its Allarm! 'Tis reported of Ze­leuchus, that the first piece of Household­stuff he brought into Babylon, was a Tomb-stone. O Meditate of the transi­ency and brittleness of Life: think often of your Tombe-stone.

Quest. What advantage will accrew to us by often thinking of our short stay here?

Answ. 1. The shortness of Time medi­tated on, would cool the heat of our af­fections to the World. These visible ob­jects [Page 12] please the fancy, but they do not so much delight us, as delude us: they are brevi dilapsura, suddenly gone from us. World­ly things are like a fair Picture drawn on the Ice, which the Sun quickly meltsTheodoret.. The time is short, why should we love that over-much, which we cannot keep over-long? 1 Cor. 7. 31, The fashion [...]., or Pageant, of the World passeth away. Time passeth away as a Ship in full sail: this thought-on seriously, would mortify Covetousness. Paul looked upon him­self as ready to loosen Anchor and be gone, 2 Pet. 1. 14, Knowing that shortly I must put off this my Tabernacle: And how did his love to the World dye? Gal. 6. 14, The World is Crucified to me, and I unto the World. Who would covet that much, which hath neither Contentment nor Continuance? Among the Graecians, the City of Sparta had a King of it but for a year, and then he was to lay down his Crown, which made every one strive not to be King. Why should we so toil a­bout the World, as if we were to live here ever? What needs a long provision for [Page 13] a short wayParùm viae quid multum viati [...]i?? If we have but enough to bear our charges to Heaven, it sufficeth. Suppose a mans Lease were ready to ex­pire, and he should fall a building and planting, would not he be judged indis­creet? When our time is so very short, now to follow the World immoderately, as if we would fetch happiness out of the Earth, which God hath cursed, is a de­gree of frenzy: we shall have no need of the Earth shortly, but to be buried in it.

2. The meditation of the shortness of Time, would be a means to humble us. St. Augustin calls Humility the Mother of the Graces. Balm sinks to the bottom of the Water: a good Christian sinks low in Humility: and what can sooner pull down the Flags and Banners of Pride, than to consider we are shortly dropping into the DustAgnoscat homo se esse mortalem & franget elatio­nem. Aug.. The Priest was to cast the Feathers of the Fowls, by the place of the ashes, Levit. 1. 16. All your Feathers of Honour must shortly lye in the ashes. Shall not he which is cloathed with Mortali­ty, be cloathed with Humility? The [Page 14] thoughts of the Grave would bury our pride. When the Lord had said to the Judges, Psal. 82. 6, I said ye are gods; lest they should grow proud, he adds a cor­rective, but ye shall die like men. Ye are dying-gods.

3. The meditation of the shortness of time, would hasten our Repentance. Re­pentance is as necessary as Heaven; as ra­dical moisture and natural heat preserve the life, so repenting-tears, and an heart burning with love, preserve the soul. It is natural to delay Repentance [...]. Plutarch.. We say as Hag. 1. 2, The time is not yet come. But the Text saith, the time is short; our life is a taper, soon blown out. The thoughts of Times volubility and swiftness, would keep us from proroguing our repentance. 'Tis no time for us to make a long work, when God is making a short work [...]. Chrys. Hom. 22. de Simult.. It is observed of the Birds of Norway, that they fly faster than the birds of other Countrys. By the instinct of nature knowing the days in that Climate to be very short, they there­fore make the more hast to their nests. The consideration of our short abode here, will [Page 15] make us avoid delays, and fly faster to Heaven upon the wing of repentance.

4. The meditation of the shortness of time, would antidote us against the temp­tations of Satan [...].. Temptation is Satans eldest daughter, that woes for him. Satan doth more mischief by his wiles, than his darts. He knows how to suit his tempta­tions, as the Husbandman knows what seed is proper for such a soil. Satan temp­ted Achan with a wedg of Gold; David with Beauty. It is hard to keep up the banks of Grace against the sea of Tempta­tion. I know no better remedy against Sa­tans immodest solicitations, than this Text, The time is short: What Satan, dost thou tempt me to vanity, when I am going to give up my accounts? shall I now be sin­ning, when to morrow I may be dying? How shall I look my Judg in the face? Christian, when Satan sets sinful pleasure before thee, shew him a deaths-head, this will make temptations vanish.

5. The consideration of the shortness of our stay in the world, would be an help to Temperance; it would make us [Page 16] sober and moderate in the use of world­ly comforts. By excess we turn things lawful into sinIn licitis perimus omnes.; the Bee may suck a little honey from the leaf, but put it in­to a barrel of honey, and it is drowned. We may with Jonathan, dip the end of the rod in honey, but not thrust it in too far1 Sam. 14. 27.. Noah took too much of the Grape, Gen. 9. 21. The flesh, when pampered, rebels: The best preservative against intemperance is this, Tempus est contractum, The time is short. When we are feasting, death may quickly take away the Cloth.* Plut. Plutarch reports, that the Egyptians used at their great Banquets to bring in the Image of a dead man, and say to their Guests, Look upon this, and proceed in your Banket. An excellent Antidote against a Surfeit. Jo­seph of Arimathea erected a Sepulchre in his Garden, to spice his flowry delights with the thoughts of death.

6. The meditation of the shortness of time, would much mitigate our grief for the loss of dear Relations. It is observable, when the Apostle had said, The time is short, he presently adds, Let them that [Page 17] weep be as if they wept not. No doubt the loss of Relations is grievous to the fleshy part. It is like pulling a limb from the body. When God strikes us in our right eye, we weep. 'Tis lawful to give vent to our grief: Joseph wept over his dead Fa­ther. But though Religion doth not ba­nish grief, it bounds it. We must weep quasi non, as if we wept not. Rachels sin was, that she refused to be comforted, Mat. 2. 18. Origen it is thought died of grief; and if any thing can stop the issue of sor­row, at least asswage it, it is this, The time is short. We shall shortly have our losses made up, and enjoy our godly Relations again in Heaven.

7. The Meditation of the shortness of time, would make us highly value Grace. Time is short, but Grace is for ever. 1 Joh. 2. 27, The anointing which ye have recei­ved of him, abideth in you. Grace is a blos­some of EternityJoh. 4. 19.; it is semen manens, an immortal seed, 1 Joh. 3. 9. Grace is Em­bryo Gloriae; Grace is not blasted by death, but transplanted into a better soil. Grace is not a lease which soon expires, but an [Page 18] inheritance intailed for ever. He who hath true Grace, can no more lose it, than the Angels can who are fixed in their Hea­venly Orb. Rev. 10. 6, The Angel sware by him that liveth for ever, that there should be time no longer. But Grace shall survive time, and run parallel with Eternity.

2. Branch. If Time be so short, and winged, take heed of mispending this short time; to mispend time is the worst pro­digality.

1. Take heed of spending time unpro­fitably; Domitian wasted much of his time in catching FliesTurpe est dif­ficiles habere nugas. Mart.. Many live to cumber the ground. Telluris inutile pon­dus. Judg. 10. 4, [...] Jair had thirty Sons that rode on thirty ass-colts, and they had thirty cities, and they died. So it may be said, such an one was born in the reign of such a King, and he possessed such an Estate, and he died; his life was scarce worth a prayer, or his death worth a tear. An idle person stands in the world but for a cy­pher, and God writes down no cyphers in the book of life; many are like the wood of the Vine, useless. Ezek. 15. 3, Will [Page 19] men take a pin of it to hang any vessel there­on? Too many resemble the Lillies, which toil not, neither do they spin. They spend their time as the Emperour Caligula, he was at a great expence to provide a Navy, and when it was provided he sent his Ma­riners to Sea to gather cockle-shells, and so they sailed home again. God hath furnish'd men with precious time wherein they may work out Salvation, and they imploy it vainly, aut aliud agendo aut nihil Sen.; they ravel it out in impertinencies. What re­ward can be expected when there is no work done? who is crowned that never fights? Mat. 25. 30, Cast ye the unprofita­ble servant into utter darkness.

2. Take heed of spending time vici­ously; Divers spend their short time in drinking, gaming, whoring: Esau while he was hunting lost the blessing; many while they hunt after sinful pleasures, lose Heaven: Sin is boiled to a great heigth in this Age; men study new Oaths, and count it a shame not to be impudent; they are steep'd and parboil'd in wickedness [...]. Claud.; they live in the world to infect others, as the [Page 20] Basilisk with its breath poisons the herbs. What a dreadful account will they have to give, who have nothing to shew God but their Treasons?

Branch 3. If the time of life be so short, let us improve it. Ephes. 5. 16, Redeeming the time. If a man had but a short time in a Farm, he would make the best improvement of it; and get as good a Crop as he could out of it, before he left it. The thoughts of our short stay here, should make us improve this little Inch of time.

And that we may the better do this, Remember, we must be accountable to God for Time. God will say, What have you done with your Time? If a Lord intrust his Steward with such money and goods, he expects that he should give him an ac­count what he hath done with them, and how he hath employ'd them. Every one of us are Stewards, and God will call us to a reckoning, and say, What have you done with the Talent of Time I intrusted you with?

Quest. How should we improve this short time?

[Page 21] Answ. 1. In General, mind Salvation­work, Philip. 2 12. He who layes up Gold and Silver, is wise for his Children; but he who gets Salvation, is wise for him­self.Prov. 9. 12..

2. In special, improve this short time,

1. By a serious examination: Christi­ans, examine how the case stands be­tween God and your Souls, 2 Cor. 13. 5, Prove your selves. The Greek word is [...], try your selves, as the Gold­smith doth his Gold by a Touchstone. Time is short, and what if God should say this night, Give an account of your Stewardship.

1. Account with your selves about your Debts? are your debts paid, your sins pardoned?

2. Account with your selves about ma­king your Will: Time is short, you may dye before night; have you made your Will? I mean in a Spiritual sense, have you gi­ven up your Will to God, and by solemn vow set Seal to the Will? They are fittest to resign their Souls to God, who have resigned their Wills to him.

[Page 22] 3. Call your selves to account about your Evidences. Are your Evidences for Heaven ready? Your Desires are your Evidences. Do you desire Christ for him­self; As Beauty is loved for it self? And can nothing quench your thirst but Christs Blood? and, Is your desire quickned into endeavourIsa. 26. 9.? This is a blessed sign.

For want of this self-examination, ma­ny who are well known to others, are unknown to themselves: they know not whither they shall go when they dye, or to what Coast they shall Sail, to Hell, or to HeavenAnimula, vagula, blan­dula, quae nunc abibis in loca? Hadr..

2. Improve this short time by laying hold of all the seasons and opportunities for your Souls. The Mariner takes the fit season, he sets to Sea while the wind blows. Time is short, and Opportunity (which is the Cream of Time) is shorter. Let not the seasons of mercy slip.

1. While Gods Spirit strives with you, cherish its sweet whispers and motions: as when the Dove came flying to the windows of the Ark, Noah reached out [Page 23] his hand, and pulled it into the Ark: So when Gods Spirit (this blessed Dove) comes to you, entertain and welcom it into the Ark of your SoulsGen. 6. 8.. If you repulse the Spirit, he may refuse to strive any more. Gospel-seasons though they are sweet, they are swift.

2. While God's Ministers are with you, make use of them, Zechar. 1. 5, The Prophets, do they live for ever? Their Time (by reason of their labours) is scarce so long as others. We read of Lamps within the Pitchers, Judg. 7. 16. Mi­nisters are Lamps; but these Lamps are in Earthen Pitchers, which soon break. Ministers, though they carry the Word of Life in their Mouths, yet they carry Death in their Faces. Improve their la­bours while you have them: they thirst for your happiness, and as so many Bells would Chime-in your Souls to Christ.

3. Improve this short time by keeping up a close Communion with God, 1 Joh. 1. 3. Our [...], or Communion is with the Father, &c. This sweet Communi­on with God is kept up, 1. By holy [Page 24] meditation, Gen. 24. 63, Isaac went out to meditate in the Field at even-tide. Me­ditation concocts Divine-truths in the mind. It brings God and the Soul toge­therNil in hac vita dulcius sentitur, nil ita mortem ab amore mundi s [...]parat, nil sic animam contra tentationes roborat, nil hominem ita ad omne bonum opus excitat quam gratia contemplationis. Bern.. It is the bellows of the affections: It gives a sight and a tast of invisible Glory, Psal. 140. 39, My meditation of him shall be sweet.

2. Communion with God is kept up by Prayer: Praying-dayes are Ascension­dayes. Caligula placed his Effigies in the Capitol, whispering in Jupiter's Ears. Prayer whispers in Gods Ears: It is a secret parley and converse with God [...] Clem. Alex.. On this Mount of Prayer the Soul hath many sweet transfigurations.

4. Improve this short time by doing all the service you can for GodDio servire est regnare.: Wis­dom may be learned of an Enemy; Sa­tan is the more fierce, because he knoweth his time is but short, Rev. 12. 12: we should act more vigorously for God, see­ing our time is but short. Our lives should be as jewels, though little in quan­tity, yet great in value. St. Paul knew his stay in the world was short, 2 Pet 1, 14, [Page 25] therefore how zealous and active was he for God while he lived, 1 Cor, 5. 10. I la­boured [...], more abundantly than they all. Paul's Obedience did not move slow, as the Sun on the Dial, but swift, as the Sun in the Firmament. Is Time short? Let us be God-exalters, let us bring Glo­ry to God in doing good to others: as Aromatick-trees sweat out their precious Oyles; so should we lay out our strength for the good of others.

1. Let us do good to their Souls: con­vince the ignorant, strengthen the weak, reduce the wandring: A good Christian is both a Diamond and a Load-stone. A Diamond sparkling in sanctity, and a Loadstone for his attractive virtue in drawing others to Christ.

2. Let us do good to their Bodies: Many at this day say to their sorrows, Ye are our Companions. Let our Fingers drop with the Myrthe of liberality, Heb. 13. 16, To do good, and communicate, forget not. Let us feed the hungry, cloath the naked; be Temporal Saviours to othersIncipe erogae­re si non vis errare. Aug. de Verb. Dom..

[Page 26] Could we thus improve our time, our lives, though short, would be sweet: this would be the way to cast abroad a fragrant redolent smell in Gods Church; like the Orange-trees which perfume the air where they grow.

Could we thus improve our time, we might have our Consciences drawing up a Certificate for us, 2 Cor. 1. 12; and then no matter though the World cen­sure, if Conscience acquit: no matter how cross the wheels go, if the Clock strikes right.

Could we thus improve our time, we might have an [...], an easy and joyful passage out of the world. This was He­zekiah's comfort when he thought he was lying on his death-bed, 2 King. 20. 3, I beseech thee, O Lord, remember how I have done that which is good in thy sight. To improve Time aright, answers Gods cost, credits Religion, saves the Soul.

Vse 3. Terror to every wicked person, who exhausts his strength in sin: his time here is short, and then begins his Hell. [Page 27] He spends his life in a frolick; he takes the Timbrel and Harp, and rejoyceth at the sound of the Organ, Job 21. 12. But the time is shortly coming, when all his mirth shall cease, Rev. 18 22, The voice of the Harpers, and Musicians, and Trum­peters shall be heard no more at all in thee. The Grave buries all a sinners joy. When a wicked man dies, the Devil gets a wind­fal. Satan (in Samuel's shape) said to Saul, 2 Sam. 28. 19, Thou shalt be with meto mor­row. The Sinner is to day with his Lusts, and may be tomorrow with the Devil. Who would envy the wicked, their honour, or pleasure? they must pay dear for it. They have a short Feast, but a long Reckoning: for a drop of mirth, they must drink a Sea of wrath: and Who knows the power of that wrath? It was a saying of Cardinal Bellarmine, If a man had but a sight of Hell, it were enough to make an intemperate person sober. Hell is the emphasis of Torment. The Sa­crifice of Jealousy was to have no Oyl, nor Frankincense put to it, Numb. 5. 15. In [Page 28] Hell is no Oyl of Mercy put to the Tor­ments of the wicked to lenify them; nor is there any Incense of Prayer to ap­pease Gods wrath. Oh that sinners would in time break off their iniquities. What is become of their Intellectuals, have they sinned away Reason as well as Conscience? The time of life is short, but the torments of Hell are lengthened out; Rev. 14. 11, The smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever.

4. Vse. Here is a light side of the Text, to the Godly; they may be glad that their time here is short; they cannot live but by dying. Behold, honey at the end of the rod.

1. The time being short, their sinning­time cannot be long. Sin is a troublesome inmate. Rom. 7. 24, Paul that Bird of Paradise, sighed and groan'd under corrup­tion; a child of God mingles sin with his duties, he cannot write a copy of holi­ness without blotting; there's a party in a regenerate heart sides with Satan; but be of good comfort, the time is short, it [Page 29] is but a while (Christians) that the dead man shall be tyed to the living; that you shall be combating with a proud, unbe­lieving heart. The year of release is com­ing: Death doth to the Godly, as the Angel did to Peter Act. 12. 7., it smites them, and makes their chains of sin fall off quite.

2. The time being short, their wor­king-time cannot be long: in this life much work is cut out. There is, 1. The work of the hand, as the Artificer works in his Trade, Prove. 10. 4. 2. The work of the head; notions are the children of the brain, and there is labour in bringing them forth.

3. The work of the heart, which is the hardest work, to search, cleanse, watch the heart; as a clock sometimes goes faster, sometimes flower; so the heart sometimes goes faster in sin, sometimes flower in duty. But here is the Saints comfort, their working-time is but short, Rev. 19. 13, They rest from their labours. When their bodies return to dust, their souls return to rest.

[Page 30] 3. Time being short, their suffering­time cannot be long. Life is inter-larded with trouble, Job 14. 1. You may as well separate weight from lead, as trouble from mans life.Quid est diù vivere, nisi diu Torqutri? Aug. We come into the world with a Cry, and go out with a Groan. Every one hath his yoke, and 'tis well if there be not a nail in it; but Time is short. Though the Cross be heavy, we have but a little way to carry it; death will give the godly a writ of ease, Job 3. 17, There (i.e. in the Grave) the wicked cease from troubling.

4. The Time being short, their waiting­time cannot be long; the Godly shall not be long out of Heaven. While the bles­sed Angels see the orient beauties that shine in Gods face, Believers live far from Court, being imprisoned in the body. Here they do rather desire God than enjoy him. But the Time is short, it is but a few days, perhaps hours, and the Saints shall be ever solacing themselves in the light of Gods Countenance. They shall leave their pillow of thorns, and lay their head [Page 31] on Christs bosom. Faith gives a propriety in God, death gives a possession. The Wa­gons and Chariots came ratling to old Ja­cob, but they were to carry him to his Son Joseph. Deaths Chariot-wheels may come ratling to a Believer, but it is to carry him home to his Fathers house.

In that Paradise of God a Christian shall have more than he can think; Eph. 3. 20. He can think, What if every mountain were a Pearl, every flower a Ruby, every sand in the Sea a Diamond, the whole Globe a shining Chrysolite? but all his thoughts are too low and dwarfish to reach the glory of the Coelestial Pyramides.Praemium quod side non attin­getur. The reward Heavenly (as St. Austin saith) ex­ceeds Faith; and the Time being short, a Christian shall be in Heaven before he is aware; then shall he bathe his Soul in those perfum'd pleasures of Paradise, which run at Gods right hand for evermore.

I have done with the Text: let me speak next to the Occasion.

[Page 32] We are met to commemorate the Death of an Eminent Minister in this City, Mr. JOHN WELLS. Sorry I am to be an Actor in this Mournful Scene. But being requested by Him in his life (in case I survived), I was willing to do this last Office of love. There hath been of late a great mortality of Ministers. The men of the World need not be so fierce against Gods Mi­nisters, they will not trouble them long; Gods taking away his Ministers so fast (two in a day) boads much evil. It presageth the fall of an House when the Pillars are removed.

Concerning this Reverend Brother de­ceased, it is not my purpose to use any hyperbolical Encomiums, or Panegyricks; only give me leave to strow a few Flowers upon his Hearse.

This our worthy Friend was endued with Learning and volubleness of speech. He could [...], divide the word rightly, as a workman that need not be ashamed. Seals he had to his Ministry. [Page 33] Some of his hearers might call him (as Cyprian did Caecilius) novae vitae paren­tem their Spiritual Father.

For his Piety, he was not only a Fol­lower of that which was good, but a leader; he said not long before his death, That he had brought this to an issue, That he loved God. He was fixed to his Principles: Though he be now by Death a Fallen-Star, yet he was not a Wandring-Star

His disposition was not Morose, but Af­fable: a man of that Candor and Cur­tesy, as did oblige and win the affections of many to him. When Grace and sweet­ness of Nature meet, it is like a Pearl in a Gold-Ring.

For his Preaching, 1. He did frame himself, ad captum populi; he Preached in­telligibly to the capacity of his Auditory. Sure that Minister will never hit the hearts of his hearers, who shoots over their heads. Ministers should be Stars to give light, not Clouds to darken the Truth▪ Clearness is the grace of Speech. Gregory Nazianzen Preached plain to the ig­norant, [Page 34] yet was admired by the learn­ed.

2. He was elaborate and painful in his work. Sloath in a Minister is as bad as Sleep in a Sentinel. He would not of­fer that to God which cost him nothing. Christ bled for Souls, well may we sweat. This good man, like a Taper, wast­ed himself, while he gave light to o­thers.

He was a man of a forgiving-Spirit; he was not troubled with the overflowing of the Gall: Kindnesses he wrote in Marble; Injuries he forgot.

He was very Charitable: The Backs and Bellies of the Poor, were the fur­rows where he sowed the Seeds of his li­berality. But though his Charity did shine, he did not care it should blaze. He is now taken from the evil to come.

For you that did sit under his Mini­stry, let me tell You, you have lost a Friend and a Guide; you have cause to be Close-mourners. Let me request only [Page 35] this of you, That you would remember the many good Instructions given you: though he is dead, let not his Sermons dye too, but labour to Copy them out fair in your Lives.

FINIS.

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