Watts - Houston-Packer Collection BX5207.W3 S4x 1805 v.2

SsER:1. XXXIX.) THE RIGHT IMPROVEMENT OF LIFE. 159 run a long race in christianity : And yet many of these, it may be, would have possessed but a low station, and a little share of honour and happiness in those heavenly regions, if they had been cut off from the, earth in their younger days, and been called away to heaven immedi- ately after their conversion. Surely, ifyou have spent ma- nyyears in public labour for Christ, and zealous devotion, you have endured cruel mockeries, imprisonments and sharp sorrows, for the sake of Christ and his gospel, and through the course of a long life, have borne a constant testimony to the faith of Jesus, there are superior glories suited to yo r character in heaven, which wait your ar- rival there Thus I rave made it appear, in various instances, that temporal life itself, and the continuance of it, becomes a real advantage to a true christian ; which was the -first thing I proposed. ut here is an objection which may be raised against t ns doctrine, viz. " Do not some true christians fall into grievous sins, when theirlife is prolonged, whereby their conscience is wounded, their garments defiled, their professión blemished, and the holy name of God and Christ blasphemed r Is long life therefore any blessing to christians, sincewe are so uncertain howwe shall: behave, and especially if we behave ill ?" . Answer 1..The.greatand natural design, and tendency of our continuance in life, is to do more service for God and men, and obtain more blessings for our own souls; to growmore fit for heaven, and to raise and eniarge our crown. Ifwe abuse the time given us for these blessed purposes,. and indulge in sinful lusts or follies, it is highly criminal in us, andwe alone must bear the blame. Answer 2. Sometimes those verysins have been so im- pressed upon the conscience by the convincing spirit, as to become a means toawaken degenerate christians togreater watchfulness, greater tenderness ofconscience, andgreat- erdegrees ofhumility, of spirituality, and heavenly -mind- edness : Those very falls have been made an occasion of their rise and growth in christianity by the grace of that God, who turns darkness into light, and a curse into a blessing. But where it is not so, God is not to be charged with injustice, in not raising us to higher degrees after our