Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
I. In these words we have a figure most expressive, BOTH OF THE CONDITION IN WHICH OUR HOURS BY NATURE ABE, AND OF THAT IN WHICH BY GRACE THEY SHOULD BE. Time is represented as in captivity. We are bidden to redeem it as from bondage. Those hours which are given us for the trial of our hearts, for the exercise of our souls through grace unto salvation; those hours are too commonly enslaved to the pursuit of mere worldly objects. They are devoted to the service of Mammon, laden with the fetters of tormenting care, dishonoured in the base indulgence of sensual pleasure, or in the vain pursuit of frivolous amusements.
II. MANY REASONS MIGHT BE URGED WITH FORCE FOR OUR THUS REDEEMING THE TIME. We might argue that it is scarce, dealt out to us in single moments, poured forth as it were drop by drop, like a precious gift, of which it would be too much for us to possess more than one particle at once. But the special reason given by St. Paul is that "the days are evil." Bad times are not times for indolence, extravagance, or amusement. "The days are evil." Therefore work harder in your spiritual work. "The days are evil." Therefore enjoy less of earthly pleasure, that you may enjoy more of bliss in heaven hereafter.
III. You have now seen how time is in captivity, and what is meant by redeeming it. You have heard also the force of the apostle's argument why you should ever labour so to do. In what remains, I shall set forth SOME PLAIN PRACTICAL RULES FOR SO DOING.
1. One very important rule towards redeeming the time is this, that you avoid all waste of it, and so make the most of what time you have.
2. Next to a diligent frugality of time comes the right allotment of its parts, the due proportioning of its several employments.
3. And observe further, that these things, however proper in their place, must not engross, as they are apt to do, too much of our time.
4. Lastly, in all these holy offices, and in all the duties of life, be watchful. Time steals on smoothly, but swiftly. If you would stay it for good, watch.
(C. Girdlestone, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.