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hears it, it is addressed alike; and that, whether he be a christian, or a sinner ; acquainted with Christ, or unacquainted. At the present time, it is addressed immediately to every member of this audience.

II. In examining the command itself I shall briefly mention, 1st. What that is, for which we are to be ready : and 2dly. What is included in being ready. 1st. We are required to be ready for the Coming of Christ.

There are several senses, in which this phrase may be fairly understood, as used in the Scriptures. When it is applied to individuals, it particularly denotes the day of death. Death to etery man is the time, in which Christ will come ; which will terminate every man's probation, and put an end to the necessity and duty, of watching, so solemnly enjoined in the text. All the purposes, for which he is to watch, are then finally settled ; and all the opportunities of becoming ready for the appearance of his Master are ended forever. Whatever privileges, whatever means, of amendment he may have possessed; he will posses them no more. Whatever resolutions he may have formed, whatever labours he may have begun, towards the preparation, enjoined ; they will all cease at this period. If the work is not now done; it will never be done. For the coming of Christ, then, on our dying day we are here commanded to be ready.

We are also required to be ready for the Judgment. When we leave the world, we shall be summoned to give an account of the manner in which we have spent our probation, and employed our talents. This account we shall give to Christ himself; shall then be declared by him to have done well, or ill. The sentence, which he will here pronounce, will be irreversible ; and the trial admit of no appeal. Our souls will be suspended on its issue : and whatever good or evil may be in store for us during the progress of our future being ; whatever may be hoped, and whatever may be dreaded, by us; it will all follow this decision. For an event of this magnitude it is immensely important, that we should be ready.

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We are, also, to be ready for Eternity. In this immense duration the final sentence will be carried into complete, and endless, execution. Every work, which we have done in this life, will then find its reward : and the sum of happiness, or the mass of misery, allotted to us, will be immeasurably great. Who ought not to be ready for such a state of being, as this? What measures ought to be grudged? What pains ought to be spared ? What self-denial ought not cheerfully to be undergone?

2dly. I will now proceed to enquire what is included in being Ready.

This subject, for reasons which satisfy myself, I shall canvass in the negative form. From the characteristics of those, who are not ready, my audience may, if they are willing, learn with some advantages, which are peculiar to this mode of discussion, the true nature of that preparation for the coming of Christ, which he has enjoined in the text.

In the first place, No person is ready for the coming of Christ, who does not keep the Sabbath holy.

We are required in the Scriptures to "turn away our foot from the Sabbath, from doing our pleasure on this holy day; to call the Sabbath a delight, and the Holy of the Lord honourable ; and to honour him: not doing our own ways, nor finding our own pleasure, nor speaking our own words.” If we do this; we are furnished with a series of most gracious promises, conveying to us the richest of all blessings. We shall be accepted in all our solemn services ; shall be enabled to “delight” ourselves “in JEHOVAH ;” shall be made “joyful in his house of prayer;" and shall have given to us “an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.” At the same time, we are required not to “ forsake the assembling of ourselves together ; to worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness ;” and are taught, that all the good, esteem the "tabernacles of JEHOVAH amiable ;” that their heart," and their “flesh, cry out for the living God" that his house is to them, as a nest to the sparrow; and that "every one of them in Zion appeareth before him.” Here, we are taught, “lie is their Sun, and their Shield :" here he “ gives grace, and glory;" and here " he

withholds from them no good thing.” On the other hand, the anger of God against the pollution of the Sabbath is awfully shown in the law, which required, that “the Sabbath breaker should be stoned ;" in the declaration, that the land should lie desolate during the Babylonish captivity, because it did not rest in their Sabbaths, while the Israelites dwelt upon it; and in the prediction of God, recorded by Ezekiel, that he would pour out his fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them, because they greatly polluted his Sabbaths."

It will not be denied, that in this audience the number of persons, who do not perform these duties, and are guilty of these sins, is not small. The listless, sleeping, stupid attitude, so often seen in this house; and the trifling, light-minded, irreverent character, perhaps on no Sabbath unseen ; prove beyond a hope, as well as beyond a doubt, that this holy day is by the same persons profaned, and polluted, elsewhere. To every one of these persons I say without hesitation, You are not ready for the coming of Christ. You live in a regular, gross, daring disobedience to the commands of God; commands, too, delivered to mankind in a manner, awful and solemn beyond expression. At the same time you

have not attempted, you are not now attempting, to prepare yourselves either for death, judgment, or eternity. This is evident beyond all controversy, because the Sabbath is the very day, and the Sanctuary the very place, in which, more than in all others, this preparation is to be made. This is the time, in which God especially requires you to “hear his voice, and not harden your hearts.” This is the day, on which, if ever, your burnt offerings and sacrifices are to be accepted on his altar. This is the day, on which “ the Lord hath chosen Zion, and desired it for his habitation.” On this day he says, “ This is my rest forever: here will I dwell. I will abundantly bless her provision

. I will satisfy her poor with bread :” the bread of life. “I will clothe her priests with salvation ; and the saints shall shout aloud for joy.” To these commands you refuse obedience ; these bles. sings you cast away.

If you feel at a loss concerning your readiness for the coming of Christ ; ponder with deep solemnity the emotions with which you will recite before your Judge, the manner, in which you have hitherto kept the Sabbath, and behaved in the Sanctuary. What reasons will you be able to give, why you have from week to week profaned this holy day, and wasted its golden bours in idleness, in trifling, in stupid inattention ; and why in this house of God you have forgotten all your duty, and neglected your souls ? What reasons will you allege for turning a deaf ear to the precepts, and denunciations, of the divine law? What reasons will you give for turning a hard heart to the offers of mercy in the Gospel ? Christ has often met you here. Can you allege a reason, which he will admit, why you have not believed in him? Often, very often, has he proffered to you all the blessings of his redemption. Why have you not received them? He has solemnly called upon you to forsake your sins. Why have you not forsaken them? He has warned you with infinite tenderness to “ flee from the wrath to come.” Why have you not escaped ? He has intreated you to “ lay hold on eternal life.” Are you possessed of a reason for refusing it, which you are willing to recite to him in your final account?

Beside these glaring proofs of your absolute want of preparation for this most affecting interview, remember, that Heaven is the temple of God; the seat of perpetual worship. Over its delightful realms rolls an everlasting Sabbath. This day of immortality dawns, to be succeeded by no future evening. Its morning incense spreads wide its fragrance, never to cease again. Its piety kindles, its raptures glow, never to be extinguished. Its praises tremble on the harps, and lips, of “the multitude, which no man can number," to be silent no more forever. How can you be prepared to unite in such worship as this, to whom the present, momentary, imperfect worship of an earthly Sabbath is an insupportable burtben? How can a voice, dumb in this world to the praise of God, bear a part in the harmony of that? How can souls, sluggish and dead; how can eyes, which are here closed in deep sleep amid the worship of God; be awake, and Vol. II.

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alive, to the sublimer worship of Heaven? With what emotions must the half-day attendant on the sanctuary, in this world, be: hold the morning of a Sabbath, to which there will never be an end ?

Secondly. Prayerless persons are not ready for the coming of Christ.

“ In every thing," says St. Paul,“ by prayer and supplication make known your wants unto God." “ Pray always," says the same Apostle again,“ with all prayer." No commands are more explicit, or unconditional than these. He therefore, who does not obey them, obeys none. At the same time, the inducements to pray are infinite. Man is not warranted to hope for a single blessing, except as an answer to prayer : and if he prays with the heart, he is assured of every blessing. The commands requiring this duty, are given in every form, and on every occasion. The encouragements to pray are numberless, and immeasurable. Nay, prayer, in the Scriptures, is only another name for piety. “ Arise,” said Christ to Ananias, “and enquire in the house of Judas for one, called Saul of Tarsus : for behold he prayeth." Thus the whole welfare of the soul is suspended on the duty of Prayer. In him therefore, who has not begun to pray, “there is found no good thing towards the Lord God of Israel."

Yet how many are there before me, who never uttered a prayer in their lives; who have yet not learned the way to their closets ; nor ever asked God to forgive their sins, or to save their souls. How deplorable a part of your final account must this story With what amazement will you remember your refusal to pray: your negligence of prayer; and the reasons, for which you nego lected this great duty. The promises were all before

The

you. hand of God was opened to give. The water of life flowed at your feet: and you were invited to take of it freely. But you would not ask; and therefore could not receive. Thirdly. Those, who do not profess the Religion of Christ

, and enter into his Covenant, are not ready for his coming.

6 Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I deny, when I shall come in the glory of my Father and with the holy Angels

be!

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