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and in the case of those, who do not deem themselves such. 1. What

What may the text be considered as enjoining on Christians, or the members of any particular church, who profess to be desirous of the Saviour's special presence in a revival of his work among them? What must they do to PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD ? In speaking of the agency which creatures of the dust may have in inviting the saving presence of Christ among them, it is not forgotten, that he does not need their agency. He can prepare his own way before him. When he is pleased to rend the heavens and come down, mountains flow down at his presence. He can work when, and where he chooses, and none can hinder. He can make his way, where all seems unapproachable and impassable to the influence of his holy and peaceable dominion. Bringing low mountains and hills and raising valleys, he can open a passage for himself, and establish his reign, where before no heart desired or was ready to welcome his presence. Nay, he can even triumph over the obstacles which his own avowed friends find it in their hearts to oppose to his growing sway, and pour out his Spirit and convert sinners to himself amidst the reigning apathy, the guilty remissness, and fearful worldliness of Christians. But the inquiry is, not what he can do, or what he will do ; but what preparation does he require in his people, who are left without tokens of his saving influence, and on what ground can they reasonably expect such a favor ? I observe then,

1. That in order that Christians may do what they can to PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD, it is necessary that they possess a broken and a contrite heart. I mention this first, because it is of the very first importance. It is an indispensable prerequisite to any other preparation. Nothing can be done to any purpose so long as this is wanted. Every feeling, purpose, and effort of the christian, which can have any agency in the remo

val of obstacles in the way of a revival of the christian interest in particular places, must spring directly and solely from this state of heart. It is the same state of heart, that such a revival always produces in a greater or less number of those, who before were hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For Christians to possess it, is only to be themselves what they avowedly desire to have unbelieving men around them become. It is to be again, to a greater extent and in a deeper degree, what they once were, and what to their increasing unhappiness and guiltiness, they have in an alarming measure gradually ceased to be. And

it not

may be asked, how can they reasonably expect an unbelieving world around them will become such as they professedly desire, if they become not such as they profess to be? As the success of their endeavors to bring sinners to a saving acquaintance with Christ, must in their own view, depend on the cordial sincerity with which they are made, and as the question of their sincerity must turn on the great point, whether or not they are humble and contrite in their own spirits; how can they look for the special divine presence, so long as they are unconscious of any thing like a deep humiliation of soul before the Holy One? How can they expect to be accepted and succeeded in their prayers and labors for the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom among men, so long as they are not accompanied with those sacrifices which God will not despise ? If we trace the methods of Jehovah's treatment of his people through all past ages, it will be seen, that he has invariably frowned upon them, by withdrawing from them the special influences of his Spirit, and resigning them to that terrible ascendancy of a wicked world, which must always follow such a withdrawment,—whenever they have lost their lively sense of personal sin, become comparatively indifferent to its evil, and listed up with vain notions of their personal sanctity and consequent exemption from danger. How can christians, then, in such a state, fail

to perceive that they are the guilty cause of inducing the departure of the Saviour from among them, and that they are the mountains and hills to be brought low, to prepare

the
way

for his return ? A single glance at the tenor of those exceeding great and precious promises which God has made to his people, will satisfy us, that they chiefly respect, in the children of God, this very state of heart of which I am speaking. They are made to believers as broken-hearted sinners. The high and lofty One has promised to look favorably to none besides—to dwell with, and revive the spirits of none besides. The necessity of Christians possessing a lowly and contrite frame of mind, in order to their doing what they can to PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD, must appear then, from the consideration, that without it all their professed desires and seeming endeavors, must be altogether insincere and heartless; and from the fact too, that they have no promise to ground the slightest expectation upon, without it, but on the contrary, have the most substantial ground to expect, that God will sooner or later, by severe and terrible methods, abase and bring them low. But there are other views of the subject, which present this necessity in a still more affecting light. They who have felt the

pangs of heart-broken sorrow on account of their sins, and the attendant emotions of hope and joy in the Saviour, by relapsing into a state of comparative indifference to both, commit sins of greater magnitude and guiltiness, and do more to grieve and offend the Saviour, than such as remain strangers to the agonies of contrition, and the triumphs of joyful hope. They are the ones who, he expects, will be ever desiring his presence, ever seeking his saving influence, and ever engaging in removing hindrances and obstacles to his gracious operations on the hearts of men. He looks to them to be a fair and affecting representation of his blessed sway among men, and to be the living medium through whom he attracts to himself a world lying in wickedness. How, then, must he view their conduct, when instead of removing, they become obstacles, and instead of being the medium of such an attraction, they become the means of driving sinners away from him? And how ought they to view themselves ? How ought they to rend their hearts, to loathe themselves, and lie in the dust before him! All sinners ought to do it immediately. It is reasonable, and right, and necessary, that they should. But of all others, sinners in Zion-sinners in the very highway of our God-sinners who have already done it, and then wickedly declined, should do it with a full view of their greater criminalness in so long lying barren incumbrances in the WAY OF THEIR LORD, in misrepresenting his religion, and in turning back by their example, those who were in the highway of Zion with their faces thitherward. Ah ! they should hasten to regain this brokenness of heart, feeling that while they have it not, they are contributing to prevent the Saviour's achieving among them his wonderful works. And is there not enough in these views of the subject, to break, subdue, and humble the hearts of those who have been living in the church, with the spirit of the world reigning in their hearts ?

2. TO PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD, it is necessary that christians gain a deep impression of the worth of the soul. This is necessary in relation to the performance of other duties, which has no unimportant agency in preparing the way and making the paths OF THE LORD STRAIGHT. We need to take our estimate of the value of the soul from the estimate, which is seen to be set upon it by those stupendous movements, which were the result of the divine counsels, long before time began or a soul was created. In order to feel sufficiently desirous of the spiritual presence of Christ among us, it seems necessary we should contemplate the soul in the light of those transactions which were concerned in the work of redemption. They present a measure of its worth no where else to be found

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and show us what worthless things are all the vast objects of the material universe in comparison with a single soul of man. So strongly do our minds gravitate to earth, and so prone are we to refer objects to its low standard of valuation, that we never can feel what the soul is worth, and consequently how ineffably important it is, that the WAY OF THE LORD be prepared and made straight to the soul of every heir of eternity now on the shores of time, until borne on the wings of faith, and guided by the disclosures of unerring truth, we are lifted up to the contemplation of Him whose goings forth were of old-from everlasting, and consider at once the glories of his throne, and the agonies of his cross—the hallelujahs of angels whom he left, and the reproaches of worms whom he came to save. Here, we may

behold its value, according to the scale of Heaven. Here, we may see, how it was viewed by him who inhabits, and perpetually surveys the mighty range of eternal ages. And while we stand on this ligh point of contemplation, and view the human soul, as it were with the vision of Him who came into the world to redeem and save it, can we forbear to ask ourselves, what if our Redeemer had not been as boundless in his benevolence as in his being ? What if his love and compassion had not opened and prepared a way for him, from Heaven to earth? Why then the only avenue out of time into eternity—the only passage-way from this world to the next had been down to the pit of interminable woe! Then had these deathless natures of ours known no other destiny, but that of death eternal ! Then had the

song of redeemed spirits never been heard in heaven. Then had the swelling tide of their pleasures never begun to pour its eternal stream through its regions of purity and love. Then, then, the common destiny of our immortal race, had been one deep and dark current of unmingled and unending sorrows. And what, but an eternal line, can measure the worth of that

part of man, which can forever rise or sink-for

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