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ever sin against the laws and suffer beneath the wrath of God, or forever exult in holy obedience to his government, and bask beneath the smiles of his love ? Surely, if any among the children of Adam can have any thing like an adequate impression of what it is worth, it must be those, who are in a degree redeemed from the power of sin-it must be those who, though they once

“ Saw the opening gates of hell
With endless pains and sorrows there,
Which none but they that feel, can tell,

While they were hurried to despair,” have also beheld with joyful faith the grace and saving power of the Redeemer. Let all who have had such an experience, endeavor to preserve, in their minds, their liveliest impressions of the value and the danger of every soul, that is not born from above.

Then they cannot remit their efforts to PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD, and to MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT to every impenitent heart.

3. Christians will not do what they can to PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LOR), unless they are very faithful in admonishing their fellow sinners of their danger, and directing them to the ark of safety. On this point, though much might be said, my limits require me to say but little. Owing to the natural reluctance which men have to the performance of this duty, and the variety of circumstances which in some measure limit and modify its requisite performance, there is, perhaps, no one duty from the observance of which christians seek to release themselves by so many plausible excuses.Because what would not be faithfulness in one case, might be in another; and because what might be duty in one case, might not be in another, christians in a state of declension are often very ingenious in their expedients, to shift the responsibleness of warning and directing sinners, from themselves to others. It is needless to detail these expedients. Let it be remembered,

that they will be detailed with sufficient minuteness, will be revealed with sufficient distinctness, and in a connexion sufficiently heart-withering, at another day ! That we may not be agonized by a future disclosure of our ingenious attempts to escape the demands of this duty, let us bring into open day, and examine at the bar of conscience and of scripture, the true ground of our unwillingness to deal faithfully with our fellow men, in respect to their spiritual state and prospects. It is possible, that by such an investigation it might appear, that we have declined this duty, not on account of our natural aversion to reprove and warn men, not on account of our tenderness of feelings, that might shrink from giving pain to a fellow man, not because we did not see abundant reason why one and another, with whom we had daily intercourse, should be alarmed and excited to flee from the wrath to come; but because we were conscious of not living so as to reprove and admonish them, and dreaded the cutting retort they might justly address to us- - Thou that teachest another, teachest not thou thyself? Physician, heal thyself. Do we, then, evince so little the temper of penitents ourselves, that we cannot hold up our head and exhort dying sinners to repent? Do we live so little like the disciples of Christ, that we are ashamed to point the perishing around us, to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world? If this be so, we need to be warned, and fearfulness should surprise us. If this is our case, we need to be reminded, that the great secret of faithfully and yet tenderly warning the impenitent of their danger of exhorting them with holy boldness and yet with affectionate persuasiveness to repent and believe in Christ, is to have our minds strongly affected with a sense of the infinite value of the soul, the infinite danger that threatens it, and the infinite condescension, love, and compassion of Christ to the chief of sinners. Do this, christians, and this duty will become as grateful as the act of disburdening an oppressed and anxious bosom.

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4. In order that christians may do what they can to PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD, they should be united in feeling, in purpose, in desires, and in efforts. If there is a single place on earth which the Saviour may be considered as delighting to visit, it is the place where a church, thus united, meet to praise and pray. Into such a place, amidst such a people, the way of the Lord is made straight. There are no mountain barriers to oppose his progress. Such a church, or community of saints, from the very constitution which God has given to his moral kingdom, will be the means of so inviting and securing the Saviour's spiritual presence, as to multiply the subjects of his kingdom ; as to render a wider and wider extent of this desolate world, a fruitful garden of the Lord. Union in the ordinary concerns of this world, is strength. Eminently it is so in the kingdom of Christ, when it is union of holy feelings, aims, desires, and endeavors.

On the contrary, how like a heath in the desert that knoweth not when good cometh, is a church in which there is no harmony of feelings, but discordant views, opposing aims, and conflicting efforts. They cannot walk together because they are not agreed. They strive, but not to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. They contend, it

may be with abundant earnestness, but not for the holy faith once delivered to the Saints. They may pray, but their prayers are hindered, because they are not the united prayers of those who are agreed as touching the great objects sought. And here it requires to be said, that something more is requisite to PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD, than barely agreement as to what constitutes the great fundamental doctrines and duties of our religion. What is necessary, is agreement in the precise practical influence which our religion actually has on them. Such an agreement carries the whole body of a church together in all their movements. It unites all hearts and hands in the pursuit of the same great and ennobling class of objects. It gives to the

associated members a oneness of influence. What one attempts in the cause of his Lord and Master, instead of being counteracted and defeated by the course of others, is aided and rendered successful by the mutual agencies of each and all. In short, it is a union cemented by the spirit of love, of purity and peace. A union resembling that which binds together, in eternal harmony, all the inhabitants of heaven. A union which is destined to be perpetuated and perfected there. And though we have as yet only imperfect samples of it, yet there are to be seen, here and there, approaches towards its perfection. Unceasing attempts to reach that, is the duty to which we are called.

Such attempts will invite the Saviour's return. Such attempts will be no unimportant preparation of his way. If they are made by only a few, they have his promise to encourage them. If two of you shall

agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father in Heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. And are there not two or three of us, who are disposed to make this attempt to PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD ? to make straight in the desert, a highway for our God?

We often hear the inquiry, wherefore it is that our churches are not favored with the special presence of Christ. It is an inquiry of momentous importance, and yet is often proposed with very little feeling of interest. If any of us are urging the inquiry, either with concern or not, the subject of this discourse may be regarded as furnishing an answer. It is because, there is not among us a preparation for it. Pride and self-righteousness lift their mountain obstacles in the way.Christians have sinned, and not repented. They have declined from God, and yet they say, wherein have we declined? They have imbibed a worldly spirit-have learned to use carnal weapons have learned to depend on worldly expedients and plans--have learned to attempt

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to gain their ends by the same means that are employed by worldly men—have come to think lightly of the worth of the souls of men around them, and to overlook the immense difference between the children of God and the children of this world. Having thus lost their spiritual apprehensions, and become accustomed to look at things in the light of the present evil world, they have ceased to be faithful to their own, and the souls of others—or to strive to strengthen the bonds of union between the different members of Christ's body. Who does not see, that while in such a state, they are wholly unprepared, and indisposed to attempt to be prepared, for the blessings of the Saviour's gracious presence? In this state, they resemble a trackless desert, through which no broad and safe highway is opened. And is this the grand reason, my brethren, why

are thus left ? Is it, because we have sought to make no suitable preparation ?

Let us see, that this cause is removed. It is becoming us to be of a contrite and broken heart. It agrees with our profession and our hopes, that we feel the value and the peril of the sinner's soul. It belongs to our name, that we be fearless, and faithful, and affectionate in warning the ungodly of their dangers. Are we the members of Christ, and are we not bound together-united in holy living, feeling and acting? Oh, let us awake. It is high time to awake. We have every conceivable inducement to awake and PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD. When our duties are performed, we may confidently expect a blessing. Every thing that we can ask or desire, is promised. If the way of the Lord is not prepared—if a highway is not speedily made straight for him—the inevitable consequence must be, that souls will be lost—eternally lost! And who is willing to have their blood found in his skirts ? Who is willing to meet at the judgment day the consequence of his refusing to be broken hearted before God, faithful to the souls of men, and cordially united with the saints in the work of the Lord ?

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