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the love and power of sin, as well as from its merited punishment. Nor does he hesitate willingly and joyfully to commit his soul into the Saviour's hand, assured that he is able to keep it safely through death and through eternity. In short, before any one can be READY TO DIE, there must have been a conviction of guiltiness and ruin, a solicitude about the way of salvation, a perception of the suitableness and adequacy of Christ as a Saviour, a deliberate acceptance of him as such, and a settled intention of renouncing whatever is inconsistent with it. Now I am doubtless speaking in the presence of those who never felt their sinfulness and ruin, never sincerely repented of sin, never relied on the merits of Christ, never renounced one sin because it was offensive to the Saviour, and never devoted themselves to his service. Let all such remember, that at present they are not READY TO DIE. However fair their pretentions to a correct moral deportment, however useful their acts of benevolence, and however extended and distinguished their worldly reputation, unless they are the fruits and evidence of faith and love which are in Christ Jesus the Lord, they must still be without the one thing needful to fit them for death.

3. To be ready to die, implies that the event be kept habitually in view. The man that is truly awake to eternal things, will be in the habit of measuring actions, not by the standard of worldly opinions-not by their seeming propriety and necessity, but by the test of a dying hour. He will inquire of his own heart, what he shall think of men and things, of actions and events, when he shall be called to breathe his last. He will set the Lord always before him, as acting beneath his holy and omniscient eye, making his glory the end, and his word the rule of his conversation. This is a practical, heartfelt, spiritual readiness to depart. A man may say he is concerned to be ready, has faith in Christ, repents of sin, and denies himself, and yet not be apparently at all awake to the event. Many professed

christians are not practically ready, because the reality and importance of it, are not kept distinctly and steadily before them. O, if it were so, how cautious would it make them in word and deed-how diligent in keeping their hearts-how temperate in all things-how just in their dealings with men-how fervent in their devotions-how zealous for God-how careful to redeem time and how dead to the world and its enjoyments. Ah! they would then live as becomes their professionlive as becomes the dying-live as those who are teaching earth what heaven is-live as those who have begun to live the life of God! To live thus, would make the dark valley of the shadow of death smile before us. To live thus, would bring us not trembling, but exulting to the verge of our mortal being. To live in this manner, would make us ready and waiting for our last change.

These are some of the marks of a readiness for a dying hour. Do they belong to us? Have we honestly and seriously looked into our state with respect to eternity? Are we convinced that heaven is an unspeakably blessed reality, for which we are naturally unprepared? Has this shown us our need, and brought us to accept of Christ as our Saviour? Are all our hopes centered in him? Are we able in the review of the past, to detect some growing conformity in our temper and actions to the word of God? If not, I know not how we can think of death without terror, or approach it without risking the loss of all that can be of any worth to us forever!

II. I now come to consider the other principal inquiry suggested by the text-Why should we immediately attain a readiness for death? That this attainment should be made before a man dies, every one, who believes in a coming world of happiness or misery, must admit. That it should be immediately made by all who have hitherto neglected it, might be fairly inferred from the fact, that the Saviour and Judge of the world en

joins it. We ought to be immediately ready to die, since it is necessary in order to be properly ready to live. No man lives as he ought, who does not live prepared to go to heaven at death. But I will confine myself to those motives by which our Saviour enforces his own exhortation in the text-FOR IN SUCH AN HOUR AS YE THINK NOT, THE SON OF MAN COMEth. Our Lord is speaking here of his coming to take men away by death. It may, therefore, be observed,

1. That the words imply the certainty of death in the case of every individual. This truth is one of revelation and one of experience. It is appointed unto man once to die. No one hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit, neither hath he power in the day of death, and there is no discharge in that war. Only two individuals of our species are known to have escaped this common lot of man. No one expects to escape it, when the subject is viewed in the light of scripture or experience. Yet how many there are, whose conduct with a loud tongue, tells that they have no expectation of death. Though every day they live, there are opened on earth ten thousand graves for our dying race, they anticipate no such event to themselves. Their calculations respect no such event. The day of death has no place in their calendar. But their refusing to think of it and to prepare for it, neither prevents nor delays it. The event is unchangeably fixed. The bounds of every individual's mortal career is set, and he cannot pass it. He may come to it so absorbed in his worldly schemes, as not to heed it until he feels its icy fingers. He may float along to it on the tide of worldly ease, affluence, and pleasure, until he finds himself, thus floated into the abyss of woe. But he cannot adjourn the day of the Saviour's coming. And what a day it must be to such! What a revelation will then take place of the character of all who neglect to be READY. What disappointment, surprise, and consternation will rush into their departing souls. With what emphasis, then, does the consid

eration of the certainty of a coming hour of death, address the exhortation of our Saviour to those who consider not their latter end-BE YE ALSO READY.

2. The expression in the text implies that the dying hour will come unexpected. AT SUCH AN HOUR AS YE THINK NOT. The approach is usually gradual and imperceptible. Like a thief in the night, it silently and secretly creeps upon man. Even those who do not avoid the thought of it, do not commonly expect it when it comes. It comes sooner than they had been calculating. They had seen no decisive symptoms of its near approach. Life had seemed to be moving along in an even current. No great changes had occurred to indicate such a crisis near. They have no means of even forming a probable conjecture as to the time when their eternity is to begin. It is in respect to men in general, as the flood was to the antidiluvian world. It finds them in their accustomed pursuits, not expecting these pursuits are to be interrupted and suspended forever. How often do even good men, who have for many years been conversing with death at a distance, find themselves unexpectedly within a single step of the eternal world. How much then, does it concern us to be always READY, FOR AT SUCH AN HOUR as we cannot know before hand, and shall not be likely to expect, the Son of Man will come to remove us by death into that state, where there can be no further preparation for the judgment of the great day. Because he will certainly come, we ought to expect him. Because he will shortly come, we ought to be in a posture of constant expectancy.

3. The words of our Saviour imply still more. They imply that the event of death will surprise men in an unprepared state. This must be eminently true of those who labor to banish the thoughts of it from their minds. A consciousness that they are not READY, connected with a reluctance to make any preparation, renders them averse to cherishing any serious thoughts of dying. This

state of mind must greatly contribute to make them blind to any indications of approaching death. Those, therefore, who are not habitually READY, will in all probability be surprised in a state of utter unfitness, when the summons reaches them. The event may occur soon and suddenly; but what if it should not. The same wretched fallacies, which tempt men to neglect being READY to day, will continue with increased power to tempt them to do the same tomorrow. Delay only emboldens the wicked to venture greater acts of presumption. Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men, is fully set in them to do evil. How fearful is this consideration. How dreadful must be the consequences of being thus surprised in a course of determined neglect of preparation for death, increased and perpetuated by the delay of the event. The consequences of surprise in such cases, are described by our Saviour in verses connected with the text. If that wicked servant shall say in his heart, my Lord delayeth his coming, the Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour that he is not aware; and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrite-there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Surely, there is reason, why men should be repeatedly and urgently exhorted to be READY to leave the world. Who can remain uninfluenced by the affecting motive by which the Saviour enforces his kind exhortation? If we are swayed by this motive we shall not say, I will attend to the concerns of my soul tomorrow tomorrow I will seek to be ready to die. For, we know not but a surprising death may defeat forever all our purposes for tomorrow. This night our soul may be required of us.

I have introduced this subject with a hope of being able through the mercy of God to press it on the immediate solemn attention of those of my beloved hearers, who are careless and yet unprepared for a dying hour.

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