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Lastly, "If we pray in earnest, that God's kingdom of glory may come, we should also take care to prepare for its coming: for, without preparation, who may abide its coming?
look for such things,” says St. Peter, that is, the coming of the great day of God,
6 what manner of persons ought ye to be in all *** holiness and godly conversation?” Nor let us deceive ourselves in the nature of that preparation, which is necessary to fit us for the coming of this great and terrible day. It is not the feeble effort of a dying hour; it is not the prayers of the man of God; it is not the late-deferred
remembrance of a Redeemer's death; which will fitly prepare us for the coming of Christ's king"dom. These may, indeed, chear the natural horrors of our last scene, and contribute to make us depart in peace, in the eye of the world: but the best, and only safe preparation, is a life of virtue, joined to an active faith. The kingdom of God must be within ús ;-must begin in -the heart, and shew itself in righteousness, and true holiness ;-without which, all external acts and professions, all our attendance upon divine ordinances, will avail us nothing.
If then we hope to be joined to saints and angels in glory;—if we hope to be re-united to those friends, whom, for a time, we have lost ;
we must follow their virtues, and imitate their perfections; and then the kingdom of God will come to our joy.
But, to use the awful language of the prophet, “Woe unto you that desire the day of the “ Lord without preparing for its coming! To “ what end is it for you: The day of the Lord “ is darkness and not light.” For, if we are corrupt and vicious ;—if we have the name of Christ, without any of his graces ;--we have no interest in his kingdom :-nay, happy would it be for us, if that kingdom might never come!
-For it will only come to our sorrow and confusion:- it will only come to expose our folly before men and angels :-it will only come, to sentence us to be the companions of the worm that never dieth, and the fire that cannot be quenched.
I shall conclude the whole with our Saviour's awful description of the beginning of his future kingdom of glory, which contains in it more forcible incentives to a serious preparation for its coming, than any which the feeble voice of mán can suggest; and to which, therefore, I shall not add any thing but my warmest wishes and entreaties, that it may receive that attention from your ears, and make that impression upon your hearts, which it so well deserves.
" When the Son of man shall come in his
glory, and all the holy angels with him, then “ shall he sit upon the throne of his glory : " and before him shall be gathered all nations: " and he shall separate them one from another, " as a shepherd divideth liis sheep from the
goats: and he shall set his sheep on the “ right-hand, but the goats on the left. Then “ shall the King say unto them on his right“ hand, Come, ye blessed children of
Fa... ther, inherit the kingdom prepared for you * from the foundation of the world: for I was
an hungred, and ye gave me meat; I was “ thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a “ stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye s6 cloathed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; “ I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then " shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, “ when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee;
or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw " we thee a stranger, and took thee in, or (6 naked and cloathed thee? Or when saw
we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto " thee? And the King shall answer and say unto “ them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye
« have done it unto one of the least of these my
brethren, ye have done it unto me. '
“ Then shall he say also un to them on the left“ Hand,” (mark well the tremendous words, ye whose sins are leading you on to this unhappy number) Depart from me, ye cursed, into “ everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his
angels: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me
no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me “ not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, “ and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then “ shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, " when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a
stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and " did not minister unto thee? Then shall he
answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, “ inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of “ these, ye did it not to me. And these shall
go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.”
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be
sted fast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know, that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.