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The ensuing sermon was preached merely as a practical improvement of the affecting providence which gave occasion to it, and for the edification of the single congregation before whom it was delivered, without the least view to its publication. Some of the audience having been considerably affected and quickened by hearing it, and hoping that others might derive similar advantage from perusing it, suggested, several days after, the first idea of printing it.
Still, however, it would probably have gone no further, had not some hints from a very respectable quarter induced me to set about transcribing the substance of it. The same enlarged zeal and benelence which have dictated and patronized so many measures for the glory of God, and the temporal and spiritual good of mankind, approving of and countenancing this feeble endeavour, have determined the publication.
Not having notes, I could not possibly send to the press precisely the same sermon I delivered from the pulpit. Want of recollection, at some distance of time, must cause numberless lesser va
John Thornton, Esq. whose sister Dr. Conyers had married.-J. S.
LUKE XII. 40.
Be ye therefore ready also ; for the Son of Man
cometh at an hour when ye think not.
The frequency with which this warning, and others to the same effect, are inculcated in the sacred scriptures, sufficiently evinces their importance. Three evangelists record the prophecy of our Lord concerning the approaching desolation of Jerusalem : and they all gradually draw off our thoughts from the event primarily intended ; lead them to a still more solemn and interesting scene, even the second coming of Christ to judge the world; and then conclude with a warning similar to that of my text. “Therefore be ye also ready ; “ for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of “man cometh.”I “ Take ye heed, watch and pray, “ for ye know not when the time is.”2 “Take heed “ to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be “ overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, “ and the cares of this life, and so that day come
upon you unawares ; for as a snare shall it come
Matt. xxiv. 44.
• Mark xiii. 33.
all them that dwell upon the face of the “whole earth. Watch ye, therefore, and pray al
ways, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape “ all these things which shall come to pass, and to “ stand before the Son of man."
In this chapter the same improvement is made of another subject. A certain person, as it appears, unseasonably interrupting our Lord's discourse, requested him to speak to“ his brother to divide the “inheritance with him.” Our blessed Saviour, however, declining this as foreign to his character and employment, thence takes occasion to caution his audience against covetousness; impresses this caution on their minds, by the parable of him, who, rich to himself and not to God, was summoned by death, just when he was purposing to enjoy his affluence, and promising himself many years of worldly felicity; and enforces on his disciples indifference about worldly things, contentment with a little, trust in providence, fruitfulness in works of mercy, and habitual preparation for death and judgment. This last he illustrates by the situation of a servant appointed to watch for his lord's return from a wedding; and by that of a householder expecting the assault of a thief. Sobriety and watchfulness would be incumbent on persons thus circumstanced, much more on us : “Be ye there“fore ready also ; for at an hour when ye think “ not the Son of Man cometh.”—From these interesting words we will,
I. Consider the event for which we are exhorted to be ready:
'Luke xxi. 34-36.