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thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgressions. For Zion's sake, I will not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake, I will not rest, until they turn to God. God himself calls, Unto you, O man, I call; and my voice is unto the sons of men. Christ declares, Except ye repent, ye shall all perish. And will not man hear his Maker? Will he not regard his Saviour? Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this; and, thou earth, be horribly afraid. Turn ye to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope. The angels, who kept not their first estate, are confined in chains of darkness, unto the judgment of the Great Day. But the children of man, who kept not his original purity, are allowed a short space for repentance.
Brethren, The time is short. So says Saint Paul. But we do not believe it. A messenger, we read in the Bible, was once sent to a man - This thou shalt die. year His message to each one of us is - This year thou mayest die. This year, though you are now in health and vigour; though your house is half builded, or your field half planted; or your ship not returned from sea; though you have not yet quit school, or chosen your profession; this year, though yet in your sins, you may die. How know we, that it may not be said to one of us, Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be required of thee. Then, whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? We think it not unlikely, that some one in the next street, or possibly in the next dwelling, or even in the next pew, may be called to die this year; but we do not think it will be ourself. Each one has granted to himself a little longer time, not regarding his many sufficient warnings, until sickness has laid him very low. Then, like Felix, he may tremble. Or, like Agrippa, be persuaded to be almost a Christian. But when death hath gone his way for this time, he forgetteth him, who raised him up, and putteth off repentance, till a more convenient season. O the phrenzy of procrastination! This season may never come. Now is the accepted time; harden not your hearts. Now, before your countenance is changed; before your joy is withered away; before desire shall fail; before your sun may go down while it is yet day; now, before you are summoned to the bar of the God of the spirits of all flesh,
to render up your account. The longest life will come to an end, as surely as the shortest. The inhabiter of time will soon be the inhabiter of eternity. The pale congregation of the dead is ever beckoning us to come to them. In less than fourscore years, all, or nearly all of us, will be in an untried world. Life is short absolutely; and, comparatively with eternity, it is not a wink of the eyelid, a pulse of the heart. 'Sin can put an end to our happiness, but not to our being. It were as hard to command ourselves into nothing, as to bring ourselves from nothing.' If we knew that this were the last day we should meet together in this House of the Lord, how would our hearts falter within us. How should we be sober, and watch unto prayer. How should we bereave ourselves of any earthly attachment, and cleave unto Him, who sticketh closer than a brother. How should we open our hearts to Him, who standeth without, and knocketh, till his head is filled with dew. We are ready to give our hearts to some fond object here below; but how hard is it for us to give them unto God. But wo to those hearers, who hear only for others. And wo to those ministers, who listen not to themselves. To the good man, dying is disarmed of half its terrors. When the shadow of death is over his eyelids, he can say with holy confidence, Father, into thine hands, I commend my spirit. Or even with longing impatience, Even so, come, Lord Jesus! And I heard a Voice from Heaven, saying, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord; yea, saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labours, and their works do follow them. And the sooner they rest from their labours, the sooner will their happiness begin. But I would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep; that ye sorrow not, even as others, which have no hope. For if ye believe that Jesus died, and rose again; even so them also, which sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him. Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Blessed be God, that life is long, which answers life's great end.' Blessed be God, that though an angel's arm can't snatch us from the grave, legions of angels can't confine us there.' When the soul quits its mortal body,
it immediately passes into bliss, or misery; there to remain, till the great decisive Day, when the justice of its sentence will be manifested before the assembled Universe.
In this World, we all live together, saints and sinners. But after death, there will be Two Worlds; and between them will roll and roar an eternal, shoreless abyss, without any bridge of connexion, or ark of rescue.
THE LAST JUDGMENT.
2 Cor. v, 10. FOR WE MUST ALL APPEAR BEFORE THE
JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST.
IT IS appointed unto man once to die, but after this the Judgment. When this great, and terrible Day of the Lord, this Day, for which all other days were made, will come, knoweth no man, but the Father. It is necessary that such a day should be, wherein God may glorify his Justice, his Kindness, his Omniscience, his Power, and his Unchangeableness. That then, all the mysteries of his agency may be revealed, all the evils of the world be amended, all the injustices be repaid, and divine Providence be vindicated.' That God may appear just, when he judges; and clear, when he condemns. The design of a judicial process will be, not to inform the all-knowing Judge; but to convince all worlds of the equity of his proceedings, and the ground of their sentences. It is recorded that, as God, in the first judgment, destroyed the world by Water; so will he, after the Last Judgment, destroy it by Fire.
It is generally supposed that, as there were six days of creation, before the sabbath of rest; so will this world continue six thousand years in sin, and then will come the seventh thousand, a Millennium of Peace; and that, after that, there will be a short reign of the Man of Sin. That, during this reign of sin, passion and lust will triumph, as they did just before the Deluge. And that, while Infidels blaspheme, and Scoffers exclaim, Where is
the promise of his coming? then will the fearful and sublime Vision of Judgment begin to be realized. A part of the grand preparations for the Final Day will be, the speeding of the Angel, that is to fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach to all Pagan nations; and the collection and conversion of the scattered, and peeled, and deluded posterity of the ancient murderers of the Messiah.
From the goodness and equity of God, we may infer, that men will be judged by some universal rule, known to them; as by the light of reason, or law of conscience; not by the proportions of an angel, but by the measures of a man; that those without the Law, will be judged without the Law; and those under the Gospel, be judged by the Gospel. That we shall be judged, not by the errors of one day, but by the larger balance of our lives; of single actions, if great and deliberate; of little instances, if habitual; by the plain rules of justice; by the ten commandments; by the first apprehensions of conscience, and the dictates of an honest mind; that we shall be judged as Christians, rather than as men; as persons to whom much is pardoned, and much is pitied.' This coming Judgment concerns all that have been born, are now born, or shall be born; 'even you, and I, and all the world; kings and priests, nobles and learned, the crafty and the easy, the wise and foolish, the rich and poor, the prevailing tyrant and the oppressed party.' Even the righteous, and most innocent, must pass through a severe trial.
My subject will lead me to treat, in their order, of the Judge; the Judgment-Seat; and the Final Sentence; and to close with some Warning Inferences.
1. The Word of God not only declares that there will be a Judgment, but also sublimely intimates the manner of it; and hath appointed the final Judge. The Judge is to be the King of Glory. And who is this King of Glory? He, whom the great evangelical prophet so triumphantly foresaw: Who is he, that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? This that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength?