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grave, where there is no sighing nor weeping nor any griefof a father in heaven who watcheth over him by night and day-of a shepherd that will feed him by the still waters, and of things unutterable which await him in his Father's house. The imprisoned sympathies of the woeful man being thus enlarged and satisfied out of the abundance of heavenly food, he walks abroad satisfied with himself and with his condition, loving his brethren of men whom he lately disreputed, and acting stoutly his worthy part in that bustling scene which lately thronged upon his memory a thousand ancient disappointments, but which now brightens with a thousand hopes, and is sweetened with a thousand wholesome uses.
And again, that brutal man, of whom we told, who hath his pleasure in sensual and riotous scenes, living content with mere animal gratification, unreasonable, unspiritual, unenlightened, drudging with cattle his weary life, feeding himself for mere drudgery, and caring for nothing beyond—to him the Comforter would come, and teach him how to become a man—a son of immortality; awaken spiritual tastes, introduce him to spiritual people, make him a husband and a father from being a regardless man, and teach him to keep at home instead of being a vagabond upon the earth.
And again, that plodding man, whose contentment with the daily routine of business we blamed—and that scheming man, whose ambition to climb through wealth to place and power, we set forth—and that toiling youth, whose miserable reliefs and refreshments in dangerous gaieties we pitiedall these forms of active man the Comforter would mightily improve and refine ; touching the spiritless drudge with a wand of power that would quicken him into a thoughtful and a spiritual man, and draw him into converse with God and communion with heaven; teaching the schemer to scheme for eternity, and making him ambitious of all heavenly accomplishments, thrilling the soul of the youth with love for Christ and his christian vocation-enlivening the conscience of all to a thousand new perceptions of duty and usefulness, and filling the soul with a constant fund of devotion and peace.
Finally, those of high birth and fortune, who pass through a vain, hot, unbridled youth, to settle down into a manhood of worldly ambition and display, this divine Comforter would catch and timeously defend from the snare of fashion and folly, and when pleasure sets forth her most delicious baits and treat succeeded treat in well-studied succession, when
by luxury and beauty the pulse of life is raised, and by congenial sentiment and song the heart is kept in unison and the fancy dazzled by the finest creations of geniusmall to win favour for most unholy practices, then, in that most trying moment, the guardian Spirit of God would spread the sober shades of truth over the tempting scene, and raise up a brighter creation out of the promises of God to out-tempt the tempter, and he would fill it with the beauty of angelic forms, with the feast and fatness of God's house, and the raptures of his ravished people, and so preserving the youth uncorrupted, lead him into settled manhood, and make him a man great in well-doing, the patron of good works, an honour to his name, and the boast of the country round.
Thus, truly, it would fare with all conditions, if they would take up the pattern of Christ and imbibe his Spirit; and thus would the ills of every condition be treated, and men live happy and die peaceful and enter into everlasting habitations.
OF JUDGMENT TO COME.
PRELIMINARIES OF THE SOLEMN JUDGMENT.
The Almighty Governor of heaven and earth, having such claims
upon the human race and such a regard for their well-being, as we set forth in the first head of this argument, did accord to the wants and welfare of human nature that constitution of laws whereof we have unfolded the principles, and the excellent adaptation both to the individual and the social state of man. Having done so much, he might have left it to make way upon the strength of its own merits without any further recommendation than its present fitness and advantage ; in which case he would have stood to us in the relation of a counsellor who points out the good and evil of conduct, and the way to reach tranquillity and happiness; or of a father who, before he departs, bequeathes to his children the legacy of his wisdom and affection. Even so, God, having revealed his best counsels to the sons of men, might have retired within the veil and left all beyond the grave secret and unknown.
But perceiving in us such contumacious neglect of himself and of all that he could do for our sakes, and such base preference of sensual and temporary interests over spiritual and eternal, he hath appointed a day in which he will call an account of the good and the evil, and make a grand and notable decision between those who regarded him and those who regarded him not. For he hath too tender an interest in that which is good not to sustain it by every means, while for that which is evil he hath too great an abhorrence to keep its direful consequences secret ; therefore, it hath pleased him to lift up the veil of death and the grave, and show the spectacle of eternal judgment and the separate issues of obeying and disobeying his revealed law. Frequent
descriptions are given of this judgment in the Scriptures, and allusions to it are ever recurring throughout the preaching of Christ and of the Apostles. It is used to arrest the fears of the wicked, and to rejoice the patience of the righteous. To escape the wrath to come, is the ground upon which all men are commanded to repent and to believe in Christ, who came into the world that men might not perish, but have everlasting life. By this institution of judgment, God hath superinduced, upon the affectionateness of the father and the kindness of the counsellor, the authority of the lawgiver and governor; and his revelations, from being admonitions and exhortations, pass into the severe character of laws which it is perilous to disobey. All that hath been hitherto propounded of their good consequences must therefore be regarded, not as acts of judgment so much, as natural effects flowing from their obedience. We come now to the awful exercise of Almighty judgment, having hitherto treated only of his exquisite wisdom, his long-suffering, mercy, and his most abundant kindness.
Now, though this be a subject of pure revelation, it is one which
may be handled with great deference to human reason and to our natural sentiments of justice; and therefore we solicit, as formerly, from our reader, a lively exercise of all his faculties, and a ready proposal of all his doubts ; our object being not to overawe him with terrific descriptions of things unseen, in which imagination may at liberty disport, but to convince him how consonant things revealed are to the best sentiments and interests of mankind. We have seen how exquisitely God hath accorded his law, to the honour and advantage of man, and he may therefore be expected to accord the judgment thereof no less exquisitely to our sentiments of justice and equity ; for we take it to be a first principle of every communication from a wise and good God, that it should have something in it for the advantage of the creature to whom it is made : and, accordingly, we hope to make it appear that God doth not preserve his dignity at the expense of his justice, or wield his authority at the expense of his mercy, but consulteth for all his noble attributes equally and alike; in every action making their combined lustre to shine forth.
In order, therefore, to carry the reason of men along with us into this solemn subject of judgment to come, we shall consider the doubts and difficulties which the mind hath in meditating the transactions of the great day, and endeavour to render
the best resolution of them in our power, before
entering upon the very article of the judgment and the priaciples upon which it proceeds. These preliminary doubts and hesitations are of two classes; one arising from the difficulties of conception, the other arising from our apprehensions lest justice should be violated.
The first class to which we shall give immediate attention, springs from ruminating upon the magnitude of the work to be performed, and the incredible multitude to be judged. When we would grapple with the subject, conception is stunned and calculation confounded, and a most unpleasant incertitude induced upon the mind. Our slow-moving faculties cannot reckon the countless' multitude, our subdivisions of time cannot find moments for the execution of the mighty work. The details of each case reaching to the inmost thought, the discrimination of their various merit and demerit, with the proportionate award of justice to each, seem a weary work for which infinite time as well as Almighty faculties are required. Taking advantage of this confusion of the faculties of conception, many evil suggestions enter into the mind, and destroy the great effect which the revelation of judgment to come is designed to produce. One thinks he will pass muster in such a crowd, and that he need not take the matter to heart; another, that he will find a sort of countenance in the multitudes that are worse than he; a third, that if he be condemned it will be in the company of those whose company he preferred on earth, and will continue to prefer so long as he continues to be himself; and thus the whole power of the revelation is laid prostrate.
In like manner have I seen every other revelation of God deflowered of its beauty and defeated of its strength by similar endeavours to dive into the methods by which it is to be carried into effect. For example, out of all the good which there is in the revelation of creation and providence, it were as easy to escape by similar interrogations into the method of operation.
It is said that God created man of the dust of the earth, and that he formed Eve of a rib from Adam's side. This, as it stands, is a sublime lesson of God's power and our humble origin, and of the common incorporate nature of man and woman ; but if you go to task your powers of comprehension, you are punished for your presumption by the arid scepticism and barrenness of heart which comes over you. Make man of dust? we soliloquize, How is that? Of dust we can make the mould or form of man, but what is baked clay to living flesh and conscious spirit? Make it in one