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shall be revealed; and whatever had been hidden shall be made known. Then the hidden things of darkness, and the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed. The sins of the righteous, as well as the sins of the wicked, shall be made manifest; and whatever had been done in heaven, in earth, and in hell, shall be exhibited and published before the whole universe. This solemn process will be closed by the sentence of the supreme Judge, who will say unto them on his right hand, “ Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." But he will say unto them on the left hand, “ Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." While these shall go away into everlasting punishment, the righteous shall enter into life eternal. Such will be the final separation between holy and unholy angels; between holy and unholy men; between holy and unholy parents; between holy and unholy children; between holy and unholy friends, which must excite the highest joys and sorrows, and the keenest sensibilities, in the hearts of the happy and the miserable, that can be conceived.
2. The great preparations which God is making for the day of judgment plainly intimate that the decisions of that day will be conclusive and irreversible. Origen supposed that there will be an everlasting series of changes and revolutions in the characters and conditions of moral beings. And some ingenious and learned divines have since supposed that, notwithstanding the sentence of condemnation that shall be passed on the devil and all impenitent sinners at the great day, they will still be in a probationary state, and after they have suffered severely for a longer or shorter period, they will be purified, and prepared for a restoration to the favor and enjoyment of God for ever. But the preparations which God is making for the day of judgment, are a plain and visible refutation of this unreasonable and unscriptural sentiment. Why should God employ such a long space
of time, and such a vast variety of means and instruments, to prepare all moral and accountable creatures for the account they are to give at the great day, if they are afterwards to have a more decisive and final trial ? The reason which the apostle gives for God's taking so long a time, before he brings on the day of judgment, is that he may give sinful creatures a sufficient space for repentance, so that they may all be prepared for that great day of decision. “ The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." This passage plainly implies that God will bring all those sinners of mankind to repentance, whom he
intends to save, before the day of judgment. And hence we might justly conclude that if he intends to save any or all of the fallen angels, he will also bring them to repentance, before the general judgment comes. But we are expressly told that they will be reserved in chains of darkness till that day arrives, and then will be doomed with the finally impenitent of mankind, to everlasting punishment. Besides, God cannot prepare all things for the general judgment, until he has actually obiained his ultimate end in creation. Then, and not till then, he can vindicate his own character and conduct in the view of all intelligent beings; which is the principal reason why a general judgment is proper and necessary. Without calling the whole intelligent creation together, he could not convince every individual that he had treated not only him but every other creature perfectly right. But the process of the last day will fasten a conviction, upon the minds of both the friends and enemies of God, of the perfect rectitude of all his purposes and operations from the beginning to the end of time. Hence the design of the general judgment, as well as the long and vast preparations making for it, leave no ground to expect that there ever will be a review, or rehearing of the case of those who shall then be condemned to suffer the due reward of their deeds. If any one indulges this absurd and fallacious hope, let him hear the solemn admonition of Him who holds the keys of death and of hell in his hands, and who openeth, and no man shutteth, and shutteth, and no man openeth. “Agree with thine adversary quickly, whilst thou art in the way with him ; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing."
3. Since God is making use of us, as free, voluntary agents, to prepare things for the day of judgment, we ought to esteem every duty which he has enjoined upon us, as a real privilege. It is certainly our duty, when we know his ultimate design, to fall in with it and sincerely endeavor to promote it. And it is certainly a privilege to be employed in promoting any great and good design. Any benevolent person would esteem it a duty and a privilege to assist in carrying on any important work, or business, which was designed to promote the public good. The preparations which God is making for the great and last day, are designed to promote the most desirable and the most important end. And every duty which men can perform, will serve to carry forward that great and most desirable purpose. It was the duty of Noah to build an ark to preserve himself and family, and to prevent the extinction of the VOL. v.
whole human race; and that duty was a privilege. It was the duty of Moses to lead the people of God out of the house of bondage to the land of promise; and that duty was a privilege. It was the duty of Solomon to build the temple for the honor of God and the good of his people; and that duty was a privilege. It is no less a duty and privilege, to be aiding and assisting, or as the scripture more properly terms it, to be workers together with God, in his preparations for the day which shall bring to a happy close his eternal purpose in all his works. It is a privilege to ministers of the gospel, to have the care and instruction of immortal souls, and to be employed as instruments of preparing them for their appearance before their supreme Judge. It is a privilege to rulers, to rule for God and to promote the interests of his spiritual kingdom. It is a privilege to parents, to be employed in training up their children for the parts they are to act on the stage of life, and for the account they are to give before the supreme tribunal. And it is a privilege to every one of us, to have the care of our own souls, and to be allowed to prepare ourselves to appear with safety and joy before the judgment seat of Christ. Every duty
. we perform has some influence in preparing ourselves or others for ihe great day of retribution; and for this reason, we ought to esteem every duty assigned us as a real privilege. It is an opportunity of promoting an infinitely important design, which will be a source of felicity to God and to all the inhabitants of heaven.
4. The constant and great preparations which God is making for the day of judgment, loudly admonish all persons of all ages and conditions, to live a holy and devout life. This is the plain and practical inference which the apostle draws from this solemn subject : “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness; looking for and hastening unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.” “Wherefore, beloved brethren, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” This exhortation applies with equal force and obligation to all men, whether rich or poor, high or low, bond or free. They must all eventually meet together and stand upon a level before the judgment seat of Christ, where neither riches, nor honors, nor talents, nor any of the boasted distinctions of this world, will have the least avail to gain the approbation of their Judge. The day of grace, which they now enjoy, is the most important period of their existence. All their eternal interests are suspended upon their conduct in this short and uncertain life. If they repent, and believe the gospel, and live soberly and righteously and godly, in this present evil world, they may look for the blessed hope, and glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. But if they abuse their time, their talents, their wealth, or their influence, in corrupting themselves and others, they will treasure up to themselves wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God. These are the terms upon which they shall certainly be accepted or rejected in the great day of decision. Let none deceive themselves. “God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” It is the most important business of all men in this world, to prepare to meet their Judge in peace. He has committed the care of their souls to themselves, and pointed out the path they must pursue, and the duties they must practice, to secure his favor, and obtain that crown of righteousness which he has promised to all those who love his appearing. They ought to feel and act as the primitive christians did in their probationary state. " Wherefore we labor, that whether present or absent" from the body, “we may be” present with the Lord, and “ accepted of him.” “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
“ The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.” Their hearts cannot endure, nor their hands be strong, in the day that God shall deal with them. They will find it to be a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. When the slothful servant was condemned and cast away, there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. When the man without the wedding garment was bound hand and foot and cast into outer darkness, there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Christ has told all the finally impenitent, that there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when they shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, sit down in the kingdom of God, and they themselves shut out.