Imatges de pÓgina
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against him, Depart from me accurfed, it was but what he expected. Now he can flatter himself with vain hopes, and fhut his eyes against the light of conviction, but then he will not be able to hope better; then he must know the worst of his cafe. The formality of the judicial trial is neceflary for the conviction of the world, but not for his; his own confcience has already determined his condition. However, to convince others of the juftice of his doom, he is dragged and guarded from his grave to the judgment-feat by fierce unrelenting devils, now his tempters, but then his tormentors. With what horror does he view the burning throne and the frowning face of his Judge, that Jefus whom he once difregarded, in fpite of all his dying love and the falvation he offered! How does he wifh for a covering of rocks and mountains to conceal him from his angry eye! but all in vain. Appear he muit. He is ordered to the left among the trembling criminals; and now the trial comes on. All his evil deeds, and all his omiffions of duty, are now produced against him. All the mercies he abused, all the chaftifements he defpifed, all the means of grace he neglected or mifimproved, every finful, and even every idle word, nay, his moft fecret thoughts and difpofitions are all expofed, and brought into judgment against him. And when the Judge puts it to him, "Is it not fo finner? Are not thefe charges true?" confcience obliges him to confefs and cry out, Guilty! guilty! And now the trembling criminal being plainly convicted, and left without all plea and all excufe, the fupreme Judge, in ftern majefty and inexorable justice, thunders out the dreadful fentence, Depart from me ye curfed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and bis angels. Matt. xxv. 41. O tremendous doom! every word is big with terror, and shoots a thunderbolt through the heart. "Depart: away from my prefence; I cannot bear fo loathfome a fight. I once invited thee to come to me, that thou mighteft have life, but thou wouldst not regard the invitation; and

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now thou fhalt never hear that inviting voice more. Depart from me; from me, the only Fountain of happinefs, the only proper Good for an immortal mind." But, Lord,' (we may fuppofe the criminal to say) ' if I must depart; blefs me before I go." "No," fays the angry Judge, depart accurfed; depart with my eternal and heavy curfe upon thee; the curfe of that power that made thee; a curfe dreadfully efficacious, that blafts whatever it falls upon like flashes of confuming, irrefiftible lightning." But if I must go away under thy curfe, (the criminal may be fuppofed to fay) let that be all my punishment; let me depart to fome agreeable, or at least tolerable recefs, where I may meet with fomething to mitigate the curfe.' "No, depart into fire; there burn in all the excruciating tortures of that outrageous element." . But, Lord, if I must make my bed in fire, O let it be a tranfient blaze, that will foon burn itself out, and put an end to my torment.' "No, depart into everlasting fire; there burn without confuming, and be tormented without end." But, Lord, grant me (cries the poor wretch) at least the mitigation of friendly, entertaining, and fympathizing company; or, if this cannot be granted, grant me this fmall, this almoft no request, to be doomed to fome folitary corner in Hell, where I fhail be punished only by my own confcience and thine immediate hand; but O deliver me from thefe malicious, tormenting devils; banish me into fome apartment in the infernal pit far from their fociety.' "No, depart into everlafting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: thou must make one of their wretched crew for ever: thou didst join with them in finning, and now must share in their punishment: thou didst fubmit to them as thy tempters, and now thou must submit to them as thy tormentors.

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Sentence being pronounced, it is immediately executed. Thefe fhall go away into everlasting punishment. Matt. xxv. 46. Devils drag them away to the pit, and push them down headlong. There they are con

fined in chains of darkness, and in a lake burning with fire and brimstone, for ever, for ever! In that dreadful word lies the emphafis of torment: it is an hell in hell. If they might be but released from pain, though it were by annihilation, after they have wept away ten thousand millions of ages in extremity of pain, it would be fome mitigation, fome encouragement; but, alas! when as many millions of ages are paffed as the ftars of heaven, or the fand on the fea-fhore, or the atoms of duft in this huge globe of earth, their punishment is as far from an end as when the fentence was pronounced upon them. For ever! there is no exhaufting of that word; and when it is affixed to the highest degree of mifery, the terror of the found is utterly infupportable. See, firs, what depends upon time, that span of time we enjoy in this fleeting life. Eternity! awful, all-important eternity depends upon it.

All this while confcience tears the finner's heart with

the most tormenting reflections. "O what a fair opportunity I once had for falvation, had I improved it! I was warned of the confequences of a life of fin and careleffness: I was told of the neceffity of faith, repentance, and univerfal holinefs of heart and life; I enjoyed a fufficient fpace for repentance, and all the neceffary means of falvation, but, fool that I was, I neglected all, I abused all; I refused to part with my fins; I refused to engage seriously in religion, and to feek God in earneft; and now I am loft for ever without hope. O! for one of those months, one of those weeks, or even fo much as one of those days or hours I once trifled away! with what earneftness, with what folicitude would I improve it! But all my opportunities are paft, beyond recovery, and not a moment fhall be given me for this purpose any more. O what a fool was I to fell my foul for fuch trifles! to set fo light by heaven, and fall into hell through mere neglect and carelefinefs! Ye impenitent, unthinking fin

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ners, though you may now be able to filence or drown the clamours of your confciences, yet the time, or rather the dread eternity is coming, when they will fpeak in fpite of you; when they will speak home, and be felt by the moft hardened and remorfelefs heart. Therefore now regard their warnings while they may be the means of your recovery.

You and I, my brethren, are concerned in the folemn tranfaction of the day I have been defcribing. You and I fhall either be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, or while mouldering in the grave, we shall bear the voice of the Son of God, and come forth, either to the refurrection of life, or to the refurrection of damnation. And which, my brethren, fhall be our doom? Can we foreknow it at this dif tance of time? I propofed it to your enquiry already, whether you have any good reafon to hope you fhall be of that happy number who shall rife to life? and now I propofe it again with this counterpart, Have you any evidences to hope you fhall not be of that wretched numerous multitude who fhall rife to damnation? If there be an enquiry within the compafs of human knowledge that demands your folicitous thoughts, certainly it is this. Methinks you cannot enjoy one moment's ease or fecurity while this is undetermined. And is it an anfwerable enquiry? Can we now know what are the prefent diftinguishing characters of those who fhall then receive fo different a doom? Yes, my text determines the point; for,

V. They that have done good shall come forth to the refurrection of life, and they that have done evil to the refurrection of damnation. Thefe are the grounds of the diftinction that shall then be made in the final ftates of men, doing good and doing evil. And certainly this diftinction is perceivable now; to do good and to do evil are not fo much alike as that it fhould be impoffible to diftinguish between them. Let us then fee what is implied in these characters, and to whom of us they respectively belong.

1. What

1. What is it to do good? This implies, ift, An honeft endeavour to keep all God's commandments; I fay, all his commandments, with regard to God, our neighbour, and ourfelves, whether eafy or difficult, whether fafhionable or not, whether agreeable to our natural conftitution or not, whether enjoining the performance of duty or forbidding the commiffion of fin, whether regarding the heart or the outward practice. I say an uniform, impartial regard to all God's commandments, of whatever kind, in all circumftances, and at all times, is implied in doing good; for if we do any thing because God commands it, we will endeavour to do every thing that he commands, because where the reason of our conduct is the fame, our conduct itself will be the fame. I do not mean that good men in the present state perfectly keep the commandments of God in every thing, or indeed in any thing; but I mean that univerfal obedience is their honeft endeavour. Their character is in fome measure uniform and all of a piece; that is, they do not place all their religion in obedience to fome commands which may be agreeable to them, as though that would make atonement for their neglect of others; but, like David, they are for having a refpect. and indeed have a respect to all God's commandments. Pfalm cxix. 6. My brethren, try yourfelves by this test.

2. To do good in an acceptable manner pre-fuppofes a change of nature and a new principle. Our nature is fo corrupted that nothing really and formally good can be performed by us till it be renewed. To confirm this I fhall only refer you to Eph. ii. 10. and Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27. where being created in Christ Jefus to good works, and receiving a new heart of flesh, are mentioned as pre-requifites to our walking in God's ftatutes. As for the principle of obedience, it is the love of God, 1 John v. 3. that is, we must obey God because we love him; we must do good because

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