Imatges de pÓgina

fea, before it be forever dried up, furrendering its hidden treasure, not the filver, and gold, and jewels which its vaft womb contains, but the innumerable myriads of men and women it had been infatiately deyouring during fo many ages, and whom it can no longer cover or conceal. The found of the last trumpet has difpelled their long flumber. See, they emerge from their watery bed, they fpring up into newness of life, their eyes again behold the light, the light of an eternal day, they fwim through regions of tranfparent air, they can die no more, they haften to appear before their Judge. Behold the grim king of terrors, faithful to his truft, giving in the exact regifter of his wide domain, refigning his awful empire, reftoring his captives to life and liberty, and their rightful Lord; not one loft, not one detained: and the great deftroyer is at length himself destroyed.

And for what purpose this mighty preparation, this fecond birth of nature, this new creation of God? Behold an affembled world, from the father of the human race down to the youngest of his fons, ftand before God. They ftand as fubjects in the prefence of their Sovereign, as expectants before the eternal Arbiter of their deftiny. In his eyes, in their own consciences they read their doom; they stand to hear the irreverfible decree; their pofture fpeaks acknowledgment of the right of judging, fubmiffion to authority, acquiefcence in the wifdom and juftice of the Judge. But that erect attitude muft quickly change into the proftration of dutiful and grateful children, or of foes fubdued, of wretches condemned; for lo,

The books are opened, and judgment begins. It is fpoken after the manner of men. Earthly judges refer to ftatutes as the rule of their decifions; men are tried by the laws of their country, and because human faculties are limited and imperfect, the memory unretentive, the understanding liable to error, the heart warped by partial affections, facts must be preferved

in written documents, to prevent alteration or mistake, the law expreffed in clear and distinct terms, and the cause, not the perfon of the party, held up as the object of judgment. But what need of books or of records to affift the memory of Him who is omniscience, to whom are known all his own works, and all the ways of men from the foundation of the world; whofe will is the law; and who knows no distinction but that between truth and falfehood, right and wrong ? What need of external evidence, of the teftimony of others, when every man carries the evidence in his own bofom, and is acquitted or condemned of his own confcience? What, O man, are the contents of thefe awful books? The words thou art now speaking, the purfuits in which thou art now engaged, the fpirit by which thou art now actuated. Thou art every day filling up the record, with thy hand enrolling thine own honour or fhame; and the unfolding of that day fhall reveal that only which thou thyself hast written. On thyself it refts whether the last folemn discovery is to cover thee with everlasting contempt, or to crown thee with joy unfpeakable, and full of glory; whether the opening of the book of life is to difplay thy name in golden characters to angels and men, or the register of condemnation confign thee to everlafting punishment. The book that fhall be opened is none other than the book of scripture, the infallible rule of faith and manners, and according as thou art conformed unto, falleft fhort of, or exceedest that ftandard, fo fhall thy doom be.

They were judged every man according to their works. In this mixed and imperfect ftate, it frequently happens that the guilty efcape, and the innocent fuffer. "The fathers eat four grapes, and the children's teeth are fet on edge." Prince play the madman, and quarrel, and fight, and myriads of unoffending wretches pay the forfeit of that folly. But before yonder tribunal every one appears to answer for himself; every one comes to reap the fruit of his own doings.


"Enter not into judgment with thy fervant, O God, for in thy fight fhall no flesh living be juftified." "If thou, Lord, fhouldft mark iniquities, O Lord, who fhall stand?" "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving-kindnefs, according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my tranfgreffions.' "Behold, O God, our Shield, and look upon the face of thine Anointed."

In meditating on this fubject, let us learn to forbear from exercifing this dread prerogative of the Eternal, let us refrain from judging. God has challenged this right with emphatic folemnity as his own: "Judg. ment is mine, I will repay, faith the Lord." « All judgment is committed unto the Son." "Therefore thou art inexcufeable, O man, whofoever thou art that judgeft: for wherein thou judgeft another, thou condemneft thyfelf; for thou that judgeft, doeft the fame things. But we are fure that the judgment of God is according to truth, against them which commit fuch things. And thinkeft thou this, O man, that judgeft them which do fuch things, and doeft the fame, that thou fhalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and long-fuffering, not knowing that the goodnefs of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart, treasureft up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his deeds to them who by patient continuance in well-doing, feek for glory, and honour, and immortality; eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteoufnefs; indignation and wrath: tribulation and anguifh upon every foul of man that doth evil, of the Jew firft, and alfo of the Gentile. But glory, honour and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew firft, and alfo to the


Gentile. For there is no refpect of perfons with God."*

But while by every ferious confideration thou art restrained, ignorant fallible creature, from judging another, by every serious confideration thou art encouraged, conftrained to examine and to judge thyfelf. It may be the means of preventing, of averting the righteous judgment of God. It will lead thee to the discovery of thy own weaknefs, and thereby become a fource of wisdom and strength. It will unfold the deceitfulness of fin, and the treachery of thine own heart, and lead thee in trembling hope to the blood of fprinkling, which taketh away the fin of the world. It will render thee compaffionate and gentle to the infirmities of others, because that thou also hast finned. It will produce "godly forrow, which worketh repentance unto falvation, not to be repented of." It will render the promifes of "mercy to pardon, and of grace to help in every time of need," precious to thy foul. It will help to regulate thy path through life, and diminish the terrors of death.

Finally, habitual and rooted impreffions of a judg ment to come, will ferve as a fupport under the rafh cenfures and the unjuft decifions of men. From the ftrife of tongues, from the hatred of a mercilefs world, you can retire to the filent feaft of a confcience void of offence; and with confidence appeal from the angry tribunal of a creature like thyfelf, to Him who knoweth thy heart, who feeth in fecret, and will reward thee openly. "Bleffed are ye when men fhall revile you, and perfecute you, and fhall fay all manner of evil againft you falfely for my fake, Rejoice, and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven." "Who thall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that juftifieth: who is he that condemneth?" Behold that "great multitude which no man can number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, ftanding before the throne, and before

Rom. ii. I—II.

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before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and
palms in their hands, and crying with a loud voice,
faying, Salvation unto our God, which fitteth upon
the throne, and unto the Lamb." "What are these
which are arrayed in white robes? And whence came
"These are they which came out of great
tribulation, and haye wafhed their robes, and made
them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore
are they before the throne of God, and ferve him day
and night in his temple: and he that fitteth on the
throne fhall dwell among them. They fhall hunger
no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the fun
light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is
in the midst of the throne fhall feed them, and shall
lead them unto living fountains of waters and God
fhall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

* Rev. vii. 9—17.



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