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it. Hab. ii. 11. The rust of their gold and silver shall be a witness against them, and shall eat their flesh as it were fire. James v. 3. Nay, the heavens shall reveal their iniquity, and the earth shall rise up against them. Job xx. 27. Heaven and earth were called to witness that life and death were set before them, Deut. xxx. 19. and now they will give in their evidence that they chuse death. Thus God and all his creatures, heaven, earth and hell rise up against them, accuse and condemn them. And will not finners accuse and witness against one another ? Undoubt. edly they will. They who lived or conversed together upon earth, and were spectators of each other's conduct, will then turn mutual witnesses against each other. O, tremendous thought ! that friend should inform and witness against friend; parents against children,andchildren against parents; ministersagainst their people, and people against their ministers! Alas! what a confounding testimony against each other must those give in who are now finning together!
Thus the way is prepared for the passing sentence. The case was always clear to the omniscient Judge, but now it is so fully discussed and attested by so many evidences, that it is quite plain to the whole world of creatures who can judge only by such evidence, and for whose conviction the formality of a judicial process is appointed. How long a time this grand court will fit we cannot determine, nor has God thought fit to inform us ; but when we consider how particular the trial will be, and the innumerable multitude to be tried, it seems reasonable to suppose it will be a long session. It is indeed often called a day; but it is evident a day in such cases does not signify a natural day, but the space of time allotted for transacting a business, though it be an hundred, or even a thousand years. Creatures are incapable of viewing all things at once, and therefore since the trial, as I observed, is intended to convince them of the equity of the divine proceedings, it is proper the
fimiles in hince and attentientence. Hea; I meant
proceedings should be particular and leisurely, that they may have time to observe them.
We are now come to the grand crisis upon which the eternal states of all mankind turn; I mean the passing the great decisive sentence. Heaven and earth are all silence and attention, while the Judge with smiles in his face and a voice sweeter than heavenly music, turns to the glorious company on his right hand, and pours all the joys of heaven into their souls in that transporting sentence, of which he has graciously left us a copy: Come, ye blessed of my Father; ina herit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Every word is full of emphasis, full of heaven, and exactly agreeable to the desires of thole to whom it is addressed. They desired, and longed, and languished to be near their Lord; and now their Lord invites them, Come near me, and dwell with me for ever. There was nothing they desired fo much as the blessing of God, nothing they feared so much as his curse, and now their fears are entirely removed and their designs fully accomplished, for the supreme Judge pronounces them blefled of his Father. They were all poor in spirit, most of them poor in this world, and all sensible of their unworthiness. How agreeable then are they surprised to hear themselves invited to a kingdom, invited to inherit a kingdom, as princes of the blood-royal, born to thrones and crowns! How will they be loft in wonder, joy, and praise, to find that the great God entertained thoughts of love towards them before they had a being, or the world in which they dwelt had its foundation laid, and that he was preparing a kingdom for them, while they were nothing, unknown even in idea, except to himself? O! brethren, dare any of us expect this sentence will be passed upon us ? Methinks the very thought overwhelms us. Methinks our feeble frames must be unable to bear up. under the extatic hope of fo sweetly oppressive a blefsedness. O! if this be our sentence in that day, it is
no matter what we suffer in the intermediate space; that sentence would conpensate for all, and annihilate the sufferings of ten thousand years.
But hark ! another sentence breaks from the mouth of the angry Judge, like vengeful thunder. Nature gives a deep tremendous groan; the heavens lower and gather blackness, the earth trembles, and guilty millions sink with horror at the found! And fee! he whose words are works, whose fiat produced worlds out of nothing; he who could remand ten thousand worlds into nothing with a frown; he whose thunder quelled the insurrection of rebel-angels in heaven, and hurled them head-long down, down, down to the dungeon of hell; see, he turns to the guilty croud on his left hand ; his angry countenance discovers the righteous indignation that glows in his breast :-his countenance bespeaks him inexorable, and that there is now no room for prayers and tears. Now the sweet, mild, mediatorial hour is past, and nothing appears but the majesty and terror of the Judge. Horror and darkness frown upon his brows, and vindictive lightnings flash from his eyes. And now (O! who can bear the sound!) he speaks, Depart from me ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. O! the cutting emphasis of every word! Depart! depart from Me; from Me, the Author of all good, the Fountain of all good, the Fountain of all happiness. Depart, with all my heavy all-consuming curse upon you. Depart into fire, into everlasting, into everlasting fire, prepared, furnished with fuel, and blown up into rage, prepared for the devil and his angels ; once your companions in fin, and now the companions and the executioners
panions and the
Now the grand period is arrived in which the final everlasting states of mankind are unchangeably settled. From this all important æra their happiness or misery runs on in one uniform, uninterrupted tenor ; no change, no gradation, but from glory to glory, in the
vening. And the execution diately the
scale of perfection, or from gulph to gulph in hell. This is the day in which all the fchemes of Provi. dence, carried on for thousands of years, terminate.
“ Great day! for which all other days were made :
Young, Time was ; but is no more! Now all the fons of men enter upon a duration not to be measured by the revolutions of the sun, nor by days, and months, and years. Now eternity dawns, a day that shall never see an evening. And this terribly illustrious morning is solemnized with the execution of the sentence. No sooner is it passed than immediately the wicked go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal. Matt. XXV. 46. See the astonished thunder-struck multitude on the left hand, with sullen horror, and grief, and despair in their looks, writhing with agony, crying and wringing their hands, and glancing a wishful eye towards that heaven which they lost; dragged away by devils to the place of execution! See hell expands her voracious jaws, and swallows them up! and now an eternal farewell to earth and all its enjoyments! Farewell to the cheerful light of Heaven ! Farewell to hope, that sweet relief of affliction !
- Farewell happy fields, y
Heaven frowns upon them from above, the horrors of hell spread far and wide around them, and conscience within preys upon their hearts. Conscience ! O thou abused, exasperated power, that now sleepest in so many breasts, what severe, ample revenge wilt thou then take upon those that now dare to do thee violence ! O the dire reflections which memory will then suggeit! the remembrance of mercies abused !
of a Saviour slighted! of means and opportunities of falvation neglected and loft! this remembrance will fting the heart like a scorpion. But O eternity ! eternity! with what horror will thy name circulate thro' the vaults of hell ! eternity in misery! no end to pain ! no hope of an end! O this is the hell of Hell ! this is the parent of despair! despair the direst ingredient of misery, the most tormenting passion which devils feel. But let us view a more delightful and illustrious scene.
See the bright and triumphant army marching up to their eternal home, under the conduct of the Captain of their falvation, where they fall ever be with the Lord, 1 Theff. iv. 17. as happy as their nature in its highest improvements is capable of being made. With what shouts of joy and triumph do they ascend! with what sublime hallelujahs do they crown their Deliverer! with what wonder and joy, with what pleasing horror, like one that has narrowly escaped some tremendous precipice, do they look back upon what they once were ! once mean, guilty, depraved, condemned sinners! afterward imperfect, brokenhearted, sighing, weeping faints! but now innocent, holy, happy, glorious immortals !
66 Are these the forms that moulder'd in the dust ?
O the transcendant glories of the just!” YOUNG. Now with what pleasure and rapture do they look forward through the long, long prospect of immortality, and call it their own ! the duration not only of their existence, but of their happiness and glory! Oihail any of us share in this immensely valuable privilege ! how immensely transporting the thought !
Shall we, who fome few years ago were less