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ny instances in life of good men depressed, and of bad men exalted; of vice holding a sceptre, and virtue pining in chains. How often have we seen the best of men reduced to eat the bread of sorrow, and to drink the waters of affliction, whilst the worthless and the infamous have rioted in the abundance of life, and enjoyed what their hearts could wish. When such scenes are presented to our eyes, our heart rises within us. Shall it always continue thus, we say within ourselves, shall it always continue thus in a world that is governed by God? Shall oppressed, righteousness never be taken into the protection of Providence, and triumphant wickedness never fall under his censure? Shall the cry of the innocent, of the oppressed, and of the persecuted, never reach the throne of justice? Are the wrongs and grievances of the good and the righteous, the wrongs and grievances which they have suffered in the cause of goodness and of righteousness, never to be redressed? Is wickedness finally to triumph over oppressed virtue; to triumph over the laws of nature; to triumph over the providence of Heaven? Will the time never come when the Almighty shall rise from his throne to adjust and rectify the affairs of the moral world? If not in this, certainly in some future state he will assume the part of a Judge, to reward the just, and to take vengeance upon the wicked.
All this has at last been fully revealed. It was reserved to the Divine Prophet, who came from the bosom of the Father, to bring life and immortality to light by his Gospel. He taught that God had appointed a day in which he was to judge the world: that the dead were to be raised, and all that ever lived upon the earth to appear at his tribunal. Of this doctrine he gave assurance unto all men by his own resurrection from the dead; and as surely as he arose, shall we at the time appointed arise. When the mystery of God is finished, the last trumpet will sound. The voice of the Son of God will pierce the caverns of the tomb, will be heard over the kingdoms of the dead, will re-animate the ashes of thousands of gene^ rations, 'and sist an assembled world at the seat of judgment. By the unalterable appointment of Hear ven, every thing has its period. The cedar of Lebanon fades away like the leaf upon its top. Lebanon itself decays in the course of years. States and empires have their day, like mortal man. Limits are set to time, and the world has its last hour. A few generations more haying passed away, the day comes which God hath appointed to judge the world: the great day for which all other days have revolved. When this period approaches, heaven opens wide its everlasting doors, and behold the Judge comes forth! He comes in the glory of his Father; in the effulgence of unveiled Divinity he comes, attended with all the host of heaven! Before him the harbinger of his appearance, the destroying angel of nature descends, clothed with a cloud, having his face like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire. He sets his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot upon the earth; he lifts up his hand to heaven, and swears "by him "that liveth for eyer and ever, that time shall be no "more!" As the doom of nature is denounced, the thunders of heaven for the last time utter their voices; the laws of nature are dissolved; the stars fall from the firmament; the moon is turned into blood; and that sun, whose beams you now heboid, sinks in the darkness of eternal night; the earth hears its last sentence, and shakes to the centre; the four corners of the world hear it; all that are alive hear it; all the dead hear it, and live; from the presence of their Creator, the heavens depart like a scroll rolling itself together; the earth vanishes, and there is no place found for it; every mountain and every island is fled; creation fades away to give place to uncreated glory; the great tribunal is erected; the books are opened; the Judge descends; the world is assembled; the sentence is pronounced; the sentence is executed: down to the prison of darkness and despair, tyie habitation of unquenchable and everlasting firei
the wicked are driven, where, bound in chains, they feel the torment of the worm that never dies, and suffer in the flames of the lake whose smoke ascendeth up for ever and ever; whilst enthroned in glory above, and adorned with the beauties of immortality, the righteous ascend with their Lord, and approaching to the fountain of life, partake of those pleasures at the right hand of God, which shall occupy and animate the praises of eternity.
Let me now ask you, my brethren, do you believe what you have now heard? Do you believe that there is a judgment to come, and that each of you shall bear a part in that tremendous scene? 1 appeal to a witness that cannot lie. 1 appeal to your own conduct. Do you live and act in such a manner as becomes those who have one day to answer for their actions? Is your conversation in heaven, from whence you lookfor the Saviour and the Judge? Are your loins girt about, your lamps burning, and you yourselves like unto men who wait for the coming of their Lord? Were the general judgment now to begin, were these heavens to open, and the sign of the Son of Man to appear overhead, could you face his tribunal? Could you lift up your heads with confidence and joy amidst the ruins of nature, and the crash of a dissolving world? If not, I call upon you to repent, and to reform your lives. You are still under the administration of grace, and have the hope of glory set before you. Heaven. and immortality are in your offer. God graciously calls you to repentance and newness of life. The Spirit helps your infirmities, and strives to conquer the stubbornness of your spirits. But he will not always thus wait to be gracious, Your day of grace does not last for ever. If mercy reclaims you not, you are delivered over to the hands of justice. If you reject the golden sceptre when it is held out to you, a rod of iron succeeds to destroy the children of disobedience, Repent you must, in one form or other. If your sins affect you not with sorrow and contrition here, they will fill you with unavailable remorse and despair hereafter. You must either be affected with the kindly emotions of that repentance which is unto life, or be tormented with the stings of the worm that never dies.
Knowing these terrors, we endeavour to persuade men. Happy for men, if they would endeavour to be persuaded! If these things, my brethren, which you have been now hearing be true; if it be true that we shall be raised up at the last day; that the day of judgment shall as surely arise as this morning arose, in obedience to laws which can no more fail to bring it forth than the sun could this morning refuse to arise at the command of its Creator; if it be true that all of us who are here assembled shall be assembled again around the judgment-seat of God; if it be true that this is our only state of probation, and that life and death are now in our choice, that heaven and hell are now set before us; if these things be true, (and true they are, otherwise this book is a collection of fables,) if these things be true,—then, O my brethren, what manner of persons ought we to be !—then, O my God, what manner of persons ought we to be!
2 Cor. vi. 2. ,
—Behold now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
THERE is not a man upon the earth but who has some sense of religion upon his mind, and intends one day or another to work out his salvation. When we look into the world, we find that all men are just about to reform. However loose in their principles, however profligate in their lives, they seriously purpose to amend their conduct, and the sinner of today resolves to be a saint to-morrow. Seeing then that all men are so favourably disposed towards religion ; seeing that all men are in earnest one day to repent, how does it come to pass that so many men never repent; that such multitudes live and die in their sins? It is because they delay their repentance; it is because they put off the day of salvation ; because they begin not a course of reformation, but are only about to reform. This infatuation is net confined to the inexperience-of our early years; it extends through every period of life. In this the hoary head is no wiser than the youth of yesterday ; and the same lying spirit that deceived us at twenty, is believed at three-score and ten. In this experience does not make us wise, and when we buy instruction it avails us not. The fool who wanting to cross the river lay down on its bank till the waters all ran by, is but a just emblem of that man who delays his repentance from time to time, who is always purposing, but never performing; and