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ful and inexcusable is it in the inhabitants of Christian lands! In them it is wilful ignorance; they love darkness rather than light; they will not come unto the light, lest their deeds should be reproved. Great is their guilt, and if they continue impenitent, great ere long must be their condemnation. God, in his mercy, yet cries unto them, 'Awake;' and the original word implies an awaking after a fit of intoxication. O! you have too long been intoxicated by sin; too long imposed on by Satan; too long sunk in deadly lethargy. What meanest thou, O sleeper? Arise, and call on thy God, if so be that God think on thee, that thou perish not.' God does think on thee. He still waiteth to be gracious. In his great mercy he seeks to rouse thee: he says, Awake, awake: 'awake to righteousness, and sin not.' Why wilt thou die?' Why wilt thou perish in thy rebelliousness? Awake thou that sleepest; and arise from the dead, and Christ will give thee light.' O! wilt thou weary out such patience? Wilt thou exhaust such long-suffering? Wilt thou constrain him to say, Sleep on; and according to thy hardness, and impenitent heart, treasure up for thyself wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God?' The sleep of death is coming; the night of the grave is at hand: but there shall be an awakening; the trump of God shall rouse thee; the voice of Christ shall be heard by thee in the grave, and thou must come forth; and alas, alas! to the resurrection of damnation.
wrath to come? What shall we do to be saved?— and who, by the word and Spirit of God, have been led to flee to Christ for salvation; and have obtained not only justification through his blood, but sanctification through his Spirit; and have become new creatures in Christ Jesus. Free from sin they are not, for there is none that liveth and sinneth not; but sin has no longer the dominion over them; they live not in sin as their element; they regard it as the plague of the heart which they desire to be thoroughly healed; they are dying unto sin, and it is their desire and endeavour to live by the faith of the Son of God who loved them, and gave himself for them.
And what profit is there in this? "The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous.' In scripture, to know, often signifies to approve. "The Lord knoweth them that are his.' 'I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy; for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversity." You only have I known of all the families of the earth,' said God of old to his favoured people. 'I will not know a wicked person,', i. e. I will not approve of him. Then will I profess unto them, I never knew you,' (never approved of you, never owned you as my followers), 'depart from me, ye workers of iniquity.' But the Lord's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.' He approveth of them, and loveth them, and spareth them as a man spareth his son that serveth him.' In all their ways they acknowledge him, and he directeth their steps, and bringeth their ways to a happy issue. Even now he causeth goodness and mercy to follow them; and he leadeth them in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. And eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor heart conceived the blessedness he Richer shall be their portion of glory and holiness has laid up in store for them in a better world. Richer shall be their portion of glory and holiness than if they had been the pure and spotless descendants of the unfallen occupants of Eden; free of all original taint, and unstained by any actual transgression. In this case their portion of glory and happiness would have been great, but it would have been proportioned to the righteousness of a sinless creature. But the glory to be bestowed on the ransomed was purchased by the precious blood of the Son of God, and will be proportioned to the transcendent merits of the Lord our righteousness, in whom ‘all the fullness of the Godhead But who are the righteous? They who have dwelleth bodily.' Therefore in scripture it is debeen convinced that by nature all are unrighte-clared to be according to the riches of his glory,' ous;—that 'the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness, and unrighteousness of men,—and who have been led, in spiritual alarm, to cry out, How shall we escape from the
'For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish, Psal.
DIVERSIFIED as the character and conduct of the children of men may appear to mortal eyes, in the sight of God the whole race is comprehended in the two classes here mentioned, the righteous, and the ungodly. At the great day, the tares shall be separated from the wheat, and the sheep from the goats. The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.'
and 'to show the exceeding riches of his glory in his kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.' When the blight of Eden is far more than remedied—when the malignant venom of the serpent, though he
meant it not, has afforded occasion for the display of mercy, the loveliest attribute of Deity, and has redounded to the higher glory and happiness of the children of men, must we not exclaim, "O the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!'
that which is to be endless? Who can measure the depth of woe which is unfathomable? Who knoweth the power of his anger? Who can tell the amount of misery already excruciating, which is ever increasing, and which must continue to increase while eternity rolls on?
Be wise now, therefore, ye that fear not God. Be instructed, ye sinful children of men. "Kiss the Son lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his anger is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.'
And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming,' 1 John ii. 28.
But 'the way of the ungodly shall perish.' Who are the ungodly? As there are but two classes, and the righteous, or the justified by Christ, are the friends of God; the ungodly must be his enemies. And yet how many are there of this class who would think it foul scorn to be ranked among the wicked. True, they say, we are not saints; and there is nothing they would be more ashamed of than being thought very religious; but as there is nothing that the world highly blames in their conduct, they regard themselves as in a state of safety. Of what consequence would it be that such persons were led to consider that the scriptures declare, that so long as How full of affection is this exhortation! How they are in a state of nature, they are ungodly; suitable, when a pious pastor is addressing his that so long as they are unrenewed, they are flock; or a kind father addressing his beloved enemies to God in their minds by wicked works! family, Little children, abide in him!' To abide Take the most favourable case of the unrenewed in Christ, we must be in him; and to be in him, man; let him be amiable, and upright in his deal- we must have faith, we must be born again. ings, and correct in his moral conduct; yet how That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that much is there lacking! He has not the fear of God which is born of the Spirit is spirit.'Except a before his eyes, he has not the love of God in his man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of heart, he seeks not to live to God's glory-the God.' It is a real and radical change: before it very name ungodly marks him as living without takes place, the soul is dead. You hath he quickGod, and without Christ in the world, without ened who were dead in trespasses and sins.' It is faith, and consequently without any well-founded passing from death to life,-to spiritual life; becomhope. How dreadful the condition of the ungodly! ing a new creature in Christ Jesus: being transHas not God declared that, 'the way of the ungodly lated from the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom shall perish?' Shall perish! What is that? What of God's dear Son. How important the change! is it for a soul to perish? The inspired apostle We celebrate with joy the birth of an earthly could not tell. He says, 'Where shall the sin-prince; but here is one born an heir of God, and a ner and the ungodly appear?' 'What shall the joint heir with Christ; an heir of an inheritance end be of them who obey not the gospel of God?' which is incorruptible,—of a kingdom that cannot Ask him who is now drinking the cup of trem- be moved. Here a new branch of the true vine bling in hell what it is to perish, and he will shoots forth. Here a new temple of the Spirit is answer I cannot tell, for a lower deep is threaten- raised. Here, out of what was baser than dust, a ing to devour me; the day of judgment is coming, precious gem is formed, to be one of the jewels of when body and soul are to be again united, that Christ's crown, and to shed its bright and everas they were partners in sin, they may be partners increasing lustre through all the ages of eternity. in shame and in sorrow. Yea, were we to out- Who but the Spirit of God could accomplish this strip time, and to enter the precincts of eternity, change? The Spirit applieth to us the redempand to look through the bars of those adamantine tion purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, gates, never never to be opened, and to see one and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual who, after his final doom, had made his bed in calling.' When thus united to Christ, we are hell, and lain down in everlasting burnings; and living stones of the holiest temple; we are in to ask him what it is to perish; with a howl of Christ as members of his mystical body. despair that would make our hair stand on end, and cause our very blood to curdle, he would say to us, I cannot tell, for who can tell the end of
This is a union that cannot be broken. Scripture assures us that they who really are in Christ continue to abide in him. 'Being confident of
this very thing, that he who hath begun a good | a name to live and are dead; but true believers work in you will perform it till the day of Jesus extract not poison from so sweet a flower. They Christ.' I give unto them eternal life, and they know that much watchfulness is necessary, and shall never perish; neither shall any pluck them that true grace manifests itself in this watchfulness. out of my hand. My Father who gave them me, They know that though they cannot finally and is greater than all, and none is able to pluck them entirely fall away, they may fall into grievous out of my Father's hand.' The anointing which sins, which may prove injurious to the good cause,— ye have received of him, abideth in you,'-and which may open the mouths of scorners, and prove even as it has taught you, you shall abide in Him. stumblingblocks to those who are asking the way If we can prove then that we are now in a state of to Zion;-which may darken their own prospects, grace, we at the same time prove that we shall and bring down temporal judgments, that they may hereafter be in a state of glory; for grace and be rendered humble and contrite, and may not be glory differ not in nature but in degree. Grace condemned with the world. Believers cannot is the sweet bud; glory is the magnificent blossom expect the joy and peace arising from this docfully expanded to bloom in unfading beauty, and trine, unless they have proof that they are perin unceasing fragrance in the paradise above. severing,—giving all diligence to make their calling Grace is the precious seed; glory is the golden har- and election sure;-living near to God;—cleaving vest: grace is the dawn; glory is the splendour of to the Saviour, and growing in grace. In the wilthe perfect day: grace is the foretaste; glory is the derness through which they pass, they have to delightful banquet: grace is the armour, and the contend with the lion and the bear, the wolf and might, and the valour in the day of battle; glory the fox. The old serpent also is ever near to their is the shout of victory, the song of triumph, the path, at one time alluring them as an angel of dividing of the spoil, the crown of the warrior, light, at another time as a fierce archer, assailing the rest, and peace, and blessedness that remain for them with a flight of fiery darts. Is there not the people of God. Grace is the hidden manna, need then of the utmost vigilance and stedfastwhereof if a man eat, he shall never die. ness, when their salvation, though sure, must be more wonderful than the deliverance of Daniel from the den of lions, or of the three children from the fiery furnace, or of the people of Israel from the wrath of Pharaoh, and from the divided waters of the Red sea?
Believers persevere in a state of grace, not of any natural necessity, but by the appointment of God. Adam fell in paradise; and if believers were left to themselves, they would fall away from God. If when there was no sin in the heart the tempter prevailed, how much more would this be the case when there are traitors within the citadel, ready, if not watched and restrained, to open the gates to the foe. But it is the will and appointment of God that believers shall endure to the end, and be saved. Fear not, little flock: it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.' 'Father, I will,' saith the unfailing Intercessor, 'that they whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory.' They are also sealed by the Spirit unto the day of redemption;' so that believers are safer than if they were the sinless descendants of our fallen first parents. Our first parents were pure, but their salvation was in their own keeping. Their believing descendants have remains of corruption, but their salvation is entrusted to the Shepherd of Israel: he has given grace, and he will give glory; for they are kept by the power of God, through faith, unto salvation.' They are safe in the promises of the covenant;-and safer if possible in vital union with Christ, who cannot die, and who has declared, that because he lives they shall live also.
This doctrine may be abused by those who have
How great, however, will be the joy of that deliverance! When shame and confusion of face shall be the portion of hypocrites, and of the selfrighteous, and of the openly ungodly; when every refuge of lies shall be swept away; what holy joy and confidence shall be the portion of those, who in an evil world continued to abide in Christ, and now stand before him at last in the pure robe of his own righteousness. Much they had read, and heard, and thought of Christ; but his glory is a thousand fold greater than all that they ever read or heard, or imagined; and their blessedness in beholding him in peace, is far, far above what they had ever conceived. Their joy is now full. They have entered the haven, never again to encounter the storm. The days of their mourning are ended; the clouds return not after the rain. Their sun has risen never to go down, neither shall their moon withdraw itself, for the Lord shall be their everlasting light, and their God their glory. They have returned and come to Zion, with songs and everlasting joy on their heads; they have received joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing have for ever fled away.' Amen.
For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be,' Matt. xxiv. 27. WHAT a solemn and glorious event is that spoken of in these words, the coming of the Son of man! His first coming was infinitely wonderful, when He left the bosom of his Father, emptied himself of his glory, and himself bare our sins on his own body on the tree. His second coming will be very different, but still infinitely wonderful. 'Unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time, without sin, unto salvation,' Heb. ix. 28. May we be among the number of those who love his appearing,' who are looking for that blessed hope,' and who are waiting for his Son from heaven, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.' Surely they have but cold love to Jesus that do not burn with desire to see the fair brow that was crowned with thorns.
1. Christ's coming will be terrible as lightning to his enemies. Nothing is more terrific than the lightning. It is so powerful, so sudden, so deadly in its stroke. The strongest man is like a straw before it. Much more terrible will Christ's appearing be to all unbelievers. To his own dear people it will be like the approach of summer. When they see the signs of his coming, they will say to one another, the summer is nigh,' ver. 32. He shall come down like rain on the mown grass, as showers that water the earth,' Psal. lxxii. 6. To poor waiting believers 'He shall be as the light of the morning when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds,' 2 Sam. xxiii. 4. To those that fear God's name in this dark world, The Sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in his wings,' Mal. iv. 2. The cry shall be one of ineffable joy to them, 'Behold the Bridegroom cometh.'
How different that day shall be to unconverted souls! Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord. To what end is it for you? The day of the Lord is darkness, and not light,' Amos v. 18. That day shall burn as an oven to you. "The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel,' 2 Thess. i. 7, 8. Then will be fulfilled that awful word, All kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him,' Rev. i. 7. O! thou that obeyest not the gospel, where wilt thou hide from the lightning of his eye? Thou wilt say, Ah! there he is the crucified One-whom I lightly esteemed. O! mountains and rocks fall on
me, and hide me from Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.
2. Christ's coming shall be sudden as lightning. What can be more awfully sudden than the lightning. A curtain of dark lowering clouds is hung over the sky. A death-like silence reigns over all nature. Not a leaf is stirred by the wind. When suddenly, the voice of the Lord divideth the flames of fire.' 'The lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west.' And the loud pealing thunder shakes the wilderness. So shall the coming of the Son of man be. Whenever that glorious event shall take place, one thing is certain, that it shall be awfully sudden. A thief does not send word what hour he is coming to break up the house. "The day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. It shall come like travail on a woman with child.' 'As a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.' Many will be saying, I think the Saviour will not come at such and such a time. What says the word? The Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.' Am I ready to meet him? Would it be a grief and terror to me, if what some Christians think were true, that Christ may come even now? Do I love his appearing? Do I obey that command, Song iii. 11? Am I a wise or foolish virgin? Have I not only a lamp, and wick, and flame, but oil in the lamp? All these are infinitely momentous questions. Happy the soul that can answer, Even so, come, Lord Jesus.'
3. Christ's coming shall be conspicuous as lightning. Lightning cannot be hid. By all it is seen at the same moment. The labourer in the field, the artizan in the workshop, the servant at the mill-all see the flash; but in a far more perfect manner shall be the coming of the Son of man. 'Behold he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him.' Jesus said to the high priest and all his accusers, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven,' Matt. xxvi. 64. And again it is written, 'they shall look on him whom they pierced.' O amazing truth! Those who will not look to Christ now must look then. Those who will not 'behold the Lamb of God, to be saved by him, must behold the Lamb coming in wrath to destroy them. O happy believer, you shall cry in that day, 'This is our God, we have waited for him.' This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend.' My Lord and my God.'
'But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer,' 1 Pet.
I. OBSERVE where a believer stands. He stands within sight of the end of all things. He stands upon a watch-tower, high above the noise and the cares of this present evil world. Things temporal are beneath his feet, things eternal are spread out before him. This is the bible description of a believer, 'We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen,' 2 Cor. iv. 18. Consider how short the whole of a lifetime is. From the cradle to the grave is but a few steps. The days of our years are threescore years and ten, and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow, for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.' The half of men die before the age of twenty. Even when men lived many hundred years, it was but a span—a moment, compared to eternity. Methuselah lived 969 years, and he died. 'My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle. days are swifter than a post. They are passed away as the swift ships. As the eagle hasteth to the prey.
The time of this world's continuance is short, 'The end of all things is at hand.' A little while, and the day of grace will be done. Preaching and praying will soon be over. The last sabbath sun will soon set. My Spirit shall not always strive with men.' Soon ministers will give over wrestling with the unbelieving world. A little while and the number of believers shall be complete. We shall come unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.' The parting cry of Christ was, 'Surely I come quickly.' Soon the sky shall open over our heads, and Christ shall come. A little while, and we shall stand before the great white throne. A little while, and the wicked shall not be. We shall see them going away into everlasting punishment. A little while, and the work of eternity shall be begun. We shall serve him day and night in his temple.
"When this passing world is done,
II. Observe the duties of a believer. Be sober, and watch unto prayer.' 1. Be sober. Let nothing dim the eye that is looking on eternal realities. Let nothing engross the heart that
He may do with him just as he pleases.' An old divine says, 'Build your nest upon no tree here; for you see God hath sold the forest to death, and every tree whereon we would rest is ready to be cut down, to the end we may flee, and mount up, and build upon the rock, and dwell in the holes of the rock.'
Be sober in the griefs of this world. Weep as though you wept not. This world is the vale of tears. It is a Bochim. There are always some mourning. No sooner is the tear dried up on one cheek than it trickles down another. Still the believer should be sober and chastened in his grief. Weep not for those that died in the Lord; they are not lost, but gone before. The sun, when it sets, is not lost; it is gone to shine in another hemisphere. And so have they gone to shine like the sun, in the kingdom of their Father.' Weep not for those who died out of the Lord. When Aaron lost his two sons, Aaron held his peace.' Weep not over bodily pains and losses. Murmur not. Be sober. you are in Christ, these are all the hell you will ever bear. When we win to the presence of Jesus, all our griefs shall look like children's griefs. A day in his banqueting house will make you forget your poverty, and remember your misery no more.'
Sit loose to this world's enjoyments. Be sober. In a little while you will be at your Father's table above, drinking the wine new with Christ, you will meet with all your brothers and sisters in the Lord, you will have pure joy in God through ceaseless ages. Do not be much taken with the joys that are here. If ever you are so much engrossed with any enjoyment here that it takes away your love for prayer, or for your bible, or that it would frighten you to hear the cry, Behold the Bridegroom cometh-then your heart is 'overcharged. You are abusing this world.
2. Watch. 'Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep, for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.' Nothing is more difficult than to watch. We are naturally like him who said, 'a little more sleep, and a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep.' One thing is essential to all true watching-the gift of the Holy Spirit. Anoint