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'Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels,' Matt. xxv. 41.
FAITH, when really the gift of God, and otherwise it has no right to the name, looks to a dis
disease, which is raging around them, and carry- dise.' And O let us examine carefully our own ing off its victims in rapid succession, and laying state, that we may know whether we have had families desolate, and covering the population of the healing balm applied to our wounds, and thus the district where they reside with mourning. have satisfactory evidence that He who is now How anxiously are inquiries made respecting the our physician, shall rejoice over the souls that he progress of the malady! How tremblingly alive has 'redeemed from destruction, and crowned are the inquirers to every new report of its in- with loving-kindness and tender mercies' for ever. creasing inveteracy! How strongly is alarm depicted on every countenance! How crushingly does fear master and subdue every heart! How quickly they hasten from the scene of danger, and if they are seized, or imagine they are seized by the frightful pestilence before they reach a place of safety, how eagerly do they implore advice, assistance, and relief? The plague spot has appeared, it is spreading, and what would they not give or do that it may be removed? They would spend their all, they would beg-only let their life be spared, and they ask no more. But how melan-tance, and views, as the proper objects of its choly and humbling the reflection forced on us by observation, yes, and by our own experience, that the soul may be sick, sick unto death, without awakening any fears for its state! The moral leprosy has commenced, for the seeds of it are naturally in our frame. Every hour is adding to its virulence and establishing its power. The vital parts, the heart and conscience, the understanding and the will, are deeply infected, and eternal death is unavoidable except by the prescriptions of the one physician, and the application of the one medicine. The mind becomes more and more alienated from God, the conduct gradually darkened with deeper shades of corruption, and the soul by steps accelerated in proportion to their number more irretrievably sunk in guilt. The harvest is past' with sinners of this description; the summer is ended, and they are not saved.' But while they are yet 'in the land of the living,' and within the reach of mercy, let us pray that the Lord in Christ may visit them in the multitude of his compassions,' and by his Spirit convince them of their sin and danger, and lead them to the cross, and enable them to behold there the 'man' Jesus suffering and dying, 'the just for the unjust, that he might bring them unto God.' Affected with the scene presented to the eye of their faith, may they say with the gospel penitent, Lord, remember us when thou comest into thy kingdom,' and hear Emmanuel replying in answer to their prayer, uttered with a full recognition of his divinity and power to save to the uttermost, and unreserved reliance on his merits as the only ground of their pardon and acceptance, In the day when I call you to leave the world, which you now feel is not to be your home, you shall be with me in para
exercise, the realities of eternity. If a man die, shall he live again?' This question has been asked with feverish anxiety by every thinking being, since death, through the fall of Adam, established his despotism over a sinful world. And it has been answered in the affirmative, in proportion to the degree of knowledge attained by the accountable creature, who felt that much of his happiness or misery depended on the kind of response which could be returned to the important inquiry. But though the immortality of the soul, in some form or other, has found a place in every creed, except the atheist's, with which history has made us acquainted, the doctrine of a general judgment is peculiar to the Bible. The resurrection from the dead, and the appearance of the world's inhabitants, past, present, and to come, at the bar of the world's Judge, were truths too vast for unaided reason to discover, or to comprehend. They formed part of those 'secret things which belong to the Lord,' and have ceased to be mysteries to such favoured lands, alone, as have been visited and enlightened by the day spring from on high.' The certainty of judgment is an object of faith, as the substance of things not seen,' because it was taught to the people of God under both the patriarchal and Mosaic dispensations. See Jude xiv. 15; Job xix. 25, &c.; Psal. ix. 7, 8; Dan. xii. 1—3. When we turn to the evangelical records, we have the particular Person of the adorable Trinity pointed out, who is to be the Judge; and a sublime and minute description of the 'great day of dread, decision, and despair,' given by him who is ordained by the Father to conduct the awful proceedings. See Matt. xxv. 31, &c.; Acts i. 10, 11; xvii. 31; 2 Cor. v. 10; Rev. i. 7. The sureness of judg
ment being thus established on the ground of the divine testimony, its righteousness follows as a matter of course, when we consider the attributes and character of the Judge. In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily;' and, therefore, the actions of every subject of God's government are known to him, and their 'most secret sins,' or 'labours of love,' placed in the light of his countenance.' Their thoughts, words, and deeds, will be examined and estimated according to the opportunities which they have enjoyed, of becoming acquainted with the will of God, and the improvement which they have made of the privileges wherewith the Lord, in his wisdom and goodness, has been pleased to bless them. 'From them, to whom much has been given, much will also be required; and it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment,' than for us to whom the Lord has been, and is so peculiarly gracious, if we do not listen to the invitations of mercy, and close with the Redeemer's offers on his own terms, and take fast hold of his covenant.' The inhabitants of those guilty cities sinned in a great measure through ignorance; but we who have the light of the gospel shining on us, who acknowledge that to us 'the word of this salvation is sent,' and have long heard 'the joyful sound,' can have no excuse for our indifference, and 'no cloak' whatever 'for our sins.' 'Our own mouths condemn us' as well as the law of God. 'Yea, our own lips testify against us' in fearful accordance with the declarations of the Most High. From the sentence then solemnly pronounced there is no appeal. The jurisdiction of the court is supreme; for he who presides in it 'is God over all.' 'His throne is for ever and ever; the sceptre of his kingdom is a right sceptre. He loveth righteousness, and hateth iniquity. He hath on his vesture, and on his thigh a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords.' And while 'God, even his own God, hath anointed him with the oil of gladness above his fellows,' that even in the judgment' his followers may rejoice; yet 'out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he may smite the nations,' and the individuals, who would not that he should rule over them;' when he spoke to their hearts, and entreated them by all that was dear to them here and hereafter, to take upon them his yoke, which is easy, and his burden, which is light. Considering, then, the certainty of judgment, the perfections of the Judge, the righteousness which shall distinguish all his procedure, and the impossibility of any appeal from the decision then finally given, let us weigh well the awful words of the declaration before
us, and see how the terror rises at every step of the dreadful denunciation, 'Depart from me,' who once made myself known to you as a Saviour, 'not willing that any of you should perish,' and imploring you by my Spirit, and my ambassadors, to be reconciled unto God. Ye cursed,' ye devoted without shelter, and without hope, on whom the wrath of the Lord, as a mighty terrible One,' is just about to fall, 'into everlasting fire,' kindled by the breath of the Omnipotent, and decreed to burn while he that changeth not exists, prepared for the devil and his angels,' made completely ready, by your sins, your spurning away from you offered grace, and your perseverance in ungodliness for associating with those rebellious spirits who kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, and are reserved in everlasting chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of this very day.' 'These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.' Imagination has often been employed in attempting to describe the place and the torments of the damned. But what fancy can pourtray what is indescribable, and even inconceivable? The Lord grant that we may be kept in a state of ignorance on the subject from our own experience for ever! Emmanuel 'came to seek and to save that which was lost.' Lord, lead us to thyself, and enable us to rest in perfect security on the Redeemer's blood for taking away our sins, and laying sure the foundation of our peace with thee! O satisfy us early with thy mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.' O by thy Spirit working in us mightily, make us feel the full import of the words, death, judgment, and eternity!
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little,' Psal. ii. 12.
THIS psalm is expressly applied to the Messiah by his own inspired servants in the gospel, and we must fail entirely in seeing its true meaning, if we are not convinced that a greater than David is here.' In the midst of his threatenings against the mighty of the earth, who set them. selves, and took counsel together against the Lord and his Anointed, he forgets not that the great object of his mission was to pity, and to save. He therefore exhorts rulers and judges, whatever may be the extent of their dominions, or the irresponsibility of their authority, 'to be
instructed by him,' the only infallible Teacher, | shall undertake for us? If we compel him to and to learn that wisdom which leadeth unto leave us, willing as he is to stay with us, and to salvation. He entreats them to humble them- 'justify us freely,' all is over with us; and unreselves before the Lord, who is their Master, and to penting, unforgiven, and utterly unprepared for cast their crowns and their sceptres at the foot of meeting with God, we must enter into eternity. the cross. He counsels them with warm solicitude If he cease to intercede for us, there remaineth for their everlasting welfare, to 'serve the Lord,' no more sacrifice for sin, no other name whereby Christ as the King of Zion, with fear, and to we can be saved. Reflect then, O my soul, if rejoice,' even in the plenitude of worldly glory, such be the peril of the sinner, when the anger 'with trembling.' It was love to man, fallen of the Son is kindled 'but a little,' what must be and miserable, that brought Jesus from the his dreadful condition, when the remainder of his Father's right hand. It was love to man that wrath he doth not, and will not restrain. Hast made 'the accursed tree' an object of desire to thou then made up thy peace with him? Hast the only begotten Son of the Eternal. It is thou formed a just estimate of what this peace love to man, which still glows in the heart of the really is? Hast thou beard, by faith, the words exalted Intercessor, and graciously constrains him of thine own Redeemer describing it? 'Peace I to say unto us, who have long thoughtlessly and leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not contemningly turned a deaf ear to his invitations, as the world giveth, give I unto you.' Hast thou 'Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish experienced the richness of the blessings which from the way.' The expression here used, 'Kiss go to its composition; pardon of sin, which lies at the Son,' takes it for granted, that we are in a the foundation of spiritual joy; all thy transgresstate of alienation from him, and are become his sions forgiven, and thine iniquities covered; Jesus enemies, and the exhortation implies that we made of God unto thee wisdom and righteousness, listen to his voice entreating us to be reconciled sanctification and redemption?' Thou hast felt to him as our best friend. When enmity had what it is to be tortured with a sense of guilt, and for years existed between Jacob and Esau, and to anticipate that 'fiery indignation which shall the wrath of the latter subdued, by time, had devour the adversary. But blessed be his gloripassed away, a 'kiss' at meeting was at once an ous name to all eternity; thou hast felt, also, what evidence of all former animosities having been it is to have the assurance of pardon given thee forgotten, and a seal of fraternal amity and love by him who is unchangeable, and a promise left restored. Our own interests as rational, but thee of entering into that rest which remaineth for sinful creatures, are intimately concerned in our the people of God.' Thy sins, like 'the hand-writcomplying with the reasonable and tender injunc- ing of ordinances that was against thee, and contion here expressed, or in our disregarding it. trary to thee,' have been taken away by the dying When we compare the state of our hearts and Redeemer, who triumphed over them openly, affections with what the word of God declares it nailing them to his cross.' As the effect of pardon, should be; when we think on our continued hast thou experience of the delightful truth, that impenitence, on neglected opportunities, on un- thou art now in favour with thy God, and canst heeded warnings on particular providences, on say with the saint of old; 'O Lord, I will praise unimproved afflictions and solemn calls to be thee; though thou wast angry with me, thine 'ready, because we know not the day nor the anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me?' hour' when the summons shall be put into our Hast thou the influences of the Spirit of all grace hands, peremptorily commanding our immediate shed over thee, and the Sanctifier himself dwellappearance before God, can we entertain a doubting in thee? Hast thou felt him to be the silent of 'the Son being angry,' and of the extreme danger of our 'perishing from the way? Do we not feel that we have given just cause for his wrath being kindled,' not only a little,' but to make it 'burn with a most vehement flame?' And if Jesus, even the meek, the long-suffering Jesus, with all his 'bowels of compassion,' and all his yearnings of love, be sore displeased, and about to say, if he has not already said it, I will go and return unto my place,' to whom shall we flee for help, and where, O where can we seek and find a shelter? If he abandon us, who
and unseen, but Almighty Agent in thy regeneration and progress in holiness, the Implanter of right principles, and Inspirer of pious dispositions, the Giver of every good gift, and thy Comforter in all the trials, difficulties, and conflicts of thy spiritual warfare? And being thus privileged, endowed, and blessed, art thou cheered with the belief, that thou art an heir of God, and a joint heir with Christ of immortality? O! magnify his name, who has thus rescued thee from destruction, and is sustaining thee with the certainty of a better country, an eternally enduring inheritance, pur
chased for thee by the Son' whom thou hast | may we ask, Who shall be saved? There is 'kissed,' and who thus addresses thee, 'Because not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and I live, thou shalt live also.' 'I have gone to my Father, and to thy Father, to my God, and thy God, and I will come again and receive thee unto myself; that where I am, there thou mayest be also.' Amen, and Amen.
Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the
sinneth not. This is the unequivocal language
tice, and that salvation is utterly unattainable by and no eye to pity him, Live;' and adding gift to ourselves, leads to the conclusion, that a very gift, and grace to grace, till he is perfect through different scheme of restoration to the friendship my comeliness, which I have put upon him, saith of God must be sought and found by the anxious the Lord God.' And now the natural expression inquirer before he can say, with any prospect of of his soul, renewed and sanctified, is love to God, a satisfactory answer, 'What shall I do to be and love to all that bear his image. The great saved?' The plan so essential to our peace is objects of his wishes, and the things which he fully disclosed in the gospel, and this plan we longs for,' and prays for, and labours for, are must regard as 'worthy of all acceptation, and glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, and feel to be indispensable to our everlasting well- good will to men.' 'He that believeth hath' being. We must consider it in its origin, indeed everlasting life.' Though it is to be emanating from the sovereign mercy of God the enjoyed fully only in the kingdom prepared for Father, and view it in its accomplishment as con- the Christian by his heavenly Father, the possesducting our Daysman' through humiliations sion of it is secured, and he receives an earnest of its which are incomprehensible, and through dangers being his as assuredly as if he were already there, which he only could overcome, till the cross on in the joy which the prospect of it imparts to his Calvary carried our sins bound up in our adorable mind, in all the difficulties, hardships, struggles, Substitute, and thenceforth became the emblem sicknesses and pains of his earthly pilgrimage. of redeeming grace to all them that believe. If such then be the spiritual triumphs, and even God forbid, then, that we should glory, save in the temporal advantages of faith in the Son of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. God forbid God as our Saviour, our shield, and our exceedthat we should go about to establish a righteous- ing great reward,' what must be the guilt and ness of our own, to the loss of our immortal the danger of unbelief, to which the human souls, and God forbid that we should continue a moment longer indifferent to the important truth, that if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his! Now the Lord is that Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there,' and there only, 'is liberty.'
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him,' John iii. 36.
THERE is a blessedness in believing, which they only know who have experienced its workings and its effects in the soul. A stranger' to the Redeemer's saving power, 'intermeddleth not' with the Redeemer's communicated joy; a joy which gladdens the Christian's heart in the hour of sickness; a joy which cheers his spirit on the bed of death; a joy which accompanies him to God's right hand; a joy which shall continue, nay, increase, through eternity. And while such is his support in every change, of a changeable, because mortal scene, he has the outward conduct to point to, as evidence of his faith, purifying the heart, overcoming the world, and working by love.' He knows in whom he hath believed, and on whom he rests, as his all in all. Love that passeth understanding,' has done every thing for him, saying unto him, when he was cast out in the open field,'
heart is so prone, even after it has tasted of the heavenly gift and the power of the world to come?' The sinfulness of this principle consists in its making God a liar,' by denying the truth of what he has declared to be as certain as the propositions that he is, and is the rewarder of all who diligently seek him, or that he is, and is the avenger of his own cause, on those who will not receive his testimony, and perfer darkness to light, their deeds being evil.' While unbelief demoralizing influences over the soul, every other continues to spread its blinding, benumbing, and sin remains there as in its strong hold, and of
course wrath also abideth on that soul; wrath originally incurred when man rebelled against his Maker, and dreadfully heightened and deepened by the sinner's obduracy, and confirmed opposition to whatever has for its object the destruction of Satan's dominion in the heart, and the establishment in its stead of that kingdom which is love, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.' Hence we see, that the lives of unbelievers are in fearful consistency with their pernicious principles. The word of God is to them a despised, and therefore sealed book,' a series of 'cunningly devised fables,' beneath the attention, or even notice of the independently thinking mind, and regarded as divine by those only who are the slaves of prejudice and superstition. And what is the cause of their thus hating the gospel, and contemptuously spurning away from them its transcendant blessings? The love of sin. The characteristic of the scoffers who were to come