« AnteriorContinuar »
this give us of the dominion and power of Godthink of the numbers that will be alive! Think of the inhabitants of one city--of one countryof all the nations of the globe-all these metamorphosed in one instant; immortal even in body, and capable of endless misery, or happiness! And "why should it be thought a thing incredible ?" Who said, “let there be light, and there was light ?" Who "spake and it was done, commanded, and it stood fast ?-Is anything too hard for the Lord ?” Let the work be—what it really is the greatest of all miracles; we have an agent more than equal to the execution of it: “He shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
Finally, observe the signal—" at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed !" When the Lord came down from Horeb to publish the law, “the voice of the trumpet waxed exceeding loud.” By the sound of the trumpet the approach of kings has been announced. Trumpets have been used in war. Judges in some countries enter the place of assize preceded by the same shrill sound. And those who have witnessed the procession well know what an awe it impresses, and what sentiments it excites-all feel, even those who are not to be tried catch a powerful sympathy—but O the condition of the poor prisoners whose fate hangs in suspense, and is now going to be decided !- What are their agitations, and forebodings when they hear the judge is entering. But here is a trumpet whose clangour will be heard for thousands of miles-louder
than a million thunders—which will awaken all the dead, and change all the living-cause heaven and earth to fee away—and leave us all before the Judge of the Universe!
And what says Peter in reference to all this? _" Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless." Can you be indifferent to any of your actions when they are recorded in the book of his remembrance, and will be published before an assembled world? What you are doing now you are doing for ever. It is a light thing to know how you are to be disposed of for a few months or a few years—what is to become of you when you go hence, and are seen no more? It signifies very little whether you be classed with the rich or the poor, the learned or the illiterate, the honourable or the despised; the question is-in what rank will you be found, when “ before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideih his sheep from the goats ?” Will that trumpet call you to “lamentation, and mourning, and wo,” or will its language be, “lift up your heads with joy, for your redemption draweth nigh ?”
He who will then be the Judge is now the Saviour. He will then say to the wicked, departbut blessed be his name, he does not say so now to any–His language is, come. 6 Come," says he, “ come unto me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."
And this reminds me of another trumpet, of which Isaiah speaks in these striking words : “ It shall come to pass in that day that the great trum
pet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.” This trumpet you have heard. But, alas ! how have you heard it? This “ grace of God bringeth salvation"'-has it taught you, “ that denying all ungodliness and worldly lusts, you should live soberly and righteously, and godly in the present world, looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ?" O let the judgment trumpet awaken your attention to the gospel trumpet, and may the latter prepare you for the former. Amen.
RELIGIOUS THINGS, PLEASANT THINGS.
(LORD'S DAY EVENING.)
Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers
praised thee, is burned up with fire; and all our pleasant things are laid waste.- Isaiah lxiv. 11.
Thus spake these pious Jews—and we may consider the words either as expressing an affliction or as discovering a disposition.
The captivity had destroyed all their civil and sacred institutions. The temple was a magnificent building, endeared by a thousand claimsbut now it exhibited to the passing eye only a scene of ruins; their holy and beautiful house was burnt with fire. One circumstance could not fail to touch and impress their minds it was the place where their fathers praised him. What a veneration does an edifice acquire that has stood for ages the sanctuary of devotion, and in which successive generations have worshipped God! What a solemn thought it is, that we occupy seats once filled by those who have gone “ the way of all the earth! The fathers, where are they ? and the prophets, do they live for ever?" And we are o accomplishing as a hireling our day," and are making room for our children. Here they heard his word, called upon his name, sung his praise, offered up prayers, and vows for us !—Their example reproves and alarms us. They were alive in his service-does our devotion discover any degree of seriousness and fervour ? " Are we followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises ?” Shall we one day join our pious ancestors, “ and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God ?” Again. "All their pleasant things were laid waste”—the sacred utensils employed in the service of God, the offices of the temple; the ministers of the sanctuary ; the altar, the table of shew-bread, the ark, the pot of manna, Aaron's rod that budded, the cloud of glory, their new moons and sabbaths, the callings of assemblies. This, to the pious among the Israelites, was a far greater affliction than the loss of all their temporal privileges. Their country was dear to them, but Jerusalem was dearer, and they “ loved the gates of Zion better than all the dwelling-places of Jacob."
This affliction, blessed be God, is not ours. Our civil and religious privileges are still continued, and we hope will pass down unimpaired to the latest posterity. But the words discover a disposition which will be found to harmonize with the feelings of all the people of God.
What I refer to is this; viz. the manner in which they speak of the service of God, and the exercises of devotion : our pleasant things. From hence we observe that the means of grace, the ordinances of religion, are to the Israel of God PLEASANT THINGS.
In the number of their pleasant things—they include the sanctuary. To them the temple is not a prison, a place of confinement and correction ; but it is the house of their heavenly Father, their holy and beautiful house, and beautiful because holy. "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts.”
In the number of their pleasant things they include sabbaths. To many, indeed, God's holy day is uninviting and even irksome; they therefore cry out, “ What a weariness is it to serve the Lord : 0 when will the sabbath be gone, that we may set forth wheat ?” pursuing their gain, or finding their own pleasures. But the Christian “ calls the sabbath a delight, and considers the holy of the Lord honourable.” To him it is a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord; a weekly jubilee; and wearied with the toils, and follies, and vexations of the world, he hails a day of seclusion from it; a day that “ brings him to