Imágenes de páginas

firmed in Scripture, which teaches, that according to
the quality of the seed we now sow, shall be the har-
vest which we shall reap hereafter. In some pas-
sages it is very expressly declared. We cannot
doubt that the great and pious founders and defen-
ders of the Church of God in all ages,—the Pa-
triarchs, Prophets, Apostles, and Martyrs, shall be
pre-eminently distinguished in the eternal and glo-
rious kingdom of their Lord. So may we well con-
clude, that different degrees of glory shall be award-
ed to different degrees of attainment in the Chris.
tian character-nay-that every thought we cherish
- every word we utter — and every action we per-
form, which is conducive to the honour of God,
and the welfare of his creatures, in obedience to his
commands, and in the faith of Christ, shall also aug-
ment and elevate our own share of glory in the realms
of peace and joy.

$ 6. To eternal life is to be opposed--eternal Death!

This dreadful doom will consist, we are apprized, in a grievous expulsion from the presence of Godthe one source of happiness. Of the horror attend. ing this rejection, there is a foretaste given here, in the conviction of sin, and apprehension of the Divine wrath ;- but it is only to be sustained, both in body and soul, in a future state. The punishment denounced is not only negative, but positive; it corsists not only in loss, but in infliction : not only shall there be a tormenting sense of deprivation, but also an endurance of the penal anger of the Almighty ; and of the stings of conscience, added to a jealous and devouring hatred of holiness and God.

All the descriptive language of Scripture on this


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

:subject, presents an awful picture of the condition of

the condemned, and of the torments to which both soul and body shall be exposed in Hell-Gehennathe abyss-the prison, in which the society of the devil and his angels, of malignant and despairing spirits, deeply aggravates the horror.

A still further aggravation of misery--and that most dreadful in its pature-is to be expected from the presence and reproaches of those who have been the instigators, the companions, and the victims of our crimes on earth ; from the impossibility of being extricated from the tyranny of evil passions which can never be satiated; and from the confederacy of the wicked, whose chief occupatiou may be the infiction of mutual torment. · The very inequality of punishment, which may be assigned to different degrees of crime, can only tend to give rise to fresh and unalleviated torments. No man hath seen or comprehended the punishments of the impenitent in another state:--a thick veil is mercifully cast over the mouth of the bottomless abyssbut enough of its terrors are made known, to serve as a sufficient warning, that we neglect not the great salvation which las rescued us from inevitable consigument to its dreadful darkness.

$ 7. It is enough to know, that the promise of sal. vation, though conditional, is universal ;—that we,each of us,--have life and death-Eternal LifeEternal Death - this day set before us ;-that God gives us grace and power freely to choose the good, and to refuse the evil; that the invitations and promises, and the denunciations and threatenings of the Word of God, are all designed as means of grace, together with many other powerful motives, to draw us to Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of our Faith, who is both able and willing to save, to the uttermost, all who come to him in sincere reliance on the efficacy of his atonement, and who desire to manifest their love towards him by keeping his commandments.

Who then shall inherit ETERNAL Life? Even they—to recapitulate all that has gone before,-even they, who have given evidence, in fruits of holiness and charity, that they have with the heart believed unto righteousness, and with the mouth made confession unto salvation--that they have practically believed in, and sincerely confessed, The ONE TRUE God, subsisting in a Trinity of Persons, co-essential, and co-eternal;- in God the Father, that He is the infinitely great, perfect, and everlasting Creator of the universe; that he is not only our Father, as having called us into existence by his Word, and preserved us by his Power, in the life which he hath given, but especially the Father of us Christians, whom he hath chosen and accepted in his beloved Son, adopted as his children, and made heirs of immortality :-in God the Son, in all respects very and eternal God, being in the bosom of the Father before all worlds ;- that to redeem the human race from sin and death, he descended from the right hand of the Majesty on High, became incarnate by the power of the Holy Ghost,--was miraculously boru of the Virgin Mary, of the family of David, - assumed together with our flesh all its infirmities, and was in all things, except sin, like unto his brethren,- took a lowly station,led a humble and suffering life,-preached the glad tidings of salvation,-proved himself to be the Re.

deemer of his people, who had been foretold by the Spirit of God, from the fall of Adam,—was falsely accused by the Jews,-iniquitously condemned by Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of Judæa;-and ignominiously crucified between two thieves ;—that he offered this one expiatory sacrifice of his own body on the tree, for the sins of the whole world ;-that his dead body was entombed, and his separated soul descended to the place of departed spirits,—that having remained a portion of three days in the sea pulchre, long enough to give assurance of his actual death, he raised himself by his own power from the grave, thus destroying the dominion of death, and giving us a pledge that his prophetical warnings of a General Resurrection shall be fulfilled ;-that having continued forty days on earth, to confirm the faith of his disciples, and to instruct them in their aposa tolic mission, he ascended into heaven, in the sight of his assembled followers,—from whence he shall come at the Last Day in majesty and glory to judge every man, who has ever lived upon the earth, ac. cording to his works, and to pass on all an irrevocable sentence of eternal reward or punishment:in the Holy Ghost, also very God, proceeding from the Father and the Son,—that he was sent by the Song after his ascension, to comfort and sanctify his Church, and to be with it for ever ;-that he is the

efficient cause of every spiritual blessing, working in ' us every good thought and deed,--that he regenes rates and sanctifies the members of Christ's mystical body :- that the Universal or Catholic Church subsists in all ages, unrestricted to place or nation, and shall endure to the end of the world :- that there is a Communion of Saints, or fellowship between all true

Christians, and with Christ their head, commencing in this life, and to be perfected in another :-that there are two Sacraments instituted by Christ him. self, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, by which those who rightly receive the outward elements, obtain remission of sins, and the efficacious grace of the Holy Spirit:— that at the General Resurrection of the dead, and re-union of our souls and bodies, if we have walked in our probationary course worthy of our holy vocation, and have died in favour with our God, we shall attain everlasting life, we shall be blessed with the consummation of all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, and shall be eternally preserved from tarnishing or forfeiting the crown of glory which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give us in the day in which our faith shall be merged in vision, and the omnipotent Jehovah, One God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, shall become the Object of our unceasing adorations, and the Source of our perfect blessedness, throughout the endless ages of futurity.


« AnteriorContinuar »