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fore, by what I do, and comforted by what I do not, know, concerning the number of those who shall be chosen, I feel strengthened in spirit to pray, and to beseech every one of you to join me in prayer, for a blessing upon us all in our several capacities, that we may make our calling and election sure, and being clothed with the robe of the righteousness of Christ, may be counted worthy partakers of the supper of the Lord both here and in Heaven.
“ We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ,
that every one may receive the things done in the body according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
Of all truths it is the most awful; of all truths it is the most certain ; of all truths it is the most important; and of all truths it is the most frequently and solemnly inculcated by the ministers of the Gospel, that “ God hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained :" and the conclusion which they uniformly and justly draw from the knowledge and fearfulness of this truth, is the necessity which it lays upon “all men every where to repent.” To hear and to be influenced by the voice of warning upon such a subject might seem but to be the dictate of common sense. The consideration, however, of the day of judgment has failed in producing those beneficial effects upon the moral and religious conduct of mankind, which Acts xvii. 31.
Acts xvii. 30.
might have been expected from a full assurance of the dreadful trial, and has failed from various causes; but principally, I think, it has failed, either from a want of adequate, correct, comprehensive, and connected ideas of the nature and circumstances of the Great Assize-or from a want of due méditation upon its consequences-or from a want of
the alarming and accurate manner in which we shall be called upon to give an account of our lives, whether they be good or evil. The day of judgment is, in fact, too often and too lightly talked of, to be much or qeeply reflected upon by man." We become too familiarly and habitually acquainted with the name, to be duly affected with the thing itself, and thus we go on from day to day, without any thing more than some confused, and perhaps inconsistent notions, of that which is to determine our unalterable state:
To cure or to prevent an error so extensive and dangerous in its prevalence, I would now endeavour to draw, from the scattered intimations of Scripture, a feeble outline of the last impressive scene. I would lay before you, in all its fulness, the examination which will there be entered into upon each man's deeds; and impress upon you the everlasting joy or terror of that sentence which will then be pronounced upon your bodies and your souls. I would write the history of the day of judgment with the hand indeed of a man, but, as much as possible, in the words of God; trusting that if once its image were engraven upon your hearts, its name and its remembrance would ever afterwards be accompanied with something more than a transitory feeling of reverence and awe.
As it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end of the world. In the beginning God said, “Let the earth be," and the earth was. In the end God shall say, “Let the earth be not,” and the earth shall not be. At that word the fabric of the world shall dissolve and flee away, and all the holy host of Heaven begin the mighty business of preparation for that last and Great Assize, which in justice will bring to judgment, and in righteousness will determine the immutable, the eternal doom of all moral creatures; of all us men who are capable of thinking and of acting, but more especially of all us Christians, who have been taught by the wisdom of the Gospel to distinguish between right and wrong, and enabled by the power of the Spirit to perform our duty.
Now let us in imagination transport ourselves to that solemn scene. Behold, then, the day is at hand, the Deity hath proclaimed the end of the world, and the throne is set in Heaven, and he
that sitteth thereupon as the universal Judge is one like unto the Son of Man, elad in robes
dipped and dyed in the blood of salvation, 'girt about his loins with the golden girdle” of purity, “his hairs white as snow,” with reverence, “his eyes as a flame of fire” in dignity, “his voice as the sound of
many waters” in power, and his whole countenance beaming in beauty, like the sun when he shineth in his strength. Such is he whom God hath ordained to be the Judge of all, and to sit upon the throne of glory to condemn or to save from punishment those that shall appear before the presence of his holiness and might. It is he “ that liveth and was dead, and is alive for evermore, and hath the keys of death and of hell." It is Jesus the Son of Mary, Christ the Son of God. Salvation belongeth unto him, yea and judgment also, and myriads of spiritual beings stand round about his throne, anxious to receive and ready to execute the precepts of his will. Ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, are gathered together, winged for flight to the remotest regions of space, and willing to bear the unresisted and irresistible decrees of their beloved and Almighty Lord.' But amidst all the various occupations of those heavenly beings, there is none
Rev. xix. 13. a See Rev. i. 13.-16. and xix. 12