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“ sinned and come short of the glory of God," all must fall under condemnation who are not interested in the salvation of the gospel. But it may be asked, in what sense then will every man be judged “ according to his works ?” This shall be reserved for the subject of a separate discourse : and it may suffice to answer at present, that all avowed unbelievers, however distinguished, will be judged and condemned for the sins they have committed ; and all professed believers will be judged according to their works, as proving, or disproving, the sincerity of their profession.
The discoveries of this awful day will likewise silence all the blasphemies, which are continually uttered against the justice of God in the condemnation of the wicked. It is on this account called “ the day of wrath and revelation of the “ righteous judgment of God.” While men conceal or palliate by far the greatest and worst part of their conduct, they may argue plausibly against the denunciations of scripture: but, when the whole of their character and conduct shall be openly exhibited, and all the world shall know every thing respecting them which is now seen by the heartsearching Judge alone; then the justice of the tremendous sentence will be universally acknowledged; the friends of God will perceive and adore his glory in this part of his moral government; and “ the wicked shall be silent in darkness” and despair, when compelled to “ depart accursed into “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his “ angels.”
Far be it from us to suppose that the merciful Saviour, who is TRUTH itself would use such language, if not really applicable to the case! He does not allow us to speak deceitfully for him ; and will he utter fallacious words himself? Yet we cannot hear of “eternal punishment,” “ un“ quenchable fire,” “outer darkness,” “ weeping “ and gnashing of teeth," "a worm that never “ dieth” and the place“ prepared for the devil and “his angels,” without feeling our hearts tremble, and revolt against the description. How unspeakably dreadful then will be the accomplishment ! when the Lord, to stop the sinner's mouth, by a discovery of his crimes, shall say, with stern indignation, “ These things hast thou done, and I kept “ silence: thou thoughtest that I was altogether “ such an one as thyself, but I will reprove thee and “set them in order before thine eyes !-Now con“sider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear
in “ pieces, and there be none to deliver.”] Cease then, poor sinner, to object and dispute ; and make haste to flee from the wrath to come, and to seek refuge in the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A more pleasing subject, however, is before us, while we contemplate the redeemed of the Lord, saved by his grace, washed from their sins in the Saviour's atoning blood, completely justified, absolved from every charge, and presented faultless “ before the presence of his glory with exceeding
joy.” Then“ death shall be swallowed up in “ victory;" and raptures inexpressible will commence a felicity, still to be increased, with the enlargement of their capacities, through the countless ages of eternity.—But I must leave it to your
' Psal. 1. 21, 22.
own minds, brethren, to form some conception of the opposite sensations which will delight or agonize every heart, when the wicked “shall go away “ into everlasting punishment, and the righteous “ into life eternal."
“ And then shall every man have praise of God.” Then every humble believer, according to his measure of faith and grace, will be honoured with the commendation of his condescending Lord, for those services which the world condemned, and which perhaps his brethren undervalued or censured. To be accosted by the Judge of the world, in these most gracious terms, “Well done, good " and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of
thy Lord,” will form an adequate gratification to the noblest ambition of which the rational nature is capable. Seeking for this “glory, honour, and “ immortality,” let us here be indifferent to all human applauses or contemptuous reproaches. This is “the honour that cometh from God only,” and is reserved for all his saints ;" when no more danger shall remain of their being “ exalted above “measure,” or sacrilegiously ascribing any thing to themselves : but when, on the contrary, “they “ will cast their crowns before the throne,” and return all to the bounteous giver, in endless songs of adoring praise. Let us not faint then, on account of our trials and difficulties; “for our light « afflictions which are but for a moment are work“ing for us, a far more exceeding and eternal
weight of glory." Let us also remember the caution, “ Judge
nothing before the time.” Our duty often requires us to form some judgment of men's characters and actions : but in all other respects our business is with ourselves and the Lord, and not with our fellow servants. And the more diligent we are, “to be found of him in peace, without “ spot and blameless ;” the less time and thought we shall have to spare, for censuring and condemning the conduct, or suspecting the motives, of other men.
But do you, my friends, really believe these things ? and are you preparing to meet your Judge? I fear, the actions, conversation, and spirit of numbers awfully prove the contrary. Still, however, the Lord waits to be gracious : flee then to him as a Saviour, without longer delay, who will speedily come to be your Judge.--You who profess the gospel, be advised and persuaded to “ ex“amine yourselves whether ye be in the faith :" look well to it that your evidences of conversion are clear and decisive; for that day, of which we speak, will detect multitudes of self-deceivers, as well as unmask many artful hypocrites. And, if you are conscious of following the Lord with an upright heart, take heed that you do not slacken your diligence, or yield to unwatchfulness : “ Let
your loins be girded and your lights burning, “ and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for “ their Lord :" for blessed are those servants whom “ the Lord when he cometh shall find watching ; “ verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, “ and make them to sit down to meat, and will come