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“ the glory of his Father, to reward every man ac“cording to his works.” Christ thus come, as judge of the whole world, to perform the last office of his Father's will; “ The books,” says the prophet,
were opened,” referring, as I humbly apprehend, to the two books of the Old and New Testaments, those inspired and sacred oracles of the revealed will of God. The same books are mentioned by Daniel, as being opened before God, when he passed his decree against the four beasts*; and again by Zechariah, under the figure of “ the two candlesticks, “, or the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord “ of the whole earth f;" and again by the prophet himself, under those of “ the two witnesses of " God; the two candlesticks and olive trees ftand“ ing before the God of the earth,” or before Jesus Chrift*. These two infallible witnesses of his divine truths, revealed through Chrift, these two holy and ancient records manifesting the inceffant invitations and expoftulations, gentle chastisements, and unhounded love of God towards finners, and their contumacious and reprobate disobedience to his holy commandments in their former state, are now to be opened, that the truths they contain may be perfectly known, as well to the judged as the judge; and.moreover, that the wicked may be tried and acquitted, or condemned, by them, and their own consciences, now alive to a sense of every crime, of every deed done in the body; and that as men, when tried at a human bar, they'may be convinced of the righteousness, justice, and mercy, of the awful fentence which Thall be paffed upon them, by his blessed Son, whether it shall condemn them to eternal misery, or to a life of immortal happiness.
Chap, vii. 10.
# Chap. iv. 14.
Chap. xi. 3, 4.
But there is another book also to be opened, on this momentous day. The prophet says, “another “ book was opened, which is the book of life.” This is the fame book to which Daniel alludes, when foretelling the same great event *; and the same book referred to by the prophet, in his epistle to the church at Sardis, " And I will not blot out his name out " of the book of life, but I will confess his name be“ fore my Father, and before his angels :” and again, he calls it “the Lamb's book of life *;” in the new Jerusalem, and in divers other places, meaning, as I humbly apprehend, not literally a book, but fome divine rule, or law, or place, in and by which the righteous, and redeemed, shall be for ever diftinguilhed, and separated from the condemned. For Christ himself tells us, that on this day ş he “ will
separate the nations one from another, as a shep“ herd divideth his sheep from the goats, and that he “ will set the sheep on his right hand, and the goats " on the left; and he will say unto them on his right “ hand, Come, te blessed of my Father, inherit the “ kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of " the world : and to those on his left hand, Depart s from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared so for the devil and his angels.” However, out of “ the books," meaning the two books first mentioned, the dead, now changed into a spiritual state, shall be judged; "and the dead were judged out of " the things written in the books, according to their 16 works:" and whosoever was not found in the “ book of life,” i. e. on the right hand of the Son of God, “ were cast into the lake of fire. And death for and hell (the grave) were cast into the lake of 5 fire also; and this is the second death.” And thus, according to the express prophecy of St. Paul, “ Christ will have now reigned until he hath put all " enemies under his feet;" éven death itself, the last enemy which he had upon the earth, and which he came to destroy. So that nothing of bis great and holy trust will now remain to be performed, but to deliver up his kingdom to his Father, from whom he received it," that the Son also himself may be subject unto him that put all things under him, that
* Chap, vii, 10. † Chap. iii. 5.
s Math. xxv. 32, 33, 34. 41,
Chap. xxi. 27.
be all in ALL.”
6. God may
Of the blessed state of the righteous and redeemed through
Chrift, in a spiritual life to come.
THESE two, the last chapters of the Revelation, relate to the state of mankind in a spiritual and never ending life, and more especially of those who shall be redeemed by their works, and the imputed righteousness of the Son of God. They relate to matters and things, which the utmost extent of the intellectual faculties of man, in his mortal ftate, cannot reach. Matter and mortality cannot comprehend the nature of immateriality and spirit, nor form an adequate idea of any thing belonging to them; and yet we find, that the uncrring spirit of prophecy and truth has thought proper to give us a faint description of them. Such a defcription, we cannot doubt, as was necessary to raise, in the limited underfiandings of mankind, during their mortal and probationary fiate, a proper idea of the superior, the supreme excellence of a life of trath and piety, above that of
disobedience and fin; the latter of which they daily find attended by remorse of conscience, and the fear of death: and also, that it might serve as the anchor by which the faith and hope of the believers in the word of God might ride in safety, amidst the storms of human passions and lufts; and moreover, as the great pole star, to direct them to the goal of their falvation. For, as St. Paul says, when speaking of the utmost extent of our knowledge in this life, “ We know in part only, we see through a glass -“ darkly, but when that which is perfect is come '" (evidently alluding to a future ftate), we shall “.then see face to face,” or things as they really are in that state. Hence we may conclude, that this view of the state of things in a life to come, is all that God intended to give, and all that the mind of inan is able to comprehend: an attempt, therefore, to give any explanation of it, must be fruitless, if not presumptuous. I shall, therefore, conclude my comments upon this most perfect and awful theme of the Revelation, by laying before the pious reader a fummary view, extracted from the most striking parts of Scripture, as near as possible in the words of the prophets and apostles. Isaiah, when describing this fiate of inexpreßble and never-ending beatitude, tells us, from GOD HIMSELF, “ Behold I create new “heavens and a new earth; and the former shall “ not be remembered, nor come into mind: but be
you glad, and rejoice for ever, for behold I create « Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people A joy. And " I will rejoice in Jerusalein, and joy in my people; " and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard « in her, nor the voice of crying *.” Again,
as the new heavens, and the new earth, which I 6. will make, shall remain before me, faith the Lord,
66 For « Ne
* Chap. Ixv. 17, 18, 19.
“ fo shall your feed and your name remain *.
St. Peter is equally explicit on the same subject ; vertheless, fays he, "we, according to his promise, “ look for new heavens, and a new earth, wherein “ dwelleth righteousness of.". But St. John, in the two chapters before us, is much more copious in his description of the future happy state of the blessed, when speaking from the same great authority; “Be“ hold I make all things new.
Write (i. e. prophecy, and tell mankind), for these words are true “ and faithful *." And these new things, the prophet declares, were shewn him in his vision, that
“ That the first heaven, and the first earth, being passed away, and there being no more fea, he saw a new heaven, and a new earth, and THE HOLY
CITY, NEW JERUSALEM, coming down from “ heaven;" that “the tabernacle of God was with “ MEN;" that “HE will dwell with them, and they “ shall be his people; that GOD HIMSELF shall be "with them, and be THEIR Gods; and that GOD “ Thall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and “ there shall be no more DEATH, neither forrow, « nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.
From this state of the redeemed, through the immaculate righteousness of the eternal Son of the ever Living God, the prophet passes to that of the unhappy and justly miserable state of the condemned. But let us firit hear the prophet Isaiah upon the fame subject. “ Because when I (God) called, ye did “ not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear, but “ did evil before MINE Eyes, and did choose that in “ which I delighted not; behold my fervanis Thall
eat, and ye shall be hungry; behold my servants
* Chap Jxvi, 42,
+ 2 Pet. iii. 13.
§ Ver, iii.