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been conftantly employed in this world; by their own confciences; and the omnifcience of God. Thus the witnesses in this court will bemore than two or three. And the omniscience of God will be the completion of all testimony. Therefore he declares, "I will come near to you in judgment, I « will be a swift witness against the forcerers, and against the "adulterers, and against the falfe fwearers, and against those "that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the «fatherless, and that turn afide the stranger from his right "and fear not me, faith the lord of hofts." Hence the trial will be fair, the witnesses neither ignorant nor partial, and the adjudication perfectly juft and good.
Different degrees of happiness and misery will be awardedto all, exactly as their characters fhall be found to be. As to the godly all will be perfectly happy, yet fome will poffefs more felicity than others according as their virtues and trials and works have been; fome fhall have ten portions of happi nefs, and others only five. Capacities will differ in the future ftate as well as the prefent. There are different grades of angels, and the greater poffefs more felicity than the lefs. So it is probable it will be with the faints in heaven, each one will be completely happy, and this happiness will be in proportion to his capacity. This will likewife be the cafe with the mif erable; all will be tormented and perfectly wretched, yet fome will be unspeakably more fo than others. There are various grades among the devils, and each one fuffers according to his capacity. Thus it will be more tolerable for fome of the wicked in hell than others. Hence we read of the men of Niniveh, the queen of the South, of the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon, Sodom and Gommorah, as liable to a lefs degree of punishment than those who have enjoyed greater advantages and finned against greater light and knowledge. Therefere it will be more tolerable in the future ftate for the heathen than for the chriftian world, who fhall have mifimproved their privileges.
A few hints are all that can be given in a contracted dif course upon fo fublime, grand and extenfive a fubject; but we fhall take different views of it in fome future lectures, and conclude at prefent with a very brief improvement.
First, this doctrine of a future judgment administers reproof to the profane and unbelieving, who mock and fcoff at the coming of the Lord, who fay, "Where is the promise of his coming, for finee the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." Was this doctrine fuitably impreffed upon the minds of men, that one day or other they must be called to an account for all their conduct in the presence of the affembled univerfe, would they not be more watchful and circumfpect in their behaviour and converfation? More diligent in enquiring how they fhould ap prove themselves to God? How neceffary is it that we should repent of all our fins, obtain an intereft by faith in the merito. rious righteousness of the Saviour, that we should be justified and fanЯified, feeing we must all stand in judgment? It also reproves all those who abuse the divine patience, because his coming is delayed, not confidering that he will," Come in a "day, when they looked not for him, and shall cut them a«fünder, and appoint them their portion with hypocrites, there "fhall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Should we not often be placing ourfeles in the prefence of the heart searching, and rein trying God, and reflecting how we shall appear injudgment? This would have a mighty tendency to awaken our minds and command our fouls to make preparation for the great event. For he will come and he will not tarry.
Secondly, feeing Chrift Jefus is the glorious perfonage who fhall judge the world, and will appear with innumerable attendants of holy angels, how should this fill us with high and exalted thoughts of him, and low and abafing thoughts of our felves? Since the angelic tribes account it their happiness and
Lighest honor to wait upon him as his ministering fpirits, how fhould it awaken in us an holy ambition, that we might approve ourselves to him as his fervants in all things, and to reckon it our greatest honour and chief bleffing to be employed as fuch by him. Seeing he, with whom there is no fhadow of partiality, fall futain the office of being judge, this ought effectually to filence all murmuring thoughts against the une qual diaributions of providence in this world.
We ought not impatiently to complain of poverty, fickness bereavements or other calamitous circumftances, fince the God' of all the earth is doing and will always do that which is per fectly right. Can a child of God defire more than that he fhould do righteously. All thefe adverfe difpenfations will be perfectly adjulled, and when properly improved, they will encrease our felicity throughout eternity. Why fhould chriflians be anxiously diftreifed about friends, children, health, riches, honors and toys, feeing they are not to expect their heaven upon earth?— Let us cultivate the graces of faith, patience, fubmiflion and humility, in full affurance that all will be beft in the great day of
Thirdly, fince the perfons who fhall be judged are angels' and men, fince we, my brethren, will form a part of this grand affembly, fhould not this excite and command us to univerfal holinefs both of heart and life. The fentiment that we fhall a!! ftand before the judgment feat of Chrift, fhould caufe us to break. off our fins by righteoufhefs, and our tranfgreflions by fhewing mercy to the poor; fhould influence us to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and become the faithful followers of Jefus; should engage us to deny all worldly lufts and affections, and become chriftians in reality. Let us, my dear friends, be christians and all shall be well, for time, for judgment, and eternity.
The difference of appearance before God here -and hereafter.
Matt. 25. 33. And he fhall fet the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.
WE are all, my brethren, made for eternity. There are ve folemn fcenes before us. It is hard to bring ourselves fuitably to observe thefe things. How difficult to perfuade our fouls, that all the invifible realities of a future ftate, of which we read in the gospel, will be prefent. But fo it must be. O my foul, a little while and thou fhalt ftand before thy judge, thy cafe fhall be stated by the rules of perfection, and thy doom irreversibly fixed. How deep, how awful is the thought? O what a differ ence will a few years make in our circumstances. Perhaps a few days or hours will bring it to pafs. Inftead of appearing before God in his fanctuary and in his ordinances, we fhall appear before his judgment feat to be tried for our fouls and eter nity. How does the reflection affect our fpirits! Shall we be brought into judgmert to be tried! Our hearts faint within us. at the profpect. We cannot ftand the inferior trial of our rea
fon and confcience. Our hearts condemn us, and God is greater than our hearts. He is perfectly acquainted with all our follies, infirmities and fins. We are apt to have a light idea of our guilt, a small and uncertain fenfibility of our tranfgreffions; we think ourselves but little finners, because we take in and realife but a small portion of fin at a time. We cannot recollect the whole compafs of our iniquities at once. When we are afflicted with the fenfe of any particular offence, our other trimes are in a back ground, dropped from our view, and loft in a general confufion. But what furprife will it awaken to have the whole account collected and laid before us; and that in fo awful a place as at the bar of God; and that upon fo folemn a trial, as for our eternal deltiny. It would now be poffible to have these matters fettled. Now Jefus Chrift is exalted as a prince and a faviour to grant repentance and the remiffion of fins.
In a little while he will change this friendly and compaffion vate character, and affume all the grave folemnities of a judge.-Our appearance before his feat, is a striking confideration, and belongs equally to all men.
How great the diftinction that day will display among us! An infinitely more confpicuous one than the golpel or the church now makes. Some among mankind are begotten by the gof pel to a lively hope and to faith unfeigned. Their fouls are formed to undiffembled piety, a proper fenfe of God and their duty to him; while others remain unfanctified and unholy, without God, without love, without faith or hope. They continue frangers to the chriflian temper, and all the ariable and precious graces of the fpirit. To fume the gofpel is the power of God to falvation, it proves a favour of life unto life; while others never feel its influence in any faving manner, and therefore to them it is a favour of death unto death. Great is the difference which here takes place among perfons in their appear. ance before Chrifl in his holy ordinances; but much greater will be the difference which will be made between them, when