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First, finners appear now before Christ as tender Saviou and compaffionate redeemer, but then they will ftand before him. as an awful, inexorable and inflexible judge. The prefent appearance is in a feafon of grace and mercy, but then it will be a time of trial, judgment and condemnation. Now when they come before Chrift in the places where he records his name, they hear the sweet and inviting language of grace; and the voice of Jefus calling to them to come and accept of the pardon of their fins and they fhall find reft to their fouls. How precious, föft and perfuafive are the gracious words proceeding out of his lips. "Ho every one that t irteth come ye to the waters and drink. "Come unto me all ye diftreffed, poor, weary, faint and heavy "ladened fouls and I will give you reft. If any man thirst, let "him come unto me and drink. He that heareth my voice, I "will fup with him and he with me; and whofoever will, how"ever great, numerous and aggravated his fins may be, the "fountain of grace is opened, let him come, make room for his "approach, that he may take of the waters of life, and drink of the wells of falvation freely, without money and without price." You are now, O finners, standing within the pale and under the banners of mercy. But alas, when you will appear before Chrift in judgment, there will be no more calls of mercy or overtures of grace. Then you must hear the heart rending found, "Your day of grace is paft and the door of mercy is fhut "forever." Chrift is now by his word and Spirit knocking at the door of your hearts, but hereafter you will knock at his door, crying, "Lord, Lord open unto us." As the former was vain, fo alfo will be the latter. Nothing will be heard from within, but "depart from me ye workers of iniquity." Who can paint the anguish and confufion this declaration must throw the delaying, loft, and unhappy finner into? Now he ftands before God in the church, and hears all the promises perfuafions and threatenings of the gofpel with a perfectly cold Indifference; they pafs by him as the idle wind; but hereaf ter his cry will be, “A world for one of those hours." His
fentence will be pronounced, with his name affixed, "thou art the rebellious, thoughdefs, diobedient and impenitent finner, and thou muit die forever. Thou hast not obeyed the gospel, thou haft not accepted the offers of mercy, thou haft not believ. ed in Chrift, and thou must eternally perifh." The finner now ftands before Chrift in a feafon of hope, he may now obtain pardon and grace; but then he will and under the fentence of death, under the dark and dolorous feelings of everlasting def pair. The finner now appears before the bleffed Saviour fitting upon a throne of love, ca eating his reconciliation and friend. fhip, and pouring forth the melting words of compaffion, "I delight not in the death of a finner, turn ye, turn ye, for "why will ye die? I fold forth life and pardon in my hand "for your acceptance; your acceptance would be my highest “pleasure and your own everlasting felicity." Pity is now in his heart, and tears of love in his eyes. O finners, it is now with you a day of falvation. O that you were wife, that you underflood this, that you would confider your future appearance before Chrot! The time is fast advancing, and perhaps at the very door with fome, that this feafon of love will be over and gone, and your lamentation hereafter will be, «The "harvest is past, the fummer is ended, and we are not faved." You now enjoy all the advantages and bleffings of the gospel. Chrift is now weeping over you, and pouring out his compati onate heart in tears, urtering thefe tender expreffions, "How "often would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her "chickhens under her wins!" O let it not be added, “ that "you would not." Let it not be faid 1 hat he came unto his "own and his own received him not." But in the future judg. ment, you will behold this lovely and precious Saviour, cloathed in terror, with frowns en his brow and anger in his heart, iffuing the irreversible fentence of your final deftiny, "Depart from "me ye curfed into everlafling fire, prepared for the devil and "his angels." All his love will be turned into wrath, and your prefent eafe and fecurity into damnation. Every foul in
this great day found in his fins, falls under the eternal curfe without repeal. Who among us can think of enduring the awful scene? Who can bear the fight of an angry judge, who is infinite in power, terrible in majesty, and who hath divefted himfelf of all compaffion? Who can think of the Son of God, cloathed with vengeance, putting on fury as a garment, to revenge the contempt of his milder character? The great day. of the Lord is coming and who fhall be able to ftand? Christ bath come, O fianers, to request your hearts, your friendship and your love; but when he fhall come again no fuch requests. fhall be made. You will never hear another foothing invitation. When he fhall turn to the left hand, nothing but terror clouds and darknefs, and a horrible tempeft, and nothing in his voice but the dreadful found-" Depart." But,
Secondly, finners appear now before Chrift with cold hearts and careless and irreverent spirits. His tender addreffes and movingexpoftulations are neither heard with seriousness, nor attended to with folemnity. But at his appearance on the fhining judgment feat, his prefence will frike awe, and it will be impoffibleto be light, careless, and inattentive. While they now hear the propofals of the gospel laid before them by his ambaffidors, befceching them in Chrift's ftead to be reconciled to God, they may perhaps notice how the ambaffador acts his part, whether he is of brilliant elocution, can perform as a grand orator, or in Eastern file, can play well on an inftrument; when they have decided upon this bufinefs, they retire with a felf appro-bation, and an inward felicity. But in their appearance at the laft judgment, things will be infinitely different; the confideration of the fpeaker will be perfectly dropped. When they hear orders iffued for the folemn apparatus, and behold all matters difpofing themfelves to give the highest grandeur to the fcene to haften their depending fate, how will their fouls be all tremblingly alive to the final fentence? In what a defcriptive manner does St. John reprefent this momentous event?
It is as if we faw it with cur eyes.
"Behold, he cometh with clouds and every eye fhall fee him, and they alfo which pierced him, and all the kindreds of the earth fhrall wail be. "caufe of him." Then the finner will hear the voice of the Son of God, and every word will pierce him thro' with a thoufand terrors, and ten thousand torments will wreck his foul. But on the other hand, every preparation, every display, and every word, will be pleasure, comfort, transport, and extatic joy to the believer. Then will he rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory."
I have often thought that this appearance will be peculiarly affecting to the minifters of the gospel, both faithful and unfaithful. Those who have been faithful, and yet have not fucceeded as to a great part of their flock-Lord! how must it affect them to see many of their dear charge, whom once with yearning bowels they befought to fecure their falvation, whom they had perfuaded with tears by those very terrors which they now behold and feel, but they would not, and they see them departing in the general outcry of loft and condemned fouls. They behold them taking leave of Jefus, of their friends, of their minifters and happinefs, and go with devils into everlafting punishment. As to fuch who must reflect upon their unfaithfulness, as the caufe of their own and their bearers eternal def truction, who can tell the torments eternally occafioned hereby! Think of this, O my foul, and take the awful hint, to animate thee in thy work, to cry aloud and fpare not, whatever may be the confequence on earth.
But I proceed,
Secondly, to fhow the great difference this future appearance will make between the believer and unbeliever.
First, the believer will be treated and diftinguished with the higheft inftances of care and attention. Jefus will take a pe
culiar and tender notice of him in this frightful feafon. When this day fhall commence, the unbeliever muft endure in himfelf all the terrors of the forming fcene and judgment-will feel himself left amid the crush of nature and the wreck of worlds. What tormenting fear, furprise and anxiety, will the very cir cumftances of the season occafion? We are told, there will be diftrefs of nature and perplexity; that the fun and moon will be darkened and all the powers of heaven fhaken; the archangel's trumpet fhall found to the extremities of the earth; the heavens fhall pass away with a great noife; the elements fhall melt with fervent heat, the earth alfo and all its works fhall be burnt up. How dreadful will it be for the unbelieving inner at this time! How will it fhock his inmost soul to defcry from afar the awful appearances and figns of the times! To fee the azure veil of heaven rending and rolling afide to make way for the descent of the glorious and lofty judge,--to behold companies of mighty angels pour forth to line and guard the way,-to per-. ceive the firmament of heaven in a general blaze,-the forked lightnings flash and the thunders roar,-and defcending flames circulating round the earth and involving all in common and promifcuous ruin.--To behold the univerfe thrown into the utmost hurry and confufion; all its connections broken and its motions difconcerted; hear earthquakes, various noife, deep difturbance; and all darknefs and defolation. How indefcribable must it be to feel the agonics of diffolving nature; when all the diforderly elements free from their prefent laws and bearings fhall rush tumrdtuous into war an conflict. How wil the impenitent and unbelieving and aghat! how will his heart fink and die within him! even now perhaps a fudden tempeft of wind, rain and thunder, can throw his foul into confufion, and fmite it through with pain and terror. But, alas, there will then be another fort of fcene. The noife and horror of fuch a time is no more to be compared with that of the judgment day, than the fhaking of a leaf with the re port of the louded thunder. What diftrefs and conferna