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punish the sinner according to the nature, number and aggravation of his crimes. And if so, then they must all appear, or how will his punishment be " a rev. elation of the righteous judgment of God ?" If all his sins, in all their aggravations do not appear, and yet he is punished according to this rule, the day of judgment will serve rather to fix a blot on the divine character, than to wipe off all aspersions from it, and establish his justice, and impartiality in the view of rational creatures,
But if all the sins of the wicked shall appear, and they are punished accordingly, then the righteous judgment of God will be manifest. And as this is one design of that great and dreadful day, we may be sure, that all the sins of men will be brought into judgment. Accordingly we are informed in the oracles of truth, that this will be the solemn fact. “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give an account of in the day of judgment.” “In that day, God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ.” Solomon, warning young persons, (who are ready to imagine their youthful follies will be overlooked,) against.youthful vanities of every kind, enforces the warning by, “Know thou that for all these things, God will bring thee into judgment.” O youth, remember this in all your vanities and sins. Let it be engraven upon the table of your hearts. Your secret sins will all be exposed to view.
From the nature of sin, the object against whom it is committed, and the final sentence which Christ has told us he will pronounce on the wicked, we may certainly conclude, that the punishment of the impen.
itent will be infinitely dreadful. And as the works of the righteous are of a different nature from those of the wicked, so their reward will be totally different in its' nature; as appears from the final sentence to be pronounced upon them.
Thus it appears, from the current voice of scripture, that there will be a day of judgment, in order to which there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust; and that every one of Adam's race will appear before God. You and I, my hearers, must stand before the dread tribunal of Christ, and there be judged, and have our state fixed for eternity, according to our real characters. For Christ will judge the secrets of our hearts according to his gospel, and then hold up the hearts of saints and sinners to publick view.
Then will the openly profane and immoral sinner, receive according to the deeds done in 'his body. Then will the painted hypocrite be exposed, and his sins be set in order before him, in such a convincing light, that his mouth will be stopped, and the righteous judgment of God clearly appear.' All sinners will see the justice of God in their final condemnation. It is important thắt God should convince ungodly men of their guilt ; because without such conviction, it would forever appear to them, that God is unjust, and that they suffer wrongfully from his almighty hand. If ungodlý men shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord;” it is necessary for the honour of God, that they feel it to be just. Should God cast the vilest sinner into hell, and give him no other views of sin, of his law, and of his holy character, than he now has, he would forever lift up his eyes to heaven and say, God is unjust. Should ungodly men always have the same views they now have, God would always appear unjust, and they excusable. Sinners 'in this world do not feel deserving of God's wrath; and he will never punish them without giving them different views of sin. Sometimes, when God awakens sinners in this world, and gives them just apprehensions of his holy law, and the desert of sin, they are astonished that God should keep them out of hell. They feel that they deserve it, and could not complain of God, should that be their awful portion. But the day of judgment will produce. clearer conviction in the conscience of the ungodly, than any sinner ever had in this world. No sinner ever had his sins set in order before him, as God will then set them in his view; and God's character will appear as spotless, and his throne as guiltless to the ungodly themselves, as to saints and angels in heaven. Sinners will sink into hell with overwhelming convictions of its justice. No ungodly soul will ever look up to the abode of God, and say, God is unjust in my destruction. Conviction will silence every murmur against God. This is all agreeable to scripture, and perfectly rational. Sin. ners are reasonable creatures, and feel that they act freely. It is agreeable to reason, that there should be a day of judgment, and a state of retribution. So that the scriptures; by revealing a day of judgment, and a state of rewards and punishments, make that certain, which appears reasonable in itself.
IMPROVEMENT. 1. From the design of the judgment day, it is very desirable, as well as solemn. It is desirable as a vindication of the divine character. How much reproach, and dishonour are cast on God in this world ? Many thousand years, ungodly men all over the earth, have been speaking, and acting against God.': Thousands, every moment blaspheming his name, and with boldness rising up, and trampling his honour in the dust, in a thousand different ways.
God suffers one generation after another to rise up and act out their hearts. Some denying his being—others speaking against his government. Some slaying his people others crucifying his Son.
Some denying, and others ridiculing his gospel, and saying his ways are unequal. The infidel boasts and says,
“ where is the promise of his coming ?” Ungodly men take courage and join hand in hand in sin. It seems very undesirable that all these reproaches should lie forever on the character of God. Were there no day of judgment—were ungodly men never to be “ convinced of their ungodly deeds,” how would it appear, that God is a holy, righteous God? I have frequently thought, that it was not strange, that a man, ignorant of a judgment day, should conclude, that God concerned not himself in the conduct of men. When he sees the honour of God trodden under foot, and his arm not lifted to avenge the wrong, what must he conclude? But revelation saith, “behold hecometh.”
Place a holy being, in this world, who knows nothing about a judgment day, and let him look round on mankind, and how dark would the whole appear? Lift up the veil, and let him see ungodly men convinced before the bar of their Judge; how solemn yet satisfying is the prospect ?
2. Does not this subject cast a particular gloom on the future state of sinners? There is no room to hope that sinners will escape the righteous judgment of God. Some flatter themselves, that all will be well with them hereafter, though they live to themselves, and disregard the commands of God. But there is no ground for such a hope, either from reason, or scripture, Such will certainly meet with disappointment and confusion in the end.
We may now as certainly determine how Christ will treat all swearers, drunkards, whoremongers, fornicators, theives, liars, and all impenitent sinners, as if we now stood before his bar, and heard him say, “de. part, ye cursed into everlasting fire.” Only admit that there will be a judgment day, and there cannot remain a doubt, whether God will put a distinction “ between him who sweareth, and him who feareth an oath ; between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not.”
3. Since these things are so," what manner of persons ought we to be?” This is the pathetic conclusion of the Apostle in the view of a day of final retribution for the righteous and the wicked. And how natural and important is the inference from such a subject ?
For in the view of these things, we are constantly acting for eternity-forming characters for the day of judgment. There is not a thought, word, nor action, bút is big with its consequences. It is plain,