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and conduct of these two during life. Both may grow together, may live in the same house, may sit in the same pew in the temple of God. They may appear together till death and judgment overtake them. But then, oh! what a change of state, what a difference of condition will there be.
In the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn. Or, as it is explained, The harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of the world. The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Then it will appear that to the one the word of God was the savour of life unto life, and to the other the savour of death unto death." What a separation will then be made! The believing husband will be for ever separated from the unbelieving wife; or the believing wife from the unbelieving husband: the believing parent from the unbelieving
17 2 Corinthians ii. 16.
child; or the believing child from the unbelieving parent. All unbelievers, however great their animosities, however revolting their associations, will be compelled to unite together in eternal discord, disquietude, and despair. The avowed infidel and the secret hypocrite, however abhorrent the conduct of each may be to the other, will be companions in woe. The fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death.18 Oh! that I felt as I ought to feel while I repeat these awful words. Oh! that we all duly felt their truth and importance, so as to be persuaded to flee from the wrath to come. 19 Do these characters describe any among us? Some of them do exist, alas! among professors of Christianity. Are there not some who are fearful, or ashamed to avow themselves to be the servants of Christ, and excuse themselves from being such, lest they should be laughed at for their religious profession? Are there not some who call themselves Christians, and yet do not really believe the doctrines of Christianity? Whose hearts have not been affected, and their lives not influenced by the word of God? Are there not some, who if not murderers, are
18 Revelation xxi. 8.
19 Matthew iii. 7.
yet the slaves of angry passions, which scarcely wait for temptation to raise them into ungovernable fury? Are there not some professors of Christianity who are living in uncleanness and vice, even while they hear that whoremongers and adulterers God will judge? so 20 Are there not some who act dishonestly, lying and stealing, and breaking other commandments of God; although they are continually hearing that the Lord God will not hold them guiltless who do these things? Of all such persons, notwithstanding their profession of Christianity, unless they repent of their ungodly deeds, unless they grieve over them with that godly sorrow which worketh repentance unto salvation not to be repented of," and humbly and earnestly implore pardoning mercy through Christ; it will be said, Gather ye together the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them. For the Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Such are the plain and awful declarations of the word of God, which will most assuredly be fulfilled at the appointed time. Sin will not go unpunished. It is the delusion of Satan,
20 Hebrews xiii. 4.
21 2 Corinthians vii. 10.
which leads any transgressor of the holy law of God to indulge such an idea. Let sinners then take warning, and flee from the wrath to come. Let none harden themselves against the terrors of the Lord. For it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. The word of God warns us that we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. The Apostle Paul having made this solemn statement, added, Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men. It is the business of the ministers of Christ; while they warn men of their danger, to beseech them to be reconciled to God. The gospel of Christ proclaims pardoning mercy to every penitent sinner, who humbly implores forgiveness for Christ's sake. It tells us that God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. It points to our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world; the propitiation for our sins. It assures us that in Him we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins; that He hath put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself; and that whosoever, confessing his sins, by
22 Hebrews x. 21. 23 2 Corinth. v. 10, 1]. 24 John iii. 16.
faith transfers them to his Surety, and regards Him as having poured out His soul unto death as the victim smitten for the transgressions of His people,25 and trusts in His blood-shedding and death for pardon, shall receive remission of sins.
Let us then humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, confessing our iniquities before Him with shame and self-abhorrence; and let us beseech the Father of mercies for the sake of His beloved Son, to pardon and deliver us from all our sins; to take away the love of sin out of our hearts; and to enable us henceforth to love Him above all things, and to serve and please Him in newness of life that in our experience the latter part of the text may be fulfilled, that we may be as wheat gathered into the barn; that we may be numbered among the righteous, who shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Oh! what blessedness will then be the portion of the children of God! He in whose presence they are accounted righteous, through faith in Christ Jesus, will be their Father for ever. They shall enjoy His paternal love and care throughout eternity. As the wheat is gathered into the barn for the use of its proprietor, so the righteous will be gathered into heaven, to serve, and glorify, and praise Him for evermore. What a glorious place
25 Isaiah liii. 12, 8.
26 Acts x. 43.