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tion. Believers, who are now the object of their malice, will triuniph in their destruction; being admitted to prefide, as the affefiors of Chrift, in that folemn trial. They will approve, rejoice in, and in some sense pass the fentence. « Know ye not,” said St. Paul, “ that we shall judge angels * ”
In the clofe of all, these apoftate fpirits will be "cast into the lake of fire and brimstone t," whence there can be no release, and where their misery will surpass our utmost conceptions. Impenitent finners, also, fhall have their portion with them; but the fire was “ prepared for the Devil and his angels t," because they were the original tranfgreffors. There shall they all, in one horrible company,“ be tormented day and night for ever and ever:” Yet the torment will in no respect tend to change or soften their obdurate minds. They will retain their hatred of God, “ blaspheme his name, and not repent, to give him glory S.” The justice of God, therefore, will not remove or mitigate the punishment throughout eternity. It is declared in the most express terms, of which language is capable, that it hall be “ everlasting.” And who shall presume to object, or prescribe to God the proper measures of his government, as if we were more competent to decide, what his own righteous perfections may demand?
The awful subject muít give rise to various reflections,
1. Lets the redeemed of the Lord” rejoice and triumph in their great Deliverer. While you contemplate the character and state of the infernal hoft, you Gannot but be deeply impressed with your immense obligations. Are you not constrained to cry out, with devout admiration of your disiinguished mercies, “ Behold, what hath God wrought!" How much has Jelus done; how much has he pledged himself to
* 1 Cor. vi. 3o + Rev. XX. 10 Matt. XXV.. 41. § Rev. xvi. 9.
accomplish, in your behalf! Already, you are “delivered from the power of darkness *, and « have overcome the wicked one f.” But for the present, you may expect to feel very painful attacks from your malicious foe, though you shall not fall by his hands. His purposes against you shall finally be baffied, and even rendered subfervient to your spiritual and eternal welfare. Only remember, whence all your strength is to be derived : you will “ overcome hiin by the blood of the Lamb f.” To your faith you must likewise add a diligent attention to duty. are required to wrestle and fight, to watch and pray: and this should be your daily, your unceasing employment. You have ratified the solemn vow, that you will « renounce the Devil and all his works $:" never, then, dare to think of returning to his infamous fervice. Lift up your supplication to the God of all grace, that He may “deliver you from evil,” or from the wicked one llo “ from his crafts and assaults," and “ finally beat down Satan under your feet 11."
2. Let penitents, who feel their own weakness, and dread the power of these spiritual enemies, be encouraged. We allow, that there would be just cause for fear and despondency, if there were none to adminifter support. But the Lord hath said, “I have
“ laid help upon One that is mighty +.” We refer you to Jesus, who can dispossess “the strong man, and take from him all his armour, wherein he trusted **.” 0 Ay to this Saviour, and entreat his gracious aslistance and protection! “ Surely, He fhall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler :-He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings thalt thou trust: his truth thall be thy fhield and buckler ft.” The horrid temptations, by which you are affaulted, and which excite diftrefling apprehensions in your minds, are a
* Col. i. 13. † 1 John ii. 13. I Rev. xii. 11. § Catechism. il Lord's Prayer. It Litany. + Pfal. Ixxxix. 19.
* Luke xi. 22. if Pial. xci. 3, 4.
favourable fign. · We conclude, from the violence of your adversary, that ycu are rescued from his dominion; for, if you were still held in subjection, he would not alarm, but quiet your fears, and luil your consciences asleep. Perfift, then, in a determined opposition to the prince of darkness, and indulge the pleasing hope, that Jesus has broken the yoke of your oppreffor, and will ihortly give you complete deliver
3. Let careless finners be perfuaded to confidar, whose servants they are, and how their schemes of iniquity must terminate. It appears from the scripture account, however unwilling you may be to acknowledge it, that, while
you are alienated from God, you are in subjection to Satan.
You yield a ready compliance to the proposals of that evil spirit; you his confederates, under his influence, and are conformed to his likeness. And does he not excite in your hearts such tempers and affections, as render you wretched in yourselves, and mischievous to fociety? Where, then, can you expect your final portion? “ If God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell *,” is it to be imagined, that he will spare you, who despise and reject that mercy, which was never offered to them? You “ count the blood of the Covenant an unholy thing, and do despite unto the Spirit of grace t :” but this is a degree of iniquity, with which they are not chargeable. Ah!. what can equal the heinousness of your guilt ? Or, « how shall you escape, if you neglect so great falvation I?” O be persuaded, while opportunity is allowed you, to “flee from the wrath to come!”
2 Pet. ii. 41
+ Heb. x. 29. I ii. 3.
CHA P. XV.
Self-examination recommended, as a proper improvement
of “S:ripture Characters"--Enquiries proposed : Are we aining the saints, or the impenitent---What is o'rt ftate, condut, and principlesman Are we “ in the faith,” and conformed to Jesus Christ, by virtue of a spiritual union with him
HAVING finished our plan of deducing practical reflections from scripture examples, we may now close the subject by calling upon every reader to enquire, whether he has made a suitable improvement. Religion does not consist in curious fpeculations: it is a personal concern. We ought now, therefore, to be fatisfied with stating the facts contained in the sacred records, or deciding upon the different people, whose cases have passed in review before us: we should seriously contider, what is our own spiritual state, and under what d scription we are to be claffed. As the knowledge of ourselves is of far greater consequence than that of any others, we should direct all our itudies to the attainment of that important object. How forcible, and how exactly adapted to our purpose, is the exhortation of the Apostle ! « Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own felves : know ye not your own felves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates *?” Let us attend to this solemn counsel, and pray that He, " to whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and
from whom no secrets are hid,” may search and try us, deliver us from all hypocrisy, “and lead us in the way everlasting,"
It seems to have been the defign of God, in allota ing so large a portion of his word to the description of various characiers, to fix our regard upon ourfelves; and, without such a particular application, it is not probable, that we shall reap any solid advantage from scripture history. While we are forming an opinion concerning the celebrated names of antiquity, let each one ask, What am I to be accounted of?Erech had this teftimony, that he pleased God*;" but do I poliess any evidence of a similar kind ? I read that “ Abraham was called the friend of Godt:” but am I a child of Abraham ? Moses is represented as peculiarly eminent for his meekness of spirit: am not I carried away by the influence of pride, envy, and revenge? While I behold the holy life of Jesus, the Son of God, is not the tenor of my conduct totally opposite? Though I perceive and approve the zeal, courage, and affiduity of his Apostles, am not I deftitute of fervent love to his name, and concern for his glory, being indolent, fearful, and unbelieving?
If we pursue these enquiries through the scriptures, to what conclufion will they lead us? But the scrutiny proposed is unpleasant; and most persons start back from it, as conscious of a defect, and aware that their accounts are bad. We apprehend that many ftudy the sacred writings, merely to gratify their cu. riosity in speculating upon the various characters there exhibited, and indulge a proud, cenforious disposition in passing sentence upon them, while they are averse to a serious examination of their own hearts. Are we, then, at liberty to neglect the repeated injunc.
* Heb. xi. 5.
+ James ii. 23.