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hour is coming when this will actually be the case: when not a single irreverent mention of the Creator's sacred name; not one objection to his law, government, or gospel; not one sarcasm or jest upon his cause or worshippers, shall be overlooked! when every word

spoken in the ear in closets, shall be proclaimed

on the house tops!” Where then will the wicked and ungodly appear? How shall any of us endure that scrutiny: unless we have fled for refuge to the hope of the gospel, and all our sins have been buried in the depths of the sea?

But words of another kind shall be made known when the Lord shall come. The servants of God love to associate together, and many censure them for 'it: but what saith the scripture? “ They that feared the

Lord, spake often one to another; and the Lord "hearkened and heard it: and a book of remembrance

was written before him, for them that feared the “ Lord, and thought upon his name; and they shall “ be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day, when “ I make up my jewels; and I will spare them as a

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man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then " shall ye return, and discern between the righteous “ and the wicked; between him that serveth God, and " him that serveth him not."* When the “ books “ shall be opened;" the social piety, gratitude, and charity of true Christians will be brought to light. Their discourse about the perfections, ways, and works of God; the best methods of promoting his glory, the peace of the church, and the benefit of man

* Mal. iii. 16-18.

kind: their mutual warnings, exhortations, counsels, and encouragements; their spiritual, affectionate, and animating conversation; and all the words which the Lord delighted to hear, will be made known before men and angels. And when these shall be contrasted with the filthy, impious, and frivolous speeches of the wicked; it may easily be conceived, how men's real characters will be discriminated, and in what sense,

by their words they will be justified or condemned.”

The thoughts also of every heart shall be disclosed. Men generally imagine, that these at least are free and subject to no controul; so that they allow their memory and imagination, to excite and feed corrupt affections; representing to themselves, with all the ingenuity of invention, scenes that accord to their predominant propensities: and by these speculative indulgences they try to make themselves amends for the restrictions, which regard to reputation, interest, or health may im

. pose.-But God especially requires purity of heart, and truth in the inward parts, by which real religion is distinguished from hypocrisy.--"Ye fools," says our Lord, to some of these whited sepulchres, “ did not os he that made that which is without, make that “ which is within also ? Thou blind Pharisee, first “ cleanse that which is within the cup and platter, that " the outside may be clean also.”* How would it astonish us, if we could see all that passes in the thoughts of many very virtuous persons, during a sin- . gle day! and as to the imaginations of the profligate; they are the very residence of evil spirits, in which

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* Matt. xxiii. 25-28. Luke xi. 39, 40, VOL. I.


they forge all manner of abominable crimes, previous to the actual commission of them. Instead therefore of men's hearts being better than their lives, as selfflattery often suggests, they are uniformly far worse: for every sinful word and action was at first an evil thought and desire; but ten thousand evil thoughts and desires conceived and cherished in the heart, proceed no further; because men have not opportunity, courage, or ability to realize them in practice.

Every man, however, must judge for himself in this matter: but let us ask ourselves, whether we should feel comfortable, at the idea of all our secret thoughts being disclosed, I do not say to the whole world, but to our intimate friends and acquaintance?-Yet they must all be disclosed to men and angels, at the great day of righteous retribution !—“ Let then “ the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous

man his thoughts:for unless evil thoughts are ex. cluded or opposed, every apparent reformation must be hypocritical. “O Jerusalem, wash thy heart from

wickedness, how long shall vain thoughts lodge 16 within thee?"* Peter seems even to intimate a doubt, whether the thought of Simon Magus's heart did not constitute the unpardonable sin; “ Pray God, “ if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be for

given thee.”+ This is therefore a matter of the greatest importance: and the discovery of those secret thoughts, which no human eye could reach, and which were scarcely ever suspected, will exceedingly help to discriminate characters at the great day. Nay,

* Jer. iv, 14.

Acts viii. 20—24.

the countless multitude of vile imaginations and desires, which are the spontaneous production of our depraved nature, will greatly illustrate the truth and justice of God, in all his declarations and decisions, concerning the workers of iniquity.

On the other hand, the thoughts of believers also will be made known, when the Lord shall come. Then it will appear, that they abhorred, and laboured to exclude, every evil imagination, and to repress all sinful desires: that they humbly mourned over the vain-glorious, envious, impatient, and peevish emotions of their hearts; and that they endeavoured to employ their minds, during their retired hours, in holy contemplations. It will then be known how much their thoughts were occupied in considering by what means they might best glorify God, and serve their generation; and how many desires they felt and plans they formed, which they could not accomplish.-Their affectionate longings after the salvation of their relatives, neighbours, and persecutors; and the anguish of heart which they felt on their account, even when censured as severe and harsh in reproving and warning them, will be brought to light; with all other pious, holy, and benevolent thoughts and desires; and these discoveries will evidence them to have been the genuine followers of the holy Jesus.

We must even go further still in this matter: the state of every man's heart, and the motives of his actions will then be fully disclosed. The admired morality of numbers will then be demonstrated to have been only a modification of self-love; without any real regard to the authority or glory of God. The Plus

risee's prayers, fasting, and almsgiving will be shewa to have resulted solely from pride and ostentation, Many will be proved to have preached the gospel from envy and strife, from avarice or ambition; and to have professed it, as a step to emolument or distinction. In short every mask will then be taken off: many admir. ed characters will appear completely odious and contemptible; and “the things which have been highly “esteemed among men” will appear to have been " abomination in the sight of God.” Need I say, how tremendous this must be to dissemblers of every description, who now act a plausible part, and exhibit on the stage of the world in an assumed character

But on the other hand, the humility, gratitude, zealous love, and holy affections of true believers will be made manifest to the universe. The pure motives of those actions, which were censured or calumniated, will be demonstrated: every accusation will be silenced, all misapprehensions removed; and it will be undeniably evident, that from the time when they made an explicit profession of the gospel, their repentance, faith, love and habitual conduct were answerable to that profession.—We proceed therefore,

III. To advert to the consequences of these discories.

By them the immense difference of character, between the righteous and the wicked, will be undenia. bly manifested. In this world, numbers find it convenient to varnish over their crimes, to palliate or excuse many parts of their conduct, and to cast others, as it were, into the back ground, where they are little observed: while regardless of their hearts, they have

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