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leisure to place their counterfeit virtues in a conspia cuous light, and to make them appear immensely better than they really are. On the contrary, the believer has many infirmities; and is engaged in a sharp conflict with “ the sin that dwelleth in him," and with the temptations of Satan. The world rigorously scrutinizes his conduct; and the Lord tries his faith and grace, as silver is tried in the furnace. He is so afraid of hypocrisy and ostentation, that he carefully conceals many things which might exalt his character, and scrupulously shuns the appearance of good before men, when he but suspects that there is not the reality of it in the sight of God. * On these and other accounts, the apparent difference betwixt true Christians, and specious hypocrites or moralists, bears ng manner of proportion to the degree in which their characters do really differ. But the discoveries of the great day will perfectly distinguish them, and all the world will “ discern between the righteous and the “ wicked, between him that serveth God and him " that serveth him not."
When the Lord shall thus“ bring to light the hid“ den things of darkness,' every mouth will be stop
ped, and all the world will become guilty before “ God; for by the works of the law shall no flesh be " justified in the sight of God.”f The discoveries of the great decisive day will completely elucidate this fundamental doctrine of Christianity, which is now so generally misunderstood or opposed: for the whole of men's thoughts, words, and works will appear so contrary to the holy precepts of God, or so far short of their spiritual perfection; that all must then feel the force of David's words, “ If thou Lord, shouldest “ mark iniquity, O Lord, who shall stand?” As therefore “all have sinned and come short of the glo.
2 Cor. xii. 6.
* Rom. iii, 19, 20,
ry of God,” all must fall under condemnation, who are not interested in the salvation of the gospel. " But it may be asked, in what sense then will every man be judged according to his works? This shall be reserved for the subject of a separate discourse: and it may suffice to answer at present, that all avowed unbe. lievers, however distinguished, will be judged and condemned for the sins they have committed; and all professed believers will be judged according to their works, as proving, or disproving, the sincerity of their profession.
The discoveries of this awful day will likewise si. lence all the blasphemies, which are continually uttered, against the justice of God in the condemnation of the wicked. It is on this account, called “the day " of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment " of God.” While men conceal or palliate by far the greatest and worst part of their conduct, they may argue plausibly against the denunciations of scripture: but when the whole of their character and conduct shall be openly exhibited, and all the world shall know every thing respecting them which is now seen by the heart-searching Judge alone; then the justice of the tremendous sentence will be universally acknowledged; the friends of God will perceive and adore his glory in this part of his moral government; and the wicked shall be silent in darkness and despair,
when compelled to “Depart accursed into everlasting
fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Far be it from us to suppose, that the merciful Saviour, who is TRUTH itself, would use such language, if not really applicable to the case! He does not allow us to speak deceitfully for bim; and will he utter falacious words himself?Yet we cannot hear of cternal punishment, unquenchable fire, outer darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth, a worm that never dieth, and the place prepared for the devil and his angels, without feeling our hearts tremble, and revolt against the description.—How unspeakably dreadful then will be the accomplishment! when the Lord, to stop the sinner's mouth, by a discovery of his crimes, shali say, with stern indignation, “These things hast thou
done, and I kept silence: thou thoughtest that I was
altogether such a one as thyself, but I will reprove “ thee and set them in order before thine eyes!-Now
—Now "consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in “ pieces, and there be none to deliver."* Cease then, poor sinner, to object and dispute; and make haste to flee from the wrath to come, and to seek refuge in the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A more pleasing subject, however, is before us, while we contemplate the redeemed of the Lord, saved by his grace, washed from their sins in the Sa. viour's atoning blood, completely justified, absolved from every charge, and “ presented faultless before " the presence of his glory with exceeding joy." Then death will be swallowed up in victory; and rapturės inexpressible will commence a felicity, still to be increased, with the enlargement of their capacities, through the countless ages of eternity. But I must
* Ps. 1. 21, 22
leave it to your own minds, brethren, to form some conception of the opposite sensations, which will delight, or agonize every heart, when the wicked “ shall
go away into everlasting punishment, and the righteous into life eternal."
“ And then shall every man have praise of God." Then every humble believer, according to his measure of faith and grace, will be honoured with the commendation of his condescending Lord, for those services which the world condemned, and which perhaps his brethren undervalued or censured. To be accosted by the Judge of the world, in these most gra. cious terms, “ Well done, good and faithful servant, *s enter thou into the joy of thy Lord,” will form an adequate gratification to the noblest ambition, of which the rational nature is capable. Seeking for this glory, honour, and immortality, let us here be indifferent to all human applauses or contemptuous reproaches. This is the honour that conieth from God only, and is re. served for all his saints; when no more danger shall remain of their being exalted above measure, or sacrilegiously ascribing any thing to themselves: but when; on the contrary, “they will cast their crowns
; “ before the throne,” and return all to the bounteous Giver, in endless songs of adoring praise. Let us not faint then, on account of our trials and difficulties; “For our light afflictions which are but for a moment
are working for us, a far more exceeding and eteri nal weight of glory.”
Let us also remember the caution, “judge nothing “ before the time.” Our duty often requires us to form some judginent of men's characters and actions: but in all other respects, our business is with ourselves and the Lord, and not with our fellow servants. And the more diligent we are, “to be found of “him in peace, without spot and blameless;” the less time and thought we shall have to spare, for censuring and condemning the conduct, or suspecting the motives, of other men.
But do you, my friends, really believe these things? and are you preparing to meet your Judge? I fear, the actions, conversation, and spirit of numbers awfully prove the contrary. Still, however, the Lord waits to be gracious: flee then to him as a Saviour, without longer delay, who will speedily come to be your Judge.—You who profess the gospel, be advised and persuaded to examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith: look well to it that your evidences of conversion are clear and decisive; for that day, of which we speak, will detect multitudes of self-deceivers, as well as unmask many artful hypocrites. And if you are conscious of following the Lord with an. upright heart; take heed that you do not slacken your
dili. gence, or yield to unwatchfulness: “ Let
loins “ be girded and your lights burning; and ye yourselves " like unto men that wait for their Lord: " for blessed are those servants whom the Lord when he cometh “ shall find watching; verily I say unto you, that he VOL. I.