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stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes and palms in their hands, and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders, and the living beings, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, saying, Amen, blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be unto God forever and ever, Amen.” They who have felt the holy joys of Christian worship on earth, who have realized the seraphic kindlings of the spirit when in the assembly of the saints it pours itself forth in devout praise to God and the Lamb, have some conception of the exalted bliss of the heavenly worship. 7. All these BLEssings ARE to continue foreven. It is the misery of all earthly blessings, that they so soon forsake us. Indeed the more valuable they are, the more pain they give us, by the consideration that we must so soon lose them. We are afraid to love any thing here, lest it should soon cause our hearts to bleed. O for friendships that never fail, for treasures that never forsake us, for worthy objects on which our affections may rest confidently, joyfully, and forever. Well, the righteous shall have them. There is a realm which mortality has not invaded—a realm where morning brightens not to give place to the shadows of evening—where beauty blooms not to fade— where hopes spring not up to droop and die. There the heavens are not arched with the glorious rainbow of promise to-day, to be rent with storms to-morrow ; whatever of riches, and friendships, and glories the righteous inherit when they cross the threshold of heaven, are theirs forever. Such, then, are the blessings awaiting Christians on the decisions of the judgment day. If they seem too great to anticipate, think of the sacrifice of the Son of God upon the cross, and consider that they are the purchase of his blood. Well might faith stagger beneath this massive and eternal glory, if we must think of it as something which our own works are to merit. But when we think of it as the just expression of the Saviour's worth—as the joy that was set before him when he endured the cross—our faith rallies, and is enabled to grapple with and sustain the mighty anticipation. And this should be its daily employment. It cannot be better employed than in anticipating the eternal rewards of the righteous. This will purify our hearts, strengthen us to endure trials, raise us above the world, make us constant and persevering in the Christian life, and finally give us victory over the grave.
* Rev. vii.
CHAPTER XIX. REWARD OF THE WICKED.
JESUs Christ has set the doom of the wicked at the judgment day in direct contrast with the reward of the righteous. He has thus divided the human family into two great classes, the one class on the right hand—a position indicating exaltation and bliss ; and the other class on the left hand—a position indicating disgrace and misery. “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Having in the preceding chapter contemplated the retribution of the former, we must now fulfil the less pleasing task of contemplating that of the latter. If any are in doubt whether there will be any wicked at the judgment day, and any perdition beyond it, we have here no controversy with such, but hand them over to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Their controversy is with him, not us. Let such be reminded, however, that there is, as a matter of fact, such a thing as a blessed and such a thing as a wretched moral condition, and that the soul is often so conditioned that the universe seems to it robed in light or in sackcloth. There is a condition in which all is sunny, green, charming; there is another, in which everlasting darkness, desolation, and gloom hold dominion. Not all the infidelity in the world, not all the speculations about divine mercy, can make the one condition the same as the other. It is so in the natural world, and so it is in the moral. Nor can any man show that religion does not conduct to the one of these conditions, and sin to the other. Jesus Christ has taught us that they actually do ; and until a wiser than he comes, we shall abide by his teaching. Assuming, then, as divinely taught truth, that a portion of mankind will be found in their sins at the judgment day, and be consigned to perdition, let us inquire what the Scriptures teach us respecting the nature of that perdition. Contemplated in its elements, it embraces the sollowing particulars. 1. BANISHMENT FROM God. The Judge says to them, “Depart.” Blessed, said Jesus, are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. There is then a condition in which the divine presence is delightfully manifest—in which the glory of God is seen, realized, rejoiced in. From this the wicked will be exiled. As that heart-withering word, Depart 1 falls on their ears, they will cast a melancholy look upon the crowns and thrones of heaven, which they have lost. Farewell to those glories | They see the righteous there, safely
* Matt. xxv. 41.
arrived and joyfully welcomed to their home;—the songs of praise die on their ears, and the splendors of the golden city fade on their vision, as they sink away in anguish to the black abyss'
2. ENTIRE ABANDoNMENT To sIN. In this world, they are ever more or less under the restraints of grace. Sin is not here permitted to act itself fully out. Even the most abandoned, are not utterly abandoned. But we can have some conception of the horrible condition of abandonment, from the case of those who are far gone in sin. It is not our painful lot often to witness those seeming incarnations of all that is morally vile and fiendish; yet they are sometimes placed in our way, to illustrate the nature and the end of sin. If the condition of man far gone in sin, is so cursed, even while grace still holds him in her restraining arms, how cursed must he be, when the great Judge shall have said to him, in language that sunders the last bonds of grace, “Depart ye cursed t”
3. THE FULL sufferings of sIN. The wicked will be utterly abandoned to the sufferings which sin inflicts. In this world divine mercy steps in and averts a large portion of the misery which sin tends to produce. No man can tell, therefore, to what miseries his sins would lead, but for interposing mercy. If he sins against his flesh, mercy hastens to heal the wound sin has made, and to arrest its work of pain. If he sins against his conscience, mercy instantly offers the cordial of forgiveness. Hence we never in this life see a full developement of sin, as an instrument of producing misery.