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objection to our adopting the figure with which they have supplied us, and enlarging a little upon that point.
Let us suppose then, that an individual is summoned by name, and made to stand at the bar of judgment, Christ sitting on the throne, and all the world of men and angels, both good and evil, being spectators. He trembles as he approaches, for his conscience tells him now, and he acknowledges every word of what it had often told him before, but he would not attend to it, that he would never “be able to stand in the judgment of God, that he must be condemned for his sins, and
go into everlasting punishment. The book in which his history is recorded, is opened. It is a large volume, for it contains the account of his whole life; not only his deeds, but the words of his mouth, and the thoughts of his heart. There is no need to go through the particulars of this miserable account, suffice it to say, nothing is omitted. The sins of his childhood, the sins of his youth, the sins of his manhood, the sins of his old age, all are noted down ; his public and notorious sins, as well as those that were hidden from the eye of man; his sins of commission and of omission, all his profane and filthy conversation, every oath that he swore, every time that he took God's holy name in vain, every falsehood that he
told, every slander that he uttered against his peighbour, every injury and fraud that he was guilty of, his sins of drunkenness and intemperance, of uncleanness and lasciviousness, his anger, his malice, his covetousness, his love of the world; in short, all his sins as they lurked in his heart, or proceeded out of his lips, or appeared in his conduct, there they are detailed with the utmost exactness. Is there nothing in his favour? Perhaps he knew no better, he had no advantages of instruction. Yes, with all his sins, he kept up the form and show of religion, and therefore was to be found in the house of God, on the Lord's day, and he heard the word of God read and preached ; together with the rest of the congregation, he was warned, exhorted, encouraged to turn from the evil of his ways; the certain consequences of sin were laid before him, the blessed promises made to faith and repentance were urged upon him, but he turned a deaf ear, and neither the wrath nor the mercy of God, could awaken him from his security in sin.
Sometimes his minister, and such few friends as cared for his soul, would converse with him in private, and expostulate with him on his desperate and ruinous course of life; but it was of no avail, he was offended at their friendly inter
ference, he “disregarded all their counsel, he would none of their reproof.” Continually, it appears by the book of his life, did the Holy Spirit strive with him, putting good thoughts into his mind, exciting his fears, awakening his conscience, producing a sense of shame and disgust at his own vices, but he resisted all these godly motions, with fatal success; he grieved, and finally quenched the Holy Spirit, and provoked him to depart from him, and leave him to himself and to that evil one, whose suggestions he more willingly obeyed. Had he any other warnings, any visitations from the hand of God? Many a time he escaped from imminent danger, which he attributed to chance. He had more than one severe sickness, in which, thinking death at hand, (and being visited by a minister of religion, who tried to impress him with a sense of his dangerous condition) he made some good resolutions, but they are enumerated among his most condemning sins, for they all passed away like “the morning cloud, and the early dew,” and he returned to his sins “like a dog to his vomit, and as the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” Is there nothing better than this in the whole book ? Alas, there is not; his very virtues, as he thought them, and his good actions, are all put down as sins, for he did
nothing from faith in Christ, or out of a religious motive. Whenever he appeared in a better light, it was all that he might be seen of men, or that he might more easily obtain some worldly object. But is there nothing to set against all this? Did he never love and serve God? Did he never endeavour after the salvation of his soul? No, he lived without God in the world, he served the devil, he set his heart upon the world, and he sought nothing beyond his earthly and carnal gratification and prosperity. Is there any need to turn to that book which contains the word of Christ! He is self-condemned; he does not require to have the law read to him; all that he had heard in his lifetime is brought powerfully to his recollection now; he remembers that sinners were called on to repent and believe the gospel ; that purity of heart and holiness of life were demanded of all who would hope for heaven; that his own heart and life were a reproach to the christian name; that in fact he had denied Christ before men, and therefore, according to his word, must now expect to be denied before God and his holy angels. It is vain also to open the book of life, to see if this man's name is recorded there; there is a space where it might have been, but it is not there, all is closed, he has nothing to say in his defence. The tormentors only wait for the word of the Judge; the sentence is pronounced, and he is borne away into the “everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Have I described any one among you? Yes, my brethren, every one (if not in the exact features of his life and character, yet in the general tenor and outline, and in the certain consequences of unrepented sin,) every one, who is living in a careless worldly state, without being a decided servant and follower of Christ. Consider then, that these are not idle tales, that we relate to you, concerning the day of judgment, but most certain realities, in which you are most nearly interested ; and may
the terrors of the Lord have some effect in persuading you to turn from your sins, and to fly for safety and refuge to your Redeemer's cross!
For behold now, on the other hand, how secure and happy is he, who is protected by the “ shield of faith.” None of the “fiery darts of the wicked ” one can touch him, either in this world or in the next. He advances to the bar of judgment,-not with dismay in his heart, and trembling in his limbs, as the other did, but with a cheerful aspect and a firm step; for his happy spirit is but just returned from paradise, and it is already clothed with a glorious body. He has no anxiety, therefore, and feels no alarm for the issue of that great day, for he knows already that he is about to re