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traded with, and accounted for ::“ for God hathap"pointed a day in the which he will judge the worldin righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained, Whereof he hath given assurance to all men in that - he hath raised him from the dead.". When the Son of man cometh, it is as if he said, “ How is it that I hear thig of thee? Give an account of thy stewardship, fór thou mayest be no longer steward." He beckons us to his bar; and then, and there, begins
the most impartial, and the most important trial, that was ever heard before any court of judicature. The Judge being seated on the throne, the books are opened, your particular talents recited, and you by name called upon to give an account of them. Suppose in some such manner as this :. I
gave thee, says he, the talent of time, what hast thou done with it. Thou canst not pretend to say that thou wast hurried away almost as soon as thou wast born, for I lengthened out thy life to twenty, forty, sixty, even eighty years. Tell me now, How häst thou employed all this time?
I gave thee the Bible ; a precious talent, which thousands of thy fellow-creatures never heard of. Thou hadst it put into thy hands, and every encou'ragement thou couldst desire to enable thee to read and understand it: tell me now, What use didst thou make of the Bible? 111 T gave thee quiet Sabbaths, and a Gospel ministry. Thou hadst“ line upon line,” and “precept) upon precept. Scarce i a week of thy life, but thou hast been called upon to hear words whereby thou mightest be saved. Tell me, How hast thou improved thy Sabbath privileges ?.. 1. I gave thee convictions - Thou knowest how many
times my Spirit strove with thee; sometimes drawing thee with “the bands of a man and the cords of love ;" at other times flashing terror into thy conscience, and endeavouring to frighten thee out of thy sins. Tell me now, What became of these convictions ?
I gave thee health. Thou wast not confined to thy house and bed by some chronical distemper, as many were for years together: thou hadst scarce a day's interruption by sickness : tell me, How didst thou improve this great blessing of health? ; : 41,5
And so on, through all the numberless mercies of our lives. This will strike many of us speechless. But if he begins to " reprove” us, and “set our sins in order before us;"- if he comes to charge us home; one with drunkenness, another with profaneness, another with uncleanness, another with lying and dishonesty; and particular instances are quoted, with all their circumstances of heinous aggravation, so that it is impossible to deny it ;-when what was “ done in a corner shall be thus proclaimed upon the house top;" what we would not now for the world that our parents, or our minister, or the church, or the town, should know, shall be published before all the world ;- what will be the confusion and consternation, the horror and anguish of many at that day! And that day will as surely come, and your trial will be as surely called, as the sun will rise to-morrow, “ When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory; and before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he
sball set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.”—And this suggests another end of his coming: viz.
3. He is coming to fix us all, in heaven, or hell, for ever.is
If we are acquitted upon the trial just now mentioned ;--;f it appears that we were.5 created anew in Christ Jesus unto good works;" that we walked in s all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord,” if not-absolutely and perfectly blameless," yet without any allowed defect or deviation' ; --if it appears that we “ loved the Lord our God with all our heart, and soul, and mind, and strength;" and that “ the grace of God had taught” and enabled
us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in the world;". --then the Judge will smile upon us, and say: * Come, ye blessed of my Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you from before the foundation of the world.” And when the business of the day is over, we shall ascend with him to his father, and our Father; to his God and our God ; and sit down with him on his throne, and behold his glory, and partake of it too, with songs and everlasting joy upon our heads. We shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away for ever.
But-dreadful alternative!-but, if :the trial go against us; if it shall appear that we lived and died velenemies to God in our minds by wicked works ; that we could never be prevailed upon to cast away our transgressions wherein we had transgressed; that we minded""eartbly things” only; that we were * lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; and that we persisted to the last in an obstinate re
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fusal of Christ and his offered salvation then will the Judge, 'with an angry and half-averted facena say; "« Depart, yé cursed ! into everlasting fires prepared for the devil and his 'angels.". The dreadle ful sentence is no sooner pronounced, than we are seized, and bound hand and foot, and cast into thes bottomless pit, “ where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched," and the smoke of our tormenta ascendeth up for ever.
To one or other of these states, the Son of man,' when he cometh, will most assuredly consign over every individual of this assembly: it cannot be indifferent to you which. Indifferent! no; our) very flesh trembles for fear of God. Tell'us, What : must we do to be saved ? how shall we escape the damnation of hell? which way must we flee from! the wrath to come? Don't leave us in this dis 5 tress---go on---we are impatient to have you go on, and shew us,
II. What we must be, and do, in order to be ready : for the Son of Man's coming.'
1. Repent, and be converted.
I know the very term conversion is unfashionable, ? obsolete, and almost unintelligible to some. It would be received in many assemblies with a sneer, and they would angrily interrupt the preacher with an * Are v we unconverted also ?" I presume not to say whors are converted, and who are not; but, súrely, in this assembly I need not hesitate to say, that "except a" man be born of water and of the Spirit".--that is, o “except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
say ye, because my business is now more imme-1 diately with you, and because you are all“ by na
ture children of wrath, even as others :”for by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” In consequence of this, we are all transgressors from the womb, going, astray as soon as we are born, speaking lies. As we grow up, our wickedness becomes greater and more glaring, and God sees that every imagination of the thoughts of our heart is only evil. continually. And yet, though this is the very depraved and very unhappy case of all mankind, very few are sensible of it: so that the reproofs and advice addressed to the church of Laodicea are as proper now as when they were first given : " Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked : I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness, do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see.” (Rev. iii. 17, 18.) You may. “ go about to establish your own righteousness," and by an extraordinary zeal in external duties get a reputation among men, and fancy that you have somewhat whereof to boast before God; but unless you have true grace enlightening the mind and enriching the soul; unless you have been convinced of your natural poverty, guilt, and wretchedness; unless you have been " washed, and sanctified, and justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God;", unless you have been turned from “ dark, ness to light, and from the power of Satan unto