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If it should be objected, that there are few stripes and many; and that it will be more tolerable for one place than another; we might answer, that the penalty of God's law is the just punishment; and eating the forbidden tree deserved death, the penalty implied that every offence should get its due. We might also add that, while some sins, and especially those of Gospel hearers, are more heinous than others, the penalty includes punishment proportioned to the crime with all its aggravations, Awfully, therefore, must these suffer at last who have despised Christ, and rejected the counsel of God against their own souls.
There are many threatenings in God's word. Some express his indignation against sin in general, and others against particular transgressions. Of the first we have an example, Rom. vi. 23, “ The wages of sin is death." The third commandment is an instance of the last, when God declares that he will not hold him guiltless who taketh his name in vain. of this last too we have a striking example, Deut. xxvii. 15–26. There we have in every verse a curse denounced against a particular sin specified in it. All the threatenings are expressly designed to open up the terror of the Lord. They.ought to be carefully studied, and viewed as loud monitors of our danger. About them all it should never be forgotten, that God is under infinite obligation from his justice, holiness, and faithfulness, fully to execute them. If he is and must be true to his promises, he will be equally true to his threatenings. “ He keepeth truth for ever."
4 The terror of the Lord is partly realized in his awful judgments inflicted on his enemies in this world. Some of these are recorded in his word, declaring at once what he has done, and warning what he would do in like cases. As the Lord is the same, the history of nations favoured with his word proves that his procedure is nearly the same in similar cases.
The severest judgments, however, only partly realize the wrath and terror of the Lord. For many wise reasons God does not pour out all his wrath upon transgressors in this world, and some escape without visible token of Divine vengeance.
any But, as Governor of the world, he sets up some as beacons; and reserves the rest for the day of retribution. As the way to heaven may be known by the footsteps of the flock, so God has here and there set up a person, guilty of this and that sin, as a monument of his wrath, as it were, with this motto inscribed on it, « Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men: Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.” At a very early period a just and holy God began to set up these beacons; and he will continue to do it till the end of the world. “ Thus God set a mark on Cain, and he wandered a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth.” A whole world, eight persons excepted, were drowned in the flood. Sodom was destroyed by fire and brimstone from heaven. Pharaoh and his host were drowned in the Red Sea. The wilderness was strewed with the carcases of unbelieving Israelites. On account of their sins, the land spewed
out the wicked Canaanites till they were utterly exterminated. Persisting in idolatry, and refusing to be reclaimed, the Jews were carried captive to Babylon, as an evidence of the Lord's anger on account of their sin. Long after, Jerusalem was sacked by the Romans, their city and temple were destroyed, and their nation cast off, because they had rejected the chief corner-stone. Though the spirit of the Gospel be mild, the Lord is always the same, and sin is always equally odious in his sight. The New Testament dispensation was introduced with some remarkable instances of divine vengeance on account of sin, which will be standing beacons to the end of time. Great love prevailed among the disciples of Christ, and they had all things in common. While the honest-hearted considered this as a precious opportunity of evidencing their love to Christ, and doing good to the household of faith, Ananias and Sapphira improved it as a fair opportunity of getting a name to live. Having sold their possession, they kept back part of the price; but asserted they gave the whole. Filled with the Holy Ghost, Peter discovered their wretched conduct, and made them a public example. Having proved, to the conviction of all around, that they lied to the Holy Ghost, and detected their hypocrisy, he reprobated their conduct, and pronounced their doom, and they fell down and gave up the ghost. Herod too, employing his power to persecute the Church, was suddenly cut off in the height of his prosperity. On a certain occasion, the multitude shouted, it is the voice of a god, not of a man. This impious
This impious adulation, when
adopted by one who professed the knowledge of the true God, brought him to an awful end. He was made a sudden and striking example of divine displeasure. The avenging angel of the Lord smote him with an irresistible, though invisible, stroke-he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost. These judgments are truly awful, and a part of the terror of the Lord; but, alas, they are only the small begin. nings of the sorrow of sinners!
5. The terror of the Lord will be fully inflicted in the other world. Then only does the sinner get his due. That period the apostle has chiefly in his eye. Here every sinner has a multitude of mercies. There he has none. Then only does the wrath of the Lamb begin to burn. Now is the accepted time, and the period of God's patience.
To describe the terror of the Lord after death exceeds the wisdom and eloquence of angels. God has said much concerning it in his word. We ought to search the Scriptures, that we may be furnished with such knowledge of future wrath as will warn us to fly from it.
The terror of the Lord in the other world may be divided into different parts, to enable us to form some suitable conceptions of it. *
There is the terror of the tribunal and judgment. The great Judge and every offender must meet. The trump will sound, the call will be given, Awake, ye dead, and come to judgment; and willing or unwilling they must all obey! No wonder that guilty sinners shriek, and try to hide themselves in the dens, and in the rocks of the mountains, and cry to the mountains
and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand !” The Judge comes in his glory; and every sinner must appear before him, and give an account of his every deed, word, and thought, where not one was good! Awful beyond expression must his situation be! In the entrance of the solemn scene, the splendour of the Judge will overwhelm him, and an awakened conscience will anticipate the sentence! Besides, multitudes of God's enemies have already been long in the place of punishment, and come out of it (if they come out, or rather do not bring it along with them) not to abate their pain; for they would prefer the hottest place in hell to a sight of the Judge on his tribunal, and a reckoning with him! The Judge is seated the books are opened--the criminal is summonedand all that he has done is brought under careful review, and judged with strict justice and the greatest impartiality! Well may we ask, “ Where then shall the wicked and ungodly appear?” May not the Judge be deceived ? In such a vast crowd of important business, may not some things escape his notice ? Amidst the amazing multitude, which no finite power can number, may not some individual pass unnoticed? The omniscience of the Judge renders these things impossible, and scarcely leaves room-for supposition itself. Might not then a single person or two creep over to his right hand! Indeed they dare not! A single glance of his eye would strike terror to their hearts !