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15. Oh, that men were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end! Oh, that they would lay these things to heart, and “ take heed left at any time their hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and so that day come upon them unawares, for as a snare shall it come upon all them that dwell upon the face of the earth !" Oh, that they would “ watch and pray always, that they might escape those things which are coming upon the earth, and stand before the Son of Man, with joy and not with grief!”
2 THESS. I. 7, 8. “ The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven,
with his mighty angels, in faming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God,' and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”.
T being absolutely certain that our Lord
be revealed in all the glory of his majesty, and in all the terror of his justice; not properly in the character of a Saviour, but in that of a Fudge, to examine into the conduct of all mankind, and pass a final sentence upon them according to their works ;—it surely concerns all men to lay these things to heart, and to prepare for his appearing. And it equally concerns us not to defer this business, not only because what is always reasonable and fit to be done, cannot be done too soon ; but
because a delay may be of the most dangerous confequence, for at os such an hour as we think not, the Son of Man cometh” to call us hence by death, as well as to judge the world in righteoulness, and if, when he cometh, he find us unprepared, we are undone for ever.
2. And yet (dreadful to say !) almost all mankind live from day to day in entire forgetfulness or total neglect of this matter! While every thing else, however trifling and impertinent, is ftudiously and eagerly prosecuted, this is almost universally disregarded. The toy of business is dili. gently attended, the phantom of honour unweaviedly pursued, the enchantments of pleasure asfiduously courted, the dream of amusement folici. tously fought; in short, the things of time and fense, tho' transitory in their duration, uncertain in their stay, unsatisfactory in their nature, and even perplexing in their enjoyment; these engage the attention and engrofs tħe affections of high and low, young and old, rich and poor. In the mean time, our immortal interests, the favour of our God, and the eternal advantages and pleafures of religion, are generally buried in oblivion and nego lected. Unreasonable is this conduct indeed, but too certainly may it be laid to the charge of the generality of mankind, whofe whole behaviour clearly demonstrates that they are more intent upon providing for their momentary abode on earth, than their everlasting existence in heaven; and on securing the favour and applause of their fellow-worms, than the good-will and approbation of their final Judge! But in this respect, let not us follow the multitude to do evil, to offend our God and throw away our own souls! Nay rather, let us take care to be those persons whom the Lord will acquit and reward at his coming, that we may make our appearance at his bar with joy and not with grief,
3. But who are those persons ? and what charačter do they bear? To know this we have only to enquire whom the Lord Jesus will condemn ac his coming, for the character of these is exactly. the reverse of that of the former. Now this is described in the words of our text, and that very fully and clearly, altho' at the same time with great brevity. The Apoftle tells us that Chrift, when he is revealed, will take vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." Having then already confidered the certainty and Manner of our Lord's Second Coming, I proceed, as was proposed,
Secondly, To enquire into the Character of those who shall be condemned at his coming to mifery and perdition. The Apostle informs us,
ift. They know not God. And,
And, ift. They know not God, 1. There is hardly any subject within the whole compass of religion, concerning which people in general are fo grossly mistaken as the knowledge of God. All men profess to know God, tho' alas! the generality by unholy tempers and wicked works, contradict that profeflion, and prove themselves to be entire strangers to him. If a man have but heard or read a little about the Author of his being, if he do but believe his existence and perfections, he forthwith 'concludes that he knows God, and is very much offended if you prefume to call his knowledge of him in question? tho' at the fame time, this pretended acquaintance with his Maker, has no happy influence upon his spirit and behaviour, but they are just the same, which one might suppose they would be, if he were a mere Atheist in the world.