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rather than to thoughts, or at least to actions as the evi. dences of our thoughts. But at the tribunal of God, every thing which affected the divine government will be brought forward, the sins against God, as well as sins against our fellow-creatures; the sins of omission, as well as of commission; the sins of thought and desire, as well as those of purpose and of act. There is not any one action of our lives that will not then be weighed in the balance of the sanctuary: there is not a word of our lips, which will not then bear 'its proper stamp of piety, or transgression: there is not so much as a thought of our hearts, that will not receive its just mark of approbation or displeasure. We are expressly told, that “God in that day will judge the secrets of men; that he will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the heart;" and that he will then reward every man according to what he hath done; whether it be good or evil;"> " to them, who by patient con. tinuance in well-doing have sought for glory and honour and immortality, he will give eternal life: but to them that were contentious, and
obeyed not the truth, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, even upon every soul of man that doeth evil.” At that day, we are informed, “ The Judge will come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory;” and he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, even “with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God.” “ Then shall the sea give up the dead which were in it, and death and hell deliver up the dead that were in them, and all, small and great, shall stand before God.” “ The antient of days, whose garment is white as snow, and the hair of whose head is like pure wool, will sit upon his fiery throne; and while a fiery stream issues from before him, and ten thousand times ten thousand minister unto him, he will open the books;" the book of life,' wherein the names of his people are written; the book of his remembrance, wherein the most secret imaginations of men's hearts were registered; the book of conscience too,9 which, however illegible now through our ignorance and partiality, will be found to correspond with his records in every particular; and lastly, the book of his law, ac. cording to which he will pass his judgment. Ah! who can reflect on the solemnities of that day, and not be filled with awe? Who amongst us can endure so strict a scrutiny?“ Who can abide the day of his coming?” We may easily conceive the feelings of a prisoner, who, being to be tried for a capital offence, hears the trumpet announce the coming of his judge. Let us endeavour to realize the thought, and to apply it to our own case. We are sure that such a criminal would lose no time in preparing for his defence. He would engage his counsel, summon his witnesses, and employ every art in order to : obtain a favourable sentence. Let us go and do likewise: our “time is short; the Judge is at the door,” and if we be unprepared to meet him, woe be unto us; our sentence will be awful indeed: the very terms, in which it will be expressed, are already told us; “ Depart ye · cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his
n Dan. vii. 9, 10.
o Rev. xx. 12.
angels."" In one respect indeed we differ widely from such a criminal: if he escape, it must be through want of evidence to convict him: whereas the only way for us to escape is, to confess our guilt, and plead the atonement offered for us by the Son of God.
This leads me to my last observation, namely, THAT A NEGLECT OF CHRIST WILL BE FOUND IN THAT DAY TO HAVE BEEN THE MOST FATAL OF ALL OFFENCES. Sins of any other kind, how heinous soever they may have been, yea, though they may have brought us to an ignominious end, may yet be pardoned of our God, provided we turn to him with unteigned sorrow and contrition, and rely on the atonement which Christ has offered. The scriptures are extremely full and strong upon this subject. They declare that "all who believe, shall be justified from all things;" that “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin;" that “though our sins be as scarlet they shall be as wool, though they be red like crimson they shall be white as snow.” So undoubted is this truth, and so suited to the condition of fallen man,
Rom. ii. 12.
• Matt. xxv. 41.
that it has been often and well proclaimed in our very courts of justice, proclaimed, I say, to criminals condemned, at the very time of condemnation, and that too, by those very persons who pronounced the sentence of death against them. Yes, thanks be to God, there are judges, even in this degenerate age, who are not ashamed to unite the balm of Christian counsel with the severity of a penal sentence.
But let us suppose that we have neither violated the laws of man, nor, in any flagrant instances, the laws of God; shall we therefore be acquitted at God's Tribunal? Shall we need none to intreat for us, none to plead our cause in that day? May we safely neglect the sacrifice of Christ, because we have abstained from gross iniquities? Let us not deceive ourselves with any such dangerous imagination: “ We all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” “every mouth therefore must be stopped, and all the world must become guilty before God.” None can stand upon the footing of his own righteousness. Having transgressed the law, we are cursed by the law; as it is written, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them. We must therefore all, without exception, seek deliverance in him," who hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us. God has declared that “there is salvation in no other; that there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved, but the name of Jesus Christ:" if we will not “enter by that door," we exclude ourselves from even a possibility of obtaining mercy to all eternity.
I know it will be urged in opposition to this, that, we have been free from all gross offences, and have been punctual in the observance of many civil and religious duties. Be it so: but how would such a plea sound in a court of justice? Let a criminal, accused of rebellion against an earthly monarch, plead his allegiance to the King of kings; let him say, “ I regarded his sacrifice, I trusted in the atonement, I sought an interest in Christ.” Would his plea be valid? Would he not be told inmediately, that these things he ought indeed to have done, and not to have left the other undone? Thus then we
answer those who go about to establish their own righteousness instead of submitting to the righteousness of God; " It was well that you abstained from gross sin, and fulfilled many duties; but you ought also to have sought, redemption through the blood of Christ; you ought to have “fled for refuge to the hope set before because you have neglected him, you have no part or lot in his salvation.” What can be plainer than our Lord's own assertions, “No man cometh to the Father but by me;" and, “ If I wash thee not, thou hast no part in me?” or what can be more awful than that interrogation of St. Peter, “What shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”. We may venture to put the question to the conscience of every considerate man; If you sin against God in neglecting and despising his dear Son, what atonement will you offer to him? If you make light of the sacrifice offered upon Calvary, where will you find another sacrifice for sin? If you disregard the mediation and intercession of Christ, where will you find another advocate? If you sin thus against God, who shall intreat for you?
Here then the subject wears a very serious and solemn aspect. We all are hastening to "the judgment-seat of Christ, where we must give account of ourselves to God.” There, high and low, rich and poor, judges and criminals, must all appear to receive their sentence of condemnation or acquittal; there will be no respect of persons with God: even the criminal who died by the hand of the executioner, provided that his disgraceful circumstances led him to reflection, and made him implore mercy through the blood of Jesus, shall stand a monument of redeeming gracę: while his superiors in morality, yea, even the judge who condemned him, if they died in impenitence and unbelief, shall hear the sentence of condemnation pronounced against them, and be doomed to that "second death in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone."
Let us then enquire diligently into the state of our souls: let us “judge ourselves that we be not judged of the Lord.” Let us examine what regard we have paid, and are yet daily paying, to the sacrifice of Christ? let us enquire whether“ he be all cur salvation and all our desire?” And let us remember, that if we would have him to intreat for us in that day, we must now intreat him for ourselves, “ desiring earnestly to be found in him, not having our own righteousness, but the righteousness of God which is by him."
CCCXC. THE NECESSITY OF HAVING THE SPIRIT
Rom. viii. 9. If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he
is none of his.
MAN at his first creation was made in the divine image; God communed with him as a friend, and dwelt in him as a temple: but this harmony was not of long continuance: man sinned; and God in righteous judgment departed from him--Not willing however that his apostate creatures should irrecoverably perish, God sent his Son to maké atonement for their sins; and his Spirit to renew their natures, that so they might be restored to his favour, and rendered meet for the inheritance they had forfeited-It is of this Spirit that the apostle speaks in the text, and declares that we must have him dwelling in us if we would belong to Christ-We might under: stand the Spirit as referring to the disposition of Christ; but that the context evidently confines its import to that blessed Spirit, who “raised up Christ from the dead, and will in due time raise up us also'-He is called “the Spirit of God,” and “the Spirit of Christ,” because Christ is God, and the Spirit acts as his deputy-We propose to shew I. That we may have the Spirit
By “having the Spirit” we do not mean, that we are to have those common operations of the Spirit, which the most ungodly men both experience and resist;" (for then the Apostle's assertion would be frivolous in the extreme) nor do we mean those miraculous powers, which were
a Gen. vi. 3. Isaiah Ixüi. 10.