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which they are judged? Resisted it, opposed it, slandered it, burnt it, they may once have done, but confront it they must now, as God's unbroken and eternal word. How will the despisers of conscience meet its testimony before the final bar? How will it rise upon them like a strong man armed, and thrust its unerring finger at them, and charge them with their forgotten but now resuscitated sins? Hidden motives that lay down in the foundations of the soul, shameful thoughts and feelings that were screened from human eye in the secret chambers of the spirit, deeds of wickedness perpetrated in the darkness of night,-lo! they are now dragged forth into light and divulged before an assembled world. When God manifests Himself and pours the insufferable glory of His holiness, justice, and law upon the trembling sinner at the bar, His heart will melt within him like wax in the devouring flame. To hypocrites and false professors of religion is fulfilled that fearful word of Christ: “Many shall say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord; and then will I profess unto them, I never knew you.” Too late will they wake up to the consciousness of their fatal mistake. Standing with a lie in their right hands before the judgmentseat, what infinite disappointment, chagrin and horror seize their souls when they find that “there is a way to hell even from the gates of heaven."
Ye lascivious and unclean, malicious and uncharitable, ye Sabbath-breakers and defrauders, how will ye stand before the majesty of that fiery law which once broke in flashes from the thick darkness of Sinai's mount, but now blazes in consuming brightness and terrific wrath? And Oye rejecters of Christ, how can ye confront Him who sits as your Judge with the
print of the nails in His hands and feet and of the spear which cleft His heart in twain?
“Yonder sits my slighted Savior,
With the marks of dying love;
When I felt His Spirit move!" He offered you His Gospel; you refused it. He tendered you His hand; you thrust it from you. He shed His tears over you; you trampled them under feet and counted His most precious blood as an unholy thing. Salvation ! Salvation! How unspeakably important will you then deem it? How will paleness bespread your faces and trembling make your knees to smite together? What groans of anguish will rend your hearts? What tears of blood will you weep? And are they gone? The Sabbath, the Bible, the preacher, the mercy-seat, the Gospel,—are they all clean gone forever?. Yea, poor sinner, and Christ is gone, and the Spirit of grace is gone, and heaven is gone, and hope,
, that was wont to gild the fiercest storm with rays of light, hope that made even the thought of death, judgment and eternity tolerable, hope too is gone forever. And come is judgment, come is divine vengeance, come is the blackness of darkness and the second death. And is it come to this, that Jesus the merciful Saviour, who so loved sinners that He wept and bled for them, must now pronounce their doom? Must those lips that were wont to speak in blessing utter irrevocable curses on their souls? Alas for them! In tones of deepest thunder Jesus shall say, “Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.”
The sentences of destiny are pronounced; but look, what rising light is that which sheds a lurid glare over the vast assembly, throws a ruddy tint upon the blanched countenances of the doomed, and crimsons the face of the great white throne ? 'Tis the world on fire! The atmosphere ablaze wraps the earth in a winding-sheet of flame, immense volumes of smoke roll upward and dim the lights of heaven; the sun is turned into darkness, the moon into blood, and the stars are falling like untimely figs. From mountain top to mountain top the flames are leaping and playing, while a deluge of fire sweeps across the face of nature whelming cities, towns and villages in its sea-like swell and roll. Water which quences fire is itself devoured; oceans are licked up and dried to their beds like the water in the trench around Elijah's altar in the minor judgment-day of Carmel.
Alas! will there be no wailing voices to chant a fitting death hymn for a doomed and dying world? Will no kindred planet in the solar family, as it gazes upon the dread disaster, veil its lustre and clothe itself in mourning for a sister orb! Once it was a sanctuary of praise, a theatre of glory, a paradise of charms. The morning stars sang together its natal hymn, and all the sons of God shouted for joy, when, adorned by the hand of its Maker as the home of holiness, it took its co-ordinate place in the society of shining worlds, and helped to swell the doxology pealing in God's ear from the grand harmonies of the universe. But Sin entered, and Death followed after. They converted it into an Aceldama of blood and a Golgotha of bones, and at last dissolve its fair and beautiful proportions in a universal sea of flame. Pale now, and paler yet, wanes the light of the direful conflagration. Earth utters her
expiring groans in rumbling detonations from her deepest caverns; and reiterated thunders of mighty explosions seem the volleying discharges of God's artillery at the funeral of a world.
A few words more and I shall strain your attention no longer to this awful, yet delightful theme. The judicial process ends; the books are closed, the Judge rises, and the Supreme Court of the world adjourns. The separate destinies of human beings are now evolved. Collected around the person of their glorious Lord, the jubilant saints begin their triumphal march to the portals of their heavenly home. Onward they sweep in majestic array, hallelujahs are bursting from every lip, and as they come in view of the shining gates, hark! they sing: “Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in !” And, again, as in the ascension from Olivet of the victor of sin, death and hell, the challenge of angelic sentries is shouted from the battlements of heaven: “Who is this King of glory?" And then the response is rolled back in thunder from ten thousand times ten thousand voices: “The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle, the Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory. Lift up your heads, O ye gates, even lift them up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in !"
It is enough. They enter, they pass beneath the arches of triumph, they tread the golden streets of the New Jerusalem lined the while with dense ranks of angels who cheer the conquerors home. They seat their Saviour-King in glory on Mount Zion, and massing, massing, massing before the eternal throne they prostrate themselves in adoring worship of the Triune God and cry: “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God of hosts !”
Then rising and waving their palms of victory in the morning air of an endless day, with a sound like the noise of many waters, or the voice of mighty thunderings,—hark, they chant again: “Glory and honor and power, and might and dominion, and wisdom and thanksgiving and blessing be unto Him that sits upon the throne and unto the Lamb forever!” Redemption is completed, and the pauseless chorus of everlasting praise begins.
“Jerusalem, my happy home,
Name ever dear to me;
In joy and peace and Thee?
O mother, dear, Jerusalem,
My soul still pants for thee;
When I thy joys shall see.” Would that we could say this is all: this is the glorious destiny of an unsevered and unmutilated race! But from the left hand of the judgment-bar a funeral procession of lost human beings, in the train of devils, slowly and reluctantly wend their way to the frowning gates of hell. They defile through those gloomy portals over which despair reads the fatal legend: “They who enter here leave hope behind." The irrefragable bolts of the eternal jail are shot by penal justice behind them; and between them and a lost and irrecoverabl paradise yawn the terrific jaws of an uncrossable chasm--a gulf wide, deep, and dark as starless midnight, save as the profound abyss is gilded by some mocking rays that may straggle into it from a fardistant and inaccessible glory.