תמונות בעמוד

such belief, because the gospel definitively proclaims it. If, however, we believe it only in part, we may as well reject the whole, because the possibility of a portion being false of that which is given to us as a revelation direct from God, and as being consequently in every particular equally true, must also suppose the possibility of none of it being true. To question therefore, the validity of one part is to question the authority of the whole, since no reasonable mind can deny that if that portion of God's revealed word which it rejects be false, that also which it receives may, with equal probability, not be true. So that under such circumstances we could be safe in believing nothing where truth and falsehood may alike prevail, and where we have no surer guide than our mere uninspired reason to discriminate betwixt the one and the other.

Besides, it is perfectly clear that, if we are to believe only those parts of the gospel which our caprices or our interests may direct, some persons may accept for truth what others reject as falsehood. There would be no authentic standard by which clashing sentiments could be reconciled. And thus, from the contrarieties of opinion every where existing among men upon all matters with which reason only has to do, the whole of the Christian revelation, in detached portions, might be received as true, and the

whole of it, in like manner, be received as false. Thus the glorious gospel of Christ would present to us qualities utterly repugnant and impossible. It would at the same time be made to exhibit a perfect system of truth and a perfect system of falsehood. We see, therefore, the absurdity of a partial belief; and if we believe the whole gospel, the certainty of a future judgment is at once confirmed to us. And with respect to the importance of an implicit faith in what the holy evangelists have “ written for our learning,” let us remember the words of the Apostle : “but though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” If therefore we receive what the Apostle preached, we must believe that “we shall all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” Thus much then for the positive certainty of a future judgment.

Nor is the negative certainty, if I may so call it, less convincing. For if we have any grounds for imagining that there will be no judgment to come, we have equally strong grounds for imagining that there will be no salvation, since they both stand upon precisely the same evidence. If this evidence, therefore, be not sufficiently powerful to convince us of the one, neither can

Have we any

it be to convince us of the other. stronger assurance of salvation than we have of a future judgment ? Have we any stronger assurance of our redemption by Christ than of a future judgment ? Have we stronger confirmation of any of the future designs of Providence with respect to ourselves than of a future judgment? Have we even stronger assurance of the resurrection of the body, of its re-union with the soul, of the life everlasting, than of a future judgment ? If there be truth in Christ, we shall be judged by him, for he has declared it. Besides, upon what are any of our hopes of salvation built, but upon the promises which lie has made to us ? The doctrines, therefore, of a judgment to come and the salvation of man must stand or fall together.

We shall now proceed to consider the motives we have to prepare for it. The Apostle to the Hebrews assures us that “ without holiness no man shall see the Lord ;” and he elsewhere declares that “ being now made free from sin, and having become the servants of God, we have our fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” The condition then is holiness, the end everlasting life. If the condition, be broken, the end is also obviated. Now let us a moment reflect how trifling, by comparison, the condition ; how great, in proportion, the end. What have we to do to comply with the terms of that covenant of grace which the blessed Jesus has entered into with his creatures in order to restore to them the privileges which they lost in Adam? We are to love God with all our hearts, and our neighbour as ourselves; on these two commands “ hang all the law and the prophets.” If we love God we shall obey him ; and where we disobey him we shall repent. We shall at least do our best to please him. We shall never willingly or wantonly continue in sin ; and if we love our neighbour as ourselves, we shall endeavour to do our duty by him.

Such is in the main to act up to the conditions of the Christian covenant, Now what is the end ?—what follows from an earnest observance of these conditions ?- nothing less than everlasting life;" a communion with Christ in bliss unutterable for ever. Shall we say, then, that the condition bears any proportion to the end ? Do we not all feel the hollowness of human joys ? —do we not experience them to be fugitive ?do we not see that they too generally tempt us from the path of duty ?—do we not perceive that the end of those which are forbidden is destruction? And shall we not always find, where they are made the exclusive objects of our pursuit, that they issue in "gall and bitterness of soul?” What sufficient motive, therefore, do they hold out to us to pursue them? What recompense do we reap from the toil, besides tasting a sweet that almost invariably leaves a bitter behind it? But what are the joys which in the world of spirits shall be unfolded to us? those that can never satiate, never abate ; and which shall be accompanied by the consciousness that they are for eternity.

Great God! what are the blessings at thy right hand! Who can imagine the glories of the celestial paradise! Where no cloud shall ever overshadow their splendors, no pang of misery intrude to mar the harmony of its sacred festivity! There “ the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest." There, when they who have been separated here shall meet as kindred and beatified creatures, they shall have the transporting reflection that their restoration will be where “death can have no more dominion over them;" where kindred spirits of every country shall re-unite; where the storm and the tempest shall be overpast and universal love prevail, whilst the immeasurable heights of heaven resound with everlasting hallelujahs of thanksgiving and joy. How keenly does the mind feel its disappointment when it attempts to illustrate by words its faint conceptions of the celestial glory! where “ there shall be no night, neither light of the sun,” to those that dwell in the bosom of their God, "for the Lord giveth them light, and they shall reign for ever and ever."

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