« הקודםהמשך »
the living world-every heart is laid open every secret thing brought to light-and the sentence pronounced --- happiness, or woe-happiness unspeakable, woe intolerable-happiness eternal, woe that never ends.
My brethren, even we, who find, in the deductions of reason, in the voice of conscience, and in the word of God, irresistible evidence of a judgment to come, are apt to consider the descriptions, which display its terrors, as the exaggerated colouring of fancy. But the Holy One will not deceive. And his word exhibits this day of the second coming of the Lord with a magnificent and tremendous scenery, which no human imagination could depict, and which no human conception can fully realise.
This day is at hand.
At hand; when the shortness of the time which is to elapse before its coming is compared with the eternity which succeeds it.
But more especially at hand, in respect to every individual, whom death, at a period when most distant, not remote; and possibly near, even now, will seal up to the judgment of this great day.
abide its coming ? Not the impenitent and the ungodly
not those who habitually violate the laws, and neglect the worship and the service of that Being, who made, and who is finally to judge them-not those who are habitually conversant with “ the works of
darkness," and in them place their delight- not those who practise those arts of cunning and dishonesty, which will not bear the light of day--not those who spend the time, allotted them for securing the blessings of the day of salvation, in “rioting and drunkenness, in chambering and wantonness, in strife and envying”-not those who, in the lawful pursuit of the good things of this life, exceed the limits which reason and religion prescribe, and make the world their idol; devoting to it their thoughts, their affections, their talents, and their time—not those who make their worldly goods subservient only to “ fulfilling the lusts of the flesh,” the gratification of which is their unvarying object, and their supreme delight-not those who, disregarding the quickening and purifying power of the Gospel “ day," content themselves with the mere shew of piety, not“ putting on the Lord Jesus Christ,” by a living faith united to him, imbibing his spirit, conformed to his image, following his example, and devoted in heart and mind to his honour and glory.
Alas!These cannot abide the day of his coming. They are the adversaries against whom he hath denounced vengeance--the enemies whom he will cut asunder, and whose portion he will assign in utter darkness--the nominal professors of his name, whom he will expel from the throne of his glory ---Depart from me, I know you not.
Ungodly man-walking according to the course
of this world, fulfilling only the lusts of the flesh and of thy corrupt mind; the day is at hand, when, for all these things, God will bring thee unto judgment.
Sinner-awakened to a sense of the importance of the things that belong to thy eternal peace, and yet reluctant to forsake the ways of sin - the day is at hand, which, if it find thee in thy present state of indecision, unconverted and unholy, will be the day of wrath to thee. It is at hand. It will come in the summons of death : and, in the summons of death, it may come to-morrow-to-day.
Christian in profession, but not in heart and lifethe day is at hand, when the righteous Judge of the world will exclude from his kingdom those who call him Lord, Lord; while they do not the things which he commands.
Christian, living a life of faith in the Son of God, governed and sanctified by his Spirit, in unity with his church, the mystical body of him the Divine Head, walking in all his commandments and ordinances blameless, adorning in all things the doctrine of God thy Saviour—the day is at hand which is to terminate thy sorrows and to consummate thy joys; which is to proclaim thy virtues before men and angels, and to reward them with the bliss of eternity. Blessed day! Wait in humble hope and holy patience for its coming. It is the day of thy Lord—the day which will unite thee to him for ever, in the glories of his kingdom.
THE UNCERTAINTY OF THE TIME OF
[SECOND SUNDAY IN ADVENT.)
LUKE xii. 46.
The Lord of that servant will come in a day that he looketh
not for him, and in an hour when he is not aware.
The second coming of the Saviour in power and great glory to judge the world, is the subject proposed by the Church to our serious meditation at this holy season. On the festival of the nativity, we are called to behold, as an infant of days, that Son of the Eternal, whose goings forth have been of old, even from everlasting. The Son of the Highest, in whom dwells the glory of the Godhead, becomes the babe of Bethlehem ; and the only begotten and well-beloved of the Father, is born into the world, the humble son of Mary, the child of poverty and sorrow.
If this scene of deep humiliation were not contrasted with some event of power and majesty, our sense of the divine dignity and glory of Christ might be weakened, and we might be tempted to think lightly of the blessings of that salvation, which he proclaims to us.
To guard against this indifference and neglect of the mercy and grace of this suffering Saviour, the Church very properly directs our view from the deep humiliation of his first advent, to the glory and power of his second advent to judge the world.
Brethren, what the day of the coming of our Lord to judgment will be to the whole world, the event of death is to every individual. And, in reference to the period of this event, the declaration concerning the wicked servant, in the parable from which my text is taken, is applicable. " The Lord will come in a day when we look not for him, and in an hour when we are not aware."
Death and judgment, however distinct and distant, may still, in relation to us, be considered as the same event. There is no repentance, no labour, no device in the grave. As the soul departs from the body, so will it appear at the bar of God to receive its final doom. In regard to every one of us, the period is uncertain when our Lord will summon us to our dread account; and the uncertainty of the precise time of this event, increases the apprehension which the event in itself is calculated to excite.
To know that we must leave the world to which