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and event. And we further contend that this application of the end of the world, and of this division of the righteous and the wicked, is abundantly strengthened by the words of the Saviour, recorded in the 16th of Mat., “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his father, with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." The same ideas are expressed in St. Mark and St. Luke.

In further confirmation of this exposition and application of the end of the world, the hearer is referred to the following words of St. Paul to the Hebrews; “For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world; but now once in the end of the world, hath he appeared, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” 1 Cor. x. 11. “Now all these things, (meaning the destructions of the children of Isreal in the wilderness, for their transgressions) happened unto them for ensamples; and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

As for the common use which is made of those passages which speak of the end of the world, let it be distinctly understood that it is altogether a mistake, as there is not one instance in the whole New Testament where the end of the world signifies the dissolution of the present order and laws of material nature.

By the end of the world we may understand the end of the Jewish age, and by the severing of the wicked from among the just, we learn the distinction which was made between the enemies and friends of the gospel and the name of Christ, in the day when Jerusalem and the Jews were visited with the desolating judgments, which the Saviour, in a number of instances, denounced upon them.

It now remains that we endeavour to understand

what is meant, in our text, by the furnace of fire, into which it is said the wicked are cast.

This furnace of fire is generally believed to be a state of endless torment in the future existence, where the wicked will be torinented as long as God shall exist. But, my friends, have we any other evidence that this is the true meaning of this scripture, than barely tradition ? What reason can there be rendered why this kind of language should mean something different in the New Testament, from what it does in the prophecies of the old ? Let us be candid enough on this important subject to look into the sc'iptures of the prophets for the use of this kind of language. See Duet. iv. 20. Moses in giving special directions to the people against idolatry, turns their attention to the Lord, who had been their deliverer, and says ; " But the Lord hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even ont of Egypt.” You will notice here, that the affliction and oppression which the Israelites suffered in Egypt, was signified by a furnace. Isaiah xxxi. 9., The Lord's “fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem." xlviii. 10., “Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver ; I have

sen thee the furnace of affliction.” Ezekiel xxii. 18—22., “Son of man, the house of Israel is to me become dross; all they are brass, and tin, and iron, and lead, in the midst of the furnace; they are even the dress of silver. Therefore thus saith the Lord God, because ye are all become dross, behold, therefore, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. As they gather silver, and brass, and iron, and lead, and tin, into the midst of the furnace, to blow the fire upon it, to melt it ; so will I gather you in mine anger and in my fury, and I will leave you there, and melt you. Yes, I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst thereof. As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof;

and ye shall know that I the Lord have poured out my fury upon you."

Whoever will compare this prophecy with the history of the siege and destruction of Jerusalem will see how well prophecy and events agree.

The hearer is requested to notice that in the language of prophecy, and the scriptures of the Old Testament, great afflictions are represented by the similitude of a furnace. This being understood, why should we use this language differently, when we read it in the New Testament, from what we understand it in the old? Egypt and Jerusalem are denominated a furnace in the passages which we have noticed. Why then must the furnace mentioned in our text be in a future state? Both Egypt and Jerusalem are in this world; and it does not occur to recollection, that any other place is figuratively called a furnace in the whole of the scriptures.

Respecting a furnace, it should be remembered that it is never prepared by our heavenly Father but for the purpose of refining. The tyrant of Egypt did not afilict Israel for the benefit of the afflicted, but “God does not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.' The King of Babylon once prepared a furnace to burn those to death, who would not worship the image which he had set up, and it seems the common doctrine on the subject of our labours this evening, has prepared a furnace of eternal torment for no better motives than the furnace on the plains of Dura was prepared.

Though we have not time to be particular on all parts of our subject, there is one question which may be proper to consider, before we close. As it seems by our text, that the wicked, who were to be cast into this furnace, were such as had come into the possession of the gospel, this passage does not so naturally apply to the destruction of the Jews, who, generally speaking, rejected even the name of Christ.

Our reply to this we obtain from the words of the Saviour, in Matt. xxiv., where he informs his disciples, that if an evil servant “shall say in his heart, my Lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken"; the Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites and unbelievers ; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” In the preceding chapter, Jesus called the religious people of the Jews hypocrites and a generation of vipers, and denounced on them the judgments written in their law : and here he informed his disciples, that if those who should profess him, should depart from a watchful life and indulge in that which was forbidden, they would have their portion with those hypocrites and unbelievers. The subject now appears clear. The Saviour never indicated that a mere profession of his name would secure men from the judgments which were coming on the land ; but such were blessed who heard the word of God and kept it.

We may now conclude, applying our subject to ourselves, as St. Paul has taught us by example, in words which have been noticed. « Now all these things happened unto them for our ensamples ; and they are written for our admonition.” In all ages of the world God has rewarded men according to their works, he continues to do so, and he will never fail in his faithfulness.

But my friends, we have the consolation to believe that our heavenly Father's mercy extends infinitely beyond all his threatenings, and that though“ weeping may endure for a night, yet joy cometh in the morning."

SERMON X.

THE CHURCH OF CHRIST.

DELIVERED

IN BOSTON ON THE SECOND SABBATH IN MARCH, 1820.

EPHESIANS V. 25, 26, 27.

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave

himself for it ; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word ; that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing ; but that it should be holy, and withoui blemish."

A virtuous, fixed, and steady conjugal affection is the same to the sacred family circle, as the sun to a garden of fruits and flowers; for as the genial warmth of the sun quickens and calls forth to life every latent principle of vegetation, presenting the garden in robes of enameled beauty, teeming with ripe and luxuriant fruit, so does the gentle power of conjugal love warm, quicken, and cause to increase all the domestic virtues which are never barren of those fruits which render life and its various cares a blessing. But where this indispensable virtue is wanting, the expectation of sweet content and domestic felicity is as sure to meet with disappointment, as an expectation to find Arabian spices on Gelds of eternal ice.

The virtuous affection which the apostle here recommends, and which is known to be of such incalculable interest to man in society, is designed to lead our minds to the contemplation of the love of Christ, a subject infinitely greater. To this subject the attention of the hearer is most earnestly invited.

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