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a thing is to be, either at death, or some time, they know not when, before it. But they have no great uneasiness for the want of it, and no great hunger or thirst after it. They cannot, until they know themselves better, until they repent in the sense above described, until God unveils the inbred monster's face, and shows them the real state of their souls. Then only, when they feel the burden, will they groan for deliverance from it. Then, and not till then, will they cry out, in the agony of their soul,
"Break off the yoke of inbred sin,
3. We may learn from hence, secondly, That a deep conviction of our Demerit, after we are accepted, (which, in one sense, may be termed guilt,) is absolutely necessary, in order to our seeing the true value of the atoning blood; in order to our feeling that we need this as much, after we are justified, as ever we did before. Without this conviction we cannot but account the blood of the covenant as a common thing, something of which we have not now any great need, seeing all our past sins are blotted out. Yea, but if both our hearts and lives are thus unclean, there is a kind of guilt which we are contracting every moment, and which, of consequence, would every moment expose us to fresh condemnation, but that
"He ever lives above,
It is this Repentance, and the Faith intimately connected with it, which are expressed in those strong lines,
"I sin in every breath I draw,
On earth, as angels do above:
4. We may observe, thirdly, a deep conviction of our utter Helplessness, of our total inability to retain any thing we have received, much more to deliver ourselves from the world of iniquity remaining both in our hearts and lives, teaches us truly to live upon Christ by faith, not only as our Priest, but a* our King. Hereby wc are brought to" magnify him," indeed; to "give him all the glory of his grace ; " to make him n whole Christ, an entire Saviour; and truly to set the crown upon his head." These excellent words, as they have frequently been used, have little or no meaning; but they are fulfilled in a strong and deep sense, when we thus, as it were, go out of ourselves, in order to be swallowed up in him; when we sink into nothing, that He may be All in All. Then, his almighty Grace having abolished "every high thing which exalted itself against him," every temper, and thought, and word, and work, " is brought to the obedience of Christ."
THE GREAT ASSIZE.
Preached at the Assizes held before tbe Honourable Sir Edward Cllre, Knight, one of the Judges of his Majesty's Court of Common Pleas, in St. Paul's Church, Bedford, on Friday, March 10, 1758 ; published at the request of William Cole, Esq., High Sheriff of the County, and others.
"We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." Rom. xiv. 10.
1. How many circumstances concur to raise the awfulness of the present solemnity!—The general Concourse of people of every age, sex, rank, and condition of life, willingly or unwillingly gathered together, not only from the neighbouring, but from distant parts; Criminals, speedily to be brought forth, and having no way to escape; Officers, waiting in their various posts, to execute the orders which shall be given; and the Representative of our gracious Sovereign, whom we so highly reverence and honour. The occasion likewise of this assembly, adds not a little to the solemnity of it: To hear and determine causes of every kind, some of which are of the most important nature; on which depends no less than life or death, death that uncovers the face of eternity! It was, doubtless, in order to increase the serious sense of these things, and not in the minds of the vulgar only, that the wisdom of our forefathers did not disdain to appoint even several minute circumstances of this solemnity. For these" also, by means of the eye or ear, may more deeply affect the heart: and when viewed in this light, trumpets, staves, apparel, are no longer trifling or insignificant, but subservient, in their kind and degree, to the most valuable ends of society.
be shaken. There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars;" those fixed, as well as those that move round them. "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come." (Joel ii. 31.) "The stars shall withdraw their shining," yea, and "fall from heaven," (Rev. vi. 13,) being thrown out of their orbits. And then shall be heard the universal shout, from all the companies of heaven, followed by the "voice of the archangel," proclaiming the approach of the Son of God and Man, "and the trumpet of God," sounding an alarm to all that sleep in the dust of the earth. (1 Thess. iv. 16.) In consequence of this, all the graves shall open, and the bodies of men arise. The sea also shall give up the dead which are therein, (Rev. xx. 13,) and every one shall rise with "his own body;" his own in substance, although so changed in its properties, as we cannot now conceive. "For this corruptible will [then] put on incorruption, and this mortal put on immortality." (1 Cor. xv. 53.) Yea, "death and hades," the invisible world, shall "deliverup the dead that are in them." (Rev. xx. 13.) So that all who ever lived and died, since God created man, shall be raised incorruptible and immortal.
2. At the same time, "the Son of Man shall send forth his angels" over all the earth; and they shall gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." And the Lord himself shall come with clouds, in his own glory, and the glory of his Father, with ten thousand of his saints, even myriads of angels, and shall sit upon the throne of his glory. "And before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them one from another, and shall set the sheep [the good] on his right hand, and the goats [the wicked] upon the left." (Matt. xxv. 33.) Concerning this general assembly it is, that the Beloved Disciple speaks thus: "1 saw the dead, [all that had been dead,] small and great, stand before God. And the books were opened," [a figurative expression, plainly referring to the manner of proceeding among men,] and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." (Rev. xx. 12.)
II. These are the chief Circumstances which are recorded In the Oracles of God, as preceding the General Judgment. We are, Secondly, to consider the Judgment itself, so far as it hath pleased God to reveal it.