תמונות בעמוד

cording to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, and honour, and immortality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile; for there is no respect of persons with God.” (Rom. ii. 6—11.)

May the Holy Spirit guide and bless our meditations, while we consider some particulars relating to these two different classes of men, who will hereafter see the Lord Jesus Christ coming in the clouds of heaven!

I. First :-every soul of man that doeth evil shall see him. Now, of the number of evil-doers, there are some, it has been well said, who conceal the evil which they do; some who seek to excuse it; and others who boast of it. Let us consider in what way these men reason, and feel, and act, in the present life; and in what condition they will hereafter appear at the bar of God.

1. There are some men who attempt to conceal their sins. They sin in secret ; and they suppose

that they sin in safety. They envelope their evil deeds in darkness, retirement, or mystery, and they say, Who seeth us? Some sins,-perhaps from shame, perhaps from fear,—they would hide from all the world ; and if this be accomplished, they are satisfied. Others they would withdraw from the observation of some person in particular, -- from a parent, perhaps, or a friend, or a minister of Christ ; and if these men never hear of them, they are contented and at rest. Others, again, they cover with a cloke, or dress up in false colours; and if their pretences are believed, and the evil is concealed, they are perfectly at ease.

And it is greatly to be feared that such poor satisfactions are far from being rare. The task that has been described is easy ; the attempt is frequently successful. Sometimes, indeed, even in this world, sin does betray itself, in spite of all efforts to conceal it; but often, on the other hand, it is as easy to hide sin, and to keep it hid, as to commit it: and hence, in a thousand cases, the laws of God have been broken, and the transgression has never become known; the sin has been hid, and buried, and forgotten, and the sinner has never been reproached with it.

But let us ask, with reference to such hidden transgressions of God's law, what is the character of that solemn day in which the Son of Man shall be revealed in the clouds of heaven? It is a day that “ will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts,” (1 Cor. iv. 5) ;-a day that shall bring a fiat to the recorded will of the Most High, “ there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed ; neither hid that shall not be known,” (Luke xii. 2.) It is “the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ,” (Rom. ii. 16.) Behold then the secret sinner before the judgment-seat of Christ ! His sins that have been hid, and buried, and forgotten, rise up again, and meet him face to face ; his hidden things of darkness are brought forth to the light of day; and the reproach which he had escaped on earth is multiplied a thousandfold in the presence of men and angels. And who can describe the confusion and terror which must attend such exposure at the bar of God? How must this secret sinner,—this sinner who had exulted in his security, or triumphed in his dexterity, and who had presumptuously attempted to wrap himself, like a god, in clouds and darkness,-how must he stand dismayed and confounded in the presence of his Judge, the Searcher of all hearts! To see his retirements flung open ; to see the mysteries of his iniquity

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unravelled; to see the evil counsels of his heart,his deep-laid designs, his latent treacheries, his hatred, or malice, or envy, or pride, or whatever evil passions had harboured in his soul;—to see these things snatched from their hiding-places, and held up in his own sight, and in the sight of his Judge, and of the assembled universe,what an end, and what a consummation, of all his secrecy, hypocrisy, and guile! How will he be covered with his “ own confusion, as with a mantle,” (Ps. cix. 29.) Hear,” says the Lord by the prophet Isaiah, “ ye that are far off, what I have done; and ye that are near, acknowledge my might. The sinners in Zion are afraid ; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire ? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings ?” (Isa. xxxiii. 13, 14.)

And it would seem that to these evil-doers, in particular, we may apply those words of the

prophet Daniel,—some shall awake “ to shame and everlasting contempt,” (Dan. xii. 2.) There is one man, for instance, who was always talking of honesty; and he is stripped of his cloke, and his hands are full of theft. There is another who was loud in his professions of good-will and charity towards all men; and when the window of his breast is thrown open, mankind behold selfishness, envy, and hatred, inscribed


his heart, while the eyes of Him that sitteth upon the throne discover cruelty, robbery, and murder ! There is another man, perhaps, who boasted of his love toward God, and of his zeal and readiness in the service of his Lord; and it


be that many a sincere but humble servant of the Most High had sighed for a portion of that man's zeal, and had almost envied the fervour of his love; but in the great day of discovery, the mask that had been worn falls off, and the pretended saint is seen to have been a hypocrite or a Judas ! Dear brethren, if there be among you any such secret sinner, any one who hides his sins to save his character, let him mark the force of that expression, everlasting contempt. There is no such contempt upon earth. Here a man may be highly esteemed by some, while he is despised by others. His character may be lost, and he may be branded with infamy in one society or country ; but let him go into other society, or into another country, and there his disgrace may be unheeded or unknown; or even let him remain on the scene of his dishonour, and it is possible that, in process of time, the stain may be worn away, or men may become less sensible

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