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muft bid an eterna! farewell to every fenfual delight, enter into a world of fpirits, and appear in the presence of God. But,

3. Both these are only preparatory to the day of judg ment, "For we must all appear before the judgment-feat "of Chrift." Then his people fhall lift up their heads with joy, for the day of their redemption has arrived. But with what inexpreffible confufion fhall the wicked then be covered? In vain fhall they call upon the mountains and hills to cover them from the wrath of the Lamb. Now they affront his perfon, oppofe his reign, resist his fpirit, and fcorn his fervants. But where fhall they appear, and what will they do, when the " Lord Jefus fhall "be revealed from heaven in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the "gofpel?"


This leads me more particularly to confider the import of the inference in the text, "If the righteous fcarcely be faved, where fhall the ungodly and the finner appear?" And I think it plainly carries in it three things, that from the holiness and feverity of God, and the righteous fcarcely being faved, we may learn the certainty, the greatness, and the juftice of the punishment of impenitent finners. 1. The certainty of it. That as the threatenings are awful, the execution fhall be inevitable. Men are exceedingly prone, from partiality to themselves, and from the fuggeftions of the father of lies, to difbelieve the threatenings as well as the promises of God. This was a great part of the temptation to the commiffion of the first fin, Gen. iii. 4. "And the ferpent faid unto the woman, "ye fhall not furely die." And the credit that was given to it at that time, has been continued by finners in every fubfequent age. They are ready to prefume upon the general goodnefs of God, and to flatter themselves that his threatenings fhall be either wholly remitted or greatly abated. We find that fome men of corrupt minds have even fet themselves to reafon against the rigor of the fcripture denunciations against fin, and the eternal punishment of finners.

But how fatal the delufion? The truth of God is an infeparable bar to this deceitful expectation. If. iii. 19, 11. "Say ye to the righteous, that it fhall be well with "him; for they fhall eat the fruit of their doings, Woe "unto the wicked! it fhall be ill with him; for the re"ward of his hands fhall be given him." Pf. 1. 21, 22, "These things haft thou done, and I kept filence: thou thoughteft that I was altogether fuch an one as thyfelf; "but I will reprove thee, and fet them in order before "thine eyes. Now confider this, ye that forget God, left "I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver." Nay, not only is this afferted in the word of God, but the whole procedure of divine Providence ferves to confirm it. If the falvation of the righteous is with difficulty obtained; if their redemption is fo dearly purchased; if Christ must bleed before they can be forgiven; how shall the ungodly be able to stand in the judgment! If even the fervants of God must be expofed to fo many fufferings in the day of trial, what must be the condition of his enemies in the day of retribution? If even the fins of the holy must be vifited, how fhall the crimes of the impenitent pass unpunifhed? This is plainly one part of the truth contained in this passage; and whoever will deliberately confider the uniform tenor of the holy fcriptures, and compare it with the difpenfations of divine Providence, will have reason to tremble at the dreadful state of incorrigible sinners, and to say with the apostle Paul, Heb. xii. 25. " See "that ye refuse not him that fpeaketh. For if they ef"caped not who refufed him that spake on earth, much "more fhall not we escape, if we turn away from him "that fpeaketh from heaven."

2. The expreffion in the text implies the greatnefs of the punishment of finners. It is indeed, my brethren, every where reprefented in fcripture in fuch terms, as ferve to convey to us the most dreadful apprehenfions of its weight, as well as the deepest conviction of its certainty. It is reprefented as the blackness of darkness forever, and as a worm that fhall never die. But the image most commonly used is fire, which is the most terrible to sense, of all the elements we have any knowledge of. It is a lake

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that burns with fire and brimstone for evermore. out entering at all into the queftion, how much is literal, and how much figurative in these images, the juft conclufion from them is, that those who fhall be the final monuments of divine vengeance, fhall be in a ftate forrowful and comfortless as darkness, painful as a gnawing worm, and dreadful as fire.

This is alfo manifeftly founded on the reflection in the text, "if the righteous are fcarcely faved:" if they suffer fo much at present by divine permiffion; if they fuffer fo much by the perfecution of the ungodly, what a load of vengeance awaits the wicked in the day of reckoning, when he will recompenfe tribulation to the troublers of his chofen? If there is fo much holy feverity neceffary on account of fin even in the prefent life, which is the time of divine forbearance, even towards the children of God, who are the objects of his everlasting love, what fhall be the state of those who have out-finned the season of his grace, and forfeited all title to his mercy, on whom he intends at once to glorify his juftice, and to magnify his power. Hear the words of the Holy Ghoft 2 Theff. i. 9. "Who "fhall be punished with everlasting deftruction from the prefence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." 3. The expreffion in the text, implies the Juftice of the punishment of finners. This is a circumftance always to be taken in, for at the laft day he fhall judge the world in righteousness by that man, whom he hath ordained. He fhall judge the world in righteousness and the people with his truth. This is a circumftance not only for the illustration of the glory of God, but for the manifestation of the present truth. If the punishment of finners were not juft, it could not be great; if it were not known and felt by themselves to be juft, it would not be intolerable.


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For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.


CLEAR view of divine truth is of the utmost möment, both to the holinefs and comfort of the children of God. They are fanctified by the truth. It is no lefs neceffary, by manifeftation of the truth, to turn finners from the error of their ways; for the word of God is quick and powerful. While we keep these things in view, we ought allo to remember, that the truths of God are injured, not only by oppofition, but perversion. We are affured that those who are unlearned and unstable, wreft this good word of God to their own deftruction. If this is the cafe, it follows naturally, that as the bait is most dangerous, when the hook is moft effectually concealed; fo falfhood will be moft apt to infinuate itself, when it wears the habit, and has the greatest resemblance to real truth.

The reafon of my using this introduction to what shall be offered on the text now read, is, that it is one of the paffages most frequently, and moft artfully perverted, or most unhappily mifapplied. It contains a molt important and falutary truth, if taken in its proper meaning, and according to the analogy of faith. But as it is wrefted and VOL. II. Oo

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