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from the chaff: "He will throughly purge His floor." No delusive hopes entertained by the ungodly, no pretences of self-justification, no prayers and tears when the day of mercy is gone, no promises of repentance, can arrest the righteous decisions of the Almighty Judge. Unresisting, although in despair, must each of them then take his dismal place among those, who are eternally exiled from God; angels and fallen spirits, the hosts of the redeemed and the sinner's own science, all being ready to execute upon him that sentence, which his habits have merited, and which he did not choose to avert.
In that hour, no one will be mistaken, and no one overlooked. The omniscient Redeemer knows the person and the history of each, even to his most transient thought; and therefore the separation of believers and unbelievers will be then complete. Among all the myriads of the triumphant Church, there will not be found one unconverted person, who has crept in unperceived, nor will one regenerated soul be missing; while, on the other hand, the ranks of the reprobate must be also full. Each person, through all the universe, will then be classed with those whom he resembles,-the good with the good, the evil with the evil; and in this congenial fellowship, the good will find the perfection of their bliss, the evil an aggravation of their wretchedness.
This feature in the doom of the lost is marked by our Lord in these words: "In the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into My barn." | While all those who have been as wheat will be together in glory, those whose irreligious course has made them like weeds on the earth, must be "bound in bundles" for the fire. A fearful addition to the woe of each, to find himself shut up with the
Still, were this the whole doom of the ungodly, it would not seem so terrible to them since, with an entire alienation from the habits and tastes of the godly now, they cannot conceive that a separation from them would make them miserable then, and, shrinking as they do from all communion with their Maker, they would be gladto be shut out from His pre
But far more than this separation awaits them. As the wheat is to be preserved because valuable, and the chaff burned because absolutely of no use and worthless, so those who have been prepared by grace to serve God for ever, will be admitted into glory, and those who are incapacitated by their habits and dispositions for this service, and who worthless through their whole life must be made for ever worthless by death, will be sentenced to the fire, their only use being to be committed to that flame. Those who love Him must glorify Him by their happiness; but those who love Him not, must glorify Him by their wretchedness. The happiness of believers will show the universe, that it is good to serve and love Him; and the misery of unbelievers will proclaim for ever the criminality and folly of alienation from Him. "He will gather
His wheat into the garner; but He will mises, rejected His mercy, desecrated His burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." | day, refused to read the revelation of His
A glorious prospect is here set before all those, who through faith in Christ are led to glorify their Creator through their lives. As wheat, when severed from the chaff, is gathered into the granary, they will be admitted into heaven. Each of them, the moment that he dies, is with God in a state of bliss, and ere long his body will be restored at the resurrection; and then, made glorious in body and in soul, he will be for ever with the Redeemer. Thenceforth no temptation can assail his purity, no danger can threaten his safety, and no sorrow mingle with his joy. In that bright and glorious region, where our intellectual faculties will probably receive a development at present unimaginable, where our stores of knowledge will be gathered from the illimitable universe, where affection glows with a fervour that is not of earth and the friendship of immortal beings is perfect, each of us, if we are the true followers of Christ, will be placed under the care of Almighty God, to enjoy His parental love, to exult in His boundless beneficence, and to triumph in His inexhaustible perfections. We shall be admitted there, to adore Him and to serve Him as we ought, to reflect in our own characters His supreme glory, to exercise every faculty in His service, to employ all our affections to give Him honour, to be made kings and priests, dwelling in eternal communion with Him, and radiant with His reflected glory.
But while this is the happiness, which is promised to each real believer, what must be the end of the unbeliever? The Creator must derive glory from all His creatures; and He will glorify each of His perfections, when He raises believers in Christ to the enjoyment of purity and bliss; but what glory can be given by those, who have denied His attributes, despised His authority, trampled on His laws, made light of His pro
will, never heartily asked His blessing, disliked those of their fellow-creatures who were more godly than themselves, and lived to gratify their own fancies, as though God had not existed? He must, by permitting them to be supremely miserable, make all His rational creatures to see that He abhors their ungodliness, and that He will not endure it. "He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
These awful words describe a punishment, which is irresistible, intolerable and eternal. For chaff, unable to extinguish the fire or to endure it, must be consumed. It will be vain for sinners at the judgment to argue against that sentence, which, being pronounced by Infinite Justice, will be approved by saints and angels. Entreaties will then be vain ; and it will be as impossible for a sinner to resist its execution, as for a vile weed to resist the swollen waters of a torrent, or for the spider's web to repel the thunderbolt. At the same time, it will be intolerable; for to be like chaff in the fire, is to be as little able to bear the inflicted wrath, as chaff is unable to endure the flame.
Now, irreligious persons may think, that if they must be punished hereafter, they will bear their punishment with fortitude; but they think so only because it seems distant, and they do not know its magnitude. How can they bear that, which our Lord has described thus: "Whosoever shall fall on this stone, shall be broken; but on whomsover it shall fall, it will grind him to powder ?" It will be as easy for a serpent to sustain itself, when mangled and entirely crushed beneath a fallen mountain, as for sinners to bear the wrath of the Almighty. In His hands they must be helpless. When compelled to bear His infinite vengeance, the bravest and the most timid will be on an absolute level. In the intense misery
which it must inflict, the courage which | to ascertain what we are in His sight. never quailed at danger, and the fortitude Are we wheat," or "chaff?" Have which calamities only invigorated, must we lived to glorify God in the exercise of become like the feebleness of a child. all suitable dispositions towards Him, in The stoutest heart will melt in it, like wax the diligent cultivation of every virtue, in the fire; the mightiest, overpowered and in doing good to our fellow-creatures? by it, will fall, like an insect in the midst Have we obtained repeated victories over of a furnace; and under it, the lost soul ourselves, and are we endeavouring to will sink down to the unmitigated despair fulfil the whole law of God? How many of eternal death. persons have we led, by our example, instruction and counsel, to become pious? How many unbelievers have we guided to the truth? Having failed in all these particulars, have we thankfully received the propitiation made by Christ; and re
Oh! it were
But chaff is consumed. happy for the poor sinner, then in the hands of the righteous Avenger, if he too could cease to be. But the immortal soul, being unable to die, its agony must last, like itself, for ever. Listen to the de-nouncing all false hopes, do we depend clared doom of the ungodly: "These on His merit for our justification, on His shall go away into everlasting punish- Spirit for our sanctification? and comment;""They shall be punished with mitting ourselves to His guidance and goeverlasting destruction;" "The smoke vernment, have we begun to glorify God? of their torment ascendeth up for ever and If not, there is nothing before us but that ever." The terms which describe the "consuming fire." A few more years, duration of their future punishment, are or days, and we must feel that irresistias strong as any which describe the ble, intolerable, and eternal misery. Oh! future happiness of the saved; indeed my brethren, do not live even under the language itself furnishes no words to ex- possibility of coming to such an end. All press eternity, stronger than those which present joy will but aggravate its bitterare employed on this subject in fact. ness; and therefore do not neglect salAnd when we recollect, that the sinnervation, because you are not unhappy now. Our great duty is to believe. When the jailer, convinced of sin and trembling in his fear, asked, "What must I do to be saved?"—the apostle answered, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." And that is the only answer to be given to any convinced sinner. Believe, and you will be forgiven, accepted, and blessed for ever. Christ came to "save the lost," by pleading His merit for their pardon, and by sending His Spirit to make them wise, holy, obedient, and loving, to their heavenly Father; to believe is to trust that He will do all this for you, to place yourself in His hands, and with humility and earnestness asking for this salvation, to expect it from His power and love. Believe thus, and you will be saved.
has been offending an infinite God, that he has been sinning against infinite obligations, and that his corruption will be as eternal as his existence, we may see too plainly that his punishment must be eternal.
Oh! dreadful thought! that any one of you, my dear hearers, now so blest by Providence, so filled with joy, and perhaps so deservedly dear to many, should in a few years experience even more than I have thus feebly described!
Examine, therefore, brethren, with resolution to discover the truth, whatever it may be, whether you are not in danger of that accursed end. As men cannot deceive God, or alter His judgment of them by any false judgment which they may pass upon themselves, let us resolve
Perhaps you still feel a doubt, whether faith and prayer will save you. It is written" He that believeth on the Son, hath everlasting life:" "By Him all that believe are justified from all things:" "A man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law :" "Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." Yet still you doubt. What do you think, then, will save you? Will more holiness and more love to God secure your pardon? No; if you had a thousand years to live on earth, and each of those years should be spent in holy love to God, you would not have such an offering to present to Him, as each penitent has, the first moment that he truly believes. Believers present to God the infinite righteousness of Christ; and that is worthy to be accepted, beyond any miserable works of our own. Present that now in faith, and God will accept you on that account; and being "justified by faith without the deeds of the law," you may "have peace with God," and then begin to glorify Him, as becomes His rational creature and His ransomed child.
universe, that honour will atone for all
And to you, my brethren, who have believed, and through faith have lived to glorify God in some measure, this text may furnish powerful reasons, why you should "not be weary in well-doing." What though you may now for a little while befuse the knowledge of Christ, with the esteemed enthusiastic and extravagant by a few of your fellow-creatures, simply because you believe in Christ and obey Him! Do not be angry with those, who must so soon be like chaff in the furnace; but deeply pitying them, seek to " overcome evil with good," and by persevering charity lead them, if you can, to "flee from the wrath to come. "" Should this be impossible, then you must leave them to God; and for yourselves, remember, that "yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry." He shall own you before the assembled
blessings that attend it, throughout the whole earth; and use all your time, your faculties, your talents for the glory of God. So may He bless you; and while the selfish and the frivolous, the worldly and the irreligious, must soon be like chaff in the unquenchable flame, may you be gathered into the heavenly garner, to serve your Redeemer with adoring gratitude, and to be for ever safe under His care and love.
"LYING WONDERS." (Extracted from Ancient Christianity, No. 7. By 188AC TAYLOR, Esq.)
AFTER showing that nineteen out of twenty of all the legends of the Nicene and Romish Churches must be rejected by every sound mind with contempt and abhorrence, as exhibiting in their style and circumstances the indubitable characteristics of fraud and folly, the author remarks that there
again, and notwithstanding the general incredulity of the age, and the prevalence of science, (nay, as a reaction from these very causes,) a bold and astounding show of supernatural power may ere long waken the careless frivolity of the times. That some such reaction from the unbelief are, at least in the Romish Church, some instances, of the age was in store for us, as a trial,' which, as to the exterior facts, must not be dis has long been my own expectation; and missed, if the principles of historical evidence are I could almost venture to predict (improto be respected; and which baffle every endeavour to explain them on any known or imaginable phy-bable as the occurrence may now seemsical principles. He then proceeds thus:
or may seem to some) that when the sifting of the historical evidence on which High Church principles were too easily reared, has satisfied all reasonable men of their unsoundness, and when those maintaining these arrogant and 'fond' doctrines, though they will not confess it, shall feel themselves upborne only by a bubble, and that the ordinary methods of argument are no longer available to them
"The attempt to escape from the embarassment we may feel, on such occasions, by doing violence to the admitted rules of historical logic, is of most dangerous consequence always; and, like all temporizing measures, tends only to aggravate the evil we would avoid. To refuse to listen to testimony which we should unquestionably admit as sufficient -if it did not carry a consequence which they, in high contempt of natural reawe dislike, is at once illogical, and in a son,' and of profane proof-or some of sense, immoral; for it is a duty to yield them, will gather up all their strength to reasonable proof. It is on this very into one desperate leap toward the level ground that we are accustomed to blame of the supernatural, and thence challenge those who reject the Christian evidences. the unconditional submission of mankind, "This resistance of sufficient testi- by new wonders,' which they shall have mony, in certain cases having a miracuThis very lous aspect, springs, at the bottom, from an assumption too hastily adoptednamely, that whatever is preternatural must also be divine; or in other words, that the purely natural course of physical causes is never disturbed but by the finger of God. I feel compelled to believe the contrary.
to work.' power circuit was run by the adherents of the amiable and highly-gifted, but unhappy Edward Irving. Shall the followers of Oxford divines, a year or two hence, enact similar delusions?
"Inasmuch as we every day see the divinely established order of nature (in the moral system)—and which, when it "But it may then be asked-If events takes its course, secures the happiness of which in this sense are preternatural, may all-rudely broken in upon, and to some occur, and occur in connexion with reli- extent turned out of its path, by the folly gious doctrines or practices, what is our and wickedness of man, to whose free resource, or how are we to defend our-agency this power of disturbance is perselves against Satanic delusions? This very difficulty is supposed, and has been provided for in the Scriptures, and a rule given to which we are bound to adhere. Pretensions, more or less startling or perplexing, have arrested the notice of religious persons in every age; and so in our own; and it may be conjectured as not altogether improbable, that yet
mitted, so we must not assume it to be incredible, that partial disturbances of the course of nature, or what may seem to be such, may come within the permitted liberty of apostate invisible orders. The actual movements of a dark audacity of this sort are not obscurely indicated in the Scriptures; and many facts connected with the history of polytheistic worship