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The imagery of the scene is fublime and striking. "I faw a great white throne." "A throne," royal ftate, eftablished empire, acknowledged fway, the right and power of judgment united, univerfal, everlasting, uncontrollable dominion. A "great" throne. The feat of kings is raifed a little above the people; that of Solomon had fix fteps; ivory and gold lent their combined aid to enrich and adorn it. But what is the glory of Solomon? His throne, once the feat of wisdom, to whofe oracular voice foreign potentates and their nations liftened with admiration and respect, was at length dishonoured, degraded, defiled by the impurities of idolatry, and by the imprudence and apoftacy of him who fat upon it, and thus deprived of one of its firmeft fupporters, it fhook under him, and he at length dropped from it, a monument of the nothingnefs and vanity of human grandeur, wealth and wifdom. Ten of its twelve props flipt from beneath it, through the imprudence of his fon; and, after a few convulfive ftruggles, it funk at length into the duft, a poor, precarious, fubordinate throne, fubject to the lordly state of an Affyrian prince. What is the glory of angels that excel in ftrength? Delegated power, derived fplendour, imparted wifdom, dignity under authority. But, behold on yonder radiant throne, one "made fo much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they." "He maketh his angels fpirits, and his minifters a flame of fire. But unto the Son he faith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; a fceptre of righteousness is the fceptre of thy kingdom.' "Sit on my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footftool." Behold "the Lord fitting upon a throne, high and lifted up," furrounded with the feraphim, crying continually unto one another, and faying, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hofts, the whole earth is full of his goodness."
"A great white throne," the emblem of purity, truth and righteoufnefs; itself unfullied, and purify
ing all that approach it. Righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne; mercy and truth go before his face." "Shall not the Judge of the whole earth do right?" With the pureft intention, with the highest degree of human fagacity, with the most extenfive knowledge of the law, and the moft determined refolution faithfully to apply it, earthly tribunals are not fecure from error: craft may overreach wisdom; hypocrify may disguise the truth, or cover falfehood; the ftream of juftice may be diverted or forced out of its channel, and the pellucid tide undergo a temporary pollution. The princes of this world must see with the eyes and hear with the ears of other men; the worthy and the wife may, of course, be kept at a distance, while demerit, wickednefs and folly bafk in the funshine of royal favour. But yonder radiant throne applies an infallible teft to all that approach it: hypocrify drops the mafk, the windings of deceit and cunning ftand expofed, the brazen, impofing forehead of impudence is covered with a blush, and the ftony, unfeeling, unrelenting heart is dif folved into water-modeft worth rears its drooping head, confcious integrity expands its glowing bofom, and purity feeks the fource from which it sprang.
Obferve the difference; mark the changes which thefe undergo, as they draw nigh; fee the hardened finner, cafed in fevenfold adamant, advancing with intrepid ftep, ftriving to make affurance pafs for innocence. But, lo, the rays of that white throne have fallen upon him; the fpots begin to appear, they grow blacker and blacker, he gradually becomes abominable and more abominable; odious to the beholder, a terror to himself, he fhrinks from inquiry, darknefs is diffused around from the brightnefs of that light; he calls upon the mountains to fall upon him, and upon the hills to cover him,
Not fo the humble follower of the Lamb. His countenance becomes more and more ferene, his confidence increafes, every blemish difappears, "the
glory of the Lord is risen upon him," his luftre brightens as he proceeds, at length he is united to, he is loft in the fountain of joy.
"I faw him that fat on it." "No man hath feen God at any time." Remove that cloud, that vapour, and I am unable ftedfaftly to behold the face of the fun; how much more, the face of Him who arrays the fun in all his effulgence! If he raife his voice a little louder in the whirlwind, or in the thunder, I am overwhelmed and loft.
Ah! it is confcious guilt that appals me, that clothes the face of God with terror, that roars in the tempeft, that raises the voice of the mighty thunder: but, "reconciled unto God," "juftified by faith," I "have peace with God," I fee as I am feen, I know as I am known; "beholding with open face as in a glass the glory of the Lord," lo, the believer is gradually "changed into the fame image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." ly begotten who is in the bofom of the Father, he hath declared him."
Did the pomp and wisdom of an earthly potentate dazzle and delight the eyes of a fovereign like himfelf, and constrain one inured to fcenes of magnificence, to cry out, "It was a true report that I heard in mine own land,-howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had feen it and behold the half was not told me?" What then will it be to fee, with the beloved difciple, "a great white throne, and him who fits upon it," with the myriads of the heavenly hoft bending before it, rejoicing without trembling.
Grant me, gracious God, now to fee thee in these thy lower works, in the wonders of thy providence, in the exceeding riches of thy grace, in the face of thy Son Chrift Jefus, and thereby prepare me for feeing thee as thou art, and for being made like unto thee! Place me with thy fervant Mofes upon a rock, put me in a clift of the rock, cover me with thy hand
while thou paffeft by, remove thy hand, that I may trace thy prefence in the bleflings thou haft left behind thee, that I may be ftrengthened to meet the direct rays of thy countenance, when thou comest to "be glorified in thy faints, and admired in all them that believe." "From whofe face the earth and the heaven fled away, and there was found no place for them."
"All these things fhall be diffolved. The heavens fhall pass away with great noife, and the elements fhall melt with fervent heat, the earth alfo, and the works that are therein fhall be burnt up." "They fhall perish, but thou fhalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vefture fhalt thou change them, and they fhall be changed. But thou art the fame." God "fpake, and it was done; he gave commandment, and it ftood faft." "At his word earth and heaven rofe out of chaos," and lo, he looks them into nothing again; they fhrink from his prefence, they vanish at his nod, they cannot abide the brightness of his coming. They have fulfilled their day, they have accomplished the purpose of him who made them, they have contributed their aid toward the rearing of a more glorious fabric, and having become unneceffa ry, that moment disappear.
The local and tranfient effects of an earthquake, a hurricane, an inundation, are ftriking, impreffive and permanent: proud cities levelled to the earth, or fwallowed up of it; fertile plains overwhelmed with a briny or a fiery tide; the glory of man fought, but not to be found. But what is this to the diffolution of a globe? Surely the balance must be destroyed, a blank in nature take place, and wild uproar enfue. No, the vifion reprefents a whole fyftem paffing away; that fun and all the furrounding planets, and innu merable other "planets circling other funs," loft, yet not miffed; fled" as the bafelefs fabric of avifion,' and not a wreck left behind; and yet no fchifm, no deficiency in the body; for the promife of the Eternal
immediately repairs the lofs; he makes "all things new;" "new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteoufnefs.'
With the heavens and the earth, the little, fading interefts and diftinctions of the world vanifh alfo. Before his face all is reduced to one level, all is compofed and tranquillized; every one reads his doom in the face of the fovereign Judge. The heavens and earth have fled away, but the rational beings which peopled them remain; they are of a more enduring fubftance, they partake of the nature of God himfelf, they are immortal, eternal like him. "I faw," fays John, "the dead fmall and great fland before God."
When time was, these were distinctive characters. There was the infant of days, and the hoary head, the inhabitant of the palace, and of the cottage, the learned and the illiterate, the flave and his mafter. But thefe marks of difference are forever abolished. Indeed they were long before abolished. Before that great and notable day of the Lord came, before the judgment was fet, or the books were opened, difeafe and death and the grave had levelled all the diftinctions of this world; had reduced the fceptred monarch to the condition of the peafant, annulled the difference between the flave and his mafter. The decifive hour is now come which is forever to determine who is henceforth to be accounted fmall, and who great; the hour that fhall bring to light hidden worth, and thruft prefumptuous pride into outer darknefs; that shall exalt the good to the throne of God, and plunge the wicked into the depths of hell.
The dead fmall and great. Even the awful diftinction between the dead and the living fhall then be done away. They were dead, but are alive again; "for all live to him." Behold the mouldering earth, before it be forever diffolved, reftoring to exiftence every particle of itself which once entered into the compofition of a human being, which was once animated with the breath of life. Behold the fpacious