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and even while his body is upon earth, exposed to the vicissitudes of time and the operations of decay, his spirit already soars on eagles' wings to the bosom of that God where it shall finally repose in joyful immortality. This blissful anticipation of the heavenly inheritance is the result of prayer daily offered with a grateful and glowing piety, and wafted to the divine ear upon the incense of a holy affection. Without sincerity, it is worse than mockery. When it is sincere, the angels “at God's right hand for evermore” welcome with joy the sacred aspiration. “Now therefore, o our God, hear the prayers of thy servants and their supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary, for the Lord's sake.”
THE CERTAINTY OF A FUTURE JUDGMENT.
REVELATIONS, CHAP. XXII. Ver. 12.
And behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
There is a necessary connexion betwixt the Saviour's coming upon earth in the flesh, and his finally coming to judgment. The motive of his first advent was to prepare mankind for the second, and this he has so effectually done as to leave us without excuse, when he shall summon us to judgment, if we are not in a condition to “enter into his joy.” When Christ was in the world he did all that could be done, consistent with man's free agency, to “turn the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, and from the ways of Satan unto God." He became “ a light to lighten the Gentiles,” and to “ as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." He made known,
in his own person, and by the Holy Spirit which he so fully communicated to the Apostles immediately after his ascension into heaven, that merciful revelation which had been before, though indistinctly, exhibited under dim shadows and unintelligible symbols, and condescended to “justify the ways of God to man.” He proved the certainty of his mission, by accomplishing the prophesies in which his advent was foretold, for he was born of a virgin, as it had been predicted of him seven hundred years before. He proved his omnipotence by his miracles, wherein he showed that all nature was “put in subjection under him.” A voice from heaven confirmed his union with the Godhead, and the very devils acknowledged his supremacy, for “they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus thou son of God, art thou come hither to torment us before the time?He promised “redemption unto his people;" he died and fulfilled the promise. He has shown us how we are to obtain salvation through his blood, having made that all-sufficient atonement for the first transgression, which has freed us from its curse. We are now therefore without excuse if we “ fall off from grace given.” For he says of those who rejected his gospel, “if I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin.”
We shall now proceed, in immediate reference to the text, to consider, first, the certainty of a
future judgment. Secondly, the motives which we have to prepare for it. And, lastly, the dangers of delaying this preparation.
With respect to the certainty of a future judgment, it is established upon evidence fully as strong as any doctrine of the Christian religion. We are not left to collect this awful truth as a mere inference arising from the discourses of our blessed Saviour or the writings of the evangelists. It does not come to us incidentally as a secondary matter upon which no stress of importance is laid. It is not left with us only as a presumptive part of that divine scheme of providence which the great Disposer of events has, in his infinite wisdom, thought fit to establish with respect to his intelligent creatures. But it is expressly and unequivocally declared by our blessed Lord himself. His words are, “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory ; and before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth hi sheep from the goats.” He here goes on, with considerable minuteness, to describe the process of the final judgment, distinctly showing it to terminate in punishment and reward.
If we believe the gospel, all doubt as to the certainty of a universal inquisition of quick and dead, at the last day, at once vanishes before