Images de page
PDF
ePub

sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell [that is, the grave and the whole region of the departed, ]-delivered up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." Rev. xx. 12–15.

[ocr errors]

1. In conclusion, as an unbelieving heart is one of the greatest curses which can come upon a man, so a real belief in the last judgment is a great grace from God. For promoting zeal and piety, the saintly Basil has well said concerning the future judgment: “Blessed is that soul, which day and night hath no other care than how, in the great day, when every creature shall stand around the Judge to give an account of their works, she shall be able to relate her life. For whosoever continually places that day and that hour before his eyes, and ever thinks of his defence at that most just tribunal, is likely to commit no sin, or at least very few.” And so also Chrysostom says: “Let us ever be saying to ourselves and to others, there is a resurrection, and a terrible judgment awaiting us.")

[ocr errors][merged small]

2. The sincere belief of this Article would powerfully reconcile us to submit to the dispensations of Divine Providence. All earthly prosperity and adversity is rapidly passing away, and we are hastening to the Judgment-seat. Surely then we are not to repine at the Providence of God as exercised toward us or our fellow-men.

3. It should also keep us from judging rashly concerning our fellow-men. God has not appointed us to sit in judgment over them, nor has He trusted to our hands the avenging sword of Justice. “Who art thou

ITS INFLUENCE ON US.

335

that judgest another man's servant? To his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up, for God is able to make him stand. So every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” Rom. xiv. 4–12.

Is it possible for us, my dear brethren, to think of any subject that can be compared in importance with this one? It is said of a distinguished name, expressive of a noble life, that he lived and acted as God's steward over an immense estate, doing good with all his revenues and maintaining a cheerful and happy state of mind under a life-long deformity, which deprived him of most of the pleasures and pursuits of other men, because he felt every day that he might die to-morrow.*

How should it influence our words and our conduct, if we could, in a proper way, realize that we must hereafter certainly render a strict account of all our actionsthat all our doings must undergo a strict scrutiny before Him who searcheth the heart and trieth the reins of the children of men! And how careful should we be of the entries now made in the records which are to be produced in that day, since every one is to be judged and rewarded and punished according to the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or bad! It is with the greatest propriety, then, that the Apostle speaks of the doctrine of eternal judgment as a fundamental principle of our holy religion, necessary to be believed, in order to repentance from dead works and faith toward God. It is impossible to conceive of a sharper “ spur”+ to the doing of good, or to devise a stronger “curb" from doing ill, than the real belief that we must appear before the awful and impartial Judgment-seat of Christ.

ܕܕ

*" A. Noble Life," by Miss Muloch. + See Dr. Barrow on the Creed, p. 457.

4. And so on the other hand, if we are ourselves dealt unjustly by; if we are misunderstood and wickedly misrepresented ; if we are subjected unjustly to reproach, scorn, persecution, even unto death, then let us remember there is One who knoweth all these things, and He will appear for the innocent at last and vindicate the honor of His laws. God shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgments as the noonday. The Apostle, in view of this final settlement, and with a good conscience, could say: With me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or in man's judgment. Ps. xxxvii. 6; 1 Cor. iv. 3.

5. Nor can I conceive of a more powerful stimulus to beget in us sincerity, than the profound conviction that God will judge us—not by our professions or pretensions, promises or appearances, but according to our individual realities-according to the deeds done in the body. Not only our words and actions, but our motives, designs, feelings, the most inward recesses of our hearts, where are the seeds of things, the germs of moral character which no human laws can reach, will then be brought to light. Every thought that rises in the mind, as well as every word that passeth out of our mouth, as well as every deed that our hands have performed, will then be judged. And since we know that this awful judgment awaits us—but when we may be called to meet it we know not-then surely we should watch and be diligent. What manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hastening unto the coming of the day of God ? Notice how the blessed Apostle stirred himself up, and reminded his beloved Timothy of the awards of the eternal judgment: “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his

[ocr errors]

ARE WE LOOKING FOR IT?

337

appearing and his kingdom. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith : henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." 2 Tim. iv. 1-8. Let us, then, by the grace of God, which appeareth to all men, deny ourselves-deny all ungodliness, worldly lusts, and live soberly, righteously, and piously in this present world, in the blessed hope of the appearance of the great God, even our Saviour Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father, through the eternal Spirit, be equal and eternal praises. Amen.

22

XVI.

CHRIST JUDGING THE WORLD.

“Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained : whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised Him from the dead."--ACTS xvii. 31.

1. In the Discourse last Sabbath evening, the doctrine of our Creed concerning CHRIST coming to judge the world was stated, and a brief history of the Article was given, and some reasons were offered, why it was adopted as an exponent of the Faith of the ancient churches, and why it should be retained and believed in, just as we have it.

2. Your attention was directed to the PLACE where and to the time when the general judgment was to be held. The place, we thought, was the air of the new earth; the time not known, because not revealed to us nor to the angels.

3. It was shown, however, that the fact was certain, and that Jesus Christ was to be the Judge—that according to the Scriptures it was the solemn appointment of the Father Almighty that his only Son our Lord Jesus CHRIST, in His human nature, should be the Judge—in the same perfect human nature in which he ascended into heaven

« PrécédentContinuer »