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A view of the terrors of the Lord has by this time, perhaps, made us all ready to join in asking this last question; “Who shall be able to stand?” And we cannot belp taking up our parable with Balaam; “ Alas! who shall live when God doth this?” But thanks be to God, an answer will be abundantly ministered unto us by a consideration of the
III. And last point proposed, namely, the faith and hope of the church, who wishes for Christ's manifestation notwithstanding all the terrors that are to attend it; as appears by the remaining words of my text, —“ Even so, Amen."
For these are not the words of St. John only, but they carry in them the prayers and sighs of Christians, sent up to the throne of grace through him. It is not “ the Spirit” alone, speaking by him that says, “ Come;" but “the bride," or church, also says the same. 6 How long, O Lord, holy and true," is the voice of the departed spirits, resting from their labors under the altar in heaven, and waiting for the completion of their glory, at the day of their Redeemer's triumph. And that part of the church which is still militant and sojourns in the wilderness, may be heard, earnestly joining in the same expostulation in the 64th chapter of the prophet Isaiah: “O that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence; as when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil; to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence! When formerly thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence.” Nay, we ourselves, every one of us daily put up the very same petition to God when we pray that “his kingdom may come;" for his kingdom of glory cannot come till all these things shall have been brought to pass. And again, when standing at the grave's mouth, we have before our eyes a plain proof, that "man who is born of a woman hath but a short time to live," in this world; we earnestly beseech the Father of Spirits, “ that it would please him of his gracious goodness shortly to accomplish the number of his elect, and to hasten his kingdom.”
Thus the coming of that day in which “all the kindreds of the earth shall wail,” is the constant subject of the wishes and prayers of the sons of God. A sound Christian faith gives them confidence towards God, and teaches them without hypocrisy to pray
for the second Advent of Christ. For although in that day " he cometh with clouds,” yet God's promise is, that whenever “ he brings his cloud” over the earth, his bow shall be in the cloud, the sure token of the everlasting covenant of mercy " between him and all flesh.” And accordingly, when Ezekiel and St. John saw Christ upon his terrible throne, he appeared encompassed with a RAINBOW, to teach us that even the throne of Judg. ment is encircled by mercy, which rejoices against judgment. All the cries of despairing nations, the thunders of heaven, and the horrible noises of the perishing earth, shall not keep those who have been indeed the disciples of Jesus, from hearing a voice saying unto them, “Come up hither.” Yea, and they who, in faith and patience have waited for the Lord, as the Prophet Isaiah speaks, "shall then renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles." They shall ascend to meet their Redeemer in the air; and the eye of faith shall steadfastly behold the glories of the Sun of Righteousness. Marvel no longer, then, that the church so passionately desires the manifestation of Christ. Marvel not that she should say, “ come!" when the Advent of him to whom she speaks, is to be the day of her espousals, and the day of the gladness of her heart; ihe end of her Saviour's suffering, and her faith; a day of triumph and everlasting felicity. Let the men of the world lament, for their joy is ended, and their sorrow beginning; but let the redeemed be glad, for their sorrows are at an end and their joys beginning. Let the “ tribes of the earth mourn," but let " Israel rejoice in him that made him, and let the children of Sion be joyful in their King." For the trumpet which proclaims the destruction of the ungodly, declares at the same time the salvation of the righteous. When that trumpet sounds throughout the land, the eternal jubilee is begun. There is liberty for the captives, and the opening of the prison doors, even the gates of the grave, for those to come out who lie there in darkness and in the shadow of death; every child of God is free to return to his possession and inheritance, and to the family of his heavenly Father. When they who have loved the world, instead of him whom the world crucified, and trusted in the false glory and riches of earthly Babylon, shall“ stand weeping and wailing to see the smoke of her burning, saying • Alas, alas! that great city, that was clothed in purple, and fine linen, and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stones; how, in one hour, is so
great riches come to nought?” What saith the Spirit to the church? “ Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy Apostles and Prophets, for God hath avenged you on her.” And what saith the church herself? “ The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever. Hallelujah, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad, and rejoice, and give honor to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.”
And now, my brethren, whose heart does not burn within him, when he hears the melody of the celestial choir, chanting forth the praises of their victorious Redeemer, round his glorious throne? Is there a single person here, whose soul has not a desire and longing to enter into the courts of the Lord, and to bear his part in the never-ending chorus? But know, Oman, whosoever thou art, that hast this desire and longing, know thou must be a penitent on earth, before thou canst be a saint in heaven. Thou must be holy in time, if thou wouldst be glorious in eternity. Acquaint now, therefore, thyself with God, and be at peace with him, thyself, and all mankind; thereby, and thereby only, shall good come unto thee at thy latter end. Stop not thine ears, and harden not thine heart against instruction, when it is the day of trial and probation in the wilderness. Receive now, I pray thee, the law of the Most High; retire and meditate upon it, and lay up his words in thy heart; nor suffer the world to rob thee of that wisdom which is more precious than rubies, and to which all the things that thou canst desire are not to be compared. Fear not, neither be dismayed, because of the multitude of thy past transgressions, which present themselves to thy troubled conscience, and set themselves in array against thee. God can forgive if thou canst repent. Nay, he will " give thee repentance uoto life,” if thou wilt request it of him. If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt yet be built up, and impossible as it may appear,
thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacle: thou shalt cease to do evil and learn to do good: thou shalt cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life: thou shalt have thy delight in the Almighty, and lift up thy face unto God: thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee; he shall not lay thy sins to thy charge, but forgive thee what is past; and give thee grace to amend thy sinful
life, to decline from the ways of the destroyer, in which, perhaps, thou hast unhappily wandered, and incline to the paths of wisdom and righteousness, and walk therein before him all the days of thy life. And when the work shall be finished, for which God sent thee into the world, even the work of thy salvation, thou wilt perceive, that to depart and to be with Christ, is far better, than to live here in possession of all that the world can give thee. Thou shalt go out with joy, and be led forth with peace by angels, who shall convey and welcome thy spirit to the regions of the living, to the bosoms of our holy fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, whence sorrow, grief, and lamentation are banished away, where the light of God's countenance visits and shines continually. And when the trumpet shall sound, and all the kindreds of the earth shall wail, thou shalt lift up thy voice and sing for the majesty and glory of thy triumphant Lord, and call to the heavens and the earth to bear thee company—“Let the heavens rejoice and let the carth be glad; let the sea make a noise, and all that is therein; let the field be joyful, and all that is in it; then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord; for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth, and with righteousness to judge the world, and the people with his truth. He which testifieth these things, saith, Surely, I come quickly, Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
By the Rev. JAMES HALDANE STEWART, A. M.
MATTHEW xxv. 31-33. 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 his sheep from the goats; and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, and the goats on the left.
Many have undertaken to prove the reasonableness of a future judgment from natural religion and have well done in so doing; for these proofs leave the infidel without excuse;—but when we would use the argument which ought most to impress the mind, we would draw it simply from the word of God: that “God in these last days has spoken to us by his Son;" and that he, who proved that he was the Son of God, by his resurrection from the dead, has in the clearest and plainest language declared to us that there is a day coming when he will judge the world. We know not a higher style of argument than this, That God has spoken it. If this be not accredited, nothing will be. As our Lord declared, “ If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.” If a man will not receive the testimony of God, who can expect that human reason. ing will succeed? I will not, therefore, occupy your time with proving the truth which the Son of God has made as clear as the day; but proceed to consider some of the points revealed to us in the description of the day of judgment, of which my texts forms a part.
We may notice first, THE MARKED SEPARATION OF PERSONS which there will be in that day.
66 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