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AT TAE NATIONAL SCOTCH CHURCH, REGENT SQUARE, JULY 7, 1833,
Revelations, xxii. 11.-" He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: he that is filthy, let
him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous stilt: and he that is haly, let him be holy still."
Our first remark, on the Scripture , body from the sepulchral dust into we have now read, is how very pal- which it hath mouldered; but there pably, and how nearly it connects will neither be a dissolution nor a time with eternity. The character renovation of the spirit, which, inwherewith we sink into the grave destructible both in character and at death, is the very character where- essence, will weather and retain its with we shall re-appear on the day identity on the midway passage beof resurrection. The character which tween this world and the next; so habịt has fixed and strengthened that at the time of quitting this earthly through life, adheres, it would seem, tenement, we may say, that if “ unto the disembodied spirit through the just” now, it will be “unjust” still, if mysterious interval which separates “ filthy” now, it will be “ filthy" still, the day of our dissolution from the if“ righteous” now, it will be “righday of our account, when it will again teous” still, and if “ holy” now, it stand forth, the very image and sub- will be “ holy” still. stance of what it was, to the inspec- Our second remark suggested by tion of the Judge and the awards of the Scripture now under considerathe judgment seat. The moral li- tion is—that there be many analogies neaments which be graven on the of nature and experience which even tablet of the inner man, and which death itself does not interrupt. There every day of the unconverted life is nothing more familiar to our daily makes deeper and more indelible observation than the power and inthan before, will retain the very im- veteßacy of habit; insomuch that press they have gotten, unaltered every propensity is strengthened by and uneffaced by the transition from every new act of indulgence, and our present to our future state of every virtuous principle is more existence. There will be a dissolu- firmly established than before by tion, and then a reconstruction of the every new act of resolute obedience
to its dictates. The law which con its representations of both ; of the nects the actings of boyhood or youth fire, and the brimstone, and the lake with the character of manhood, is the of living agony, and the gnasbing of identical and unrepealed law which teeth, and the wailing—the ceaseless connects our actings in time with our wailing of distress and despair uncharacter in eternity. The way in utterable, by which the one is set which the moral discipline of youth before us in characters of terror and prepares for the honors and the en most revolting hideousness; of the joyments of a virtuous manhood, is splendour, the spaciousness, the music, the very way in which the moral and the floods of melody, the rich and spiritual discipline of the whole life surpassing loveliness by which the prepares for a virtuous and happy other is set before us in characters immortality; and on the other hand of bliss and brightness unperishable, the succession of cause and of effect, with all that can regale the glorified from a profligate youth or a dishonest senses of creatures rejoicing for ever manhood to a disgraced and worthless in the presence and before the throne old age, is just the succession also of of God. We stop not to inquire, far cause and effect between the mis- less to dispute, whether these dedeeds and the depravities of our scriptions, in the plain meaning of history on earth, and the inheritance every letter of them, are to be reof worthlessness and wretchedness alized; but we hold that it would for ever.
The law of moral conti- purge theology from many of its nuity between different states of hu- errors, that it would guide and enman life, is also the law of continuity lighten the practical Christianity of between the two worlds, which even many honest enquirers, if the moral the death that intervenes does not character both of heaven and hell violate. Be he a saint or a sinner, were more distinctly recognised, and each shall be filled, in the express held a more prominent place in the language of Scripture, with the fruit regards and the contemplations of of his own ways. So that when If it indeed be true, that the translated into the respective places, moral, rather than the material, is of fixed and everlasting destination, the main ingredient whether of the the one shall rejoice through eter- coming torment, or the coming extacy, nity in that pure element of goodness then the hell of the wicked may be which here he loved and aspired said to have already begun, and the after, the other; the helpless and de- heaven of the virtuous may be said graded victim of those passions which to have already begun; the one in lording over him through life, shall the bitterness of an unhinged and be irrevocably damned to that worst dissatisfied spirit, has the foretaste of of torments, and that worst of tyranny the wretchedness before him — the —the torment of his own accursed other, in the peace and triumph and nature — the inexorable tyranny of complacency of an approving conevil.
science, has a foretaste of the hapOur third remark suggested by piness before him. Each is ripening this Scripture is—that it affords no for his own everlasting destiny; and, dubious prospect of the future hell whether it be in the depravities that and the future heaven of the new deepen and accumulate on the chatestament.
aware of the racter of the one, or in the graces material images employed in Scrip- that brighten and multiply on the ture, and by which it embodies forth other, we see materials enough for
the worm that dieth not, or for the perpetual violence. The man of pleasures that are for evermore. cunning and concealment, however
But, again, it may be asked, will dexterous, however triumphant in his spiritual elements alone-will moral wretched policy, is not at ease. The and spiritual elements alone, suffice stoop, the downcast regard, the dark to make up either the intense and and sinister expression of him who unutterable wretchedness of the hell, cannot lift up his head among his or the intense beatitudes of the hea- fellow men, or look his companions ven? For the answer to this question, in the face, is a sensible proof that let us first draw your attention to the he who knows himself to be disformer of these receptacles; and we honest, feels himself to be degraded ; ask you, to think of the state of and the inward sense of dishonour that heart in respect of sensation, that haunts and humbles him here, is which is the seat of a concentrated but the commencement of that shame and all absorbing "selfishness, which and everlasting contempt to which he feels for no other interest than its shall awake hereafter.
This, you own, and holds no fellowship of will observe, is purely a moral chastruth, or honesty, or confidence with | tisement, and, apart from the inflicthe fellow beings around it. The tion of violence or pain in the senowner of such a heart may live in sible economy, is enough to oversociety; but cut off as he is, by his whelm the spirit which is exercised own sordid nature, from the recipro- thereby. Let him, therefore, who is cities of honorable feelings and good unjust now, be unjust still; and in faith, he may be said to live an exile stepping from time to eternity, he in the midst of it; he is a stranger to bears in his own distempered bosom, the daylight of the moral world, and the materials of the coming veninstead of walking abroad on the geance along with him. Character open platform of free and fearless itself will be the executioner of its communion with his fellows, he spends own condemnation; and, instead of a cold and heartless existence in a each suffering apart, the unrighteous hiding place of his own. You mis- are congregated together, as in the take it, if you think of this creeping parable of the tares, where instead and ignoble creature, that he knows of each plant being severally deought of the real truth or substance stroyed, the order is given to bind of enjoyment; or however successful them up in bundles and burn them. he may have been, in the wiles of his We may be well assured, that when solitary selfishness, that a sincere and the turbulence and disorder of an a solid satisfaction has ever been the unrighteous society are superadded to result of it. On the contrary, if you those sufferings which prey in seenter his heart, you will find a dis- crecy and solitude within the heart taste and disquietude in the lurking of each individual member, a ten sense of its own worthlessness; and fold fiercer and more intolerable though it is dissevered from the re- agony will ensue from it. The anarspect of society without, he finds no chy of a state, when the authority of refuge within, when he abandoned its government is for a time susby the respect of his own conscience. pended, forms but a feeble represenIt does not consist with our moral tation of that everlasting anarchy, nature that there should be internal when the unrighteous of all ages are happiness or internal harmony when let loose to act and re-act with the the moral sense is made to suffer | utmost violence on each other. In
this conflict of assembled myriads, perfect character can suffer without this fierce and fell collision between all the other virtues suffering along the outrages and the anxieties on the with it. We believe that the conone side, and the outcries of resent-nexion between the habit of an unment on the other—though no pain lawful pleasure, and the maintenance were inflicted in this war of passions, of a strict resolute exalted equity in yet the purpose of passion and the truth, is very seldom, we could alpurpose of violence in one creature most say, is never realized. calls forth the purpose of passion and The man of forbidden indulgence, the purpose of keenest vengeance in the prosecution of his objects, has back again -- though no moral and a thousand degrading fears to encounsentient agony were felt in the ter, and many concealments to pracwar of disembodied spirits, yet in tise, perhaps, low and unworthy artithe wild tempest of the emotions fices to which he must descend ; and alone, the hatred, the fury, the burn- | how can either his honour or liis hoing recollection of injured rights, nesty be said to survive, if, at length, and the brooding thoughts of yet un in his heedless and impetuous career, fulfilled retaliation-in these, and he shall trample on the dearest rights these alone, do we behold materials and the most sacred interests of famienough of a dire and dreadful pan- lies? We think it has all the authodemonium; and apart from corporeal rity of a moral aphorism, that the sufferings altogether, may we behold sobrieties of human virtue can never in the full and final developement of be invaded, without the cquities of character alone, enough for impart- human virtue also being invaded. ing all its corrosion to the
The moralities of life are too closely that dieth not"-enough sustain linked and interwoven with each ing in all its fierceness " the fire that other, as though one should be is not quenched.”
touched the others may be uninBut there is another moral ingre- jured and entire ; and so no man can dient in the after-sufferings of the cast his purity away from him without wicked, besides the one of which we a violence being done to the general have now spoken, suggested to us by moral consistency and structure of the second clause of our text, and his whole character. from which we learn, that not only But besides this we have the auwill the • unjust' man carry his false- thority of the text, and the oft repeated hood and his fraud along with him affirmations the New Testament, to the place of condemnation ; but for saying to the voluptuary, that if that also the voluptuary will carry the countenance of the world be not his unsanctified habits and unballowed withdrawn from him, the gate of heapassions thitherward; in other words, ven is at least shut against him ; that " let him that is filthy be filthy still,” nothing unclean or unholy can enter I would here take the opportunity there ; and the carrying his unsanctiof exposing what I fear'to be a fre-fied affections into the place of conquent delusion in society, which gives demnation, he will find them to be respect to the man of honour and in- ministers of wrath and executioners tegrity; and he does not forfeit that of a still fiercer vengeance.
The respect though known at the same loathing, the remorse, the felt and time to be a man of dissipation. Not conscious degradation, the dreariness that we think any one of the virtues of heart that follow in the train of which enter into the composition of a guilty indulgence ; here these form
but the beginning of his sorrows, and nor the licentious man of my text, is are but the presages and precursors seen to be so unhappy here, in virtue of that deeper wretchedness, which, of the moral characteristics which by the unrepealed laws of n:oral na- respectively belong to them, as to justure, descend on its possessor in ano- tify the imagination that these characther state of existence. They are but teristics will have the power to effect the penalties of vice in embryo; and such anguish and disorder of spirit as that may give, at least, a conception that which we have now been repreof what those penalties are in full. It senting. But it is forgotten, first, will add inconceivably to the darkness that we shall have no such world on and the disorder of that moral chaos the other side of death—that the in which the unpenitent shall spend world presents, in its business, and their eternity, when the uproar of the amusements, and various gratificabacchanalian and licentious passions tions, a refuge from the reflection and are thus superadded to the selfish and remorse of the mental agonies of the malignant passions of our nature ; world ; and, secondly, that the goánd when the frenzy of unsated desire, vernments of the world offer a followed up by the languor and com- straint against those outbreaks of pulsion of its worthless indulgence, violence which would keep up a pershall make up the sad history of many petual anarchy in the species. Let án unhappy spirit. We need not to us simply conceive of these two secudwell on the picture, though it brings rities, against our having even now a out into bolder relief the all important hell upon earth, that they are both truth that there is an inherent bitter- | taken down ; that there was no longer ness in sin ; that by the very consti- such a world as ours, affording to each tution of our nature moral evil is its individual spirit innumerable diverown curse, and its own worst punish- sions from the burden of its own ment; that the wicked, on the other thoughts; and no longer such a huside of death, but reap what they man government as ours, affording to sowed on this; and that whether we general society a powerful defence look to the tortures of a distempered against the countless variety of ills spirit, or to the countless ills of a which would otherwise rage and tudistempered society, we may be very multuate within its bounds; and then sure that to the character of its in- as sure as a solitary prison (and a remates—a character which they have markable fact it is and illustrative fostered upon earth, and which now of the real tendency of our moral remains fixed on them in eternity—that nature in a marked degree) is felt by to this character the main wretched every criminal to be the most dreadness of hell is owing.
ful of all punishments; and as sure, Before quitting this part of the sub- on the authority of law being susject we have but one remark more to pended, the reign of terror would offer. It may be felt as if we had commence and the unhinged passions over-stated the power of mere charac- of humanity would go forth over the ter to beget a wretchedness at all ap- face of the land to ravage and destroy, proaching to the wretchedness of hell, so surely, out of moral elements and seeing that the character is often moral influences alone, might an eterrealized in this world without bring- nity of utter wretchedness and desing along with it a distress or a dis- pair be entailed on the rebellious. comfort which is at all intolerable. And only let all the unjust and all Neither the “unjust man of my text, the licentious of my text be formed