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may be said, that God has himself told us, that there is a time beyond which he will strive with our sinful flesh no more ; that there is a day of salvation, which if we allow to pass away, the night cometh when no man can work, and that even Christ himself has told us that we are not to cast our pearls before swine. So indeed God does deal with us, for he can see into our hearts, and knows and judges rightly when it is fit that we should be given up to our own wickedness. But we are to imitate, not God as he is in himself, when he takes to him his great power, and reigns as the king of all the earth, for in this character no man hath seen God at any time, nor can we know him .till we see him face to face in Heaven ;* but we are to imitate God revealed to us in Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son in whose life is declared that image of the invisible and incomprehensible God, which alone we can understand or should strive to copy now. Jesus, who came not to judge the world but to save the world, his tenderness and mercy never were exhausted, and his labours for the good of mankind ceased not to the latest hour of his life. At the very moment when he was betrayed, he touched the ear of Malchus and healed him ; at the very hour when he was hanging on the
cross and his enemies were mocking his sufferings, he was praying to God in their behalf. And if he himself has told us, that we are not to cast pearls before swine, he is there speaking of the pearl of great price, of the knowledge of his Gospel, which being so far above the low morals and unworthy affections of many men, cannot be offered to them profitably till they cease to be swine, that is, till they are become somewhat more able to understand and love it. But he does not say that we are not to give them such things as can do them good; their bodily wants may be relieved, though their souls are yet hardened : and through the kindness thus shown to them they may sometimes be rendered less brutish, and fitted to receive the greatest kindness of all. So then, we must strive in all things to follow his steps, who came not to judge the world but to save the world ; and who did not disdain to feed with the loaves and the fishes that very multitude who could not receive the pearl of his docrine except it were conveyed to them in parables, as they were able to bear it. But the text yet further said, that the Father judgeth no man, but has committed all judgment unto the Son; and this part of it I said was our warning and our hope, as the former part was our example. From Christ the Saviour then, we must pass to the consideration of Christ the Judge, and this will form, if He is pleased to permit it, the subject of a continuation of this discourse.
2 CORINTHIANS v. 16.
Though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now
henceforth know we him no more.
That is to say,
“ Henceforth know we him no more after the flesh.” We are no longer to think of him as in the days when he was compassed with infirmity, despised and rejected of men, full of sorrows and patient sufferings. The Son of man is declared to be the Son of God; his season of humiliation is passed away; he is seated at the right hand of God, and we shall see him no more till he comes in the clouds of Heaven, and the throne of judgment is set, and the dead are called up from their graves to appear before him.
The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son, that all men may honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.
There is nothing in the whole world that so much concerns every one of us here assembled, as that great day of which I am going to speak.
It is our hope and our warning, and should be borne in mind by us, every day of our lives, that we may be each the fitter to meet it. Whether it is far or near we know not; but this we do know, that it is unavoidable; and that to each one of us it is for all practical purposes near enough; as death is to each of us the same as judgment. Now certainly the things which I am going to say must be known already by all, nor can any words add to the inexpressible solemnity of the description which Christ himself has given us of the judgment. I would but recall your minds and my own, to what we know indeed but too often forget, and consider some of the particular points connected with the great day, that we may gain a clear and a lively notion of it, and observe what it is that we are daily ventu ing to despise. Whatever may be our state between our death and the end of the world, it will clearly be a very imperfect one; our sense of happiness and misery will be like the feeling of a pleasant or a frightful dream, which makes our recollection of the night either comfortable or painful, but which is nothing when compared with the solid good or evil of our waking hours. The Scripture tells us very little of this period, but leads us to think chiefly of the