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ever, and their whole natures buried in desolation and death, if they might but avoid the eternal agonies and torments that are prepared for them. Now they long for caverns and graves to hide them for ever from the justice of God, whose authority they have despised, and from the wrath of a Saviour, whose mercy they have impiously renounced.
“ Look forward, O my soul, to this awful and dreadful hour ; survey this tremendous scene of confusion, when sinners shall run counter to all their former principles and wishes, and pass a quite different judgment upon their sinful delights from what they were wont to do in the days of this life of vanity. Learn, ő my soul, to judge of things more agreeably to the appearances of that day : Never canst thou set the flattering pleasures of sense, and the joys of sin, in a truer and juster, view, than in the light of this glorious and tremendous judge ment."
ÍIÍ. “How great and dreadful must the distress of creatures be, when they cannot bear to see the face of God, their Creator ?" How terrible must be the circumstance of the sons of men, when they cannot endure to see the face of the Son of God, but would fain hide themselves from the sight under rocks and mountains ? How wretched must their state be, who avoid the face of the blessed God with horror, which the holy angels ever behold with most intense delight, and which the saints rejoice in as their highest happiness? It is their beaven to see God, and behold the glory of his Son Jesus ; Måt. v. 8. John xvii. 24. But this is the very hell of sinners in that dismal hour, and will fill their souls with such inexpressible anguish, that they call to the rocks and mountains, to hide them from the sight. Dread'ful and deplorable is their case indeed, who cannot endure to see the countenance of Jesus the Son of God, Jesus the Saviour of men, the copy of the Father's glory, and the image of his beauty and love. They cannot bear to see, that Jesus who is the chiefest of ten thousands, and altogether lovely; they fly from that blessed countenance, which is the ornament and the joy of all the holy and happy creation : That blessed countenance is become the terror and confusion of impevitent and guilty rebels.
“ And what shall I do if I should be found among this criminal number in that great day? If I look at the wisdom and the righteousness of God, these will reflect the keenest rays of borror and anguish upon my soul, for it is that wisdom and that righteousñess that bave joined to prepare the salvation which I have rejected, and therefore, now that wise and righteous God seeth it proper and necessary to punish me with everlasting sortows. If I look at the power of God it is a dreadful sight: Eternal and almighty power that can break through rocks and mountains to inflict vengeance upon the guilty, and stands engaged by his honour to break my rebellious spirit with unknown torments. If I look at his goodness or his love, it is love and goodness that I have despised and abused, and it is pow changed into divine fury. If I look at the face of Jesus, and find there the correspondent features of his Fatber, I shall then hate to see it for this very reason, because it bears his Fatlier's image who is so terrible to my thoughts. I shall neither be able to bear the sight of God, or of his fairestcopy, that is, Jesus his Son, because I am so shamefully unlike them both, and besides I have affronted their majesty, and despised
“How painful and smarting will be the reflection of my heart in that day, when I shall remember that Jesus called out to me from heaven, by the messengers of his grace and said, Behold me, behold me, look unto me from the ends of the earth, and be saved; Is. xlv. 22. But now be is armed with a commission of vengeance, and he strikes terror and exquisite pain into my soul with every frown, so that I shall wish to be forever hid from the face of the Lamb, for the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to endure this wrath, to to stand before his thunder, or bear the lightning of this day? Alas, how miserable must I be, by an everlasting necessity, if I cannot bear the countenance of God and Christ, which is the spring of unchangeable happiness to all the saints and the blessed angels ? On may 1 timely secure the love of my God, and gain an interest in the favour and salvation of the blessed Jesus! Here, Oh Lord, at thy foot I lay down all the weapons of my former rebellions ; I implore thy love through the interest of thy Son, the great Mediator : Let me see the light of thy countenance, and the smiles of thy face: Let me see a reconciled God, and let him tell me, that my sins are all forgiven; then shall I 110t be afraid to meet the countenance of him that sils upon the throne, and the Lamb, when Christ shall return froin heaven to punish the impenitent rebels against divine grace.”
IV. “How hopeless, as well as distressed, is the case of sinners in that day, when they are driven to this last extremity, to seek help from the rocks and the mountains ?” It is the last but the fruitless refuge of a frighted and perishing creature: The rocks and mountains refuse to help them ;, they will not crush to death those wretches, whom the justice of God has doomed to a' painful immortality, nor will they conceal or shelter those obstinate rebels, whom the Son of God has raised out of their graves, to be exposed to public shame and punishment Those high and hollow rocks, those dismal dens and caverns dark as midnight, those deep, and gloomy retreats of melancholy and sorrow, which they shunned with utinost aversiun, and could hardly bear to think of them without horror here
on earth, are now become their only retreat and shelter ; but it is a very vain and hopeless one.
" When I see such awful appearances in nature, huge and Jofty rocks hanging over my head, and at every step of my, approact, they seein to nod upon me with overwhelming ruin when my curiosity searches sar into their hollow clefts, their dark and deep caverns of solitude and desolation, metbinks while I stand amongst them, I can hardly think myself in safety, and at best, they give a sort of solemn and dreadful delight : Let me improve the scene to religious purposes, and raise a divine meditation. Am I one of those wretches, who shall call to these huge impending rocks to fall upon me? Am I that guilty and miserable creature who shall entreat these mountains to cover me from. him that sits on the throne, and the Lamb ? Am I prepared to meet the countenance of the blessed Jesus, the judge in that day? Have I such an acquaintance with the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, such' a boly faith in his mediation, such a sincere love to him, and such an unfeignel repentance of all my sins, that I can look upon him as iny friend and my refuge, and a friend infinitely better than rocks and mountains, for he not only screens me from the divine anger, but introduces me into the Father's love, and places me in bis blissful presence for ever?
V. “What hideous and everlasting mischief is contained in the nature of sin, especially sin against the gospel of Christ, against the methods of grace and the offers of salvation, which exposes creatures to such extreme distress? The fairest and the most flattering iniquity, what beautiful colours soever it máy put on in the hour of temptation, yet it carries all this hidden mischief and terror in the bosom of it, for it frights the creature from the sight of his Creator, and his Saviour, and inakes him fly to every vain refuge. Adam and Eve the parents of our race, when they lost their innocence and became criminals, 'fled from the presence of God whom they conversed with before in holy friendship. Gen. iii
. 8. They hid themselves among the trees of paradise, and the thickest shadows of the garden ; but the eye and the voice of God reached them there : The eurse found them out, though that was a curse allayed with the promised blessing of a Saviour. Guilt will work in the conscience, and tell us that God is angry, and the next thought is, * Where shall I hide inyself from an angry God? But when the mercy of God has taught us where we may hide ourselves, even under the shadow of the cross of his Son, and we refuse to make him our refuge, there remains nothing but a final horror of soul, and a hopeless address to rocks and mountains to bide us from an offended God and a provoked Saviour.
" Whensoever, Oh my soul, thou shalt find or feel some flattering iniquity alluring thy senses, making court to thy heart, and ready to gain upon thy inward wishes, remember the distress and terror of beart that sinners must undergo in the great and terrible day of the Lord. Think of the rocks and mountaias which they vainly call upon to befriend them, to shield them from the vengeance of that almighty arm which is provoked by siu to make his creatures miserable. Remember, O my soul, and fear; remember and resist the vile temptation, and stand afar off from that practice which will inake thee afraid to see the face of God.”
VI. “Of what infinite importance is it then to sinners to gain an humble acquaintance and friendship with the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, that we may be able with comfort, to behold the face of him thrat sits on the throne in that day.” Which of us can say, “I am not a sioner, I am not guilty before God?” And wbich of us then has the courage and bardiness to declare, “I have no need of a Saviour" And is there any one amongst us who hatha not yet fled for refuge to Jesus our only and sufficient hope? There is a protection provided against a provoked God, but there is none against a nego lected and abused Saviour : I mean where this neglect and abuse is final and unrepented. “Oh, bow solicitous should every soul be in a matter of this divine moment, this everlasting importance ! What words of compassion shall we use, what words of awakening terror, to put sinners in mind of their extreme danger, if they neglect the only security which the gospel has appointed ? What language of fear and importunity shall we make use of to hasten you, Oh sinners, to the acquaintance, the faith and the Jove of Jesus the Saviour, that you may behold his face and the face of the Father with serenity and joy in the last day ? Give yourselves up to him then without further delay, as your teacher, your bigh-priest, your reconciler, your Lord and king. His blessed offices are the only chambers of protection, when God shall arise to burn the world, and to avenge himself on his enemies that will not be reconciled."
VII. Let us take occasion from my text also, to meditate on the “happy circumstances of true christians in that day of ter ror:” Behold the Judge appears, he cometh in the clouds surrounded with armies of avenging angels, the ministers of his indignation ; he rideth on a chariot of flaming fire; the earth, with all its mountains, melt like wax at the presence of the Lord, the fields and the forests become one spacious blaze, the sea grows dry and forsakes it shores, and rivers flee away at bis Jightning; the rocks are broken and shivered at the appearance of bis majesty, the tombs are thrown open, and with terrible dismay shall the graves give up their dead; the pyramids of brick and stone moulder and sink into dust, the sepulchres of brass
and marble yield ap their royal prisoners, and all the captives of death awake and start into life, at the voice of the Son of God. Amidst all these scenes of surprise and horror, with how serene a conotenance, and how peaceful a soul do the saints awake from their beds of earth! Calm and serene among all these confusiops, they arise froin their long slumber and go to meet their teturning Saviour and their friend. They have seen him in the glass of his gospel, submitted to lis laws and rejoiced in his grace, and they now delight to see him face to face in his glory. They have seen him vested with his commission of mercy, ihey have beard and received bis message of goodness and love, and they cannot but rejoice to see him coming to fulfil bis last promises. They have chearfully subjected themselves to his government here on earth, they have followed him in patlıs of holiness through the wilderness of this world, and what renains but that they be publicly acknowledged by Jesus the Judge of all, aud follow him up to the place of blessedness, which he hath prepared for them.
Perhaps, some of these boly ones, in the days of his flesh, were banished from the cities and the societies of men for the sake of Christ, they were driven out from their native towns, and foreed to seek a shelter in solitary dens and cares, among rocks and mountains, to wander through desarts in sheep-skins und goal-skins, destitute, afflicted, tormented; Heb. xi. 31. they made the clefts of the rock, and caverns of the earth their refuge from the face of their cruel persecutors : The mountains and rocks sbeltered them from the wrath of princes, and the dark grottos of the earth, and the dens of wild beasts concealed them from the rage of men, from the sword of the mighty; but now the scene is gloriously changed, the martyrs and holy confessors, awaking from their graves, exult and triumph in the smiles of their Judge, and receive publié honours before the whole creation of God. They behold the infinite consternation of laughty tyrants and persecuting princcs, of proud generals and bloody captains in that day : They hear them “ call to rocks and mountains to hide them from the face of him that sils upon the throne, and the Lamb." The authority and regal honour of the emperors of the earth, hath long slept in the dust, but it is lost there for ever ; their glory shall not awake nor arise with them : Behold the mighty sinners who have been the enemies of Christ, or negligent of his salvation, how they creep affrighted out of their shattered marbles, and leave all that poinp and pride of death in ruins, to appear before God with shaine and everlasting contempt. The men of arms, the captains and sons of valour, whose swords lay under their heads, with their trophies and titles spread around them, shall raise their heads up from the dust with utmost affright and anguish of spirit: Their courage fails them