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bound of creation, and bring home the number of the stars through all the glorious galaxies and the milky way of heaven,-and sum the number of living things, vegetable, animal, and rational, which are found under the dominion of God; and they shall find how utterly únequal is the task, when the powers and faculties of man would cope with any one of the works of Almighty God.
Now, if by one word of his mouth he could create the subtle and pervading light, and by another carpet the chaotic earth with green and fragrant beauty, and by a third replenish all its chambers with living creatures, and by a fourth beget the winged fancy and creative thought of man; since which day of wondrous birth-giving creation hath stood strong and stedfast, and procreation gone on successive, and will continue so to do, the astronomers demonstrate and the naturalists declare, until the same powerful word interfere to *shake and overthrow it all-who, who can misgive of the ability of God in one day of judgment to review all the effects which one day of creation did originate, and to organ, ize a new constitution of things which shall be stable and everlasting as this in which we have our present abode. It seemeth to me, that what we call the day of judgment, we shall thereafter call the day of second creation, on which God launched our being anew, and furnished our voyage of existence the second time ; and it may be recounted by us in one short chapter, at the beginning of the sacred annals, even as our creation is recounted in the Bible ; and prove to us, when it is past, as incomprehensible a work as it now doth seem to us, looking forward, or as creation seemeth to us, looking backward ; and, though incomprehensible, be as present to our feeling and our observation as the objects of creation are, and as demonstrative of God's justice as creation is demonstrative of his power.
As to the forms with which it is presented in Scripture, viz. the ushering in of the solemn day by the archangel and the trump of God--the white throne of judgment, with the judge that sitteth thereon—the glorious company of angels the opening of the books, in which stand recorded every man's account of good and ill-the solemn separation, to the right and the left, of the two great divisions of men and their separate verdicts of blessing and of cursing,—these are no more to be understood hy the letter than any other of the works of God, but to be taken as an image or device of the transaction, done with the best similitudes that the earth contains ; and seeing there never was and never will be a state
of society to which a day of judgment is strange, God hath chosen this emblem as being the most likely interpretation of it to the understanding and feeling of all men in all ages to whom the tidings of it might come. But it were a vain thing to puzzle imagination and perplex conception with the details thereof, with the array of a human assize or the bustle of a judgment-seat, where all the world was to appear and be ta. ken successively under cognizance of the judge ; for instantly immensity overwhelms the thought, and stupifies the feeling, the crowd forms a shelter to the fears, and the company, the innumerable companions of our fate, gives a cheer to the misgiving heart. We throw ourselves loose, therefore, from the details of the ritual, and aim at nothing but to preserve the spirit of the transaction; not but that these details are highly useful and in the very best keeping with the majesty and terror of the scene, serving to convey ideas and imaginations of the great event, and to embody it to the mind; and being used for inspiring reverence and awakening conscience and setting forth impartial retribution and resistless power, they serve good ends of knowledge and feeling--but because when used for straining conception, and deafening conviction and impairing belief, they do but befool us in the maze of God's power, which our faculties cannot unravel.
If I were to venture an opinion it would be this : that the action will take place, not by a successive summons of each individual, and a successive inquisition of his case, but by an instantaneous separation of the two classes the one from the other. Nor do I fancy to myself the bodily presence of any judge, or the utterance by his lips of vocal sounds, althqugh it be so written, any more than I fancy a loud voice to have been uttered by the Eternal for the light to come forth, or any other part of the material universe to arise into being. B I rather think it to be more congenial to the other works of God, when it is imagined that these souls, and the bodies recreated for their use,
will be planted without knowing how, each class in the abodes prepared for them ; and that they will not be consulted about the equity of the measure. God will leave them to find out the rectitude of the proceeding, as he left us to find out the rectitude of his proceeding at the fall. He told Adam of the loss of paradise. If Adam had speculated thereon, he would have found himself unequal to the speculation. Yet the word of the Lord stood fast, and he found himself stripped and denuded, in the twinkling of an eye, of his pristine glory and innocence. God did not bandy the question with him, nor try conclusions as at a human bar. The thing came about by moral laws of being older than the creation-yea, old as the eternal existence of God; and, in the same manner, by laws of being equally old and sure, shall come about the opening of paradise again to the righteous, and the barring of hope and happiness to the wicked.
But though, in this summary manner, most like to a divine work, we present the thing to your conception, we do in nothing invalidate the principle upon which the division of righteous from wicked is to come about, but rather make it the more valid, seeing it is, like the threatening in paradise, the only thing to which we have to look. If we were to have a debate for our life, even after having contravened the prescript, then verily hope would suspend itself upon the chance of fortunate or mitigated issue. But now, when we give up this as mere exposition and enforcement of the great separation and awful issues, it becomes more momentous to dwell on that separate description of character which comes in for the whole determination of our fate.
I regard all descriptions of judgment, therefore, to be only a way of stating to us the design of God, as to our recovery from this fallen state and re-admission into paradise, or our expulsion from this purgatorial state of existence and detrusion to the changeless settlements of the reprobate. These descriptions are no more than, “ Do this and live;" “ in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die ;" uttered in a more expanded form to meet the various faculties of human nature, fancy, judgment, fear, hope, pain, or pleasure ; but they do no more imply that by the forms of an earthly tribunal we shall be judged, than the creation of animals at first implies the modes of their present creation. When the end of all things hath come, and the renovation of all things hath taken place, I reckon that the bodies of men will start from their unconscious state of dispersion and dissolution, as the materials of Adam's body came at first from their secret and various places, or as the earth teemed out her various tribes; and that the soul will come from its intermediate sojourn, as Adam's soul came, no one knoweth whence, and be united to her ancient comrade. So that the moment the sleep of death is broken by the trump of God, we shall find ourselves, each one ere we wis, with the paradise of heaven overshadowing our heads, or the pavement of hell glowing beneath our feet.
This mode of conceiving the matter, which is the only one congenial to the other operations of the Almighty, doth in no respeot do away with the Scripture emblems; for it is
no less a judgment because it is so prompt and summary, and it is no less a day of judgment, seeing it is the commencement of a new era, like the days of creation. The mind may startle at the liberty or daringness of these conceptions, but we do propound them out of no rash nor vainglorious spirit, being conscious of entire inadequacy to such matters, but only to break the charm, and deliver at once from that body of perplexities which hath no existence but in the folly of interpreting the emblems of Scripture with a fastidious nicety; nor will it hinder me the less from entering with minutest inquiry into the principles upon which the decision is to be founded.
But there remain still two previous questions : one, as to God's ability to have in mind all the conscious thoughts, expressed words, and performed actions of every creature that hath lived, so as to divide destiny with such dexterous arbi. tration among them all—the other, as to our satifaction with, and acquiescence in, the verdict.
For the first I answer, that by the same wondrous attributes by which God hath created and doth sustain all thinking, active minds, he is able to observe and notify and keep account of their infinite imaginations and actions, good and ill. It is surely an easy thing for him, who hath created, to understand that which he hath created, and to know and to reckon up the results which it doth produce by its operation. The Father of human thought surely knoweth his child; he that constructed the machinery of human nature, and fitted all the things in the world to act thereon for good or for evil, and gave a law approving or disapproving every possible consciousness which ariseth within or escapeth outward by speech or action; that same Being doubtless is able to observe, nay, and cannot but be observant of every creature, and of every creature's various thoughts, and of every creature's various motives, and of every creature's various actions, whether they be subordinated to the principles which that creature knoweth from his own conscience, or from God's law, to be good. Whosoever believeth that the human race sprung from the Father of all, and from him had those laws of their nature, out of which have been evolved the whole series of thought and action which constitute life, must admit that he can sum the series at the end, and exhibit the exact amount of good and ill, of obedience and disobedience, which it contains.
But I will advance somewhat farther, and declare, that it seemeth to me a thing impossible, that to any creature under the sun aught should happen of which God is unconscious. It were a limitation of his divinity to think so. There were, in that case, dark chambers into which we could retire out of his sight, regions of experience where we might dwell out of his control. There were things which had a power to come and go without a warrant, elements of creation escaped from their bounden spheres, which now benighted their Creator, and kept from their quarters his pervading sight; than which nothing can be more absurd, seeing there is no power which he hath not bestowed, and no function of being whereof he doth not supply the ability ; to the exercise of which he must, therefore, be conscious. Every course, righteous and sinful, obedient and disobedient, regular and eccentric, we pursue in the strength of his sustenance ; and what he gives power to do, he surely must know the doing of-else, how could he apportion the power to do it? This is no less true in the world within the breast than it is in the world without. For what is a thought within the mind but an accident that hath happened to the inward man? an event in the spiritual world, an offspring in the mind through the operation of the outward world. If such could happen without God's perception, then we are reduced to believe that, in their various actions and reactions, things are capable of some results by God unforeseen, to God unknown, and by God unprovided for; that he had placed in them a faculty without knowing that he had placed it there ; that they were more liberally endowed than he meant them to be; that he had given without being conscious of having given, and did surpass with his creative hand the purpose of his intending will. In the world of matter, therefore, it is true that the hairs of our head are numbered, that a sparrow falleth not to the ground without the permission of God; and in the world of mind it is no less true, that in him we live, and move, and breathe, and have our being.
All that hath happened in his creation God must necessarily know, then it becomes a question if he can ever forget. Here again we transfer to God ideas drawn from our own limited being. Remembering and forgetting, so far as I can understand, are not the attributes of a separate spirit, but of an embodied spirit. The distinctions of past, present, and to come, are not in the events themselves, which are constantly existing on every side, and which do not grow old with the past, or come alive from the future, but are ever certain like the present. The past is inmersed and lost sight of in