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acquiesce in the future, it doth also give truth and meaning to a form of speaking concerning judgment most common in the Scriptures, but most unfrequent in these our days. By us the judgment is always regarded as infinitely far off, whereas by the Apostles it is regarded as close at hand, just forthcoming. Paul, in describing the fate of those who were to be alive at the time, includes himself among the number “ We who are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds.” And Peter and James and John, no less than Paul, give this second coming of the Lord in judgment a prominency and a frequency in their writings above almost every other consideration, and constantly appeal to it as the great fund of patience, and the great motive to continue in well-doing. Now the Apostles were not ignorant of the space which was to intervene, for they have prophesied of their own death, of the latter times, of the bringing in of the Jews with the fulness of the Gentiles, and of all that has happened since, and of much that is still to happen; and yet, knowing of the ages to run, they nevertheless represented the end of all things as at hand.
We moderns have altogether departed from this manner of speech, and the second coming of Christ is lost from the number of our motives, because the day of judgment is placed afar off. Death must come, and many generations of men fill our room, and our ashes must be scattered on a thousand winds, and millennial ages must run their course, before the trumpet of the archangel sound to judgment. Now, while the day of judgment is thus set infinitely remote, and a state of existence is interposed where joys and sufferings they venture not to set forth, the mind will do with it as it does with death while it considers it at a distance, think nothing of it at all. For it is not the certainty of a thing which gives it power over the mind, otherwise death, which is the most certain of all things, would be the most influential of all things; whereas it is to most men less influential than a journey to a foreign land or the shifting of their residence at home. It is the frequent presence of a thought in the mind which gives it power, and that frequency will seldom happen to a thing that is not looked for till after a time. Present things, or things hard at hand, are what occupy the soul; and until death comes to be so regarded, it gets no purchase over our conduct. But when one is brought to a right view of his frailty and mortality, and every morning sets out as op
a perilous voyage, every evening lays him down as into a grave; then, though death be made no more certain than before, it comes to prevail over the things which are seen, and to draw the solemnity and carefulness of a death-bed hour over every scene of business and of enjoyment. $o also of the judgment; while it is considered not only as behind death, but far, far beyond it, it will be as unmoving as death, and will not carry any weight, until, like death, it be brought into the fore-front of things, and have a chance in the fray of contending interests and contending emotions which passes in the mind perpetually. Shall we then preacli the end of the world as at hand, and the sound of the trumpet as ready to awake us every morning from our beds, and the regeneration of the heavens and the earth as about to be revealed? The Apostles did so, who uttered those very prophecies which are all our security that the world is to last another hour. They knew the events that were to intervene, and they made them known to us; and yet you see they preached as if nothing were to intervene at all. But we, who do but lamely interpret their prophecies, are so built upon our interpretations, and so assured of the things we guess about, hardly two agreeing; that we pluck up heart, and cast off the daily apprehensions of the Apostles, and preach boldly, as if the world were to last out our day, and the day of our children, and of many generations yet to arise ! This is one instance among many of the total inequality of our modern preaching to the Apostolic pattern, and how great scriptural ideas have been completely lost in the heed which the churches have given to their sectarian distinctions.
This discordance between the Apostolical and the modern theology, we confess, was the first thing that drew our attention to the state of the soul immediately consequent on death. And on pursuing it we were led into the speculations given above, which, whatever may be thought of their soundness, have the merit of giving truth and meaning to the Apostolic way of speaking, and of putting into the hands of their successors the same powerful weapon for arresting the attention of a careless world. We have another solution of this difficulty, derived from metaphysical considerations of the nature of Time ; which is, however, too abstract and tedious to be embodied in this discourse. Only let it be observed, before passing on to judgment, that the general argument is in nothing prejudiced by the soundness or unsoundness of this digression, which was introduced solely to explain how the soul might acquire that consciousness of her acts, and that conviction of her deservings, which are essential in a culprit, before condemnation can pass upon him with any effect. Now this is a question of knowledge, not of justice, and therefore doth not prejudice the great argument on which we are engaged, and on which we now venture again with trust, by the help of God, to bring it to a happy issue.
OF JUDGMENT TO COME.
THE LAST JUDGMENT.
Had our occupation in this Discourse been that of the poet or the orator, we have now before us a subject which, for the magnificence of the scenery, the magnitude of the transaction, and the effects which it draweth on, stands unrivalled in the annals of human knowledge;-a subject indeed with which the powers of conception cannot be brought to contend. Imagination cowers her wing, unable to fetch the compass of the ideal scene. The great white throne descending out of heaven, guarded and begirt with the principalities and powers thereof-the awful presence, at whose sight the heavens and the earth flee away, and no place for them is found-the shaking of the mother elements of nature, and the commotion of the hoary deep, to render up their long dissolved dead--the rushing together of quickened men upon all the winds of heaven down to the centre, where the judge sitteth on his blazing throne—To give form and figure and utterance to the mere circumstantial pomp of such a scene no imagination availeth. Nor doth the un. derstanding labour less. The archangel, with the trump of God, riding sublime in the midst of heaven, and sending through the widest dominion of death and the grave that sharp summons which divideth the solid earth, and rings through the caverns of the hollow deep, piercing the dull cold ear of death and the grave with the knell of their departed reign; the death of Death, the disinheriting of the grave, the reign of life, the second birth of living things, the reunion of body and soul-ihe one from unconscious sleep, the other from apprehensive and unquiet abodes,--the congregation of all generations over whom the stream of time hath swept-This outstretches my understanding no less than the material imagery confuses my imagination. And when I bring the picture to my heart, its feelings are overwhelmed: When I fancy this quick and conscious frame one instant reawakened and reinvested, the next summoned before the face of the Almighty Judge-now re-begotten, now sifted through every secret corner-my poor soul, possessed with the memory of its misdeeds, submitted to the scorching eye of my Maker-my fate depending upon his lips, my everlasting, changeless fate,- shriek and shiver with mortal apprehension. And when I fancy the myriads of men all standing thus explored and known, I seem hear their shiverings like the aspen leaves in the still evening of Autumn. Pale fear possesseth every countenance, and blank conviction every quaking heart. They stand like men upon the perilous edge of battle, withholden from speech and pinched for breath through excess of struggling emotions-shame, remorse, and mortal apprehension, and tre mbling hope.
Then the recording angel opens the book of God's remembrance, and inquisition proceedeth apace. Anon they move quicker than the movement of thought to the right and left, two most innumerous companies. From his awful seat, his countenance clothed with the smile which makes all heaven gay, the Judge pronounceth blessing forever and ever upon the heads of his disciples, and dispenseth to them a kingdom prepared by God from the first of time. To their minds, seized with the tidings of unexpected deliverance, it seemeth as a dream, and they wonder with ecstasy at the unbounded love of their Redeemer. They wonder, and they speak their unworthiness, but they are reassured by the voice of Him that changeth not. Then joy seizeth their whole soul and assurance of immortal bliss. Their trials are ended, their course is finished, the prize is won, and the crown of eternal life is laid up for them in store;-fulness of joy and pleasures for ever, at the right hand of God. Again the judge lifteth up his voice, his countenance clothed in that frown which kindled. hell, and pronounces eternal perdition, with the devil and his angels, upon the wretched people who despised and rejected him on earth. They remonstrate, but remonstrance is vain. It is finished with hope, it is finished with grace, it is finished with mercy; justice hath begun her terrible reign to endure for ever. Then arise from myriads of myriads the groans and shrieks and thiệnes of despair; they invoke every mother element of nature to consume their being back into her dark womb; they call upon the rocks to crush them, and the hills to cover