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have done them an unspeakable service. For this coming event, which to every man is the decision of the everlasting future, being understood, and seated in our high regards, will naturally cast forward into time the brightness of its hopes and the shadow of its fears. Calling up from their graves all our past transactions, and arraying against us every thing as when it was first conceived. The judgment ought to give value to every current thought, and importance to every passing act, making life a diligent, serious occupation of time, instead of a laborious destruction of it, or an idle gay diversion. Thought would become a constant device for the good ends which God hath set before us, and action a constant enterprise to bring these ends about, and (seeing it is placed within the power of every creature'to find acceptance of his Judge, and everlasting glory) life would become full not only of good endeavours but joyful prospects, were men convinced and mindful of the last day, which is to sum up all the past and decide all the future of their existence.
There manifestly wants some such husbanding and equalizing power to make the faculties of man turn themselves to the most account. Some drop asleep amidst sensual gratifications, and do nothing for the common weal but consume its stores—others idle amongst trifles, passing the bright season of youth in vain and empty shows -others fight against their own and the public peace, wielding every power they can command for the aggrandizement of themselves at every
hazard and expense. There is no spring that never runs down to move the machinery of a single man's life; there is no common spring that never runs down to move harmoniously the combined machinery of society. Powers of good are slumbering for want of a call; instruments rusting for want of an occasion; and a meagre unsatisfying
; recollection of occasions lost and time mispent, is the portion of almost every man.—What laborious trifling, what ingenuity of wickedness, what self-torturing ennui, what artificial stimulants, what brutalizing excess there is in this weary world! To reach distinction and power, you must fight battles, and be the death of thousands. To be a hero, you must wade through seas of blood. To be a statesman, you must submit the soul to suppleness, and be the creature of creatures like yourself. There wanteth a power to enable a man to turn the wheel of his own destiny, and by diligence and patience to arrive at true greatness and blessedness.
To set forth such a power is the argument of our present discourse, to the perusal of which we pray those who take it up to bring with them a vigorous manly understanding, no crouching timorous faith, for it is our purpose, in the strength of God, the giver of all understanding, to examine this his great revelation of Judgment to Come, with freedom and fairness, and to try if it will stand the test of inquiry and objection. We are not to advocate or eulogize it, as we lately did the Divine Oracles, but we are to expound it according to the Scriptures, and see how it suits human nature, and makes for human welfare. We intend that it should speak for itself, and become its own argument; and by its own grave and weighty character rebuke and ashame those idle parodies of it, which have lately issued from the seething brains of irreligious poets. Our Apology for Judgment to Come, against these idle visionaries and wasteful prodigals of God's high gifts, is to the common sense and good feelings of men. -We would bring the question back from the tribunal of wit and fancy, and ribaldry and worldly wisdom, to the tribunal of grave judgment, that old and hoary discerner of truth.
We are then, first of all, to be occupied with the developement of that which must always precede judgment, viz. the promulgated law or statute upon which judgment is to be held. This is the divine constitution contained in the word of God, which it behoves us to understand before we can be able to estimate the fairness of the trial or the justice of the verdict that is to pass thereon. To unfold that constitution, therefore, we would address ourselves without delay, did a preliminary question not suggest itself—What good the Almighty proposes by laying us under responsibility, and what right he hath to do so ? The mind doth not easily relinquish its own rule at any time, and looks for a sufficient inducement. And it is to be expected that the Creator, who knows the nature of his handiwork, should consult for that nature he has given it, and in presenting any supplementary
code of government, accommodate himself to the conditions in which it is already placed. This is a preliminary inquiry, upon which the mind looks to have satisfaction, before it will go with good accord into the details of any constitution or judgment thereon. The matter of right is the first question, which being disposed of, we are then welcome to make our propositions.
That all fairness may be allowed to that human nature, which is the honoured tribunal we plead before, we shall therefore search a little into her ways, and see whether she doth better to be in a state of responsibility, or to be discharged into her own unbounded freedom. Then we shall examine the grounds upon which the Almighty places himself forward as her lawgiver, and the general tendency of that responsibility with which he hath overlaid her goings out and her comings in, which will occupy the remainder of this first division of our discourse. In addressing ourselves to which inquiry, Whether human nature does well to sit under a condition of responsibility ? we judge it the most pleasant and satisfactory method of proceeding, to look into the real form which she puts on in families, and in political bodies, and private friendships, and the other institutions which distinguish the nature of men from the nature of the lower animals—then to examine whether there is any analogy between what is congenial to her in these institutions and that responsibility under which God hath placed her by his judgment.
From the earliest dawn of comprehension, our parents lay down to us things to be done and things to be avoided; praising or blaming, rewarding or punishing, according to our perform
In this they are prompted by a regard to our future happiness, so far as they can discern the way to it; otherwise they would never impose painful restraints upon those whom they love. Accordingly, so soon as we are able to weigh the consequences of things, they point out the good they would secure, and the evil they would avoid by this early discipline, thereby bringing our own will to go along with theirs, and so securing us by two principles, that of parental authority, and that of advantage fore
Here from the very first, are all the elements of government-a good end to be secured for the little state-laws drawn out and made known for securing it one who persuades obedience to them and sees them obeyed, and if disobeyed, visits the offence with such treatment as may recal the offender, and be a warning to the rest. The parent who is at the head of this little administration is so far from being divested of the sense of responsibility, that he is the one perhaps who feels it most. He makes no regulation according to blind wilfulness, but consults for the future welfare of his offspring--he studies their nature, and so soon as it is ripe, he addresses their understanding-he executes justice amongst them, and preserves consistency in his judgment, and mingles a reasonable allowance of liberty with