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OF JUDGMENT TO COME.
THE ONLY WAY TO ESCAPE CONDEMNATION AND
WRATH TO COME.
From these awful scenes which we have been faintly sketching out, for in their fulness of joy or fulness of sorrow it is not given to man either to know or to describe them, we return to visible things; and, planting ourselves upon the populous earth, we could wish to lift up a voice like the last irumpet in the ears of men; How are you to escape this condemnation and wrath to come! But, alas! there is no voice like the last trumpet, to reach the ear of perishing men; and unless the Lord hasten to pour his Spirit upon all flesh, the abject people will die ignorant of salvation, and for ever perish from the way of everlasting peace. Do Thou, who gavest thy Son for sinful men, now quicken my thoughts, that they may come forth full of divine life, to plant their likeness in every bosom to which these pages may come! This, truly, is my prayer. But were my God pleased to grant me this, how little doth it avail among the myriads in this world!--among the myriads even in this empire-among the myriads even in this city, who are perishing under the mortal disease of sinfulness, which hath spread into the heart of every cottage, and is fast hauling its unvisited and unpitied inmates to habitations of misery. There is an establishment of physicians to make known the remedy unto the people, and there are houses open where the remedy is made known. But, alas! the people know not of the soul-consuming malady, and having none 10 tell them, they come not to be cured; while in their darkness Satan revelleth, wasting them with lust and pride and quarrel. The miserable people have no chance of being delivered, unless the Lord will awaken his congregation, and send them forth on errands of salvation. Oh, for the spirit of a Paul,
to lead the congregation forth upon this errantry of good! Oh, for the spirit of a Loyola, to bind them in a harmony of exertion; Oh, for the spirit of a Luther, to make them fearless of infringing established things:--that a reformation might come about, which would not need to be reformed. But, I think Religion hath learned to make men tame and cowardly, whom anciently she made undaunted. The men of God hardly speak above their breath, who were wont to ring doom and woe into every impeding minister of evil. They creep about under the colossal limbs of power, and cry mercy instead of denouncing vengeance. It is an age in which the ancient spirit is well nigh extinct; but it will revive again in this land, which hath been famous for the junction of manhood with religion; when to the piety and the humility of the church, will be added her ancient fearlessness and heroism and activity. And the offence of the offending will be feared no longer; Christian spirit will resume its boldness, Christian sight its watchfulness; every priest will be a watchman in Zion, and every Christian a soldier around its walls.
It dispirits me while I undertake to write, to think how much better the subject hath been written before, and how darkness triumphs over all the light which hath been scattered abroad. No sooner doth a book with any nerve appear, which might make invasion upon Satan's reign, than he covers it with the disparagement of some hated name, calling it enthusiastical, gloomy, or ascetic, and so keeps it from coming into those places where the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, have their strongest holds, Or he raiseth up some strong minded, light-witted scoffer, to argue or laugh it down, whereof he hath establishments -scholars, wits, and critics—who hate the very visage of a genuine disciple of Christ, and are aye ready to asperse any book which is marked with the sign of the Cross, and send it into the arcana of oblivion. And, oh! the natural man loveth any thing better than to hear of this new birth and regeneration, and will take up with a pleasant song or idle tale sooner than he will with the institutes of his own salvation. And, alas! there are multitudes who cannot read what is written, and come not to hear what may be spoken; so that it dispirits me while I write, to think of the difficulties which stand before my way, and how abler' men have endeavoured in vain to beat these difficulties down.
But while the Press is free (which may it for ever remain!) it will send forth its host of intellectual messengers,
as evening sendeth forth her constellations to rule over the darkness of the night. And as astrology believeth of the stars which come forth at even-tide, these messengers
of intellectual light do, without a fable, shed various influence over the lives and fortunes of man-some, like the martial planet, stirring him to strife; some melting him to tender love, some rousing him to gay and jovial moods, and some foredooming him to the saturnine fates of melancholy and misfortune. Likewise, as in the starry firmament there is but one blessed light which hath in it any steady guidance to the lost wanderer or the sea-faring voyager, so amongst those various lights in the firmament of mind, there is but the solitary light of religion which hath in it any consolation or direction to guide the soul of man-faring through the perilous gulf of death onward to eternity. Therefore, it seemeth to me, that from the Press there should at all times issue forth, amidst its teeming company, some forms of religious truth, to guide the course of those who are ever influenced by its novelties. On which account, though we i should say nothing that has not been better said before, we will, out of regard to the constant appetite of the age for novelty, and out of pure love to the good old cause, set forth our opinion.
I fancy, that if the Spirit of God were to choose out twelve men from the house of God, with whom to finish the great work of converting men, especially the men of this country, and for that purpose were, as on a second Pentecost, to bestow upon them special gifts, the gift of writing powerfully would be a chief one. For the press hath come to master the pulpit in its power; and to be able to write powerful books, seems to me a greater accomplishment of a soldier of Christ, than to be able to preach powerful discourses. The one is a dart, which, though well-directed, may fly wide of the mark, and having once spent its strength is useless for ever;—the other is the ancient catapulta, which will discharge you a thousand darts at once in a thousand different directions; and it hath an apparatus for making more darts, so that it can continue to discharge them for ever. To use this most powerful of intellectual and moral instruments in the service of Christ is a noble ambition, which should
possess the soul of every Christian. He doth in a manner multiply his soul thereby, and give to his ideal thoughts a habitation and a name; his ethereal spirit he doth in a way condense and present for the use of others, as they do the invisible steam of liquors; he doth rectify it, he doth
make of it an aqua-vitæ, au elixir of life, to the refreshing and saving of many souls. Therefore I do not hesitate to confess, that in this essay in the cause of Christ field of religious literature, I feel like the knight that breaks his first lance in the cause of honour; and though I love not the fashion of modern books, conceiving them to be timid, cramped, and uncheerful, with little of the freedom and inellowness of the olden time, still for the sake of Him whom I heartily serve, I will venture at every risk, though in an unwonted costume of language, and a very ungainly style of sentiment.
1o go on, therefore, with my purpose of serving my Saviour by a printed book, I call the attention of men to the way in which they hope to pass the solemn tribunal, and escape the wrath to come. Various are the shifts to which the mind hath recourse in its hopes. But all hope is at an end when faith cometh into action, which is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Now the object of faith is revelation, which revelation, upon the subject of judgment, we have laid down at length in the preceding pages. From which, if any one now feeth to sail away into unrevealed and unknown regions of hope, then he is a dreamer whom it is idle to argue with. For revelation is a law to hope, as it is to fear, and fixeth bounds beyond which they cannot pass; and he who believeth revelation is brought under the power of its truths by faith, just as he who beholds the outward world is brought under the power of its realities by sense. So that it were just as absurd for a man who sees a river before him, to hope it may be dry land, and so plunge into it and be drowned, as it is for a man who sees wrath written in revelation against his way of life, to hope it may not be wrath but forgiveness, and so rush upon the bosses of the Almighty's buckler, as the wild horse rusheth into the battle. Revelation is the truth of things unknown, and hath to the future the same relation which experience hath to the past; and it were as absurd to believe that what hath happened to us in life has not been so, or to hope it has not been so, (if that form of expression may be allowed,) as it is to hope that what God hath revealed against characters of our stamp will not happen. We are wont to repose all in the largeness of God's mercy; but revelation is a rule to the infinitude of the Almighty's attributes, any one of which is a sea to swallow speculation up, were it not for the shores which the Almighty hath himself set to them in the word of his truth.
So that it is as absurd to hope that his justice will give way when it comes to the push before his mercy, and leave us in safety, though doomed by justice to destruction, as it would be to believe that his justice will strengthen itself and sweep all before it, devouring even those who trusted in Christ, and attached themselves to his cause. Revelation is a stiff and rigid thing, like stubborn fact, and will not be disputed: we may fancy and feign, we may quibble and dogmatize, but if we believe, that belief plants a deathblow in our imaginings, and demolisheth all the strong holds of our sophistry. If revelation have propounded an escape, there is one; if it have not propounded an escape from judgment and wrath, why then escape there is none.
There is only one position, that the revelation if not true is a fable, is a lie which will deliver men of an unchristian character from an unchristian destiny. Those who hold that position may hope for forgiveness, and trust in mercy to what extent they please, for they are sailing in a sea of darkness. The Deist may construct a god after his own wishes, to quiet his fears or indulge his passion or license his affections; to palliate adultery, murder, every vice and crime, as the ancient heathens did; and may run the chance of that idol of imagination holding good in the end. But for a Believer in revealed truth to do the same, is first to give his belief the lie, and then to lanch into the same sea of trust which the Deist doth. These Deists are always shedding sneers upon the Christian, because he believes. The Christian doth believe what he hath upon good evidence adopted. But what doth the Deist do? He believes that for which he hath no evidence at all; he takes God upon the credit of his own crude fancy, he rests his faith upon an invention of his brain, an invention framed out of a thou. sand incoherent thoughts, suggested by limited and erroneous knowledge, and distorted by a thousand likings and dislikings, in no two minds alike. This creature, more deformed than sin, and more changeable than Proteus, the credulous Deist believes to be the living and true God. And if the man will be mad and act upon his dreams, he can take the folly and the shame that will come of such fatuity. But for the Christian to do so, who believes in the God of revelation, is the highest pitch of crime added to an equal amount of folly, and is not once to be endured. Hath not God first written himself upon tables of stone, then upon the countenance of his everlasting Son, then given varieties of the same in the renewed lives of his saints? This