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ALL MEN ACCOUNTABLE TO GOD.
PREACHED AT COLLIER'S END, OUT OF DOORS,
JULY 19, 1807.
“So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
ROMANS XIV. 12.
These words were first addressed to the Romans by the apostle Paul : they spoke loudly to them, and bid them prepare for their final judgment. And are they of no importance to us, the ends of the world are come ?” Do they demand no serious attention from us? Ought they not to lessen our attachment to present things, and inspire us with holy boldness and resolution in the cause of God our Saviour ? They represent the great Eternal as our Judge, and we all, every one of us, giving an account of ourselves to him. And if the Judge is at the door, how careful should we be to live, not to ourselves; but whether we live, we should live unto the Lord; or whether we die, we should die unto the Lord ; so that whether living or dying, we may be the Lord's.. “ For to this end," says the apostle, “ Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” Why then should we judge one another ? “ for we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ.” For it is written; “ As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” Oh, let the artful hypocrite, the openly profane, and the real believer, hear the solemn language of the text. It is language that concerns them all, and demands from every one of us earnest attention, close examination, and fervent prayer. “ So then every one of us shall give account of hiniself to God.” For a few moments, then, let us lay aside every other concern, and attend to this most important subject. From the text we shall make two plain observations :
I. That at the general judgment, we must give an account of ourselves.
II. That this account will be rendered to God.
Oh that the Holy Spirit would impress the subject on all our minds, and cause our meditations to be very profitable to all our souls! Observe, then,
I. That at the general judgment we shall give an account of ourselves.
It is a subject which concerns us all, for it is said in the text,
Every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” “ The hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice.” “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God;" that is, persons of all ages, states, and degrees of men, will have to make their appearance before the great white throne. The sea shall give up the dead which are in it and death and hell (that is, earth and the grave) shall give up the dead that are in them; and they shall all be judged, every man according to his works, even from the king on the throne to the beggar on the dunghill. Then shall the rich and the poor meet together, the Lord shall be the Judge of them both : there will be no distinction made on account of former riches or poverty. Both the man of property and
wealth, and he who in the sweat of his brow did eat bread, shall be judged at one tribunal. The man of learning and study will receive his sentence at the same tribunal, and from the same tremendous Judge, as the ignorant and illiterate man, who has neither opportunities to be wise, nor desire to be learned. All the various classes of men will stand before God on that solemn day. Then will the minister who labored, toiled, and spent himself in the service of God, give up his account. Being raised from the long sleep of death, with holy serenity and joyful triumph on his countenance, he approaches the Judge of all the earth, and, accompanied with those who were called by his ministry, he exclaims, “Here am I, Father, and the children whom thou hast given me. Thou knowest that I aimed not at the great things of the world, though I was thanksul for those conveniences which thou gavest me: I preached not to display learning or to acquire human applause, but, being washed in Jesus' blood myself, I longed to direct others to that blessed fountain : I preached in compassion to souls, and with an earnest desire to please and honor thee." Then shall the Judge say to this faithful laborer, “Well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
There also shall appear the time-serving loiterer in the vineyard of the Lord; and, oh! what a dreadful sentence will be passed on that unhappy man, who never faithfully warned of sin, or of approaching danger! Many will rise up and accuse him in that day, because he did not warn them to flee from the wrath to come.
Oh! in what unutterable anguish will he behold the Searcher of all hearts, and the Trier of the reins of the children of men, who will punish sinners with ev
erlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power! All that have believed through grace, and fled for refuge to Jesus, shall receive their acquittal before an assembled world. All whom everlasting love elected, sovereign mercy redeemed, and sanctifying grace made holy, shall hear their Judge saying, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." And every worker of iniquity, every enemy of the cross of Christ, shall then meet this Judge. And, oh! awful will be his sentence ! Words cannot express the terror, the horror, the despair which shall pervade his soul, when that God, whose word, ways, and people, he despised, shall say to him, “ Depart from me, thou cursed, into everlasting burning, prepared for the devil and his angels.' Awful as this sentence is, it will be executed to its utmost extent, and the unhappy lost soul will to all eternity experience the weight of Almighty vengeance. In a word, our text says, “Every one of us shall give account of himself to God." Every one that has ever lived on this earth; every one that now inhabits it; every hearer of the gospel ; every husband, wife, and child; every professor of religion ; every enemy to God. Every one in this assembly will give up his account. All that the fire has consumed, that the sea has contained, or that the earth has inclosed, shall hear the trumpet sound, and awake, either to everlasting life, or to eternal shame and confusion. The part allotted to us, our text informs us, will be to give an account of ourselves : we shall give an account of the talents which we possess—the mercies which we enjoy— the judgments which we have abused—and the actions which we performed.
1. We shall give an account of the talents which we possess.
Our Lord represents our giving an account of the talents with which we are intrusted, by a parable in Luke xix. 11-27. By this parable, he reminds us of that awful reckoning to which we shall be called, and which is mentioned in our text. He therein shows us, that it will be in vain for us to approach the Lord of heaven and earth, saying, “ Lord, behold here is thy pound, which I have kept, laid up in a napkin.” For why does God give men natural talents and abilities, but that they may improve them to his glory! There have been many, who have been blessed with capacious minds and great abilities, who have prostituted their talents to the vilest of purposes; these persons will all be summoned before the great tribunal, to give an account of themselves to God, and will undoubtedly hear their tremendous Judge saying, “ Those, mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither and slay them before me.” And those to whom God gave but moderate talents, who yet improved them, and spent all their lives in that service which is perfect freedom, namely, the service of God, those persons shall be honorably acquitted ; and having been faithful in that which is little, shall be instantly received into the joy of their Lord.
Oh, let us never forget that we shall be called to give an account of our stewardship, and that we shall either be hailed to eternal glory, or banished to unutterable despair. Let us employ the abilities God has given us in the best of causes, in promoting the honor and glory of God our Saviour, by telling to all around us the unsearchable riches of Divine grace, that they may be encouraged to