« EdellinenJatka »
de most behe spirits.ch a state
dark forebodings of such a state should sometimes sink the spirits, and shake the frames of the most bold and daring sinners ? The bare description of what some have endured under these apprehensions makes the blood run chill. I was much affected with the account of the Honourable Francis Newport, who died in 1692. He was both an infidel and a profligate. In his last illness the horror of his mind became inexpressible. In nine days' time he was reduced from the most robust state of health to perfect weakness ; during all which time, his language was the most dreadful that imagination can conceive. At one time, looking toward the fire, he said, “ Oh! that I was to lie and broil upon that fire for a hundred thousand years, to purchase the favour of God, and be reconciled to him again! But it is a fruitless, vain wish : millions of millions of years will bring me no nearer the end of my tortures than one poor hour. O eternity! eternity! who can properly paraphrase upon the words for ever and ever?” In this state he died. Oh, who can bear the thought of wrath to come, the judgments of God, the last plagues ! Oh, what a state, to be tormented day and night for ever! One would think, that the glimpses and forebodings of hell would fill conscious sinners with the frenzy of Cain, the madness of Ahithophel, the trembling of Felix, and the des. pair of Judas. « To you, that are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ : who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power, when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all them that believe,” 2 Thess. i, 7-10.
2. The future condition of the Christian will be a state of honour and glory; but that of the unbeliever a state of shame and confusion.
All who are renewed by Divine grace are called vessels of honour, sanctified, and made meet for their master's use. All true Christians turn away their eyes from beholding vanity, and seek for glory, honour, and immortality. These, as they are faithfully promised, shall be certainly given. Hence the future bliss of the saints is represented by the most magnificent images, such as palms, crowns, thrones, a paradise, a kingdom. O what triumphs are prepared for those who shall come off more than conquerors through him that hath loved them! What bright, un
sullied beams of glory will burst upon the ransomed of the Lord in the resurrection morning! Whát an honour will it be to hear the gladdening invitation of the Saviour, “ Come ye blessed of my Father!” Then shall the Lord wipe away every foul calumny, make the reproach of his people for ever to cease, and elevate them to stations of exalted dignity and eternal joy. Well might the apostle say, “ I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. Nor was he liable to an error in this calculation, or in the least afraid of having overrated the objects of his hope. It is true, in the present state, we can have but very feeble and indistinct ideas of that glory. Now, we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face ; now we know in part, but then shall we know even as we are known. Here we have but dim, twilight views; hereafter we shall have clear unbounded prospects. As a man, who had never seen the sun, could form but a poor idea of his splendour from the twinkling of a star, so the best means which we now possess enable us to comprehend but little of heavenly glory. It is but seldom that the reality of worldly grandeur equals the representations of report. But the glory to be revealed at the ap
pearing of Jesus Christ will exceed, far exceed all description. We may, multiply words, but the half cannot be told. Happy day! when these bodies shall be raised from the grave, and fashioned like unto his glorious body. Wondrous change! when mortality shall be swallowed up of life. Then shall the saints be joyful in glory.
But where shall the sinner and the ungodly appear? When the last trumpet shall sound, they must awake to shame and everlasting contempt. How glad would they be to escape, if it were possible, into the darkest corner of the universe, to shun the piercing eyes of the omniscient Judge. They will then, in vain, call for the rocks and mountains to cover them, and hide them from the wrath of the Lamb. How will the lofty looks of man be humbled, and the haughtiness of man brought down, and the Lord alone exalted in that day! What confusion and horror will then cover the ungrateful, the unbelieving, the impenitent, the daring blasphemer, the beastly drunkard, the vile adulterer, the cruel oppressor, the sceptical mocker, the painted hypocrite! These will be speechless at the bar of an inflexible Judge. All the fine schemes of infidelity, all the vain excuses of negligence, and all the specious veils of dissimulation, will then
be swept away. Then, all who have lived and died incorrigible rebels against God, and enemies to Christ, must be clothed with shame, bound in fetters, and cast into outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
3. The future condition of the Christian is a state of positive, unmixed, eternal felicity in the presence of God, and the highest order of created spirits ; while the future doom of the unbeliever is a state of unmitigated and endless misery with the devil and his angels.
Heaven is not only an absolute freedom from sin, suffering, and every kind of danger, but also a state of positive and perfect happiness. I have before said, that words are inadequate to give a just and full description. Indeed, “ Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive what things God hath laid up for them that love him.” The language of the sweet singer of Israel is so pleasing, that it ought not to be omitted here. “ Thou wilt show me the path of life : in thy presence is fulness of joy, and at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.” To denote at once the purity, the plenitude, and the duration of the saints' future joy, our feeble conceptions are aided by comparisons drawn from many objects around us,