Page images
PDF
EPUB

ga

be let in: many,

many shall say in that day, Lord, Lord, open to us,” who will be sent away with

Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.” And yet, perhaps, some of them had all along depended upon an admission, because they had made a regu. lar profession, called themselves Christians, and were so accounted by their fellow-worshippers ; because, like Herod, they did many things, and heard the preachers of the Gospel gladly ;-because they kept the Sabbath : did not allow themselves, as others do, in walking and visiting, much less in playing, on that holy day ;-because they attended the sacrament, and were kind to the poor. But, alas! with all these appearances of good, Christ tells them they were “workers of iniquity.” They talked of the ways of Christ, but they walked in the ways of sin. They were punctual, even to a degree of scrupulosity, in outward observances; but, not having been “ created anew in Christ Jesus unto good works,” it was “ bodily exercise,” and profited nothing. If they, therefore, who had nothing to say for themselves, found the door shut against them, let us take warning from their miscarriage, to be more cautious, that we do not trust in “ lying words;" that we do not lean on “ broken reeds;" that we do not cry, “ Peace, peace, when there is no peace;" and take up a good opinion of our. selves, and hastily conclude that all is well, when we are all the while in the "gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity.” Let us, therefore, examine ourselves, and prove our own selves, and put it home to our hearts, and seriously endeavour to find out, whether we have any right to the comfort which this precious text contains.-- In short, do we

hope, and have we good ground to hope, that we shall be admitted into heaven, and see all those glorious places and persons just now described ? A few plain questions will easily decide it. Do you love to look at heaven through a glass, darkly ? Do your eyes and hearts naturally incline that way? Do you love the habitation of God's house; and did you ever, in the paroxysms of your love and joy, pray that you might "dwell there all the days of

your life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple ?” David did so. Though he had every thing that the world could give, yet he did not set his heart upon that: he rejoiced as though he rejoiced not, in these poor perishing portions: he had chosen the Lord for his portion, and he delighted comparatively in nothing else. The whole desire of his soul was towards God, and the remembrance of his name; and if at any time the Lord shed the light of his countenance upon his soul, it put more gladness into his heart, than the men of the world could feel in the increase of their corn and wine. And if this be your experience; if you count it the greatest privilege and pleasure of your lives to draw near to God: if you esteem a day in his courts better than a thousand ; if you are thankful for Sabbaths and ordinances, and glad when they return ;-I say, if you love to be in the way where you are most likely to meet God; and will say at any time, to worldly profit and worldly pleasures, Stand by, I have pleasanter work before me; I had rather lose any thing than an opportunity of communing with God'-surely this is a token for good; and I need not hesitate to say,--Blessed are ye pure in heart, for ye shall see God; blessed

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

are ye that do thus hunger now, for ye shall be filled ; blessed are ye that thus pant after God, and are so thankful and happy in being disposed to seek him, and especially if you are permitted to see him, though it be very seldom and very imperfectly : -depend upon it, you shall hereafter see him better, and see him oftener, and shall be satisfied when you awake with his likeness.

But if you know nothing of all this; if you are entire strangers to delighting in God, or earnest desires after him ; if you can pass days, and weeks, , without inquiring after him, or thinking of him; if you had rather not think of him, nor have any thing to do with him: and therefore Sabbath time is a burthen, and Sabbath work a drudgery, and you would be glad if there were no such day in the week, or no such commandment in the Decalogue; - I say, if you have no inclination to seek God's face, and no pleasure in seeing it now, you may conclude that you shall not be permitted to see him hereafter, but shall be shut out, and shut up, in everlasting darkness.

Will you, then, be persuaded, seriously to put this question to yourselves : O my soul, which of these states is likely to be mine? Where, and with whom, am I likely to dwell for ever? With whom do I most frequently, and most willingly associate now?' - That will tell you what you have to expect.

2. How miserable must they be who shall be deprived of all these glorious sights ! :

You shall lose tlie company, you shall: even lose the sight, of all the greatest and best persons in heaven and earth. You may think this no great

punishment now: you have no relish for such society: you have other sights and other company to entertain you, which you like better : and so long as you can indulge yourselves in sensual pleasures, so long as you can rank with the great and the gay, and mix in the splendid or mirthful scenes of life, you have nothing more that you wish for. But, depend upon it, you will have other thoughts hereafter. Only suppose that this were the Day of Judgment; that all nations were here gathered together before the tribunal of Christ ;-suppose that the trials were all over, and that the an. gels were now beginning to make the final separation of saints from sinners ;-suppose you saw those blessed ones, on the right hand of the Judge, marching, with shouts of joy and triumph, through the gates into the city : and that you could look in, and see them robed and enthroned ;-suppose you saw among them some of your own pious relations, --for example, a father or mother, a husband or wife, a brother or sister, or some friend that stuck closer to you than a brother-and that your eye caught theirs ;-suppose you saw the gates shutting and you yourselves on the outside ;-what do

you think you

should do then? I will tell you: in an agony of grief and desperation you would go up to the gate, and knock, and cry, «« Lord, Lord open to us.” “ we have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets;" we always went to the place of worship, and sometimes went to sacrament: and in all companies, were forward to talk about religion: and wilt thou not let us in ?-'No.'_You would then, perhaps, plead your relation to such and such, of distin.

VOL. II.

!

M

your admission.

guished eminence in the kingdom of God; and, in the wildness of your phrensy, call upon them by name, and beseech them, by former connections and all the intimacy and endearment that once subsisted between them and you, to intercede for

I can tell you, too, what answer you would receive: “I know you not whence you are; depart from me, ye workers of iniquity."O my unhappy friends! what a pitiable situation would you then be in!- to be denied even another look at those you once so dearly loved; denied the poor privilege of standing near the gate !

to be driven away with a frown and a curse; and -whither driven ?

I can go no further ; but I wish you would: for all this will as surely happen as the sun will go down this night. Look back on the glorious and blessed society you shall be shut out from ; and then look down into the bottomless pit, and see the wretches that you are to be shut up with for ever.

- I hope the sight will shock you. I hope you do already tremble at the dreadful danger, and wish any one would advise you what you should do to prevent being shut out from God, and Christ, and angels, and saints, and all the glory and blessedness of heaven.--I will advise you what to do:

1. Associate with those now, with whom you would wish to live hereafter.

It is an ancient saying, and common to a proverb, that “a man is known by his company :" and according to his chosen companions here, will probably be his appointed companions hereafter. It is a remarkable expression of Scripture to this purpose, that when any die, whether saints

« PreviousContinue »