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death, awful as it is, is only an introduction to something more awful still: the immediate consequence of death is Judgment!“ We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ." Every one, small and great, shall stand before God, and be examined as to the deeds done in the body. The secrets of all hearts shall then be made mani. fest. They are naked and open to the eyes of God now ; but men do not mind that, so long as they are concealed from the eyes of the world ;-but then, what has been “ done in a corner shall be proclaimed on the house-top:"what they now blush at the thought of any one's knowing, shall be published before men and angels ;-and every one shall receive according to what he hath done, whether it be good or whether it be evil.”-- O my soul, are these things so ? How dost thou think to stand before the Son of man? Stand before him thou must, and give an account of thyself to God. – What if this night I should be called to give this account !-(many have been summoned with as little warning)-am I ready? is the Judge my friend? I will not give sleep to my eyes, nor slumber to my eyelids, till he is so.
O my soul, I will take diligent heed unto my ways, and will not allow myself in any thing which I should be ashamed, or afraid, that all the world should know. I will look into matters more than I have done: I will judge myself, that I may not be finally condemned of the Lord !'
And when you are got so far as this, do not stop here. As death was only an introduction to judgment, so judgment is only an introduction to heaven or hell! Dreadful alternative ! ! Which of, them, o'my soul, is likely to be thy portion?
It is true, I'flatter myself with hopes of heaven; but what evidence have I of any interest in, of any title to, of any meetness for, of any progress towards, that blessed state? - my foolish, stupid, carnal heart, dost thou consider what heaven is? - why, it is to be near, and to be like, and to possess, and to enjoy, God! If it were only to be freed from all evil, both of sin and suffering; to rest from labour; to have no more sickness, nor pain, nor sorrow; this were a great privilege ;-but this is the smallest part of heaven : in heaven, all the impurities and imperfections, both of soul and body, shall be done away; and there shall be the sweetest communion with God, and Christ, and glorified saints, and an innumerable company of angels ; and all this without interruption and without end! This is heaven---or, rather, heaven is this, and infinitely more and better than we can express or conceive.--- Why, O my soul, is heaven no more in my thoughts? why is it no more in my conversation? why am I not pressing into the kingdom of God, when the consequence of my coming short is so dreadful? If I am shut out of heaven, I must be shut up in hell ! in outer dark. ness ; a lake that burns with fire and brimstone; where the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever; where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched ; where there is nothing but wailing, and gnashing of teeth ; where the poor boon of a drop of water to cool my tongue will be denied !--My flesh trembles while I think of this place of torment ;---and yet, my soul, let me not forget it:. thousands have probably dropped into bell, : while they were dreaming of heaven. I will therefore fly
to Jesus, who alone can deliver me from the wrath to come: and I will do it immediately : I would not put it off till to-morrow for the world: my soul may be required to-night! Lord, save me, or I perish!'
In some such manner as this we should commune with our own heart about our state, what we were, what we are, and what we are likely to be.
2. We should commune with our own hearts about Sin.
This God calls to, in Ezek. xxxvi. 31; " Then shall ye remember
your own evil ways, and your doings which were not good, and shall loath yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities, and for your
abominations:" and in Serem, vüi. 6. he sharply reproves and heavily complains of the neglect of it; “ No man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done ?” Surely here is matter for much melancholy talk with ourselves.
O my soul, how could I be so blind and so proud, as to think I had whereof to boast before God! now, that all the while I was a most impure and loathsome wretch. Such a sinful nature ! a heart so full of all wickedness ! And as the fountain was, so were the streams; as was the tree, so was the fruit: nothing but șin, sin; till my transgressions are become more than the hairs of my head, or the sand on the sea-shore ! And such great sins too !---sins against my Creator, my Preserver, my Benefactor ;---gins against Christ, who came down and died to make reconciliation for iniquity, and make an end of sin ;---sins against the Holy Ghost, who hath been so long striving with me, and persuading me to cast away my transgressions wherein I had transgressed ;---sins
against the Law of God, every tittle of which is holy, just, and good ;---sins against the Gospel of Christ, a dispensation full of love and mercy;--sins against my own conscience, which often and often warned me against it! O how are my transgressions multiplied ! I am astonished that such a guilty wretch should be so long out of hell !---Who spared me? Why did he spare me? How could he spare me ?.....I will tell thee, O my soul: dost thou not remember that precious word, “ And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, even Jesus Christ the righteous ?” (1 John ii. 1.) That is the reason of my being spared.---" If any man sin ?"---why, then, if I sin.---An “ Advocate with the Father?”-- some one to speak for me to God ? to answer all the clamours and charges of the divine law against me ?-.-" Jesus Christ the righteous ?"---God's own Son, in whom he is well pleased, and whom he heareth always !-" Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” I am a sinner, a great sinner ; but here is a great Saviour; one who is the propitiation for my sins : and not for my
sins only, but for the sins of the whole world !--- Where is he? I will not rest till I have committed
my cause to this blessed Advocate. I have heard much of his compassion to others : what if he should be kind to me! what if he should say, “ Thy sins, which are many, are forgiven thee!”---Come, my soul: I am in patient till I have confessed my transgressions to the Lord, and he hath forgiven the iniquity of my sin.
3. We should commune with our hearts about Duty.
And here, also, the conversation must open with
self-upbraiding :-O my soul, what an unprofitable servant have I been! what a poor account can I give of myself to God! how little good have I done, considering what I ought to have done! The commandment is exceeding broad, and required universal and perfect obedience. I cannot plead ignorance, for he hath showed me what is good, and what the Lord my God requires of me. I need not say, Who will ascend up into heaven for me; or, Who will go over the sea for me, to bring me the declarations of his will from thence? The word is nigh unto me, if I would but hear it and do it.O my slothful heart! why hast thou done so little when thou knewest how much was required! Again : How little have I done, in comparison of what I might have done! What talents have I had put into my hands! Who had more advantages than I! Truly might God say to me, “What could have been done more for thee that I have not done?” I own it: though to my own confusion and condemnation, I must confess, he hath : even loaded me with benefits. And he might go on, and say,
Wherefore, when I looked for grapes, broughtest thou forth wild grapes ?”
I must own this too: I have requited him evil for his good!.0 my soul, what might I haye been, and done, if I had but been diligent and faithful in the improvement of the talents. God entrusted me with! Whati advånces might I have made in grace myself, and how useful might I have been to others ! Fool that I was to let such talents lie in a napkin! What shall I say, when the Lord of all.cometh to reckon with me!
Once more... Hows little have I done of what I promised to do. Whenysthe Lord convinced me of