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and their nations listened with admiration Observe the difference; mark the changes and respect, was at length dishonoured, de which these undergo, as they draw nigh; graded, defiled by the impurities of idolatry, see the hardened sinner, cased in sevenfold and by the imprudence and a postacy of him adamant, advancing with intrepid step, strivwho sat upon it; and thus deprived of one of ing to make assurance pass for innocence. its firmest supporters, it shook under him, But, lo, the rays of that white throne have and he at length dropped from it, a monu- fallen upon him; the spots begin to appear, ment of the nothingness and vanity of human they grow blacker and blacker, he gradually grandeur, wealth, and wisdom. Ten of its becomes abominable and more abominable; twelve props slipt from beneath it, through odious to the beholder, a terror to himself, the imprudence of his son ; and, after a few he shrinks from inquiry, darkness is ditsused convulsive struggles, it sunk at length into around from the brightness of that light; he the dust, a poor, precarious, subordinate calls upon the mountains to fall upon him, throne, subject to the lordly state of an and upon the hills to cover him. Assyrian prince. What is the glory of angels Not so the humble follower of the Lamb. that excel in strength? Delegated power, His countenance becomes more and more derived splendour, imparted wisdom, dignity serene, his contidence increases, every bleunder authority. But, behold on yonder mish disappears, "the glory of the Lord is radiant throne, one “made so much better risen upon him," his lustre brightens as he than the angels, as he hath by inheritance proceeds, at length he is united to, he is lost obtained a more excellent name than they." in the fountain of joy. “ile maketh his angels spirits, and his “I saw him that sat on it.” “No man ministers a fiame of fire. But unto the Son | hath seen God at any time.” Remove that he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever cloud, that vapour, and I am unable steadand ever; a sceptre of righteousness, is the fastly to behold the face of the sun; how sceptre of thy kingdom.” “Sit on my right much more, the face of Him who arrays the hand until I make thine enemies thy foot- sun in all his effulgence! If he raise his stool." Behold “ the Lord sitting upon a voice a little louder in the whirlwind, or in throne, high and lifted up,” surrounded with the thunder, I am overwhelmed and lost. the seraphim, crying continually unto one Ah! it is conscious guilt that appals me, another, and saying, “ Holy, holy, holy is that clothes the face of God with terror, that the Lord of Hosts, the whole earth is full roars in the tempest, that raises the voice of of his goodness."
the mighty thunder: but, “ reconciled unto "A great white throne,” the emblem of God," * justified by faith,” I “have peace purity, truth, and righteousness; itself un- with God," I see as I am seen, I know as I sullied, and purifying all that approach it. am known; “ beholding with open face as in “ Righteousness and judgment are the habi- a glass the glory of the Lord,” lo, the betation of his throne; mercy and truth go be- liever is gradually “changed into the same fore his face." "Shall not the Judge of the image, from glory to glory, even as by the whole earth do right?" With the purest Spirit of the Lord.” “TI”: only begotten intention, with the highest degree of human who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath sagacity, with the most extensive knowledge declared him." of the law, and the most determined resolu Did the pomp and wisdom of an earthly tion faithfully to apply it, earthly tribunals potentate dazzle and delight the eyes of a are not secure from error; craft may over- sovereign like himself, and constrain one reach wisdom; hypocrisy may disguise the inured to scenes of magnificence to cry out, truth, or cover falsehood; the stream of " It was a true report that I heard in mine justice may be diverted or forced out of its own land, howbeit I believed not the words, channel, and the pellucid tide undergo a until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and temporary pollution. The princes of this behold the half was not told me!" What then world must see with the eyes and hear with will it be to see, with the beloved disciple, the ears of other men; the worthy and the “ a great white throne, and him who sits wise may, of course, be kept at a distance, upon it," with the myriads of the heavenly while demerit, wickedness, and folly bask in host bending before it, rejoicing without the sunshine of royal favour. But yonder trembling. radiant throne applies an infallible test to all Grant me, gracious God, now to see thee that approach it: hypocrisy drops the mask, in these thy lower works, in the wenders of the windings of deceit and cunning stand thy providnce, in the exceeding riches of exposed, the brazen, imposing forehead of thy grace, in the face of thy Son Christ Jesus, impudence is covered with a blush, and the and thereby prepare me for seeing three ag stony, unfeeling, unrelenting heart is dis- thou art, and for being made like unto thee! solved into water--modest worth rears its Place me with thy servant Moses upon a drooping head, conscious integrity expands rock, put me in a clist of the rock, cover me its glowing bosom, and purity seeks the with thy hand while thou passest by, remove source frora which it sprang.
thy hand, that I may trace thy presence in
the blessings thou hayt 'eft behind thee, that iterate, the slave and his master. But I may be strengthened to meet the direct these marks of difference are for ever aborays of thy countenance, when thou comest lished. Indeed they were long before abow " be glorified in thy saints, and admired in lished. Before that great and notable day all them that believe. “From whose face of the Lord came, before the judgment was the earth and the heaven fled away, and there set, or the books were opened, disease and was found no place for them."
death, and the grave had levelled all the dis“ All these things shall be dissolved. The tinctions of this world; had reduced the scepheavens shall pass away with great noise, tred monarch to the condition of the peasant, and the elements shall melt with fervent annulled the diference between the slave heat, the earth also, and the works that are and his master. The decisive hour is now therein shall be burnt up.” “They shall come which is for ever to determine who is peris!ı, but thou shalt endure; yea, all of henceforth to be accounted small, and who them shall wax old like a garment; as a ves- great: the hour that shall bring to light hidture shalt thou change them, and they shall den worth, and thrust presumptuous prido be changed. But thou art the same.'
.” God | into outer darkness; that shall exalt the good "spake and it was done; he gave command to the throne of God, and plunge the wicked ment and it stood fast." “ At his word into the denths of hell. earth and heaven rose out of chaos,” and lo, Te dead small and great. Even the awhe looks them into nothing again; they shrink ful distinction between the dead and the from his presence, they vanish at his nod, living shall then be done away. They were they cannot abide the brightness of his com- dead, but are alive again; " for all live to ing. They have fulfilled their day, they him.” Behold the mouldering earth, before have accomplished the purpose of him who it be for ever dissolved, restoring to existence made them, they have contributed their aid every particle of itself which once entered toward the rearing of a more glorious fabric, into the composition of a human being, which and having become unnecessary, that mo was once animated with the breath of life. ment disappear.
Behold the spacious sea, before it be for ever The local and iransient effects of an earth- dried up, surrendering its hidden treasure, quake, a hurricane, an inundation, are strik- not the silver, and gold, and jewels which its ing, impressive, and permanent: proud cities vast womb contains, but the innumerable levelled to the earth, or swallowed up of it: myriads of men and women it had been infertile plairis overwhelmed with a briny or a satiately devouring during so many ages, fiery tide; the glory of man sought, but not and whom it can no longer cover or conceal. to be found. But what is this to the dissolu- The sound of the last trumpet has dispelled tion of a globe? Surely the balance must be their long slumber. See, they emerge from destroyed, a blank in nature take place, and their watery bed, they spring up into newwild uproar ensue. No, the vision repre- ness of life, their eyes again behold the light, sents a whole system passing away; that the light of an eternal day, they swim through sun, and all the surrounding planets, and in- regions of transparent air, they can die nu numerable other“ planets circling other more, they hasten to appear before their suns," lost, yet not missed; fled, “as the Judge. Behold the grim king of terrors, baseless fabric of a vision,” and not a wreck faithful to his trust, giving in the exact releft behind; and yet no schism, no deficiency gister of his wide domain, resigning his awin the body; for the promise of the Eternal ful empire, restoring his captives to life and immediately repairs the loss; he makes “ all liberty, and their rightful Lord; not one lost, things new;" " new heavens and a new not one detained: and the great destroyer is earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." at length himself destroyed.
With the heavens and the earth, the little, And for what purpose this mighty prepafading interests and distinctions of the world ration, this second birth of nature, this new · vanish also. Before his face all is reduced creation of God ? Behold an assembled world, to one level, all is composed and tranquil- from the father of the human race down to lized; every one reads his doom in the face the youngest of his sons, stand before God. of the sovereign Judge. The heavens and They stand as subjects in the presence of earth have fled away, but the rational beings their Sovereign, as expectants before the which peopled them remain; they are of a eternal Arbiter of their destiny. In his eyes, more enduring substance, they partake of in their own consciences they read their the nature of God himself, they are immor- | doom; they stand to hear the irreversible detal, eternal like him. “I saw," says John, cree; their posture speaks acknowledgment " the dead small and great stand before of the right of judging, submission to antho. God."
rity, acquiescence in the wisdom and justice When time was, these were distinctive of the Judge. But that erect attitude must characters. There was the infant of days, quickly change into the prostration of dutiful and the hoary head, the inhabitant of the pa- and gratefulhildren, or of foes subdued, of lace, and of the cottage, the learned and the I wretches condemned: for lo.
The books are opened, and judgment be In meditating on this subject, let us learn gins. It is spoken after the manner ot' men. to forbear from exercising this dread preregaEarthly judges refer to statutes as the rule tive of the Eternal, let us refrain from judging. of their decisions; men are tried by the laws God has challenged this right with emphatic of their country, and because human facul- solemnity as his own : “ Judgment is mine, ties are linnited and imperfect, the memory I will repay, saith the Lord."
“ All judg anretentive, the understanding liable to error, ment is committed unto the Son.' “ There the heart warped by partial affections, facts fore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever, must be preserved in written documents, to thou art that judgest : for wherein thou judg. prevent alteration or mistake, the law ex- est another thou condemnest thyself'; for thou pressed in clear and distinct terms, and the that judgest doest the same things. But we cause, not the person, of the party, held up as are sure that the judgment of God is accordthe object of judgment. But what need of ing to truth, against them which commit such books or of records to assist the memory of things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that Him who is omniscience, to whom are known judgest them which do such things, and doest all his own works, and all the ways of men the same, that thou shalt escape the judg. from the foundation of the world; whose will ment of God? Or despisest thou the riches is the law; and who knows no distinction of his goodness and forbearance, and longbut that between truth and falsehood, right suffering, not knowing that the goodness of and wrong? What need of external evidence, God leadeth thee to repentance? But after of the testimony of others, when every man thy hardness and impenitent heart, treasurest carries the evidence in his own bosom, and up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath, is acquitted or condemned of his own con- and revelation of the righteous judgment of science? What, О man, are the contents God; who will render to every man accordof these awful books? The words thou arting to his deeds: to them who by patient connow speaking, the pursuits in which thou art tinuance in well-doing, seek for glory, and now engaged, the spirit by which thou art honour, and immortality ; eternal life : but now actuated. Thou art every day filling unto them that are contentious, and do not up the record, with thy hand enrolling thine obey the truth, but obcy unrighteousness; own honour or shame; and the unfolding of indignation and wrath : tribulation and anthat day shall reveal that only which thou gish upon every soul of man that doth evil, thyself hast written. On thyself it rests, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile. But whether the last solemn discovery is to cover glory, honour, and peace to every man that thee with everlasting contempt, or to crown worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to thee with joy unspeakable, and full of glory: the Gentile. For there is no respect of perwhether the opening of the book of life is to sons with God."* display thy name in golden characters to But while by every serious consideration angels and men, or the register of condem- thou art restrained, ignorant fallible creature, nation consign thee to everlasting punish- from judging another,—by every serious conment. The book that shall be opened is none sideration thou art encouraged, constraii:ed other than the book of scripture, the infalli- | to examine and to judge thyself. It may be the ble rule of faith and manners, and according means of preventing, of averting the righteous as thou art conformed unto, fallest short judgment of God. It will lead thee to the of, or exceedest that standard, so shall thy discovery of thy own weakness, and thereby doom be.
become a source of wisdom and strength. They were judged every man according It will unfold the deceitfulness of sin, and the Lo their works. In this mixed and imperfect treachery of thine own heart, and lead thee state, it frequently happens that the guilty in trembling hope to the blood of sprinkling, escape, and the innocent suffer. “The fa- which taketh away the sin of the world. It thers eat sour grapes and the children's teeth will render thee compassionate and gentle are set on edge.” Princes play the madman, to the infirmities of others, because that thou and quarrel, and fight, and myriads of unof- also hast sinned. It will produce “ godly fending wretches pay the forfeit of that folly. sorrow, which worketh repentance unto salBut before yonder tribunal every one appears vation, not to be repented of.” It will render to answer for himself; every one comes to the promises of " mercy to pardon, and of reap the fruit of his own doings. “ Enter grace to help in every time of need," precious not into judgment with thy servant, O God, to thy soul. It will help to regulate thy path for in thy sight shall no flesh living be justi- through life,' and diminish the terrors of fied." “ If thou, Lord, shouldst mark ini- death. quities, O Lord, who shall stand ?”
“ Have Finally, habitual and rooted impressions mercy upon me, O God, according to thy of a judgment to come, will serve as a suploving-kindness, according unto the multi- port under the rash censures and the unjust tude of thy tender mercies blot out my trans- decisions of men. From the strife of tongues, gressions.” Behold, O God our Shield, from the hatred of a merciless world, you can and look upon the face of thine Anointed.”
• Rom. ii. 1--IL
retire to the silent feast of a conscience void unto our God, which sitteth upon the throne, of offence; and with confidence appeal from and unto the Lamb.” “What are these which lhe angry tribunal of a creature like thyself, are arrayed in white robes ? And whence to Him who knoweth thy heart, who seeth in came they ?" “ These are they which came secret, and will reward thee openly. “ Bless out of great tribulation, and have washed ed are ye when men shall revile you, and their robes, and made them white in the blood persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice, throne of God, and serve him day and night and be exceeding glad; for great 19 your re- in his temple: and he that sitteth on the ward in heaven. Who sha; lay any thing throne shall dwell among them. They shall to the charge of God's elect! It is God that hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neijustifieth : who is he that condemneth ?” Be-ther shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. hold that " great multitude which no man For the Lamb which is in the midst of the can number, of all nations, and kindreds, and throne shall feed them, and shall lead people, and tongues, standing before the them unto living fountains waters; and throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with God shall wipe away all tears from their white robes, and palms in their hands, and eyes."* crying with a loud voice, saying, Salvation
• Rev. vii. 9-17.
HISTORY OF MOSES.
And they journeyed from mount Hor, by the way of the Red Sea, to compass the land of Edom : and the
soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt, to die in the wilderness for there is no bread, neither is there any water, and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people; and they bit the people, and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spokel: against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord that he take away the serpents from us : and Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass that every one that is billen, when he lookeih upon it shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had biuen any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.-NUMBERS Xxi. 4-9.
The restlessness, peevishness, and discon- and thus the very misery we feel is a presentent, which men are continually expressing, timent of the felicity which we were created prove at once the degeneracy and corruption to enjoy. But alas! our dissatisfaction with of human nature, and furnish a strong pre- sublunary good things, "the things which sumption of the immortality of the soul. To are seen and temporal,” is not the result of behold one generation after another, of mo- experience, nor the resignation of a mind ping, melancholy, sullen, surly beings, in the humbled to the will of God. No, it is the midst of an overflowing profusion of blessings, miserable effect and expression of insatiable charging God foolishly, tormenting them- desire, of unmortified pride, of disappointed selves unnecessarily, and disturbing others ambition. If we arrive at our object with maliciously, clearly demonstrates, that man is ease, its value is diminished by the facility of alienated from his Maker, at variance with acquisition; if obstacles lie in the way, and himself, and unkindly disposed towards his possession be removed by distance of time brother: in other words, that he is a fallen, and space, we are quickly discouraged, and corrupted creature. To behold men, what- timidly give up the pursuit. When empty, ever they have attained, whatever they pos- there is no end of our complaints ; when full, sess, forgetting the things which are behind, we loathe and reject the best things: if we and eagerly reaching forward to those which succeed, our prosperity destroys us with folly, are before, the eye never satisfied with see- insolence, and self-indulgence; if we fail, we ing, nor the ear with hearing, is a presump- are undone through shame, chagrin, and retion at least, if not a proof, that we are de- sentment; if we shun the rock of “vanity” signed of our Creator for something this world on the one side, we are sucked into the whirlhas not to bestow; that some principle in our pool of "vexation of spirit” upon the other. nature is superior to the gross and grovelling The history of Israel is, in truth, the his pursuits in which we are warmly engaged, tory of human nature. Did they discover a but in which we find and we take no rest : stubbornness which no calamity could lame. 2 T
no kindness could mollify: a levity which no seemed to be pressing them forwards to the steadiness of discipline could fix, a perfidious- possession of Canaan, not led of their heavenly ness which no plea can excuse, an ingratitude Guide directly forwards in the nearest tract, which no partiality can extenuate, a stupidi- but obliged to fetch a compass round the ty which no intelligence can account for, a whole land of Edom, the possession allotter! timidity and a rashness which no reason can to, and already bestowed upon the posterity explain? Alas, we need not travel to the of Esau. But Israel, and in them mankind, deserts of Arabia, nor look back to the days was thereby instructed to revere the destinaof the golden calf, nor of the waters of Meri- tions of Providence, to respect the rights, probah, for the persons who discovered such a perty, and privileges of others: that reason spirit. We have but to look into our own and religion, as well as sympathy and huhearts, we have but to review our own lives, manity, oblige a man to submit to the inconin order to be satisfied, that such a spirit has veniency of a journey somewhat more tedious existed, that it is shamefully odious in itself, and fatiguing, instead of attempting to cut a highly offensive in the sight of God, and that nearer passage for himself, through the bowels we have good reason to abhor ourselves, “and and blood of his brother. repent in dust and ashes."
The consciousness of having acted well, in We have pursued the history of Aaron and taking this circuitous march round the land of Balaam in a continued series, that we of Edom, and that they thus acted by the might prosecute the remainder of the history command of God, ought to have reconciled of Moses, without any farther interruption: the minds of these Israelites to the little inwe therefore omitted in its proper place that conveniences of the way; but their historian portion of it, which is partly recorded in the and leader, with his usual fidelity, informs us, verses I have read: but it is of infinitely too that “the soul of the people was much dis great importance to be passed over wholly in couraged because of the way.” silence, and therefore we look back, and Men frequently do their duty with so ill a bring it into view, as an useful subject of grace, that it becomes as offensive as downmeditation this evening.
right disobedience; the manner of compliMoses had lately descended from mount ance has the air of a refusal. God loves Hor, whither he had been summoned to per- cheerfulness in every thing; a cheerful, libeform the last offices of humanity to Aaron, his ral giver; a cheerful, thankful receiver; a brother: with mixed emotions, no doubt, cheerful, active doer; a cheerful, patient sufwhich alternately marked the man and the ferer. And what an alleviating considerabeliever : mourning and mortified, yet pa- tion is it, under the pressure of whatever catient, composed, and resigned to the will of lamity! “ This burden is imposed on me by Heaven. In executing sentence of death the hand of my heavenly Father; this is a upon his brother, he heard the voice of God sore evil, but God can turn it into good.” again pronouncing his own doom; a doom in “This affliction is not joyous, but grievous; which, with the ordinary feelings of humani- nevertheless, afterwards it shall yield the ty, he acquiesces with reluctance, but must peaceable fruits of righteousness. When however acquiesce. But though death was we are out of humour at one thing we before his eyes, and could be at no great dis- are dissatisfied with every person, and every tance, it abates nothing of his ardour for the thing; a harsh spirit and a hasty tongue glory of God, and the good of Israel; it spare neither God nor man.
“The people breaks in upon no duty of his station, it dis- spoke against God, and against Moses. turbs not the benevolence, gentleness, and Wherefore have ye brought us up out of serenity of his temper: he lives, acts, in- Egypt to die in the wilderness ? for there is structs to the very last ; and exhibits an in- no bread, neither is there any water; and our structive example of that happy firmness and soul loatheth this light bread.” equanimity of soul, removed alike from stoic Objects viewed through the medium of pasal indifference, and contempt of death, and sion, like those strange, uncouth appearances fond, infirm, unreasonable attachment to life. which are seen in glasses of a certain conWe find him accordingly, in his 120th year, struction, have little or no resemblance to and the last of his life, not only engaged in what they are in nature and truth. They employments suitable to age, those of delibe- are distorted and disfigured; magnified to rating, advising, and instructing ; but exert- such a degree as to become hideous, or dimi ing all the activity and vigour of youth, in nished so as to become imperceptible; and planning and executing sundry military en- according to the fit of the moment, men turn terprises.
the one end or the other of the perspective to We should be surprised, did we not know the eye, and what they contemplate is acthe cause of it, to find Israel in the fortieth cordingly removed to a great distance, and year from their deliverance out of Egypt, just reduced to nothing, or brought nigh, enlarged, where we saw them the first month, by the and brightened up. Employing this false way of the Red Sea, journeying from mount kind of optics, Israel now considers Egypt Hor; and even then, though every thing and all its hardships with desire and regret,