Зображення сторінки

with all its majesty, there is a simpli. archs, and prophets, and priests, and city in the mechanism of systems and kings, and people. This was to speak constellations; every star has its place of the re-appearance of every human and its orbit; and we see no traces of being that ever moved on the face of a complication, or confusion, which the earth--the old man who sunk bemight render necessary unwearied and neath the burden of years, and the infinite watchfulness, in order to the young man who perished in his prime, preventing universal disorder. And it and the infant who just opened his eyes is again a surprising truth, that the on a sinful and sad world, and then Spirit of God should act on the human closed them as though terrified-all resoul; that, secretly and silently, it produced, though all had been dispershould renovate its decayed powers, sed like chaff before the hurricane, refine its affections, and awaken the all receiving their original elements, dormant immortality. Yet even here though those elements had been the we may speak of simplicity-each soul, play-things of the winds, and the fuel like each star, has its own sphere of for the flames, and the foam upon the motion; each is distinct from each; waters. And if this were indeed the and none has ever to be dissolved, and speaking of a general resurrection, oh, mingled, like the body, with the ele- then our Lord might have already been ments of a million others.

affirming what was wonderful; but, It still then remains a kind of marvel whatsoever that had been, he might amongst marvels, that there hath not have gone on to repress the astonishdied the man who shall not live again, ment of his hearers, saying unto them, live again in that identical body which "marvel not at this," and giving as his his spirit abandoned when summoned reason, " for the hour is coming, in back to God. And upon this account, which all that are in the graves shall upon account of the apparently vaster hear my voice.” power displayed in a resurrection, may Now we have probably advanced we suppose that Christ bade his hear- enough in explanation of what perhaps ers withhold their amazement at what at first seems hardly to have been exhe had advanced. Yes, and we feel that pected, namely, that our Lord should he might have spoken of every other represent other wonders, even that of portion of God's dealings with our race, the spiritually passing from death unto and, without deprecating the wonder- life, as not to be wondered at, in comfulness of other things, have declared, parison with the resurrection of the at each step, that he had stranger truths body. We proceed, therefore, to the in store. He might have spoken of cre- examining what Christ asserts in reation; and, whilst an audience were gard of those sublime transactions confounded at the story of animate and which will be associated with this surinanimate things starting suddenly into passingly strange event. being, he might have added, "marvel The hour is coming." More than not at this.” He might have spoken, as eighteen hundred years have elapsed, he did speak, of a spiritual regenera- since he who spake as tion pervading large masses of the fac spake," and who could utter nothing mily of man; and, whilst those who but truth, made this assertion, an asserheard him were looking surprised and tion which implied that the hour was incredulous, he might have added, as at hand. But the dead are yet in their he did add," marvel not at this.” For graves; no vivifying voice has been he had to speak of a rifting of the se- heard in the sepulchres. We know pulchres, of the re-animating the dust however that

a thousand years are of buried generations. And this was to with the Lord as one day, and one day speak of earth, and sea, and air, resolv- as a thousand years.” We count it not ing themselves suddenly into the flesh therefore strange that the predicted and sinew of human-kind. This was to hour, the hour so full of mystery and speak of countless particles, some from might, has not yet arrived. But it must the east and others from the west, these come; it may not perhaps be distant; from the north, and those from the and there may be some of us, for aught south, moved by mysterious impulse, we can tell, who shall be alive on the and combining into the limbs of patri- earth when the voice issues forth, the

never man

voice which shall be echoed from the also man, and, therefore, can he put sea, and the city, and the mountain, himself into the position of those who and the desert, all creation hearkening, are brought to his bar. And because and all that hath ever lived simultane- the Judge is thus the Mediator, the ously responding. But whether we be judgment-seat can be approached with of the quick or of the dead, on the confidence and gladness. The believer morning of the resurrection, we must in Christ, who hearkened to the sug. hear the voice, and join ourselves to gestions of God's Spirit, and brake the swarming throng which presses away from the trammels of sin, shall forward to judgment. And whose is know the Son of man, as he comes the voice that is thus irresistible, which down in the magnificent sternness of is heard even in the graves of the earth, celestial authority. And we say not and in the caverns of the deep, and that it shall be altogether without dread which is heard only to be obeyed? or apprehension, that the righteous, Know ye not that voice? Ye have starting from the sleep of death, shall heard it before. It is the voice which hear the deepening roll of the archan. said, " Come unto me, all ye that are gel's summons, and behold the terrific weary and heavy laden, and I will give pomp of heavenly judicature. But we you rest.” It is the voice which pray- are certain that they will be assured ed on behalf of murderers, "Father, and comforted, as they gaze upon their forgive them, they know not what they Judge; and recognize their surety. do." It is the voice which said, "It is Words such as these will occur to finished,” pronouncing the completion them, "God hath appointed a day in of the work of human redemption. Yes, the which he will judge the world in ye have heard that voice before. Ye righteousness by that man whom he have heard it in the ministrations of hath ordained." "By that man.” The the Gospel. It hath called to you, it man who "hath borne our griefs, and hath pleaded with you. And those who carried our sorrows." The man who have listened to it in life, and who have uttered the pathetic words, " O Jerusaobeyed it when it summoned them to lem, Jerusalem, how often would I take up the cross, to them it will be a have gathered thy children together." mighty comfort, that, in the voice which The man who was delivered for our is shaking the universe, and wakening offences, and raised again for our justi. the dead, they recognize the tones of fication.” The man who sat in weari. Him who could be "touched with a ness by the well of Samaria; the man feeling of their infirmities."

who wept in anguish at the grave of For it is, we think, one of the most Lazarus; the man who compassionbeautiful of the arrangements which ated the weakness of his slumbering characterize the Gospel, that the offi- disciples; the man whose sweat was ces of Redeemer and Judge meet in the as it were great drops of blood," and same person, and that person divine. who submitted to be scourged, and buf. We call it a beautiful arrangement, be- reted, and crucified, "for us men, and cause securing for us tenderness as for our salvation.” Yes, this is the very well as equity, the sympathies of a being who is to gather the nations befriend, as well as the disinterestedness fore him, and determine the everlastof a most righteous arbiter. Had the ing condition of each individual. And judge been only man, the imperfection though we dare not attempt to define of his nature would have made us ex- the motions of those most assured of pect much of error in his verdicts. deliverance, when standing, in their reHad he been only God, the distance surrection-bodies, on the earth, as it between him and us would have made heaves with strange convulsions, and us fear it impossible, that, in determin- looking on a firmament lined with ten ing our lot, he would take into account thousand times ten thousand angels, our feebleness and trials. But in the and beholding a throne of fire and cloud, person of Christ there is that marvel. such as was never piled for mortal sov. sous combination which we seek in the ereignty, and hearing sounds of which Judge of the whole human race. He is even imagination cannot catch the echo God, and, therefore, must he know ev- --yet is it enough to assure us that ery particular of character. But he is they will be full of hope and of glad

ness, to tell us that he who will speak there is no annihilation; all rise, either to them is he who once died for to be unspeakably happy, or unspeakathem-Oh, there will be peace to the bly miserable, for there are but two rerighteous, when " the heavens shall be surrections. We may indeed be sure rolled together as a scroll,” if it be that both heaven and hell will present Christ who saith, "the hour is coming, recompenses suited to all varieties of in which all that are in the graves shall character, and that in the allotments of hear my voice.”

both there will be a graduated scale. But with what feelings will those But let it never, on this account, be hear the voice, of whom the Savior supposed that there may be a happimay affirm, "I have called, and ye re- ness so imperfect, and a misery so in, fused; ye have set at nought all my considerable, that there shall be but counsel, and would none of my re- little final difference between some proof ?" They too shall know the who are acquitted, and others who are voice; and it shall be to them as the condemned. Between us and you voice of despised mercy, the voice of there is a great gulf fixed.” The last slighted love. They shall be more admitted, and the first excluded, nestartled, and more pierced, and more ver let us think that these two classes lacerated, by that voice, than if it had approach so nearly to equality, that never before been heard, or if its tones it may be comparatively unimportant were not remembered. The sound of with which we ranked. Heaven cannot that voice will at once waken the me- dwindle away into hell, and hell canmory of warnings that have been neg. not be softened away into heaven. lected, invitations refused, privileges Happiness or misery-one or other of unimproved. It will be painfully elo- these must be the portion of every quent of all that was vainly done to man; and whilst we freely confess that win them to repentance, and therefore happiness and misery may admit of alterribly reproachful, ominous of a doom most countless degrees, and that thus which it is now too late to avert. They there may be room for vast variety of would have more hope, they would be retributions, we contend that between less beaten down by a consciousness the two there must be an untravelled that they were about to enter on ever separation : the happiness, or the milasting misery, if a strange voice had sery of one may be unspeakably less summoned them from the tomh, a than that of another; but the least voice that had never spoken tenderly happy, and the least miserable, who and plaintively, never uttered the ear- shall tell us how much space there is nest beseechings, the touching entrea- between these for the agony and reties of a friend, a brother, a Redeemer. morse of a storm-tossed spirit ? Any voice rather than this voice. None Observe then that it must be either could be so dirge-like, so full of con- of a "resurrection of life," or of a "redemnation, so burdened with maledic- surrection of damnation,” that each tion, as that which had often said, amongst us will be finally partaker. "Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye And it is to depend on our works, die ?

which of the two shall be our resurBut this is the voice; and when this rection. "They that have done good,” voice is heard, "all that are in the and "they that have done evil,” are graves shall come forth.” And under our Lord's descriptions of the respechow many divisions shall the swarm- tive classes. Works are given as the ing myriads be arranged? They have alone criterion by which we shall be had very different opportunities and judged. And this interferes not with means, and you might have expected the great doctrine of justification by them to be separated into great variety faith, because good works spring from of classes. But we read of only one faith, and are both its fruits and its division, of only two classes. They evidence; whilst, by making words that have done good unto the resurrec- the test, a ground is afforded for the tion of life, and they that have done judgment of those to whom Christ has evil unto the resurrection of damna- not been preached, as well as of those tion.” There is not, you observe, any who have been invited to the believing thing intermediate. All rise, so that I on his name. The whole human family may be brought to the same bar, see-, not too strong to be resisted through ing that the only thing to be decided, that grace which is given to all who is, whether they have done good, or seek it, but forced upon none who dewhether they have done evil.

spise it. Temptations may be powerAnd what say you to all this? If we ful; they are never irresistible; he could escape the judgment, or if we who struggles shall be made victocould bribe the judge; if we had the rious; but God delivers none who are bone of iron, and the sinew of brass, not striving to deliver themselves. and the flesh of marble, so that we Be watchful, therefore-watchful might defy the fire and the worm, why against sins of the flesh, watchful then we might eat and drink, and against sins of the mind. Against sins amass gold, and gratify lust. But the of the flesh-sensuality so debases and judgment is not to be escaped-the enervates, that the soul, as though severy dead are to hear the voice, and pulchred in the body, can do nothing who then can hide himself? And the towards vindicating her origin. "Unto Judge is not to be bribed ; it is the the pure all things are pure; but unto eternal God himself, whose are the them that are defiled and unbelieving worlds, and all which they contain. is nothing pure, but even their mind And we are sensitive beings, beings and conscience is defiled.” Against with vast capacities for wretchedness, sins of the mind-take heed that ye presenting unnumbered inlets to a do not so admire and extol reason, as ministry of vengeance-shall we then, to think lightly of revelation. Ye live in spite of all this, persist in neglecting in days when mind is on the stretch, the great salvation?

and in scenes where there is every We address ourselves now especial thing to call it out. And we do not ly to our younger brethren, desiring to wish to make you less acute, less inconclude the discourses of the month quiring, less intelligent, than the warmwith a word of exhortation to those on est admirers of reason can desire you whom the dew of their youth” is to become. We only wish you to restill freshly, resting. We have set be- member that arrogance is not greatfore you the resurrection of life, and ness, and that conceit is the index, not the resurrection of damnation; and we of strength, but of weakness. To exnow tell you that you have your fate alt reason beyond its due place is to in your own keeping, and that there is abase it; to set the human in rivalry no election but his own through which with the divine is to make it contempany one of you can perish. We speak tible. Let reason count the stars, weigh to you as free, accountable beings, the mountains, fathom the depths—the each of whom is so circumstanced and employment becomes her, and the sucassisted that he may, if he will, gain cess is glorious. But when the quesheaven through the merits of Christ. tion is, "how shall a man be just with The question therefore is, whether you God,” reason must be silent, revelawill act as candidates for eternity, or tion must speak; and he who will not live as those who know nothing of the hear it assimilates himself to the first great end of their creation. Born for Deist, Cain; he may not kill a brother, immortality, destined to equality with he certainly destroys himself. angels, and entreated to work out And that you may be aided in overyour salvation with fear and trembling," coming sin, let your thoughts dwell will ye degrade yourselves to the level often on that "strict and solemn acof the brute, and lose those souls for count which you must one day give at which Christ died? It is a question the judgment-seat of Christ.” I have which each must answer for himself. endeavored to speak to you of the geEach is free to obey, or fee, youthful neral resurrection and the last great lusts, to study, or neglect, God's word, assize. To the large mass of you it is to live without prayer, or to be earnest not probable that I shall ever speak in supplication. There is no compul. again. But we shall meet, when the sion on any one of you to be vicious; sheețed dead are stirring, and the eleand, be well assured, there will be no ments are dissolving. And "knowing compulsion on any one of you to be the terror of the Lord, we persuade virtuous. Passions may be strong; but men.” Would that we could persuade

you. Is there no voice from the "great that ye have beheld the Son of man white throne;" nothing startling in the coming in the clouds, and heard, as it opened books; no eloquence in the were, your own names in the shrill trumpet of the archangel; nothing ter- summons to his bar-what can I say rible in the doom, " depart, ye cursed,” to you? Indeed I feel that there are no nothing beautiful in the words, "come, more formidable weapons in the moral ye blessed ?" I cannot plead with you, armory; and I can but pray-for there if insensible to the sublime and thrill- is yet room for prayer—that God would ing oratory of the judgment scene. If put sensibility into the stone, and give you can go away, and be as dissipated you feeling enough to feel for youras ever, and as indifferent as ever, now selves.




Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that

within the veil."--Hebrews, 6 : 19.

It is a very peculiar and interesting may use the expression, is peculiarly cause which I have this day undertaken maritime, whilst the truths which are to plead-that of the Floating Church, inculcated are of the most interesting which offers the means of grace to our kind. The apostle Paul had just been river population, to the most useful, speaking of " laying hold on the hope and well nigh the most neglected of our set before us,” by which he seems to countrymen—those who are carrying denote the appropriation of those vaon our commerce, who have fought our rious blessings which have all been battles, and who are ready, if peace be procured for us by Christ. The hope disturbed, to fight them again with is that of eternal life; and to lay hold equal valor, and, through God's help, on this hope, must be so to believe upon with equal success. If there be a call Christ, that we have share in those sufto which the hearts of Englishmen ferings and merits which have purmore naturally respond than to any chased forgiveness and immortality for other, it must be that which demands the lost. And when the apostle prosuccor for sailors. As a nation we seem ceeds, in the words of our text, to deto have less fellowship with the land scribe this hope as an anchor of the than the sea ; and our strongest sym- soul, we are to understand him as depathies are with those who plough its claring that the expectation of God's surface, and dare its perils. I feel, favor, and of the glories of heaven, therefore, that I never had a charity through the atonement and intercession sermon to preach, whose subject gave of Christ, is exactly calculated to keep me so powerful a hold on the feelings us steadfast and unmoved amid all the of a congregation; and I think that tempests of our earthly estate. We this hold will not be lessened, if I en- shall assume, then, as we are fully wargage your attention with a passage of ranted by the context in doing, that Scripture, in which the imagery, if I the hope in question is the hope of sal

« НазадПродовжити »