but in the singular character, the Prince of this world is cast out, But, in the future judgment, believers in Jesus Christ who have judged themselves, shall not be judged. Judge yourselves, saith the Holy Spirit, and you shall not be judged; but the rest of mankind will be the subjects of this judgment, when our Saviour shall be revealed from heaven in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them who know not God, and who obey not the gospel; and they shall then be punished with everlasting destruction, from the presence of the LORD and the glory of his power; the consequence of which shall be, they shall then be made to know God, and obey the gospel; for, although until this period they will, as unbelievers, suffer the punishment consequent on the revelation of the everlasting destruction, yet, it is not said, they shall be everlastingly punished with destruction. Were it possible to find a culinary fire that never could be extinguished, but which was, in the strictest sense of the word, everlasting or eternal; should any member of your body pass through that burning flame, though but a moment of time had been spent in thus passing through, yet, even in that moment, it would suffer the pain of eternal fire. Those who build on the foundation laid in Zion, wood, hay, stubble, their works shall be burned in this fire, and they, consequent thereon, shall suffer loss; but they, themselves, shall be saved, though it were as by fire. Were they, themselves, to be lost, being God's workmanship, then God would also suffer loss; but they, bad as they were, ignorant as they were of God, disobedient as they were in not obeying the gospel, (and surely they must be very ignorant of God, and very disobedient to the gospel, to build with such perishable materials,) yet they, themselves, shall be saved, as it were, by that fire in which the LORD Jesus shall be revealed, when he comes to take vengeance upon such characters.

[ocr errors]

Yes, the books shall be opened, and the dead, both small and great, shall be judged out of the things written in the books. Every mouth shall be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God; and while conscious of guilt, but ignorant of a Saviour, and that the Saviour is the only wise God who is just even as a Saviour, they shall call upon the rocks and mountains to fall upon them, that they may, beneath the covert of the falling mountains, be hidden from the wrath of the Lamb. But in this judgment, the Judge is the Saviour. Here all judgment is com

mitted unto Jesus, because he is the Son of man, the Son of the offending, suffering, affrighted nature. In that future day, upon which God hath appointed the judgment, it is the Prince and the Saviour who is appointed to judge the world in righteousness, even that man whom the divine Nature ordained. Here, instead of head and members being judged together by the head of Christ, the divine Nature, the members are considered, in their distinct characters, as good and evil, or believer and unbeliever, as children of light or children of darkness, and judged by their own head, for the head of every man is Christ.

Again, The business of this judgment may be considered, in some sort, different from the former. That, was to suffer the wages of sin; this, after suffering the consequence of unbelief, which is the torment of fear, to stop every mouth, that the LORD alone may be exalted, and to bring every one into a state of willing obedience unto the gospel. In the former judgment, sin was put away from the lost nature, by the death or sacrifice of the Saviour as the second Adam, so that God may behold the once lost and polluted nature, as saved and pure in him. The last judg ment is to bring each member into the same state in themselves. Once more, as in the former judgment, the prince of this world, who also is called the God of this world, was cast out, in the last judgment the whole of the angelic nature, who fell from their first habitation, and who are reserved in chains of darkness unto the judgment of this great day, will, in the character of goats placed on the left hand of the Shepherd of the sheep, be judged, and sent, as accursed, into the fire prepared for them. Then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the LORD shall consume with the breath of his mouth, and destroy by the brightness of his coming.

Thirdly, Some persons very seriously suppose, that all mankind will be on a level in the article of death. They conceive it cannot be otherwise, seeing that Jesus hath abolished death; and they believe, that in the dissolution of the body, the dust returns to the dust, and the spirit to God who gave it. But if Jesus, having abolished death, was sufficient to put all upon a level in death, it was sufficient to put all on a level in life also; but what is true in Christ, is one thing; and what is believed true, another. Peace and reconciliation with God, is the consequence of what is true in Christ Jesus. Peace of conscience, and joy in the Holy Ghost, is the consequence of what is true, as believed in VOL. III.


our hearts. Neither in life nor in death, in the body nor out of the body, can any of the ransomed of the LORD be saved from misery, until they are made acquainted with God as their Saviour; and, although in death, the spirit does not descend with the body into the dust, and must be under the eye of the Father of spirits, yet where Christ is, that is in fulness of joy; they never can be, till they have peace and joy in believing. He who dies in unbelief, lies down in sorrow, and will rise to the resurrection of damnation, or, more properly, condemnation. Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound; it is they, and they only, that walk in the light of God's countenance. If this was not the case, where would be the necessity of preaching the gospel at all? If, in the article of death, every one for whom Christ died were made acquainted with him, and consequently, with the things that made for their peace, why trouble mankind, in life, about these matters? Why go forth as sheep among wolves, suffering every thing that the malice of blind zeal can inflict, in order to turn men from darkness to light, if the period to which we are all hastening, will effectually open the eyes of the understanding? If death destroys all distinctions, would it not be well to say, "Let us eat, drink, and be merry; for to-morrow we die?" "We are commanded to preach the gospel, and this is a sufficient reason why we should preach the gospel." Very true; but why are we commanded to preach the gospel? Is it not, that faith may come by hearing, and that, living by faith on the Son of God, we may finish our course with joy? But, if every one of the ransomed race are to be equally happy in death, then, although they did not live by faith, they, nevertheless, finish their course with joy, nor shall any individual arise to the resurrection of condemnation. This may be consolatory, but it is not scriptural. These Sectarians, aware of this error, support it by another, and, therefore, deny a future judg


Blessed, saith the Holy Spirit, are the dead, who die in the LORD, they rest from their labours. But if all are alike in death, it may be said, Blessed are the dead, who die in their sin, that is in unbelief, for they rest from their labours; but this cannot be, since it is only those, who believing the word of the gospel, put on the LORD Jesus, and having received him as their righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, so walk in him, that can be said to

die in him. These, and these only, have part in the first resurrection, on whom the second death can have no power. These, in the resurrection, shall meet their Saviour with transport; they shall rise to the resurrection of salvation; they shall come to Zion with songs; they shall rejoice, while the many who are, nevertheless, redeemed, yet unacquainted with the things, which make for their peace, and who rise in the second resurrection, shall be filled with anguish. It is from these unhappy, despairing beings, that the LORD God will wipe away all tears; it is from these benighted beings, that the hand of divine benignity shall take away the veil. Those, who live and die in faith, shall have no tears to wipe away, no veil to remove. Tears, weeping, and wailing, will continue as long as unbelief, the procuring cause shall remain. These evils will be done away together, not in the article of death, but in the day of the LORD, when every eye shall see, and every tongue shall confess to the glory of the Father.

Fourthly, There are many, who, because the scriptures are said, and with the strictest propriety, to testify of Jesus, believe that they testify of nothing, or no one else; hence under the influence of this error, they apply to the Saviour, what the Holy Spirit applies to the grand adversary. In defending these absurd notions, they sometimes blaspheme the name of Jesus, and cause the way of truth to be evil spoken of. There are in this class of men, some who will tell you, that Jesus Christ was the man, who had not on the wedding garment !!! And was consequently cast out into outer darkness!!! Thus, I presume without design, they make a schism in the body of Emmanuel, they separate the BRIDEGROOM, the HEAD, the KING, from his BRIDE, his BODY, his KINGDOM; they separate what God hath joined together, although on the continuance of this union depends our life; for if we were not crucified and buried with Christ as his fulness, we shall never have a right to reign with him. There is something most horrid in fixing any character upon Christ Jesus, which indicates inherent pollution; but there are among those expounders, to whom we advert, who are fond of making their hearers stare, and wonder at their ingenuity; alas, poor souls, the subtle deciever is abundantly more ingenious than they themselves are, but they are not sufficiently acquainted with his devices.

The scriptures testify of the divine and human natures-of those natures united in One-of men and of angels-of good angels,

who never fell-of angels who kept not their first estate, of believers in Jesus Christ, who glorify his name, of some who believe, but who make no open profession, because they love the praise of men, more than the praise of God, of wicked men, who have not the knowledge of God in all their ways, and of arrogant, selfrighteous Pharisees, who, thank God, they are not like other men. Among this great variety, the man, who is under the influence of the spirit of truth, will find Jesus, as the skilful miner finds the vein of gold in the mountain.

The scriptures abound with striking figures, calculated to give us an acquaintance with the principal characters therein, and dreadful work will he make in explaining these figures, who hath not the spirit of the Saviour. The Redeemer of men is exhibited under the characters, Father, Brother, Friend, Prophet, Priest, and King, Shepherd, Sheep and Lamb, Light, Life, and Peace, Bread, Wine, and Water, Fruit, Balm, and Flowers. These, and many other characters and figures, by which Emmanuel has been pleased to make himself manifest all indicate grace, mercy and peace.

The adversary is represented under the character of a beast of prey, seeking to devour, a prince of darkness, a murderer, a liar, a deceiver, the accuser of the brethren, the vulture, the serpent, the goat; and when the people of God of old are said to have worshipped devils, they worshipped them in the form of goats; hence the fallen angels, in the twenty-fifth of Matthew, are represented under the figure of goats, while the human nature is represented under the figure of sheep. All we like sheep have gone astray. Under this figure of sheep there are, and will be, until the kingdoms of the world become the kingdoms of God and of his Christ, two characters. Sheep, that hearing the voice of the shepherd, follow him, and are denominated his sheep, and others who are not of this fold, who still wander in the wide waste wilderness, where there is no way; these other sheep, the Shepherd and bishop of souls must bring in, that there may be one fold under one shepherd, that of all the Father gave him none may be lost, save the son of perdition; but this son of perdition was never the offspring of God: God is not perdition.

Fifthly, There are many, who willing to speak peace to themselves, where there is no peace, affirm, that it is not sinners, but sin, that will be brought to the judgment, that it is unbelief, and

« VorigeDoorgaan »