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Death and the Judgment.

Death and the Judgment.

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Published by glennpease

As it is appointed unto men once to die, but after tliis the judgment.
Hebrews ix. 27.

As it is appointed unto men once to die, but after tliis the judgment.
Hebrews ix. 27.

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Published by: glennpease on Jun 23, 2013
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DEATH AND THE JUDGMENT.BY REV. D. MERRILL As it is appointed unto men once to die, but after tliis the judgment.Hebrews ix. 27.The text contains two assertions,- and the second gives terrorto the first. Were death the end of existence, it would stillbe dreadful. The soul shrinks back upon itself, and startlesat destruction," For who would lose,Though full of pain, this intellectual being,Those thoughts that wander through eternity'? "Death in its own nakedness is never contemplated without ter-ror. The very beasts tremble at its approach, as nature shrinksfrom it. To meet it calmly and boldly, without shrinking, re-quires a hardihood beyond human. The thought of it is un-pleasant, and it is commonly put away among the things uponwhich we cannot bear to reflect. Though known and admittedto be inevitable, it is carefully excluded from the mind, and tothe last hour of life, rarely appears as a reality. Each is per-fectly aware of the exposure of others, and unconscious of hisown. " All men think all men mortal but themselves."And it comes at last in a day when we look not for it. Withall the manifest tokens of its approach, it comes unexpectedly.But there is something more dreadful than death — " to be we* This Sermon, delivered Sabbath T. M., July 14, 1850, was the last 3Ir.Merrill ever preached.DEATH AND THE JUDGMENT. 271know not wliat — we know not wlierc " — " after this, the judg-ment." To go from the pains of disease to a tribunal of jus-tice — from the agonies of dissolution to the judgment seat —to hear his voice, saying, " Return to the dust, ye children of men," and then again, " Give an account of thy stewardship ;for thou mayest be no longer steward." For every man shallgive an account of himself to God, who shall bring every work into judgment. All this is fitted to excite fear and terror tothe highest pitch. The assertion of the text is incidental. Itis not the apostle's design to declare the certainty of death anda judgment after. He refers to these facts as matters well un-
derstood and admitted. The apostle's design was, to show thepre-eminence of the sacrifice of the cross over all the Leviticalsacrifices. One thing in proof of this superiority, is the factthat it was offered but once, whereas the Jewish sacrifices wereoffered continually, year by year. And the very repetitionshowed their insufficiency, for had they been efficacious, heasked, " would they not have ceased to be offered ? Becausethat the worshipers once purged, should have had no moreconscience of sins," for " where remission of these is, there isno more offering for sin." Christ does not oflfer himself often,but once, and once for all. " For by one offering he hath per-fected forever them that are sanctified." As to men, there isonce to die, and after that the judgment ; so to Christ, there isonce to die, and after that to save or destroy, as his gospelshall bo received or rejected. "As it is appointed to menonce to die," so Christ was once offered. Death finishes man'sprobation, and sends him to the judgment; so the death of Christ finishes the work of righteousness and opens the gatesof life. There is a judgment after death.I. This is necessary to vindicate the chakacter op272 HEV. D. Merrill's sermons.God. Tn this world there is a continual call for confidenceand hope in God. Faith is to give substance to things hopedfor and evidence to things not seen, and give reality and powerto things that do not yet appear. Our God is a God of judg-ment. He loves righteousness, and hates iniquity. But thisis not so manifest that there is no plausible ground to questionit. He does not come forth at once to display his affectionfor the one, or abhorrence of the other. The side of righteous-ness is not always crowned with success, nor the side of iniqui-ty covered with defeat. Every transgression shall receive its just recompense of reward, but we do not see this as yet.This is to the world a matter of faith, and not yet of experi-ence ; for while in some cases the extreme of wickedness hasbrought punishment at once, (as " some men's sins are openbefore hand, going before to judgment,") in others, the ex-treme of wickedness has secured success, or defied detection.Every transgression shall receive its just recompense of reward.But when ? There is a time for every purpose, and for everywork — a time to sow, and a time to reap — a time for probation,and a time for retribution. The retribution is not in thisworld. The judgment is after death. Here, for the mostpart, success or failure is a matter of prudence or imprudence,far more than of right or wrong. From the fall of man, the
earth has been filled with violence. But God has always hada seed to serve him. They were his friends and favorites —heirs of his kingdom — dear to him as the apple of his eye, andengraved on the palms of his hands, — but no outward pros-perity or enjoyment distinguished them from others. In a fewextraordinary cases, he interfered to protect the pious, and pun-ish the wicked, but in general, nothing of the kind. Desperatewickedness has often prospered by means of its very desperate-DEATH AND THE JUDOMKNT. 273ness. Ill how many cases would a little conscience — a littlescruple aljout means — in other words a little less depravity,have prevented success ! How slight a defence, often, is rightmeans against all kind of means. In this world, tlic deter-mined or the wilful for the most part bear rule. They pushtheir own plans regardless of others, and push aside those whoare too conscientious or kind-hearted to contend with them.How often does the force of numbers, or the force of fraud andftilsehood, bear down the cause of righteousness. And theworld is dazzled by the splendor of success, and praises whatprospers. The conqueror wades through seas of blood to athrone. If he had been more mindful of his fellow men, hisenterprise had fiiiled — if he had been less prodigal of theirblood, or less desperate in his course, his plan had failed.The pirate, acting upon the principle that '^ dead men tell notales," adds murder to robbery, and prospers for years; whilethe humanity of another spares his victim, to his own destruc-tion. No man can observe the triumphing of wickedness andof the wicked, without the assurance that this is not all ; asthis does not show a God loving righteousness and hating in-iquity. There is a judgment after death, which shall vindi-cate the character of God, and clear him from all appearanceof conniving at wickedness.II. A JUDGMENT AFTER DEATH BRINGS OUT HIDDEN WICK-EDNESS. How many assume a virtue though they have it not,and accomplish their selfish ends by false pretences ; and thehypocritical covering remains till they finish their probation.Their life is one long lie, and yet they prosper in it. Pretenceis more successful than reality, — falsehood more profitable thantruth. There is no outward defeat or discomfort to show God'sdisapprobation. How much that is apparently good, and really274 REV. D.

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