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" The time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still : and he that is righteous, let him be righteous slill: and he that is holy, let him he holy still. And, behold, I come quickly ; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." — Rev. xxii. 10. 12.
We saw, last Sunday morning, that there should be a general awakening of them that sleep in the dust of the earth, and we saw the portions for eternity to which they will awake — some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
What impression the solemn subject may have left on your minds I know not ; I am anxious, however, that our Advent Sundays should not all slip past, without our having seriously considered the solemn things connected with the last glorious advent of our Lord ; things, my
brethren, in which we shall all find ourselves most deeply concerned. With God's help, I will endeavour, therefore, that the fault shall not be mine, if that day, which the Scriptures so often and so emphatically speak of, as the day of all days the most awful, should find any of you unprepared.
1 crave your attention and your prayers for you and me, while I proceed to open the subject presented in our text, by considering these two important points :
First, The time is approaching when men's characters will be left as they are found, with no hope or possibility of a change.
Secondly, The Saviour's last coming
TO JUDGMENT WILL BE THAT SOLEMN TIME.
I. The time is approaching when
men's characters will be left AS they
ARE FOUND, WITH NO HOPE OR POSSIBILITY
OF A CHANGE. Mark this, in the words
of inspiration, "The time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still : and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still." There is one class of characters fixed, you perceive, and sealed for eternity. "And he that is righteous, let him be righteous still : and he that is holy, let him be holy still." There is the other class, fixed and sealed in like manner.
This must refer to the decisions of the day of judgment, for it is then that the Saviour will reward every man according to his work, as the latter portion of our text declares ; and it is plain also that
the decision here spoken of is for eternity : for how can that be reversed which the Scripture hath affirmed ¦? What hope is held out by God that the solemn sentence of the judgment day will ever be set aside 1 No : how could it be altered without violation and injury to the truth of God? If the sentence of everlasting punishment, when finally passed, could be reversed or mitigated, where were the truth of God ?
But, brethren, I am not now to speak so much of the opposite portions of men in that day, as of their opposite character, henceforward never to be changed ; and two classes of men are presented to our notice. How repeatedly Scripture intimates that two, and only two, large classes will then comprehend all mankind ! Here, among men, we have learned, in some way or other, to divide
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and subdivide many virtues and vices, and to lake such partial views as to think a man good, virtuous, moral, because he shows a regard to one particular virtue, though, it may be, he disregards many others, and utterly despises that Christian holiness, which rises far above what moralists call virtue, and without which no man shall see tlie Lord. The Scripture, though it speaks of different Christian graces, yet it does not allowthat a man is in a right or safe state, who cultivates one, but neglects another; and
it evidently gathers men into two great classes, according to the quality of their actions, the motives of their conduct, the inward principle of their souls, and speaks of them accordingly as they are righteous or wicked, just or unjust, carnally minded or spiritually minded, godly or ungodly. Thus, in our own case, God doubtless could at this moment divide all who are here present into two classes as easily aS a shepherd could divide the sheep from the goats.
In our text, each of these two classes is distinguished by two characteristic epithets. Let us think of them as they are here described, for it may aid us in discovering our true character. One class is divided into the wicked, and the other into the good. " For the time is at hand," when it will be said, " He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still."
The two epithets which characterize the unholy, are unjust and filthy. It would, perhaps, startle, and even offend the sinner, were I to say that every sinner is an unjust man ; yet such I believe he in the sight of a holy God. But I must explain that I use the word unjust in a larger sense than he has probably been accustomed to do. He may have understood by it, being unjust in worldly dealings ; being dishonest and fraudulent; not paying honest debts; and there his conscience may not accuse him. It is well so far; I have no desire to lay to his charge sins of which he is not guilty. But supposing such a man — as he often boasts he can — pays every one his due, is this all the demand or the justice of God ? — for it is that, my brethren, with which we shall have to do in
that day. Is this all that is meant by loving thy neighbour as thyself; by do7
ing to others as thou wouldst they should do unto thee — by that new law given us by Christ, to love one another as he loved US'? And supposing the sinner's conscience does not yet feel the charge as just in reference to God himself, let me ask. Is it not just that thou shouldst have honoured thy jMaker] Has he not a right to thy obedience 1 Does he ask for more than is his right or due, when he says to each of us, " My son, my child, give me thine heart!" If God make a law, which is holy, just, and good, has he not a just right to expect that you and all his creatures should personally obey it ? Is, then, that man a just man in the sight of God, who gives to God no honour, no service, no love, breaks every commandment of the first table of the law, and habitually disregards the gospel, hates, it may be, its very name, and then boasts and glories that he pays every one his due? Not every one : I must tell thee that thou exceptest at least one, and that is thy
God ; he does not get his rightful due.
Every person, therefore, who is living in the practice and love of sin, is unjust and unrighteous in the sight of God. How can he be otherwise? "This do, and live :" but he has forsaken, you see, the whole law. There is no commandment which he has fully, and spiritually, and habitually obeyed.
It is true, indeed, that there is another way in which we might be accounted and treated as just; but I must not speak of that yet. I am to describe, at present, the man who has hitherto despised that good method. He may have in notion a form, a fancy, an imagination of the plan of salvation, but he knows not the reality, or he would not still be an unjustified, unrenewed, unregenerated sinner. Unregenerated, indeed, he is ; he has followed his corrupt nature; he has indulged his fallen propensities ; he has never cared to
seek for that grace which might have created him anew ; and now, therefore, he is unjust, and, unless a mighty change take place, the time is at hand when it will be said of him, " He that is unjust, let him be unjust still."
CHARACTER UNALTERABLE AFTER DEATH.
The other description given in the text of the sinner, is one that also will not please him; nor was it intended to do so. " He that is fillhif — many will dislike that word. Would that we were all as ready to quarrel with sin as we are to quarrel with its scri])tural name ! But
the Scripture is too faithful to flatter us. It pronounces sin to be a filthy thingbefore God. Does not the same word occur in the book of Job, the 15th chapter ] " What is man that he should be olean ? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous ¦? Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints ; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight. How much more abominable ?LnA filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water !" Thus also the psalmist, in the 14th psalm, says, " The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are altogether become filthy^'' — the same word describing the same fact. Isaiah declares that " all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." The apostle Paul applies this word, in the epistle to the Colossians, to language — " Let no filthy communication proceed out of your mouth." In his epistle to Timothy, he
applies it to the love of sordid gain — not " greedy offilthy lucre." This expression occurs, in fact, in several other places. Thus, Lot in Sodom was vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked. And again, St. Paul says, " Having, therefore, these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit." Here are, brethren, Scripture proofs enough, if proofs you want, that sin is an abominable and defiling thing. A corrupt thought in you God accounts guilt; a depraved imagination is odious in his eyes; an impure desire is a violation of the spirit of his law. And now, sinner, still unrenewed in heart, what thinkest thou of this? How many corrupt thoughts, depraved imaginations, and impure desires, has the soul-piercing eye of God seen in thee ! How many filthy words have escaped thy lips ! Those obscene jests, those wanton songs, those idle speeches thou
Vol. XL— 29
hast uttered against holy things, all are loathsome, and depraved, and offensive unto God. But it is also true, that thou mightest have had all this forgiven thee; that the blood of Jesus Christ would have cleansed thee from all ; that the Spirit of Jesus Christ would have made thee a new creature. But, when hast thou gone to Christ? When hast thou prayed for the Spirit] Thou hast rather been contented in thy filthiness, and wished to continue in sin, and there thou art up to this moment an unchanged, unpardoned, unjust, and filthy sinner.
But now I will tell thee of a time when this will be fixed as thy character for ever, beyond all hope or possibility of chang',. The time is at hand at which it will 1 e said, " He that is unjust, let him *)e
unjust still : he that is filthy, let him be filthy still." There is something very solemn even in the form of this exprf ssion: the word still, at the end of ea'-.h clause, repeated four times in the verse. That word seems to sound as the deathknell to* the hope of the ungodly. Those who die unjust and filthy, will rise unjust and filthy still. There is no repentance in the grave, whither we are going. There is nothing in the mere act of dissolution, which can change the essential character of the soul. There is nothing in the society of lost spirits, in the other world, which can purify an evil heart. There is none but God who can change the heart, forgive sins, and cleanse and purify the soul; and God himself offers to do it only in one way — through the merits of Christ, and the gracious operations of his Holy Spirit. But he makes no promise to do it for any, after this life, in any way whatever; on the contrary, he plainly declares, that
as you will die, so you will rise ; as the tree falls, so it must lie. A seal, then, is to be put, if I may so speak, upon every man as he leaves the world. If he leave it unjust and filthy, judgment is sealed upon such a character, with all its accompanying punishment, never to be removed throughout eternity. The thought is absolutely overwhelming. It is easy to form sinful habits ; to shake them oflF at last may prove utterly impossible. It
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is easy for you to laugh at purity, temperance, virtue, holiness, and pitty; but
know that unless you use aright the space now given you for repentance, you shall gnash the teeth in bitter agony, wailing, and remorse. " Be not deceived : God is not to be mocked : for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." God is a God of justice; and, if you serve sin, justice must see that you are paid your wages ; and " the wages of sin is death." If you choose to be unjust and filthy now, when you have all the motives of the gospel — motives bedewed with the tears, and steeped in the blood, and bathed in the dying agonies of Christ: if, with these feelings in your heart, you yet choose to be unjust and filthy, will it not be perfect justice in God, having warned you so long before, to say to you in that day, " He that is unjust, let him be unjust still : he that is filthy, let him be filthy still r'
O, this surely gives us an awful idea
of hell ! The character unchanged — man
». still unjust — with the desire of sm remaining — the poor paltry pleasure gone — the enjoyment past — the punishment abiding — the mutual encouragement ceased — mutual reproaches continuing ; and all this for eternity ! God preserve us from that awful state I
It is time to turn to the brighter side. We turn from what we told you sounded like the death-knell of hope, of joy, to the ungodly. Listen, now, and you will hear what shall resemble the death-knell of sorrow, temptation, and conflict to all the faithful in that day : " And he that is righteous, let him be righteous still : and he that is holy, let him be holy still."
And who is righteous] Is it not written, '" There is none righteous, no not one ?" Yes; but is it not also written, "Ey
the obedience of one man shall many be made righteous ]" Properly and strictly speaking, Jesus Christ is the only righteous man who has ever lived. Others may be called righteous in an inferior sense ; or, when compared with other men, they may appear righteous. Thus Enoch, Noah, Daniel, and others, in this secondary sense, were virtuous men; but Christ alone is righteous, in the full and
proper sense of the term. He fulfilled all righteousness — he loved God supremely, perfectly, unceasingly. He was without spot or taint of sin, original or actual ; and, to crown all, his death was a sacrifice for sin — an atonement to justice. In him the sentence against sinners is removed, their guilt freely forgiver, ?.\\d the righteousness of Christ is imi i.ted to them, and made available for their justification ; and thus, in St. Paul's words, which I
will repeat, "Through the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." This act of justification takes place now. W henever any, truly penitent and humble, put the trust of their souls in the meritorious righteousness and death of Jesus Christ, they are completely forgiven: "Being justified by faith, they have peace with God ;" and when that day comes — that great and glorious day — then their justification shall be openly confirmed. "He that is righteous, let him be righteous still." "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth."
But we must also remain holy. By nature we are unholy, filthy, vile ; but the Holy Spirit, given for the Saviour's sake, creates men anew unto holiness, brings them to hate sin — to seek for a new heart — to mortify lust — to separate from the world, which still lieth in wickedness, and to follow after holiness. This,
you will observe, is not the same with the being made righteous before spoken of. That was through the righteousness of Christ — through his work done for the soul : in that respect we are to be complete 171 him. But this being made holy is through the grace of the Holy Spirit working in you mightily — humbling, enlightening, convincing, guiding, animating, sustaining. In this respect we are to strive — to pray — to watch — fight, wrestle against sin. We are to grow in grace — to ripen in knowledge — to wax stronger and stronger — to become more zealous^ active, devoted, charitable, kind — more like the new Adam, and less like the old Adam.
Now, I hope you understand who is righteous and who is holy. One and the same man is meant — whom Christ justi-
CHARACTER UNALTERABLE AFTER DEATH.
fies, the Spirit also sanctifies. There must be no difference betwixt righteousness and holiness : " What God hath joined, let not man put asunder." Whoever thinks himself justified through Christ, and yet despises holiness, is not justified and righteous : whoever thinks much of holiness, but depends not on Christ, and on him alone, for justification, has to begin afresh — he must become a little child, and sit down at the feet of Jesus to be taught of him.
My brethren, whoever mistakes me now, and from a perverse mind will not make out those vital points which I have
laboured much and often — God is my witness, and your consciences are my witnesses — to set before you, with all plainness of speech ; in that day there will be no room for doubting or mistake. *' He that is righteous, let him be righteous still : and he that is holy, let him be holy still." Sweet words these, and full of comfort. They show you, you that desire to be faithful, that the character which God is now forming in you by his gospel is meant to last for ever. No wonder that the influences of the law and the Spirit in your heart are so deep. No wonder that the touches of the divine artist, in tracing his own image on your souls, are so delicate and so fine. No wonder that he sends you sermon after sermon, prayers. Scriptures, warnings, exhortations, chastenings. All is here explained. The righteous and holy character to which God is training you, through Christ, is meant to be your character for eternity — your passport for
heaven, through Christ, who is the door — your preparation for the pure and holy pleasures of heaven I
If a child be expected, in the course of years, to come to a throne, what care, what labour, what expense are employed to form him into a character which may become his station! You, my brethren, it" Christians indeed, are to inhabit the palaces of heaven, to be heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. Is it not light, therefore, that you should now be tvained and educated to that righteous, holy, spiritual, sanctified character, in which alone you can be happy in heaven ^
But, then, in that day your state shall be confirmed. There may afterwards be improvement and expansion, but there can be no change in the essential character of the soul. Will you not forsake
every evil way ] Do you mean to draw back unto perdition? Will it not be reward enough for toil, effort, patience, and exercise of faith in Christ, if, in that day, we may hear Christ say of us, " He that is righteous, let him be righteous stiin" The word slill, will then be solemn indeed ; for it will be spoken just afterwards to the ungodly. It will bring heaven or hell — ecstacy or anguish — what you might have been, if left to yourselves, with what you are, through grace, into such near contrast, that I suspect you will be so overwhelmend with gratitude, that you will fall at the feet of Christ, and say, "Not unto us, O Lord; not unto us, but unto thy name be all the praise." But,
II. When and how shall this be? " Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be."
" Behold, I come quickly." How often the Scripture calls men to behold ! " Behold, he Cometh, and every eye shall see him." How little do multitudes behold him ! That day will take numbers by surprise. Brethren, if we all beheld it aright, made it a matter of serious meditation, we should be other Christians than we too often are. Behold, he cometh quickly: but who are we to behold ? "I come" — I, the Saviour, the Redeemer — I, the prophet, priest, and king — I, the righteous judge, the one rejected, the persecuted man of sorrows, the offended Son of God ! "I come" — sinners, tremble; believers, rejoice! "I come" — infidel, behold him whom you have dared to deny; believers, behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world! "I come" — whose coming has been so long promised, and so long and earnestly expected ! " I come quickly" — yes, my brethren, quickly. Ask of time whither it flies so fast — what means
its haste? It will answer, "I am speeding forward that day — I am coming to meet my Lord — I hasten forward to eter-
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nity." " I come quickly," says Jesus. Ask of death, why he is so rapidly, on the right hand and on the left, mowing down men like grass — sweeping away generation after generation — making hardly any distinction between young and old, rich and poor, prepared and unprepared, just and unjust, the filthy and the holy ? Death will tell you, " Christ is coming, and then my work shall cease — my commission
will terminate — my time is shortening — I cannot tell more of my business — I must return to my work of destruction."
My brethren, infidels still ask, "Where is the promise of his coming ?" Here, in our text, is the promise, " Behold, I come quickly." The Scripture declares it, and all things show it. Even though a thousand years should first intervene, they are but as one day. Christ will be here quickly ; much before some are prepared for his coming. If any would here ask me to tell them more minutely when it will be, to let them know the day, the hour of his coming, to describe the manner, I return to such the solemn warning of Christ, " Behold, I come qinclibj'" — that ought to be enough. Are you prepared for his coming, or are you not ] If you are, go and serve him, praise him, glorify him, do all you can for him. " Happy is that servant whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing." If
some of you are not prepared, O get ready instantly, for he will be here quickly !
My brethren, do not speculate and busy yourselves with curious questions on this point. Our duty here is as simple and plain as it can be. We are servants left in charge to get ready for our Lord, who has sent us word that he is soon about to come. If, instead of setting ourselves every one to his work, we should gather in groups around the fire to discuss such questions as these, " When do you think he will come? Which way, by the east, or by the west? In what chariot ? In what dress? W'ith what attendants?" Though we should never settle all these questions, we should dispute over them till we became angry with each other; and if we were, the house is not ready — the work is not done — the uppermost room is not yet furnished — the chambers
of imagery are not yet cleansed — the whole house is vanity. In the midst of all this, hear a sound ; a chcvriot approaches, a trumpet sounds, in the twinkling of an eye he is here, and we are not ready ! We have not acted like those of his servants who hear him say, "Behold, I come. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still : and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still : and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. My reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." When he passes sentence on the unholy, it is the reward which Christ gives them for rejecting him; for continuing in sin, and serving Satan. But to the faithful it is also Christ's reward; for Christ bled for them on the cross ; he paid the penalty, offered the sacrifice, endured the death, fulfilled all righteousness. It is his; for he gives it freely of his grace. And this
reward will then be to every man accordinp; as his work shall he. If his work, when tried by Christ, who knows the heart, shall be found a work of faith, a work of true penitence, a work of genuine goodness, a work of grace, there shall be a rich reward, not for our sake — for our best works would condemn us — but for Christ's sake, in whose name and for whose sake it was wrought. But if your work prove bad, unjust, filthy ; if, when Christ appeals to the searching test, there appear sensuality, formality, selfrighteousness, according to your work must be your sentence and portion for eternity.
My brethren, now, therefore, choose what shall be your portion in that day. Life and death are set before you. Try your own work by the standard of God's truth. Ask God for his Holy Spirit to keep you from self-deception. There are, I repeat it, but two great classes among you :
either you are justified, or you are not justified ; either you are filthy, or you are holy, in the sight of God. If you are in an ungodly state, now turn to God ; now believe on Christ; now pray for his Spirit; noiv begin in right earnest. If you delay and hesitate, and again give yourselves up to sinning, God may give
CHARACTER UNALTERABLE AFTER DEATH.
you up. " Ephraim is joined to his idols; let him alone." But it is not so yet! Those fears, those alarms, those resolutions, those ejaculations of heart are a token for good. Be ready against Christ
comes. And, to believers, let me saj', Trim your lamps, and hasten, brethren, lo meet your Lord. Look for, and depend on his coming; set your house in order ; get every spot of filth washed away in the Saviour's blood ! Prepare the heart — seek to have the soul completely sanctified — be ye also ready — the Lord is at hand !
The redemption which Christ has effected has regard to the puiver of Satan. It is scarcely possible to conceive of a more affecting description than that which the apostle has given us when speaking of his fellow men. He tells us they are led captive by the devil at his will. This evil spirit works and rules in the children of disobedience. He purposes to keep his wretched vassals in chains of darkness —
the blackness of darkness for ever. Satan is the strong man armed, who keeps his palace and his goods in peace; but the Redeemer, who is stronger than he, comes with delivering grace, seizes the strong man -armed, binds him in fetters which he cannot break, secures the prey from the mighty one, and sets the lawful captive at liberty. What a triumph did the Son of God achieve, when he bowed his anointed head upon the cross, and cried, with a loud voice, " It is finished !" He then not only blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, nailing it to his cross, but he also " triumphed over principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly." When he ascended up on high, " He led captivity captive." He dragged at the wheels of his triumphal chariot the monstrous powers that had enslaved and destroyed the world ; and, when he had thus ascended in holy triumph, " He received gifts for men ; yea, for the rebellious also, that the
Lord God might dwell amongst them." By the power which he received after the accomplishment of our redemption, he has
delivered, he does deliver, and he will still continue to deliver, his ransomed people, until the last enemy is swallowed up in victory, and the banners of the , Redeemer are waved in triumph over every hostile foe.
Further, the resurrection of Christ has regard to the power of death. Death is the penalty of sin. Death receives his authority from the hands of divine justice. Death inflicts the stroke of punishment on a guilty world. How resistless his power ! How vast his dominion! But view the work of our Redeemer in connexion with the king of terrors. " Verily, he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham ;" the nature
of man : " That, through death he might destroy him that hath the power of death, that is, the devil ; and deliver them who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage." Long before the days of his incarnation, he is introduced, in ancient prophecy, as saying, " 0, grave, I will be thy plague! O, death, I will be thy destruction ! I will ransom them from the power of the grave — I will redeem them from death." He met the stern monster in his own dark dominions, and tremendous was the contest. " Sorrowful even unto death," his " sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling to the ground;" and he cried, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken meV The great Redeemer felt the severity of the stroke. He bowed down for a season under the weight of his power ; but he did not see corruption ; and the third, the appointed day, he rose as a triumphant conqueror. But, mark ! in passing through the dominion of death,
he destroyed his dominion ; he extracted his sting — he dispersed the gloomy horrors of the tomb — he threw wide open the gates of life, and glory, and immortality, and laid a firm foundation for that glorious triumph which countless myriads will enjoy at the last day, when they will universally exclaim, " Lo ! this is our God ; we have waited for him, and he will save us : this is the Lord ; we have waited for him — we will be glad, and rejoice in his salvation."
which is to come — the wrath which is yet to be revealed. Tlie divine displeasure is the most awful subject that the mind of man can contemplate : it is expressed in Scripture by all that is terrible. It is still ivrath which is to come. After all the terrors of the law and the agonies of conscience; after all the outpouring of its fires upon the guilty nations in time, and its awful manifestations in the day of
judgment; after untold myriads of ages have passed in the vengeance of eternal fire, it is still wraih which is to come. Now, the redemption proclaimed in the gospel extends the whole interminable length of this manifestation of the divine displeasure. To this great deliverance the eye of the church of God in all ages has been directed. Every believer, under the gospel dispensation especially, is waiting for the Son of God from heaven ; " even Jesus, (as the apostle says,) who is to deliver us from the wrath that is to come." And how glorious will be the deliverance! The divine Redeemer will triumph over a benighted world — the multitude will be innumerable — the praises boundless — the glory will fill all eternity, and shine through all eternity.
Once more: The redemption of Christ has respect to the forfeiture and the recovery of the heavenly inheritance. By man came death — by man came also the re37
surrection of the dead. " By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin ; but they who receive abundance of grace, and the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one Jesus Christ." " "When the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son — made of a woman, made under the law — to redeem ihem that were under (condemned by) the law, that they might receive the adoption of children, and if children, then heirs — (heirs of the promise, heirs of salvation, heirs of life everlasting) — heirs of God, and jointheirs with Christ." The second Adam came to repair the ruins of the first. The first Adam, by sin, lost the earthly paradise ; the second Adam, by his obedience, restores it to a heavenly paradise. Hence, the beautiful imagery employed by prophets in describing the millennial reign of our Redeemer, and the glories of the
celestial state, is borrowed from the scenery of the earthly paradise. Thus we read of the rivers of paradise, of the flowers of paradise — the tree of life that grew in the midst of paradise — of the jmrily, innocence, and blessedness of the paradisaical state. But there is this difference ; there is no curse in the heavenly paradise — no tree of death — no lurking serpent to beguile, deceive, and ruin ; but the throne of God and the Lamb is there, and he that sitteth on the throne dwelleth among them, and is their God ; and they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more ; but the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters, and the soft hand of God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
Let us, then, my brethren, take our harps down from the willows, and with Peter, himself a stranger in the earth, let us sing the Lord's song in a strange land :
" Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us, Avho are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time." Yes, paradise has been lost, but paradise has been regained ; and redemption is proclaimed, as it respects the restoration of the forfeited inheritance.
I would earnestly entreat those who are in a state of alienation from God seriously to consider their present condition.
Are you not under the condemning sentence of God's law, and unable to satisfy its divine demands ? Are you not under the ariest of divine justice, which cannot be relinquished, but which will be
satisfied in inflicting punishment upon you 1 Are you not tied and bound by the chain of your lusts and passions'? Are you not exposed to the anguish of death, and the wrath which is to come T Without a Redeemer, without a deliverer, must not everlasting destruction be your inevit;ible doom? that this consideration may lead you to a timely reflection ! — Thorpe
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