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also will be made known, when the Lord shall come. Then it will appear that they abhorred, and laboured to exclude, every evil imagination, and to repress all sinful desires; that they humbly mourned over the vain-glorious, envious, impatient, and peevish emotions of their hearts; and that they endeavoured to employ their minds, during their retired hours, in holy contemplations. It will then be known how much their thoughts were occupied in considering by what means they might best glorify God, and serve their generation; and what desires they felt, and what plans they formed, which they could not accomplish. Their affectionate longings after the salvation of their relatives, neighbours, and persecutors; and the anguish of heart which they felt on their account, even when censured as severe and harsh in reproving and warning them, will be brought to light; with all other pious, holy, and benevolent thoughts and desires: and these discoveries will evidence them to have been the genuine followers of the holy Jesus.
We must even go farther still in this matter': the state of every man's heart, and the motives of his actions will then be fully disclosed. The admired morality of numbers will then be demonstrated to have been only a modification of selflove; without any real regard to the authority or glory of God. The Pharisee's prayers, fasting, and almsgiving will be shewn to have resulted solely from pride and ostentation. Many will be proved to have preached the gospel "from envy and "strife," from avarice or ambition; and to have professed it, as a step to emolument or distinction.
In short every mask will then be taken off; many admired characters will appear completely odious and contemptible; and "the things which have "been highly esteemed among men" will appear to have been " abomination in the sight of God." Need I say, how tremendous this must be to dissemblers of every description, who now act a plausible part, and exhibit on the stage of the world in an assumed character?
But, on the other hand, the humility, gratitude, zealous love, and holy affections of true believers will be made manifest to the universe. The pure motives of those actions, which were censured or calumniated, will be demonstrated; every accusation will be silenced, and all misapprehensions removed; and it will be undeniably evident that, from the time when they made an explicit profession of the gospel, their repentance, faith, love and habitual conduct were answerable to that profession. We proceed therefore,
III. To advert to the consequences of these discoveries.
By them the immense difference of character, between the righteous and the wicked, will be undeniably manifested. In this world, numbers find it convenient to varnish over their crimes, to palliate or excuse many parts of their conduct, and to cast other parts, as it were, into the back ground, where they are little observed: while regardless of their hearts, they have leisure to place their counterfeit virtues in a conspicuous light, and to make them appear immensely better than they really are. On the contrary, the believer has many infirmities; and is engaged in a sharp con
flict with "the sin that dwelleth in him," and with the temptations of Satan. The world rigorously scrutinizes his conduct; and the Lord tries his faith and grace, "as silver is tried" in the furnace. He is so afraid of hypocrisy and ostentation, that he carefully conceals many things which might exalt his character, and scrupulously shuns the appearance of good before men, when he but suspects that there is not the reality of it in the sight of God. On these and other accounts, the apparent difference betwixt true Christians and specious hypocrites or moralists, bears no manner of proportion to the degree in which their characters do really differ. But the discoveries of the great day will perfectly distinguish them, and all the world will "discern between the righteous and the "wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not."
When the Lord shall thus "bring to light the "hidden things of darkness," every mouth will be "stopped, and all the world will become guilty "before God; for by the works of the law shall "no flesh be justified in the sight of God."2 The discoveries of the great decisive day will completely elucidate this fundamental doctrine of Christianity, which is now so generally misunderstood or opposed: for the whole of men's thoughts, words and works will appear so contrary to the holy precepts of God, or so far short of their spiritual perfection; that all must then feel the force of David's words, "If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquity, O Lord, who shall stand?" As therefore "all have
12 Cor. xii. 6.
Rom. iii. 19, 20.
"sinned and come short of the glory of God," all must fall under condemnation who are not interested in the salvation of the gospel. But it may be asked, in what sense then will every man be judged "according to his works?" This shall be reserved for the subject of a separate discourse: and it may suffice to answer at present, that all avowed unbelievers, however distinguished, will be judged and condemned for the sins they have committed; and all professed believers will be judged according to their works, as proving, or disproving, the sincerity of their profession.
The discoveries of this awful day will likewise silence all the blasphemies, which are continually uttered against the justice of God in the condemnation of the wicked. It is on this account called "the day of wrath and revelation of the " righteous judgment of God." While men conceal or palliate by far the greatest and worst part of their conduct, they may argue plausibly against the denunciations of scripture: but, when the whole of their character and conduct shall be openly exhibited, and all the world shall know every thing respecting them which is now seen by the heartsearching Judge alone; then the justice of the tremendous sentence will be universally acknowledged; the friends of God will perceive and adore his glory in this part of his moral government; and "the wicked shall be silent in darkness" and despair, when compelled to " depart accursed into "everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his "angels."
Far be it from us to suppose that the merciful Saviour, who is TRUTH itself would use such
nothing before the time." Our duty often requires us to form some judgment of men's characters and actions: but in all other respects our business is with ourselves and the Lord, and not with our fellow servants. And the more diligent "to be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless;" the less time and thought we shall have to spare, for censuring and condemning the conduct, or suspecting the motives, of other men.
But do you, my friends, really believe these things? and are you preparing to meet your Judge? I fear, the actions, conversation, and spirit of numbers awfully prove the contrary. Still, however, the Lord waits to be gracious: flee then to him as a Saviour, without longer delay, who will speedily come to be your Judge.—You who profess the gospel, be advised and persuaded to "ex"amine yourselves whether ye be in the faith :” look well to it that your evidences of conversion are clear and decisive; for that day, of which we speak, will detect multitudes of self-deceivers, as well as unmask many artful hypocrites. And, if you are conscious of following the Lord with an upright heart, take heed that you do not slacken your diligence, or yield to unwatchfulness: "Let
your loins be girded and your lights burning,
and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for "their Lord:" for blessed are those servants whom "the Lord when he cometh shall find watching; " verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, "and make them to sit down to meat, and will come