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forced now to yield by stern compulsion to the inexorable mandate, commanding the arch-heavenly escort to drag this mighty host of high ones to the great celestial bar. “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face earth and heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened : and another book was opened, which is the book of life : and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Rev. xx. 11, 12.)
From God's revealed word, “ who at sundry times and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, and hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds: who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art my son: this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a son. And again, when He bringeth the first-begotten into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angels He saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom : thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundations of the earth ; and the heavens are the work of thine hands: they shall perish, but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment, and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. But unto which of the angels said He at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool ? Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation ?” From the greatness of the personage thus described, and who is, we know, our delegated Judge ; — from those condescending revelations which have graciously showed unto us things that must be hereafter ; (Rev. iv. 1;)--from the scriptural declarations combining symbolic and prophetic intimations; and from the coincidence already ascertained between conclusions stated, and God's most holy word, may we be allowed to suppose the Almighty Son of God opening his august commission by a solenn protest unto heaven and earth, calling the universe to record that He had set before the myriads of intelligents now brought unto his bar, (that every intellectual might freely take their choice,) life and good, death and evil, blessing and cursing : denouncing unto them, that if they chose not good, that they would surely perish, and be for ever shut from out the heavenly Canaan. (Deut. xxx. 15, 18, 19.) That in as weak and as polluted nature as could be selected from the vast infinitude of worlds, He had completely vindicated his great Father's honour, by publicly demonstrating to the beholding universe, that the most feeble, most depraved nature could illustrate perfection amidst the most piercing trials. By having been himself delivered up unto the power of darkness in this degraded nature, and having triumphed over that power, He had destroyed that power: for through his merits and unfailing intercession in the recovered nature with his Almighty Father, means of escape were offered : and that He now is come to judge the assembled universe in that once frail, now glorified nature, which achieved these great exploits : a nature now more precious than fine gold; even a man more precious than the golden wedge of Ophir. (Isa. xiii. 12.) A nature tenderly touched with the feeling of infirmities, having been tempted in all points to which probationary beings could possibly be exposed, yet without sin. That not one probationary being now placed before his dreadful judgment-seat but must acknowledge that the law of God was in clear characters emblazoned on their hearts; and the commands of the all-wise Creator delivered forth, accompanied with such evidence that they came forth from God, that none but evil or misguided hearts could possibly resist. I pleaded with my Father to spare the fruitless fig trees, that I might dig and dress them;" and not a being here whom I must now reject, whose conscience does not
testify that they wilfully refused my grace. I warned them of this day, that I should come in clouds with ten thousands of my saints, to execute judgment upon those whose fruit was withered, who were twice dead, plucked up by the roots ; raging waves of the sea foaming out their shame, wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever ; and to convince all that are ungodly of their ungodly deeds, which they ungodly have committed, and of all their hard speeches, which ungodly sinners, murmurers, and complainers, walking after their own lusts, their mouths speaking great swelling words, have spoken against me: told them that my chariots were as whirlwinds, my horses swifter than eagles; and published this affliction, exhorting them to wash their hands from wickedness, that they may now be saved. (Jer. iii. 13, 14.) And that when the worlds that should begin to vanish away were finished, then would I show these tokens, that they should altogether see the awful records opened before the firmament, that those who then escaped should witness my salvation. (2 Esdras vi. 20, 25.) And “what could have been done more to my vineyard that I have not done in it ?” (Isa. v. 4.) For I take pleasure in my saints: I now will beautify the meek, and deck them with salvation. (Ps. cxlix. 4.) Come, ye blessed of my Father, ye poor and meek in spirit, yours is the heavenly kingdom ; you mourned and wept for sin ; but now you will be comforted: hungered and thirsted after righteousness; you now shall be full filled.