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saving the soul, but he reckons on after opportunities, and screens his present neglect by the promise of future carefulness. word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” The word emphatically announces to him, that “ now is the accepted time, that now is the day of salvation.” It offers man all he needs of to-day ; it gives no pledge for to-morrow : therefore shall it take away all excuse from those who, through daring to procrastinate, have died without repentance. A third relies on the unbounded benevolence of God, arguing that a being so full of tender compassion will never be extreme in exacting punishment from his creatures. But “ the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” That word hath expressly declared, “ The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” It hath stated, without reserve, and without equivocation, that “ God is righteous in taking vengeance ;" and that while he is a reconciled Father to all who seek him through Christ, he is a consuming fire to such as reject him and put contempt on his Gospel. And this word will judge the man who presumes on the divine mercy. It could not have been in ignorance that he thus presumed after having heard, and therefore will that Gospel take away all excuse, and leave him defenceless at the judgment.
It is thus with every instance of self-deceit, every species of apology, every subterfuge. We defy you to invent, to imagine the plea which a man might offer, why sentence of death should not be passed upon him hereafter, which will bear being brought to the test of the preached word. If
you can suppose a man who heard the Gospel, but died without repentance, excusing himself at God's bar, you cannot devise the excuse which might not be instantly invalidated by a reference to that Gospel. We will dare to throw an awfulness over our present assembly by associating it most closely with the transactions of the last day. We will not allow that, because a few minutes hence you will be dispersing to your several homes, and the business of public worship will be suspended till another sabbath comes round-we will not allow that the services of this day, of this evening, are about to pass away for ever. We believe that the sermon which has done its part as a proclamation, has yet to do its part as a witness. What I now speak has again to be heard-heard on that day in wonder and in terror, when the dead, small and great, are to stand before God. And if there is one among you who has been a stranger to the Gospel, he will not go hence with any excuse that will avail him on his trial. We tell this individual that he has sinned, and come short of the glory of God. We tell him that no penances, no morality, no benevolence, no uprightness, will suffice to gain his pardon, and save him from a worm that dieth not, and a fire that is not quenched. But we go on to tell him that God, in the exuberance of his love, hath provided a ransom, given his own Son to die in his stead; and that, by virtue of this marvellous substitution, he can and will pardon you, aye, crown with eternal felicity all who are ready to be free from the power, as well as the punishment of sin. And we entreat him that without a moment's delay he would devote himself to the seeking God through the Mediator Christ. We assure him that he cannot seek in sincerity, and fail to find; we assure him that he cannot refuse to seek, and fail to perish. A thousand promises of God bear us out in the one statement--a thousand threatenings in the other. And now our task is done. The man will depart; per' as tomorrow he will be on the great deep; and he will soon forget in distant scenes what is pressed on his attention by the minister of Christ. But can our words perish? Is there no marble, no brass, on which they are graven, though they have not imprinted themselves on the heart of the hearer ? They have not perished; it is impossible they should perish. These very words are to vindicate the righteousness of God, when, in the presence of the congregated universe, this rejecter of the Gospel receives his sentence for eternity. Let him stand forward. The charge against him is, that of living as a rebel, though there had been blood shed for his reconciliation : he has been told of his rebellion ; he has been told of the blood shed for him. If he attempt to plead ignorance, there will arise before him this very sabbath-meeting ; aye, and the words which I have just addressed to him will crowd on his memory, for there shall then be no forgetfulness, but every moment of time will return as though the past became the present, that it might give its canker to the future. And if ignorance cannot be pleaded, how will the promises and threatenings of God, to which he had been directed, spring forward, as accusers, and overwhelm him by their testimony.!
It is but too possible that this present ministration will thus furnish evidence, condemping evidence, at the last assize : and though, if I could single out the individual whose case I have supposed, I would plead with him earnestly and affectionately, beseeching him again and again to hearken to the tidings of forgiveness, and arraving before him the awfulness of final retribution ;
yet if I know him not till we meet before the great white throne, and he be then among those who slırink away from the face of the Lamb, o there is nothing which can prevent me from appearing as a witness against him when he is standing at the bar; and “the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him at the last day.”
We do not know, brethren in the Lord, that a more affecting truth can be presented to the minister of the Gospel, than that of his thus furnishing the evidence on which some, at least, amongst bis hearers will be finally condemned. It must, I think, be one of the most painful of duties, (and all of you, I am persuaded, will agree with me in this), to come forward as a witness when a fellowcreature is put upon trial for his life, and to state facts which will ensure a fatal verdict. I am sure there is not one of us, whatever the wrong he had sustained, or the injury he had suffered, who could go unmoved into the court, and deliver, without a pang, testimony which must number the days of the prisoner. And what is this to the being witnesses against men who have never harmed vou, men from whom you may have received many kindnesses, with whom you may have lived upon terms of friendship, and who are on a trial whose issue will decide whether they are to be inconceivably happy, or inconceivably wretched for ever and for ever! It is vain to say, that the period will then be over during which human feeling can then have play, and that he who gives the evidence will give it without sorrow, because the possibility of grief must terminate with life. We are not sure of this. We are sure that when the judgment is concluded, and heaven entered, there will be place only for gladness and exultation : but we are not sure that, while the business of trial is still going on, and ministers see their congregations, and parents their families, divided and broken up, one taken and another left; we are not sure that there will be nothing of agony, no burst and no gush of human sympathy. And why not sure ? So soon as in the mystic vision of St. John there had been the gathering of the dead from the sea and the land, and the sentencing of all men according to their works, there arose before the evangelist a new heaven and a new earth, the abode of the righteous. But what is among the first things then said in regard of the inhabitants of this magnificent creation? “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Is it not as though there will be weeping at the very instant of entering the eternal city, so that tears will be carried even into heaven itself? O! I
could almost believe from this that human feelings will have power throughout the awful transaction of severing the just from the unjust, and that those who have had to bear witness against others, and who have seen many, whose happiness they ardently wish, given over to the destroyer, will then know for the last time something of anguish of spirit—that they will go away to their own glorious heritage mourning for the lost, and that their gaze will be dimmed by the dew of human sympathy till God himself hath comforted them, and dried up their tears by manifesting his own splendours.
And I would not be a witness against any of you, and I would not that any of you should be a witness against me.
. In leaving you as I do this night, for a period of relaxation from public duty, I would earnestly pray that God of his mercy would pardon whatever has been faulty in my last year's ministrations, and bless whatever has been spoken according to his will; and thus cause, that, when we meet at the judgment, no words of mine may be produced to convict me of unfaithfulness, and none to condemn you of wilful impenitence. We must meet-meet in the relation of pastor and pe ple; but, blessed be God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us be earnest in obeying the Gospel, and there is nothing to prevent our meeting with gladness, and go in, an undivided company, to the marriage-supper of the Lamb.
CHRIST MANIFESTED TO DESTROY THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL.
REV. T. B. BAKER, A.M.
WOBURN CHAPEL, TAVISTOCK-PLACE, AUGUST 28, 1836.
"For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the
devil."-1 John, iii. 8.
Not only may it be said of Jesus Christ that he came to destroy the works of the devil, but, with respect to the elect of God, to destroy the devil himself. I do not mean to say, to make an entire conclusion of him, but that he has taken from him all his power, and has moreover divested him of all authority and influence in reference to the church of God: so that, however he may tempt, annoy, and disturb them, he is incapable of destroying a single one of their souls. This you will find to be the case respecting them, by turning to what is said in Luke, x. : “ The seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.” What a strong expression, beloved! But was that peculiar to the apostles ? Was this
Was this power merely their's, and not ours? We may use the same language in the exercise of faith upon Christ to-night as they did, and we may say, “ Even the devils are subject to us through thy name :” for Paul says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me:” and our Saviour moreover said, “I saw Satan as lightning fall from heaven;" a corresponding passage with my text—“He was manifested to destroy the works of the devil.” Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding, in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject to you; but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven," that you are the elect of God, which is a far greater subject of joy to true believers than having power over devils. This corresponds also with what is said in Revelations, xx. where Jesus Christ is said to have bound Satan “a thousand years,” (meaning the Gospel dispensation), “and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him