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every secret fraud, and act of deceit, in which we perhaps exulted as an instance of skill and sagacity, and took advantage of the simplicity or credulity of a neighbour; these, and all such as these, shall then be openly published before men and angels; 66 for, there is nothing covered, that shall not 6 be revealed; neither hid, that shall not “ be known“.” Particularly, if at any time the desire of the applause of men, or the dread of their censure, the fear of their reproaches or laughter, have led us to act contrary to our known duty, our cowardice and shame shall then be openly exposed; for, “whosoever,” says our Lord, “ shall be 66 ashamed of me and of my words, in this 66 adulterous and sinful generation, of him 66 shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when “ he cometh in the glory of his Father with " the holy angelso.” And not only those actions, which were evidently sinful, but many of those which to'outward appearance were good and praiseworthy, will be condemned, when the motives from which they proceeded are revealed. Alms bestowed, and acts of seeming kindness performed,
Luke xii. 2. Mark viii. 38.
not from a principle of love or obedience to God or from good will to man, but from a spirit of ostentation; regularity in the external ordinances of religion proceeding, not from devotion and a sense of duty, but from the desire of human applause, will by that God, who seeth the heart, be found wanting in goodness, and condemned with the rest of the offspring of vanity and pride.
We shall be judged also for our words, By thy words thou shalt be justified, and “by thy words thou shalt be condemned?.?? Those, for instance, who have accustomed themselves to the language of cursing, who have been in the habit of calling upon God to damn their neighbours or themselves, perhaps even their own children, and have died without repentance, will then learn by sad experience how dreadful a thing that damnation is, which they so wantonly called down. As while in the body' they delighted in cursing, they have cause to fear that cursing will happen unto them, and that they will hear the terrible sentence of, “ Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire."
* Matt. xii. 37. 4 Psalm cix, 16.
Those, whose tongues have sown strife and
thought; every scheme of iniquity, which we have devised, without being able to practise it; every fraud or stratagem for over-reaching another which we have planned, though without being able to carry it into effect; every actual intention to gratify some sinful lust, to the accomplishment of which nothing but opportunity has been wanting; nay farther, every unchaste imagination, every uncharitable thought which we have wilfully cherished in secret, will by that God, who spieth out all the thoughts and purposes of the heart, be classed with actual sins.
And not only will our sins of commission, those in which we have done that which we ought not to have done, be remembered against us, but our sins of omission also, the leaving undone what we ought to do, are recorded in the book of God's remembrance. Indeed it is upon the performance or the non-performance of duties, particularly of the duties of brotherly kindness, that our Saviour represents the last sentence to depend. We shall have to account for every instance in which we have perversely withholden good from
our brother to whom it was due, when it was in the power of our hand to do it; for every neglect of a reasonable opportunity of promoting his worldly comfort, or his eternal welfare. We shall have to answer for every occasion of advancing the glory of God among men, which we have carelessly omitted to improve; and for our wilful neglect of the means of grace, such as reading and hearing the word of God, such as prayer, and the sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
III. It remains, in the third place, that we say a few words on the sentence that will be pronounced. What this will be, we are told by our Lord himself. “ Then shall “ the King say unto them on his right hand, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit “the kingdom prepared for you from the “ foundation of the world.” “Then shall he " say also unto them on the left hand, De "part, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, pre“pared for the devil and his angels. And “ these shall go away into everlasting pu“nishment: but the righteous into life " eternal." As the blessedness of the
• Matt. XXV. 34.