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Shall all be there that day! Yes, all who ever were, are, or shall be-all, from the highest to the lowest. The haughty monarch, who in this world was screened by the pitiful maxim, "The king can do no evil, and is not accountable," will find such language of no avail at that tribunal! There he must account for the lives and property of those over whom he reigned, and thousands slain at his instance will stand as ready proof against him, cursing the day when, to gratify his ambition, they sported with death, and were hurried to the dread tribunal
"Cut off even in the blossom of their sin,
No reck'ning made, but sent to their account
Then every motive for beginning and continuing the Scourge of war will be weighed in an equal and unerring balance. Then he will find, what he might have known before, that "Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared." The crafty statesman and politician, too, must be there, and all his measures shall be measured again by a rule which seldom occurred to him! The oppressor too, and the oppressed, shall be there! A vast concourse! The beggar and the Gospel hearer, and you and I, must be there! Every eye shall see him, and all his enemies shall have ample justice!
There is the terror of the sentence. The judgment being finished, sentence will be pronounced against all his enemies-a sentence replete with terror: "Then shall he say unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, pre
pared for the devil and his angels." Here every word is emphatic, important, and decisive; and will be pronounced with infinite majesty, and with an holy indignation which will pierce every heart. This sentence is just, final, and irreversible; and will be pronounced with an authority which neither can be disputed, nor disobeyed. From this sentence there can be no appeal. Every mouth shall be stopped. His enemies shall go away into everlasting punishment. Thus,
There will also be the terror of the execution. The sentence will be executed without the least delay. The enemies of the Judge, without exception, shall be turned into hell. The sufferings of the damned there, joining the severity and duration together, is the precise amount of the terror of the Lord; but who can tell or reckon up that amount! We can only have very faint conceptions of devouring flames and everlasting burnings.
All the miseries of this life bear no proportion, and scarcely have the least semblance to the torments of hell. The godly have the greatest share of trials here but they are all mixed with mercy. Hell is pure, unmixed wrath. Sinners who suffer most in this world, are only sprinkled with a few drops of Divine wrath; but in hell the waves roll over them. Here they only take, as it were, a small sip of the cup of wrath; there they drink the bitter dregs. To assist us in our conceptions of Divine wrath, we should carefully consider how terrible it was to Christ. Falling upon him, it made him sweat great drops of
blood, and cry out in extreme agony, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!" If it was so in the green tree, what will it be in fuel dried, and already attracting the flames of wrath!
Attempting to describe the terror of the Lord as inflicted in the other world, the heart fails, and the mind sinks under the awful and arduous task! One thing is certain, these torments never abate, nor come to an end; and the longest use and habit never make them in the least degree more tolerable. Awful eternity! But the mind recoils.-May a gracious God grant that we may never go to the place of punishment, where these terrors are felt, and known in their utmost extent!!!
6. In explaining this terror it is of the last importance to observe, that it is the terror of the Lord. His wrath is infinitely superior to the wrath of all the creatures. However terrible it may be to be wholly given over to Satan, that tormentor, it can never be compared with "falling into the hands of the living God," justly incensed and taking vengeance. He can torment his enemies more, in a short space, than all the creatures could do to eternity; and he takes the punishment of his enemies into his own hands. Every Divine perfection makes the future punishment of sinners awfully great. Through partiality, creature punishment is often improper. God is just, and exactly proportions the punishment to the crime. Impotent creatures often are unable to inflict the punishment which they meditate and design. Their malice is superior to their power. An omnipotent God is able
to inflict that which he knows to be just. Among the creatures, one punishment is often exchanged for another. God is of one mind. He is immutable and inexorable; and the sinner shall never again see his face in mercy.
But something still more awful is implied, when it is called the terror of the Lord. It is the terror of the Lord Jesus Christ, as is evident from the foregoing verse. The apostle asserts, that we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, and immediately adds, knowing therefore the terror of the Lord. It is the terror of Him who, though equal with God, took our nature upon him, and laid down his life for sinners. It is the terror of him who could have saved the chief of sinners-of him who would have saved themwho often invited them, and complained when they would not comply-who gave the most gracious assurance that whosoever would, might come, and that whoever came would not be cast off. It is the terror of the Lamb who offered himself a sacrifice, to satisfy Divine justice, in the room of sinners. It is the terror of him who appointed the means of grace for gathering sinners to himself, and promises to accompany them with his Spirit and gracious presence to make them effectual; and whose Spirit every impenitent Gospel hearer in some measure quenches.
When we consider what the Lord Jesus hath done for Gospel hearers, the precious opportunities they have enjoyed; and how awfully they have neglected and despised them; it is no wonder that his wrath should be most awful and terrible when it begins to
burn. With infinite propriety may he address them at the last day, as in Prov. i. 24-28, "Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation; and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind ; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me.”— There is scarcely any term which more emphatically points out the awful nature of the terror of the Lord than when he is said to LAUGH at the sinner's calamity. It expresses an holy but awful complacency in pouring out his wrath upon such as rejected his counsel, and preferred their lusts to his grace and salvation. In this world he wept over Jerusalem; in the other he laughs at all his foes. It will be an essential part of their punishment to be judged, condemned, and consigned to everlasting torment, by HIM who did so much for sinners, who strove so much with themselves; and whom they treated with such contempt.
Leaving the other branches of this subject we shall conclude with some inferences.
1. We infer that CHRIST holds an important and distinguished place in the Christian religion. He is the great and final Judge. Before him we must all appear. To qualify him for such important work, omniscience and almighty power are absolutely neces