This sermon was published in the magazine called The National Preacher, for the year 1832. It hardly has its equal, in my humble opinion, for searching the profession and thinking forward to the great sifting on judgment day. “It is not this withering passion alone that will be tested by the gospel. It is adapted to try the hypocrite and all his subterfuges, and all his mental reservations; in all his evasions to escape the simple and decided duties of Christian piety. Every demand of truth or duty brings his character out. The doctrines of the gospel disturb or discuss him. Those solemn and awful, and yet tender truths, which go beyond the coldest moral sentiments, and which speak of the just government of God, of sovereignty, of election, of hell, of holiness, and prayer, trouble him. Those expressions of pure and advanced piety which speak of the higher joys of the Christian and tell of communion with God, disquiet him. Those sentiments which speak of active piety, which call on him for decided zeal in the cause of God, irritate him. Those assaults which religion makes on his corrupted feelings, those reproofs what she administers when he conforms to the world, those denunciations which thunder along his path when he lives just like other men, and is ashamed of the religion which he professes to love, provoke him. His mind is ruffled by the demands of a life of sincere and prayerful piety. So Job asks, respecting the hypocrite, “will he always call upon God?”
Ye men of business and of might, in the high meridian of your
course. What is your life ? Were we to make up an estimate from your daily conversation, from the eagerness of your worldly pursuits, from your extensive plans, and far-reaching expectations,we must suppose you exempted from the common lot of mortality. But no estimate can be more delusive. Strip your life then of these fictitious and imposing circumstances, and what is it but a vapor ? What obstacle does your fine constitution oppose to the ravages of disease ?—to the stroke of death? How many firmer have fallen in a few days, or hours?
A reading from Plumer’s Commentary on Hebrews 3:7-19
God hath no other intention in the removing the gospel, and unchurching a nation, but the utter ruin and destruction of that nation. Other judgments may be medicinal ; this is killing. Other judgments may lance and let out the corrupt matter ; this opens a passage for life, soul, and happiness.
Other judgments are but scourges ; this is a deadly wound. In other judgments, God may continue a Father ; in this, he is no other than an enemy and a destroyer. Other judgments are upon our backs ; but this is in our bowels. Other judgments may be for conversion ; this takes away the means of conversion. The torments of hell are not inflicted for the conversion of the damned, nor the setting of the gospel sun for the conversion of a nation.
The last awful hours of a young gentleman who departed from the principles of Christianity and turned Deist. ‘That there is a God I know because I continually feel the effects of His wrath. That there is a hell I am equally certain having received an earnest of my inheritance there already in my bosom.’ narrated by Thomas Sullivan
Let a soul in such an estate awake and look about him. His enemy is at hand, and he is ready to fall into such a condition as may cost him dear all the days of his life. His present estate is bad enough in itself; but it is an indication of that which is worse that lies at the door. The disciples that were with Christ in the mount had not only a bodily, but a spiritual drowsiness upon them. What says our Savior to them? “Arise; watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.” We know how near one of them was to a bitter hour of temptation, and not watching as he ought, he immediately entered into it.
There will be divine, holy, and almighty wrath manifested in the countenance and voice of the judge. And we know not what other manifestations of anger will accompany the sentence. Perhaps it will be accompanied with thunders and lightnings, far more dreadful than were on mount Sinai at the giving of the law. Correspondent to these exhibitions of divine wrath, will be the appearances of terror and most horrible amazement in the condemned. How will all their faces look pale! How will death sit upon their countenances, when those words shall be heard! What dolorous cries, shrieks, and groans! What trembling, and wringing of hands, and gnashing of teeth, will there then be!
Now, how reasonable is it to suppose, that God, when he shall come and put an end to the present state of mankind, will in an open, public manner, the whole world being present, rectify all these disorders! And that he will bring all things to a trial by a general judgment, in order that those who have been oppressed may be delivered; that the righteous cause may be pleaded and vindicated, and wickedness, which has been approved, honored, and rewarded, may receive its due disgrace and punishment; that the proceedings of kings and earthly judges may be inquired into by him, whose eyes are as a flame of fire; and that the public actions of men may be publicly examined and recompensed according to their desert! How agreeable is it to divine wisdom thus to order things, and how worthy of the supreme governor of the world!
How mad are men, who so often hear of these things and pretend to believe them; who can live but a little while (a few years); who do not even expect to live here longer than others of their species ordinarily do; and who yet are careless about what becomes of themselves in another world, where there is no change and no end!