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issued and came forth from before him."As of old “the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven, and overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of those cities, and that which grew upon the ground,” so at the consummation of all things, when he arises, to shake terribly the earth, with that fiery stream which issues and comes forth from before him, he will “ burn up the earth with its increase, and melt down the foundations of the mountains ;' yea,
a fire shall be kindled in his anger, which shall burn to the yethermost hell,—shall burn and shall not be quenched.” We know that “the heavens and the earth which now are, are by the word of God kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” And when that period arrives, while the "heavens pass away with a great noise, and the elements melt with fervent heat, the earth and all its works shall be totally burnt up."
. At that destin'd hour,
10. To add the greater terror to this most terrible period, the Scriptures represent it as happening at midnight—" At midnight (says Jesus) there was a cry made, Behold, the Bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him.” And perhaps the apostle, in his first epistle to the Thessalonians, intimates the same, where he says, * Of the times and seasons ye have no need that I should write unto you, for ye yourselves know perfectly, that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night." _It is true, this cannot be the case with respect to the whole earth, it being always day in one part or other of it; but it may be the case with regard to those parts of the earth which are most inhabited, and have been most favoured with the light of the gospel. These may be enveloped with the dismal shades of darkness, when this awful day instantly blazes forth. So it seems our poet, whose sentiments on this subject are always as just as they are striking, and whom, therefore, I can hardly quote too often, supposed when he said, -
“ At midnight, when mankind are wrapt in peace,
And worldly fancy feeds on golden dreams;
At midnight, 'tis presum'd, this scene will burst
11. Then, as was represented to St. John," shall there be a great earthquake, and the sun shall become black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon shall become as blood, and the stars of heaven shall fall unto the earth, even as a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heavens shall depart as a scroll when it is rolled together, and every mountain and island shall be moved out of their place and the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman, shall hide themselves in the dens, and in the rocks of the mountains, and shall "say to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand.” Who, indeed, when
“ Above, beneath, around, amazement all!
Terror and glory join'd in their extremes !
12. And now, let us turn aside and see this great sight. Let us stand still and consider this solemn scene here opened to our view! By the help of that faith which is the evidence of things not seen, let us contemplate the awful majesty and terrible grandeur of this day, if our weak senses can endure the dreadful glory of its light, or our feeble faculties sustain the effulgence of its overpowering brightness, and astonishing terrors. Ah! how must it surprise and alarm the secure sinner, and how must it strike all men with amazement and awe, in the dead of night, to be suddenly awaked out of the repose of their last sleep, by the confused noise and deafening roar of trumpets sounding, thunders grumbling, stars Tushing, elements melting, waves dashing, the sea tossing, and the earth quaking! Ah! how will the stoutest heart fail for fear, and sink with horrible dread, to hear the sudden crush of worlds, and behold the wreck of universal nature ! To see
“ Each mountein height
How will the stubborn infidel, who treated these discoveries as the inventions of fancy, and the hardened sinner, who despised and neglected them; ah! how will they start from the slumbers of midnight, the bed of debauching pleasures, or the couch of rioting and revelling excess, in wild affright and disorder, when they shall behold with their eyes, and feel, to their sorrow, what once they would not believe, or willingly forget! Now they can disbelieve and forget no longer. The great and terrible day of the Lord is arrived.
" The fatal period, the great hour is come,
And nature shrinks at her approaching doom ;
Ņow the day is actually “come, which burns as an oven, and all the proud, (all infidels, and all that do wickedly, (all impenitent sinners,) shall be as stubble : The day is come that shall burn them up, and leave them neither root nor branch."
13" Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, sound an alarm in the holy mountain, let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand: a day of dark. ness and of gloominess ; a day of clouds and of thick darkness !!! Jesus descends with his holy angels; a fire devoureth before them, and behind them a flame burneth." See, ye blind, the victorious blaze of irresistible and all-conquering fire! It rends the rocks, consumes the forests, melts down the mountains, lays cities, yea, whole kingdoms, in ashes, and envelopes the whole earth! Behold, it rises, swells, spreads, and overwhelms all with an universal deluge! While in the meantime,
- Black rising clouds the thickend ether choke,
And spiry flame shoot through the rolling smoke,
Hear, ye deaf, the rebellowing and aggravated roar of hoarse muttering thunder, the mighty voice of the great archangel, and the all-alarming trump of God! Feel, ye stout-hearted, the earth quaking and opening, the mountains trembling and removing, the hills reeling and sinking, the valleys heaving and rising! Feel, or be for ever hardened, the shock of conflicting elements, and the dash of ruined worlds !
14. Awake! awake! ye sleepy sinners! Shake off your fatal slumbers ! Arise from the bed of sloth, and the lap of enchanting pleasures! Haste, haste, and flee for shelter from this day of wrath and unrelenting fury! If you delay till this day overtake you, then, alas : whither can you flee? The earth quakes, trembles, and opens under your feet; the storm of divine vengeance lowers and bursts upon your guilty heads, and ruin and perdition surround you on every hand! The frowning Judge, whose just indignation you have provoked, and whose almighty wrath your sins have kindled, fixes his piercing eye upon you, and marks you out as the butt, at which he will shoot his fiery arrows, and direct the thunderbolts of his everlasting indignation. And now it is in vain to cry to the rocks and mountains to fall upon you and hide you; the rocks and mountains cleave asunder, yea, flee away, and leave you destitute and forsaken, exposed to all the artillery of omnipotent fury, and in the midst of dark and fiery torment,
15. Oh, that men were wise, that they would understand this, that they would consider their latter end! Oh, that they would lay these things to heart, and “ take heed lest at any time their heart be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and so that day come upon them unawares, for as a snare shall it come upon all them that dwell upon the face of the earth !" Oh, that they would " watch and pray always, that they might escape those things which are coming upon the earth, and stand before the Son of man, with joy and not with grief.”