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dispersed, “ that they may live" again in their mortal bodies, according to the literal sense of the prophetic parable of the dry bones, I have before cited from Ezekiel*. Thus risen from the grave, and thus reanimated, according to St. Paul, their bodies shall be changed from their mortal, and yet corrupted state, into a state of immortality, incorruption, and a life which shall never end.
In this state, the prophet tells us he saw “† the small and great stand before God;" and in this state, according to St. Matthew, “ the Son of Man shall come, in the
glory of his Father, to reward every man ac
cording to his works.” Christ thus come, as judge of the whole world, to perform the last office of his Father's will; “ The books,” says the prophet, were opened,” referring, as I humbly apprehend, to the two books of the Old and New Testaments, those inspired and sacred oracles of the revealed will of God. The same books are mentioned by Daniel, as being opened before God, when he passed his decree against the four beastsş; and again by Zachariah, under the figure of “ the two candlesticks,
or the two anointed ones, that stand by the “ Lord of the whole earthll;" and again by the prophet himself, under those of “the two wit
nesses of God; the two candlesticks and "olive trees standing before the God of the “earth,” or before Jesus Christ. These two
* Chap, xxxvii.
† Ver. 12.
Chap. xvi. 27. 4 Chap, xi. 3, 4.
infallible witnesses of his divine truths, revealed through Christ, these two holy and ancient records manifesting the incessant invitations and expostulations, gentle chastisements, and unbounded love of God towards sinners, and their contumacious and reprobate disobedience to his holy commandments in their former state, are now to be opened, that the truths they contain may be perfectly known, as well to the judged as the judge; and moreover, that the wicked may be tried and acquitted, or condemned, by them, and their own consciences, now alive to a sense of every crime, of every deed done in the body; and that as men, when tried at a human bar, they may be convinced of the righteousness, justice, and mercy, of the awful sentence which shall be passed upon them, by his BLESSED SON, whether it shall condemn them to eternal misery, or to a life of immortal happiness.
But there is another book also to be opened, on this momentous day. The prophet says, “another book was opened, which is the book of life.” This is the same book to which Daniel alludes, when foretelling the same great event*; and the same book referred to by the prophet, in his epistle to the church at Sardis, * And I will not blot out his name out of the " book of life, but I will confess his name be“fore my Father, and before his angelst:" and again, he calls it “ the Lamb's book of life I,"
Chap. vii. 10.
Chap. iii. 5.
Chap. xxi. 27
in the new Jerusalem, and in divers other places, meaning, as I humbly apprehend, not literally a book, but some divine rule, or law, or place, in and by which the righteous, and redeemed, shall be for ever distinguished, and separated from the condemned. For Christ himself tells us, that on this day* he “ will sep“arate the nations one from another, as a shep"herd divideth his sheep from the goats, and “ that he will set the sheep on his right hand, “and the goats on the left; and he will say un“to them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed “ of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared “ for you from the foundation of the world : “and to those on his left hand, Depart from
me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared “ for the devil and his angels.” However, out " of the books,” meaning the two books first mentioned, the dead, now changed into a spiritual state, shall be judged; "and the dead “were judged out of the things written in the “ books, according to their works:” and who"soever was not found in the book of life," i.e. on the right hand of the Son of God, “were
cast into the lake of fire. And death and “hell (the grave) were cast into the lake of fire “also; and this is the second death.” And thus, according to the express prophecy of St. Paul, “Christ will have now reigned until he hath put all enemies under his feet;" even death itself, the last cnemy which he had upon the earth, and which he came to destroy. So that nothing of his great and holy trust will now remain to be performed, but to deliver up his kingdom to his Father, from whom he received it, “ that the Son also himself may be
* Matth. xxv. 32, 33, 34, 41.
subject unto him that put all things under « him, that God may be all in ALL.'
THE TWENTIETH AND TWENTY-FIRST CHAP
TERS OF THE REVELATION.
Of the blessed state of the righteous and re
deemed through Christ, in a spiritual life to
THESE two, the last chapters of the Revelation, relate to the state of mankind in a spiritual and never ending life, and more especially of those who shall be redeemed by their works, and the imputed righteousness of the Son of God. They relate to matters and things, which the utmost extent of the intellectual faculties of man, in his mortal state, cannot reach. Matter and mortality cannot comprehend the nature of immateriality and spirit, nor form an adequate idea of
any thing belonging to them; and yet we find that the unerring spirit of prophecy and truth has thought proper to give us a faint description of them. Such a description, we cannot doubt, as was necessary to raise, in the limited understandings of mankind, during their mortal and proba
tionary state, a proper idea of the superior, the supreme excellence of a life of truth and piety, above that of disobedience and sin; the latter of which they daily find attended by remorse of conscience, and the fear of death : and also, that it might serve as the anchor by which the faith and hope of the believers in the word of God might ride in safety, amidst the storms of human passions and lusts; and moreover, as the great pole star, to direct them to the goal of their Salvation. For, as St. Paul says, when speaking of the utmost extent of our knowledge in this life, “ We know in part only, we see through glass darkly, but when that which is perfect is “come (evidently alluding to a future state), we s shall then see face to face,” or things as they really are in that state. Hence we may conclude, that this view of the state of things in a life to come, is all that God intended to give, and all that the mind of man is able to comprehend: an attempt, therefore, to give any explanation of it, must be fruitless, if not presumptuous. I shall, therefore, conclude my comments upon this most perfect and awful theme of the Revelation, hy laying before the pious reader a summary view, extracted from the most striking parts of Scripture, as near as possible in the words of the prophets and apostles. Isaiah, when describing this state of inexpressible and never-ending beatitude, tells us, from GOD HIMSELF, “Behold I create “ new heavens and a new earth; and the former “shall not be remembered, nor come into mind: “ but be you glad, and rejoice for ever, for behold