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of him that sits upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, Rev. vi. 16.
3. Another particular implied in this judgment of the wicked is their trial; for so, 1 Cor. iv. 5. we are told, that in this fearful day of reckoning God will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the very counsels of the heart. And this will be no hard matter to effect, considering that he who is to be the Judge of these guilty criminals hath been a constant witness to all their actions, that his all-seeing eye hath traced them all along through all their secret mysteries and dark intrigues of iniquity, and hath kept an exact record of them in the book of his remembrance; so that to convict them of their guilts he will need do no more but only produce his own registers, and expose what he hath there recorded to the view of the world : and there the wretches will see themselves transcribed, and all their abominable actions exactly copied from their first originals; there they will find all their secret machinations, their dark cheats, their lewd imaginations and hypocritical intentions, recorded in the most legible characters; and perceiving themselves thus shamefully unstripped and uncased before the world, their very inwards dissected, and the smallest threads and fibres of their hearts laid open and exposed to the view of men and angels, their own shame and intolerable rack of their consciences will force them to confess their charge, and proclaim themselves guilty before all that vast congregation of spirits. But 0 the inexpressible horror and confusion these wretched souls will then be seized with, when they shall see themselves thus publicly unmasked, and turned inside outwards, and be forced to stand forth like so many loathsome spectacles before God and his angels, without any excuse or retreat for their shame, without any veil to hide their infamy and blushes ! when their filthy practices shall be no longer confined to the talk of a town or a village, but be proclaimed in the hearing of all the rational world. O now it would be happy for them, if, as formerly, they could drown the retorts of their conscience in noise and laughter, and forget its cutting repartees, which were always uneasy to bear, but impossible to answer. But, alas ! those jolly days are gone, and now, in despite of themselves, they must listen with horror and confusion of face to what those two great judges, Jesus and their own consciences, unanimously give in charge against them. Thus he, whose piercing eye doth now penetrate their hearts, and ransack every corner of their souls, will in that great day of discoveries bring forth all that secret filth that is there reposited, and expose it for an infamous spectacle to the public view of men and angels.
4. Another particular implied in this judgment of wicked men is their sentence. Their trial being now over, in which their guilt hath been sufficiently evinced and detected, to their everlasting infamy and reproach, they will by this time have received the sentence of death within themselves, and stand condemned in the judgment of all the world. The righteous Judge, who is too great to be overawed, too just to be bribed, and too much provoked to be entreated, whose ears are now for ever stopped, and whose bowels are impenetrably hardened against all further overtures of mercy, will with a stern look and terrible voice pronounce that dreadful doom
upon them, Go, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels; which though it be of a horrible import, will appear so just, considering the horrible things which have been charged and proved against them, that it will be immediately seconded with the unanimous suffrage of all that bright corona of glorified saints that sit as assessors round the throne, who with one consent will all cry out together, Just and righteous art thou, O Judge of the world, in all thy ways. But O the fearful shrieks and lamentations that will then be heard from those poor condemned creatures ! For if a Lord have mercy upon thee, a Take him, jailor, from an earthly judge, be able to extort so many sighs and tears from a hardened malefactor, what will a Go ye cursed do from the mouth of the righteous Judge of the world, and when so many millions of men and women shall be all involved together in the same doom, and all at once lamenting their dismal fate? Lord, what a horrible outcry will they make! Now in the bitter agonies of their souls they will cry to heaven for mercy, mercy : but alas ! poor souls, they cry too late; their Judge was once as importunate with them to have mercy upon themselves : but because when he called, they refused; when he stretched forth his hands, they regarded not; now when they call, he will not answer; when they cry, he will not hear, but will laugh at their calamity, as they did at his counsel, and mock when their fear and destruction is come upon them.
5. And lastly, Another particular implied in this judgment of the wicked is the execution of their sentence. For immediately after their sentence is passed, by which they stand doomed to everlasting fire, an everlasting fire shall be kindled round about them, a fire which within a few moments shall spread itself over all this lower world, and convert the whole atmosphere about us into a furnace of inquenchable flames. For then all those fiery particles which are everywhere intermingled with these terrestrial bodies, and have hitherto been kept within their proper limits, shall be disentangled and set free from those more gross and sluggish ones that now bind and fix them, and swarm together like so many sparks into one huge globe of fire, which from the lowermost centre of the earth shall spire up and kindle upon all that airy heaven above, and with one continued flame fill all the vast expansum; all that fiery matter which is now dispersed up and down within the entrails of the earth shall by degrees gather together into rivers of fire, which, rolling to and fro within, to force their way into the open air, will perhaps produce those prodigious earthquakes of which our Saviour speaks, by which at length the earth being cleft and torn, it shall everywhere vomit out torrents of fire from its flaming bowels; and at the same time the sea shall boil and swell, and roar like water in a seething pot, till it is all evaporated by the struggling flames from below, which, having rarefied its waters into vapours, shall kindle those vapours into flames; and at the same time also the heavens above shall groan and crack with incessant thunder, accompanied with thick and fearful flashes of lightning, which, joining with those vast streams of fire that will be continually issuing out of the earth and sea, will make such a prodigious deluge of flames, as will quickly overflow the whole world. For thus we are assured from scripture, that the elements shall melt with fervent heat, and the earth, and the works that are therein, shall be burnt up, 2 Pet. iii. 10. So also St. John, in his vision of the day of judgment, Rev. xx. 11. I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away, and there was found no place for them. Not that the matter of them shall be annihilated, but the form of them shall be destroyed by their being converted into an everlasting fire; and in this fire shall those condemned wretches live and suffer to eternal ages. Hence it is called the vengeance of eternal fire; and we are told, that it will be in flaming fire that the Lord Jesus will render vengeance to all that know not God, and obey not his gospel, 2 Thess. i. 8. And that this flaming fire shall be the conflagration of the world, that of St. Peter seems plainly to imply, 2 Pet. iii. 7. But the heavens and the earth, which are now,—are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men; and being reserved unto fire against the day of perdition of ungodly men, we may justly conclude that the fire it is reserved to will be the perdition of ungodly men. Thus, upon our Saviour's pronouncing those dreadful words, Go, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, the persons concerned will immediately perceive the dire effects; for all on a sudden they will see the clouds from above, and the earth from beneath, casting forth torrents of fire upon them, which in an instant will set all the world in a blaze about their ears : at the sight of which all this wretched world will be turned into a mournful stage of horrors, in which the miserable actors, being seized with inexpressible