Sermon 257. The Scales of Judgment
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, June 12th, 1859, by the
REV. C.H. SPURGEON
at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.
"Tekel; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting."-Daniel 5:27.
THERE IS A WEIGHING TIME for kings and emperors, and all the monarchs of earth, albeit some of them have exalted themselvesto a position in which they appear to be irresponsible to man. Though they escape the scales on earth, they must surely betried at the bar of God. For nations there is a weighing time. National sins demand national punishments. The whole historyof God's dealings with mankind proves that though a nation may go on in wickedness it may multiply itsoppressions; it may abound in bloodshed, tyranny, and war, but an hour of retribution draweth nigh. When it shall havefilled up its measure of iniquity, then shall the angel of vengeance execute its doom. There cannot be an eternal damnationfor nations as nations; the destruction of men at last will be that of individuals, and at the bar of God each man must betried for himself. The punishment, therefore, of nations, is national. The guilt they incur must receive its awful recompensein thispresent time state. It was so with the great nation of the Chadleans. They had been guilty of blood. The monuments whichstill remain, and which we have lately explored, prove them to have been a cruel and ferocious race. A people of a strangelanguage they were, and stranger than their language were their deeds. God allowed that nation for a certain period to growand thrive, till it became God's hammer, breaking in pieces many nations. It was the axe of the Almighty-his battle axe, andhisweapon of war. By it he smote the loins of kings, yea, and slew mighty kings. But its time came at last. She sat aloneas a queen, and said, "I shall see no sorrow," nevertheless, the Lord brought her low, and made her grind in the dust of captivity,and gave her riches to the spoiler, and her pomp to the destroyer. Even so must it be with every nation of the earth thatis guilty of oppression. Humbling itself before God, when his wrath is kindled but a little, it may for awhile arrest itsfate; but if it still continue in its bold unrighteousness, it shall certainly reap the harvest of its own sowing. Solikewise shall it be with the nations that now abide on the face of the earth. There is no God in heaven if the iniquity ofslavery go unpunished. There is no God existing in heaven above if the cry of the negro do not bring down a red hail of bloodupon the nation that still holds the black man in slavery. Nor is there a God anywhere if the nations of Europe that stilloppresseach other and are oppressed by tyrants do not find out to their dismay that he executes vengeance. The Lord God is theavenger of every one that is oppressed, and the executor of every one that oppresseth. I see, this very moment, glancing atthe page of the world's present history, a marvellous proof that God will take vengeance. Piedmont, the land which is at thistime sodden with blood, is only at this hour suffering the vengeance that has long been hanging over it. The snows of itsmountains were once red with the blood of martyrs. It is not yet forgotten how there the children of God were hunted likepartridges on the mountains; and so has God directed it, that the nations that performed that frightful act upon his children,shall there meet. rend, and devour each other in the slaughter, and both sides shall be almost equal, and nothing shall beseen but that God will punish those who lift their hands against his anointed.
There has never been a deed of persecution-there has never been a drop of martyr's blood shed yet, but shall be avenged, andevery land guilty of it shall yet drink the cup of the wine of the wrath of God. And especially certain is there gatheringan awful storm over the head of the empire of Rome-that spiritual despotism of the firstborn of hell. All the clouds of God'svengeance are gathering into one-the firmament is big with thunder, God's right arm is lifted upeven now, and ere long the nations of the earth shall eat her flesh and burn her with fire. They that have been made drunkwith the wine of her fornication, shall soon also have to drink with her of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath; and theyshall reel to and fro, their loins shall be loose, their knees shall smite together, when God fulfils the old handwritingon the rock of Patmos.
Our duty at this time is to take heed to ourselves as a nation that we purge ourselves of our great sins Although God hasgiven so much light, and kindly favored us with the dew of his Spirit, yet England is a hoary sinner. Favourably with mercydoes God regard her, so much the rather then let each Christian try to shake off the sins of his nation from his own skirt,and let each one to the utmost of his ability labor and strive to purify this land of blood and oppression,and of everything evil that still clingeth to her. So may God preserve this land; and may its monarchy endure till heshall come, before whom both kings and princes shall lose their power right cheerfully even as the stars fade when the kingof light-the sun-lifteth up his golden head.
With this brief preface, I will leave nations and kings all to themselves, and consider the text principally as it has relationto each one of us; and may God grant that when we go out of this hall most of us may be able to say, "I thank God I have agood hope that when weighed in the scales at last I shall not be found wanting." Or, if that is too much to expect, may Iyet trust some will go away convinced of sin, crying in their own spirits, "I am wanting now, but if Godin his mercy meet with me, I shall not be wanting long."
I shall notice, first, that there are certain preliminary weighings which God would have us put ourselves to in this world, and which indeed he has setup as kind, of tests whereby we may be able to discover what shall be the result of the last decisive weighing. After I have mentioned these, I shall then come to speak of the last tremendous weighing of the judgment day.
I. LET US JUDGE OURSELVES THAT WE THAT WE MAY NOT BE JUDGED. It is for us now to put ourselves through the various tests bywhich we may be able to discover, whether we are, at this present time, short weight or not.
The first test I would suggest is that of human opinion. Now understand me. I do believe that the opinion of man is utterly valueless when that opinion is based upon false premises,and, therefore, draws wrong conclusions. I would not trust the world to judge God's servants, and it is a mercy to know thatthe world shall not have the judging of the church, but rather, the saints shall judge the world. There is a sense in whichI would say with the apostle, "With meit is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea. I judge not myself." Human opinionis not to be put in competition with divine revelation. But I speak now of judging ourselves, and I do not think it safe,when weighing our own character, to prefer our own and exclude our neighbour's judgment. The esteem or contempt of honestmen, which is instinctively shown without reference to party or prejudice, is not by any means to be despised. When a manknows that heis right he may snap his fingers in the face of all men but when a man's conscience tells him that he is wrong-if at thejudgment bar of men he is found guilty, he must not despise it, he must rather look on the judgment of men as being the firstintimation of what shall be the judgment of God. Are you, my hearer, at this time in the estimation of all your fellow-creaturescondemned as one who should be avoided? Do you clearly perceive that the righteous shun you, because your example wouldcontaminate them? Have you discovered that your character is not held to be estimable amongst honest and respectable men?Let me assure you, that you have good reason to be afraid for if you cannot stand the trial of an honest fellow-creature-ifthe law of your country condemn you-if the very laws of society exclude you-if the imperfect judgments of earth pronounceyou too vile for its association, how fearful must be your condemnation when you are put into the far more rigid scale ofGod's justice, and terrible must be your fate when the perfect community of the first-born in heaven shall rise as oneman, and demand that you shall never behold their society? When a man is so bad that his fellow-creatures themselves, imperfectthough they be, are able to see in him, not the mere seeds, but the very flower, the full bloom of iniquity, he should tremble.If you cannot pass that test, if human opinion condemn-if your own conscience declare that opinion to be just, you havegood need to tremble indeed, for you are put into the balances and are found wanting.
I have thought it right to mention this balance. There may be some present to whom it may he pertinent, but at the same time,there are far better tests for men, tests which are not so easily to be misunderstood. And I would go through some of these.One of the scales into which I would have every man put himself, at least once in his life-I say at least once, because, ifnot, heaven is to him a place, the gates of which are shut for ever-I would have every man puthimself into the scales of the divine law. There stands the law of God. This law is a balance which will turn, even were there but a grain of sand in it. It is trueto a hair. It moves upon the diamond of God's eternal immutable truth. I put but one weight into the scale; it is this: "Thoushalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength," and I inviteany man who thinks himself to be of the right stamp, and flatters himselfthat he has no need of mercy no need of washing in the blood of Jesus Christ, no need of any atonement-I invite him toput himself into the scales, and see whether he be full weight, when there be but so much as this one commandment in the otherscale. Oh, my friends, if we did but try ourselves by the very first commandment of the law, we must acknowledge that we areguilty. But when we drop in weight after weight, till the whole sacred ten are there, there is not a man under the cope ofheaven who has one grain of wit left, but must confess that he is short of the mark,-that he falls below the standardwhich the law of God requires. Mrs. Too-good has often declared that she herself has done all her duty, and perhaps a littlemore; that she has been even more kind to the poor than there was any occasion for; that she has gone to church more frequentlythan even her religion requireth; that she has been more attentive to the sacraments then the best of her neighbors, and ifshe does not enter heaven she does not know who will. "If I have not a portion amongst the saints, who can possibly hope to seeGod's face in light?" Nay, madam, but I am sorry for thee; thou art light as a feather when thou goest into the scales. Inthese wooden balances of thine own ceremonies thou mayest, perhaps, be found right enough, but in those eternal scales, withthose tremendous weights-the ten commandments of the law-the declaration is suspended over thy poor foolishhead. "Thou art weighed in the balances and art found wanting,"
There may, perhaps, in congregations like this, be some extremely respectable body who has from his youth up, as he imagines,kept God's law; his country, family, or associates can bring no charge against him, and so he wraps himself up and considersthat really he is the man, and that when he appears at the gate of heaven, he will be received as a rightful owner and proprietorof the reward of the righteous. Ah, my friend if thou wouldest take the trouble just to sit downand weigh thyself in the scales of the law-if thou wouldst take but one command, the one in which thou thinkest thyselfleast guilty, the one that thou imagines thou hast kept best, and really look at its intent, and spirit, and view it in allits length and breadth in truth I know thou wouldst keep out of the scale and say, "Alas, when I hoped to have gone down witha sound of congratulation, I find myself hurled up, light as the dust of the balance, while the tremendous law of God comessounding down and shakes the house." Let each man do this, and every one of us must retire from this place saying, "Iam weighed in the balances and I am found wanting."
And now the true believer comes forward and he claimed to be weighed in another balance, for saith he, according to this balance,if I be what I profess to be, I am not found wanting, for I can bring with me the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, andthat is full weight, even though the ten commandments of the law be weighed against it. I bring with me the full atonement,the perfect satisfaction of Jesus, blood, and the perfect righteousness of a divine being, thespotless righteousness of Jesus the Son of God. I can be weighed against the law, and yet sit securely, knowing that nowand for ever, I am equal to the law. It hath nought against me since Christ is mine, Its terrors have no power to affrightme, and as for its demands they can exact nothing of me for they are fulfilled to the utmost in Christ. Well, I propose nowto take professors and put them into the scales and try them. Let each one of us put ourselves into the scale of conscience.Many make a profession of religion in this age. It is the time of shams There were never so many liars in the world sincethe days of Adam, as there are now. The Father of Lies has been more prolific of children at this than at any other period.There is such an abundance of newspapers, and of talkers, and of readers: and consequently flying reports, wrong news, andevil tales, are far more numerous than ever. So, too, there is a great deal of vain shew with religion. I sometimes fear wehavenot a grain more religion in England now than we had in the time of the Puritans. Then, though the stream in which itran was narrow, it did run very deep indeed; now, the banks have been burst; a great extent of country is covered with religiousprofession; but I tremble lest we should find at last, that the flood was not deep enough to float our souls to heaven. Willeach one now in this congregation, put himself into the scale of conscience, sit down and ask, "Is my profession true? DoIfeel that before God I am an heir of the promises? When I sit at my Saviour's table, have I any right to be a guest? Canl truly say, that when I profess to be converted, I only profess what I have actually proved? When I talk experimentally aboutthe things of the kingdom of God, is that experience a borrowed tale, or have I felt what I say in my own breast? When I standup to preach, do I preach that which I have really tasted and handled, or do I only repeat that which I have learned toutter with the lip, though it has never been fused in the crucible of my own heart?" Conscience is not very readily cheated.There are some men whose consciences are not a safe balance; they have by degrees become so hardened in sin that consciencerefuses to work; but still I will hope that most of us may abide by the test of our own conscience, if we let it freely work.Dear friends, I would that you would often retire to your chambers alone; shut the door and shut out all the world, and thensit and review your past life; scan carefully your present character and your present position; and do, I beseech youtry to get an honest answer from your own conscience. Bring up everything that you can think of that might lead you to doubt.You need be under no difficulty here; for are there not enough sins committed by us every day, to warrant our suspicions thatwe are not God's children? Well, let all these black accusers for death, let them all have their say. Do not cloak your sins.Head your diary through, let all your iniquities come up before you; (this is the pith of confession) and then, ask consciencewhether you can truly say, "I have repented of all these. God is my witness, I hate these things with a perfect hatred. Godalso heareth me witness, that my trust is fixed alone in him who is the Saviour of sinners, for salvation and justification.If I be not awfully deceived, I am a partaker of divine grace, having been regenerated and begotten again unto a livelyhope." Oh that conscience may help each of us to say, "I am not a mere painted image of life, but I trust I have the lifeof Jesus made manifest in my body." My profession is not the pompous pageantry with which dead souls are carried respectablyto perdition; but it is the joy, the hope, the confidence of one who is being borne along in the chariot of mercy, to hisFather's home above. "Ah! how many people are really afraid to look their religion in the face! They know it to be so bad,theydare not examine it. They are like bankrupts that keep no books. They would be very glad for a fire to consume their books,if they ever kept any, for they know the balance is all on the wrong side. They are losing, breaking up, and they would notwish to keep an account of their losses or villainies. A man who is afraid to examine himself, may rest assured that his shipis rotten, and that it will not be long before it founders in the sea, to his eternal shipwreck. Call up conscience; putyourself in the scale, and God help you, that the verdict may not be against you-that it may not be said of you, "Thouart weighed in the balances and art found wanting."
I would have every man also weigh himself in the scales of God's Word-not merely in that part of it which we call legal, and which has respect to us in our fallen state; but let us weigh ourselvesin the scale of the gospel. You will find it sometimes a holy exercise, to read some psalm of David, when his soul was mostfull of grace; and if you were to put questions as you read each verse, saying to yourself, "Can I say this? Have I felt asDavid felt? Have mybones ever been broken with sin as his were when he penned his penitential psalms? Has my soul ever been full of trueconfidence, in the hour of difficulty, as his was when he sang of God's mercies in the cave of Adullam, or the holds of Engedi?Can I take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord? Can I pay my vows now unto the Lord, in the courts ofhis house, in the presence of all his people?" I am afraid that the book of Psalms itself would be enough to convince someof youthat your religion is but superficial, that it is but a vain show, and not a vital reality. God help you often to tryyourselves in that scale. Then read over the life of Christ, and as you read, ask yourselves whether you are conformed tohim, such as he describes a true disciple. Endeavour to see whether you have any of the meekness, any of the humility, anyof the lovely spirit which he constantly inculcated and displayed. Try yourselves by the sermon on the mount, you will findit a goodscale in which to weigh your spirits. Take then the epistles, and see whether you can go with the apostle in what he saidof his experience. Have you ever cried out like him:-"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of thisdeath? "Have you ever felt like him, that this is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus cameinto the world to save sinners?" Have you ever known his self-abasement? Could you say that you seemed to yourself the chiefofsinners, and always accounted yourself less than the least of all saints? And have you known anything of his devotion?Could you join with him and say, "For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain?" Oh, brethren! the best of us-if we put theBible into the scales for the proof of our state, if we read God's Word as a test of our spiritual condition-the very bestof us has cause to tremble. Before Almighty God, on our bended knees, with our Bible before us, we have good reason to stopmanya time and say, "Lord, I feel I have never yet been here, oh, bring me here! give me true penitence, such as this I readof Give me real faith. oh, let me not have a counterfeit religion! give me that which is the current coin of the realm ofheaven-thine own sterling grace, which shall pass in the great day, when the gates of heaven shall be opened, and alas! thegates of hell wide open too." Try yourselves by God's Word, and I fear there are some who will love to rise from it, and say,"Iam weighed in the balances and found wanting."
Yet again, God has been pleased to set another means of trial before us. When God puts us into the scales I am about to mention,namely, the scales of providence, it behoves us very carefully to watch ourselves and see whether or not, we be found wanting. Some men are tried in the scalesof adversity. Some of you, my dear friends, may have come here very sorrowful. Your business fails, your earthly prospectsare growing dark; it is midnight with you in this world;you have sickness in the house; the wife of your bosom languishes before your weeping eyes; your children perhaps, bytheir ingratitude, have wounded your spirits. But you are a professor of religion, you know what God is doing with you now;he is testing and trying you. He knows you, and he would have you know that a summer-time religion is not sufficient; he wouldhave you see whether your faith can stand the test of trial and trouble. Remember Job; what a scale was that in which he wasput!What weights of affliction were those east in one after another, very mountains of sore trouble; and yet he could bearthem all, and he came out of the scales proof against all the weight that even Satanic strength could hurl into the scale.And is it so with you? Can you now say-"The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord?" Canyou submit to his will without murmuring? Or if you cannot master such a phase of religion as this, are you able still tofeel thatyou cannot complain against God? Do you still say, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him?" Oh, my friends, rememberthat if your religion will not stand the day of adversity, if it afford you no comfort in the time of storms, you would hebetter in that ease without it than with it; for with it you are deceived, but without it you might discover your true condition,and seek the Lord as a penitent sinner. If thou art now broken in pieces by a little adversity, what will become of thee inthe day when all the tempests of God shall be let loose on your soul? If thou hast run with the footmen, and they havewearied thee, what wilt thou do in the swellings of Jordan? If thou canst not endure the open grave, how canst thou endurethe trump of the archangel, and the terrific thunders of the last great day? If thy burning house is too much for thee, whatwilt thou do in a burning world? If thunder and lightning alarm thee, what wilt thou do when the world is in a blaze, andwhen allthe thunders of God leave their hiding-place, and rush pealing through the world? If mere trial distress thee and grievethee, oh, what wilt thou do when all the hurricanes of divine vengeance shall sweep across the earth and shake its very pillars,till they reel and reel again? Yes, friends, I would have you, as often as you are tried and troubled, see how you bear it-whetheryour faith then stance and whether you could see God's right hand, even when it is wrapped in clouds, whether youcan discover the silver lining to the black clouds of tribulation. God help you to come out of the scales, for many areweighed in them and have been found wanting.
Another set of scales there is, too, of an opposite color. Those I have described are painted black; these are of golden hue.They are the scales of prosperity. Many a man has endured the chills of poverty who could not endure sunny weather. Some meets religion is very much like thepalace of the queen of Russia, which had been built out of solid slabs of ice. It could stand the frost. the roughest breezecould not destroy it; the sharp touch of winter could notdevour it; they but strengthened and made it more lasting. But summer melted it all away, and where once were the hallsof revelry, nothing remained but the black rolling river. How many have been destroyed by prosperity? The fumes of popularityhave turned the brains of many a man. The adulation of multitudes has laid thousands low. Popular applause hath its foot inthe sand, even when it hath its head among the stars. Many have I known who in a cottage seemed to fear God but in a mansionhaveforgotten him. When their daily bread was earned with the sweat of their brow, then it was they served the Lord, and went;up to his house with gladness. But their seeming religion all departed when their flocks and herds increased, and their goldand silver was multiplied. It is no easy thing to stand the trial of prosperity. You know the old fable, I will just put itin a Christian light. When the winds of affliction blow on a Christian's head, he just pulls around him the cloak of heavenlyconsolation, and girds his religion about him all the tighter for the fury of the storm. But when the sun of prosperityshines on him, the traveler grows warm, and full of delight and pleasure, he ungirds his cloak, and lays it aside; so thatwhat the storms of affliction never could accomplish, the soft hand and the witchery of prosperity has been able to perform.It has loosed the loins of many a mighty man. It has been the Delilah that has shorn the locks and taken away the strengthof manya Samson. This rock has witnessed the most fatal wrecks.
"More the treacherous calm I dread,
Than tempests rolling over head."
But shall we be able to say after passing through prosperity, "this is not my rest, this is not my God. Let him give me whathe may, I will thank him for it, yet will I rejoice in the giver rather than the gift; I will say unto the Lord thou onlyart my rest." It is well if you can come out of these scales enabled honestly to hope that you are not found wanting.
There are again the scales of temptation. Many and many a man seemeth for a time to run well; but it is temptation that tries the Christian. In your business you arenow honest and upright, but suppose a speculation cross your path, which involve but a very slight departure from the highstandard of Christianity, and indeed would not involve any departure from the low standard which your fellow tradesmen follow.Do you think you would be able to say "How can I dothis great wickedness and sin against God." Could you say, "Should such a man as I do this? Shall I haste to be rich,for if I do I shall not be innocent?" How has it been with you? You have had your trial-time. There has been an opportunityof making a little: have you taken it? Has God enabled you to endure when tempted, whether to unlawful gain, or to lustfulpleasure, or to pride and vanity? Have you been enabled to stand proof against all these, and to say, "Get thee behind meSatan forthou savourest not the things which be of God, but those which be of man and of sin?" How have you stood the test of temptation?If you have never been tempted you know nothing about this. How can we tell the worthiness of the ship till she has been atsea in the storm? You cannot know what you are till you have been through the practical test of every day life. How then hasit been with you? Have you been weighed in the balance, and have you been enabled to say, "I know through grace I havebeen kept in the hour of temptation, and with the temptation the Lord has always sent a way of escape. And here I am gloryingin his grace; I cannot rest in myself, but still I can say, 'I am truly his.' The work within me is not of man, neither byman: it is the work of the Spirit. I have found succor and support when my heart and my flesh have failed me."
It is probable, my hearers, that most of you are professors of religion; let me ask you again very earnestly to test and tryyourselves, whether your religion be real or not. If there be many false prophets in the world, and those prophets have followers,must there not be many false men who are fatally deceived? Do not suppose, I beseech you, because you are a deacon, or havebeen baptized, or are a member of the church, or are professors, you are therefore safe. Thebleaching bones of the skeletons of self-deceived ones should warn you. On the rock of presumption thousands have beensplit that once sailed merrily enough. Take care, O mariner! though thy bark may be gaily trimmed and may be brightly painted,yet it is none the surer after all. Take heed, lest the rocks be seen beneath the keel, lest they pierce thee through, andlest the waters of destruction overwhelm thee. Oh! do not, I entreat you, say, "Why make this stirs? I dare say I shall beallright at last." Do not let your eternal state be a matter of suspicion or doubt. Decide now, I beseech you, decide nowin your conscience whether you are Christ's or not. Of all the most miserable men in the world, and the most hopeless, I thinkthose are most to be pitied who are indifferent and careless about religion. There are some men whose feelings never run deeperthan their skin; they either have no heart, or else it is so set round with fatness that you can never touch them. I liketosee a man either desponding or rejoicing; either anxious about his eternal state or else confident about it. But you whonever will question yourselves-you are just like the bullock going to the slaughter, or like the sheep that will enter thevery slaughter-house and lick the knife that is about to take its blood. I wish I could speak this morning somewhat more earnestly.Oh that some sparks from the Divine fire could now light up my soul, I think I could speak to you like some of theprophets of old, when they stood in the midst of a professing generation, to warn them. Oh that the very voice of Godwould speak to each heart this morning! While God is thundering on high may he thunder below in your souls! Be warned, myhearers, against self deception. Be true to yourselves. If God be God, serve him, and do it truly; if the devil be God, servehim, and serve him honestly, and serve him faithfully. But do not pretend to be serving God, while you are really indifferentandcareless about it.
II. I must now close by endeavoring to speak of THE LAST GREAT BALANCE; and here would I speak very solemnly, and may theSpirit of God be with us. Time shall soon be over; eternity must soon begin, death is hurrying onward; the pale horse at hisutmost speed is coming to every inhabitant of this earth. The arrow of death is fitted to the string, and soon shall it besent home. Man's heart is the target. Then, after death, cometh the judgment; the dread assize shall sooncommence. The trump of the archangel shall awake the sleeping myriads, and, standing on their feet, they shall confrontthe God against whom they have sinned. Methinks I see the scales hanging in heaven, so massive that none but the hand of Deitycan uphold them. Let me cast my eye upward, and bethink me of that hour when I must myself enter those scales and be weighedonce for all. Come, let me speak for each man present. Those scales yonder are exact; I may deceive my fellows here, butdeceive God I cannot then. I may be weighed in the balances of earth, which shall give but a partial verdict, and so commitmyself to a false idea that I am what I am not, that I am hopeful when I am hopeless. But those scales are true. There is no means whatever of flattering them into a false declaration; they will cry aloud and spare not.When I get there, the voice of flattery shall be changed into the voice of honesty. Here I may go daily on crying, "Peace,peace, when there is nopeace;" but there the naked truth shall startle me, and not a single word of consolation shall be given me that is nottrue. Let me therefore ponder the fact, that those scales are exactly true and cannot be deceived. Let me remember also, thatwhether I will or not, into those scales I must go. God will not take me on my profession. I may bring my witnesses with me;I may bring my minister and the deacons of the church to give me a character, which might be thought all-sufficient amongmen,but God will tolerate no subterfuge. Into the scales he will put me do what I may; whatever the opinion of others maybe of me, and whatever my own profession. And let me remember, too, that I must be altogether weighed in the scales. I cannothope that God will weigh my head and past over my heart-that because I have correct notions of doctrine, therefore he willforget that my heart is impure, or my hands guilty of iniquity. My all must be cast into the scales. Come, let me stretchmyimagination, and picture myself about to be put into those scales. Shall I be able to walk boldly up and enter them, knowingwhom I have believed, and being persuaded that the blood of Christ and his perfect righteousness shall bear me harmless throughit all; or shall I be dragged with terror and dismay? Shall the angel come and say, "Thou must enter?" Shall I bend my kneeand cry, "Oh, it is all right," or shall I seek to escape? Now, thrust into the scale, do I see myself waiting for onesolemn moment. My feet have touched the bottom of the scales, and there stand those everlasting weights and now whichway are they turned? Which way shall it be? Do I descend in the scale with joy and delight, being found through Jesus' righteousnessto be full weight, and so accepted; or must I rise, light, frivolous, unsound in all my fancied hopes, and kick the beam?Oh, shall it be, that I must go where the rough hand of vengeance shall seize, and drag me downward, into fell despair? Canyou picture the moments of suspense? I can see a poor man standing on the drop with the rope round his neck, and oh, whatan instant of apprehension must that be; what thoughts of horror must float through his soul! How must a world of misery becompressed into a second? But O. my hearers, there is a far more terrible moment still for you that are Godless, Christless,careless: that have made a profession of religion, and yet have it not in your hearts. I see you in the scales. but what shallwe say? The wailings of hell seem not sufficient to express your misery, In the scales without Christ! Not long ere youshall be in the jaws of hell, without pity and without compassion. O, my dear hearers! if you could hope to get to heavenwithout being weighed-if God would believe what you say without testing you, I would not care admit asking you this morningto ascertain the state of your own hearts. But if God will try you, try yourselves; if he will judge you, judge your own hearts.Don't say that because you profess to be religious therefore you are right-that because others imagine you to be safethat therefore you are so. Weigh yourselves put your hearts into the balance. Do not be deceived. Pull the bandage from youreyes, that your blindness may be removed, and that you may pass a just opinion upon yourselves as to what you are. I wouldhave you not only see yourselves as others see you, but I would have you see yourselves as God sees you; for that after all,isyour real state; his eye is not to be mistaken; he is the God of but;, and just and right is he. How fearful a thing willit be, if any of us who are members of Christ's church shall be cast into hell at last. The higher we ascend, the greaterwill be our fall, like Icarus in the old parable, who flew aloft with waxen wings, till the sun did melt them and he fell.And some of you are flying like that: you are flying up with waxen wings. what if the terrible heat of the judgement day shouldmeltthem! I sometimes try to picture, how terrible the reverse to me if found to be rejected at last. Let what I shall sayfor myself suit for all. Nay, and must it be, if I live in this world and think I am a Christian and am not-must it be thatI must go from the songs of the sanctuary to the cursings of the synagogue of Satan? Must I go from the cup of the Eucharistto the cup of devils? Must I go from the table of the Lord to the feast of fiends? Shall these lips that now proclaim theword ofJesus, one day utter the wailings of perdition? Shall this tongue that has sung the praises of the Redeemer be moved withblasphemy? Shall it be that this body which has been the receptacle of so many a mercy-shall it become the very house andhome of every misery that vengeance can invent? Shall these eyes that now look on God's people one day behold the frightfulsights of spirits destroyed in that all-consuming fire? And must it be that the ears that have heard the hallelujahs of thismorning, shall one day hear the shrieks, and groans, and howls, of the lost and damned spirits? It must be so if we benot Christ's. Oh how frightful will it be! Methinks I see some grave professor at last condemned to hell. There are multitudesof sinners, lying in their irons, and tossing on their beds of flame; lifting themselves upon their elbows for a moment, thenseem to forget their tortures as they see the professor come in, and they cry-"Art thou become like one of us? Is thepreacher himself damned? What! is the deacon of the church below, come to sit with drunkards, and with swearers? "Ah,"they cry, "aha, aha, art thou bound up in the same bundle with us after all?" Surely the mockery of hell must be itself amost fearful torture; professing sinners mocked by those who never professed religion.
But mortal life can ne'er describe the miseries of a disappointed blasted hope, when that hope is lost-it involves the lossof mercy, the loss of Christ, the loss of life-and it involves moreover, the terrible destruction and the awful vengeanceof Almighty God. Let us one and all go home this day, when yet God's sky is heavy, and let us bend ourselves at his altar,and cry for mercy. Every man apart-husband apart from wife. Apart, let us seek our chambers of prayingagain and again, "Lord renew me: Lord forgive me: Lord accept me." And whilst, mayhap, the tempest which is now loweringover the sky, and ere another tempest direr still shall fall on us with its fearful terrors, may you find peace. May we notthen find ourselves lost, lost for ever, where hope can never comet It shall be my duty to search myself. I hope I shall beenabled to put myself into the scale; promise me my hearers, that each of you will do the same.
I was told one day this week by some one, that having preached for several Sabbaths lately upon the comforting doctrines ofGod's Word, he was afraid that some of you would begin to console yourselves with the idea that you were God's elect whenperhaps you were not. Well, at least, such a thing shall not happen, if I have done what I hoped to do this morning. God blessyou, for Jesus sake.