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shaken; while its destruction is preparing in secret. The ground on which we tread is undermined. Combustible materials are stored. The train is laid. When the mine is to spring, none of us can foresee.
Accustomed to behold the course of nature proceeding in regular order, we indulge meanwhile our pleasures and pursuits with full security; and such awful scenes as the convulsion of the elements, and the dissolution of the world, are foreign to our thoughts. Yet as it is certain that some generation of men must witness this great catastrophe, it is fit and proper that we should sometimes look forward to it. Such prospects may not, indeed, be alluring to the bulk of men. But they carry a grandeur and solemnity which are congenial to some of the most dignified feelings in our nature; and tend to produce elevation of thought. Amidst the circle of levities and follies, of little pleasures and little cares which fill up the ordinary round of life, it is necessary that we be occasionally excited to attend to what is serious and great. Such events as are now to be the subject of our meditation, awake the slumbering mind; check the licentiousness of idle thought; and bring home to our recollection what most concerns us, as men and Christians.
Let us think what astonishment would have filled our minds, and what devout emotions would have swelled our hearts, if we could have been spectators of the creation of the world; if we had seen the earth when it arose at first, without form and void, and beheld its parts arranged by the divine word; if we had heard the voice of the Almighty, calling light to spring forth from the darkness that was on the face of the deep; if we had seen the sun rising, for the first time, in the east, with majestic glory; and all nature instantly beginning to team with life. This wonderful scene, it was impossible that any human eye could behold. It was a spectacle afforded only to angels, and superior spirits. But to a spectacle no less astonishing, the final dissolution of the world, we know there shall be many human witnesses. The race of man living in that last age, shall see the presages of the approaching fatal day: There shall be signs in the sun, as the Scripture informs us, and signs in the moon and stars; upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring. They shall clearly perceive that universal nature is tending to ruin. They shall feel the globe shake; shall behold their
Luke, xxi. 25.
cities fall; and the final conflagration begin to kindle around them.-Realising, then, this awful scene; imagining ourselves to be already spectators of it; let us,
I. Contemplate the Supreme Being directing the dissolution, as he directed the original formation of the world. He is the great agent in this wonderful transaction. It was by him foreseen. It was by him intended; it entered into his plan from the moment of creation. This world was destined from the beginning to fulfil a certain period; and then its duration was to terminate. Not that it is any pleasure to the Almighty to display his omnipotence in destroying the works which he has made; but, as for wise and good purposes the earth was formed, so, for wise and good ends it is dissolved, when the time most proper for its termination is come. He who, in the counsels of his Providence, brings about so many revolutions among mankind; who changeth the times and the seasons; who raises up empires to rule in succession among the nations, and at his pleasure puts an end to their glory; hath also fixed a term for the earth itself, the seat of all human greatness. He saw it meet, that after the probationary course was finished, which the generations of
men were to accomplish, their present habitation should be made to pass away. Of the seasonableness of the period when this change should take place, no being can judge except the Lord of the universe. These are counsels, into which it is not ours to penetrate. But amidst this great revolution of nature, our comfort is, that it is a revolution brought about by Him, the measures of whose government are all founded in goodness.
It is called in the text, the day of the Lord; a day peculiarly his, as known to him only; a day in which he shall appear with uncommon and tremendous majesty. But though it be the day of the terrors of the Lord, yet from these terrors, his upright and faithful subjects shall have nothing to apprehend. They may remain safe and quiet spectators of the threatening scene. For it is not to be a scene of blind confusion; of universal ruin, brought about by undesigning chance. Over the shock of the elements, and the wreck of matter, Eternal wisdom presides. According to its direction the conflagration advances which is to consume the earth. Amidst every convulsion of the world, God shall continue to be as he was from the beginning, the dwelling・place of his servants to all generations. The world may be lost to them; but the Ruler of
the world is ever the same, unchangeably good and just. This is the high tower to which they can fly, and be safe. The righteous Lord loveth righteousness; and, under every period of his government, his countenance beholdeth the upright.
II. Let us contemplate the dissolution of the world as the end of all human glory. This earth has been the theatre of many a great spectacle, and many a high achievement. There, the wise have ruled, the mighty have fought, and conquerors have triumphed. Its surface has been covered with proud and stately cities. Its temples and palaces have raised their heads to the skies. Its kings and potentates, glorying in their magnificence, have erected pyramids, constructed towers, founded monuments, which they imagined were to defy all the assaults of time. Their inward thought was, that their houses were to continue for ever, and their dwelling-places to all generations. Its philosophers have explored the secrets of nature; and flattered themselves, that the fame of their discoveries was to be immortal.Alas! all this was to be no more than a transient show. Not only the fashion of the world, but the world itself, passeth away. The day cometh, when all the glory of this