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tion of animated nature, at the second appearance of the Son of God,-the wrapping together of the heavens as a scroll, and the burning of the world; the departure of the visible creation, in short the end of all things. "And I saw the dead, small and great," says the Apostle, stand before God;" all nations, kindreds, and tongues, of every rank and character, gathered together in one great mass, standing before God. Men with their newly arisen bodies, clothed afresh in the presence of the immortal and eternal Jehovah. And the books were opened. Oh! awful disclosure of the past thoughts, and words, and works of the congregated individuals! The character of each was written therein, and was disclosed to the whole world; "and another book was opened which is the book of life," in this were written the names of God's own people-of those who by grace had embraced his Gospel and had been obedient to his laws; "and the dead were judged out of those things, which were written in the books, according to their works." A comparison was made between
what each had done and what each ought to have done, an inquiry into the application of the talents committed to each, the improvement or the abuse of them; and they were judged "according to their works" that is, there was a proportionable retribution. Accordingly as they had worked in life, so did they receive after death. One was not merely consigned to a world of bliss, and another to a world of torments, but each received "according to their works." The many mansions in the Father's house were filled. To the one who had improved the talent, another was given-to him who had improved the two talents, two others were given, until the highest and the most exalted place in God's kingdom was occupied. So also was it, in the lower world, the different punishments were inflicted according to the different crimes; for each were judged, as the text expresses it, according to their works." And all assembled before this great white throne.
! κατὰ τὰ ἔργα αὐτῶν·
"The sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them." This denotes that all shall assemble at the judgment, that not only the grave but the sea shall give up the dead: that death and hell shall deliver up the slumbering captives, that all shall be set free and congregate to the judgment, and they shall all be judged according to their works."
The fourth verse of our text contains a fact of considerable importance.
"Death and hell," says it, "were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death." The death here spoken of is the temporal death, to which every child of Adam is subject. Then, death abolished, neither in the world of bliss or in the world of woe will any change take place—the consignment will remain for ever, the bliss or the woe for ever. The hell here mentioned, that is to be cast into the lake of fire, is the intermediate state between the temporal death and the judgment, or Hades, the place, to which departed souls are consigned. These shall be "cast into the lake of fire,"
that is, there shall be no more temporal death or waiting for the final judgment, for all men shall be judged "according to their works," and receive their rewards or punishments, which will remain for ever. This is the second death. But in this second death there is a distinction. And the distinction rests between the wicked and the righteous. There is, you will remember, a death unto life, and a death unto death-a change from this life to glory or to eternal torment. And this change is the second death, the final retribution. But it alludes perhaps more properly to the punishment reserved for the wicked, -to hell'. This is the second death. The first death, however torturing to the wicked, is comparatively nothing--the disease and
That Hades, the Sheôl of the Hebrews, was the receptacle of the disembodied souls of the just and of the unjust, appears from Luke xvi. 23, where Dives is represented tormented in Hades, contrasted with other places where it is applied to the just; for instance, that in which the Psalmist predicts, that Christ's soul shall not be left in Sheôl-the rapádaσos of St. Luke in his account of the crucifixion. Hence it was not without reason, that the Jews divided it into two compartments.
the pain are nothing to that second death which is to come upon the unrighteous. The first death is of a temporal nature, the second death is eternal. The first is only the falling off the flesh-the departure of life; and however agonizing it may be for the time, however tormenting may be the conscience, however trying and severe; it is, comparatively, but for the moment: so that when you draw near to the deathbed of the sinner, and observe his last moments spent in anguish and labour, you will remember that these are but emblems of that second death, which will bring with it torments for ever. As surely as the unrighteous man cannot conscientiously deliver his soul to the keeping of his Father in heaven, so certainly shall he be visited by that second death in all its deformity and pain. There is a consciousness within the departing spirit, that represents to it immortal glory or eternal misery. Man well feels, if the agonies of temporal death be upon him at the last, that they are indicative of that eternal death, which is to succeed it. But all, who have sinned in the