But I want you to note, further, that this wrath will be JUST WRATH; it will be in exact accordance with every man's guilt. John says, `And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS.' Those who knew their Lord's will and did it not, are to be beaten with many stripes; but those who knew not, with few stripes. Not only will this wrath be just, but the sinner will be made to feel and acknowledge it to be so; his conscience will take sides with God, and in spite of his feelings pronounce this wrath to be just. Conscience is a witness of God's own appointing; it stands, as it were, an impartial judge between God and the sinner. You cannot bribe your conscience even now to swerve one iota from the light that is in it--you cannot make it say that is right which it feels to be wrong. You may refuse to listen to it, and you may act contrary to its teaching; but it will mutter its condemnation in your soul, and right miserable it often makes you even here. What an awful witness to be against you in the day of wrath!

If, when God is beginning to let His wrath out upon you, you could cry, `Stop, hold, listen, O Almighty Judge! I am not guilty of this or that,' you might find some comfort. But conscience will make you speechless, for it will bring every sin you ever committed to your remembrance, and will say Amen to every charge which is brought against you. Conscience will be the most terrible witness which can appear against a man in that day, because it KNOWS ALL ABOUT Him, just as God does. It is the only witness in the universe which knows so much. The Devil knows a good deal about wicked men, but even he does not know so much as their own consciences for he does not know their secret thoughts and motives, as conscience does.

You see, conscience is an INSEPARABLE COMPANION; it goes with us wherever we go, and notes whatever we do. It is with us all through life, and in death; and when the soul and body part, the soul and conscience do not part, but go together into the next world; so that its record exists for every moment of our lives, from the dawn of reason to the last thought in death. Paul may well ask, `Who knoweth the things of a man save the spirit of man which is in him?' And, therefore, there is no one so proper to give evidence for or against a man in the great day of account as conscience. Hence God tells us He will judge every man according to the testimony of his conscience; both saints and sinners shall stand or fall by its verdict. God will judge upon clear evidence according to those things written in the books of His own omniscience and in the book of the sinner's conscience. God will have one book and the sinner another, and both will agree to the letter. Sinner, this book is in your bosom now. You have been writing one of its pages today. Beware, it may be brought up against you in the great day of His wrath. Beware what you write in it tonight. You would be surprised to see how many entries it has already of mercy abused and rejected, calls unheeded, convictions stifled, opportunities trifled with, sermons forgotten; mind what you add to this black catalogue, for you must either get it cancelled by the Blood of Jesus, or add another occasion for wrath against the day of wrath. Ah, this will be the climax of your guilt, the centre on which the fire of God's vengeance will fix itself for ever and ever in your guilty soul, that


That after the wonderful love of God in redeeming you by the Precious Blood of His Son, you would not listen, submit, repent, and be saved; but, in spite of all He could do, would push your way down to eternal death. We are told that as the righteous take their places in Glory they will sing, `Just and righteous art Thou, O King of saints.' And, Oh, methinks the first sentence that is groaned out by the lost sinner as he sinks into perdition will be, `It is just.'

But, further, I want you to remember that it will be uttermost wrath--wrath unmixed with mercy.

Some of us have seen sinners drink terrible cups of suffering in this world; but we none of us ever saw one without some sweet in it. There is no calamity in this life without some alleviating circumstances, no pain without some palliative; hence the world has accepted the adage, `There is nothing bad but it might be worse.' But this adage will be out of date when the great day of His wrath is come. Then the bad will be as bad as it can be; and the worst, the very worst, will have come. Now, the vilest of sinners may find mercy for the seeking--then, it will be too late even to ask for it. Mercy's term will have expired, and justice, and judgment will be the habitation of His throne for ever. There are many now who, when asked if they are prepared for judgment, say, `Well, no; but you know God is merciful'--intimating that, though they continue in sin and rebellion till death, God will be too merciful to send them to Hell at last. They forget that He must be just as well as merciful and that there is but one way by which He can show mercy to the guilty, and that is through His Son to those who repent and accept Him. But these people refuse to repent, and reject God's only way of mercy. How will they dare ask for mercy then? It would be like the murderer asking for mercy when he gets to the scaffold. The date of mercy will be out, the day of grace over, and nothing left but wrath and fiery indignation for ever, for alas!


Ah, if sinners or saints, or poets or philosophers, could only find any satisfactory evidence that this wrath would ever come to an end, what a jubilee there would be amongst the wicked both on earth and in Hell! But, sinner, remember that the same words are used to describe the duration of the misery of the wicked which are used to set forth the duration of the blessedness of the righteous--yea, and the duration of the existence of God Himself. He who was the embodiment of truth and love, who came to seek and to save us, and not to mock us by false representations of future woe, declares that `it is better to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.' And in another place He calls it `the fire that never shall be quenched.' And in speaking of the wicked in the last Great Day, He says, `and these shall go away into everlasting punishment.' Others may choose for themselves, but God forbid that you or I should make the fearful experiment of finding out the meaning of these awful words. Oh, my unsaved hearers, will you not be persuaded to flee from the wrath? Mercy still holds out; Jesus still shows His wounds and pleads His blood. Will you ground your arms, and take refuge under His cross? Will you come and drink of the water of life freely; or will you persevere in your rebellion and go on to drain the `cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath' FOR EVER?


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