After This, the Judgment!
by James Smith, 1860
The Lord Jesus has appeared once to put away sin, by making an atonement for it; and he will come again a second time, not to put away sin, as before — but to punish the impenitent sinner, and complete the salvation of his own people. And so, "it is appointed unto men once to die — but after this, the judgment!" Hebrews 9:27.
Then the great white throne will be set, the books will be opened, and the dead will be judged out of those things which are written in the books, according to their works. Let us meditate on this solemn subject for a short time.
The Event is the most momentous possible; nothing that concerns us can be more so. The judge of all will appear in his majesty and glory, invested with the highest authority, to reward every one according to his works. All must appear before him, either as justified — to be rewarded; or as criminal — to be condemned and punished.
What multitudes will be there! The writer and the reader will be there, and each one will feel that he is there on his own account, not as a spectator — but as a party intensely interested in the consequences of the day. All will be tried, "for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." Then, every one of us will give account of himself to God. Oh, solemn situation in which to be placed, after a life like ours!
A just sentence will be past on each, on all. Eternal life — or eternal death. Endless joys — or interminable woes. How momentous, how solemn, that day! How fearful the results to many! Let us keep that day before us. Let us devoutly meditate upon it, and as we cannot avoid or escape it; let us prepare for it, that all may he well with us at last.
The Prospect should influence our conduct. Do what we may, be where we may, we should remember, "after this the judgment!" After this folly, be it what it may — after this evil practice — after this course of crime — comes the judgment, when I must give an account to God! After this painful affliction, in which God speaks to me, and by which God warns me — comes the judgment. After death, which may be sudden — soon — after death — comes the judgment!
Think of this, young man, when invited to the theater, the races, the card party, the tavern, the alehouse, the ball — you may be inclined to go, you may follow your inclination — but remember, "after this the judgment!"
Think of this, young woman, when tempted to waste your time in reading novels, in paying frivolous visits; or to waste money in unnecessary finery, or to give up your company to mirthful young men; you may do so — but remember, "after this the judgment!"
Think of this, man of business, when about to indulge in dangerous speculations, or to take advantage of the ignorance of your customers, or to practice any of the tricks of trade. You may appear to succeed, all may go well for a time — but there is the account, the reckoning, "after this, the judgment!"
Think of this, inconsistent professor, when yielding to temptation, when giving way to loose conduct, when neglecting the means of grace, or when privately indulging in any sin, "after this, the judgment."
Let every one of us keep the thought of the coming judgment daily before our minds!
It will prevent many sins,
it will preserve us from many snares,
and will be a stimulus to many duties.
When tempted . . .
to be idle, or selfish, or worldly;
to indulge in finery, frivolity, or folly;
to go into questionable society, or engage in questionable amusements
— let us think before we give way: what reason can I assign for it, how I can justify it before God, for "after this, the judgment."
Disease will probably seize us soon;
death is certain, and may be very near;
retribution is inevitable, in this world or the next.
The judgment is at hand.
The day is fixed.
The preparations are nearly ready.
The judge is appointed.
The books are nearly full.
The last indictment will soon be made out.
The heavens and the earth will soon roll away like a scroll.
The graves will open.
The dead will rise.
The separation between the sheep and the goats, the chaff and the wheat, will soon take place.
Each one will know his doom — his eternal doom!
Each one wiil stand alone, and hear the sentence: "Come, you who are blessed of my Father — inherit the kingdom prepared for you from before the foundation of the world!" Or, and oh, how terrible the supposition! "Depart, you cursed ones, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels! And these shall go away into everlasting punishment — but the righteous into life eternal!"
Reader, you are now solemnly warned, you are now affectionately cautioned, you are now earnestly exhorted to prepare for that day. You must be born again — or you cannot see the kingdom of God. See to it that you are. Do not put away the thought, or stifle the conviction, or trifle with the impression — for remember however you may act, you cannot escape the judgment. "After this, after this, after this — the Judgment!"