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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Last Judgment
By John Wesley (1703–1791)
 
From a Discourse on ‘The Great Assize’

SUFFER me to add a few words to all of you who are at this day present before the Lord. Should not you bear it in your minds all the day long, that a more awful day is coming? A large assembly this! But what is it to that which every eye will then behold, the general assembly of all the children of men that ever lived on the face of the whole earth! A few will stand at the judgment seat this day, to be judged touching what shall be laid to their charge; and they are now reserved in prison, perhaps in chains, till they are brought forth to be tried and sentenced. But we shall all—I that speak, and you that hear—“stand at the judgment seat of Christ.” And we are now reserved on this earth, which is not our home, in this prison of flesh and blood, perhaps many of us in chains of darkness too, till we are ordered to be brought forth. Here a man is questioned concerning one or two acts which he is supposed to have committed: there we are to give an account of all our works, from the cradle to the grave; of all our words; of all our desires and tempers, all the thoughts and intents of our hearts; of all the use we have made of our various talents, whether of mind, body, or fortune, till God said, “Give an account of thy stewardship, for thou mayest be no longer steward.” In this court, it is possible, some who are guilty may escape for want of evidence; but there is no want of evidence in that court. All men with whom you had the most secret intercourse, who were privy to all your designs and actions, are ready before your face. So are all the spirits of darkness who inspired evil designs and assisted in the execution of them. So are all the angels of God, those eyes of the Lord that run to and fro over all the earth; who watched over your soul, and labored for your good, so far as you would permit. So is your own conscience, a thousand witnesses in one; now no more capable of being either blinded or silenced, but constrained to know and to speak the naked truth touching all your thoughts, and words, and actions. And is conscience as a thousand witnesses?—yea; but God is as a thousand consciences! Oh, who can stand before the face of the great God, even our Saviour Jesus Christ!  1
  See! see! He cometh! He maketh the clouds his chariot! He rideth upon the wings of the wind! A devouring fire goeth before him and after him, a flame burneth! See! He sitteth upon his throne, clothed with light as with a garment, arrayed with majesty and honor! Behold, his eyes are as a flame of fire, his voice as the sound of many waters!  2
  How will ye escape? Will ye call to the mountains to fall on you, the rocks to cover you? Alas, the mountains themselves, the rocks, the earth, the heavens, are just ready to flee away! Can ye prevent the sentence? Wherewith? With all the substance of thy house, with thousands of gold and silver? Blind wretch! Thou camest naked from thy mother’s womb, and more naked into eternity. Hear the Lord, the Judge! “Come, ye blessed of my Father! inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Joyful sound! How widely different from that voice which echoes through the expanse of heaven, “Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels!” And who is he that can prevent or retard the full execution of either sentence? Vain hope! Lo, hell is moved from beneath to receive those who are ripe for destruction! And the everlasting doors lift up their heads, that the heirs of glory may come in!  3
  “What manner of persons then ought we to be, in all holy conversation and godliness?” We know it cannot be long before the Lord will descend with the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet of God; when every one of us shall appear before him, and give account of his own works. “Wherefore, beloved, seeing ye look for these things,” seeing ye know he will come, and will not tarry, “be diligent, that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless.” Why should ye not? Why should one of you be found on the left hand, at his appearing? He willeth not that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance; by repentance, to faith in a bleeding Lord; by faith, to spotless love, to the full image of God renewed in the heart, and producing all holiness of conversation. Can you doubt of this, when you remember the Judge of all is likewise the Savior of all? Hath he not bought you with his own blood, that ye might not perish, but have everlasting life? Oh, make proof of his mercy rather than his justice; of his love rather than the thunder of his power! He is not far from every one of us; and he is now come not to condemn, but to save, the world. He standeth in the midst! Sinner, doth he not now, even now, knock at the door of thy heart? Oh that thou mayest know, at least in this thy day, the things that belong unto thy peace! Oh that ye may now give yourselves to Him who gave himself for you, in humble faith, in holy, active, patient love! So shall ye rejoice with exceeding joy in his day, when he cometh in the clouds of heaven!  4
 
 
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