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trumpet is sounded, 1 Cor. xv. 52; the Lord's voice is heard, John v. 28; the body is alarmed, awakened, Dan. xii. 2; raised up, 1Cor. xv. 52; and brought to judgment, Eccl. xi. 9. So in raising a dead soul, an angel by office is employed, Rev. iii. 1; the gospel trumpet is sounded, Isaiah xxvii. 13; the Lord's voice is heard, John v. 25; the soul is alarmed, Joel ii. 1; it is awakened, Eph. v. 14; raised, Eph. ii. 6; and brought forth to the light, and God is light, to be arraigned and chastened for his iniquity, that he may be justified here, and not condemned in the great day. "But when we are judged we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world," 1 Cor. xi. 32.
This was the case with Prodigalis; his conscience was alarmed, his understanding awakened, and the Lord's voice quickened his dead soul to feel his guilt; he was raised from his carnal security, and brought forth from a state of spiritual death and insensibility; and after this he took his trial as really as any will do in the day of judgment. And at the general judgment, when the Judge is seated, the books will be opened, Dan. vii. 10; and so poor Prodigalis found at his trial: for both law, gospel, and conscience were point blank against him.
Ahimaaz. Then, according to your account, there is not only a first and second resurrection, but a first and last judgment also.
Cushi. There certainly is; and the word justi
fication implies a trial here; the elect are tried in this life, and justified by faith in the Saviour. Hence they are said to pass from death to life, and never more to come into condemnation; which implies, that there was a ministration of death that they were arraigned at, and found dead under, and a sentence that they escaped; else how could they pass from death to life by faith, and for ever escape condemnation?
Ahimaaz. I do not remember any passage of scripture that favours your opinion.
Cushi. I think there are many scriptures that favour it. "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" 1 Peter iv. 17, 18. In that text. the destruction of Israel by the Romans may be implied, which was to begin at the temple or house of God; but Peter was no part of that, therefore more is intended by Peter's saying, Judgment begins at us. The destruction of the temple was a fulfilment of this prophecy; "Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women, and begin at my sanctuary," Ezek, ix. 5, 6. Secondly, the arraignment and martyrdom of the saints may be implied in that text, but the spiritual judgment of the elect in this world is not excluded; nor is it excluded in the following text;
For, for this cause was the gospel preached also
to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the Spirit," 1 Peter iv. 6.
The Lord hath often discovered himself as an angry judge to a sinner from the pulpit; and has spoke to his conscience by the preacher, sufficient to convince him of his awful state; even his inmost thoughts have been discovered and laid open, and he has found himself in the powerful hand, and at the very bar of God, convicted of all his crimes, the very sentence sounding in his ears, and his soul sinking into all the horrors of a condemned criminal; which has made him tremble no less than a condemned sinner will do in the day of judgment; as it is written, "But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth," 1 Cor. xiv. 24, 25.
Thus you see the operation of the word and spirit of God; when the Lord speaketh to the heart, the rebel is arraigned, judged, and condemned, both by law and conscience; and would sink to all eternity, if God did not impute an everlasting righteousness to him: but the chosen sinner has an advocate, and therefore his trial does not end in eternal death, but in a fatherly chastisement; as it is written, "But when we are judged we are
chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world."
Ahimaaz. I would wish to hear the trial of Prodigalis, if my brother would relate it; and pray be so kind as to bring in the word of God to shew the consistency of his arraignment therewith; for you know that must be the touchstone that all things must be tried by; even the spirit, the practice, and the principles of a believer must be tried by that.
Cushi. Very true; and I shall be glad to prove the trial, and the justification of this poor sinner, by that immutable standard. After Prodigalis had been alarmed, awakened, quickened to feel his guilt, and raised out of his dead state of carnal security, he gave himself wholly up to retirement and melancholy, as being fit company for none but those of the same cast. In one of his solitary walks he came to a lonely grove, which is well known to thousands; and having a clear view and a feeling sense of his lost estate, he lift up his voice and wept; and he called the name of that place Bochim, Judges ii. 4, 5; and it is called the place of mourners to this day.
At the end of mourning grove there is a little valley, and on the south side of it, at the foot of an hill, is a little enclosed spot, walled round, and planted with dwarf evergreens. Prodigalis attempted an entrance into it, but met with a rebuff, and had the gate shut against him. He then made
an attempt to climb over the wall, but he felt himself sensibly resisted; "God resisteth the proud." This wrought such distraction and confusion in his mind, that he fainted away, and lay for some hours in a trance, during which time he had a vision. He saw by night, and behold, a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom, and behind him were there horses speckled and white, Zech. i. 8.
Prodigalis had the use of all his faculties; but whether he was in the body or out of it, he could not tell. His mind was impressed with awful thoughts of the grand assize; and the horses that he saw in the vision he took to belong to the retinue of his Judge, who was visiting those parts in his perpetual circuit. And indeed he was not mistaken, for the horses belonged to the chariots of God, and were a part of the twenty thousand that always attended him, Psalm lxviii. 17. The poor man was forcibly seized, and led in the vision by a strong hand to a lofty hill, the top of which was covered with a pillar of smoke; the middle of it was all on a flame of fire, and just under the fire hung a heavy dark cloud; before that cloud Prodigalis was placed; nor was it in his power to move one step from it, though he fain would have fled out of his hand, Job xxvii. 22.
Out of the midst of that black cloud a supernatural light broke forth, and forcibly darted its beams on the whole soul of Prodigalis. As soon as this light shone upon him, all the corruptions