October 22, 2007

Ezekiel Hopkins (1634–1690) on Christ Dying for those Condemned on the Last Day

I. WHAT TERROR SPEAKS THIS TO WICKED MEN !

Certainly, this must needs be a dark and gloomy day to them. It is that Christ, whose laws they have broken, whose love they have slighted, whose blood they have spilt, nay whose blood they have trampled on, whose members they have massacred and martyred; it is that Christ, who must then judge them: whom they have contemptuously refused to be their King and Saviour, they shall not be able to refuse from being their Judge. And can you then wonder, that they should call for rocks and hills to fall upon them, and hide them from the wrath of the Lamb? Rev. vi. 15, 16: believe it, rocks and hills, the hardest and the heaviest things in nature, would be but a light coverlet to them, in comparison with that wrath, which shall sit insupportably heavy on them for ever, and sink them down to the bottom of hell. Christ comes now to you as a Saviour, in a meek and winning manner: he urgeth you, by all the arguments that love and pity can use: but, if you refuse him, his next coming will be as a Judge; and then the Lamb, which offered himself a sacrifice for you, will turn Lion, and sacrifice you to his wrath and justice. Now, the voice of a loving Saviour calls sinners to come unto him; but those, who will not come, the voice of a dreadful Judge will then bid to depart from him: Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.
Ezekiel Hopkins, "Of the Last Judgment: A Discourse on 2 Cor. v. 10," in The Works of Ezekiel Hopkins, ed. Josiah Pratt (London: C. Whittingham, 1809), 4:136.
2. Unbelievers shall, at the Last Day, be judged by both these laws; both by the Law of Works and the Law of Faith: and, what will be to their inconceivable horror, both will condemn them.

The severity of the Law casts them: the mercy of the Gospel cannot relieve them. When God shall ask them, how they will be tried; by the Law, or by the Gospel: if they say, by the Law, that tells them, Cursed is every one, that continueth not in all things, written in it, to do them: tell me, are ye so well persuaded and confident of your own righteousness and innocence, that you will stand to this sentence? will you venture the everlasting state of your souls upon this trial, that you cannot be proved guilty of any transgression? and, if your own consciences now accuse you, will they not much more, think you, accuse you then? Will you appeal to the Gospel? that tells you, He, that believeth not, is condemned already: John iii. 18 : and, He, that believeth not the wrath of God abideth on him: John iii. 36: nay, let me tell you, the Gospel will be so far from relieving you, that it will but add to the condemnation of the Law: the Law sentenceth sinners to hell, for transgressing; but, then, the Gospel lays on more load, and heats the furnace sevenfold hotter for those, who have not only violated the Law, but rejected pardon. He dies deservedly, who, being condemned by the law of the prince, slights his mercy too. This is the case of every unbeliever: they are all condemned, by law: God tenders them a pardon: Christ offers himself for their Saviour, his blood for their ransom; this Saviour they reject: this blood they trample on, and even dare God to do his worst. And, therefore, there is no one sin in the world, that carries so much provocation in it, as this of unbelief doth: it is an injury done to the tenderest of God's attributes, his mercy: it is an affront upon his dearest Son, the Lord Jesus Christ; and, therefore, shall be revenged with a most aggravated condemnation. Oh! then, what fears and terrors will encompass them round, who, when the Law hath condemned them for transgression, shall find themselves much more condemned for unbelief! The blood of Christ is not shed in vain: not a drop of it is spilt upon the ground, as water that cannot be gathered up again: it will, certainly, either justify, or condemn; either save, or destroy. And look, of what efficacy it is, to remove guilt from the souls of true believers; of the like efficacy it is, to bring guilt upon the souls of unbelievers: if, therefore, the blood of Christ, applied by faith, be of power to remove the guilt of all the sins which we have committed; the same blood, rejected by unbelief, will bring in a greater and sorer guilt upon us, than all the sins which we have committed besides. Be persuaded, therefore, never to leave praying and waiting, till the God of all grace be pleased to work this precious grace of faith in thee; without which, thou canst neither please him, nor be well-pleasing to him: that so, the blood of Jesus Christ may, in that Great Day, be found upon thy heart, for thy justification; and not upon thy head, for thy condemnation.
Ibid., 4:166.

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Ezekiel Hopkins was a Calvinist and a Puritan. Volumes 1 and 3 of his Works are also available on Google books.

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