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bound upon a staff, which contained a counterpart and key to that which was sent, and each king kept one of these staffs ; hence, if the messenger should lose the scrip, the secret would not be divulged, because not intelligible, unless wrapped around the wood : the one was read by the help of the other, though each spake nothing by itself. So is it with the events in human life; they throw light upon each other when brought together, though, when apart, they may divulge nothing. Some circumstance, in itself unimportant, and having but little connection with the main issue, has been the means of revealing that which, though searched for with dilligence had been concealed for years.
For a long period, the sin of the brethren of Joseph in selling him to the Egyptians, had been covered over ; none doubted their story-all thought him dead-even his father mourned for him, as for a child whose face he was to see no more ; there were none, therefore, to make inquiry ; those who would most naturally search into the matter were completely beguiled, and the transaction had become a thing long gone by; but, at length, corn was to be bought, for there was a scarcity in Judea, and Egypt was the grain-growing country, and they were directed, very naturally, to him who had charge of the provisions under the king, and this man, to their astonishment and confusion, was Joseph, their brother; the deed, though done long before, could no longer be concealed. Joseph must see his father—the story must be told, and the transaction which had long been covered, was at last revealed. The records of our criminal courts are full of evidence to the same point. The mere knife that a father dropped in a forest, after he had murdered his friend, recog. nized twenty years after, by his own child, who was very young at the time, as his father's knife, led to the detection and punishment of the criminal, when old and gray-headed.
Often times the mind is made to betray itself by its vanity, or anxiety, or remorse. Sometimes its vanity leads to its detection. Men that have distinguished themselves in any line, however criminal, not unfrequently boast of their ex ploits ; prisoners in their confinement recount their deeds of darkness to each other, that their prowess may be acknow. ledged, and even when hopefully better men, they still seem to take a delight in detailing their wicked deeds, that the good may wonder at the greatness of their change, and in both cases the deeds are developed. Thus, often the criminal who had escaped the vigilence of the law, is brought to punishment by his own loquacity.
What vanity does not accomplish is sometimes brought about by fear, or envy, stimulating the cunning to over-reach itself. In a recent murder at New Haven, the young man
who was guilty of the deed, took pains to present himself, of his own accord, at the office of justice, and offered to aid in the detection of the culprit, but he over-acted; this very readiness, wbich he had hoped would disarm suspicion, first excited it, and finally led to his detection and condemnation.
There is one other element of mind which has contributed more than all the rest, to remove, in this world, the covering from deeds of darkness, however deeply buried, or difficult to discover, and that is, the remorse of a guilty and violated conscience. Notwithstanding the authority and vigilence of the officers of justice, and the scrutiny of human courts of law (which also form a part of the vast and complicated earthly economy for revealing sin) ; notwithstanding the interrogations of the learned counsel, and the array of armed forces, and the apprehensions of imprisonment and death, more dreadful truth has been elicited by the remorseful agonies of a guilty conscience, than by all the processes and power of judicial tribunals combined. The deed which brings the criminal to execution, is often but one of a hundred which would never have been revealed in this life but for his own remorseful confessions. It is said that the majority of criminals confined now in our prison-houses, and condemned to die, will be found to be there on the testimony of their own words, forced from them by the anguish of a wounded spirit.
Thus, from the constitution of the human soul with its inward monitor and avenger--from the communicativeness of facts when brought together—from the bursting and unwrapping processes in the material world, as seeds, and rocks, and buried empires break their coverings, and come out into day : from this array of evidence, coming from every side in this world, we think we hear the hearalding of more clear and terrific disclosures, when all the secrets of every heart shall be revealed. The laws begun on earth are the type and exemplification, if not the initiatory and promonitory workings of those endless processes which move on with accelerated and stupendous results on the other side of the grave. Hence we say, that, even in this world, the disclosures are so frequent and unexpected, as to make it exceedingly probable at least, that in the next, “ there shall be nothing covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid that shall not be made known."
II. But when we take into consideration another fact, namely, that all the hindrances which prevented a perfect revelation of the character, in this world, will, in the next, BE REMOVED ; then, that which just now appeared a dangerous probability, becomes a dreadful certainty. Obstacles which in this life prevented a full disclosure of the deeds done in the body, will, in the next, be wholly removed ; and all the processes which contribute to development, will have full and unimpeded play.
The body will be removed. It is a well-known fact that in this life, the action of the mind is hindered by reason of its connection with its corporeal investiture. The soul is incarcerated, and often crippled by its dependence upon the body ; and hence, when the system is excited by fever, or attenuated by disease, and the ordinary physical relations are, in a measure, broken up, the mind has been known to possess and manifest a power never conceived of in its habitual conditions ; the silver chord has then, as it were, begun to loosen, and the latent powers have begun to be conscious of their strength. Now, in the eternal world, the corporeal hindrances will be all removed—the ponderous envelope will be wholly shaken off ; that which was insensible and dormant, by reason of its earthly tabernacle, will quiver then with an intense and terrific life ; and every faculty of the mind which had been hindered and clouded, will contribute of its treasures and strength to consummate the stupendous purposes of God. Forgetfulness will be removed. Memory will then give up its dead. What had been buried and forgotten will rise again to view in multitudinous and condemnatory array ; as the history of a past life, with all its painful and oblivious scenes, sometimes forces its way into the minds of dying men, with a terrible and avenging clearness, and will not let them rest, so we have every reason to believe that when the body is removed, and sickness interposes no restraint, the mind will recall, with fearful distinctness, its minutest and most forgotten deeds, and and all that was here scattered through a life, will then be collected into one single and burning point of time.
All lost evidence will be supplied. In this world, not only are important facts kept out of sight, by the death or ab. sence of witnesses, but after the transaction has long gone by, something often transpires which, had it appeared at the time, would have changed the whole face and issue of the
But, in the world to come, no witnesses will be absent; all that can be gathered will be there; and all that bears upon the case will be concentrated and arranged into one connected line of light and fire. The evidence will all be there, and close at hand. All diverting associations will be remov. ed; the green earth will have passed away--the mild skies will have been folded up--the faces which spoke of pity for the criminal, to the last, will not be there—the voices of men will have ceased—the hopes and passions of time will have come to an end ; none of those passing incidents which broke for a moment the train of condemnatory thoughts in this life, will be found in the world to come ; the mind will have full and unimpeded action upon itself; reflection will not be broken in upon; conscience will not be diverted from its work; withal, one thing will be visible there, which was not seen here--the eye which saw the deeds of darkness, though itself unseen, will there gleam on the offender, face to face ; over all the vast assembly will be seen an awful splendor, that rebuking or approving Presence which, in this world no man can look
upon and live. Now, if there are ever any combinations of circumstances which can force from the soul, the story of its sins--if there is any law of mind which makes the child find relief only in confession, and which necessitates the criminal on the scaffold, notwithstanding the presence of friends, and the sight of old scenes, and some faint hope of rescue, to utter forth, in ignominy and shame, the dark history of his life ; if even Judas Iscariot, though he saw but a small part of the injury he had done, had to seek out the chief priests, and with his own lips make acknowledgment of his own guilt ; if even in such a world as this, where the body, and old associations, and friends, and forgetfulness, and ignorance of the consequences, contribute to quiet the goadings of conscience, men are still driven by remorse, to give a detailed and minute account of the evil they have done, what may not be expected when, with conscience all alive, and memory quickened, the soul dismantled of its clayž stung by its sins, bereft of friends, and hindered by nothing, meets the eye of its Maker without a veil ; if the mere toll of a bell, and the sight of soldiery, and the approach of a dissolution which, after all, might not take place, has unloosened the tongues of hardened criminals, and made the soul its own accuser in the presence of a scornful crowd, what disclosures may not be expected when, as the trumpet sounds, and nature dissolves, and the aged heavens are wrapt in flame, the mind begins to feel the pressure of an endless and a hopeless doom? Will not the story of wrong and rapine, of sin and deceit, leap forth like the untombed dead; and the Scripture, “ Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee," be literally fulfilled ? Surely there is a provision in our nature, by reason of which every one shall give an account of himself unto God.
If, with memory quickened, only for a moment, the conscience gathers up here and there a delinquency, scattered along the path of life, and speaks it out, shall we be surprised, if in the light of eternity, remorse should reveal to the wondering angels, transgressions thick and dark as bursting clouds and big with tempest? If this is not an ordering of our men.' tal economy, by which, at some time, that which is spoken in the ear in closets, shall be proclaimed upon the house-tops, where can it be found?
III. Much of the Bible is written and all probation arranged with reference to a judgment in the midst of minute and amazing revelations. If the inspired preacher sees by the Wav-side, a youth revelling in riotous plesures of unfettered indulgence, heedless of the admonitions of conscience and of religion, he reminds him that those scenes of sinful delight must come up again : “Rejoice, O young inan in thy youth, and let thy heart clear thee in the days of the youth, and willk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes, but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment" There is a foretokening all along our
If the wicked hear a “ dreadful sound," what does he hear ? If he sees a hand others do not see, what is it that he sees? The fear of God is not before his eyes and yet he is afraid. There was a sound, a rustle of a leaf, yet to him a sound that spoke of discovery—a whisper of betraval and development ; he sees things around him working to the surface. Even a stain upon his robe, a paler bue upon his cheek, may have a voice to some one ; many things have come out in ways most unexpected--and who shall say, after all, he may not have been observed? Perhaps the words of the aged preacher peal again upon his soul--- Every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil." It would not be strange if many events should now begin to speak to him of judgment, and point towards the revelations of the great day ; if he continues to reflect, all things will begin to arrange themselves with reference to the time which will “ bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the heart ;" he begins to think that things which are not finished here, may be finished hereafter. Though much is shrouded in darkness, and the murderer and his victim sleep in the sea, yet so many things are revealed. The laws of justice are so mighty and manifest, moving all around him, and moring on with such anntaltering step, the responses of his own soul to the whispers in society, and to the pointings of creation, are so clear and loud, that he is not at all surprised when he hears it announced-_“ For every idle word which men shall speak, shall they give account: whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light;" and, "the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and the grave the dead which were in them, and they were judged, every man "according to his works," out of the things that were written in the books. Be not surprised if you hear him repeating to himself-_“ Every man's work shall be made manifest, and the fire shall try it, of what sort it is," and, if necessary, it shall be revealed by fire. He is coming under the power, of a great law, which is stronger than he is.