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crites, and all the doubts and fears of sincere Christians. And then shall all know the state of one another's souls: The people shall know whether their minister has been sincere and faithful, and the ministers shall know the state of every one of their people, and to whom the word and ordinances of God have been a savor of life unto life, and to whom a savor of death unto death,
Now in this present state it often happens that when min. isters and people meet together to debate and manage their ecclesiastical affairs, especially in a state of controversy, they are ready to judge and censure one another with regard to each other's views and designs, and the principles and ends that each is influenced by; and are greatly mistaken in their judgment, and wrong one another with regard to each others' views and designs and the principles and ends that each is influenced by, and are greatly mistaken in their judgment, and wrong one another in their censures : But at that future meet. ing, things will be set in a true and perfect light, and the principles and aims that every one has acted from shall be certainly known ; and there will be an end to all errors of this kind, and all unrighteous censures.
(3.) In this world, ministers and their people often meet together to hear of and wait upon an unseen Lord; but at the day of judgment, they shall meet in his most immediate and visible presence.
Ministers, who now often meet their people to preach to them the King eternal, immortal, and invisible, to convince them that there is a God, and declare to them what manner of being hè is, and to convince them that he governs, and will judge the world, and that there is a future state of rewards and punishments, and to preach to them a Christ in heaven, and at the right hand of God, in an unseen world, shall then meet their people in the most immediate sensible presence of this great God, Saviour, and Judge, appearing in the most plain, visible, and open manner, with great glory, with all his holy angels, before them and the whole world. They shall not meet them to hear about an absent Christ, an unseen Lord, and future Judge; but to appear before that Judge, and as being set together in the presence of that supreme Lord, in his immense glory and awful majesty, whom they have heard so often of in their meetings together on earth.
(4.) The meeting at the last day, of ministers, and the peo. ple that have been under their care, will not be attended by any one with a careless heedless heart.
With such an heart are their meetings often attended in this world by many persons, having little regard to him whom they pretend unitedly to adore in the solemn duties of his public worship, taking little heed to their own thoughts or frame of their minds, not attending to the business they are engaged in, or considering the end for which they are come together. But the meeting at that great day will be very dif. ferent: There will not be one careless heart, no sleeping, no wandering of mind from the great concern of the meeting, no inattentiveness to the business of the day, no regardlessness of the presence they are in, or of those great things which they shall hear from Christ at that meeting, or that they formerly heard from him, and of him, by their ministers, in their meeting in a state of trial, or which they shall now hear their ministers declaring concerning them before their judge.
Having observed these things, concerning the manner and circumstances of this future meeting of ministers and the peo ple that have been under their care, before the tribunal of Christ at the day of judgment, I now proceed,
II. To observe to what purposes they shall then meet.
1. To give an account, before the great Judge, of their be: havior one to another, in the relation they stood in to each other in this world.
Ministers are sent forth by Christ to their people on his bu; siness, are his servants and messengers; and, when they have finished their service, they must return to their master to give him an account of what they have done, and of the entertainment they have had in performing their ministry. Thus we find, in Luke xiv. 16....21, That when the servant who was sent forth to call the guests to the great supper, had done his errand, and finished his appointed service, he returned to his
master, and gave him an account of what he had done, and of the entertainment he had received. And when the master, being angry, sent his servant to others, he returns again, and gives his master an account of his conduct and success. So we read, in Heb. xiii. 17, of ministers being rulers in the house of God, « that watch for souls, as those that must give account.” And we see by the forementioned Luke xiv. that ministers must give an account to their master, not only of their own behavior in the discharge of their office, but also of their peoples' reception of them, and of the treatment they have met with among them.
And therefore, as they will be called to give an account of both, they shall give an account at the great day of accounts in the presence of their people ; they and their people being both present before their Judge.
Faithful ministers will then give an account with joy, concerning those who have received them well, and made a good improvement of their ministry; and these will be given them, at that day, as their crown of rejoicing. And, at the same time, they will give an account of the ill treatment of such as have not well received them and their
from Christ : They will meet these, not as they used to do in this world, to counsel and warn them, but to bear witness against them ; and as their judges, and assessors with Christ, to condemn them. And, on the other hand, the people will, at that day, rise up in judgment against wicked and unfaithful ministers, who have sought their own temporal interest more than the good of the souls of their flock.
2. At that time ministers, and the people who have been under their care, shall meet together before Christ, that he may judge between them, as to any controversies which have subsisted between them in this world.
So it very often comes to pass in this evil world, that great differences and controversies arise between ministers and the people that are under their pastoral care. Though they are under the greatest obligations to live in peace, above persons in almost any relation whatever ; and although contests and dissensions between persons so related are the most unhappy and terrible in their consequences, on many accounts, of any sort of contentions ; yet how frequent have such contentions been? Sometimes a people contest with their ministers about their doctrine, sometimes about their administrations and conduct, and sometimes about their maintenance ; and sometimes such contests continúe a long time ; and sometimes they are decided in this world, according to the prevailing interest of one party or the other, rather than by the word of God, and the reason of things; and sometimes such controversies never have any proper determination in this world.
But at the day of judgment there will be a full, perfect and everlasting decision of them. The infallible Judge, the inbnite fountain of light, truth and justice, will judge between the contending parties, and will declare what is the truth, who is in the right, and what is agreeable to his mind and will. And in order bereto the parties must stand together before him at the last day; which will be the great day of finishing and determining all controversies, rectifying all mistakes, and abolishing all unrighteous judgments, errors, and confysions, which have before subsisted in the world of mankind.
3. Ministers, and the people that have been under their care, must meet together at that time to receive an eternal sentence and retribution from the Judge, in the presence of each other according to their behavior in the relation they stood in one to another, in the present state.
The Judge will not only declare justice, but he will do justice between ministers and their people. He will declare what is right between them, approving him that has been just and faithful, and condemning the unjust ; and perfect truth and equity shall take place in the sentence which he passes, in the rewards he bestows, and the punishments which he infiicts. There shall be a glorious reward to faithful ministers; to those who have been successful. Dan. xii. 3. “ And they that be wise, shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever :" And also to those who have been faithful, and yet not successful ; Isa. xlix. 4 : “ Then I said, I have labored in vain, I bave spent my strength for nought ; yet surely my
judgment is with the Lord, and my reward with my God.” And those who have well received and entertained them shall be gloriously rewarded ; Matth. X. 40, 41. “ He that receive eth you, receiveth me, and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet, in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward ; and he that receiveth a righteous man, in the name of a righteous man, shall receive a righteous man's reward." Such people, and their faithful ministers, shall be each others' crown of rejoica ing. 1. Thess. ü. 19, 20. “ For what is our hope, or' joy, or crown of rejoicing ? Are not even yé in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming ? For ye are our glory and joy.” And in the text, We are your rejoicing, as ye also ar ours, in the day of the Lord Jesus. But they that evil intreat Christ's faithful ministers, especially in that wherein they are faithful, shall be severely punished; Matth. x. 14, 15. “ And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, whep ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily, I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the sinners of Sodom and Gomorrah, in the day of judgment, than for that city.” Deut. xxxiii. 8.... 11. « And of Levi he said, Let thy Urim and thy Thummim be with thy holy one. They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law. Bless, Lörd, his substance, and accept the work of his hands, smitè through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again.” On the other hand, those ministers who are found to have been unfaithful, shall have a most terrible punishment. See Ezek. xxxiii. 6. Matth. xxiii. 1....33.
Thus justice shall be administered at the great day to ministers and their people : And to that end they shall meet together, that they may not only receive justice to themselves, but see justice done to the other party : For this is the end of that great day, to reveal or declare the righteous judgment of God; Rom. ii. 5. Ministers shall have justice done themi, and they shall see justice done to their people : And the people shall receive justice and see justice done to their minister, And so all things will be adjusted and settled for ever between VOL. I.