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Considering our latter end, would also make it safe and comfortable. The good and bad join in wishing to be happy at last. 6. Let me die the death of the righteous, and let' my last end be like his,” is the language of the saint and of the sinner. But the only way to obtain this, is to consider our latter end, and seek a preparation for it in season. It is not to be reasonably expected, that they who wilfully forget their dissolution, till it be ready to take place, should die comfortably, or safely. They may pass for wise men while they live, but they will be found fools when death comes, and no provision is made for that solemn event: and whether they be sensible or insensible of it, their situation is truly deplorable. But a timely and serious consideration of our latter end will prevent this dreadful evil. If, from a full persuasion that here we have no continuing city, we seek one to come; if, from a consciousness of our own inability to encounter the king of terrors, we have committed our souls to Jesus; if our consciences, as the Apostle says, “ testify for us, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world;" I say, “ if our hearts condemn us not, then have we confidence towards God," and may think of meeting him in another world, not only without terror, but with the highest exultation. When he cometh and knocketh, we shall open to him immediately; and with a heavenly smile upon our dying countenances, we shall welcome him with saying, “This is my God; I have waited for him.”
ON THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST.
Acts 1. 11.
Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into hea
ven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner, as ye have seen him
Yes, it is this same Jesus, whose ascension we have often contemplated with so much delight. It is this same Jesus who went up to prepare a place for us in heaven, and is now at the right band of God, as our advocate; presenting our petitions, pleading our cause, warding off threatened mischief, and procuring for us seasonable supplies of grace and strength against approaching temptations. It is this same Jesus, whose glories are beyond all conception or praise, and yet whose “heart is made of tenderness," and is full of affection towards the meanest of his people. It is he, whose blood speaketh better things than that of Abel; pacifying our consciences, purifying our souls, and cheering and comforting our disconsolate spirits. It is he that we look up to, as our guide in all difficulties, our guard in all dangers, the author and finisher of our faith, the beginning and end of our salvation. This same Jesus is coming again.
Let us now consider the certainty of this event; and the visibility, splendour, and important design of his appearance. Let us,
First, consider the certainty of his coming.
It is to be lamented that a truth, so plainly reveals ed, so strongly supported, and by many sincerely desired, should ever be questioned. But, alas! as the greatest part of mankind live in such a manner, that they fear to believe it, we are not to wonder if they say, “No Christ, no judgment,” when the fool has said in his heart, “ No God.” It is not their settled opinion that there is no God, or that Christ will not come to judgment; but they would be glad to escape without examination, and therefore wish that he might not appear. Well knowing that their conduct would not bear an inquiry, they will not attend to the evidences of his coming, and thus they either doubt of this awful event, or believe it in a very in sensible manner. “ They shut their eyes and harden their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts; and be converted, and be saved."
But this testimony of the angels alone is sufficient. It is probable that they perceived too much, anxiety in the countenance of the disciples, in consequence of this sudden removal of their Master. They saw that their concern was rising into consternation, and therefore they kindly expostulated with them; as, suring them, that they were not left so destitute as they seemed to imagine; and that this separation, painful as it might be, was but temporary. They inform. ed them, that it would be in vain for them to remain there, expecting and longing to see him again ; but
that, as certainly as he had now departed from them, he would return at the time fixed in the eternal counsels of God. Why stand ye here gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner, as ye have seen him go into heaven.” At certain seasons, it was very comfortable to the disciples, and sometimes it is so to ourselves, to be assured from undoubted authority, that Christ will return. We are almost tempted to think, that he is so much delighted and engaged with the honours and happiness of heaven, that his poor disciples on earth are forgotten. But this is only the groundless fear of unbelief. He went away with a full resolution to return: and he spoke of it as if he were almost actually coming, “ Behold,” says he, “I come quickly.” Though he is sat down at the right-hand of God, and has been there above seventeen hundred years, in full possession of all the glory and blessedness which heaven can bestow, yet that will not hinder him from fulfilling his promise, of coming to release his disciples from their prison, and of carrying them up with him to behold and partake of his glory. 66 I will not leave you comfortless; I will come unto you. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout.' It would be almost endless to quote particular passages of scripture, in which the coming of Christ is asserted, or implied. Some, like the scoffers of old, may say,
" Where is the promise of his coming ? It has been predicted age after age; and yet since our fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." But consider, ye enemies of Christ, how much ye are indebted to
that forbearance which ye profanely despise. He will come notwithstanding, for he is not slack concerning his promise. If he had appeared yesterday, where had you been now? He delays his coming, to give you time to seek his mercy, and because he is so longsuffering to you; not willing that any of you should perish, but that all should come to repentance,
I beseech you therefore, by the mercies of God, and by the coming of Christ, to turn from your wickedness and live. While you are every day sinking deeper into worldly cares, and sinful pleasures, Christ is approaching nearer and nearer; and before
you apprehend any danger, he may call you to his bar, to give up your account.
Christ has told you, that he shall come as a thief in the night when he is least expected; and with respect to multitudes, least desired. This is often realized with regard to his coming by death to indivi. duals; and will be certainly fulfilled in the suddenness and unexpectedness of his appearance at judgment. John the Baptist, in his sermons, was continually calling upon his hearers to repent;
66 for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Having assured them, that one was coming whose shoe-latchet he was not worthy to unloose, the next day he sees Jesus,
“ Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I spake, and whose coming I have so often foretold.”. So it will be with respect to the final appearance of Christ. Ministers have often preached about his coming; and assured their hearers, that he will.come at last, to the surprise and astonishment of a guilty. world. But who believes their report? But when