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man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;” no longer a mean obscure Galilean ; no longer a crucified God, as we in derision called him; but the everlasting Son of the overlasting Father, the Sovereign of angels, the Judge of meu and of devils, the Lord of all things, both in earth and heaven.
The day and place being appointed by the King of Kings, the glorious Majesty of Heaven, and Saviour of the world, Jesus Christ, who long ago received his commission from the Father, to be the Judge of quick and dead, (John v. 22. Acts xvii. 31.) shall descend from heaven, with the shout of the archangel, and with the trump of God, (1 Thess, iv. 16.) royally attended with an inpumerable company of glorious angels, Matt. xxv. 31. These he shall send with the great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the one end of heaven to the other; (chap. xxiv. 31.) yea, and the wicked too, from whatsoever place they shall be in; and then shall be sever the wicked from the just, Matt. xii. 49. So that all nations, and every particular person, that ever did, or ever shall, live upon the face of the earth, shall be gathered together before bim, and he shall separate the one from the other, as a shepherd divideth bis sheep from the goats; and be sball set the sheep on bis right hand, but the goats upon the left. Matt. xxv. 32, 33.
Things being thus set in order, the Judge shall read his commission, i. e, declare and manifest himself to be. the Judge of all the earth, sent by the God of heaven to judge them that bad condemned him, and in that very body that once was crucified upon the cross, at Jerusalem, for our sins. So that all the world shall then behold him, shining in all his glory and majesty, and shall acknowledge him to be now wbat they would not believe bim to be before~eren both God and man, and so the Judge of all the world, from whom there can be no appeal.
There sball be a day of judgment. This is as evident a truth, as that there is a Providence, or that God is the Governor of the world. Every intelligent creature, who is the subject of moral
government, affords an argument for the proof of this doctrine. It is plainly revealed in scripture, and impressed on the consciences of men. The secret remorse or terror which sinners feel within their own breast, which makes iben restless and uneasy, especially when they perceive themselves to stand on the confines of another world, is an undeniable argument that there is a future judgment. What was it that made Belshazzar's countenance to change? Why did his thoughts trouble him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another, when he saw the bandwriting against the wall, in the midst of all bis mirth and jollity ? Was he afraid of the united forces of the Persians and Medes, who at that time invested the capital city, where he then was? Did be know that he should be slain before morning? That was most remote from his thoughts, as apprehending himself safe from danger that might arise from that quarter. Was he afraid of punishment from men? His condition in the world set him above the dread of any such event. It was the sense he had of a future judgment from God, that produced these effects in him. It was this, that made the heathen governor tremble, when the apostle reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come. And when he was disputing with the Athenians, though ihey mocked, and treated what he said about the resurrection with ridicule; yet none of them had any thing to object against this doctrine, that God would judge the world in righteousness.
When all the dispensations of grace are finished, then comes the great day of judgment. Then all mankind, who have acted their part on the stage of the world, in the several successive ages, shall appear together; those who are gone down to death shall arise from the dead at the call or summons of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is appointed Judge of the quick and dead ; that is, of those who shall then be found living at his appearance, as well as of those who shall be raised from the grave.
In that great and solemn day, every man shall be judged according to that dispensation of grace, under which he lived, whether it were that of Adam or Noah, Abraham, Moses, or Christ. And
sentence shall be passed upon every man according to his works, that is, according to his compliance or non-compliance with the rules of that dispensation.
Dr. Waits. As to the time of judgment. The soul will be either happy or miserable immediately after death; but ihe general judgment will not be till after the resurrection. There is a day appointed, but unknown to man, As to the place, this is also uncertain. Some suppose it will be in the air ; because it is said the Judge will come in the clouds of heaven, and the living saints will then be changed, and the dead saints raised, and both be caught up to meet the Lord in the air : others think it will be upon earth. The place where, bowever, is of little consequence, when compared with the state in which we shall appear. It is certain it will be universal; for we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, 2 Cor. v. 10. It will be a righteous judgment of God. Rom. ii 5. It will be decisive and eternal as to its consequences. Let us be con cerned for the welfare of our immortal interests; flee to the refuge set before us; improve our precious time; depend on the merits of the Redeemer, and adhere to the dictates of the divine word, that we may be found of him in peace.
Man is a reasonable being, and every reasonable being' is an accountable being. He is a subject capable of moral government. His actions bave a relation to a law. He is swayed by rewards and punishments. He acts by counsel, and therefore of his actions be must expect to give an account; as it is Rom. xiv. 12. “So then every one of us shall give an account of himself to God.” Espen cially if we add, that all the gifts of body, mind, estate, time, &c. are so many talents, concredited and betrusted to him by God, and every one of us hath one talent at least; therefore a time to render an account for all these talents will come. Matt, xxv. 14, 15. We are but stewards, and stewards must give an account, in order to which there must be a great audit day,
And what need we seek evidence of this truth, further than our own consciences ? Lo, it is a truth engraven legibly upon every man's breast. Every one bath a kind of little tribunal, or priry
sessions, in his own conscience, which both accuses and excuses for good and evil, which it could never do, were there not a future judgment, of which it is now conscious to itself. In this court, records are now kept of all we do, even of our secret actions and thoughts, which never yet took air; but if no judgment, what need of records ? Nor let any imagine, that this may be but the fruit of education and discourse—we bave heard of such things, and so are scared by them. For if so, how comes it to obtain so universally? Who could be the author of such a common deception ?
Reader, bethiok thyself a little: if thou badst a mind (as one saith) to impose a lie upon all the world, what course wouldst thou take? How wouldst thou lay the designOr why dost thou in this case imagine what thou knowest not how to imagine? It is evident, that the very consciences of the heathens have these offices of accusing and excusing. Rom. ii. 15. And it is hard to imagine, that a general cheat should bow down the backs of all mankind, and induce so many doubts and fears, and troubles, among them, and give an interruption to the whole course of their corrupt living, and that there should be no account of it? And therefore it is undoubted that such a day will come.
It will be an awful and solemn judgment. It will be a critical and exact judgment. Every man will be weighed to his ounces and drachms. The name of the Judge is Kardiognostes, the searcher of bearts. The Judge hath eyes as flames of fire, wbich pierce to the dividing of the heart and reins. It is said, Matt. xii, 36. that men shall “ give an account of every idle word that they shall speak.” It is a day that will perfectly fan the world. No hypocrite can escape; Justice holds the balances in an even band; Christ will go to work so exactly, that some divines of good note think the day of judgment will last as long as this day of the gospel's administration hath lasted, or shall last.
It will be an universal judgment, 2 Cor. v. 10. “We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ.” And Rom. xiv. 12, “ Every one of us shall give an account of himself to God.” Those that were under the law, and “ those that, baving no law, were a law unto themselves.” Rom. ii, 12. Those that had many talents,
and he that had but one talent, must appear at this bar. Those that were carried from the cradle to the grave, with him that stooped for age; the rich and poor : the father and the child: the master and servant: the believer and the unbeliever, must stand forth in that day. “I saw the dead, both small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened.” Rev. xx. 11.
It will be a judgment of convictive clearness. All things will be so sifted to bran, (as we say) that the sentence of Christ, both on saints and sinners, shall be applauded. “ Righteous art thou, O Lord, because thou hast judged tbus." His judgments will be as the light that goeth forth. So that those poor sinners, whom he will condemn, shall be first self-condemned. Their own consciences shall be forced to confess, that there is not one drop of injustice in all that sea of wrath, into which they are to be cast.
It will be a supreme and final judgment, from which lies no appeal. It is the sentence of the highest and only Lord. For as the ultimate resolution of faith is into the word and truth of God, so the ultimate resolution of justice is into the judgment of God. This judgment is supreme and iinperial. For Christ is “the only Potentate," 1 Tim. iii. 5. and therefore the sentence once passed, its execution is infallible. And so you find it in that judicial process, Matt. Xxv. ult. just after the sentence is pronounced by Christ, it is immediately added, “ these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.” This is the judgment of the great day,
The parties shall be tried. The trial cannot be difficult, because the Judge is omniscient, and nothing can be bid from him. But, that this righteous judgment may be made evident to all, he will set the hidden things of darkness in the clearest light at that trial. 1 Cor. iv. 5.
Men shall be tried first upon their works; for “God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.” Ecc). xii. 14. The Judge will try every man's conversation, and set bis deeds done in the body, with all the circumstances thereof, in a true light. Then will many ac