Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

in the glory of his father, with the holy angels, Mark viii. 38. 'When

he came in the flesh, to die for liqners, he laid aside the rebes of · his glory, and was despised and rejected of men: but when he comes

again, to judge the world, such Tall be his visible glory and majesty, that it Mall cat an eternal vail over all earthly glory, and fill his greatest enemies with fear and dread. Never had prince, or potentate in the world, such a glorious train, as will acconipany this Judge: all the holy angels ihall conie with him, for bis honour and Service. Then he, who was led to the cross with a band of foldiers, will be gloriously attended to the place of judgment, by (not a multitude of the heavenly hoft, but) the whole host of angels; all his holy angels, say the text.

Thirdly, Ac the coming of the Judge, che fummons are given to the parties, by the found of the last trumpet ; ac which the dead are raised, and these found alive changed; of which before, i Thell iv. 16,17. O loud trumpet, that Mall be heard at once, in'all cor. ners of the earth, and of the sea? O wonderful voice, that will not only disturb those who sleep in the dust; but effectually awaken, rouze them out of their fleep, and raise them from death! Were trumpets founding now, drums beating, furious foldiers crying and killing men, women and children running and shrieking, the wounded groaning and dying; those who are in the graves, would have no more disturbance, than if the world were in most profound peace, Yea, were storiny winds casting down the lofty oaks, the the feas roaring and swallowing up the ships, the moft dreadful thunders going along the heavens, lightnings every-where flashing, the earth quaking, trembling, opening, and swallowing up whole cities, and burying multitudes at once; the dead would still enjoy a perfe& repose, and sleep foundly in the duft; though their own duft fliould be thrown out of its place. But at the sound of this trumpet they shall all awake. The morning is come, they can fieep no longer; the time of the dead, that they must be judged: they musi get out of their graves, and appear before the Judge.

Fourthly, The Judge Thall fit down on the tribunal ; he mall sit en the throne of his glory. Sometime he stood before a tribunal on carch, and was condemned as a malefactor: then shall be sit on his own tribunal, and judge the world. Sometime he hung upon the crofs, covered with fame; then he shall fit on a throne of glory. What this throne shall be, whether a bright cloud, or what else, I fhall not inquire. Qur eyes will give an answer to that question. at length. John saw a great white throne, Rev. xx. 11. His throne (fays Daniel) was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire, chap. vii. 9. Whatever it be, doubtless it shall be a throne glorious beyond expression; and, in comparison with which, the most glorious throne on the earth is but a feat on a dunghill; and the light of it will equally surprise kings, who sit on thrones in this life, and beggars, who sat in dunghills. It will be a throne, for stareliness

and

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

and glory, suited to the quality of him who Mall fit on t. Never had a judge such a chrone, and never had a throne such a judge on it.,

Leaving the discovery of the nature of the throne until that day, it concerns us more nearly to consider what a Judge will die upon it; a point in which we are not left to uncer:ajn conjectures. The Judge on the throne will be (1.) Avisible Fudge, vitible to our bodily eyes, Rev. 1. 7. Every eye shall see him. When God gave the law on mount Sinai, the people faw no similitude, only they heard a voice: but when he calls the world to an account, how they have obierved his law; the man Christ being Judge, we shall fee our Judge with our eyes, either to obr eternal comfort or confusion; according to the entertainment we give him now That very body which was crucified wichout the gates of Jerusalem, bet wixt two thieves, Skall then be feen on the chrone, thining in glory. We now fee him fymbolically in the facrament of his supper: the saints fee him by the eye of faith: then, all fhall see him with these eyes now in 'their heads. (2.). A Judge having full authority and power, to render Unto every one according to his works. Chrill; as God, hath authority of himself; and as Mediator, he hath a judicial power and authority, which his Father has invested him with, according to the covenant bet wixt the Father and the Son, for the redemption of finiers. And his divine glory will be a light, by which all men Hall see clearly to read his commission for this great and honourable employment. All power is given unto him in heaven and in earth, Matth. xxviii

. 18. He bath the keys of hell and of death, Rev. i. 18. There can be no appeal from his tribunal: jentence once past there, must stand for ever; there is no rever fing of it. All appeals are from an inferior court to a superior one; but when G::d gives sentence against a man, where can he find a higher court to bring his pricels too! This judgment is the Mediator's judgment; and therefore the last judgment. If the Interceffor be against us, who can be for us? If Christ condemn us, who will abfolve us? (3.) A Judge of infinite wifdom. His eyes will pierce into and clearly disa cern, the matt intricate cales. His omniscience qualifies him for judging of the most rețired thoughts, as well as of words and works. The most subtle finner, fhall not be able to ouiwii him, nor, by any ariful management, to paliate the crime. He is the searcher of bearts, to whon no hing can be hid or perplexed, but all things are naked and open unto his eyes, Heb. iv. 13. (4.) A not just Judge ; a Judge of pyriect integrity. He is the righteous Jüdge, (2 Tim. iv. 8 ) and his throne, a great white throne (Rev: XX. 11 ) from whence no judgment shall proceed, but what is most pure and spotless. The Thebans painted justice blind, and without bands: for j:1dges ought not to respect persons, nor take bribes. The Areopagites judged in the dark; that they might not regard who fpoke, b t what was spoken. With the Judge mo this throne, there will be no respect of persons; he will neither regard the persons of the rich, nor of

the

Mm

[ocr errors]

the poor; but jult judgment shall go forth in every one's caufe. Lastly, An omnipotent Judge, able to put his sentence in execution. The united force of devils and wicked men will be altogether unable to withstand him. They cannot retard the execution of the sentence against them, one moment; far less can they stop it altogether, Thousand thousands (if angels) minister unto him, Dan. vii. 10. And, by the breath of his mouth, he can drive the cursed herd whither he pleaseth.

Fifthly, The parties thall compear. These are men and devils. Although there hast, the fallen angels, were, from the first moment of their finning, subjected to the wrath of God, and were cast down to hell; and wherefoever they go, they carry their hell about with them: yet, it is evident, that they are reserved unto judgment, (2 Pet. ii. 14.) namely, unto the judgment of the great day, Jude 6. And then they shall be folemnly and publickly judged, 1 Cor vi. 3. K1:0w ye, not that we shall judge angels. At that day they shall answer for their trade of sinning and tempting to fin, which they have been carrying on from the beginning. Then many a hellish brat, which Satan has laid down at the saints door, but not adopted by them, shall be Jaid at the door of the true father of it, that is, the devil. And he shall receive the due reward of all the dishonour he has done to God, and of all the mischief he has done to men. Those wicked spirits now in chains (though not in such strait custody, but that they go about, like roaring lions, seeking whom they may devour) shall then receive their final sentence, and be fhut up in their den, namely, in the prison of hell; where they thall be held in extreme and unspeakable torment through all eternity, Rev. xx. 10. « And the devil that decieved

them, was cait into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast " and the false prophet are, and thall be tormented day and night e for ever and ever.” Iñ prospect of which, the devils said to Christ, Art thou cime hiiher to torment us before the time? Matth. viii. 29.

But what we are chiefly concerned to take notice of, is the case of men at that day. All men mult compear before this tribunal. All of each fex, and of every age, quality and condition; the great and small; noble and ignoble; none are excepted. Adam and Eve, with all their fons and daughters; every one who has had, or, to the end of the world, fhall have a living foul united to a body; will make up this great congregation. Even those, who refused to come to the throne of grace, shall be forced to the bar of justice: for there can be no hiding from the all-seeing Judge, no flying from him who is present every where, no resisting of him who is armed with almighty power. We must all stand before the judgment.feat of Christ, 2 Cor. v. 10, Before him shall be gathered all nations, says the text. This is to be done by the ministry of angels. By them so all the elect be gathered, Mark xiii. 27: “ Then (hall he fend his argels, and Mall gather toge

ther his elect from the four winds." And they also shall gather the reprobate, Marth. xiii. 40, 41. Sp' fhall it be in the end of this

world,

« world, The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall

gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which « do iniquity.” From all corners of the world shall the inhabitants thereof be gathered into the place where he shall fet his throne for judgment

Sixthly, There shall be a separation made betwixt the righteous and the wicked; the fair company of the elect sheep being set on Christ's right hand, and the reprobate goats on his left. There is no neceflity to wait for this separation, till the trial be over; fince the parties do rise out of their graves, with plain outward marks of diftinction, as was cleared before. The separation seeins to be effected by that double gathering before mentioned; the one of the elect, Markxiii. 27. the other of them that do iniquity, Matth. xiii. 41. The elect, being caught up together in the clouds, meet the Lord in the air, (1 Thesi iv. 17.) and so are set on his right hand: and the reprobate left on the eartla (Matth. xxv. 43) upon the Judge's left hand Here is now a total separation of two parties, who were always opposite to each other, in their principles, aims, and muner of life; who, when together, were a burden the one to the other, under which the one groaned, and the other raged: but now they are freely parted, never to come together any inore. The iron and clay (allu de to Daniel ii. 41, 43.) which could never mix, are quite separated: the one being drawn up into the air, by the attractive virtue of th stone cut out of the mountain, namely, Jesus Christ: the other left upornits earth, to be trod under foot.

Now let us look to the right hand, and there we will see a glorious company of saints, shining as so many ítars in their orbs: and with a chearful countenance beholding hin, who litteth upon the throne. Here will be two wonderful lights, which the world used not to see. (1.) A great congregation of sui is, in which not so much as one hypocrite, There was a bloody Guin in Aduin's family, a cursed Ham in Noal's family, in the arķ; a treacherous Judus, in Christ's own family: but in that company thall be none but sealed ones, members of Chriit, having all one Father. And this is a fight reserved for that day. (2.) AIL the godly upon one fiie. Seldon or never do the saints on earth make such a harmony, but there are fome jarring strings among them. It is not to be expacted, that men who see bue in part, though they be all going to one city, will agree as to every ilep in the way: 10, we need not look for it in this state of imperfection. But at that day, Paul and Barnabas shall meet in peace and unity, though once the contention w.is folbarp between them, chat they departed afunder, the one from the other, Alts xv. 39. There ihall be no more divisions, no more sepaa rate standing, amongst those who belong to Christ. All the godly of the different parties shall then be upon one side; seeing, whatever were their differences in lesser things, while in the world, yet, even then, they met and concentred all in one Lord Jesus Christ, by a true and lively fush, and in the one way of koliness or practical godliness,

Ang

[ocr errors]

And the naughty hypocrites, of whatsoever party, shall be led forth with the workers of iniquity.

Look to the lift hand, and there you will see the cursed goats (all the wicked ones from Cain to the lait ungodly person, who shall be in the world) gathered together into one most miserable congregation. There are many

assemblies of the wicked now; then there fhall be but one. But all of thein shall be present there, brought together as one herd for the slaughter, bellowing and roaring, weeping and howling for the miseries come, and that are coming to them. (And remember thou shalt not be a mere spectator, to look at these two fo different companies; but must thyself take thy place in one of the two, and fhalt fhare with the company whatever hand it be upon.) These who now abhor no society fo much, as that of the saints, would then be glad to be allowed to get in among them, though it were but to ly among their feet. But then not one tare shall be found with the wheat; he will throughly purge his floor. Many of the right-hand men of this world, will be left-hand men in that day. Many, who must have the door and the right hand of these, who are better than they, (if the righteous be more excellent than his neighbour) fhall then be turned to the left hand, as moft despicable wretches. O how terrible will this Separation be to the ungodly! how dreadful will this gathering them together into one company be! what they will not believe, they will then see, namely, that but few are faved. They think it enough now, to be neighbour.like, and can securely follow the multitude: but the multitude on the left hand will yield them no comfort. How will it fting the ungodly Chriftian, to see himself set on the fame hand with Turks and Pagans! how will it gall men to find themselves standing, profane Proteftants with idolatrous Papifts ; praying people with their profane neighbours, who mocked at religious exercifes : formal professors, ftrangers to the new-birth and the power of godliness, with persecutors! now there are many opposite societies in the world, but then all the ungodly shall be in one fociety. And how dreadful will the faces of companions in sin be to one another there! what doleful fhrieks, when the whoremonger and his whore shall meet ; when the drunkards, who have had many a jovial day together, thal see one another in the face: when the husband and wife, the parents and children, the master and servants and neighbours, who have been snares and stumbling-blocks to one another, to the ruin of their own fouls, and these of their relatives, shall meet again in that miserable society! Then will there be curles instead of falutations ; and tearing of themselves, and raging against one another, instead of the wonted embraces.

Seventhly, The parties shall be tried. The trial cannot be difficult, in regard the Judge is omniscient, and nothing can be hid from him. But, that his righteous judgment may be made evident to all

, he will let the bidden things of darkness in clearest light at that trial, Cor iv. 5.

Men

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »