Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

the privilege of all those, who having first confecrated their fouls and bodies to the Lord by faith, do glorify him with their bodies, as well as their fouls; living and acting to him, and for him, yea, and fuffering for him too, when he calls them to it.

Η E A D

IV.

1

The General JUDGMENT.

1

MATTH. XXV. 31, 32, 33, 34, 41, 46. When the Son of Man shall come in his Glory, and all

the holy Angels with him, then all he fit upon the

Throne of his Glory : And before him shall be gathered all Nations, and he shall Jeparate them one from another, as a Shepherd divideth

his Sheep from the Goats : And he shall set the Sheep on his right Hand, but the

Geats on the left.
Then shall the King Say unto them on his 'right Hand,
Gume ye ble sled, &c.

Unto them on the left Hand, Depart from me ye
cursed, &c.
And these Mall go away into everlasting punishment: but

the Righteous into Life eternal.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

THE

HE dead being raised, and these found alive at the coming of

the Judge, changed, follows the General Judgment, plainly and awfully described in this portion of Scripture ; in which we shall take notice of the following particulars.. (1.) The coming of the Judge, When the Son of man shall come in his glory, &c. The Judge is Jesus Christ, the Son of man; the fame, by whose almighty power, as he is God, the dead will be raised. He is also called the King, ver. 34. The judging of the world being an act of the Royal Mediator's kingly office. He will come in glory; glorious in his own Person, and having a glorious retinue, even all the holy angels with him, to minister unto him at this great folemnity. (2.) The Judge's mounting the tribunal. He is a king, and therefore it is a throne,

a glorious throne, shall fit spon the throne of his glory, ver. 31. (3.). The compearance of the parties. These are all nations; all and every one, small and great, of whatsoever nation, who ever were, are, or shall be on the face of the earth; all shall be gathered before him; listed before his tribunal. (4.) The forting of them: He shall separate the elect Sheep, and, reprobate goats, letting each party by themselves as a Shepherd who feeds his sheep and goats together all the day, separates them at night, ver. 32. The godly he will set on his right hand, as the most honourable place; the wicked on the left, ver 33. Yet so as they shall be both before him, ver. 32. It seems to be an allusion to a custom in the Jewish courts, in which, one fat at the right hand of the Judge, who wrote the sentence of absolution; another at their left, who wrote the sentence of condemnation. (5) The sentencing of the parties, and that according to their works; the righteous being absolved, and the wicked condemned, ver 34, 41. Laftly, The execution of both sentences, in the driving away of the wicked into hell, and carrying the godly to heaven, ver. 49.

DOCTRINE. There fhall be a general Judgment. This doctrine I Mall, (1.) confirm, (2.) explain : and (3.) apply.

1. For confirmation of this great truth, that there shall be a general judgment.

First, It is evident from plain Scripture-testimonies. The world has, in all ages been told of it. Enoch, before the flood, taught it in his prophecy, related Judé, ver. 14, 15. “ Behold the Lord cometh do with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all,” &c. Daniel describes it, chap. vii. 9, 10. “ I beheld till the thrones were < cast down, and the Ancient of days did fit, whose garments was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool: his chrone

was like the fiery flaine, and his 'wheels as burning fire. A fiery « stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands .stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were “ opened.” The Apostle is very express, Acts xvii. 31. “ He hath

appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteoufness, by that Man whom he hath ordained.” See Matth xvi. 27. 2 Cor. v. 10. 2 Thess. i.7, 8, 9, 10. Rev. xx. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. God has not only said it, but he has sworn it, Rom. xiv. 10, 11. “ We must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ : For it is " written, As I live, faith the Lord, every- knee ihall bow to me, “ and every tongue shall confess to God.” So that the truth of God is molt folemnly plighted for it.

Secondly, The rectoral justice and goodness of God, the sovereign Ruler of the world, do necessarily require it, inasmuch as they require its being well with the righteous, and ill with the wicked. Howbeit, we often now see wickedness exalted, while truth and righteousness fall in the streets; piety oppressed, while profanity and irreligion do triumph.. This is so very ordinary, that every one, who fincerely

em

embraceth the way of holiness, must, and doth lay his account with the loss of all he has, which the world can take away from him. Luke xiv. 26. “ If any man come' to me, and hate pot his father 'and “ mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and filters, yea, and 6 his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” But it is consistent with the justice and goodness of God, that the affairs of men should always cuntinue in this stare, which they appear in, from one génera. tion to another; but that every man be rewarded according to his works: and lince that is not done in this life, there must be a judg. ment to come : “ Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recom-. pence tribulation to them that trouble you: and to you

who

are « troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus fhall be revealed from “ heaven,” 2 Theff. 1. 6,7. There will be a day, in which the tables, will be turned; and the wicked shall be called to an account for all their sins, and suffer the due punishment of them; and the pious shall be the prosperous ; for, as the Apostle argues for the happy resurrection of the saints, “ If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of “ all men most miferable," 1 Cor xv. 19. It is true, God sometimes punisheth the wicked, in this life; that men may know," he is a God 36 that judgeth in the earth:” but yet much wickedness remains unpunished, and undiscovered ; to be a pledge of the judgment to come. If none of the wicked were punished here, they would conclude that God had utterly forsaken the earth; if all of them were punished in this life, men would be apt to think, there is no after-reckoning. Therefore, in the wisdom of God, fome are punished now, and fome not. · Sometimes the Lord smites finners, in the very act of sin; to 1, few unto the world, that he is witness to all their wickedness, and will call him to an account for it. Sometimes he delays long, ere he ftrike; that he may discover to the world, that he forgets not men's ill deeds, though he does not presently punish them. Besides all this, the fins of many do out-live them; and the impure fountain, by them opened, runs long after they are dead and gone. As in the case of Jeroboam the first king of the ten tribes; whole sin did run on all along unto the end of that unhappy kingdom, 2 Kings xvii. 22. “ The « children of Israel walked in all the lines of Jeroboam, which he did; " they departed not from them: Ver. 23. Until the Lord removed • Ifrael out of his fight.”

Thirdly, The resurrection of Christ is a certain proof, that, there shall be a day of judgment. This argument Paul useth, to convince the Atheniens : says he, “ He hath given assurance to all men, in " that he hath railed him from the dead," Acts xvii. 31. The Judge is already named, his patent written and sealed, yea, and read before all men, in his rising again from the dead. Hereby God hath given asurance of it. (or offered faith, Marg.). He hath, by railing Christ from the dead, exhibited his credentials as Judge of the world. When, in the days of his

humiliation, he was fifted before a tribunal, arraigned, accused and condemned of men; he plainly told them of this judgment,

and

!

and that he himself would be the Judge, Matth xxi. 64.“ Hereafter “ Thall ye see the Son of man sitting

on the right hand of power and “ coming in the clouds of heaven." And now that he was raised from the dead, tho' condemned as a blasphemer on this very head ; is it not an undeniable proof, from heaven, of the truth of what he allerted? Moreover, this was one of the great ends of Christ's death and resurrection : “ For to tiris end Chriít both died and rose, and" revived, that he might be the Lord (i. e. The Lord Judge, as is "evident from the context) both of the dead and of the living," Rom. xiv. 9.

Lastly, Every man bears about with him a witness to this within his own breast, Rom. ii. 15.“ Which thew the work of the law « written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and “ their thqughts the mean while 'accusing, or else excusing one (6 another." There is a tribunal erected within every man, where conscience is acculer, witness, and judge, binding over the finner to the judgment of God. This fills the most profligate wretches with horror, and inwardly stings them, upon the commission of some atroci. ous crime ; in effect summoning them to answer for it, before the the Judge of the quick and dead. And this it doth, even when the crime is secret, and hid from the eyes of the world. It reacherh those whom the laws of men cannot reach, because of their power or craft. When men have fled from the judgment of their fellow-creatures; yet, go where they will, conscience, as the supreme Jadge's officer, still keeps hold of them, reserving them in its chains to the judgment of the great day. Andi whether they escape punishment from men, or fall by the hand of public justice, when they perceive death's approach, they hear from within, of this after reckoning; being conItrained to hearken thereto, in these'the most serious minutes of their life.' If there be fome, in whom nothing of this doth appear, we have no more ground thence to conclude againit it, than we have io conclude, that becanse some men do not groart, therefore they have no pain ; or that dying is a mere jeit, because there have been, who have seemed to make little elfe of it. A good face may be put upon an ill conscience: and the more hopeless men's case is, they reckon it the more their interest to make no reflections on their state and case, But every one, who will consult himself seriously, thall find in himself the witness to the judgment to come. Even the heathens wanted not a notion of it, though mixed with filions of their own. Hence, though some of the Athenians, when they heard of the resurrection of the-dead, '

mockud, Acts xvii. 32. yet there is no account of their n.ocking, when they heard of the general judgineni, ver, 31.

II. For expl.cation, the following particulars may ferre to give Come view of the nature and transactions of that great day,

First, God shall judge the world by Jeius Chrif. He will judge the world in righteoufiefs, by that Man whom he hath ordained, Acts xvii. 31. The Prilnik ielis us, that God is judge bim:felf, Pf.l. 1.6.

The

The holy blessed Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is Judge, - in respect of judicial act ority, dominion, and power: but the Son

incarnare is ihe Judgé, in respect of difpenfatil'n, and special exer. cise of that power. The judgment thall be exercised or performed by him, as the Royal Mediator; for he has a delegated power of judgment from the Father, as his fervant, his King, whom he hath set upon his holy kill of Zion, (Pfal. ii. 6.) and to whom he hath comwitled all judgment, John v. 22. This is a part of the Mediator's exaltation, given hini, il consequence of his voluntary humiliat on, Philip. ii. 8, 9, 10. He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even ihe death of the cross. Wberefire God haib also highly exalted him, and given him a name, which is above every nare, fi.e.) power and authority over all, to wit) That at (or in) the nome of Jefus (not, the name of Jesus; that is not the name above every name, being ces mon to others, as to Julius, Col. iv. 1 1. and Fabua, Heb iv. 8) Every knee shall bow. The which is explained by the Apoftle ninself, offtanding before the judgment-seat of Christ, Rom. xiv.10.41. So he who was judged and condemned of men, thall be the Judge of mea and angels.

Secondly, Jesus Christ the Judge, descending from heaven into the air, (1 Tbeff. iv. 16, 17 ) mall come in the clouds of heavert, with power and great glory, Matth. xxiv. 30. This his coming will be a mighty surprize to the world, which will be found in deep security : foolish virgins Reeping, and the wise flumbering. There will then be much luxury and debauchery in the world, little fobriety and watchfulness; a great throng of business, but a great scarcity of faith and holiness. “As it was in the days of Noah, so also shall it

be in days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they “ márried wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that 5. Ncah entered into the arki and the food came and destroyed 16 them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot: they did

eat, they drank, they bought, they fold, they planted, they " builded.--Even thus shall it be in the day, when the Son of man

is revealed,” Luke xvii.26, 27, 28, 30. The coming of the Judge will surprise lome at markets, buying and selling; others at table, eating and drinking, and making merry: others busy with their new plantings; fome building pen houses; nay,some's wedding-day will be their own, and the world's judgment-day. But the Judge comeih! the markets are marred; the buyer throws away what he has bought; the seller casts down his money, they are raised from the table, and their mirth is extinguished in a moment; tho' the tree be set in the earth, the gardner may not stay to cast the earth about it; the workmen throw away their rools, when the house is half built, and the ownler regards it no more; the bridegroom, bride, and guests must leave the wedding-feast, and appear before the tribunal: for, Behold be cometh with clouds, and every eye Siall See hin, Rev. i. 7. He shall come most gloriouly: for he will come

li

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »