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the sea, where the great and strong swallow up the small and weak. And even in courts of judicature, where the innocent might expect relief, they often meet with the worst oppression. How fairly and justly therefore doth the wise man infer a judgment to come from this consideration : "I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there. I said in my heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked : for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work," Eccles. 3:16, 17; which denotes that the judgment to come is often the only relief and support with which the innocent may quiet and comfort themselves. "Ye have condemned and killed the just ; and he doth not resist you. Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.” James, 5 : 6,7. It is confessed that sometimes God vindicates his providence against the atheism of the world, by particular strokes upon the wicked; but this is rare. And as one of the fathers well observes, " if no sin were punished here, no providence would be believed ; again, if every sin were openly punished here, no judgment hereafter could be ex. pected.”
2. Besides, man is a reasonable being, and every reasonable being is an accountable being. He is a subject capable of moral government. His actions have a relation to law. He is swayed by rewards and punishments. He açts by counsel, and therefore must expect to give an account of his actions. So then every one of us shall give an account of himself to God.” Rom. 14 : 12. All the gifts of body, mind, estate, time, &c. are so many talents committed and intrusted to us by God; every one has at least one talent; and a time to render an account for all will come. Matt. 25: 14, 15. We are stewards, and stewards must give an account, in order to which there must be a day of judgment,
3. Our own conscience gives clear evidence of this truth. Lo, it is engraven legibly upon every man's own breast. Every one hath a tribunal in his own conscience, which both accuses and excuses for good and evil, and which it could never do, did it not forebode a future judgment. In this court, records are now kept of all we do, even of our most secret actions and thoughts. But if no judgment, what need of records ? Nor let any imagine that this may be but the fruit of education; that having heard such things, we are groundlessly alarmed. For if so, how comes it to obtain so universal. ly? Who could be the author of such a common deception? But let us consider,
II. What manner of judgment this will be.
1. It will be a great and awful day. It is called the "judgment of the great day.” Jude, 6.
The manner of Christ's coming will be awfully solemn, "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air." 1 Thess. 4: 16, 17. Christ shall come forth out of heaven, with the shouts of angels, above all which shall the voice of the archangel be distinctly heard. And after this, the trump of God shall sound. The dead being raised, shall be gathered before the great throne on which Christ shall sit in his glory; and there by the angels they shall be divided exactly to the right and left hand of Christ. Here will be the greatest assembly that ever met; where Adam may see his numerous offspring, even as the sand upon the sea-shore, which no man can number. And never was such a perfect division made. There were apparent separations of the righteous and the wicked in this world, but no other separation was like this. The saints shall meet the Lord in the air ; the
Judge shall sit upon the throne, with all the saints round about him; the wicked remaining below upon the earth, to receive their final doom.
These preparatives will make it awful; and much more will the work itself, on which Christ now comes, be awful. It is "to judge the secrets of men,” Rom. 2: 16; to sever the tares from the wheat; to present every man in his real character; and according as he shall be found on that trial, to sentence him to his everlasting and immutable state. O what a solemn thing is this!
And no less will the execution of the sentence make it a great and solemn day. The heart of man cannot conceive what impressions the voice of Christ, from the throne, will make, both upon believers and unbelievers.
Imagine Christ upon his glorious throne, surrounded with myriads and legions of angels, his royal guard; a poor unbeliever trembling at the bar; an exact scrutiny made into his heart and life; the dreadful sentence given ; and then a cry, while he is delivered over to the executioners of eternal vengeance, never, never to see a glimpse of hope or mercy more.
Imagine Christ, like the general of an army, mention. ing with honor, at the head of all the hosts of heaven and carth, the services that the saints have done for him in this world; then justifying them by open proclamation; and then their mounting with him to the third heavens, and entering the gates of the city of God, in the noble train of saints and angels, to be for ever with the Lord. Oh what a great day must this be!
2. As it will be an awful and solemn judgment, so it will be most exact and critical. The name of the Judge is, the " Searcher of hearts." His eyes as a flame of fire, pierce to the dividing of the heart and reins. It is said, Matt. 12:36, that men shall then give an account of "every idle word that they shall speak." It is a day that will perfectly discriminate the character of every
man. No hypocrite can escape. Justice will hold the balances in an even hand. 3. It will be a universal judgment,
We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ.” 2 Cor. 5: 10.
Every one of us shall give an account of himself to God.” Rom. 14:12. Both those that were under the law, and those that, having not the law, were a law unto themselves.” Rom. 2:14. 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, and he that stooped for age; the rich and poor; the father and the child; the master and servant; the believer and the unbeliever, must appear in that day. "I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened.” Rev. 20: 12.
4. It will be a convicting judgment. All things will be so clearly presented, that the sentence of Christ, both on saints and sinners, shall be applauded. "Righteous art thou, O Lord, because thou hast judged thus." 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.
5. It will be a supreme and final judgment, from which lies no appeal. It is the sentence of the highest and only Lord.
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 imperial. Christ is the only Potentate, 1 Tim. 6:5; the sentence once passed, its execution is infallible. So you find it in the judicial process given us, Matt. 25; when 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.
III. God, in ordaining Christ to be the Judge, has highly exalted him. Here his royal dignity will be illustrated; now he will appear in his glory.
1. In executing judgment Christ will be glorified in his kingly office, as fully as he has been in his other offices. We find but some few glimpses of his kingly office breaking forth in this world : as, his riding with hosannas into Jerusalem, his driving the buyers and sellers out of the temple, and his title upon the cross : all these were but faint beams: now that office will shine in its glory, as the sun in the midst of the heavens. For what were the ho. sannas of little children, in the streets of Jerusalem, to the shouts and acclamations of thousands of angels, and ten thousands of saints ? What was his driving the profane out of the temple, to his turning the wicked into hell, and sending his angels to gather out of his kingdom every thing that offendeth? What was a title written by his judge, and fixed on the ignominious tree, to the name that shall now be seen on his vesture, and on his thigh, King of kings, and Lord of lords ?”
2. This will be a display of his glory in the highest, before the whole world. For there will be present at once, and together, all the inhabitants of heaven, and earth, and hell: angels must be there to attend and minister ; those glittering courtiers of heaven must attend his person: men and devils must be there to be judged: and before this great assembly will Christ appear in royal majesty. He will "reign before his ancients gloriously.” Isa. 24 : 23. He will then " come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe.” 2 Thess. 1: 10.
3. This will roll away for ever the reproach of his death : for Pilate and the high priest that judged him shall now stand quivering at his bar; with Herod that set him at nought, and the soldiers and officers that traduced and abused him : there they that reviled him on