« ForrigeFortsett »
will surprise some at markets, buying and selling; others at table, eating and drinking, and making merry; others busy with their new plantings; some building new houses; nay some's wedding-day, will be their own and the worid's judgment-day. But the Judge cometh ! the market's 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. Though the tree be set in the earth, the gardner may not stay to cast the earth about it: The work-men throw away their tools, when the house is half-built, and the owner regards it no more : The bridegroom, bride, and guests, must leave the wedding-feast, and appear be: fore the tribunal ; for, “ Behold he cometh with clouds ! and every eye shall see him !” Rev. i. 7. He shall come most gloriously; for he will come in the glory of his Fa. ther, with the holy angels, Mark viii. 38. When he came in the flesh, to die for sinners, he laid aside the robes of his glory, and was despised and rejected of men; But when he coines again, to judge the world, such shall be his visible glory and majesty, that it shall cast an eternal veil 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 accompany this Judge! All the holy angels shall come with him for his honour and service. Then he, who was led to the cross with a band of soldiers, will be gloriously attended to the place of judgment, by (not a multitude of the heavenly host, but the whole host of angels: All his holy angels, says the text.
Thirdly, At the coming of the Judge, the summons is given to the parties, by the sound of the last trumpet; at
which the dead are raised, and these found alive changed ; • of which before, 1 Thes. iv, 16, 17. O loud trumpet !
that shall be heard at once, in all corners of the earth, and of the sea ! () wonderful voice, that will not only disturb those who sleep in the dust; but effectually awaken, rouze them out of their sleep, and raise them from death! Were trumpets sounding now,drumsbeating, furious soldiers cry: ing and killing men, women and children running and shrieking, the wounded groaning anddying; those who are in the graves, would bave no more disturbance than if the
world were in most profound peace. Yea, were stormy winds casting down the lofty oaks, the seas roaring and swallowing up the ships, the most 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 perfect repose, and sleep soundly in the dust, though their own dust should be thrown out of its place. But at: the sound of this trumpet, they shall all awake. The morning is come, they can sleep no longer ; the time of the dead, that they must be judged: They must get out of their graves, and appear before the Judge...
Fourthly, The Judge shall sit down on the tribunal : “ He shall sit on the throne of his glory.” Sometimes he stood before a tribunal on earth, and was condemned as a malefactor: then shall he sit on his own tribunal, and judge the world. Sometimes he hung upon a cross, covered with shame : then he shall sit on a throne of glory. What this throne shall be, whether a bright cloud, or what else, I shall not enquire : Our eyes will give an answer to that question at length. John saw a great white. throne, Rev. xx. 11. 6 His throne (says Daniel) was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire," ch. 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 seat on a dunga hill; and the sight 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 stateliness and glory, suited to the quality of him who shall sit on it. Never had a judge such a throne, and never had 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 sit upon it; a point in which we are not left to uncertain conjectures. The Judge, on the throne will be (1.) A visible Judge, visible to our bodily eyes, Rev. i. 7. Every cye shall see him. When God gave the law on mount Sinai,the people saw no similitude, only they heard a voice, but when he calls the world to an account, how they have observed his law; the man Christ being Judge, we shall see our Judge with oureyes, eitherto our eternal comfortør
. a fem
confusion;according to the entertainment wegive him now. That very body which was crucified without the gates of Jerusalem, betwixt two thieves, shall then be seen on the throne, shining in glory. We now see him symbolically in the sacramentof the supper; the saints see him by the eye of faith : then, all shall 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. Christ, 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 between the Father and the Son, for the redemption of sinners. And his divine glory will be a light, by which all men shall see clearly to read his commission for this great and honoura. ble employment. All power is given unto him, in heaven. and in earth, Matth. xxviii. 18. He hath the keys of hell and of death, Rey. i. 18. There can be no appeal from his tribunal : sentence once past there, must stand for ever; there is no reversing of it. All appeals are from an inferior court to a superior one; but when God gives sentence against a man, where can he find a higher court to bring bis process to? This judgment is the Mediator's judgment, and therefore the last judgment. If the Intercessor be against us, who can be for us? If Christ condemn us, who will absolve us? (3.) A Judge of infinite wisdom. His eyes will pierce into, and clearly discern the most intricato cases. His omniscience qualifies him for judging of the most retired thoughts, as well as of words and works. The most subtle sinner shall not be able to outwit him, nor by any artful management to palliate the crime. He is the searcher of hearts, to whom nothing can be hid or perplexed, but all things are naked and open unto his eyes, Heb. iv. 13. (4.) A most just Judge: a Judge of perfect integrity. He is the righteous Judge, 2 Tim. iy. 8. And his throne a great white throne, Rev.xx. 11. From whence Do judgment shall proceed, but what is most pure and spotless. The Thebans painted justice blind, and without hands : for judges ought not to respect persons, nor take bribes. The Areopagites judged in the dark, that they might not regard who spoke, but what was spoken. With the Judge on this throne, there will be no respect of pera sons; he will neither regard the persons of the rich, no!
of the poor, but just judgment shall go forth in every one's
Fifthly, The parties shall compear. These are men and devils. Although these last, the fallen angels, were, from the first moment of their sinning, subjected to the wrath of God, and were cast down to hell ; and wheresoever 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 solemnly and publicly judged, I Cor. vi. 3. “ Know ye not, that we shall judge angels ?” At that day they shall answer for their trade of sinning, and tempting to sin, which they have been carrying on from the beginning. Then many a hellish brat, which Satan has laid down at the saint's door, but not adopted by them, shall be laid at the door of the true father of them, that is, the devil. And he shall receive the due reward of all the dishonour he has done to God, and all the mischief he has done to men. Those wicked spirits, now in chains (though not in such straight custody, but that they go about like roaring lions, seeking whom they may devour) shall then receive their final sentence, and be shut up in their den, namely, in the prison of hell; where they shall be held in extreme and unspeakable torment through all eternity, Rev. xx. 10. “ And the devil that deceived thein, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are ; and shall be tormented day and night, for ever and ever.” In the prospect of which, the devils said to Christ, “ Art thou come hither 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 must compear befor this tribunal: All, of each sex, and of every age, quality and condition ; the great and small, noble and ignoble ; mone are excepted. Adam and Evey with all their sons
and daughters; every one who has had, or, to the end of the world, shall have, a living soul 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 him who is armed with almighty power. “We must all stand before the judgment seat 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 shall the elect be gathered, Mark xül. 27. « Then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds.” And they also shall gather the reprobate, Matth. xiii. 40, 41. “ So shall it be in the end of this 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 unto the place, where he shall set 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 necessity to wait for this separation, till the trial be over; since the parties do rise out of their graves, with plain outward marks of distinction, as was cleared before. The separation seems to be effected by that double gathering before mentioned; the one of the elect, Mark xiii. 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 Thess. iv. 17.) and so are set on his right hand ; and the reprobate left on the earth (Matth. xxv. 40.) upon the Judge's left hand. Here is now a total separation of two parties, who were always opposite to each other, in their princi. ples, aims, and manner 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 more. The iron and clay (alluded to Dan. ü. 41, 43.) which could never mix, are quite separated ; the one being drawn up into the air, by the attractive virtue of the stone cut out of the moun.