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"Therefore judge nothing before the time, until "the Lord come, who both will bring to light the "hidden things of darkness, and will make mani"fest the counsels of the hearts, and then shall every man have praise of God." Let us
I. Meditate on the coming of the Lord, and the solemnities of that awful event.
II. Consider the discoveries which will then be made,
III. Advert to the consequences of those discoveries.
I. Let us contemplate the coming of the Lord, and the solemnities of that awful event.
The sacred scriptures continually lead our thoughts to this great crisis, when the important and eternal interests of the whole human species will be finally determined. The servants of God from the beginning of the world looked forward to it: even "Enoch the seventh from Adam pro"phesied of these things; saying, Behold the "Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to
execute judgment upon all, and to convince all "that are ungodly among them, of all their un"godly deeds, which they have committed, and of "all the hard speeches which ungodly sinners have
spoken against him." That profession, which Job ardently wished might be "
graven with an 66 iron pen and lead in the rock for ever," seems to have had as much respect to the second coming of the Lord, as to his first appearance in our nature; "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he "shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and "though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God; whom I shall "see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and "not another; though my reins be consumed "within me."
In the fiftieth psalm, which is a most poetical as well as a prophetical description of a future judgment: we have this sublime language, "Our God “shall come and shall not keep silence, a fire shall "devour before him, and it shall be very tempestu"ous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth that he may judge his people,—And the heavens shall declare "his righteousness, for God is Judge himself. "Selah. The words of Solomon shall close these "citations from the old Testament. "Rejoice, "O young man in thy youth, and let thy heart "cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the way of thine heart, and in the sight of thine
eyes: but know thou, that for all these things "God will call thee into judgment."-" For God "shall bring every work into judgment, with
1 Jude xiv, 1. 2 Job xix, 23, 27. S Psalm 1. 3-6.
every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether "it be evil.1"
In the new Testament the same subject continually demands our attention. Christians are said "" to wait for the Lord from heaven, even Jesus "who delivered us from the wrath to come," to "look for the glorious appearing of the great God "and our Saviour Jesus Christ," and "to love "his appearing." Thus the language of the old Testament relative to the coming of JEHOVAH, and our preparing to meet God, who is Judge himself, is applied to Christ by his apostles, without the least hesitation. And with a conscious dignity, he spake of himself, in his lowest abasement, as the Judge of the world, and the arbiter of men's eternal state, "When the Son of man "shall come in his glory, and all his holy angels "with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of "his glory, and before him shall be gathered all "nations.*"
The coming of the Lord signifies therefore, the appearance of Christ in human nature to judge the world; when he shall exercise omnipotence, omniscience, and every divine perfection; and so come in his own glory" as Mediator, "and in "the glory of the Father," as sovereign Lord of all.
This revelation of Jesus Christ will be visible
to the whole world.
"This same Jesus, which is
Eccles. xi. 9. xii. 14.
Matt. xxv. 31, 32.
"taken up from you into heaven, shall so come "in like manner, as ye have seen him go into "heaven." "Behold, he cometh with clouds, "and every eye shall see him, and they that have pierced him; and all kindreds of the earth shall "wail because of him: even so, Amen." The man Jesus, in his glorified body, even that body which was crowned with thorns, scourged, spitted on, and nailed to the cross, will then be made visible to all men, to those who thus abused him, and to such as have in every age consented to this deed, by despising him and his salvation. He will be seen by all "who have crucified him," as it were, again and again; as well as by them, for whom he once suffered, the just for the unjust, "to bring them unto God."
But how immensely will his appearance, as Judge of the world, differ from that of the man of sorrows! The mount of transfiguration, when "his "countenance shone as the sun, and his raiment "was like lightning;" yea, the vision of his glory, which caused his beloved disciple, who had once reclined on his bosom, in the familiarity of endeared friendship, to "fall down at his feet as dead;" can give us but a faint idea of that divine light and majesty, with which he will be arrayed, when he shall ascend his awful tribunal. "He shall "then be revealed from heaven with his mighty
'Acts, i. 11. Rev. i. 7.
"angels:" the angels of his power and authority; the ministers of his vengeance and his love." At "the end of the world, the Son of man shall send "forth his angels; and they shall gather out of "his kingdom all things that offend, and them "that do iniquity; and shall cast them into a "furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." "They shall see the Son of "man coming in the clouds of heaven with power "and great glory; and he shall send his angels,"and they shall gather together his elect.""— Hence it is evident that all the angels are the creatures and servants, as well as the worshippers, of the incarnate Son of God.
His coming will be announced by a summons, august and tremendous beyond description; and immediately followed by the resurrection of the dead. "The Lord himself shall descend from "heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God: and the dead in "Christ shall rise first." "Behold I shew you a
mystery! We shall not all sleep, but we shall "all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling "of an eye, at the last trump. For the trumpet "shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incor"ruptible, and we shall be changed." "The "hour cometh, when all that are in the graves "shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they
I Matt. xiii, 41-43. xxiv. 30, 31,