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with work by their own hearts every day, sometimes to prevent sin, and sometimes to lament it; and always to watch and fear, to mortify and kill it. Sin will not long suffer you to be quiet. Rom. 7: 21-23. And if a bad
heart will not break your rest here, then
Satan will do it. He will find you work enough with his temptations and suggestions, and except you can sleep quietly in his arms as the wicked do, there is no rest to be expected. "Your adversary the devil goeth about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour; whom resist." 1 Pet. 5: 8.
Nor will wicked men suffer you to be quiet on this side heaven. The very name by which they are alluded to in Scripture speaks their turbulent disposition. "My soul (saith the holy man) is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows." Psalm 57:4. Well, then, seek to enter into your rest, as Christ did into his, having "finished the work" which was given him to do.
CHRIST'S ADVENT TO JUDGMENT.
"And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead." Acts, 10:42.
Christ, enthroned in the highest glory in heaven, is there to abide for the effectual and successful government both of the world and of the church, until all given him by the Father before the world was, and purchased by the blood of the cross, be gathered in; and then
cometh the judgment of the great day, which will perfectly separate the precious from the vile; put the redeemed in full possession of the purchase of his blood in heaven; and then shall he "deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father, that God may be all in all.”
This last act of Christ, his judging the world, is a special part of the exaltation and honor bestowed upon him, "because he is the Son of man." John, 5:27. In that day shall his glory, as King and supreme Lord, shine forth as the sun in its strength. Oh what an honor will it be to the man Christ Jesus, who stood arraigned and condemned at Pilate's bar, to sit upon the great white throne, surrounded with thousands and ten thousands of angels; men and devils waiting upon him to receive the final sentence from his mouth! In this will the glory of Christ's sovereignty and power be illustriously displayed before angels and men. And this is that great truth which he commanded to be preached and testified to the people, namely, that it is "he which is ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead."
Judgment is the prerogative of the whole undivided Trinity; but, in its visible management and execution, it is assigned to Christ.
The persons to be judged are the quick and dead: all that at his coming shall be living, or shall ever have lived all that ever sprang from Adam; and all the apostate spirits that fell from heaven and are reserved in chains to the judgment of this great day, with all the actions, both secret and open, that ever they did. 2 Cor. 5: 10; Rom. 2: 16.
The Fountain of this delegated authority is God the Father; for he hath ordained Christ to be the Judge. He is "ordained," as the Son of man, to this honorable office and work. The word denotes a firm establishment of Christ in that office by his Father. He is now, by right of redemption, Lord and King. He enacts laws
for government, then he comes to judge of men's obedience and disobedience to his laws. Hence,
Our Lord Jesus Christ is ordained by God the Father to be the Judge of quick and dead.
This truth stands upon the firm basis of Scripture authority. You have it from his own hand, "The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son." John, 5:22. And so the apostle, "He hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath or dained." Acts, 17:31. And again, "In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ." Rom. 2:16. We will here show the certainty of a judg ment to come; the quality and nature of it; and that his being appointed Judge of the world is a special part of Christ's exaltation.
I. The certainty of a judgment. This is a truth of firmer establishment than heaven and earth. It is no devised fable, no cunning artifice to keep the world in awe; but a thing as confessedly true as it is awfully solemn. For,
1. As the Scriptures just cited (with 2 Cor. 5: 10; Eccles. 12:14; Matt. 12: 36; and many other passages) plainly reveal it; so the justice and righteousness of God require it should be so. For the Judge of all the earth will do right. Gen. 18:25. Justice requires that a difference be made between the righteous and the wicked: "Say ye to the righteous, It shall be well with him; wo to the wicked, it shall be ill with him." Isa. 3:10, 11. But no such distinction is generally and fully made in this world. Yea, often the wicked prosper, and the righteous perish: "There is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness." Eccles. 7: 15. Here the "wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than himself." Hab. 1:13; as the fishes of
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 expected."
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 acts 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 universally? 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