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the cross, wagging their heads, will stand, with trem. bling knees, before his throne. "For every eye shall see him, and they also that pierced him, and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.” Rev. 1:7.
INFERENCE 1. Is Jesus Christ ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead ? Great then is the security of believers that they shall not be condemned in that day. Who shall condemn, when Christ is Judge ? If believers are condemned in judgment, Christ must give sentence against them; yea, and they must condemn themselves too. I say, Christ must give sentence, for that is the proper and peculiar office of Christ. And certainly no sentence of condemnation shall in that day be given by Christ against them. He died to save them, and he will never cross and overthrow the designs and ends of his own death. Nay, they have been cleared and absolved already. And being once absolved by Divine sentence, they can never be condemned afterward ; for one Divine sentence cannot oppose another. He justified them here in this world by faith; and declared in his word, which shall then be the rule of judgment, Rom. 2:16, that "there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ.” Rom. 8:1. And surely he will not retract his own word, and give a sentence contrary to his own statute-book, out of which he hath told us that they shall be judged.
Moreover, all, except those who then survive on the earth, will have passed their particular judgment long before that day; and being therein acquitted by God the Judge of all, justified, and admitted into heaven, Christ cannot now condemn them with the world.
Nay, he that judgeth them, is their Head, Husband, Friend, and Brother; who loved them, and gave himself for them. Oh then, with what confidence may they go, even unto his throne! and say, with Job, Though he try us as fire, we shall come forth as gold: we know that
we shall be justified. And more than this, they them. selves shall be the assessors with Christ in that day. No, it is not the business of that day to condemn them; but to absolve and pronounce them pardoned and justified in that "time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord;” Acts, 3: 19; a "time of refreshing” indeed to his people. You that now believe, shall not come into condemnation. John, 5 : 24. You that now judge yourselves, shall not be condemned with the world. 1 Cor. 11:31, 32.
2. If Christ be ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead, how miserable will Christless souls be at that day! They that are Christless now, will be speechless, helpless, and hopeless then. How will their hands hang down, and their knees smite together!" Oh what pale faces, quivering lips, fainting hearts, and biting consciences will be among them in that day! Oh dreadful day! Oh astonishing sight! to see the world in a dreadful conflagration, the elements melting, the stars falling, the earth trembling, the judgment set, the prisoners brought forth! Oh who shall endure this day, but those that by union with Christ are secured against its danger and dread!
Let me demand of poor Christless souls, whom this day is likely to take unawares, do you think it possible to avoid appearing, when terrible citation is given by the trump of God? Alas, how can you imagine it ? is not the same power that revived your dust, able to bring you before his bar ? There is a necessity that you must come forth, " We must all appear.” 2 Cor. 5:10. It is not in the sinner's choice to obey the summons or not.
And if you must appear, are there no accusers, nor witnesses, that will appear against you, and confront you in the court ? What think you, was Satan so often a tempter to you here, and will he not be an accuser there? Yes, nothing more sure; for that was the main design of all his temptations. What think you of your own conscience? is it not privy to your secret wickedness? does it not now sometimes whisper in your ear what you do not like to hear ? If it whisper now, it will thunder then. Rom. 2:15, 16. Will not the Spirit accuse you, for resisting his motions and stifling thousands of his convictions? Will not your companions in sin accuse you, who drew or were drawn by you to sin ? Will not your spiritual teachers be your accusers ? How many times have you made them complain, Lord, they are iron and brass, they have made their faces harder than a rock; they refuse to return! Will not your very relations be your accusers, to whom you have failed in all your relative duties? Yea, and every one whom you have tempted to sin, abused, defrauded, overreached : all these will be your accusers.
Then, being accused before Jesus Christ, what will you plead? will you confess, or will you deny the charge ? If you confess, what need more ? "Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee,” saith Christ. Luke, 19:22. If you deny, and plead not guilty, thy Judge is the Searcher of hearts, and knoweth all things; so that it will not at all help thee to make a lie thy last refuge. This will add to the guilt, but not cover it.
If no defence or plea be left thee, then what canst thou imagine should retard the sentence? Why should not Christ go on to that dreadful work? "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right ?" Gen. 18:25. Shall he not render to every man according to his deeds ? 2 Cor. 5 : 10. Yes, no question but he will proceed to that sentence, how terrible soever it be to you to think of it now, or hear it then.
If sentence be once given by Christ against thy soul, what canst thou imagine will hinder the execution ?,Will he alter the thing that is gone out of his mouth ? Ps. 89 : 34. Dost thou hope he is more merciful and pitiful
than this? Thou mistakest, if thou expect mercy in any other way than that in which he has revealed it. Thousands and ten thousands will rejoice in, and magnify his mercy then ; but they are such as obeyed his call, repented, believed, and obtained union with his person here. To unbelievers, it is against the settled law of Christ and the constitution of the Gospel to show mercy. But it may be, you think your tears, your cries, your pleadings with him may move him. These, indeed, might have availed in time, but they come out of season now. Alas! too late. What the success of such pleas and cries will be, he has told you in two passages of Scripture : Job, 27:8, 9, " What is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul ? Will God hear his cry when trouble cometh upon him ?" Matt. 7: 22, 23, "Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name have done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” And must it come to this dismal issue with you indeed ? God forbid it should. Oh then,
3. If Christ be appointed the Judge of all, how are all concerned to secure their interest in him, and therein an eternity of happiness to their own souls, by a living faith in his all-cleansing blood. Of all the business that men have in this world, there is none so solemn, so necessary, and important as this. O, this is a work, the very thought of the consequences of which might drink up your spirits.
Summon, then, thy powers of reflection and consideration; go alone, reader, and, forgetting all other things, ponder with thyself this thine own deep, dear, eternal
Examine the state of thy own soul. Look into the Scriptures, then into thine own heart, and then
to heaven, saying, Lord, let me not be deceived in so great a concern as this. Oh let not the trifles of time drive the impressions of death, judgment, and eternity from thy heart. Oh that that solemn word eternity might be night and day with thee; that the awe of it may be still upon thy spirit. A lady having spent the whole afternoon and a great part of the evening at cards, in mirth and jollity, came home late at night, and finding her waiting-maid reading, she looked over her shoulder upon the book, and said, poor melancholy soul, why dost thou sit here poring so long upon thy book? That night she could not sleep, but lay sighing and weeping: her servant asked her once and again what ailed her; at last she burst into tears, and said, Oh! it was one word that I cast my eye upon in thy book, that troubles me; there I saw that word ETERNITY. How happy were I if I were prepared for eternity! Sure it concerns us, seeing we look for such things, to be diligent that we may be found of him in peace. Oh let not that day come by surprise upon you. Remember, that as death leaves, so judgment
will find you.
4. Is Jesus Christ appointed Judge of quick and dead? Then look to it, all you that hope to be found of him in peace, that you avoid sin, and daily practise those duties to which the consideration of that day powerfully persuades you. Do you indeed expect such a day? Oh then
See that you be meek and patient under all injuries and abuses for Christ's sake. Avenge not yourselves, but leare it to the Lord, who will do it. Do not anticipate the work of God. "Be patient, my brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.” James, 5:7, 8. Be communicative, public-hearted christians, studying and devising liberal things for Christ's distressed members; and you shall have both an honorable remembrance of it, and a full reward of it in that day. Matt. 25 : 34–36. Be watchful and sober, keep the golden bridle of modera