Puslapio vaizdai
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tates and nobles, the great and mighty ones of the earth, shall be thrust down, screeching and howling and struggling, but all in vain, down, down to the lowest bell. Now, O Christian ! is God unjust, because he suffers the wicked to flourish, and the godly to be afflicted, in this world? Beware how thou judgest God, till God hath judged men: and then thou shalt see, that all his dispensations, though now they seem very unequal, are yet tempered with most exact justice and equity.

This is the First General, which I propounded to be enquired into: the Certainty of the Future Judgment, demonstrated both from Scripture and Reason.

II. The JUDGE, before whom we must all appear, and by whom the sentence of life or death 'eternal must be pronounced upon all, is the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Scripture assigns the giving of judgment upon all, chiefly unto Him: not so, as 'to exclude God the Father, or God the Holy Ghost: for it is a known rule, That whatsoever action God doth without himself, is common to all the Trinity. whole Trinity created the world, yet creation is particularly ascribed unto Christ; so the whole Trinity shall judge the world, and

yet this passing of judgment is peculiarly attributed unto Christ. And that, both because it is most fit, that he, who was judged by men, should himself be the judge of men; and, also, because his authority will be then most visible and conspicuous before the whole world. Neither the Father nor the Spirit will make any visible appearance; but the Son shall then sit upon the Throne of his Majesty; and the whole world shall see him in that very body, that was buffeted, that was crucified, that was pierced, and, at last, glorified. Therefore, he is said to be the judge both of the quick and dead, because sentence shall proceed out of his mouth, and his presidency and authority shall be most remarkable. So, John v. 27 : He hath given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Acts X. 42: He hath commanded us....to testify, that it was Christ, who was ordained of God to be the Judge both of quick and dead. 2 Tim. iv. 1 : I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead. Acts. xvii. 31: God hath appointed a day, wherein he will judge the world.....by the Man, whom he hath ordained.

And, if Christ be ordained Judge, then,

i. WHAT TERROR SPEAKS THIS TO WICKED MEN!

Certainly, this must needs be a dark and gloomy day to them. It is that Christ, whose laws they have broken, whose love they have slighted, whose blood they have spilt, nay whose blood they have trampled on, whose members they have massacred and martyred; it is that Christ, who must then judge them: whom they have contemptuously refused to be their King and Saviour, they shall not be able to refuse from being their Judge. And can you then wonder, that they should call for rocks and hills to fall upon them, and hide them from the wrath of the Lamb ? Rev. vi. 15, 16: believe it, rocks and hills, the hardest and the heaviest things in nature, would be but a light coverlet to them, in comparison with that wrath, which shall sit insupportably heavy on them for ever, and sink them down to the bottom of hell. Christ comes now to you as a Saviour, in a meek and winning manner: he urgeth you, by all the arguments that love and pity can use: but, if you refuse him, his next coming will be as a Judge; and then the Lamb, which offered himself a sacrifice for you, will turn Lion, and sacrifice you to his wrath and justice. Now, the voice of a loving Saviour calls sinners to come unto him; but those, who will not come, the voice of a dreadful Judge will then bid to depart from him : Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.

ii. WHAT UNSPEAKABLE COMFORT IS THIS TO THE CHILDREN OF GOD, that Christ shall be their judge!

That Christ, in whom they have believed, whom they have loved, on whom they have trusted : tbat Christ, who hath dearly loved them, and given his life to redeem them, he shall judge them. And dost thou think, O believing soul! that that Christ, who hath shed his blood to save thee, will ever spend his breath to damn thee? Will the head execute the members ? When the Devil brings in his accusations, when justice calls for vengeance, then the Judge himself will be your Advocate : Christ himself will plead for you.

“The law of grace is, Whosoever believeth, shall not perish, but have everlasting life. Behold my blood, and their faith. The law is satisfied, the inheritance is due. And, therefore, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you, from before the foundation of the world.

III. Consider who shall be the ASSESSORS.

· As in human judicatories, besides the judge, there are the justices, who, for the more solemnity, sit on the bench with him: so, in this Great and Last Assize, besides Christ, the Judge both of Quick and Dead, there are his assessors on the bench, his assistants in the judgment: and they are the saints; 1 Cor. vi. 2. Know ye not, that the saints shall judge the world ? and if the world must be judged by you, &c. so, Jude, vv. 14, 15, The Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, To execute judgment

upon all.

i. They must, first, be judged themselves; and, then, JUDAL OTHERS.

The blessed and joyful sentence must first be pronounced upon them; and then they, as triumphant members, will be associated with their Glorious Head, in passing a dreadful and condemning sentence upon all the rest of the world, both men and devils.

1. They shall judge the very Devils themselves. Know ye not, that we shall judge the angels ? saith the Apostle, 1 Cor. vi. 3. that is, those angels, which kept not their first station, but.....are reserved in chains of darkness, unto the judgment of the great day : Jude ver. 6. Here is the consummate victory of the saints. They now subdue the Devil, as an enemy: then, they shall judge him, as a malefactor. They shall be revenged upon him, for all those horrid injections, violent temptations, and black and despairing apprehensions, with which he continually molests them. What exceeding joy will it be, when those poor weak saints, who were here, on earth, in perpetual dread of him and danger from him, shall sentence him to the same damnation, into which, by his wiles and power, he laboured to bring them. Now, he strongly tempts us to sin; and, if he prevail, he maliciously accuses us for yielding : but this is our happiness, that our tempter, our accuser, shall never be our judge. The time of recompence is coming : and then we shall accuse this great accuser, and complain of all the wrongs and injuries that he hath done us; what blasphemous and atheistical thoughts, what foolish and hurtful lusts, he hath stirred up in us, which

were our trouble and his guilt. And, not only shall we thus accuse and complain, but we shall condemn him too; condemn him to that fire and those torments, which his very tempting of us will make far more raging and intolerable for ever.

2. They shall judge all the Wicked and Ungodly of the World. Oh! what strange amazement will seize all hearts on that day, when a few poor, despised creatures, who were thought no better of than the dung and dregs of nature; when these shall sit in state, and daunt all the great and gallant spirits of the world with a frown, and damn them with a word ! Believe it, Paul will then make his judge Felix tremble, once more, at him. Let wicked men seriously consider of it: they must appear shivering before those saints, whom they hate and scorn now.

Pilate himself, who once judged Christ, shall, at this day, be himself judged before the meanest servant of Christ. And it is sadly to be feared, that the great and honourable nobles of the world will there find but few of their peers to judge them : no; God hath chosen the mean things of this world, to confound the... mighty. And, before these, all persons and causes must come. And, oh! think how dreadful it will be, that Thou, perhaps, shalt be sentenced to hell by thy poor neighbour; and Thou, by thy acquaintance and familiar: here, children pronounced damned by their parents, and parents by their children; husbands and wives by their yoke-fellows: and, though once so dearly loved, so nearly related, yet now sent down to hell by them, without the least yearning of compassion towards them; yea, with shouts and triumph. Thus shall the saints judge the world, both Devils and Wicked Men.

ii. But, yet, THEY SHALL NOT SO JUDGE THEM, AS CHRIST SHALL, BY AN AUTHORITATIVE PRONOUNCING OF THE SENTENCE UPON THEM.

But,

1. They are said to judge the world, because judgment shall pass upon all mnen, according to the Truth of that Doctrine, which they have taught and delivered.

Now, though the instructions and admonitions, which private Christians have given wicked men, shall rise up in judgment against them at the Last Day; yet this sense is more peculiar to the Prophets, Apostles, and faithful Ministers of Jesus Christ, who, of all men, shall be most especially employed in this judging work. Thus Christ tells his disciples, Matt. xix. 28. Ye shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel : that is, they shall, at last, be judged according to that doctrine you have preached to them and taught among them. Yea, we must distinguish between Christ's judging as a Prophet, and his judging as a King: Christ will, both ways, judge at the Last Day; by his authority as a king, and by his ministry as a

Prophet: and therefore he tells us, John xii. 48. The word, that I have spoken, the same shall judge them at the last day: i. e. it shall rise up in judgment against them. So, St. Paul, Rom. ii. 16. God shall judge the hearts of men, by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel : i. e. according to those gospel truths, which I have preached. Little do secure sinners think, when they come to the ordinances out of mere fashion and custom, that they then hear that word, which must determine their eternal state and condition : believe it, that word, which they either drowze away or scoff at, the same word of truth must judge them, at the Last Day. Never will there be such a repeating of sermons, as then : sermons, heard many years a-gone and quite forgotten, shall then be called fresh to mind; and, what the minister spake weakly, perhaps, and faintly, conscience will then repeat in a voice more loud and dreadful than thunder. And, oh! what a sad thing will it be for ministers to see most of their flocks standing there among the goats, and to be called forth by Christ to witness against such and such of their auditors! Christ will bid us name the texts and repeat the sermons, which brought home convictions and terrors to their consciences, for those sins, which yet we could never persuade them to repent of and forsake. The drunkard, the swearer, the unclean person, the sabbath-breaker, are sinners thick-set in every parish. Now, what should we do? If we reprove them not, if we warn them not to flee from the wrath to come, we bring their blood upon our own heads, and destroy ourselves : if we do threaten and exhort and admonish them, and they repent not; their damnation will be sevenfold deeper in hell, than if they had never enjoyed means nor ministry; because they now add contempt of the Gospel to their breach of the Law. It is a very sad thing, yet so it must be, that ministers must stand forth for the condemnation of those, for whose salvation they have studied, and prayed, and laboured to the very utmost. That is one way, how the saints shall judge the world, viz. by their Teaching and Doctrine.

2. They shall judge the world, by the Example of their Lives and Conversations.

Then, O Sinner! will be seen their faith, and thy unbelief; their repentance, and thy impenitence; their obedience, and thy rebellions : and the good in them shall judge the evil in thee; and that is the reason, why wicked men do so hate it. God will, on that day, set a saint against a sinner: and, how

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