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faithful among them, and as the means of their future joy and glory at the day of judgment, and one whom they should then see, and have a joyful meeting with as such. It is implied, that the apostle expected at that time to have a joyful meeting with them before the Judge, and with joy to behold their glory, as the fruit of his labors; and so they would be his rejoicing. It is implied also that he then expected to be approved of the great Judge, when he and they should meet together before him ; and that he would then acknowledge his fidelity, and that this had been the means of their glory ; and that thus he would, as it were, give them to him as his crown of rejoicing. But this the apostle could not hope for, unless he had the testimony of his own conscience in his fa.
And therefore the words do imply, in the strongest manner, that he had approved himself to his own conscience,
There is one thing implied in each of these particulars, and in every part of the text, which is that point I shall make the subject of my present discourse, viz.
« Ministers, and the people that are under their care, must meet one another before Christ's tribunal at the day of judgment.”
Ministers, and the people that have been under their care, must be parted in this world, how well soever they have been united : If they are not separated before, they must be parted by death ; and they may be separated while life is continued. We live in a world of change, where nothing is certain or stable ; and where a little time, a few revolutions of the sun, bring to pass strange things, surprising alterations, in particular persons, in families, in towns and churches, in countries and nations. It often happens, that those who seem most united, in a little time are most disunited, and at the greatest distance. Thus ministers and people, between whom there has been the greatest mutual regard and strictest union, may not only differ in their judgments, and be alienated in af section, but one may rend from the other, and all relation be:
tween them be dissolved ; the minister may be removed to a distant place, and they may never have any more to do one with another in this world. But if it be so, there is one meeting more that they must have, and that is in the last weeat day of accounts.
Here I would shew,
1. In what manner ministers, and the people who have been under their care, shall meet one another at the day of judgment.
2. For what purposes.
3. For what reasons God has so ordered it, that ministers and their people shall then meet together in such a manner, and for such purposes.
1. I would shew, in some particulars, in what manner ministers and the people who have been under their care, shall meet one another at the day of judgment. Concerning this I would observe two things in general.
1. That they shall not then meet only as all mankind must then meet, but there will be something peculiar in the manner of their meeting.
2. That their meeting together at that time shall be very different from what used to be in the house of God in this world.
1. They shall not meet at that day as all the world must then meet together. I would observe a difference in two things.
(1.) As to a clear actual view, and distinct knowledge and notice of each other.
Although the whole world will be then present, all markind of all generations gathered in one vast assembly, with all of the angelic nature, both elect and fallen angels ; yet we need not suppose that every one will have a distinct and particular knowledge of each individual of the whole assembled multitude, which will undoubtedly consist of many millions of millions. Though it is probable that men's capacities will be much greater than in the present state, yet they will not be
infinite : Though their understanding and comprehensioni will be vastly extended, yet men will not be deified. There will probably be a very enlarged view that particular perisonts willåt've of various parts and members of that vast aga sembly, wir so of the proceedings of that great day ; but yet it nius: nee is be, that according to the nature of finite minds, some persons and some things, at that day, shall fall inore under the notice of particular persons than others; and this (as He may well suppose) according as they shall have a nearer concern with some than others, in the transactions of the day. There will be special reason why those who have bad special concerns together in this world, in their state of probation, and whose mutural affairs will be then to be tried and judged, should especially be set in one another's view.
Thus we may supo pose, that rulers and subjects, earthly judges and those whom they have jadged, neighbors who have had mutural converse, dealings, and contests, heads of families and their children and servants, shall then meet, and in a peculiar distincticn be set together. And especially will it be thus with ministers and their people. It is evident by the text, that these shall be in each other's view, shall distinctly know each other, and shall have particular notice one of another at that time.
(2.) They shall meet together, as having special concern one with another in the great transactions of that day.
Although they shall meet the whole world at that time, yet they will not lrave any immediate and particular concern with all. Yea, the far greater part of those who shall then be gathered together, will be such as they have had no intercourse with in their state of probation, and so will have no mutual concerns to be judged of. But as to ministers and the peo. ple that have been under their care, they will be such as have had much immcdiate concern one with another, in matters of the greatest moment, that ever mankind have to do one with another in. Therefore tliey especially must meet and be brought together before the judge, as having special concern one with another in the design and business of that great day of accounts.
Thus their meeting, as to the manner of it, will be diverse from the meeting of mankind in general.
2. Their meeting at the day of judgment will be very diverse from their meetings one with another in this world.
Ministers and their people, while their relation continues often macet together in this world : They are want to meet from Sabbath to Sabbath, and at other times for the public worship of God, and administration of ordinances, and the solemn services of God's house: And besides these meetings, they have also occasions to meet for the determining and managing their ecclesiastical affairs, for the exercise of chureh discipline, and the settling and adjusting those things which concern the purity and good order of public administrations. But their meeting at the day of judgment will be exceeding diverse, in its manner and circumstance, from any such meetings and interviews as they have, one with another in the present state. I would observe how, in a few particu-* fars.
(1.) Now they meet together in a preparatory mutable state, but then in an unchangeable staté.
Now sinners in the congregation meet their minister in a state wherein they are capable of a saving change, capable of being turned, through God's blessing on the ministrations and labors of their pastor, from the power of Satan unto God; and being broughs out of a state of guilt, condemnation and vrath, to a state of peace and favor with God, to the enjoye ment of the privileges of his children, and a title to their eternal inheritance. And saints now meet their minister with great remains of corruption, and sometimes under great spiritual difficulties and affliction : And therefore are yet the proper subjects of means of an happy alteration of their state, consisting in a greater freedom from these things, which they have reason to hope for in the way of an attendance on ordinances, and of which God is pleased commonly to make his ministers the instruments. And ministers and their people row meet in order to the bringing to pass such happy changes; they are the great benefits sought in their solemn meetings in this world. Voc: 1.
But when they shall meet together at the day of judgment, it will be far otherwise. They will not then meet in order to the use of means for the bringing to effect any such changes ; for they will all meet in an unchangeable state. Sinners will be in an unchangeable state : They who then shall be under the guilt and power of sin, and have the wrath of God abiding on them, shall be beyond all remedy or possibility of change, and shall meet their ministers without any hopes of relief or remedy, or getting any good by their means. And as for the saints, they will be already perfectly delivered from all their before remaining corruption, temptation, and calamities of every kind, and set forever out of their reach ; and no deliverance, no happy alteration, will remain to be accomplished in the way of the use of means of grace, under the administrations of ministers. It will then be pronounced, “ He that is unjust, let him be'unjust still; and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still ; and he that is righteous let him be rightcous still; and he that is holy let him be holy still."
(2.) Then they shall meet together in a state of clear, certain and infallible light.
Ministers are set as guides and teachers, and are represented in scripture as lights set up in the churches, and in the present state meet their people from time to time in order to instruct and enlighten them, to correct their mistakes, and to be a voice behind them, when they turn aside to the right hand or to the left, saying, “ This is the way, walk in it;" to evince and confirm the truth by exhibiting the proper evidences of it, and to refute errors and corrupt opinions, to convince the erroneous and establish the doubting. But when Christ shall come to judgment, every error and false opinion shall be detected ; all deceit and illusion shall vanish away before the light of that day, as the darkness of the night vanishes at the appearance of the rising sun ; and every doctrine of the word of God shall then appear in full evidence, and none shall remain unconvinced ; all shall know the truth with the greatest certainty, and there shall be no mistakes to rectify.
Now ministers and their people may disagree in their judgments concerning some matters of religion, and may