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and terrible in their consequences, on many accounts, of any sort of contentions ; yet how frequent have such contentions been? Sometimes a people contest with their ministers abou their doctrine, sometimes about their administrations and con duct, and sometimes about their maintenance ; and sometimes such contests continue a long time; and sometimes they are decided in this world, according to the prevailing interest of one party or the other, rather than by the word of God, and the reason of things; and sometimes such controversies never have any proper determination in this world.
But at the day of judgment there will be a full, perfect and everlasting decision of them. The infallible Judge, the infinite fountain of light, truth and justice, will judge between the contending parties, and will declare what is the truth, who is in the right, and what is agreeable to his mind and will. And in order hereto the parties must stand together before him at the last day; which will be the great day of finishing and determining all controversies, rectifying all mistakes, and abolishing all unrighteous judgments, errors, and confum sions, which have before subsisted in the world of mankind.
3. Ministers, and the people that have been under their care, must meet together at that time to receive an eternal sentence and retribution, from the Judge, in the presence of each other according to their behavior in the relation they stood in one to another, in the present state.
The Judge will not only declare justice, but he will do jusi tice between ministers and their people. He will declare what is right between them, approving him that has been just and faithful, and condemning the unjust; and perfect truth and equity shall take place in the sentence which he passes, in the rewards he bestows, and the punishments which he inflicts. There shall be a glorious reward to faithful ministers; to those who have been successful. Dan. xii. 3. “ And they that be wise, shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever :" And also to those who have been faithful, and yet not successful ; Isa. xlix. 4 : “ Then I said, I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nought ; yet surely my Judgment is with the Lord, and my reward with my God.” And those who have well received and entertained them shall be gloriously rewarded ; Matth. X. 40, 41. “He that receive eth you, receiveth
and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet, in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward ; and he that receiveth a righteous man, in the name of a righteous man, shall receive a righteous man's reward." Such people, and their faithful ministers, shall be each others' crown of rejoicing. 1. Thess. fi. 19, 20, « For what is our hope, or joy, or erown of rejoicing ? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming ? For ye are our glory and joy.” And in the text, We are your rejoicing; as ye also are ours, in the day of the Lord Jesus. But they that evil intreac Christ's faithful ministers, especially in that wherein they are faithful, shall be severely punished ; Mattb. x. 14, 15. “ And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ýe depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily, I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the sinners of Sodom and Gomorrah, in the day of judgment; than for that city.” Deut. xxxiii. 8.... It. “ And of Levi he said, Let thy Urim and thy Thưmmim be with thy holy one. They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law. Bless, Lord, his substance, and accept the work of his hands, smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again.” On the other hand, those ministers who are found to have been unfaithful, shall have a most terrible punishment. See Ezek. xxxiii. 6. Matth. xxiü. 1....33.
Thus justice shall be administered at the great day to min. isters and their people : And to that end they shall meet together, that they may not only receive justice to themselves, But see justice done to the other party : For this is the end of that great day, to reveal or declare the righteous judgment of God ; Rom. ii. 5. Ministers shall have justice done them,
; and they shall see justice done to their people : And the people shall receive justice and see justice done to their minister. And so all things will be adjusted and settled for ever between VOL. I.
them; every one being sentenced and recompensed according to his works, either in receiving and wearing a crown of eternal joy and glory, or in suffering everlasting shame and pain,
I come now to the next thing proposed, viz.
III. To give some reasons why we may suppose God has, so ordered it, that ministers and the people that have been under their care, shall meet together at the day of judgment, in such a manner and for such purposes.
There are two things which I would now observe.
1. The mutual concerns of ministers and their people are of the greatest importance.
The Scripture declares, that God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil. It is fit that all the concerns, and all the behavior of mankind, both public and private, should be brought at last before God's tribunal, and finally determined by an infallible Judge : But it is especially requisite that it should be thus, as to affairs of very great importance.
Now the mutual concerns of a Christian minister and his church and congregation, are of the vastest importance : In many respects, of much greater moment than the temporal concerns of the greatest earthly monarchs, and their kingdoms or empires. It is of vast consequence how ministers discharge their office, and conduct themselves towards their people in the work of the ministry, and in affairs appertaining to it. It is also a matter of vast importance, how a people receive and entertain a faithful minister of Christ, and what improvement they make of his ministry. These things have a more immediate and direct respect to the great and last end for which man was made, and the eternal welfare of mankind, than any
of the temporal concerns of men, whether public or private. And therefore it is especially fit that these affairs should be brought into judgment and openly determined and settled in truth and righteousness; and that to this end, ministers and their people should meet together before the onpiscient and infallible judge.
2. The mutual concerns of ministers and their people have a special relation to the main things appertaining to the day of judgment.
They have a special relation to that great and divine person who will then appear as Judge. Ministers are his messengers, sent forth by him ; and, in their office and administrations among their people, represent his person, stand in his stead, as those that are sent to declare his mind, to do his work, and to speak and act in his name : And therefore it is especially fit that they should return to him to give an account of their work and success. The king is judge of all his subjects, they are all accountable to him : But it is more especially requisite that the king's ministers, who are especially intrusted with the administrations of his kingdom, and that are sent forth on some special negotiation, should return to him, to give an account of themselves, and their discharge of their trust, and the reception they have met with.
Ministers are not only messengers of the person who at the last day will appear as Judge, but the errand they are sent upon, and the affairs they have committed to them as his ministers, do most immediately concern his honor, and the interest of his kingdom : The work they are sent upon is to promote the designs of his administration and government ; and therefore their business with their people has a near relation to the day of judgment; for the great end of that day is completely to settle and establish the affairs of his kingdom, to adjust all things that pertain to it, that every thing that is opposite to the interests of his kingdom may be removed, and that every thing which contributes to the completeness and glory of it may be perfected and confirmed, that this great King may receive his due honor and glory.
Again, the mutual concerns of ministers and their people have a direct relation to the concerns of the day of judgment, as the business of ministers with their people is to promote the eternal salvation of the souls of men, and their escape from eternal damnation ; and the day of judgment is the day appointed for that end, openly to decide and settle men's eternal state, to fix some in a state of eternal salvation, and te bring their salvation to its utmost consummation, and to fix others in a state of everlasting damnation and most perfect misery The mutual concerns of ministers and people have a most direct relation to the day of judgment, as the very design of the work of the ministry is the people's preparation for that day : Ministers are sent 10 warn them of the approach of that day, to forewarn them of the dreadful sentence then to be pronounced on the wicked, and declare to them the blessed sentence then to be pronounced on the righteous, and to use means with them that they may escape the wrath which is then to come on the ungodly, and obtain the reward then to be bestowed on the saints.
And as the mutual concerns of ministers and their people have so near and direct a relation to that day, it is especially fit that those concerns should be brought in to that day, and there settled and issued ; and that in order to this, ministers and their people should meet and appear together before the great Judge at that day.
THE improvement I would make of the things which have been observed, is to lead the people here present who have been under my pastoral care, to some reflections, and give them some advice suitable to our present circumstances, relating to what has been lately done in order to our being separated, as to the relation we have heretofore stood in one to another ; but expecting to meet each other before the great tribunal at the day of judgment.
The deep and serious consideration of that our future mose solemn meeting, is certainly most suitable at such a time as this ; there having so lately been that done, which, in all probability, will (as to the relation we have heretofore stood in) be followed with an everlasting separation.
How often have we met together in the house of God in this relation? How often have I spoke to you, instructed, counselled, warned, directed, and fed you, and administered