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that forbearance which ye profanely despise. He will come notwithstanding, for he is not slack concerning his promise. If he had appeared yesterday, where had
you been now? He delays his coming, to give you time to seek his mercy, and because he is so long. suffering to you; not willing that any of you should perish, but that all should come to repentance. I beseech
you therefore, by the mercies of God, and by the coming of Christ, to turn from your wicked- . ness and live. While you are every day sinking deeper into worldly cares, and sinful pleasures, Christ is approaching nearer and nearer; and before you apprehend any danger, he may call you to his bar, to give up your account.
Christ has told you, that he shall come as a thief in the night when he is least expected ; and with respect to multitudes, least desired. This is often realized with regard to his coming by death to indivi. duals; and will be certainly fulfilled in the suddenness and unexpectedness of his appearance at judgment. John the Baptist, in his sermons, was continually calling upon his hearers to repent; “ for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Having assured them, that one was coming whose shoe-latchet he was not worthy to unloose, the next day he sees Jesus, and says, “ Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I spake, and whose coming I have so often foretold." So it will be with respect to the final appearance of Christ. Ministers have often preached about his coming; and assured their hearers, that he will come at last, to the surprise and astonishment of a guilty world. But who believes their report ? But when the fulness of time is come, perhaps while some servant of God is exhorting his hearers to seek a preparation for judgment.“ Hark!” he cries," I hear the
Į voice of the Arch-angel, and the trump of God. Behold! he comes in clouds; and there he is. O my dear unhappy friends, what will ye do now? Why did you not believe me before ? It is now too late ; preaching and hearing are all over. I told you often that he would certainly come, but you would not hearken to me. Now go and excuse yourselves to him, if you can." What consternation would they feel! What confusion and terror would be visible in the countenance of every sinner! A few happy per. sons, who had kept themselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life, would hasten to meet their beloved Saviour and Judge. But the greatest part of the assembly, (as I fear it would be, if this awful event occurred now,) would fain hide themselves from his presence, till, forced from their lurking-places, they are driven, or dragged, to the tribunal of Christ.
, He will certainly come. Watch, therefore ; for ye know not the day, nor the hour, when the Son of man cometh.
II. He will come visibly.
It will not be merely a coming for judgment, or mercy, in the same manner as he often comes now, by Providence and Grace; but it will be an actual and personal appearance, in that same body with which he went up into heaven; so that you may see him as truly and distinctly as you are now seeing
It is evident, from the scriptures, that the coming of Christ will be visible. At his ascension, the dis. ciples plainly saw him pass through the air towards his throne in heaven ; and the angels assured them, not only, that this same Jesus would come again, but that he would appear in like manner. This is confirmed by other expressions in scripture. Christ says to those who sat in judgment against him, “ Hereafter ye shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." But it is mentioned still more particularly in the following words: “ ,
Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him; and they also which pierced him ; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.'
It is most agreeable to the design of his coming, that it should be visible. As he comes to summon all the world before him, and to render to every man according to his work, it is necessary that his appearance should be public; in order that the persons to be tried, the witnesses on the trial, and the whole assembly, might see the Judge who presides on the occasion. Nothing shall be done in a covert or clandestine manner : but every thing shall be so conducted, that all the world may be satisfied of the justice and impartiality of the solemn proceedings. There are many occurrences of Providence, for which it is at present difficult to account. Some are ready to charge God foolishly for one thing, and some for another. But it shall not be said, that, in order to avoid an inquiry, he will take advantage of his creatures, and overpower them with the blaze of his glory. He will have every thing clearly displayed, and therefore " has appointed a day in which he will judge the
whole world in righteousness, by that Man whom he has ordained, whereof he hath given assurance vuto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” He will leave all to the decision of the man, Christ Jesus; who, having been bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh, can be touched with the feel. ing of our infirmities; so that where there is the least occasion for tenderness, we may be sure it will be freely displayed. But all this could not have been done, if Cbrist had not come in an open and visible manner.
III. We proceed to speak of the splendor of his appearance.
- This same Jesus shall also come in like manner," or with a multitude of the heavenly host attending him. When he ascended, so many of them waited on him, that it seemed to be a cloud which received him out of their sight. So when he comes again, he will have a glorious retinue; for it is said, “ The Şon of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him.”
They will accompany him, to increase the solemnity and grandeur of the procession ; as princes, on great occasions, are attended by their nobility and ministers of state, in the richest robes of all their different orders. “ Enoch, the seventh from Adam, .prophesied, saying, Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints.” The Psalmist tells us, that the chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels. And the Apostle says, that the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with his mighty angels. When he came to our world, he laid aside his glory; or rather threw a veil over it, suffer
jog a ray or two now and then to break forth, to the astonishment of every beholder. But in general, he remained in obscurity; and went up and down with a few poor fishermen for his principal attendants. But when he comes again, he will have angels in his train, and a multitude of them too; which will rene der his appearance magnificent beyond conception. But they will attend him, not only to increase the grandeur of the scene, but also for service. Christ will have much employment for the angels on that awful occasion. As judges, on their circuits, have their subordinate officers to wait on their persons, ta guard and bring up their prisoners, and to execute their orders, so the angels will attend Him, to minister to his pleasure, and to accomplish his designs of vena geance or mercy. “He shall send his angels, with the sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds; from one end of the earth to the other. They shall sever the wicked from among the just,' and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” I have but slightly mentioned this circumstance, in order to speak more particularly,
IV. Of the great design of Christ's coming.
Now, my friends, I hope your attention will be all awake. Perhaps you have been but little affected by all that has been said concerning the manner of the coming of Christ. “ What is it to me,” you think, “ whether he come privately or publicly; alone, or with a multitude of angels?” But you will not dare say, " Whať is that to me," when I speak of the design of this solemn event. In the parable of the