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THE LAST JUDGMENT.
2 Cor. v, 10.
FOR WE MUST ALL APPEAR BEFORE THE
JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST.
It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the Judgment. When this great, and terrible Day of the Lord, this Day, for which all other days were made, will come, knoweth no man, but the Father.
It is necessary that such a day should be, wherein God may glorify his Justice, his Kindness, his Omniscience, his Power, and his Unchangeableness. That then, all the mysteries of his agency may be revealed, all the evils of the world be amended, all the injustices be repaid, and divine Providence be vindicated.' That God may appear just, when he judges; and clear, when he condemns. The design of a judicial process will be, not to inform the all-knowing Judge ; but to convince all worlds of the equity of his proceedings, and the ground of their sentences. It is recorded that, as God, in the first judgment, destroyed the world by Water; so will he, after the Last Judgment, destroy it by Fire.
It is generally supposed that, as there were six days of creation, before the sabbath of rest ; so will this world continue six thousand years in sin, and then will come the seventh thousand, a Millennium of Peace ; and that, after that, there will be a short reign of the Man of Sin. That, during this reign of sin, passion and lust will triumph, as they did just before the Deluge. And that, while Infidels blaspheme, and Scoffers exclaim, Where is
the promise of his coming ? then will the fearful and sublime Vision of Judgment begin to be realized. A part of the grand preparations for the Final Day will be, the speeding of the Angel, that is to fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach to all Pagan nations ; and the collection and conversion of the scattered, and peeled, and deluded posterity of the ancient murderers of the Messiah.
From the goodness and equity of God, we may infer, that men will be judged by some universal rule, known to them ; as by the light of reason, or law of conscience i not by the proportions of an angel, but by the measures of a man; that those without the Law, will be judged without the Law ; and those under the Gospel, be judged by the Gospel. That we shall be judged, not by the errors of one day, but by the larger balance of our lives ; of single actions, if great and deliberate ; of little instances, if habitual ; by the plain rules of justice ; by the ten commandments ; by the first apprehensions of conscience, and the dictates of an honest mind; that we shall be judged as Christians, rather than as men; as persons to whom much is pardoned, and much is pitied.' This coming Judgment concerns all that have been born, are now born, or shall be born ; 'even you, and I, and all the world; kings and priests, nobles and learned, the crafty and the easy, the wise and foolish, the rich and poor, the prevailing tyrant and the oppressed party.' Even the righteous, and most innocent, must pass through a severe trial.
My subject will lead me to treat, in their order, of the Judge ; the Judgment-Seat ; and the Final Sentence ; and to close with some Warning Inferences.
1. The Word of God not only declares that there will be a Judgment, but also sublimely intimates the manner of it ; and hath appointed the final Judge. The Judge is to be the King of Glory. And who is this King of Glory? He, whom the great evangelical prophet so triumphantly foresaw': 'Who is he, that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah ? This that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength ?
I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine-fat ? I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the people, there was none with me. For the day of vengeance is in my heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.”
This is the King of Glory, who is to be Judge over both the quick, and the dead. God hath given assurance to all men, that he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained. The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son. God judges the secrets of men by Jesus Christ. Because he humbled himself, therefore God hath highly exalted him. No more the Babe in the Manger ; no more the Culprit at the Bar ; no more the Blasphemer on the Cross ; He is to be the final Judge of this vast World of Sin. Partaking of both natures, the human and divine, he will be impartial, and thus consult the interest of both. Is it not a thought of insufferable anguish to sinners, that he who has been their Advocate all their lives, will then be their accuser ; an injured person in the day of his power
? 2. When that Day of Dread arrives, that awful Day, which will lay the hopes of the sinner in ruins, there shall be signs of alarm; the sun will become black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon be turned into blood, and the stars of heaven fall upon
earth. O then, what appalling of the soul to those families, who have not called upon God's name.
Men's hearts will quail with surprise and amazement. Each one will be a terror to himself, and to his friends. Fear will send faintness into their hearts, and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them. When they look on Ambition, they shall not lament, saying, Ah, his glory! or, Ah, Lord! When they look on Riches, they will exclaim, Miserable comforters are ye all! When they think on their sins, they will cry in despondency, O wo is me, for I am undone! Where now are their false gods? This is the time, when God shall destroy all the gods upon the earth. Bel boweth down; Nebo stoopeth; Dagon is tumbled in pieces before the Ark. Now, ye Deists, and Infidels, dispute the truth of religion. And I saw a mighty Angel come down from heaven, clothed with
a cloud, and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of brass. And he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot upon the earth, and cried with a loud voice. And when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, he lift up his hand to heaven, and sware by Him, who created heaven, and the things that are therein ; and the earth, and the things that therein are ; and the sea, and things that are therein ; that — Time should be no longer !
Then shall burst upon the astonished soul an intense, and increasing light in mid-heaven. And the Son of man shall descend in clouds, and in great power, and in the glory of his Father ; with a shout, and with the voice of the Archangel, and all his holy angels with him. And the armies, which were in heaven, follow behind the great white throne, upon white horses, clothed in white linen, white and clean. And lo! a great multitude, which no man can number, before the throne, in white robes, and palms in their hands. Thousand thousands minister unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stand before him. And there is a rainbow round about the throne, and out of the throne proceed lightnings, and thunders, and voices. The countenance of Him, that sitteth upon the throne of his glory, is as the sun shining in his strength; having on his head many crowns, and clothed with a vesture dipped in blood. Out of his mouth goeth a sharp two-edged sword, and his voice is as the sound of many waters. In his right hand, he holdeth the keys of heaven, and of hell. And he hath on his vesture, and on his thigh, a name written, King of kings ! and Lord of lords ! And round about the throne, all the angels stand, and fall on their faces, and worship, saying, Amen! blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and
power, and night, be unto Him, that sitteth upon the throne, forever and ever!
Then the trump of the Archangel shall sound ; as it once sounded on Sinai, when all the people that were in the camp trembled. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump for the trumpet shall sound, Come to Judgment !- will the dead arise. Prepare to meet
thy God. O what a dying day to the living ; what a living day to the dead. The graves over all the whole earth open. And can such dry bones live ? for they be very many, and very dry ? O Lord God, thou knowest. Again the trump of the Archangel sounds, Come, o Breath, from the four winds, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. And lo! there is a noise and a shaking, and the bones come together, bone to his bone ; and the sinews, and the flesh, come upon them ; and the breath comes into them ; and they live, and they stand upon their feet, an exceeding great army. The dead, whose bodies have been mouldering in the sleep of ages, ever since the creation of man ; both small and great ; shall come forth, and stand before Christ, with Adam at their head. Lo! armies of millions are bursting into life upon the spots where Nineveh and Babylon once stood. See gathering, Europeans and Asiatics, Americans and Africans ; Jews, Mahometans, Pagans, and Christ'ans. See mingling the mighty Anakims, the giants of antiquity; and little babes, which died upon their mother's breasts. The sea shall give up the dead, which are in it ; and death, and hell, shall deliver up the dead, which are in them ; and they shall be judged out of the things which are written, every man according to his works. The dead in Christ, the holy martyrs, the first fruits of the christian church, shall rise first ; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him, and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him; and he shall separate one from another. Seated on his high irradiating throne, upheld by the wings of mighty cherubim, he shall send his angels, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. And those, who are alive, shall be caught up together with them, in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air
ir ; because perhaps this globe could not hold the amazing assembly. The pulse of immortality begins to throb; the soul is no longer incumbered, but assisted by its union to a spiritual body. How magnificently awful the scene! The whole, vast, multitudinous congregation, of all kindreds and tongues, having dropped off these mortal bodies, rising like a dense cloud, full of mighty rushing wind; and