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preached unto you, Jesus Christ, whom heaven indeed must receive until the times of the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of His holy prophets from the beginning of the world.” 1
THE UNIVERSAL JUDGMENT.
THE Divine Father has given His judgment to the King His Son, whom He constituted Judge of the living and the dead. The Incarnate Son began to fulfil the commission which He received from his Father, here upon earth, by reigning and ruling over the living, with His saints. But the full and entire fulfilment of this charge is reserved till the consummation of ages, when all men without distinction being risen from the dead, shall assemble before the throne of Christ, to hear from His lips the sentence of eternal life or everlasting damnation. “We must all,” says the apostle St. Paul, “ be manifested before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the proper things of the body according as he has done, whether it be good or evil.”? “ Therefore, judge not before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise from God." 3 Although the destiny of every man be soon decided after his death, yet it | Acts iï. 19, 20, 21.
2 Cor, v. 10. 3 1 Cor. iv. 5.
was meet and just that Almighty God should appoint a general judgment, for the following reasons.
1. When men depart this life, they sometimes leave behind them children, who follow the example of their parents; sometimes friends, admirers, or advocates of their conduct; in short, they still exert an influence which must necessarily aug. ment their reward or punishment; and as such good or bad influence is to terminate only with the world, it was meet that a perfect inquiry should then be instituted into all this: a thing impossible without a general judgment.
2. Moreover, as the conduct of the virtuous is often condemned, whilst the wicked obtain the praise of innocence, the nature of the divine justice demands that the former recover, in the presence and with the suffrage of a congregated world, that good name of which they had been unjustly deprived.
3. Again, as the body generally co-operates in good and bad actions with the soul as its intrument, it is most proper that the body should participate with the soul in the eternal rewards reserved for virtue, or the everlasting punishments due to vice; and this could be accomplished only by means of a general resurrection and a general judgment.
4. Finally. For the magnification of God's justice, it is fitting to show that in prosperity and adversity, which are promiscuously the lot of the good and the bad, everything is ordered by an All-wise, All-just, and All-ruling Providence. It is therefore meet not only that rewards and punishments should await us in the next life, but that they should be awarded by a public and general judgment, thus to be better known and rendered more conspicuous to all.
St. John thus describes this great and stupendous triumph of divine goodness and justice : “I saw a great white throne, and one sitting upon it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled
away, and there was no place found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing in the presence of the throne; and the books were opened : and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged by those things which were written in the books, according to their works. . . . . And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the pool of fire.” 1
There is a peculiar propriety in Christ's sitting in judgment on His throne; that, as a sentence is to be pronounced on mankind, men may see their Judge with their eyes, and hear Him with their ears, and thus learn their final doom through the medium of the senses. Most just is it too, that the man who was most iniquitously condemned by the judgment of men, should himself be afterwards seen by all men sitting in judg. ment on all.
The description which Christ gives of the universal judgment in the Gospel of St. Matthew, is most impressive: “When the Son of Man,” says He, "shall come in His majesty, and all the angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the seat of His majesty; and all nations shall be gathered together before Him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: and He shall set the sheep on His right hand and the goats on His left. Then shall the
Apoc. xx. 11-15.
King say to them that shall be on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Then shall He say to them also that shall be on His left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. And these shall go into everlasting punishment, but the just into life everlasting.”
The universal judgment will be a source of great torment and confusion not only to wicked men, but also to the devils. For although the bad angels have been punished ever since they rebelled against God, when they fell into a state of misery and damnation, yet their greatest torture and shame is reserved to the universal judgment, when, after being most severely judged by the Son of God, they will be cast for ever into the bottomless pit, and all their power against Christ and His saints will be taken away.
“God," writes the apostle St. Peter, “spared not the angels that sinned; but delivered them down by infernal ropes to the lower hell unto torments, to be reserved unto judg
The apostle St. Jude teaches the same, saying that “the angels who kept not their principality, but forsook their habitations, He has reserved unto darkness in everlasting chains, unto the judgment of the Great Day."3 Hence St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, says, “ Know you not that we shall judge angels ?”'s 1 Matt. xxv.
2 2 Pet. ii. 4. 3 Jude 6.
4 1 Cor. vi. 3.
THE HEAVENLY JERUSALEM.
Both the prophet Isaias and St. John, besides the new heaven and the new earth, mention also a new Jerusalem, created by God, and coming down out of heaven. 1
This new Jerusalem, of which the prophets speak as coming down from heaven, is the immaculate bride of Christ, not having spot or wrinkle; the assemblage of all the elect of God, the triumphant Church of Jesus, the glorious kingdom which the Divine Son is gathering from all peoples, tribes, and tongues, and which, when He shall have put all His enemies under his feet, He will deliver up to God and to the Father—that God may
be all in all. This new Jerusalem shall not want any temple to adorn it, nor any sun to enlighten it, nor any treasures to enrich it, because the Lamb of God, who will fix His tabernacle in the midst of it, will be her ornament, and light,
"Some ancient writers teach that the formation of a new heaven and new earth will not take place immediately at the coming of Christ, but after the Millennium, when fire shall come down from God out of heaven to destroy these enemies of God. St. Barnabas says, “ When the Lord shall make all things new, then shall be the beginning of the eighth day, which is the beginning of another world.” (Sancti Bernab. Epist. cap. xv.) Lactantius affirms that “when the thousand years shall be completed, the world shall be renewed by God, and the heavens shall be folded up, and the earth shall be changed ; and God shall transform men into the similitude of angels, and they shall be white as snow, and shall always be conversant in the sight of the Almighty, and shall sacrifice to their Lord, and serve Him for ever.” (Lact. lib. vii. cap. xxvi.)