Page images

and eternal interests of the whole human species will be finally determined. The servants of God from the beginning of the world looked forward to it: even "Enoch the seventh from Adam prophe"sied of these things; saying, Behold the Lord "cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to exe"cute judgment upon all, and to convince all that

are ungodly among them, of all their ungodly "deeds which they have committed, and of all "the hard speeches which ungodly sinners have ແ spoken against him." That profession which Job ardently wished might be "graven with an " iron pen and lead in the rock for ever," seems to have had as much respect to the second coming of the Lord, as to his first appearance in our nature; "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he "shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and, though after my skin worms destroy this body, 'yet in my flesh shall I see God; whom I shall "see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and "not another; though my reins be consumed "within me." 2


[ocr errors]

In the fiftieth psalm, which is a most poetical as well as a prophetical description of a future judgment, we have this sublime language: "Our God "shall come, and shall not keep silence, a fire shall "devour before him, and it shall be very tempest66 uous round about him. He shall call to the "heavens from above, and to the earth that he may 'judge his people. And the heavens shall declare "his righteousness, for God is judge himself. "Selah." The words of Solomon shall close these

[ocr errors]

'Jude 14, 15.

2 Job xix. 23-27. 3 Psalm 1. 3-6.

citations from the Old Testament.


"Rejoice, O young man in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer "thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

way of thine heart, and in the sight of thine

eyes: but know thou, that for all these things "God will call thee into judgment." "For God "shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether "it be evil."1


In the New Testament the same subject continually demands our attention. Christians are said "to wait for the Lord from heaven, even Jesus "which delivered us from the wrath to come;" to "look for the glorious appearing of the great God "and our Saviour Jesus Christ;" and "to love "his appearing." Thus the language of the Old Testament relative to the coming of JEHOVAH, and our preparing to meet God, who is "judge

himself," is applied to Christ by his apostles, without the least hesitation. And with a conscious dignity he spake of himself, in his lowest abasement, as the Judge of the world, and the arbiter of men's eternal state: "When the Son of man shall come "in his glory, and all his holy angels with him, "then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory, "and before him shall be gathered all nations." 2

"The coming of the Lord" signifies, therefore, the appearance of Christ in human nature to judge the world; when he shall exercise omnipotence, omniscience, and every divine perfection; and so come in his own glory," as Mediator," and in "the glory of the Father," as sovereign Lord of

[ocr errors]

'Eccles. xi. 9. xii. 14.

Matt. xxv. 31, 32.


This revelation of Jesus Christ will be visible "This same Jesus, which is

to the whole world.

"taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in "like manner, as ye have seen him go into heaven." "Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye “shall see him, and they that have pierced him ; " and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because "of him even so, Amen." The man Jesus, in his glorified body, even that body which was crowned with thorns, scourged, spitted on, and nailed to the cross, will then be made visible to all men to those who thus abused him, and to such as have in every age consented to this deed, by despising him, and his salvation. He will be seen by all" who have crucified him," as it were, again and again; as well as by them, for whom " he once suffered, the just for the unjust, to bring "them unto God."

But how immensely will his appearance, as Judge of the world, differ from that of " the man of sor"rows!" The mount of transfiguration, when "his countenance shone as the sun, and his raiment

was like lightning ;" yea, the vision of his glory, which caused his beloved disciple, who had once reclined on his bosom in the familiarity of endeared friendship, to "fall down at his feet as dead;" can give us but a faint idea of that divine light and majesty, with which he will be arrayed when he shall ascend his awful tribunal. "He shall then "be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels:" the angels of his power and authority; the ministers of his vengeance and his love." At the end

1 Acts i. 11. Rev. i. 7.

"of the world, the Son of man shall send forth his

[ocr errors]

angels; and they shall gather out of his king"dom all things that offend, and them that do ini

[ocr errors]

quity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: "there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." "They shall see the Son of man coming in the "clouds of heaven with power and great glory; "and he shall send his angels, and they shall gather together his elect."-Hence it is evident that all the angels are the creatures and servants, as well as the worshippers,2 of the incarnate Son of God.

His coming will be announced by a summons, august and tremendous beyond, description; and immediately followed by the resurrection of the dead. "The Lord himself shall descend from "heaven with a shout, with the voice of the arch"angel and the trump of God: and the dead in "Christ shall rise first." "Behold I shew you a "mystery! We shall not all sleep, but we shall "all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling "of an eye, at the last trump. For the trumpet "shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incor"ruptible, and we shall be changed." "The "hour cometh, when all that are in the graves "shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they "that have done good to the resurrection of life, "and they that have done evil to the resurrection "of damnation." 3 Believers will rise first, and then such of the saints as shall be alive on the earth, at that time will be "changed;" that "death

1 Matt. xiii. 41-43. xxiv. 30, 31.
31 Thess. iv. 16. 1 Cor. xv. 51, 52.

'Heb. i. 6. John v. 28, 29:

[ocr errors]

may be swallowed up in victory." Afterwards the multitudes of the wicked will "awake to shame " and everlasting contempt." The bodies of the unnumbered millions, who through succeeding ages have inhabited the globe, wherever laid, or however consumed, will be restored to life, and reunited to their immortal souls, that they may participate their happiness or misery. "Then the dead, small " and great, shall stand before God. The sea shall "give up the dead that were in it; and death and "hell shall deliver up the dead which were in "them." 1

At this important crisis, the earth and all its works, yea the visible heavens also, shall become one general conflagration: "The heavens and "earth, which now are, by the same word are "kept in store, reserved unto fire, against the day "of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." "The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the "night, in which the heavens shall pass away with 66 a great noise, and the elements shall melt with "fervent heat; the earth also, and all the works "which are therein shall be burned "2 Yea, up. "heaven and earth shall flee away, and there shall "be found no place for them.".

In vain should we attempt a description of this sublime and awful scene: our faculties labour, and our tongues as it were falter, when we would think or speak of such subjects. What then will be the feelings of the immense multitudes assembled on this occasion! What the astonishment, terror, and despair of the impenitent! of such as have idol

1 Rev. xx. 13-15.


2 Pet. iii. 7, 10-12.

« PreviousContinue »