Page images

Entertainment would here be, only to fee all Mankind together; all the Men of Name and Renown, whose Fame is recorded in Story, who have signalized themselves in their feveral Ages by their Piety and Virtue, and Wisdom and Valour ; or it may be by their Vices; but this will be no time to gratifie our Curiosity, when we all meet to receive oúr Final Doom.

& more concerns us at present to draw another Scene of Things, and to imagine how differently men will appear at the Day of Judgment, from what they do in this world. We shall see all Mankind together rise with their own Bodies, just the same Men that they were, but yet guanErm'mutamus ab illo, they won't look altogether as they did ; there will be some change in their Countenances, which will betray very different Paffions, and give a very different Air and Afpect to them.

We may easily imagine that Atheists and Infidels, who have disputed very Subtilly and Philofophically against a God and Religion, and broke many a Witty Jeft upon Heaven and Hell, wil be not a little amazed, when they fhall fee all their Philofophy confuted, and their Jests quite spoiled by the Appearance of their Judge.

What Surprize and Aftonishment will then be feen in the Looks of secure Sinners, who never thought of Judgment, but reckoned themselves Yery safe, by banishing the Thoughts of it! As if God would not judge them, unless they thought of being judged,


[ocr errors]

The brave and the bold Sinners, who trocka ed at Fear, especially at the Fear of God, as a base and unmanly Paffion, will not be able to conceal their Fears then; but even those mighty Hectors, the great Disturbers of Mankind, who carry'd Fear and Terror in their Looks, and made the World tremble before them, will then stand trembling before their. Judge, and call to the rocks and mountains to fall on them, and hide them from the wrath of the Lamb.

On the other hand, with what Triumph will Good Men lift up their heads ; the the despised, the persecuted, the reproached, the vilified Worshippers of the Crucified Jefus, and the Disciples of the Cross? Their Sorrows will then fly away like the Shades of Night at the approach of the Sun, their Tears will be dried up, and we shall see nothing but secure Joy give Luftre and Brightness to their Looks.

the poor,

We are extremely imposed on by the prefent appearance of things; Vice looks


and bold, and fearless in this world, and Virtue many times as mean and contemptible as Injustice and Oppression can make it, that it would be of great use to us sometimes to remove the Scene from thisWorld to the Day of Judgment, when all Mankind shall appear together ; the greatest Appearance that ever was; and therefore it is much more considerable how we shall appear then, than how we appear in this world.


But the Enquiry here is, Why GOD judges all the world at once, and summons all Mankind together to receive their Final Sentence ? Now that God will do so is very plain ; why he does it, he has not told us; but whoever wisely confiders this Matter will discover great and excellent ends which may be served by such a publick Judgment; and that may fatisfy us that there is great reason why God should do it; and these may be referred to two General Head. : 1. With respect to God himself. 2. With respect to Men, both Good and Bad Men.

[ocr errors]

I. With respect to God; And this Universal Judgment greatly tends to advance the Divine Name and Glory:

I. As I hinted to you before, this will justify the Divine Providence, and display all the various Wisdom, and expound and unriddle all the secret Mysteries of it: When God comes to judge the World, it is to justify himself as well as to judge men ; for what St. Paul says, is most properly applicable to the Last Judgment , Let God be true, and every man a liar ; as it is written, That thou mighteft be justified in thy Sayings, and mighteft overcome when thou art judged, 3. Rom. 4. And St. Jude makes this one great end of the last Judgment , The Lord shall come with ten thousand of bis : Saints, to execute judgment upon all, to convince all that are ungodly among them ; of all their ungodly deeds, which they bave ungodly committed and of all their bard Speeches which ingodly Sinners bave spoken


ageinst bim, Jude 14, 15. How many such hard Speeches do we daily hear against the Divine Providence and how hard are Good men, who know but little of the matter, put to it to answer die Cavils and Reproaches of Atheists and Infidels? We can indeed say enough in general to vindicate the Divine Wisdom, and Justice, and Goodness; but there are a thousand particular Cases which seem very hard, which we can say nothing to, because we know nothing of them.

But when all the World shall be fummoned before God's Tribunal, all the Ages and Generations of men, we shall then have a perfect History of Providence, and that will expound the Reasons of Things, which are now obscure. When we shall hear how every particular man, cvery Age and Generation of Men, every Countrey and Nation have behaved themfelves, and how God dealt with them; what Talents they were entrusted with, and what account they give; then all Mouths will be stopped, and the whole world will become guilty before, Ged, 3. Rom. 19.' Then we shall see an entire Chain of Providences, and all the various and intricate Turnings of the Divine Wisdom in its different Forms and Administrations, but still within the Sphere and Circle of Justice and Goodness. How shall we then admire GOD, when we shall see all these wonderful and curious Scenes unfolded ! when we shall observe the gradual and regular Advances of Goodness in the several Ages of the World, proportioned to the Wants and Capacities of


Mén, till it came to the full Maturity and Perfection of Gospel-Grace! What a delightful Prospect will this be to good Men! how will it enlarge their knowledge! increase their Wonder! inflame their Devotions! How will it confound bad Men, especially all the Prophane Scoffers at God and his Providence! How will this aggravate and increase their Torments that they will be forced to admire and justify God in their own Damnation, which must turn all their Rage and Fury upon themselves!

This is Reason enough why God should judge the World all together, to justify himself to all his Creatures, and to make a glorious Discovery of all the Wonders and My steries of his Grace and Providence: Good Men fee enough at present to admire and praise God: But now, as St. Paul tells us, We know in part, and we prophesy in part: But when that which is perfect is come ,' then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a Child, I spake as a Child, I understood as a Child, I thought as a Child But when I bem came a Man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a Glass darkly; but then Face to Face : Now I know in part ; but then shall I know even as also I am known, 1 Cor. 13. 9, IO, II, 12. The Divine Wisdom will never appear so Glorious as at the Day of Judgment, because it will never be so perfectly known, as then when he shall come to be glorified in his Saints, and admired in all theni that believe, 2. Thef. 1. 10. What good Man would not long to fee that Bleffed Day.

« PreviousContinue »