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former things shall no more come into remembrance.' Here man may indulge in wonder without loss of dignity; not to be astonished here would be unnatural! Christ himself is represented, ages before his incarnation, as contemplating this scene with boundless delight, as rehearsing his victory over death from eternity. From the bosom of the Father he looked on through the vista of time, while the successive parts of his great work passed in slow and stately procession, till he beheld the scene of the rising dead; all the intermediate ages instantly vanished; he saw in anticipation, the king of terrors disarmed beneath his feet, the world flooded with light and life, the song of myriads of myriads reached his ear, shouting his name as their Great Deliverer; and, with holy impatience to realize the scene, he exclaimed, •[ will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death; O death, I will be thy plagues! O grave, I will be thy destruction!' And during the interval till he came in the flesh, did his interest in the prospect appear to have evaporated? What truth did he more frequently or solemnly teach? Thrice, in rapid succession, he exclaimed, 'I will raise them up at the last day;' as if he sought to find, in the bare repetition of the truth, a solace and compensation for deferring the event. Nor, since his ascension, does his desire to realize it appear to have suffered the least abatement. On the contrary, 'from henceforth he is expecting' till this last enemy shall be destroyed. When last he appeared before his church, to close the visions of futurity, the character which he selected for the occasion, was,
he that hath the keys of the invisible world, and of death.' This is the capacity in which he will next greet the eyes of the redeemed; meanwhile, he is training them to raise, in concert with himself, this shout over the last of their foes, O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy vic
SECTION VII.-OF THE FINAL JUDGMENT.
"The Son of man shall come in his glory; and before him shall be gathered all
We have already had occasion to remark that the resurrection of the dead will not take place as a final event, that it stands in the relation of means to an end, and that end, the general judgment, with its eternal awards. Even *Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of that day, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all.' And Solomon, when, in the capacity of a preacher, he looked round the universe for the strongest motive to holy obedience the motive which should render it unnecessary to seek another -took it from the prospect of a judgment to come; Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter : Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of
For God shall bring every work into judgment, with
every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil.'
He who sees the end from the beginning,' has imparted to man a subordinate prescience of the same comprehensive kind, has sketched on his mind an outline of the great system of providence, and filled him with presentiments of the principal events which are to attend the developement of that system. The consequence is, that wherever the Bible comes, it finds our nature preconfigured to many of its truths, waiting for an interpreter, and ready to respond to the truth of many a prediction, as a prophecy, or an an
ticipation with which it had long been familiar in thought, and for which it only wanted divine authentication and a name in order to regard it as a solemn reality. Indeed, in this respect, the work of God only resembles his word; for as in his word, he has often disclosed the infinite affluence of his mind by revealing, with all the simplicity of apparent unconsciousness, an eternal principle in a passing word; and infinite project in an incidental allusion; so, in the construction of the human mind, he has traced on it characters and imagery which can only be read by the light of eternity; thrown on it the unsteady shadows of objects which stand yet far distant on the plains of futurity. Of these pre-intimations we know of none more deeply inlaid in the mind than that of future retribution. That the ancient saints lived in the faith of it we know ; for the Spirit of inspiration has recorded the very words in which, in the prospect of that day, they triumphed over their persecutors, and
sang of the joy that would crown them in the day of the Lord.' And, relying on the uniformity and immutability of the human constitution, we may safely infer that ancient sinners anticipated it also. There were moments when they possessed the warning of its approach in the restless apprehensions of their own breasts; moments when the fires of that day seemed to rise up in the distant horizon, and to cast a lurid glare on the face of their startled and trembling conscience; when the mention of such a day would have fallen in with the smothered forebodings of their minds; would have aroused an inward monitor, which, however carefully laid to sleep, was ready to awake at the slightest summons, and to bear testimony in the cause of righteousness.
But though the doctrine of a future judgment did not originate in the teaching of Christ, though from the earliest ages, mankind had variously received it, yet the light they possessed, even the revealed light, did but just suffice dimly to show them the Judge enthroned in clouds, and surrounded with judgments; while, from his superiority to temptation, his greatness and perfection, they inferred that the Judge of all the earth would do right. But the person of the Judge, the pomp and process of the judgment, its most solemn circumstances, and affecting results—all this was comparatively unknown to them; and in supplying the information our Lord has greatly enlarged the origal part of his teaching.
1. When speaking of the final judgment, it is observable that he seldom omitted to insist and enlarge on its publicity. He thus reminds us, that the end for which there is any judgment at all, is best secured by having it held in the presence of all worlds; that piety may be most honored, sin most abashed, and the government of God vindicated and glorified, on the largest possible scale. In a few desrciptive words, he fills the horizon with intelligent beings of all orders and characters. It will not be the judgment of a single individual, nor of a nation, but of a whole world of intelligent and accountable beings. Ii will not be an assize for sins of recent commission merely, sins committed thousands of years before will be reproduced and examined, with all their circumstances of aggravation, as if they had been only just commiited. What a profound impression will that produce of the holy character of God, and of the infinite enormity of sin! When his people are crowned, he would not have one of their enemies absent; and when the ungodly are doomed he would not have one of the righteous absent; he would have them now to forestall that day, to feel by anticipation, that they are speaking with the universe fortheir audience and acting in the great theatre of the judgment; and, then he would have them to depart to their respective allotments
bearing away with them impressions of the hatefulness of sin, and the beauty of holiness, which shall remain uneffaced through all the scenes of eternity.
2. Pursuing our examination, we recognize in the Judge the person
of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Son of man shall come in his glory, and before him shall be gathered all nations.' "The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son.' He hath authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man;' in his super-added humanity, consists the very reason of his appointment. If the Judge is to be seen on that day with our bodily eyes, and if realities are to triumph on that day over appearances, substances over shadows, then is it fit that no illusion should sit on the throne, that he should occupy it who is, 'without controversy, God manifest in the flesh.' If that is to be the day of final compensation, the day in which all the arrears of reward and honor shall be brought up to all the sufferers in the cause of virtue, then is it fit that the Judge, the Prince of sufferers, and who is set forth as the type of the happiness which holy suffering yields, should receive, in his own person, the amplest compensation ; that he who submitted to be arraigned, and who occupied the cross here, should then ascend the throne as his proper reward. If it was right that the work of salvation should be commenced, it must also be right that it should be completed; and if it was fit that Christ should undertake it, then is it fit, that, in order to evince his competency, and reward his toils, he also should complete it; that the honor of conferring the last great blessings of his grace, and of giving the final application to the great principles of his dispensation, should be enjoyed by him alone. If it was right in God, so to construct the plan of salvation, that in all its workings it should be made to yield to believers, as it does, the largest possi