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the disciples of Christ did not suffer afterwards the same things which Christ said they would. From the 15th to the 28th verse, Christ instructs his disciples into their duty during the siege of Jerusalem, and also down to the coming of the Son of Man. This, you will see, must mean Christ in person; because neither the Holy Spirit nor Father is any where called Son of Man. He likewise speaks of the signs which should follow the destruction of Jerusalem. From the 29th to the 35th verse, inclusive, Christ explains the signs in the heavens and on the earth immediately after the tribulation of the people of God, which had been spoken of as the common lot of all his followers, and which he had promised to shorten for the elect's sake, and of his coming in the clouds with power and great glory; the gathering of his elect from the four winds of heaven; gives his disciples the parable of the fig tree, as an illustration of the end; and then says to his disciples, “Verily, I say unto you, This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled; heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
Here is the great stumbling-block to many. Christ is talking about his elect, his children, and his generation; and not, as some will have it, about the generations that then lived on the earth; for they did undoubtedly pass off, a large share of them; for it was about thirty-six years before the destruction of Jerusalem. But his kingdom has never been taken from the earth. Although they have been hunted from one part of the earth to another; although they have been driven into caves and dens of mountains; have been slain, burnt, sawn asunder; have wandered as pilgrims and strangers on the earth ;- yet the “blood of the martyrs has been the seed of the church ;” and Christ has had, and will have, a people on the earth, until his second coming. 1 Peter ii. 9: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people,” &c. The Psalmist says, “ A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation." Psalm xxii. 30. I humbly believe that Christ has quoted the sentiment contained in the 102d Psalm,
25th to last verse: “Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of thine hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure; yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed; but thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee."
Here we see the Psalmist has expressed the saine sentiment that I understand Christ to have given in these two verses, which [ conclude is the proper explanation. And then the parables which folHow in the remainder of the Ath and 25th chapters, are easily understood as having reference to the end of the world ; and in that way will exactly compare. See the 31st verse of the 25th chapter: “ When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory; and before him shall be gathered all nations,” &c. This verse was not fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem, for the “Son of Man” was not seen in the clouds with power and great glory; and yet the words are, “every eye shall see him ;” and as sudden and as visible “ as the lightning, that shineth from the east even unto the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be.” Can this have passed, and the history of the world have been silent ? No. Could all nations be gathered before him, and there be divided, the righteous from the wicked, and the one part sent to everlasting punishment, while the other is received to life eternal, and none know it? No. Were the elect gathered from the four winds of heaven at the destruction of Jerusalem ? No; they were commanded to flee to the mountains; and history says they did leave that devoted city when the Romans encompassed it with their armies. Then, could the prophecies contained in these chapters have been fulfilled, and the world remain ignorant of some of the most important events? I answer, No. Then the “Son of Man" did not come to the destruction of Jerusalem. If he did, where is the evidence ? None, none, not a particle. But if he did
come to the destruction of Jerusalem, then it must have been his second coming; for Paul says, Heb. ix. 28, “And unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." Can this be true if he came to Jerusalem? The passage certainly implies that his people would have no more sin, or afterwards would be « without sin.” Experience teaches us to the contrary. Again it is said, 1 Thes. iv, 16, 17, " For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall arise first; then we, which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” Who saw this great transaction at Jerusalem ? Were there no witnesses? Yes, the apostle John lived many years after this, and wrote his Gospel, his Epistles, and his Revelation, long after the destruction of Jerusalem. And what does he testify? In his Gospel, 14th chapter, 3d verse, “ And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come and receive you to myself, that where I am there ye may be also.” Again, 28th and 29th verses, “ Ye have heard how I said unto yon, I
go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father; for my Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that when it is come to pass, ye might believe.” Again, 1 John ii. 28, “ And now, little children, abide in him, that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming." And iii. 2, " Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” And, again, in Rev. i. 7, “ Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him; and they also which pierced him, and all kindreds of the earth, shall wail because of him.” Many more places might be mentioned in John's testimony, but not one word that he had already coine again, as some supposed. Let this, then, suffice to prove, that the “glorious appearing,” spoken of in our text, is still future.
And now we will examine some of the evidence of the certainty of his coming, which is our second proposition.
II. The certainty of it:
1st. Because the ancient prophets all spake of it. Jude tells us that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, Behold the Lord cometh, with ten thousands of his saints, &c. Balaam was constrained to admit, “Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, and shall destroy him that remaineth of the city,” plainly referring to the judgment-day; for he says,
“ Alas! who shall live when God doth this ? " See Numbers xxiv. 17-23. And Moses as plainly refers to this day in Deut. xxxii. 43, “ Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful to his land and to his people." David says, Psalm l. 3, 4, “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence; a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him; he shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, (that he may judge his people.”) And Isa. xl. 5, “ And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” In the 39th chapter of Ezekiel, you will see the same day of judgment prophesied of in a clear and plain manner. In Dan. vii. 9, 10, “ I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth before him : thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.” Joel iii. 14,“ Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision, for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.” Zeph. i. 14, “ The great day of the Lord is near; it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord; the mighty men shall cry there bitterly.” Zech. xiv. 5, a And the Lord thy God shall come, and all the saints
with thee.” Mal. iv. 2, “ But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in his wings, and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves in the stall.” And Christ himself says, in Matt. xvi. 27, “ For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels; and then shall he reward every man according to his works." The angels that stood by the disciples at the time Jesus ascended up, and a cloud received him out of their sight, said, “ Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing ap into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” Let us take particular notice of the phrase this same Jesus, and compare with other parallel passages, as, our God shall come, and it will prove to our satisfaction that Jesus Christ is God, as well as man, and we may have strong consolation for our hope in his appearing, for his promises can never fail. “ Heaven and earth may pass away, but not one jot or tittle of his word shall fail.” Also take notice of the words “ like manner,” which agree with the ofter expressed sentence, “ He shall come in the clouds of heaven.” We shall be led to admire the general harmony of the Scriptures, and the agreement of the prophets in their descriptions of future events. Again, Christ says to the church of Philadelphia, Rev. ii. 11, * Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” " For yet a little while and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry," Heb. X. 37. And will not the evidence I have brought from the word of God be sufficient to prove the certainty of his future coming? And if I should argue the tradition of nations that never saw the word of God, the conviction on the mind of men generally, that there must be a day of retribution ; could I open the breast of the reader, and show the thundering of your conscience; yes, could I see and expose the tremblings and failings of heart, which you have had, while you have been looking with fear for those things that are coming on the earth -- of what use would it be? Would you believe it if I could raise a dead friend who would tell