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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 perfettion; and so "come "in his own glory" as Mediator, "and in the glory "of the Father," as sovereign Lord of all. This revelation of Jesus Christ will be visible to the whole world. "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." 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 sorrows!The mount of transfiguration, when "his counte
nance 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 "bayen with his mighty angels:" the angels of his po and authority; the ministers of his vengeance and his love." At the end of the world, the Son of man "shall send forth his angels; and they shall gather out "of his kingdom all things that offend, and them "that do iniquity; 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, 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 archangel and the 46 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 mo"ment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump. "For the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be "raised incorruptible, 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
Mátt. xiii. 41-43. xxiv. 30, 31,
"that have done evil to the resurrection of damna "tion."* 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 may be swallowed up "in victory." Afterwards the multitudes of the wicked will" awake to shame and everlasting con"tempt."-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."+
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, re"served 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 a great noise, and the "elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, "and all the works which are therein shall be burned up." Yea, "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
1 Thess. iv. 16. 1 Cor. xv. 51, 52. John, v. 28, 29.
‡ 2 Pet, iii. 7, 10—12.
tongues as it were faulter, 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 idolized those things, which are the prey of all-devouring flames! of those who have blasphemed that Saviour, who appears to be their Judge! or ridiculed the divine testimony concerning the place of torment, and those evil spirits which are ready to seize upon them! Let us then recollect, that we shall be present, not as mere spectators, but as cited" to give account to him that "is ready to judge the quick and the dead.""For "we must all appear before the judgment seat of "Christ, that every one may receive the things done "in his body, according to that he hath done, whe"ther it be good or bad.*" Our present conduct is voluntaly; we choose whether we will serve the Lord, or no: but we shall not be allowed to choose, whether we will stand before his tribunal, or decline the awful decision.
It is extremely frivolous to start objections against the doctrines of revelation, taken from our low apprehensions, or levelled against the misinterpretations of injudicious believers. "Ye do err, not knowing the "scriptures nor the power of God." He hath declared these things in his authenticated word: "his "testimony is sure and giveth wisdom unto the sim. ple:" and "he that believed not hath made him a "liar."
Will any man presume to say, that it is impossible for God to raise the dead? That human nature should be capable of such daring absurdity, ought to cover us with shame, and cause us to tremble.—Let us, my friends, imitate the old patriarch, who "by faith, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, was "moved with fear and prepared an ark." Let us prepare to meet our God, and seriously enquire, "Who may abide the day of his coming? Or who may stand when he appeareth?"
Neither ought we to regard those "scoffers,” who, according to the prediction of the apostle, are "come "in these last days, walking after their own lusts, and saying, where is the promise of his coming? for since "the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they "were from the beginning of the creation." We know not indeed the precise time when the Lord shall come; but we should not be ignorant that, "one day "is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thou"sand years as one day:" and we are assured that "the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the "night; for when they shall say, peace and safety, "then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as tra"vail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape."* Death is very near, and judgment follows. In this sense "The Judge standeth at the "door:" and "the end of all things is at hand.” "Be ye therefore ready; for ye know not what hour "your Lord doth come." The intervening space will soon elapse: let us then, "account his long suf
* 1 Thess. v. 2, 3.