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government, affords an argument for the proof of this doctrine. It is plainly revealed in scripture, and impressed on the consciences of The secret remorse or terror which sinners feel within their own breast, which makes them restless and uneasy, especially when they perceive themselves to stand on the confines of another world, is an undeniable argument that there is a future judgment. What was it that made Belshazzar's countenance to change? Why did his thoughts trouble him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another, when he saw the handwriting against the wall, in the midst of all his mirth and jollity? Was he afraid of the united forces of the Persians and Medes, who at that time invested the capital city, where he then was? Did he know that he should be slain before morning? That was most remote from his thoughts, as apprehending himself safe from danger that might arise from that o quarter. Was he afraid of punishment from men? His condition in the world set him above the dread of any such event. It was the sense he had of a future judgment from God, that produced these effects in him. It was this, that made the heathen governor tremble, when the apostle reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come. And when he was disputing with the Athenians, though they mocked, and treated what he said about the resurrection with ridicule; yet none of them had any thing to object against this doctrine, that God would judge the world in righteousness. Dr. Ridgley.
When all the dispensations of grace are finished, then comes the great day of judgment. Then all mankind, who have acted their part on the stage of the world, in the several successive ages, shall appear together; those who are gone down to death shall arise from the dead at the call or summons of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is appointed Judge of the quick and dead; that is, of those who shall then be found living at his appearance, as well as of those who shall be raised from the grave.
In that great and solemn day, every man shall be judged according to that dispensation of grace, under which he lived, whether it were that of Adam or Noah, Abraham, Moses, or Christ. And
sentence shall be passed upon every man according to his works, that is, according to his compliance or non-compliance with the rules of that dispensation. Dr. Watts.
As to the time of judgment.-The soul will be either happy or miserable immediately after death; but the general judgment will not be till after the resurrection. There is a day appointed, but unknown to man. As to the place, this is also uncertain. Some suppose it will be in the air; because it is said the Judge will come in the clouds of heaven, and the living saints will then be changed, and the dead saints raised, and both be caught up to meet the Lord in the air: others think it will be upon earth. The place where, however, is of little consequence, when compared with the state in which we shall appear. It is certain it will be universal; for we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ. 2 Cor. v. 10. It will be a righteous judgment of God. Rom. ii 5. It will be decisive and eternal as to its consequences. Let us be concerned for the welfare of our immortal interests; flee to the refuge set before us; improve our precious time; depend on the merits of the Redeemer, and adhere to the dictates of the divine word, that we may be found of him in peace. Bishop Hopkins.
Man is a reasonable being, and every reasonable being' is an accountable being. He is a subject capable of moral government. His actions have a relation to a law. He is swayed by rewards and punishments. He acts by counsel, and therefore of his actions he must expect to give an account; as it is Rom. xiv. 12. "So then every one of us shall give an account of himself to God." Especially if we add, that all the gifts of body, mind, estate, time, &c. are so many talents, concredited and betrusted to him by God, and every one of us hath one talent at least; therefore a time to render an account for all these talents will come. Matt. xxv. 14, 15. We are but stewards, and stewards must give an account, in order to which there must be a great audit day.
And what need we seek evidence of this truth, further than our own consciences? Lo, it is a truth engraven legibly upon every man's breast. Every one hath a kind of little tribunal, or privy
sessions, in his own conscience, which both accuses and excuses for good and evil, which it could never do, were there not a future judgment, of which it is now conscious to itself. In this court, records are now kept of all we do, even of our secret actions and thoughts, which never yet took air; but if no judgment, what need of records? Nor let any imagine, that this may be but the fruit of education and discourse-we have heard of such things, and so are scared by them. For if so, how comes it to obtain so universally? Who could be the author of such a common deception?
Reader, bethink thyself a little: if thou hadst a mind (as one saith) to impose a lie upon all the world, what course wouldst thou take? How wouldst thou lay the design? Or why dost thou in this case imagine what thou knowest not how to imagine? It is evident, that the very consciences of the heathens have these offices of accusing and excusing. Rom. ii. 15. And it is hard to imagine, that a general cheat should bow down the backs of all mankind, and induce so many doubts and fears, and troubles, among them, and give an interruption to the whole course of their corrupt living, and that there should be no account of it? And therefore it is undoubted that such a day will come.
It will be an awful and solemn judgment. It will be a critical and exact judgment. Every man will be weighed to his ounces and drachms. The name of the Judge is Kardiognostes, the searcher of hearts. The Judge hath eyes as flames of fire, which pierce to the dividing of the heart and reins. It is said, Matt. xii. 36. that men shall "give an account of every idle word that they shall speak." It is a day that will perfectly fan the world, No hypocrite can escape; Justice holds the balances in an even hand; Christ will go to work so exactly, that some divines of good note think the day of judgment will last as long as this day of the gospel's administration bath lasted, or shall last.
It will be an universal judgment, 2 Cor. v. 10. "We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ." And Rom. xiv. 12, Every one of us shall give an account of himself to God." Those that were under the law, and "those that, having no law, were a law unto themselves." Rom. ii. 12. Those that had many talents,
and he that had but one talent, must appear at this bar. Those that were carried from the cradle to the grave, with him that stooped for age; the rich and poor: the father and the child: the master and servant: the believer and the unbeliever, must stand forth in that day. "I saw the dead, both small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened." Rev. xx. 11.
It will be a judgment of convictive clearness. All things will be so sifted to bran, (as we say) that the sentence of Christ, both on saints and sinners, shall be applauded. "Righteous art thou, O Lord, because thou hast judged thus." His judgments will be as the light that goeth forth. So that those poor sinners, whom he will condemn, shall be first self-condemned. Their own consciences shall be forced to confess, that there is not one drop of injustice in all that sea of wrath, into which they are to be cast.
It will be a supreme and final judgment, from which lies no appeal. It is the sentence of the highest and only Lord. For as the ultimate resolution of faith is into the word and truth of God, so the ultimate resolution of justice is into the judgment of God. This judgment is supreme and imperial. For Christ is "the only Potentate," 1 Tim. iii. 5. and therefore the sentence once passed, its execution is infallible. And so you find it in that judicial process, Matt. xxv. ult. just after the sentence is pronounced by Christ, it is immediately added, "these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal." This is the judgment of the great day, Flavel.
The parties shall be tried. The trial cannot be difficult, because the Judge is omniscient, and nothing can be hid from him. But, that this righteous judgment may be made evident to all, he will set the hidden things of darkness in the clearest light at that trial.
1 Cor. iv. 5.
Men shall be tried first upon their works; for "God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil." Eccl. xii. 14. The Judge will try every man's conversation, and set his deeds all the circumstances thereof, in a true light, Then will many ac
done in the body, with
tions, commended and applauded of men, as good and just, be discovered to have been evil and abominable in the sight of God; and many works, now condemned by the world, will be approved and commended by the great Judge, as good and just. Secret things will be brought to light, and what was hid from the view of the world shall be laid open. Wickedness, which hath kept its lurking-place in spite of all human search, will then be brought forth to the glory of God, and the confusion of impenitent sinners, who hid it. The world appears now very vile in the eyes of those who are exercised to godliness; but it will then appear a thousand times more vile, when that which is done of men in secret comes to be discovered. Every good action shall then be remembered, and the hidden religion and good works, most industriously concealed by the saints from the eyes of the world, shall no more lie hid; for though the Lord will not allow men to proclaim every man his own. goodness, yet he himself will do it in due time.
Secondly, Their words shall be judged. Matt. xii. 37. “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." Not a word spoken for God and his cause, in the world, from love to himself, shall be forgotten. They are all kept in remembrance, and shall be brought forth, as evidences of faith, and of an interest in Christ. "Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard it; and a book of remembrance was written before him. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels." Mal. iii. 16, 17. And the tongue, which did run at random, shall then confess to God; and the speaker shall find it to have been followed, and every word noted, that dropped from bis unsanctified lips. "Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment." Matt. xii. 36. And if they shall give an account of idle words, that is, words spoken to no good purpose, neither to God's glory, one's own, nor one's neighbour's good; how much more shall men's wicked words, their sinful oaths, curses, lies, filthy communications, and bitter words, be called over again at that day? The tongues of many shall then fall upon themselves, and ruin them,