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will judge the world in righteousness, by that Man whom he hath ordained,” Acts xxvii. 31. The Psalmist tells us, that God is judge himself, Psalm 1. 6. The holy bless. ed Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is Judge, in respect of judicial authority, dominion, and power: But the Son incarnate is the Judge, in respect of dispensation, and special exercise of that power. The judgment shall be exercised or performed by him, as the royal Mediator; for he has a delegated power of judgment from the Father, as his Servant, his King, whom he hath 'set upon his holy hill of Zion, Psal. ii. 6. and to whom he hath committed all judgment, John v. 2. This is a part of the Mediator's exaltation, given him, in consequence of his voluntary humiliation, Philip. iii. 8, 9, 10. " He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name, which is above every name,” (i. e. power and authority over all, to wit) That at (or in) the name of Jesus (not the name of Jesus, that is not the name above every name, being common to others, as to Justus, Col. iv. 11. And Joshua, Heb. iv. 8.) every knee shall bow. The which is explained by the Apostle himself, of standing before the judgment seat of Christ, Rom. xiv. 10, 11. So he who was judged and condemned of men, shall be the Judge of men and angels.
Secondly, Jesus Christ, the Judge descending from heaven into the air (1 Thes. iv. 16.) shall “ come in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory,” Matth. xxiv. 30. This his coming, will be a mighty surprise to the world, which will be found in deep security : Foolish virgins sleeping, and the wise slumbering. There will then be much luxury and debauchery in the world, little sobriety and watchfulness; agreat throng of business, but a great scarcity of faith and holiness : “ As it was in the days of Noah, so also shall it be in the days of the Son of man: They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark; and the food came and destroyed them all. Likewise, also, as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded. Even thus shall it be, in the day when the Son of man is revealed," Luke xyil. 26, 27, 28, 30. The coming of the Judge will surprise some at markets, buying and selling ; others at table, eating and drinking, and making merry; others busy with their new plantings; some building new houses; nay some's wedding-day, will be their own and the world's judgment-day. But the Judge cometh ! the market’s are marred; the buyer throws away what he has bought; the seller casts down his money: They are raised from the table, and their mirth is extinguished in a moment. Though the tree be set in the earth, the gardner may not stay to cast the earth about it: The work-inen throw
away their tools, when the house is half-built, and the owner regards it no more : The bridegroom, brides and guests, must leave the wedding-feast, and appear be. fore the tribunal; for, “ Behold he cometh with clouds ! and every eye shall see him !” Rey. i. 7. He shall come most gloriously; for he will come in the glory of his Father, with the holy angels, Mark viii. 38. When he came in the flesh, to die for sinners, he laid aside the robes of his glory, and was despised and rejected of men: But when he comes again, to judge the world, such shall be his visible glory and majesty, that it shall cast an eternal veil over all earthly glory, and fill his greatest enemies with fear and dread. Never had prince, or potentate in the world, such a glorious train, as will accompany this Judge! All the holy angels shall come with him for his: honour and service. Then he, who was led to the cross: with a band of soldiers, will be gloriously attended to the place of judgment, by (not a multitude of the heavenly. host, but the whole host of angels : All his holy angels; says the text.
Thirdly, At the coming of the Judge, the summons is given to the parties, by the sound of the last trumpet; at which the dead are raised, and these found alive changed; of which before, 1 Thes. iv. 16, 17. O loud trumpet that shall be heard at once, in all corners of the earth, and of the sea ! () wonderful voice, that will not only disturb those who sleep in the dust; but effectually awaken, rouze them out of their sleep, and raise them from death! Were trumpets sounding now,drums beating, furioussoldierscry; ing and killing men, women and children running and shricking, the wounded groaning anddying; those who are
raves, would þaye no more slisturbance than if Clic
world were in most profound peace. Yea, were stormy winds casting down the lofty oaks, the seas roaring and swallowing up the ships, the most dreadful thunders going along the heavens, lightnings every where flashing, the earth quaking, trembling, opening and swallowing up whole cities, and burying multitudes at once; the dead would still enjoy a perfect repose, and sleep soundly in the dust, though their own dust should be thrown out of its place. But at the sound of this trumpet, they shall all awake. The morning is come, they can sleep no longer ; the time of the dead, that they must be judged: They must get out of their graves, and appear before the Judge.
Fourthly, The Judge shall sit down on the tribunal : “ He shall sit on the throne of his glory.” Sometimes he stood, before a tribunal on earth, and was condemned as a malefactor : then shall he sit on his own tribunal, and judge the world.
Sometimes he hung upon a cross, covered with shame : then he shall sit on a throne of glory. What this throne shall be, whether a bright cloud, or what else, I shall not enquire : Our eyes will give an answer to that question at length. John saw a great white throne, Rey. xx. 11. “ His throne (says Daniel) was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire,” ch. vii. 9. Whatever it be, doubtless it shall be a throne glorious beyond expression ; and, in comparison with which, the most glorious throne on the earth, is but a seat on a dunge hiil; and the sight of it will equally surprise kings, who sit on thrones in this life, and beggars, who sat in dunghills. It will be a throne, for stateliness and glory, suited to the quality of him who shall sit on it. Never had a jadge such a throne, and never had throne such a judge on it.
Leaving the discovery of the nature of the throne, until that day, it concerns us more nearly to consider what a Judge will sit upon it; a point in which we are not left to uncertain conjectures. The Judge, on the throne will be (1.) A visible Judge, visible to our bodily eyes, Rev. i. 7. Every eye shall see him. When God gave the law on mount Sinai, the people saw no similitude, only they heard a voice, but when he calls the world to an account, how they have observed his law; the man Christ being Judge, we shall see our Judge with ogreyes, eitherto our eternal comfort ok?
confusion;according to the entertainment we give him now. That very body which was crucified without the gates of Jerusalem, betwixt two thieves, shall then be seen on the throne, shining in glory. We now see him symbolically in the sacramentof the supper; the saints see him by the eye of faith : then, all shall see him with these eyes now in their heads. (2.) A Judge, having full authority and power to render unto every one according to his works. Christ; as God, hath authority of himself; and, as Mediator, he hath a judicial power and authority, which his Father has invested him with, according to the covenant between the Father and the Son, for the redemption of sinners. And his divine glory will be a light, by which all men shall see clearly to read his commission for this great and honourable employment All power is given unto him, in heaven and in earth, Matth. xxviii. 18. He hath the keys of hell and of death, Rev. i. 18. There can be no appeal from his tribunal : sentence once past there, must stand for ever; there is no reversing of it. All appeals are from an inferior court to a superior one; but when God gives sentence against a man, where can he find a higher court to bring his process to? This judgment is the Mediator's judgment, and therefore the last judgment. If the Intercessor be against us, who can be for us? If Christ condemn us, who will absolve us ? (3.) A Judge of infinite wisdom. His eyes will pierce into, and clearly discern the most intricate cases. His omniscience qualifies him for judging of
the most retired thoughts, as well as of words and works. The most subtle sinner shall not be able to outwit him, nor by any artful management to palliate the crime. He is the searcher of hearts, to whom nothing can be hid or perplexed, but all things are naked and open unto his eyes, Heb. iv. 13. (4.) A most just Judge : à Judge of perfect integrity. He is the righteous Judge, 2 Tim. iv. 8. And his throne a great white throne, Rev.xx.11. From whence no judgment shall proceed, but what is most pure and spotless. The Thebans painted justice blind, and without hands : for judges ought not to respect persons, nor take bribes. The Ăreopagites judged in the dark, that they might not regard who spoke, but what was spoken. With the Judge on this throne, there will be no respect of per sons; he will neither regard the persons of the rich, n
of the poor, but just judgment shall go forth in every one's
Lastly, An omnipotent Judge, able to put his sentence in execution. The united force of devils and wicked men, will be altogether unable to withstand him. They cannot retard the execution of the sentence against them one moment; far less can they stop it altogether. Thou. sand thousands of angels minister unto him, Dan. vii. 10. And by the breath of his mouth, he can drive the cursed herd whither he pleaseth.
Fifthly, The parties shall compear. These are men and devils. Although these last, the fallen angels, were, from the first moment of their sinning, subjected to the wrath of God, and were cast down to hell ; and whereso. ever they go, they carry their hell about with them; yet, it is evident, that they are reserved unto judgment, 2 Pet. ii. 14. namely, unto the judgment of the great day, Jude 6. And then they shall be solemnly and publicly judged, 1 Cor. vi. 3. “ Know ye not, that we shall judge angels ?" At that day they shall answer for their trade of sinning, and tempting to sin, which they have been carrying on from the beginning. Then many a hellish brat, which Satan has laid down at the saint's door, but not adopted by them, shall be laid at the door of the true father of them, that is, the devil. And he shall receive the due reward of all the dishonour he has done to God, and all the mischief he has done to, men.
Those wicked spirits, now in chains (though not in such straight custody, but that they go about like roaring lions, seeking whom they may devour) shall then receive their final sentence, and be shut up in their den, namely, in the prison of hell; where they shall be held in extreme and unspeakable torment through all eternity, Rev.
“ And the devil that deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are ; and shall be tormented day and night, for ever and ever.” In the prospect of which, the devils said to Christ, “ Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?" Matth. viii. 29.
But what we are chiefly concerned to take notice of, is the case of men at that day. All men must compear before this tribunal: All, of each sex, and of every age, quality and condition ; the great and small, noble and ignoble ; Kone are exceptedAdam and Eve, with all their sons.