24 November 1765

Lecture 24

When Jesus ascended, the angels assured his disciples, this same Jesus who is taken up from you, shall come as you have seen him go.[1] The belief of this is expressed in the Creed – ‘From thence he shall come, to judge both the quick of[and?] the dead.’
Hence we have:
1. The person – He
Jesus who was once crucified. How different his second appearance from his first, when he lived upon earth in a state of humiliation. Hereafter he shall appear in glory – the Lord shall descend with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trump of God. [2] Behold he cometh in the clouds and every eye shall see him, and they also that pierced him. [3]
2. The certainty – He shall come
Because the Lord is long–suffering, and does not execute judgement speedily, wicked and ungodly men, abuse his patience, despise his threatenings and say Where is the promise of his coming, for since the beginning all things continue as they were. [4] But he is not slack as some men account slackness. When Noah warned his generation of the approaching flood, he was not regarded; when Lot said to his friends Up for the Lord will destroy this place, he seemed to them as one that mocked [5] – But the word of God took place – the old world was drowned, Sodom was destroyed. These examples are recorded for our instruction, lest any of us perish through the same evil heart of unbelief. O that we could believe the certainty of the Word of God. Not one jot or tittle that he has spoken shall fail. He has denounced death, and we see none can escape. So assuredly will he come again. His justice, honour and truth are all engaged.
3. His purpose – To judge both quick, that is, the living, and the dead 
His appearance will be sudden and unexpected to some who will be [sleeping?]. [6] He will have some of his own people waiting for him, to welcome his approach and to say, Lo, this is our God. These shall be instantly changed, the dead raised, and all assembled to meet the Lord in the air, when he shall call to the heavens above and to the earth that he may judge his people.

This judgement is described by expressions taken from the usages of men – but it is indeed comparing great things to small. The most important assemblies and judicatures amongst men are mere children’s play to the solemnities of the great day.
At an Assize time, the entrance of the Judge into the town, is generally noticed. The design of his coming, the train he brings with him, the preparations made for him, and the respect paid to him strike an awe upon the spectators. Much more so upon the poor criminals, who know themselves so nearly[closely] concerned in it. But O how astonishing will be the coming of the Judge of quick and dead. What a train of glorious angels and glorified saints. At his approach the elements will melt with fervent heat – the sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, the earth and all its works will be covered with devouring flames – the heavens will be rolled up as a scroll. [7] So surely as we now see each other, we must see these things. How is it that we are no more affected with what we profess to believe?
When the judge is seated the prisoners are brought to the bar, the law books produced, the witnesses summoned, the indictments read. Then what distress are the criminals in, when the facts are proved and the sentence pronounced. But O how much more dreadful the state of those who shall stand in their sins before the judgement of Christ – the patience and goodness, of God, his ordinances and providences, his angels and his people will all be witnesses against them. Then the books will be [opened]: the book of the law, of providence, of conscience – the warnings they have slighted, the convictions they have resisted, the mercies of deliverances they have abused, the vows they have broken, the sins they have committed, by day, by night, abroad, at home, when alone or in company – their wicked thoughts, their profane, unclean, uncharitable and lying speeches – their acts of sin – gluttony, drunkenness, revelling, Sabbath breaking – injustice, strife, cruelty, lasciviousness, extortion, oppression of the poor – shall all be set in order with all their aggravations in one view. The effect of this judgement we have in Revelation 6:15,16. [8]
After judgement sentence will be pronounced. Some tender-hearted people who can hear a trial, cannot bear to be present at the condemnation. The distress of the poor prisoners is so great. How then will the final sentence of Christ be bor[n]e by them, who must not only hear but sink under its weight. O that awful word, Depart. [9]
This is one part of the judgement of Christ – another is to clear and justify his own people. Another book will be opened which is the book of life, the blessed Gospel – according to which all who have believed in his name, shall be declared free from all condemnation. He will acknowledge their names, recount  their poor services, make known the triumphs of his grace in them. Then will he say, Come ye blessed of my father, etc. [10]
Now are these things so. Then:
1. What do poor sinners mean by going on in their evil ways?  Can your hearts endure or your hands be strong? Is your flesh iron and your bones brass? Can you escape this judgement or stand out against it?  It is on this account the Lord says, Why will you die? [11]  Seek him now as a Saviour, and then when he comes as a judge, you will know him for your friend.
2. What a day will that judgement [be] – to the hypocrite, the formal professor, and self-righteous boaster – then all their disguises will be stripped off, their profession examined by the strict law, and they weighed in the balance of the sanctuary will be found wanting – and all their vain hopes disappointed.
3. But O happy day for his people. Then their [guilt ] shall be cleared, their tears wiped away, their honours and happiness complete. Then they shall see a reason for all their sufferings here below – that the Lord was not unmindful of them. They shall see how weakly they reasoned when they said, Wherefore do the wicked flourish? [12] When they come into the great sanctuary of God all difficulties will be cleared, and there will be evidence that there always was, and will be a real essential difference between the righteous and the wicked, between them that feared God and them that served him not.

1. Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up 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.
2. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 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 rise first:
3. Revelation 1:7 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. Even so, Amen.
4. 2 Peter 3:4 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.
5. Genesis 19:14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.
6. Mark 13:36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
7. 2 Peter 3:10; Acts 2:20; Revelation 6:14
8. Revelation 6:15,16 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
9. Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
10. Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
11. Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
12. Job 21:7 Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power?

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