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2. Some think the resurrection impossible. It must be allowed on all hands that the difficulties are great, especially if we insist upon the resurrection of the same body. The materials of which our bodies are formed, are in a perpetual state of change even in this life; and after death these materials may undergo innumerable changes. But every difficulty on this head vanishes, when we consider the wisdom, power, and promise of God. He knows how to collect the scattered particles ; and his power is omnipotent. Surely it will not be harder to raise the dead than to create a world out of nothing! Hard and easy are things belonging to us; but every thing, which does not imply a contradiction, is easy with God.
Lastly: We are not only, assured that there will be a resurrection, but that it will be sudden and awful even to saints; but to sinners it will be dreadful beyond description. It is probable that every one will have the same features which he had in this life, by which he will be known to be the same identical person. But O what a change! Some shining in all the gloriés of the Redeemer, and others covered with shame and confusion. O O may we have a happy resurrection from the dead! Amen.
The General Judgment.
Rev. xx. 12. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before
God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
THE book of Revelations is the only prophetical book of the new testament. John, the beloved disciple of our Lord, was banished, by the Emperor Domition, into the Isle of Patmos, where he had a visionary representation of all the great events which should happen from his time, to the time when the saints shall be finally settled in the Neto Jerusalem.
In this passage we have three things: The dead, small and great, stand before God—the books are opened and the dead are judged out of those things written in the books, according to their works.
I. THE DEAD, SMALL AND GREAT, STAND BEFORE GOD.
1. By the dead, small and great, we are to understand the whole of the human race. What a vast assembly! Men of all nations, of all ages, and of all conditions, make up this great multitude ! There was never any thing like it before, and there will never be any thing like it again. Dean Prideaux tells us that the forces of Xerxes, when he invaded Greece, amounted to two millions, six hundred and forty one thousand, six hundred and ten men; besides eunuchs, women, sutlers, and other people who followed his camp, amounting to as many more. So that the whole number of persons that followed Xerxes in that expedition, wėrę' at least fwe millions. But those were a mere handful, compared with the dead small and great, who will stand before God in that great day.'. Who can number them? He only whọ numbers the sands of the sea, and the stars of the firmament.
2, They stand before God. It is awful to stand before an earthly judge, though but a mere man; but how much more awful to stand before the heavenly Judge, who is both God and man! Human judges may err; but the Judge of quick and dead cannot. They only know a part; but he
knows all things. They may be bribed to do wrong; but God, the Judge, is essentially just. “ He is the rock, his work his perfect; for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth, and without iniquity, just and right is he.
Could we enter into the feelings of that day, how trifling and insignificant would all the affairs of this lower world appear! The righteous will stand firm, erect, and joyful, before the Judge ; but the wicked will stand trembling, hanging down their heads, and filled with the most terrifying apprehensions! We now turn from the as sembly to the books.
II. THE BOOKS ARE OPENED.
Books are kept to preserve a knowledge of past events. God has no need of such records ; but to represent the equity of his proceedings the subject is set forth in this way. The books which will be opened in the day of judgment are of two kinds, general and special. Let us consider each.
1. The general books will be various, Without indulging faneiful and imaginary notions, we may suppose the following books will be opened: The book of God's conduct towards mens including creation, providence, redemption, and grace ; which book will fully vindicate the character, and display the glory of the eternal Gød. His wisdom, power, justice, mercy, and truth, will appear in shining characters, to the comfort of his friends, and the confusion of his enemies. All must then see that his way has been perfect, and that he never did, nor ever could do wrong. A second book to be opened will contain the various laws, or rules of conduct, which God has given to men, under every dispensation. It will contain the law which has been written in the hearts of menthe law of Moses, and the law of Christ. When this book shall be opened, it will discover what men should have been, and what they should have done in every situation. This book will plainly shew the equity of God, who never required of men more than he gave them power to perform ; but who wisely and graciously suited duties to privileges; so that where much was given, much was required; and where little was given, little was required. A third book will unfold human conduct. The omniscience of God, which records every work, will exhibit a complete and universal history of man. These records will be large, but plain and intelligible ; so that he who could not read before, will now both read and understand.