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with their substance, who clothed the naked, fed the hungry, visited the sick, and spake comfortably to those that were cast down. There will be an illustrious company of martyrs and confessors, who took joyfully the spoiling of their goods for Christ's sake, or laid down their lives in testimony of the truth. In short, there will be many found among the saints in that day who will be a wonder to each other, as well as to themselves. Now this great multitude of such persons will reflect honour on Christ, by whom they were redeemed, by whose grace they were saved, and by whose Spirit they were conducted safe through all the temptations of this world, and enabled to persevere to the end of life, notwithstanding the difficulties they met with in the way. Every individual in that triumphant army shall ascribe his conquest to the grace of the Captain of his salvation, and cast his honours at the feet of his Lord and Saviour, with grateful acknowledgments and shouts of praise. Particularly we may observe, that at the second coming of Christ, his wisdom will appear illustrious. The preaching of the cross has by many in this world been deemed foolishness. But then it will be manifest beyond the possibility of further doubt and question, that the “ foolishness of God,” that divine dispensation which many had counted foolishness, and despised, was wiser than all the “wisdom of men.” Some, indeed, yea, not a few, do now perceive and acknowledge it to be a welllaid design, admirably suited to the weakness and degeneracy of human nature; and they are ready with the apostle to say, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” and that “he hath abounded towards us in all wisdom and prudence.” But at Christ's second appearance, the contrivance of this dispensation will appear still more wonderful. It will be manifest, particularly in the great number of the saints, then collected and brought together in one assembly from the several parts of the world, to whom the crucified Saviour has been “made of God wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” Then shall these words of Scripture shine in full glory—“For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” It is, indeed, a vast and delightful scene of contemplation which will then be open to the saints, to observe the origin of the design, the several steps, the continued progress, and the final completion, of the recovery and salvation of so many frail and sinful men, by Jesus Christ; and to observe the extent of the government of his church, and the world in general, in its several parts and ages, from the time of his exaltation to the right hand of God, to that great and glorious day when all intelligent creatures are brought before his tribunal. His power, displayed in the resurrection of the dead, especially his saints, performed by his word, will appear astonishingly great and wonderful. This is what our Saviour mentions as so marvellous, in answer to some false or frivolous objections of the Jews. “For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth; and he will show him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.” Now, says he, “Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth, they that have done good unto the resurrection of life,
and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation.” His power will be displayed also in the activity and agility given to their raised bodies, by which they will be able to ascend and meet the Lord in the air, and to move from place to place with an inconceivable swiftness, and perhaps be capable of ascending with the same freedom and ease as they now descend. Those skilled in philosophy tell us, that the present weight of our bodies is not an absolute inseparable property of them, but only the effect of the Creator's will. Then will that prophecy be literally fulfilled, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” His truth and faithfulness will shine forth with amazing lustre. This is the day for the full accomplishment of all his great and precious promises, on which his people have depended, and by which they have been animated in the whole of their religious course. Here, in this world, by his law and gospel, he delivered rules of life, and made gracious promises to them that were practically obedient. He encouraged men, at his call, to forsake all earthly goods for his sake; assuring them of abundant recompense hereafter. In his preaching he publicly declared, with the greatest solemnity, “This is the Father's will, which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one that seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” Now, on the ground of a clear conviction of his divine authority and character, which he claimed, and a persuasion of the truth of all his declarations and promises, believers have
given themselves up to him, and therefore obey his injunctions; they have been induced to seek principally such things as are now distant and unseen, and not to prefer, but sometimes to forego the pleasures, possessions, and honours of the present world, and every thing desirable therein, in hope of being raised up by him to immortal life and happinesss. So they, having acted, believed, and trusted in him, he makes his truth manifest in the event, by putting them in possession of what he promised. Those things which were once the objects of their faith, their hope and desire, are, at his appearance, possessed and enjoyed by them. His faithfulness was believed before, and they who depended on it acted wisely and rationally ; but now it is even seen, that not one jot or tittle of his word has fallen to the ground, but all is exactly and punctually fulfilled; not one of those who trusted in him is lost, but all are brought to glory and placed on his right hand. His truth and faithfulness may be further illustrated at that time, by the peculiar degrees of honour and glory conferred on those whose piety has been great and tried by great difficulties and sufferings here. Many indeed are the encouragements which he gave in the course of his public ministry, to those who should be eminent, stedfast, and constant in his service. And future rewards will certainly be granted, according to those encouraging declarations, and the hopes he has excited in them. He says, “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake, Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven.” When his disciples desired to know who should be greatest in the kingdom of heaven, he did not deny
that there would be distinctions there, but intimates, that he who should be most humble, and for the sake of truth, and the good of mankind, should most abase himself, would, in the end, be most exalted, and be greatest in the kingdom of heaven. I say, the truth and faithfulness of Christ will be most manifest at his appearing, in rewards proportioned to his declarations and promises, and the large hopes he had thereby raised in the minds of his sincere and upright servants. The course of piety and virtue will then be completely vindicated by him, every instance of righteous conduct be recompensed, and the most eminent goodness receive an equal reward.
The final judgment will be terrible only to them that live and die in an unregenerate state. The finally impenitent sinner, and he alone, is concerned in the terrors of that day. And O, what a dreadful scene will it be to all the wicked How will the guilty be alarmed when the last trumpet shall sound ! How will they appear aghast to hear that tremendous voice, which calls them from the grave to the severe tribunal; with what reluctance will they obey the summons, which they cannot resist! What anguish and horror will seize them, when they behold the slighted Saviour, coming in his own glory, and the glory of the Father, and with all the hosts of heaven attending him. What trembling will take hold of them, when they hear the shoutings of those bright attendants of the Judge, who shall descend with him, not only to grace his triumph, and aid the splendour and magnificence of his appearance, but to be employed by him as the ready dispensers of his favours,