Imatges de pÓgina

Deists, and all cruel persecutors, and all that have died or shall die in sin amongst us.

And at the same time that the dead are raised, the living shall be changed. The bodies of the wicked who shall then be living, shall be so changed as to fit them for eternal torment without corruption ; and the bodies of all the living saints shall be changed to be like Christ's glorious body, 1 Cor. xv. 51, 52, 53..... The bodies of the saints shall be so changed as to render them for ever incapable of pain, or affliction, or uneasiness ; and all that dullness and heaviness, and all that deformity, which their bodies had before, shall be put off ; and they shall put on strength, and beauty, and activity, and incorruptible unfading glory. And in such glory shall the bodies of all the risen saints appear.

And now the work of redemption shall be finished in another respect, viz. that all the elect shall now be actually re-. deemed in both soul and body. Before this, the work of redemption, as to its actual success, was but incomplete and imperfect ; for only the souls of the redeemed were actually saved and glorified, excepting in some few instances : But now all the bodies of the saints shall be saved and glorified together ; all the elect shall be glorified in the whole man, and the soul and body in union one with the other.

3. Now shall the whole church of saints be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and all wicked men and devils shall be arraigned before the judgment seat. ' When the dead saints are raised, then the whole church, consisting of all the elect through all ages, will be standing together, on the face of the earth, at least all excepting those few whose bodies were glorified before ; and then they shall all mount up as with wings in the air to meet Christ ; for it seems that Christ, when he comes to judgments will not come quite down to the ground, but his throne will be fixed in the air, in the region of the clouds, whence he may be seen by all that vast multitude that shall be gathered before him, The church of saints therefore shall be taken up from the earth to ascend up to their Saviour. Thus the apostle tells as, that when the dead in Christ are raised, and the living

changed, then those who are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air, and so sball we be ever with the Lord, 1 Thes. iv. 16, 17. What a wonderful sight will that be, when all the many millions of saints are seen thus mounting up from all parts of the world!

Then shall the work of redemption be finished in another respect : Then shall the whole church be perfectly and for ever delivered from this present evil world, for ever forsake this cursed ground : They shall take their everlasting leave of this earth, where they have been strangers, and which has been for the most part such a scene of their trouble and sor: row; where the devil for the most part has reigned as god, and has greatly molested them, and which has been such a scene of wickedness and abomination, where Christ their Lord has been cruelly used ; and where they have been so hated, and reproached, and persecuted, from age to age, through most of the ages of the world. They shall leave it under foot to go to Christ, and never shall set foot on it again. And there shall be an everlasting separation made between them and wicked men. Before they were mixed together, and it was impossible in many instances to determine which were which ; but now all shall become visible ; both saints and sinners shall appear in their true characters.

Then shall all the church be seen flocking together in the air to the place where Christ shall have fixed his throne, coming from the east and west, and north and south, to the right hand of Christ. What a mighty cloud of them will there be, when all that ever have been of the church of God, all that were before Christ, all that multitude of saints that were in the apostles' time, and all that were in the days of Constantine the Great, and all that were before and since the Reformation, and also all that great multitude of saints that shall be in all the glorious times of the church, when the whole earth shall for so many generations be full of saints, and also all that shall be then living when Christ shall come ; I say,

what cloud of them will there be, when all these are seen flocking


together in the region of the clouds at the right hand af Christ!

And then also the work of redemption will be finished in another respect, viz: that then the church shall all be gathered together. They all belonged to one society before, but yet were greatly separated with respect to the place of their habitation ; some being in heaven, and some on earth ; and those who were on earth together were separated one from another, many of them by wide oceans, and vast continents.' But now they shall all be gathered together, never to be separated any more. And not only shall all the members of the church now be gathered together, but all shall be gathered unto their Head, into his immediate glorious presence, néver to be separated from him any more. This never came to pass till now.

At the same time, all wicked men and devils shall be brought before the judgment seat of Christ. These shall be gathered to the left hand of Christ, and, as it seems, will still remain upon the earth, and shall not be caught up into the air, as the saints shall be. The devil, that old serpent, shall now be dragged up out of hell. He, that first procured the fall and misery of mankind, and has so set himself against their redemption, and has all along shown himself such an inveterate enemy to the Redeemer ; now he shall never more have any thing to do with the church of God, or, be suffered in the least to afflict or molest any member of it any more for ever. Instead of that, now he must be judged, and receive the due reward of his deeds. Now is come the time which he has always dreaded, and trembled at the thought of; the time wherein he must be judged, and receive his full punishment. He who by his temptation maliciously procured Christ's crucifixion, and triumphed upon it, as though he had obtained the victory, even he shall see the consequences of the death of Christ which he procured : For Christ's coming to judge him in his human nature is the consequence of it

; for Christ obtained and purchased this glory to himself by that death. Now he must stand before that same Jesus whose death he procured, to be judged, condemned, and eter

nally destroyed by him. If Satan, the prince of hell, trembles at the thought of it thousands of years beforehand, how much more will he tremble, as proud and as stubborn as he is, when he comes to stand at Christ's bar.

Then shall he also stand at the bar of the saints, whom he has so hated, and afflicted, and molested : For the saints shall judge him with Christ : 1 Cor. vi. 8. “ Know ye not that we shall judge angels ?" Now shall he be as it were subdued under the church's feet, agreeable to Rom. xvi. 20....Satan, when he first tempted our first parents to fall, deceitfully and lyingly told them, that they should be as gods : But little did he think that the consequence should be, that they should indeed be so much as gods, as to be assessors with God to judge him. Much less did he think, that that consequence would follow, that one of that nature which he then tempted, one of the posterity of those persons whom he tempted, should actually be united to God, and that as God he should judge the world, and that he himself must stand trembling and astonished before his judgment seat. But thus all the devils in hell, who have so opposed Christ and his kingdom, shall now at last stand in utmost amazement and horror before Christ and his church, who shall appear to condemn them.

Now also shall all Christ's other enemies be brought to appear before him. Now shall wicked, proud, scribes and Pharisees, who had such a malignant hatred of Christ while in his state of humiliation, and who persecuted Christ to death, those before whose judgment seat Christ was once called and stood, as a malefactor at their bar, and those who mocked him, and buffeted him, and spit in his face ; now shall they see Christ in his glory, as Christ forewarned them in the time of it, Matth. xxvi. 64, 65. Then Christ was before their judgment seat; but now it is their turn. They shall stand before his judgment seat with inconceivable horror and amazement, with ghastly countenances, and quaking limbs, and chattering teeth, and knees smiting one against another.

Now also all the cruel enemies and persecutors of the church that have been in all ages, shall come in sight together. Pharaoh and the Egyptians, Antiochus Epiphanes, the

persecuting scribes and Pharisees, the persecuting Heathen Emperors, Julian the apostate, the cruel persecuting Popes and Papists, Gog and Magog, shall all appear at once before the judgment seat of Christ. They and the saints who have in every age been persecuted by them, shall come in sight one of another, and must confront one another now before the great Judge. And now shall the saints on their glorious thrones be made the judges of those unjust kings and rulers who have before judged and condemned them, and cruelly put them to death. Now shall those persecutors behold the the glory to which they are arrived whom they before so cruelly despised and so cruelly used ; and Christ will make those holy martyrs as it were to come and set their feet on the necks of their persecutors ; they shall be made their footstool.

Thus wonderfully will the face of things be altered from what used to be in the former times of the world ; now will all things be coming to rights.

4. The righteousness of the church shall be manifested, and all the wickedness of their enemies shall be brought to light. Those saints who had been the objects of hatred, reproach, and contempt in the world, and were reviled and condemned by their persecutors without a cause, shall now be fully vindicated. They shall now appear clothed with the glorious robe of Christ's righteousness. It shall be most manifest before the world, that Christ's righteousness is theirs, and they shall as it were gloriously shine forth in it. And then also shall their inherent holiness be made manifest, and all their good works shall be brought to light. The good things which they did in secret shall now be manifested openly. Those holy ones of God, who had been treated as though they were the filth and offscouring of the earth, as though they were not fit to live upon earth, as worse than beasts or devils, shall now, when things shall appear as they are, appear to have been the excellent of the earth. Now God will bring forth their righteousness as the light, and their judgment as the noonday. And now it shall appear who were those wicked persons that were not fit to live, when all the

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