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ference to him, I would say to you, as Paul said with reference to Timothy, “Let no man despise his youth.” Remember that David was but a “youth or stripling,” (as Saul calls him) when he encountered Goliah the Philistine; yet because he went out against him in the name of the Lord of hosts, " the God of the armies of Israel,” he came off the field a conqueror. Jeremiah was called to be a prophet or teacher in his youth,
as appears from the first chapter of his prophecy, and yet the Lord fitted that young prophet for the difficult task that was put into his hand. There are only a few things I would say to you
with respect to your duty towards both your ministers.
1. If your ministers should be faithful in declaring the Lord's mind, then you ought to be ready and willing to believe and practise it. It is a sad charge which the Lord lays against Ezekiel's hearers, chap. xxxii. 31: “ They sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they do them not : for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their coveteousness.” If
you remain barren and unfruitful under such means of grace as you enjoy, it will be more tolerable for hundreds of congregations than for you, since they are not so highly privileged.
2. The more faithful your ministers are in point of sin and duty, the more welcome ought their message to be to you. Some cannot endure to be touched upon the sore heel, or to have the sinfulness of their practices set forth plainly before them; but if matters be right with you, the closer
ministers come to your consciences by the word, the more searching and trying their sermons are, the more will you love both their persons and doctrine : “Search me, O God,” says the Psalmist,“and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me," Psal. cxxxix. 23, 24.
3. Pray much for your ministers, “ that utterance may be given them, that they may open their mouth boldly, and make known the mystery of the gospel.” The more you pray for them, the more profit you may expect under their ministry. If you have any spiritual wants to supply, or soul-perplexing doubts to solve; if under the prevalency of any temptation, from which you want to be delivered; in a word, if desiring - the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby;" then you will certainly be employed in prayer, that your ministers may be directed to speak a word in season to you, and that the power of the Lord may come along with it, for conviction or consolation, as your need requires.
4. If you would desire the faithfulness of your ministers to qe useful to you, be sure to keep them in their own room;
do not expect from them what you are to receive only from the Lord himself. Remember that the "treasure is in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us," as you were hearing by the former speaker. But, at the same time, though you are not to idolize your ministers, yet a more peculiar love is due from you to them than to any else. Though you ought to love all the faithful ministers of Christ, yet a more special love is due to your own pastors, who labour in word and doctrine among you, as is clear from the forecited 1 Thess. v. 12: "Know them that labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake." And Heb. xiii. 17: "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give an account: that they may do it with joy, and not with grief."
I conclude with that prayer of the apostle, 2 Cor. ix. 10: "Now he that ministereth seed to the sower, both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness." Which is founded upon that promise, Is. lv. 10, 11: “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please" or which is well pleasing to me, "and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
CHRIST IN THE CLOUDS COMING TO JUDGMENT.
Then shall he reward every man according to his works.-MATTH. XVI. 37.
THE text gives us an account of the day of doom, which is the last day of assize, in which every man shall be tried at the bar of God's justice, and every man shall then and there receive according to his works, whether they be good, or whether they be evil,
I shall not trouble myself or you with the terrors of this day, because I have not time, but will proceed
It is most certain the day of judgment will come, and that it will be dreadful to all the wicked. But "seeing these things must be, what sort of persons ought we to be in all manner of conversation? always looking for the coming of Christ," at whose coming "the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, the stars shall fall from heaven, the powers of heaven shall be shaken," "the elements shall melt with fervent heat." Who can hear all this, and not be wonderfully dismayed? O who dares eat, drink, or sleep, or take a minute's rest? Be sure, that day shall come. O "awake, ye drunkards! and weep, all ye drinkers of wine! because of the new wine; for it shall be pulled from your mouth. Gird yourselves and lament, ye priests! howl, ye ministers of the altar! Alas! the sore terrible day of the Lord is at hand.”
DOCT. This is a gospel truth, that Christ, who came into the world in the form of a servant, will one day come as a judge, attended with his holy angels.
And if this be so, then, first, for a use of exhortation.
1st, Let us all be warned, and while we have time, provide for that day; yet, the weather is fair, we may frame an ark to save us from the flood; yet are the angels at the gate of Sodom, and yet is Jonah in the streets of Nineveh; yet the prophet laments, crying, "O Judah! how shall I entreat thee?" Yea, the apostle prays, nay, we pray you in Christ's stead, that ye be reconciled unto God. But here a question will arise, How will Christ appear?
I answer, He who, as man, once appeared to be judged, will then appear to judge all mankind. Consider this, ye that are going to the bar; what a dreadful sight will this be to the faithless Jews, stubborn Gentiles, and wicked Christians, when every eye shall see him, and they also that pierced him? This is the man, shall they say, that was crucified for us, and again crucified by us. Why, alas! every sin is a cross, and every oath is a spear; and when that day is come, you must behold the Man, whom you thus crucify by your daily sin; sure this will be a fearful sight. Where is the bloody swearer, that can tear his wounds, heart, and blood? At that day, all these words will appear, the heart be visible, and the body and the blood be sensible of good and evil: then shall the fearful voice proceed from his throne, Where is the blood thou spilled? Here is the woful and terrible judgment, when thou that art the murderer, shall see the slain Man as thy Judge. What favours canst thou think to expect at his hand, whom thou hast so vilely and treacherously used by thy daily
sins ? Be sure, the Son of man will come, as it is written,“but wo unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed; it had been better for that man he had never been born,” Matth. xxvi. 24.
As Christ shall appear in the form of a man, so this Man shall appear in a glorious form. O sinner, look about you, the Judge is coming: a fire devours before him, and behind him a flame burns: on every side the people tremble, and " all faces shall gather blackness.” Here is a change indeed! He that was at the bar now sits on the throne, and that for ever and ever. Then Christ stood as a Lamb before Pilate; now Pilate stands as a malefactor before Christ. He that was made the footstool of his enemies, must now judge, “ till he has made his enemies his footstool.” Where shall they run ? and how shall they seek the clefts of the rocks and hollow places? The glory of his majesty will kindle a flame, while the heavens and the earth shall flee away from the presence of the powerful Judge.
But if here be the Judge, where is the guard ? Behold him coming from above with great power and glory! Would you know his habit? He is, indeed, clothed with majesty. Would you know his attendants ? They are a host of holy angels; nay, yet a much longer train, even the souls of the saints descending from their imperial seats, and attending the Lamb with great glory. Never was any other judge lord of such a circuit. His footstool is in the clouds, his feet are in the rainbow; his judges are saints, his oflicers angels and archangels. The trumpet proclaims a silence, while a just sentence comes from his mouth upon all the world. Thus you see the assize begun. “] beheld till the throne was cast down," says the prophet, " and the ancient of days did sit, whose garments were white as show, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was like the fiery flame, and the wheels as burning fire," Dan. vii. 9.
This is the Judge, whose coming is so fearful, and ushered in by a fiery cloud, and apparelled in snow white, carried in his circuit on burning wheels, and attended with thousands of thousands. O, ye Jews, behold the Man whom before you crucified as a malefactor! behold him on his throne, whom ye said his disciples had stolen away by night out of his grave! Matth. xxviii. 13. Behold him in his majesty, him upon whom you would not look in his humility! This is he at whose appearance
the kindreds of the earth shall mourn. Such a shout of fury follows the sight of his majesty, that the vaults shall echo, the bills resound, the earth shall shake, the heavens shall pass away, and be turned to confusion. Then shall the wicked mourn, then shall they weep and wail,
yet their tears shall not serve their turn; their sins past betray them, and their shame condemns them, and their torments to come confound them. Thus shall the wicked bewail their miserable, hapless, unfortunate birth, and cursed end. O fearful judge! “terrible as an army with banners!" The kings of the earth shall be astonished, and every eye shall see this Judge, and tremble at his sight. Lo, but conceive the guilty prisoner come to his trial. Will not the red robes of this Judge make his heart bleed, for his blood shed. Thus, have I shown you how Christ will appear in a glori
1. Think now, O sinner, what shall be thy reward, when thou shalt meet this Judge. The adulterer for awhile may flatter beauty, the swearers grace their words with oaths, the drunkards kiss their cups, and thank their bodily healths, till they drink their souls to ruin: but let them remember, "for all these things God will bring them into judgment." A sad comfort in the end. How shall the adulterer satisfy lust, when he lies on a bed of flames? The swearer shall have enough of wounds and blood, when the devil shall torture his body and rack his soul in hell. The drunkard shall have plenty of his cups, when scalding lead shall be poured down his throat, and his breath draw flames of firè instead of air. As is thy sin, so is thy punishment; this judge will give just measure in the balance of his indignation and wrath.
For comfort to all that are the Judge's favourites, now is the day (if you are God's servants,) that "Satan shall be trodden under your feet." and you, with your Master Christ, shall be carried into the holy of holies. You may remember, how all the men of God, in their greatest anguish here below, have derived comfort from the eyes of faith. It was at this mountain Job rejoiced, being cast on the dunghill, that his Redeemer lived, and that he should see him at the last day stand on the earth. So likewise the evangelist John longed, and cried, "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly," Rev. xxii. 20. "Now, little children, abide in him, that. when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed at his coming. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life," 1 John ii. 28, 29. But I proceed.
The persons to be judged are a world of men, good and bad, elect and reprobate.
(1.) There is a summons, and this every man must hear, and this shall be the voice of the last trumpet: Arise, ye dead, and come to judgment.'. O what a fearful and terrible voice will this be to all the wicked? How will they tremble at that voice, which makes the earth to tremble? Even