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be quelled or overthrown; it may be suspended, but can- SERM. not be fuppressed; it may be somewhat eclipsed, but it XXXII cannot be quite extinguished, yea infallibly in the end it will triumphantly prevail.
That no good design shall be undertaken, nor any honest labour can be spent in vain ; seeing although they chance to find no success, or to yield no fruit here, yet they cannot fail to obtain a happy issue and a plentiful reward hereafter.
That how small foever the difference doth now appear between wise men and fools, or between virtuous and vicious persons, there will be hereafter a vast discrimination made, when in consequence of that upright trial one shall enter into eternal bliss, the other shall fall into an abyss of misery.
That this life is not contemptible, nor all things here utterly vain; seeing that upon this life is founded our eternal state; seeing these occurrences have influence upon our eternal joy or woe; seeing all things here will conduce to the illustration of divine mercy or justice. That God is indeed here Deus abfconditus, as the prophet styleth him, a God that hideth himself; advisedly suffer- Ifa, xlv. 13. ing his goodness and justice to be under a cloud, that at length they may break out more gloriously in that day, when, as St. Paul saith, his Eixaloxgroid, his most righteous Rom. ii. 5. dealing (both in governance of all affairs now, and in deciding of all cases then) shall be revealed, and made conspicuous to all the world.
Thus doth it, upon many accounts, appear fit and needful, that there should be a future judgment; the apprehenfion thereof being the sharpeft spur to virtue, the strongest curb from vice, the surest fence of human society, the fafest bulwark of religion, (securing the authority of God, and guarding his providence, together with all his holy attributes, from all batteries, all finister afperfions, all profane misconstructions ;) in short, the most effectual means, if it be heartily embraced, to render men, in their minds and in their enjoyments, sober, just in their dealings toward their neighbour, and in all their life pious toward
SERM. God; there being indeed no consideration, whereof the
and conscience of what he doeth, than this; that after a
Redeemer, to whom for ever be all glory and praise. iThef.v.23. Now the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I
pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
from thence he shall come to judge the Duick
and the Dead.
THE CERTAINTY AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF
Acts X. 42.
And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained by God to be Judge of quick and dead.
THESE words are part of a sermon preached by St. SERM. Peter to Cornelius and his friends, wherein the Apostle XXXIII. briefly declareth unto them the chief particulars in the history of Christ, together with some main points of Christian doctrine most fit for them to know; particularly he doth in these words express the point concerning the future judgment; reporting that our Lord especially did charge his Apostles to preach unto the people and testify, that is, first publicly to declare and explain, then by convenient proofs, especially by divine attestations, to evince and persuade this point; the importance whereof, and eminence among other Christian doctrines, doth hence plainly appear, that the author of our faith did make so especial provision, and gave so express charge concerning the promulgation and probation thereof: the which cir
SERM. cumstance is indeed remarkable and weighty; but I shall XXXIII.not insist on it, meaning immediately to set upon confider
ing the point itself, as it is here laid down in these terms; that it is he which was ordained by God to be Judge of quick and dead : in which words are couched three particulars most considerable.
1. A judgment ordained by God, and to be declared to men.
2. The Judge, by whom immediately that judgment is administered; he; Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.
3. The extent of that judgment, or its adequate object; quick and dead.
These particulars I shall in order touch, inserting some material considerations about the nature and manner of this judgment, with some reasons why it should be thus managed; then I shall adjoin some practical applications.
1. There is a judgment ordained by God, and to be declared to men; that is, concerning the persons and actions of men performed in this life. How just and fit it is that there should be such a judgment, how useful and requisite the declaration thereof is upon several accounts, (for en gaging men upon the practice of virtue and restraining them from vice, for the preservation and maintenance of human society, for the support and defence of religion, for the vindication of Divine Providence, and illustration of all God's holy attributes,) I have already endeavoured to declare; and in that regard 1 shall content myself now to
say, that as upon the apparent equity and usefulness of Juft. M. p. this doctrine all nations commonly have ever embraced l, et p. 106.
*the general substance thereof, as a fundamental principle of their religion, (all men commonly with a ready inclination having avowed it reasonable to suppose that every man after this life shall be brought unto a juft and impartial bar, where his doings shall be exa&ly scanned, and bis person answerably doomed unto a comfortable or affii&tive recompenfe,) fo our religion, in a peculiar manner, doth most expressly assert, most clearly describe, and most vigorously inculcate it, with all possible advantage, both for the clearing God's dealings and attributes, and for the
Dan. vii. 10.
excitement of men to a virtuous and pious life.' The na- SERM. ture, manner, process, and result of the future judgment XXXIII. are in the holy Scripture most punctually set down.
1. It teacheth us, that God hath appointed a determinate time for this judgment. God, faith St. Paul, hath Acts xvii. appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in 31., 20 righteousness; that which is called the day of judgment, the laft day, the day of the Lord, the great and the illustrious day; and, by signal excellency, The day; and, That 2 Tim. i.
c 18. iv. 8. day; intimating, beside the certainty of the thing itself, 1 Ther. .4. the most especial regard that men are concerned to bear Heb. x. 25. thereto.
2. That in order to this judgment all the actions of men are with greater exactness registered in books; (the books of divine omniscience, seeing all things present, and retaining all things past, which nothing can escape;) The
"27. xiv. books (it is said in the Revelation) were opened, and the 17.) dead were judged from the things written in the books, 1 according to their works.
3. That, in order thereto, there shall be (effected by “" divine power and command) a general refurrection of all persons, both just and unjust : The hour, faith our Lord, is Acts xxiv. coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his John y. 28. voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, to the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
4. That then all persons for raised shall be prefented at the bar of our Lord, to answer and undergo their trial; I Rev. xx. 12. saw, saith St. John, the great and small standing before 10. God's throne; and, We must all, saith St. Paul, be made Dangwa appear, and be set forth at the judgment-seat of Christ; 2 Cor. v. and, The Son of man, faith our Lord, shall fit upon the 10,
napíso throne of his glory, and all nations shall be gathered toonbeeld gether before him.
Matt. xxv. 5. That then and there every thought, every word, every work of men shall be throughly disclosed and difcussed; so that it, together with its due quality and desert, shall plainly appear; all the designs and pretences of men shall be laid bare; every case shall be considered ; every