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And it will be a most distressing time with the church, excepting the comfort they will have in the hope of deliverance from God: for all other help will seem to fail. The case will be come to the last extremity, and there will be an immediate need that Christ should come to their deliverance. And though the church shall be so imminently threatened, yet so will Providence order it, that it shall be preserved till Christ shall appear in his immediate presence, coming in the glory of his Father with all his holy angels. And then will come the time when all the elect shall be gathered in. That work of conversion which has been carried on from the beginning of the church after the fall through all those ages, shall be carried on no more. There never shall another soul be converted. Every one of those many millions, whose names were written in the book of life before the foundation of the world, shall be brought in; not one soul shall be lost. And the mystical body of Christ, which has been growing since it first began in the days of Adam, will be complete as to number of parts, having every one of its members. In this respect the work of redemption will now be finished. And now the end for which the means of grace have been instituted shall be obtained. All that effect which was intended to be accomplished by them shall now be accomplished.
Thus I have shown how the success of Christ's redemption has been accomplished during the continuance of the Christian church under the means of grace. We have seen what great revolutions there have been, and are to be, during this space of time; how the great wheels of Providence have gone round for the accomplishment of that kind of success of Christ's purchase, which consists in the bestowment of grace on the elect: and we are, in the prosecution of the subject, come to the time when all the wheels have gone round; the course of things in this state of it is finished, and all things are ripe for Christ's coming to judgment.
You may remember, that when I began to discourse of this third proposition, viz., That from the resurrection of Christ to the end of the world, the whole time is taken up in procuring the success and effect of Christ's purchase of redemption, I observed, that the success of Christ's purchase is of two kinds, consisting either in grace or glory; and that the success consisting in the former of these, is to be seen in those works of God which are wrought during those ages that the church is continued under the means of grace; and that the success, consisting in the latter, will chiefly be accomplished at the day of judgment.
Having already shown how the former kind of success has been accomplished, I come now, in the second place, to the latter, viz., that kind of success which is accomplished in the bestowment of glory on the church, which shall chiefly be bestowed on the church at the day of judgment. And here I would mention two or three things in the general concerning this kind of success of Christ's purchase.
1. How great the success of Christ's purchase is, chiefly appears in this. The success of Christ's purchase does summarily consist in the salvation of the elect. But this bestowment of glory is eminently called their salvation : Heb. ix. 28, “ To them that look for him, shall he appear the second time, without sin unto salvation.” So it is called redemption, being eminently that wherein
elect. But this be that look for high redemption, bei
the redemption of the church consists : so in Eph. iv. 30, “ Sealed unto the day of redemption ;” and Luke xxi. 28, and Eph. i. 14, “ Redemption of the purchased possession."
2. All that is before this, while the church is under the means of grace, is only to make way for the success which is to be accomplished in the bestowment of glory. The means of grace are to fit for glory; and God's grace itself is bestowed on the elect to make them meet for glory.
3. All those glorious things which were brought to pass for the church while under the means of grace, are but images and shadows of this. So were those glorious things which were accomplished for the church in the days of Constantine the Great; and so is all that glory which is to be accomplished in the glorious times of the church which are to succeed the fall of Antichrist. As great as it is, it is all but a shadow of what will be bestowed at the day of judgment: and therefore, as I have already often observed, all those preceding glorious events, by which God wrought glorious things for his church, are spoken of in Scripture as images of Christ's last coming to judgment.
But I hasten more particularly to show how this kind of success of Christ's purchase is accomplished.
1. Christ will appear in the glory of his Father, with all his holy angels, coming in the clouds of heaven. When the world is thus revelling in their wickedness, and compassing the holy city about, just ready to destroy it, and when the church is reduced to such a great strait, then shall the glorious Redeemer appear. He through whom this redemption has all along been carried on, he shall appear in the sight of the world; the light of his glory shall break forth; the whole world shall immediately have notice of it, and they shall lift up their eyes and behold this wonderful sight. It is said, “ Every eye shall see him," Rev. i. 7. Christ shall appear coming in his human nature, in that same body which was brought forth in a stable, and laid in a manger, and which afterwards was so cruelly used, and nailed to the cross.
Men shall now lift up their eyes, and see him coming in such majesty and glory as now is to us utterly inconceivable. The glory of the sun in a clear firmament, will be but darkness in comparison of it; and all the glorious angels and archangels shall attend upon him, thousand thousands ministering to him, and ten thousand times ten thousand round about him. How different a person will he then appear from what he did at his first coming, when he was as a root out of a dry ground, a poor, despised, afflicted man! How different now is his appearance, in the midst of those glorious angels, principalities, and powers, in heavenly places, attending him as his ordinary servants, from what it was when in the midst of a ring of soldiers, with his mock robe and his crown of thorns, to be buffetted and spit upon, or hanging on the cross between two thieves, with a multitude of his enemies about him triumphing over him!
This sight will be a most unexpected sight to the wicked world : it will come as a cry at midnight : they shall be taken in the midst of their wickedness, and it will give them a dreadful alarm. It will at once break upon their revels, their cating, and drinking, and carousing. It will put a quick end to the design of the great army that will then be compassing the camp of the saints : it will make them let drop their weapons out of their hands. The world, which will then be very full of people, most of whom will be wicked men, will then be filled with dolorous shrieking and crying; for all the kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him, Rev. i. 7. And where shall they hide themselves? How will the sight of that awful majesty terrify them when taken in the midst of their wickedness? Then they shall see who he is, what
kind of a person he is, whom they have mocked and scoffed at, and whose church they have been endeavoring to overthrow. This sight will change their voice. The voice of their laughter and singing, while they are marrying and giving in marriage, and the voice of their scoffing, shall be changed into hideous, yea, hellish yelling. Their countenances shall be changed from a show of carnal mirth, haughty pride, and contempt of God's people; it shall put on a show of ghastly terror and amazement; and trembling and chattering of teeth shall seize upon them.
But with respect to the saints, the church of Christ, it shall be a joyful and most glorious sight to them : for this sight will at once deliver them from all fear of their enemies, who were before compassing them about, just ready to swallow them up. Deliverance shall come in their extremity : the glorious Captain of their salvation shall appear for them at a time when no other help appeared. Then shall they lift up their heads, and their redemption shall be drawing nigh, Luke xxi. 28. And thus Christ will appear with infinite majesty, and yet at the same time they shall see infinite love in his countenance to them And thus to see their Redeemer coming in the clouds of heaven, will fill their hearts full of gladness. Their countenances also shall be changed, but not as the countenances of the wicked, but shall be changed from being sorrowful, to be exceeding joyful and triumphant. And now the work of redemption will be finished in another sense, viz., that the whole church shall be completely and eternally freed from all persecution and molestation from wicked men and devils.
2. The last trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised, and the living changed. God sent forth his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, to gather together his elect from the four corners of the earth in a mystical sense, before the destruction of Jerusalem; i. e., he sent forth the apostles, and others, to preach the gospel all over the world. And so in a mystical sense the great trumpet was blown at the beginning of the glorious times of the church. But now the great trumpet is blown in a more literal sense, with a mighty sound, which shakes the earth. There will be a great signal given by a mighty sound made, which is called the voice of the archangel, as being the angel of greatest strength: 1 Thes. iv. 16, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God.” On the sound of the great trumpet, the dead shall be raised everywhere Now the number of the dead is very great. How many has death cut down for so long a time as since the world has stood! But then the number will be much greater after the world shall have stood so much longer, and through most of the remaining time will doubtless be much fuller of inhabitants than ever it has heen. All these shall now rise from the dead. The graves shall be opened everywhere ip all parts of the world, and the sea shall give up the innumerable dead that are in it, Rev. xx. 13.
And now all the inhabitants that ever shall have been upon the face of the carth, from the beginning of the world to that time, shall all appear upon earth at once; all that ever have been of the church of God in all ages, Adam and Eve the first parents of mankind, and Abel and Seth, and Methuselah, and all the saints who were their contemporaries, and Noah, and Abraham, Isaac, and Jacoh, and the prophets of Israel, and the saints in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, and all that were of the church in their times; and all the holy apostles of Jesus Christ, and all the saints of their tiines; and all the holy martyrs under the ten Heathen persecutions; and all who belonged to the church in its wil. derness state, during the dark times of Antichrist, and all the holy martyre who have suffered under the cruelty of the Popish persecutions; and all the saints of the present time, and all the saints who are here in this assembly among the rest; and all that shall be from hence to the end of the world.-Now also all the enemies of the church that have or shall be in all the ages of the world, sball appear upon the face of the earth again; all the wicked killed in the flood, and the multitudes that died all over the world among God's professing people, or others; all that died in all the Heathen nations before Christ, and all wicked Heathens, and Jews, and Mahometans, and Papists, that have died since; all shall come together. Sinners of all sorts ; demure hypocrites, those who have the fairest and best outside, and open profane drunkards, whoremasters, heretics, 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 forever incapable of pain, or affliction, or uneasiness; and all that dulness 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 redeemed 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 judgment, 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 us, 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 shall 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 forever delivered from this present evil world, forever 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 sorrow; 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 a cloud of them will there be, when all these are seen flocking together in the region of the clouds at the right hand of 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, never 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 affict 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 eternally 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. 3, “ Know ye not that we shall judge angels ? Now shall he be as it