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King with whom you have to do; a King, to whom the kings of the earth are but as bits of clay. Lo, the angels cover their faces in his presence. He is an adorable Majesty.
When John had a vision of this enthroned King, about sixty years after his ascension, such was the overpowering glory of Christ, as the sun when it shineth in its strength, that when he saw him he fell at his feet as dead, till Christ laid his hand on him and said, "Fear not; I am the first and the last ; I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore.” Rev. 1:17, 18. When he appeared to Saul in the way to Damascus, it was in glory above the glory of the sun, which overpowered him also, and laid him as one dead upon the ground.
Oh that you did but know what a glorious Lord you worship and serve, who makes the very place of his feet glorious wherever he comes. Surely he " is greatly to be feared in the assembly of his saints, and to be had in reverence of all that are round about him.” There is indeed a boldness or liberty of speech allowed to the saints, Eph. 3: 12; but no rudeness or irreverence. We may indeed come, as the children of a king come to their father, who is both their awful Sovereign and ten. der Father; which double relation causes a due mixture of love and reverence in their hearts when they come before him. Though he be your Father, Brother, Friend, yet the distance between him and you is infinite.
4. If Christ be so gloriously advanced in the highest throne, then none are dishonored by suffering the vilest things for his sake. The very chains and sufferings of Christ have glory in them. Hence Moses "esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt.” Heb. 11 : 26. He not only endured the reproaches of Christ, but counted them treasures, to be reckoned among his honors and things of value. Disgrace itself is honorable, when it is endured for the Lord of glory. And surely there is (as one says) a little paradise, a young heaven, in sufferings for Christ. If there were nothing else but that they are endured for him, it would richly reward all we can suffer; but if we consider how kind Christ is to them that count it their glory to be abased for him; that though he be always kind to his people, he (if we may so speak) overcometh himself in kindness when they suffer for him ; it will almost make us in love with his reproaches.
5. If Christ sat not down to rest in heaven till he had finished his work on earth; then let us not think of rest till we have finished our work. How willing are we to find rest here! to dream of that, which Christ never found in this world, nor any ever found before us! Oh think not of resting till you have done working and done sinning. Your life and your labors must end together." Write, (saith the Spirit,) Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, for they rest from their labors.” Rev. 14 : 13. Here you must be content to dwell in the tents of Kedar; hereafter you shall be within the curtains of Solomon. Heaven is the place of which it may be truly said, that there "the weary be at rest.” Oh think not of resting on this side heaven.
Grace will not suffer you to rest here. Its tendencies are beyond this world. It will be looking and longing for the blessed hope. A gracious person regards himself as a pilgrim seeking a better country, and is suspicious of danger in every place and state. Grace is still rousing up the sluggish heart with the language, " Arise, depart, this is not thy rest, for it is polluted.” Micah, 2:10. Its further tendencies and continual jealousies will keep you from long sitting still in this world.
Your corruptions also will keep you from rest here. They will continually exercise your spirits, and keep you upon your watch. Saints have their hands filled with work by their own hearts every day, sometimes to prevent sin, and sometimes to lament it; and always to watch and fear, to mortify and kill it. Sin will not long suffer you to be quiet. Rom. 7 : 21-23. And if a bad heart will not break your rest here, then
Satan will do it. He will find you work enough with his temptations and suggestions, and except you can sleep quietly in his arms as the wicked do, there is no rest to be expected. "Your adversary the devil goeth about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour; whom resist.” 1 Pet. 5: 8.
Nor will wicked men suffer you to be quiet on this side heaven. The very name by which they are alluded to in Scripture speaks their turbulent disposition. "My soul (saith the holy man) is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows." Psalm 57:4. Well, then, seek to enter into your rest, as Christ did into his, having " finished the work” which was given bim to do.
CHRIST'S ADVENT TO JUDGMENT.
“ And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that
it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.” Acts, 10:42.
Christ, enthroned in the highest glory in heaven, is there to abide for the effectual and successful government both of the world and of the church, until all given him by the Father before the world was, and purchased by the blood of the cross, be gathered in ; and then cometh the judgment of the great day, which will perfectly separate the precious from the vile; put the redeemed in full possession of the purchase of his blood in heaven; and then shall he " deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father, that God may be all in all.”
This last act of Christ, his judging the world, is a special part of the exaltation and honor bestowed upon him, " because he is the Son of man.” John, 5:27. In that day shall his glory, as King and supreme Lord, shine forth as the sun in its strength. Oh what an honor will it be to the man Christ Jesus, who stood ar. raigned and condemned at Pilate's bar, to sit upon the great white throne, surrounded with thousands and ten thousands of angels; men and devils waiting upon him to receive the final sentence from his mouth! In this will the glory of Christ's sovereignty and power be illustriously displayed before angels and men. And this is that great truth which he commanded to be preached and testified to the people, namely, that it is "he which is ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.”
Judgment is the prerogative of the whole undivided Trinity ; but, in its visible management and execution, it is assigned to Christ.
The persons to be judged are the quick and dead : all that at his coming shall be living, or shall ever have lived: all that ever sprang from Adam; and all the apostate spirits that fell from heaven and are reserved in chains to the judgment of this great day, with all the actions, both secret and open, that ever they did. 2 Cor. 5: 10; Rom. 2:16.
The Fountain of this delegated authority is God the Father; for he hath ordained Christ to be the Judge. He is "ordained,” as the Son of man, to this honorable office and work. The word denotes a firm establishment of Christ in that office by his Father. He is now, by right of redemption, Lord and King. He enacts laws
for government, then he comes to judge of men's obe-
be the Judge of quick and dead.
I. The certainty of a judgment. This is a truth of firmer establishment than heaven and earth. It is no devised fable, no cunning artifice to keep the world in awe; but a thing as confessedly true as it is awfully solemn. For,
1. As the Scriptures just cited (with 2 Cor. 5: 10; Eccles. 12 : 14; Matt. 12 : 36 ; and many other passages) plainly reveal it; so the justice and righteousness of God require it should be so. For the Judge of all the earth will do right. Gen. 18:25. Justice requires that a difference be made between the righteous and the wicked : "Say ye to the righteous, It shall be well with him ; wo to the wicked, it shall be ill with him.” Isa. 3:10, 11. But no such distinction is generally and fully made in this world. Yea, often the wicked prosper, and the righteous perish: " There is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness." Eccles. 7: 15. Here the" wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than himself.” Hab. 1: 13; as the fishes of