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gregations, where the word of God is moft faithfully difpenfed, notwithstanding all that minifters can fay in their cleareft explications, and most searching applications of the doctrines and rules of God's word to the fouls of their hearers, in their meetings one with another. But in the day of judgment they fhall have another fort of meeting; then the fecrets of every heart fhall be made manifeft, and every man's ftate fhall be perfectly known. 1 Cor. iv. 5. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darknefs, and 'will make manifeft the counfels of the hearts: And then fhall every man have praise of God." Then none fhall be deceived concerning his own state, nor fhall be any more in doubt about it. There fhall be an eternal end to all the self-conceit and vain hopes of deluded hypocrites, and all the doubts and fears of fincere Chriftians. And then fhall all know the ftate of one another's fouls: The people fhall know whether their minifter has been fincere and faithful, and the minifter shall know the state of every one of their people, and to whom the word and ordinances of God have been a favour of life unto life, and to whom a favour of death unto death.

Now in this prefent state it often happens, that when minifters and people meet together to debate and manage their ecclefiaftical affairs, especially in a state of controverfy, they are ready to judge and cenfure one another with regard to each other's views and defigns, and the principles and ends that each is influenced by; and are greatly miftaken in their judgment, and wrong one another in their cenfures: But at that future meeting, things will be fet in a true and perfect light, and the principles and aims that every one has acted from, fhall certainly be known; and there will be an end to all errors of this kind, and all unrighteous cenfures.

(3) In this world, minifters and their people often meet together to hear of and wait upon an unfeen Lord; L 2

but

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but at the day of judgment, they fhall meet in his moft immediate and vifible prefence.

Minifters, who now often meet their people to preach to them the King eternal, immortal, and invisible, to convince them that there is a God, and declare to them what manner of being he is, and to convince them that he governs, and will judge the world, and that there is a future ftate of rewards and punishments, and to preach to them a Christ in heaven, at the right hand of God, in an unfeen world, shall then meet their people in the most immediate fenfible prefence of this great God,. Saviour, and Judge, appearing in the most plain, vifible, and open manner, with great glory, with all his holy angels, before them and the whole world. They fhall not meet them to hear about an absent Christ, an unfeen Lord, and future Judge; but to appear before that Judge, and as being fet together in the prefence of that fupreme Lord, in his immenfe glory and awful majefty, whom they have heard fo often of, in their meetings together on earth.

(4.) The meeting at the last day, of minifters, and the people that have been under their care, will not be attended by any one with a careless heedless heart.

With fuch an heart are their meetings often attended in this world by many perfons, having little regard to him whom they pretend unitedly to adore in the folemn duties of his public worship, taking little heed to their own thoughts or frame of their minds, not attending to the business they are engaged in, or confid ering the end for which they are come together.-But the meeting at that great day will be very different: there will not be one careless heart, no fleeping, no wandering of mind from the great concern of the meeting, no inattentiveness to the bufinefs of the day, no regardleffness of the prefence they are in, or of thofe great things which they fhall hear from Chrift at that meeting, or that they formerly heard from him, and of him, by their minifters, in their meetings in a state of

trial, or which they fhall now hear their minifters declaring concerning them before their Judge..

Having obferved these things, concerning the man. ner and circumstances of this future meeting of minifters and the people that have been under their care, before the tribunal of Chrift at the day of judgment, I now proceed,..

II. To obferve to what purposes they fhall then

meet.

1. To give an account before the great Judge, of their behaviour one to another, in the relation they ftood in to each other in this world...

Ministers are fent forth by Chrift to their people on his bufinefs, and are his fervants and meffengers; and, when they have finished their fervice, they must return to their Master to give him an account of what they have done, and of the entertainment they have had in performing their miniftry. Thus we find, in Luke, xiv. 16.-21. That when the fervant who was fent forth to call the guests to the great fupper, had done his errand, and finished his appointed fervice, he returned to his master, and gave him an account of what he had done, and of the entertainment he had received. And when the master, being angry, fent his fervant to others, he returns again," and gives his mafter an account of his conduct and fuccefs. So we read in Heb. xiii. 17. of minifters or rules in the house of God, "that watch for fouls, as thofe that must give account.' And we fee by the forementioned Luke xiv. that minifters must give an account to their master, not only of their own behaviour in the difcharge of their office, but of their people's reception of them, and of the treatment they have met with among them.

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And therefore, as they will be called to give an account of both, they fhall give an account at the great day of accounts, in the prefence of their people; they and their people being both present before their Judge.

Faithful minifters will then give an account with joy, concerning those who have received them well,

and

and made a good improvement of their miniftry; and thefe will be given them, at that day, as their crown of rejoicing. And, at the fame time, they will give an account of the ill treatment of fuch as have not well received them and their meffages from Chrift: they will meet these, not as they used to do in this world; to counsel and warn them, but to bear witness against them; and as their judges, and affeffors with Chrift, to condemn them. And, on the other hand, the people will, at that day, rife up in judgment against wicked & unfaithful minifters, who have fought their own temporal intereft more than the good of the fouls of their..... flock.

2. At that time minifters, and the people who have been under their care, fhall meet together before Christ, that he may judge between them, as to any controverfies which have subsisted between them in this world.

So it very often comes to pafs in this evil world, that great differences and controverfies arife between minifters and the people that are under their paftoral care. Though they are under the greatest obligations to live in peace, above perfons in almost any relation whatever; and although contefts and diffentions between perfons fo related are the most unhappy and terrible in their confequences, on many accounts, of any fort of contentions; yet how frequent have fuch.contentions been? Sometimes a people contest with their minifters about their doctrine, fometimes about their adminiftrations and conduct, and fometimes about their maintenance; and fometimes fuch contests continue a long time; and fometimes they are decided in this world, according to the prevailing intereft of one party or the other, rather than by the word of God, and the reafon of things; and fometimes fuch controverfies never have any proper determination in this world.

But at the day of judgment there will be a full, perfect, and everlafting decifion of them. The infallible Judge, the infinite fountain of light, truth, and juftice, will judge betwen the contending parties, and will de

clare

clare what is the truth, who is in the right, and what is agreeable to his mind and will. And in order hereto, the parties muft ftand together before him at the last day; which will be the great day of finifhing and determining all controverfies, rectifying all mistakes, and abolishing all unrighteous judgments, errors, and confufions, which have before fubfifted in the world of mankind.

3. Minifters, and the people that have been under their care, must meet together at that time to receive an eternal fentence and retribution from the Judge, in the presence of each other, according to their behaviour in the relation they flood in, one to another in the present ftate.

The judge will not only declare justice, but he will do justice between minifters and their people. He will declare what is right between them, approving him that has been juft and faithful, and condemning the unjuft; and perfect truth and equity fhall take place in the fentence which he paffes, in the rewards he beftows, and the punishments which he inflicts. There fhall be a glorious reward to faithful ministers; to those who have been fuccessful. Dan. xii. 3. "And they that be wife fhall fhine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness, as the ftars forever and ever:" And alfo to thofe who have been faithful, and yet not fuccefsful; Ifai. xlix. 4. "Then I faid, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought; yet furely my judgment is with the Lord, and my reward with my God." And those who have well received and entertained them fhall he gloriously rewarded; Matth. x. 40. 41. "He that receiveth you, receiveth me; and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that fent me. He that receiv... eth a prophet in the name of a prophet, fhall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man, in the name of a righteous man, fhall receive a righteous man's reward." Such people and their faithful minifters, fhall be each other's crown of rejoicing. 1 Thef.

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