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THE JUDGMENT DAY.
REVELATION XX. 11-13.
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it : and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them and they were judged every man according to their works.
AND is there such an event to be anticipated? And must earth and heaven fly away, and this great white throne, with its awful and trans
cendently glorious Judge seated upon it, appear? And must the whole human race stand before Him? And every one be judged according to their works? Surely every thought is directed towards, and influenced by, such an event. Surely all other matters that can engage the mind of man will be subordinate to this overwhelming truth! We say every Sabbath, "We believe that thou shalt come to be our judge,” and yet alas! alas! the prospects of any temporal loss or worldly advantage will far more readily enter into the mind, and occupy the whole attention of those beings for whom that judgment is set.
Surely were there not a tremendous perverseness within, a deep slumber, an awful death in trespasses and sins, to this event all eyes would be directed, on this all thoughts would be engaged, by this all cares engrossed. Every fear and hope, joy and sorrow, would have a reference and bearing to our acceptance at last before the great and final Judge.
How is this unconcern to be removed, but by distinctly placing the subject before you. May our God enable me to do so at this time !
We have already considered death conducting the spirit into the eternal world, the awful realities of the resurrection, the sound of the trumpet, the great shout heard, the dead bodies awakened, the Judge descending, and the twofold resurrec
tion, that of life and that of damnation. We will now notice more particularly the proceedings of this great day, under these heads
1. THE JUDGE UPON THE THRONE,
2. THE ASSEMBLY GATHERED BEFORE HIM,
3. THE OPENING OF THE BOOKS,
4. THE JUDGMENT ITSelf.
I. THE JUDGE UPON THE THRONE. And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away, and there was found no place for them.
We have here the throne of judgment, the Judge seated on it, the effect of his appearance. I. THE THRONE OF JUDGMENT-a great white throne.
It is a throne, under which is conveyed to us the idea of majesty and dominion. It is the throne of the Most High, all whose decrees are authoritative and absolute, equitable and holy, Righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. There can be no appeal to any other tribunal; the decision of this judgment will irreversibly fix our condition.
It is a great throne, which points out the magnitude and extent of the judgment to be then made. What God calls great is truly so. How great the judgment of that day, when all called great in this world bows before it: when apostate
angels, who sinned before our world was, and all the generations, and tribes, and nations of the whole earth, through successive ages, are summoned, and which the glorious heavenly host, cherubim and seraphim, angels and archangels, surround! How great when the sentence of him who sits upon it shall determine the final everlasting state of millions upon millions of immortal beings.
It is a white throne, emblematic of its purity and uprightness. There can be neither partiality nor error in its decisions. There is no fear of consequences to turn the Judge aside from the path of strictest justice, and no bribery nor desire of the favour of any creature to bias him. The judgment of God is according to truth.-For there is no respect of persons with God. Now men speak much against the hardness and severity of God's requirements; but the conscience of every one judged will in that day so accord with the sentence pronounced, that even the condemned shall be silent in their own behalf.
O my brethren, often realise the circumstances of that day! Let us place before our eyes that great event, When the Son of man shall come in his glory and all the holy angels with him, and dwell often in our thoughts and meditations on that period, when he shall sit on the throne of his glory, and before him shall be gathered all nations. You
and I shall be there, and the preaching and the hearing of this very sermon shall be one of those things which will then testify for or against us. 2. THE JUDGE SEATED ON IT.
I saw him that sat upon it.
Who is this King of Glory? Who is this most worthy Judge eternal?
It is our Lord Jesus
Christ. The Scriptures frequently speak of him as presiding over all the stupendous scenes of this day. (Mark viii. 38; Matt. xxv. 31.) The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son. (John v. 22.) The throne of judgment is therefore called the judgment seat of Christ. (Rom. xiv. 10; 2 Cor. v. 10.) And he it is who shall be seated on this great white throne.
O how different from his first coming! Then he was shut out of human dwellings, born in a stable, a weak and helpless babe in his virgin mother's arms, cradled in a manger, subject to his parents, brought up as a carpenter, despised and rejected of men. Then he was a man of sorrows, not having where to lay his head. Then he was himself tried, judged, condemned, spit upon, nailed to a cross, crucified with thieves, and laid in the grave. This he submitted to, this he underwent for you, for me, that we might, through his sufferings for us, escape judgment, condemnation, shame, and everlasting contempt.