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A. Though it is plain from Scripture, that good Men, when they die, pass into a State of Happiness, and bad Men into a state of Misery; yet all the Declarations of our Saviour and his Apostles concerning Judgment, with the parables that relate to it, plainly refer to the last and general Judgment; for then it is only that the whole Man shall be completely happy, or completely miserable: Then it is that the Bodies of Men shall be raised, and as they have been Partakers with the Soul either in obeying or offending God, so shall they then share in the Rewards or Punishments of it; and then only can the Degrees and Measures of their Happiness and Misery be truly adjusted; for even after Death the Effects of Men's good or bad Actions may add to their Punishment, or increase their Reward; by the good or bad Examples they have given, by the good or bad Books they have writ, by the Foundations they have established for Piety and Virtue, or by the Customs they have introduced to countenance Vice and Immorality. Then it is that the Reasonableness of God's Providence, in relation to the Sufferings of good Men in this World will be fully justified, and his Goodness as amply cleared in those severe Punishments that shall be eternally inflicted upon the Wicked. Moreover, this general Judgment is necessary to display the Majesty and Glory of our Blessed Saviour; that by this public Act of Honour and Authority, he may receive some Recompence for the Contempt and Ignominy which he met with from a wicked and ungrateful World; and that his despised Servants may be owned by him in the Sight of Angels and Men, to the great Confusion of all those miserable Wretches, that shall then be doomed to everlasting Torments; that public Justice may be done to those Virtues their Humility took care to conceal, which were sullied by the Calumnies and Slanders of malicious Men; and which, by the false Judgment of the World, were represented as the Effects of Folly and Extravagance. But I may add farther, when T
Mat. xvi. 27.
God has plainly declared that there shall be a general Judgment; notwithstanding.that good Men upon their Death go into a State of Happiness, and bad Men into a State of Misery; it is absolutely necessary Men should entirely believe it, granting that they were not able to assign any Reasons to justify such a Procedure.
Q. To whom hath God committed the Administra tion of this Judgment?
4. The Lord Jesus Christ is constituted by God to administer the Judgment of the Great Day. God will judge the World in Righteousness by that Mun Jesus Christ, whom he hath ordained. The Son of Man, Joh. v. 22. shall come in the Glory of his Father with his holy Angels, and then shall he reward every Man according to his Works. The Father judgeth no Man, but hath committed all Judgment unto the Son. The Apostles were commanded to preach unto the People and testActs x. 42. ify, that it is Jesus that is ordained of God to be the Judge of Quick and Dead. And the Tribunal is called the Judgment-seat of Christ. By which Text it plainly appears, that though the Right of Judging us belongs to God, whose Servants and Subjects we are, yet the Execution of this judiciary Power is particularly committed to the Son of Man, who is the Second Person in the Blessed Trinity. Q. Why is the Administration of this Judgment committed to the Lord Jesus Christ?
Rom. xiv. 20.
Joh. v. 23. 27.
A. That all Men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father, and because he is the Son of Man. That our blessed Saviour might receive public Honour in that Nature wherein he suffered; that he, who for our Sakes stood before an earthly Tribunal, might therefore be constituted Judge of the whole World; that he, who was despised and rejected of Men, might appear in the Glory of his Father, attended with an innumerable Train of holy Angels; that he who was condemned and crucified to absolve us, might receive Authority to absolve and condemn the whole Race of Mankind; and be
cause being clothed with a human body, he will make a visible Appearance, which will be suitable to the other Circumstances of the great Day: all which will be performed in a visible Manner. Besides, Mankind being judged by one in their own Nature, a Man like themselves, touched with a Feeling of their Infirmities, greatly declares the Equity of this Judgment, because he understands all our Circumstances, and whatever may influence our Case to extenuate or aggravate our Guilt.
Q. Who are those that shall be judged?
A. Angels and all Mankind. The fallen Angels Jude, ver. are reserved in everlasting Chains under Darkness, 6. unto the Judgment of the great Day. And St. Paul says, Know ye not that we shall judge Angels; that 1 Cor. vi. is, sit with Christ, and approve that Sentence he shall then pronounce against them? And all Men that have ever lived in the World, and those that shall be alive at our Saviour's Coming, shall be ga-Mat. xxv. thered before him, who is ordained by God to be Acts x. 42. Judge of Quick and Dead, and they shall all stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, both Small and Rev. xi. Great. Power shall not exempt the Kings of the Rev. vi. Earth, and the great Men, neither shall Meanness 15. excuse the poorest Slave, for they are all the Work 19. of his Hands; neither will he have Regard to such Qualities and Circumstances of Persons, which do not at all appertain to the Merits of the Cause. Q. For what shall we be judged?
A. For all Things we have done in the Body, whe-2 Cor. v. ther they be good or bad. All our Thoughts, Words, and Actions, shall then undergo the severest Scrutiny; for they being all in some Measure subject to God's Laws, they shall then be examined as to the Breach or Observance of them. We must then give an Account how we have performed our Duty to God, our Neighbour, and ourselves: How we have improved the Talents we have been intrusted with; particularly we shall be tried for the Omissions of Mat. xxv. our Duty, which is the main Enquiry recorded in
the Procedure of that great Day; and not only our Actions, but every idle, that is, wicked Word we shall Mat. xii. speak will be brought into Judgment, and by our Words we shall be justified, and by our Words we shall be condemned: Nay, our secret Thoughts shall then be exposed to public View; for all Wickedness taketh its Rise from the Heart, and the Design and Intention with which a Thing is done, frequently discriminates the Goodness or Evil of the Action; therefore God shall judge the Secrets of Men's Hearts by Jesus Christ.
Rom. ii. 16.
Q. By what Measures shall the Sentence of the Great Day pass upon Men?
A. According to the Nature and Quality of their Actions. The Wicked shall go into everlasting Pu Mat. xxv. nishment, but the Righteous into Life eternal. So that the Rewards and Punishments of the next Life, shall bear a Proportion to the Good or Evil Men have done in this.
2 Cor. ix.
Q. But will the Degrees of their good and bad Actions, be considered, as well as the Nature and Quality of them?
A. The Scripture is plain and express in this Luke xii. Matter. To whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required; he that soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly and he that soweth bountifully shall reap bountifully. And in the Parable of the Talents, our Saviour plainly teaches us, that Men are rewarded Luke xix. according to the Improvements they make. He that had gained Ten Talents is made Ruler over Ten Cities, and he that had gained Five Talents, Ruler 1 Cor. xv. Over Five Cities. St. Paul expressly affirms, that the Glory of the Saints shall be different at the Resurrection. And our Saviour tells us, that in the Day of Judgment the Condition of Tyre and Sidon, of Sodom and Gomorrah, shall be more tolerable than that of impenitent Sinners under the Gospel. And this is agreeable to the Justice and Equity of God's Providence, and to the Reason of the Thing; Nothing being a greater Incitement to Piety, than
the Consideration that the least Service shall not lose its Reward. And the better any Man is, the greater Disposition he hath for the Enjoyment of God: and the more hardened he is in Wickedness, the more susceptible he is of Torment, and treasureth up great Measures of Wrath against the Day of Wrath.
Q. What is the prefixed Time of our Saviour's coming to Judgment?
A. The Time and Season for that great Assize is appointed by God, and reserved as a Secret to himself. Of that Day and Hour knoweth no Man, Mark, xiii. no, not the Angels which are in Heaven, neither the 32. Son, but the Father. The Angels, who excel in Knowledge, and shall administer in all the Solemnities of the last Judgment, are ignorant of it, and so is the Son of Man, who is himself to be the Judge, and who, as God, knows all Things, yet as to his human Understanding he did not know it; which is not unreasonable to suppose, if we consider that the human Nature of Christ did not necessarily know all Things by Virtue of its Union to the divine Nature, otherwise Jesus could not have grown Luke, ii. in Wisdom and Favour with God and Man.
Q. What shall be the Manner and the Circumstances of Christ's Appearing?
1 Thess. iv.
A. He shall be revealed from Heaven with his 2 Thess. i. mighty Angels. He shall descend with a Shout with, the Voice of the Arch-Angel, with the Trump of God.16. He shall come in his own Glory, and in his Father's Lake, ix. and in that of his holy Angels. He shall sit upon the Mat. xxv. Throne of his Glory, and all Nations shall be gathered 31, 32. before him, and he shall separate them, the one from the other, as a Shepherd divideth his Sheep from the Goats. Those that sleep in the Grave shall awake and the Dead in Christ shall rise first, and they that 1 Thess. iv. are alice shall be changed and caught up to meet the 16, 17. Lord in the Air; which sufficiently shews the glori-1. ous Appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Tit. ii. 13. Christ: Glorious in respect of the Brightness and
1 Cor. xv.