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now seized the rulers, who still retained their enmity against him! All their efforts were in vain; the more fierce their opposition was, the more did the word prevail: so that in a little time, not Jerusalem only, but all Judea, yea, the whole Roman empire, was filled with converts to the cause of Christ. Now the disciples triumphed in their turn: and from that time myriads in every place have been "justified by his blood," and have “ gloried” in his salvation.]
2. It shall be yet more fully accomplished at the day of judgment
[It is in reference to this period in particular that the apostle cites the passage before us: and then indeed will it be verified to the uttermost. The submission of his people will be more entire, their acknowledgments more grateful, and their glorying more ecstatic, than they could be in this world; while the subjugation of his enemies, and their confusion before him, will be complete. When he shall say, as to those of old, Many good works did I for you, for which of them did ye hate me? for you I left my glory, and veiled myself in human flesh; for you I sojourned upon earth, and died upon the cross; for you I sent my messengers to beseech you in my name to accept of mercy: for which of these things was L a stumblingblock unto you? how will they hang down their heads with shame! Eloquent as they now are in vindication of themselves, they will not then have one word to answer. Thus shall it be both to the friends and enemies of Christ: as sure as there is a God in heaven, possessed of faithfulness and power to fulfil his word, so sure shall not one jot or tittle of it ever fail of its accomplishment.] IMPROVEMENT 1. For conviction
[Nothing surely can be more calculated to awaken the secure than this solemn oath of Jehovah. Methinks the Deity, to fix our attention and obtain belief, stands forth before the assembled universe, and, with his hand lifted up to heaven, swears, As sure as I am God, thus and thus shall it be with my friends and with my enemies.” Must not then sinners be more deaf than, adders, and more obdurate than rocks, if they do pot hear, and relent, at the voice of their God? O that men would no longer trifle with their eternal interests! We may argue as we please against the word of God; but we cannot invalidate its tremendous declarations. Let us then believe and tremble, yea, “ believe, and obey the gospel.”]
* 2. For consolation
[God, in his oath, consults more immediately the comfort of his people. They are, alas! too backward to believe his word; and therefore he confirms it with an oath. Let every subject then of the Redeemer's kingdom rejoice: let their confidence in him both for righteousness and strength be greatly increased: let thém never doubt, but that his enemies and their enemies, shall soon become his footstool: let them know, that they are justified from all their sins: and let them glory in him as their God and portion. Difficulties they may, they must expect; but the word of God shall not be frustrated: “the counsel of the Lord shall stand; and he will do all his pleasure." Let them only rest on the oath of God, and they shall experience its accomplishment to all eternity:]
á Heb. vi. 17, 18.
CCIII. CHRIST'S COMING TO JUDGMENT.
Jude 14, 15. Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied
of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly amonga them, of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
God has had in every age some to testify against the ungodly, and to warn them of the consequences of their sin at the future judgment; and though the faithful exe. cution of this office meets but with ill returns from an un. grateful world, yet we trust there will be found, to the end of time, some, who will gladly suffer reproach or even death itself in the service of their God, and in the benevolent attempt to save their fellow-siopers from destruction_We do not indeed hear of many, who were witnesses for God, before the time of Moses, and even in his warnings and exhortations were enforced principally with temporal sảnctions: yet the certainty of a future judgment was known, not only by Moses, but by the antediluvian world; and was solemnly urged by Enoch as a motive to repentance--This prophecy is not recorded in the Old Testament; but, by whatever means St. Jude attained the knowledge of it, whether by tradition, or by some written memorial, or by immediate inspiration; we may be
sure that it was delivered by Enoch; and we may be thankful that such a precious fragment of inspired truth has been preserved to us-It proclaims to us 1. The manner in which our Lord shall come to judg
ment Christ, we are assiired, is coming to judge the world
[There can be no reason to doubt that Enoch referred to Christ, even to that very "seed of the woman, who was to bruise the serpent's head:” him he represents as coming to complete his victory over Satan and his agents by calling them to his tribunal, and by consigning them over to the punishment they have deserved - The New
Testament writers uniformly speak to the same effect: they declare that it is at the judgment seat of CHRisT we must stand;a that it is Christ who is ordained to be the judge of quick and dead; and, that all judgment is therefore committed unto him, because he is the Son of man;c or, in other words, that he, who died for sinners, shall, in that very nature that he assumed for them, be the immediate author of salvation to his followers and of condemnation to his enemies]
And even the manner of his appearing is here plainly predicted
[It is not with his saints,” but with his holy ones, or holy angels, that he will come-The saints will not be his assessors in judgment till they themselves shall have received their sentence: then indeed “they shall judge angels;”d but till then, they themselves will stand before him to be judged. But the holy angels will be his attendants in the clouds of heaven; all the “myriads" of them shall descend with him from their blessed abodes, to increase the solemnity of that day, and to honour him, to whom they owe their very existence- This accords with the description given by Daniel,e by St. Paul, and by Christ himself-How different will our Lord's appearance then be from what it was when he first visited our guilty world, and lay an helpless infant in the manger! And how earnestly should we now exert ourselves that we may be prepared to meet him!-]
That our minds may be raised to an expectation of that day, let us consider
a 2 Cor. v. 10.
b Acts x. 42.
e John v. 27.
II. The ends of his coming
It is not to display his own glory that Christ will come; but 1. To pass judgment upon the whole world
(All, who have ever lived in this wretched worlu, shall be swnmoned before him---The old and the young, the rich and the poor, will all come forth out of their graves, and those that shall be then living upon earth shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and all shall stand together at his tribunal Every one shall then be tried as by fire;k their actions shall be weighed as in a balance; and the most secret motions of their hearts be brought to light_Then shall they that are approved, “ have praise of God;” and they that are disapproved, be driven from his presence-Nor will Jesus merely pronounce the sentence of condemnation or acquittal, but he will cute" it himself, either exalting them instantly to thrones of glory, or casting them headlong into the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone"-] 2. To manifest the equity of his decisions
(Whatever endeavours be now used to shew men their guilt and danger, they have many things to allege in their own favour;m nor even “ if we could speak with the tongues of angels," could we bring home conviction to their hearts But Jesus will shew them, beyond all contradiction, the futility of their excuses: and will prove by such unquestionable eviden'ce “the deeds they have committed, the words they have spoken," and the thoughts they have entertained, that they shall be silenced and confounded before him-The ministers, who once laboured for their salvation, shall then be forced to bear testimony against them: their companions in sin, though to their own confusion, must also testify of those deeds of darkness, which they once fondly hoped would be buried in eternal oblivion, The very places, where their most secret iniquities were committed, should rather stand forth to accuse them, than that they should escape with impunity --Above all, “ God himself will be a swift witness against them,” and will so thoroughly convince" them of all their sins, whether of commission or of omission, that they shall be constrained to acknowledge the equity of that sentence, which dooms them to everlasting burnings--Even in hell will they be compelled to
h Rey. xx. 12, 13.
il Cor. xv. 51, 52. I Cor. iii. 13.
i Rom. ii. 16. m Chey will impute their negligence to their situation in life, to necessly, or to any thing rather than the true cause, their own utter aversion to God and holiness. * Hab. ii. 11.
. Mal. iii. 5.
“ Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments-) INFE'R
1. How needful is it that we should instantly begin our preparation for that day!
[Five thousand years ago the prophet spake of Jesus as so near at hạnd, that it seeined as if he were already come... And it is in this way that all, whether prophets or apostles, have been inspired to speak-So strongly did St. Paul express himself on this subject that the Thessalonians conceived the judgment-day to be almost immediately at handsIn the same manner must we say, " The Lord is at hand;” “ the Judge is at the door”s---He surely is coming as soon as ever the events that are ordained to precede his advent shall have received their accomplishment-And with respect to us, it signifies little whether it be near or distant, since as death leaves us, judgment will find us Is it not even madness then to delay our repentance, since we cannot tell but that death
may come within the next year, or day, or hour?-Beloved, shall your Lord come, and find you sleeping? Is he hastening towards
you, and will you not prepare to meet him; O awake: from your slumbers, and turn to him with your whole hearts; that so you may
“ have confidence before him at his coming"-) 2. How desirable is it to possess an interest in Christ!
[It surely is not necessary to prove that we are ungodly, since we have all sinned, times without number, in thought, word, and deed against the Divine Majesty-Whither then shall we go for the remission of our sins? How shall we get our iniquities blotted out from the book of his remembrance! Our tears, even if we could shed rivers of tears, will never avail for this end: nothing but the blood of Jesus can ever cleanse us from the guilt of one sin: and, if we be not washed in that fountain, we shall die in our iniquities, and lie under the guilt of them for ever---Let us then seek an interest in Christ-Let us never attempt to substitute any repentance or reformation of our own, in the place of his meritorious bloocI and righteousness: but let it be our one desire to “be found in him," and to obtain from him those garments of salvation, which alone can cover the nakedness” of our guilty souls-1
p Rev. xvi. 7.