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3. With what confidence and comfort may believers look forward to the coming of their Lord!

(Whom will they have for their judge but the very person who bought them with his blood? the very person in whom they have believed; and to whom they cleaved with full

purpose of heart? -Be it so then; the catalogue of their sins shall be produced, a catalogue reaching, as it were, from hea. ven to earth; and they shall not have one word to offer in arrest of judgment: yet, will the Saviour pass a sentence of condemnation upon them? Will he not himself stand forth and testify, “ I saw their deep contrition; I treasured up their tears in my vial; I was witness to their frequent sighs and groans, and to their cries for mercy through my atoning blood." * Deliver them from going down into the pit; I paid their ransom:" they were mine; and they manifested that they were mine," by their obedience to my will

, and their conformity to my image: “Come ye blessed children of my Father, inherit my kingdom prepared for you?”—Fear not then, ye weak and trembling saints; but rather “be looking for and hasting to the coming of the day of Christ:" ye shall surely stand before him with joy; while they, who once justified their ungodliness, and thought, that to be among the godly was a fit matter for derision, shall bewail their folly, and confess the. equity of the sentence that fixes you in heaven, and themselves in hell-Remember then with gratitude that you are to have Jesus for your judge; and when he says, “Behold I come quickly,” let your hearts reply, “ Even so, come Lord Jesus”y-]

u God represents himself in this very light. Jer. xxxi. 18—20. x 2 Pet. iii. 12.

y Rev. xxii, 20.


Heb. ix. 27, 28. As it is appointed unto men once to die, but

after that the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time, without sin, unto salvation.

IT is probable that many in the first ages of Christianity wondered, as indeed many even at this time do, how persons should be saved by the death of Christ, thousands of years before he came into the world; more especially since the most solemn sacrifices under the Jewish ceconomy were of no effect beyond the year in which they were offered. But the Jewish sacrifices needed to

be repeated, because they were worthless and inefficient: whereas the perfection of Christ's sacrifice gave it a retrospective and prospective efficacy, so that, at whatever period of the world it should be offered, it needed never to be repeated. This is the scope of the passage before us; and the apostle illustrates his argument by an awful and acknowledged truth. To comprehend the force of his observations, we must consider I. Man's destination to death and judgment Every man must die

[This is too obvious to need a proof. Whatever be our age, condition, pursuits, and prospects, we must die. If our life were protracted to the age of Methuselah, we must die at last: God has “ appointed” it; nor shall his decree be either defeated or reversed. But it is only “once” that we can die. Though some few who have been miraculously restored to life, have died a second time, we must not expect to return from our graves. If the great work of salvation be not completed before we die, we shall be undone for ever.a] *. After death we shall all be judged

[God has appointed a day, wherein he will judge the world in righteousness, and reward every man according to his works. And this also shall be but "once:” for, though every man's state is fixed as soon as he goes into the invisible world, it is not till the general resurrection that his body shall participate the portion assigned to his soul. And, as there is no return from death to another state of probation, so there is no appeal from the sentence that shall be passed in that day.]

The apostle having mentioned this, proceeds to state II. A similar appointment respecting Christ Christ'" once" died for the sins of men

{Though in appearance our Saviour died like other men, yet in reality his death was altogether different from theirs. He died as a sacrifice for sin; his death was that very atonement which had been typically represented from the beginning of the world. But though he was to be " a propitiation for the sins of the whole world,” he died only "once.” The legal sacrifices were constantly repeated, because they were rather “remembrances of sins” than a real expiation of them: but “he, by one offering of himself, hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified;" and “many,” even all that

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believe in him, have their sins removed for ever by virtue of


He also will

appear a second time” at the day of judgment

[At his first coming he appeared " in the likeness of sinful flesh,''e and was treated as a sinner both by God and man: but at his second coming he will assume a very different appearance. As the high priest, while offering the annual sacrifices, was clothed only in plain linen garments, but, when he had completed his sacrifice, came forth in his splendid robes to bless the people;" so our great high priest will put off the garb of humiliation, and shine forth in all his majesty and glory. At his first coming, he saved not himself; but, at that day, he will impart “ salvation” unto others, even to all who seek him in sincerity and truth.]

The apostle having introduced God's appointment respecting man to illustrate that respecting Christ, we shall point out III. The correspondence and connexion between them

The mention of death and judgment as appointed unto man was not at all necessary to the apostle's argument: but, as an illustration of it; it was very pertinent

1. Death and judgment are the consequents of sin; and the first and second coming of Christ shall be the means of salvation.

[If there, had been, no sin, there would have been no death, nor any occasion for a day of judgment: and, if Christ had not come to bear the sins of men, there would have been no salvation: all must have inevitably and eternally perished. Moreover, as the law required that the high priest, after hav. ing finished his work within the vail, should come forth to bless the people; 'so in the divine appointment, Christ's second coming is necessary to the complete salvation of his followers.)

2. Death and judgment shall be fatal to unbelieversi and the first and second coming of Christ shall be means of salvation to them that believe

91, [The Lord Jesus, as a judge, will condemn the wicked; “ he will come to take vengeance on them that know''not God, and that obey not his gospel.” But as a priest, he will


c Rom. viii. 3. a Ley, xvi. 23, 24. with viii. 7, 9, and Numb. vi. 23, 24.

e Matt. xxy. 31. ;

come forth only to bless his redeemed, who are praying without, whilst he is interceding for them within the vail. They are fitly represented as “ looking for him;" and he will appear to their unutterable and eternal joy.] ADDRESS 1. To those who are regardless of their spiritual welfare

[O that you would duly consider the certainty and nearness of death and judgment! You would then soon turn from vanity and sin, and labour to secure an interest in Christ. Let this subject then dwell upon your minds, till you are quickened by it to seek the Lord, and have obtained through him the remission of your sins.] 2. To those who are anxious to save their souls

[If you really look to Christ to take away your sins, you need not be afraid of death and judgment. You may look forward to Christ's second coming, not with comfort only, but unspeakable delight. Stand then in this posture, looking for and hasting to that blessed day;if he tarry, wait for him; and in due time you shall hear from his lips that reviving sentence; “Come, ye blessed children of my Father: inherit the kingdom prepared for you."]


#Luke i. 9, 10.

2 Pet. iil. 12


Rev. xx. 14—15. I saw a great white throiteo 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 death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life, was cast into the lake of fire.

We are not to imagine that the mysterious parts of scripture are unworthy of our most attentive perusal: for though we should not succeed in our endeavours to com. prehend all that is contained in them, we shall find much that is plain, intelligible, and important. The chapter


3 L

before us speaks of a resurrection of all the martyred saints to reign with Christ on earth a thousand years: it informs us also that, at the expiration of that period, Satan shall be loosed from his confinement, and prevail against them, deceiving many, and destroying many. It tells us moreover, that God, determining to execute vengeance on that deceiver of the nations, and on such ministers as have been his instruments, and upon all those who have been deceived by them, will then come to judge the world in righteousness.

We apprehend this reign of Christ on earth to be merely figurative: but, without dwelling on the points that are of difficult interpretation, we may reap much instruction from considering the description here given us of the day of judgment: in which we may notice 1. The appearance of the Judge

[Christ is the person who shall judge the world:a and he is here, as elsewhere on the very same occasion, declared to be “ God,” as well as man, Emmanuel, God with us. His being seated on a “throne" denotes, that his decisions, sanctioned as they are by the authority of the King of kings, will be final and irreversible. Nor is it without design that the throne is described as " white," seeing that it will exceed the meridian sun in brightness, nor ever be sullied by the smallest instance of partiality or error.

The idea of earth and the heaven's that surround it, fleeing from before his face, and no place being found for them," is calculated to impress our minds with the most awful sense of his' majesty and glory. This guilty globe was once the place of his residence, till its impious inhabitants rose up against him with one consent; and put him to death. But in that day, as though it was conscious of its own desert, it will flee from his presence; nor will any place be found for this theatre of sin to exist any longer in its present polluted state.] II. The persons that shall be judged

[Not only at the deluge, when the whole world was drowned, but since that time, millions who, for mercantile or hostile purposes, have traversed the mighty waters, have found their graves in the bosom of the ocean. But at the last day,

à Acts xvii. 31. John v. 22. • 2 Pet. iii. 10.

b Rom. xiv. 10-12

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