صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

pierced him; and all kindreds of the earth « shall wail because of him.” III. The faith and hope of the church, display

ed by her wishing and praying for his manifestation, notwithstanding all the terrors that

are to attend it: "Even so, Amen." First, then, we are to consider Christ's advent to judgement. There is something wonderfully awful and affecting in the short description the text gives us of it. The beautiful manner, particularly, in which it is introduced, is worthy of notice. St. John, having occasion to mention his dear Lord and Master, at whose command he wrote this epistle to the churches, fired and transported at the glorious name, runs on with amazing rapidity, enumerating the blessings of the redemption which is by him; and having carried him from his cross to his throne, and ascribed all glory to him sitting upon it, immediately he sees him in the clouds, and breaks forth in the words of the text. The whole passage runs thus: “John to the

seven churches which are in Asia : Grace be unto you, and peace

from him which is, and which was, " and which is to come; and from the seven spirits " which are before his throne; and from Jesus Christ, " who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten “ from the dead, and the prince of the kings of the “ earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from

our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings “and priests unto God and his Father; unto him be

glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Behold, he cometh !” It is evident likewise, at first sight, how well this sudden and abrupt introduction is calculated to awaken our attention to what follows. “ The corruptible body, alas ! presseth down “ the soul that museth on many things,” and especially when it museth on the things of eternity. Multitudes lie asleep in their sins, amused with delusive dreams; dead to their true views and interests, as a corpse sleeping in the dust is dead to the views and interests of this life. Therefore the Holy Spirit, about to make proclamation of Christ's second advent, first sounds a trumpet in Sion, and an alarm in the holy mountain, and ushers it in with an emphatical--Behold! which, like the voice of that wakeful bird that gives the first notice of the approach of the morning, and as a prelude to the archangel's trump, which is to give notice of the approach of the last morning that shall ever rise upon the world, is designed to awaken a careless and indolent generation out of its lethargy, importing the same in this place, with those other frequent calls of the apostles and prophets“Awake, thou that sleepest, and “ arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee “ light.” “ Arise, shine, for thy light is coming, and " the glory of the Lord is rising upon thee.”

Behold, he cometh!” And is not this a sight most worthy of our attention? Is it not very meet, right, and our bounden duty, that we should open the eyes of our faith, which the bewitching cup of pleasure and vanity, mingled by a deceitful world for our destruction, has charmed to sleep? that we should “ lift up our heads, and look up, to see our redemp" tion drawing nigh?” For draw nigh it will, and it does, whether we consider it or not. Every even

ing takes a day from the world's duration. The

portion of the wicked is so much less, and the time of their punishment so much approached; the sufferings of the patient so much diminished, and their hopes of deliverance so much increased. Nay, every clock that strikes, bids us recollect that the promise of Christ has then received an additional force: “ Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me, “ to give to every man according as his work shall “ be.” The precise day and hour knoweth no man. Though probably as it was at his first advent, so likewise will it be at his second. The faithful servants, who are watching for the return of their Lord, and

looking for redemption in Jerusalem,” will be able by the books of the Scriptures, and the signs of the times, to tell when the day is approaching. But what avails a curious disquisition upon the exact period of the world's dissolution? What is likely to be the fate of those malefactors, who, instead of preparing for their trial, spend the small portion of time allotted them, in disputing with each other con. cerning the hour in which the trumpet shall sound, and the Judge make his entry? In this, above all other cases, « blessed is the man that feareth always. “ Blessed is that servant, who, whether his master “cometh at the second watch, or whether he cometh " at the third watch,” is ready to receive him and exhibit his accounts. Blessed, in short, is he, and he only, who hears continually these words of the beloved John: “Behold he cometh.”

He cometh, indeed! But how changed ! how different his appearance from what it was! How shall

we be able to conceive of it as it deserves, to raise our thoughts from the voice of the tender babe in the manger, bewailing our sins that brought him thither, to the voice of the Son of God, from which the heavens and the earth shall fly away, and no place be found for them any more for ever! Yet so it is. Behold, he who came in swaddling-clothes, cometh with clouds. He who came to preach the day of salvation, cometh again to proclaim the day of vengeance. He who was led as a lamb to the slaughter, leads his ten thousands to the prey, as the lion of the tribe of Judah. He who cried not, nor lifted up his voice against his enemies upon earth, thunders with the glorious voice of his excellency against them from heaven. He who never brake a bruised reed, rules the nations with a rod of iron, and breaks them in pieces like a potter's vessel.

He who quenched not the smoking flax, extinguishes the great lights of the world; darkens the sun, and turns the moon into blood; commands the stars from their stations, and the dead from their graves; shakes the powers of heaven, and the foundations of the earth, and all hearts that are not fixed on him.

The trumpet sounds, and he is coming. The everlasting gates of heaven, which lifted up their heads for the King of Glory to enter in, are again lifted up; and behold the procession that comes forth of them, descending to this lower world, as it is described by one who saw it in vision: “I saw heaven opened, " and behold a white horse, and he that sat upon s him was called faithful and true," the accomplisher of all his promises ; "and in righteousness he doth

oppose him.

judge” the world, " and make war” against all that

“ His eyes were as a flame of fire,' discerning and destroying the counsels of bis adversaries; “and on his head were many crowns;" all the kingdoms of this world were become his ; "and “ he had a name written that no one knew, but he “ himself,” the ineffable name of the divine essence. " And he was clothed with a vesture dipt in blood,” the garment of vengeance.

- And his name," by which he is known to men, “is called THE WORD “ of God. And the armies which are in heaven "followed him upon white horses," attending him in his glory, “clothed in fine linen, white and clean," which is the righteousness of saints. " And out of “ his mouth-goeth a sharp sword,” namely, his holy word, “that with it he should smite the nations. And he shall rule them,” that have rejected the golden sceptre of mercy, " with a rod of iron. And he “ treadeth the wine-press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture " and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."

When Joshua, at the head of the armies of Israel, surrounded Jericho, at the sound of the trumpet the walls fell flat. When the divine Joshua, at the head of the armies of the true Israel of God, the church triumphant, surrounds this city of destruction, can the event be otherwise? Assuredly it cannot. The strength, beauty, and glory of the world will fall, and come to nothing, at the moment when the trumpet sounding from the one end of beaven to the other, shall give notice, that the judge of all the

« السابقةمتابعة »