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The Gospel unfolds to our view a day of wonders; a day, which, like the pillar of the cloud, will give light to the children of God, enemies shall be enveloped in darkness. ries of that day, when Christ shall be revealed in his majesty to judge the quick and dead, were revealed to the favoured Apostle in all its grandeur.
When writing to the church at Corinth, he drew up the awful veil which hid futurity from their view: "I show you a mystery, we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory."
With equal sublimity he makes known these wonders to the church at Thessalonica: “This we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive, and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we, which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words."
To the Philippians he also gave this animating
hope : "Our conversation is in heaven, from whence we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working, whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself."
What a revelation of grace and mercy is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.-" Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord." A glorious brightness will illumine the morning of their resurrection, when they shall be called to swell the train of the allconquering Messiah.
But oh! how awful will be the gloom which awaits the resurrection of the wicked! If there be a glare of light, darting through the darkness of that momentous period, it will be the light of vengeance, emanating from the insulted Majesty of heaven, "for our God is a consuming fire." To the wilful abusers of divine mercy, there will then remain nothing but judgment and fiery indignation. The despisers of godliness will find, when too late, that "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
Jesus has graciously forewarned us of the suddenness of his approach.-" As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed."
Taught by the Spirit of Christ, St. Paul thus
warns the churches: "The day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night; for when they shall say, peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape."
The deluge came with fury poured out, sweeping away whole nations, till all the shrieks and groans of drowning millions were silenced in the deep.
Equally overwhelming will be the second coming of Christ: "For the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power, when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe."
The earth, with all its idolized possessions, shall then perish in the general conflagration. the very time, when worldly minds are in eager pursuit after wealth and honour,-the day of the Lord will come. It will come as a snare upon all the inhabitants of the earth,-it will come as a thief in the night. But oh! "who shall abide its coming, when the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; when the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up."
Carnal men may ridicule the warning voice, but He, who cannot lie, has proclaimed, through His Word, this awakening truth: that, "the
heavens and the earth which are now, are kept in store, reserved unto fire, against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”
Death and destruction will be the end of sin and sinners. But God is love. Every truth of His Gospel, when received in faith, has a sanctifying influence on the heart. These sublime revelations of the second coming of Christ, were therefore employed by the Apostle as powerful excitements to the duty of personal holiness: "it is high time to awake out of sleep; the night is far spent, the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts; for we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord we persuade men." Peter, like his beloved brother, exhorted believers to the practice of universal holiness: "Seeing, then, that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be. in all holy conversation and godliness; looking for, and hasting unto, the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat."
Will the Church of Christ suffer loss by this awful devastation? Far otherwise. The sinner's
downfal will be the day of the believer's exaltation. How cheering, to every child of God, is the assurance and exhortation of St. Peter: "We, according to his promise, look for new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent, that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless."
Oh! that the Eternal Spirit may awaken our solicitude and quicken our steps to the only Ark of safety. Jesus is the sinner's refuge from the coming storm. Abiding in Him by faith, we shall be quiet from fear of evil, amidst the melting elements, and a burning world. When the wicked are calling upon the rocks and hills to cover them, and to hide them from the face of Him that sitteth upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, the righteous will lift up their heads with joy; for He, who summons the world to judgment, is their Friend and Saviour.
To the Apostles, the second coming of Christ was, therefore, a period of joyful expectation. When they would support believers under the pressure of affliction, they did not draw their consolation chiefly from the prospect of death, as being the termination of their bodily sufferings: but from the glorious appearing of their God and Saviour, who would re-animate their sleeping dust, and complete their glorification in his eternal kingdom. They calmly reposed all their hopes upon the faithfulness of Jehovah; and knowing in whom they had believed, they could strengthen the weary pilgrim, by the sweetest assurances of final rest.