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be translated, and shall not see death. 66 We shall not all sleep, but we shall 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.". All the saints then alive, shall in an instant, be changed into an incorruptible state, like that of the saints who shall have experienced death and the resurrection. For, it is added, “ This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.". Saints and sinners will be equally incorruptible and immortal. This great change will take place at the end of the world; as preparatory to the final judgment. For it is said, “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, and with the voice of the Archangel,” who is Jesus Christ; “and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first." They shall rise before the living saints "shall be changed.” “ Then we,” meaning the saints who shall be alive and remain at the end of the world,“ we that 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.” This is the scriptural account of the resurrection of the saints, who have enjoyed the blessedness of those who die in the Lord. Their resurrection is glorious. For their very bodies, as we have found, will be raised in consummate beauty and splendor ; fashioned like unto Christ's glorious body; and fitted for perfect and eternal felicity. Well may the suffering saints on earth be 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 inelt
with fervent heat." “ Nevertheless, we according to his promise, look for new heavens, and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
Thus, at the end of the material world, all, both bad and good, must be raised to immortality ; and must bid adieu to all that is terrestrial. These bodies, mouldered to atoms, are to be reanimated, and made spiritual, though distinguished from the soul. A re-union of the soul and body will be a prerequisite to the final judgment, and to the great awards of the eternal world. The doc
trine of the resurrection, though it may seem to some unessential, to others incredible, and to all mysterious; was labored by the Apostles, as a most discriminating point-a point on which the whole gospel scheme was suspended. Reject this doctrine, therefore, and to be consistent, the whole book of divine revelation is to be rejected.
The Final Judgment.
Having briefly discussed the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, one great end of which is, that all
be made to appear, in their true character, before the judgment seat of Christ; we now proceed to the doctrine of the final judgment of the world.
On this great and interesting doctrine, the holy scriptures are very plain and explicit; as might well be expected, since it is a doctrine made known, only by divine revelation. This doctrine, when revealed to mankind by divine inspiration, appears, on many accounts, to be highly reasonable and important ; but without a revelation from God, it could never have been determined whether it were reasonably to be expected or not; or whether it were expedient or inexpedient that God should judge the world. 'In the light of the holy scriptures, we clearly see it to be of infinite importance, that God should bring all his rational and accountable creatures before his judgment seat, that he might make a public display of his infinite wisdom, righteousness, goodness, mercy and faithfulness in his administrations.
It is highly important, not only that God should do right, but also, that he should display his righteousness, in all his administrations, and in the view of all his intelligent creatures. And, in what way can this be done more effectually, than by a full and complete exhibition of every character, before the assembled universe ? Accordingly it is written, and by all candid minds, it is believed, that “God hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained, whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead." It is also written and believed, that “ 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.” The moral improvement of this doctrine is in the next words : 6 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” Another statement of the doctrine before us, is in these words: “ God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”
66 This, saith Solomon, " is the conclusion of the whole matter." The inference is, “ Fear God, and keep his commandments ; for this is the duty of man.”
In these passages of scripture, three ideas are prominent. 1. That all will appear in judgment, without the possibility of escape." All that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and come forth." The sea, as well as the earth shall deliver up its dead. Even though the mountains fall on some, and the hills cover them ; yet the moun. tains and hills shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. 66 The earth also and the works that are therein shall be burnt up.” The material world shall be annihilated. All the dead shall be raised incorruptible, all shall come to judgment.
2. Another idea is, that every work, good or bad, every moral exercise, every secret thing, good or evil, and however deeply concealed by falsehood or hypocricy, will be fully brought to light, by the heart searching God. “I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, to give unto every inan according as his work shall be.”
3. Another idea is, That the judgment of the world belongs to Christ. “ The Father judgeth no man,
but hath committed all judgment unto the Son; that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. The Son of God is to be the Judge of the world ; by which it appears beyond all controversy, that the Son of God is divine, and is Jehovah. It is God who judgeth the se.
crets of men. But he does this great work by Jesus Christ. Christ is ordained of God to be the judge of quick and dead. So that the great Judge of the world is to be a visible God and Judge. 6 Behold he cometh with clouds, and every one shall see him, and they also who have pierced him; and all the kindreds of the earth shall
; wail because of him." Oh, who can stand before his indignation! When Christ appears in the clouds of heaven, he will appear in the same form in which he ascended, in the presence of his disciples. Accordingly, when his disciples saw him ascend to glory, it was announced to them by the attending angels, that 66 this same Jesus, who was taken
from them into heaven, should so come, in like manner as they had seen him go into heaven."
By Matthew, the Evangelist, we have the most plain and literal account of the coming of Christ, at the last great day, and of the process of the final judgment. 66 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit
upon the throne of his glory, and before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them one from another; as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the king say to those on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you, from the foundation of the world. For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat, thirsty, and ye gave me drink, naked, and ye clothed me.” In this world, they had expressed their friendship to Christ by deeds of charity to his followers. 66 Then shall he say also to them on his left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat, thirsty, and ye gave me no drink;” but have exhibited a character in this life, unfriendly to your brethren, and to your Saviour, who is to be your final judge. The conclusion is, that 6 these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal."
Thus it appears, that Cbrist will be the Judge of the world, and that the judgment will be administered according to the character which is formed in the present
life; which is the only probationary state. All beyond is endless joy or endless pain.
Of how long duration the day of judgment will be, we know not. Suppose it to be a thousand years, according to human reckoning of time; this, according to the figurative style of the scriptures, may be called a day. Such may any period of time be denominated, whether definite or indefinite. The period will doubtless be of sufficient duration for the trial and adjudication of all the holy angels, men and devils. For, when Christ shall come in his glory, he will bring all his holy angels with him; and it is said, “God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.” “ And the angels that kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains, unto the judgment of the great day." All these, together with the unnumbered millions of the human family, will have their whole characters so fully investigated, that they will appear to the assembled universe, in their true light. Probably, in the resurrection state, when mortal man shall have put on immortality, and when death shall be swallowed up of life, mankind will be made capable of a very rapid and intuitive discovery and comprehension of characters presented to their view. Yet, being finite and limited in their conceptions, they must comprehend objects, and measure time, only by succession. This being the case, a common day would be insufficient for so great a work, as that of the final judgment of the world. Further,
In the minds of many, it is doubtful whether the sins of the redeemed, or of the saints, will be brought to light, in the final judgment. Their sins are said to be not only forgiven and pardoned; but also to be blotted out, covered, and remembered no more. In reply to this, it may be observed, that these particular expressions are evidently designed to teach us the full, final and absolute pardon of the sins of the penitent, rather than their being forgotten, in a literal sense ; or blotted out of the book of God's remembrance. That God should forget our transgressions, and not literally remember our sins, is absolutely impossible. These expressions, therefore,