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day when we look not for him, and in an hour that we are not aware of, and will cut us asunder, and appoint us our portion with hypocrites and unbelievers. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
The certainty of our Lord's second coming being evident beyond contradiction or dispute to all who credit the holy Scriptures, I proceed, as was proposed, to inquire next more particularly into the manner of his coming, according to the representation given of it in our text. For this too is doubtless a subject of inquiry well worthy the attention of all who love our Lord Jesus in sincerity, to whom nothing that concerns him, will appear trivial or unimportant. Consider we, then,
2dly, In what form, with what attendants; and in what circumstances he will appear.
1. Will God's eternal Son again for our sakes divest himself of his glory, relinquish his felicity, assume our nature, and suffer in our stead? Being made flesh, will the Creator of all again become destitute of every earthly accommodation, so as not even to have " a place where to lay his head,” though the very.“ foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests ?" Will he again endure hunger and thirst, cold and nakedness, weariness and hardship of every kind ? Will the sovereign Lord of the universe, and the final Judge of angels and of men, again suffer himself to be apprehended by his creatures, arraigned, tried, and condemned; to be insulted, spit upon, scourged, and crucified ? Will the ever-blessed Jesus again 'groan under a mountain of guilt, and sustain the wrath of incensed justice, till he is constrained to confess, that his soul is exceeding sorrowful, and sweat, as it were, great drops of blood ?” Will the Prince of life again suffer the pangs of death, and the Light of the world go out in darkness ?
2. Oh, no! Those days of his humiliation and sorrow are past, and will return no more. For having vanquished his and our enemies upon the cross, and led them in triumph at his chariotwheels, when he ascended far above all heavens, in reward of his victorious sufferings, he is invested with power and dominion irresistible and eternal, and is raised to a throne of glory at the Father's right hand. Because when he was in the form of God, he emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in the fashion of a man, humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross ; therefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should
bow, of those in heaven, and those in earth, and those under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." And now he reigns in bliss and glory supreme, Sovereign of angels and men, King of kings, and Lord of lords. The government of the universe rests upon bis shoulders, and all persons and things are at his disposal, and under his direction.
3. This dignity and glory of our exalted Lord, is, however, hid from the world; and hence their disobedience to his commands, contempt of his authority, and neglect of his salvation. But at his second coming he will be manifested in all his excellent majesty, and therefore it is called the revelation of Jesus Christ. For then it will be revealed, to the eternal confusion of his foes, and the perpetual joy of his redeemed, what he is and will for ever be. Then will he blaze forth
“In all the splendour of the Deity!
Darken the sun, confound the brightest star,
Then will it be seen whom they insulted and reviled, when they said, “ Hail, King of the Jews,” and “He saved others, himself he cannot save." Then will it appear for whose blood they clamoured, when they cried out, " Away with him, away with him; crucify him, crucify him." Then will Pilate see who it was that he condemned to die, and Caiaphas whom he charged with blasphemy. Yea, then will the whole race of impenitent transgressors acknowledge, however reluctant, the dignity and power of that man, whom they refused to reign over them. For then will he be revealed as the effulgence of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person, even as God over all, blessed for ever, possessed of infinite and unlimited authority, and all possible perfece tions:
.Ah, how unlike
4. Concerning this matter we can have no doubt at all, the Scrips ture is so full and express upon the head. The passages above quoted, and which I need not here repeat, are a sufficient confirmation of it. Our Lord there speaks of his “sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven :" and again, of his “coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory ;” and yet again, of his “coming in his glory, with all his holy angels with him, when he will sit upon the throne of his glory." I shall only add here, just such was the representation of him made to St. John, when he “saw heaven opened, and, behold, a white horse, and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns, and he bad a name written which no man knew but himself, and he was clothed with a vesture dipt in blood, and his name is called The Word of God. And out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, that with it he should smite the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron : and he treadeth the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture, and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."
5. What a glorious discovery was here afforded the apostle! What a grand and most sublime description does he give us! What an august personage is here represented to our view! But, ah! how much more will the representation strike us when it is made by Christ in person, and we shall see him as he is!-Shall see hea.. ven open, and the Son of God, in the pomp of majesty ineffable, descending !-Shall see,
“On an empyreal, flying throne,
And now what is all the fulsome pride of human greatness, and the affected pomp which decorates worms of the earth, to this in. herent dignity and ineffable majesty of the glorious Redeemer! Ah! how does this refulgent Sun of Righteousness, thus beaming forth in his meridian glory, eclipse all the borrowed brightness of feeble mortals ! Surely all the renowned statesmen, victorious generals, famed conquerors, powerful emperors, and mighty monarchs, which have ever dignified the annals of human history, and shone with faint
rays during the dreary night of this world, shall disappear in the presence of this God of glory, when at the morning of the re
vanish before the rising sun! Ah! how will all the “ kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men,” be then ashamed of that vain grandeur, on account of which they valued themselves, and confounded at their foolish and unreasonable pride, while they who pierced him, and neglected his great salvation, shall wail because of him !
6. But further, To give us a still clearer view of the dignity of our exalted Saviour, and the glory of his second coming, besides his personal excellencies and divine majesty, which will be then fully displayed, his attendants are likewise mentioned in our text, and in other parts of Scripture; and therefore should not be passed over in silence; for they will yet more illustrate that glorious day of his triumph. We have already seen how he shall be revealed from heaven, which shall (as it were) unfold its crystal ports, or cleave its starry plains asunder, and discover instantly to our view a
great white throne, and him who sits upon it, from whose face heaven and earth flee away, and there is no place found for them;" and at the sight of whom, consternation, terror, and dismay, shall overwhelm the ungodly, and extinguish every gleam of comfort, and ray of hope. But the apostle further says in our text, that he shall be attended with his mighty angels, a circumstance which is attested by our Lord himself in the predictions he gave while upon earth of his second coming, (as quoted above,) and which he likewise included in the representation of that event made to his servants Daniel and John. The latter of whom tells us, he saw “ the armies of heaven following him, clothed in fine linen white and clean ;” and the former “beheld thousand thousands ministering unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand standing before him.". What a glorious retinue have we here ! How different from the twelve poor fishermen who attended, (shall I say ?) or rather deserted him in his days of humiliation! Ah me! in how different a character, and in what different circumstances, does the Saviour now appear!
“How chang'd from him who meekly prostrate laid,
Vouchsal'd to wash the feet himself had made:
7. These his holy angels will not only accompany him as attendants upon his person, to manifest his divine power and authori
ty, and to display his royal grandeur and magnificence, but likewise as ministers of his will, to execute his purposes of love to his people, and of wrath to his enemies. These, as harbingers of his glory, shall prepare the way before him, and make ready for the appearance of the universal Judge!" I saw (says the apostle John) a mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud, and a rainbow upon his head, and his face was as the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire, and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot upon the earth, and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth, and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. And he lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven and earth, and the sea, that there should be time no longer; but the mystery of God should be finished, as he had declared to his servants the prophets."
"In grandeur terrible all heaven descend,
A swift archangel with his golden wing,
8. Preparation being thus made, the Son of man appears “in his glory, and all his holy angels with him." And now he sends these “his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they gather together his elect from one end of heaven to the other." And as they are employed, as the instruments of his good-will and condescending grace to his redeemed, whom they will separate from the world, and gather as wheat into his garner ; so likewise shall they be the ministers of his vengeance to the wicked, whom at the time of the general harvest, they shall gather together like tares, and bind in bundles to burn them. Yes, at the end of the world, Son of man shall send forth' his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them who do iniquity, and cast them into a furnace of fire, there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth."
9. Another circumstance mentioned in our text, attending our Lord's second coming, (and the last I shall now take notice of) is, that he shall be revealed in flaming fire. This particular was also représented to Daniel, in that prophetic vision which God gave him of Christ's coming. He saw (as he tells us) “ his throne like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire, while a fiery stream