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must stand for ever. With looks of the most kind, condescending goodness, and unspeakable complacency and delight, he first beholds the happy heirs of life and glory, who had been enabled, by his grace, to believe in him for life and salvation, and bring forth such fruits of righteousness, as were honorable to his cause: these happy souls look up to their Judge, with such emotions as are above description, and, with inexpressible joy, hear him pronounce this heart-expanding sentence, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the
foundation of the world; for I was an hungered, aud ye gave me meat; for I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison and ye came unto me. .
The redeemed of the Lord, with ineffable joy, receive the approbation of their Judge; but their meek and humble hearts will not take any praise to themselves, nor ascribe the happiness they are going to receive to any thing done by them; and therefore, they meekly reply, 'Lord when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee.' Our Lord approves and commends their humility, but at the same time, to let the whole assembled world know, how kindly he accepted of every instance of the kindness and benevolence they had shewn to his people, he adds, 'Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.'
The Judge then changes his countenance, and, with a look of indignation and rising wrath; which pierces, through the inmost soul, he beholds the guilty wretches, who stand trembling at his left hand : filled with conscious guilt, and all the agonies of raging despair, they stand expecting their final doom, while these accents
break from the lips of their angry Judge: 'Depart from me, ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was an hungered, and ve gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick and in prison, and ye visited me not. The wicked, however conscious of guilt, not recollecting the precise acts of kindness and contempt of the Son of God, here literally specified, are emboldened to reply. Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? However willing they may be to justify themselves, our Lord well knows the naughtiness of their heart, and is fully acquainted with their evil deeds, and, therefore, he confounds them for ever with this reply; • Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.'
The final and eternal sentence thus passed, the execution immediately succeeds: a legion of mighty angeis drive the black, horrid train of trembling sinners from the judgment seat; and, caught in a fiery tempest, they are precipitated into their dreadful place of punishment; the gulph of eternal horror and despair stretches wide its burning jaws to receive them at their fall, and they are tormented with fire and brimstone, in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever.
Meanwhile, the friends and favourites of the eternal king, are conducted to the paradise of God, and safe lodged in the realms of eternal blessedness and rest : these liappy realms, formed by the eternal God for the abode of his people, contain every thing which can satisfy the pure desires of an immortal spirit, and fill - the soul with holy and ever-growing delight ; now every fear, every sorrow, and every sin is done away and the happy inhabitants of this glorious place, drink full streams of bliss, and partake of those joys which proceed from the throne of God, and of the Lamb: now the redeemed of the Lord, forming one vast, one happy society, dwell in that splendid city, where the full glory of the eternal God is manifest in that exalted Saviour, who is emphatically styled, the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person.'. Here every happy believer in the Son of God dwells in the presence of his Saviour; beholds this supreme object of his love, face to face, and is clothed by him in the beauty and glory of immortality. But all description fails: the human mind, in its present beclouded state, cannot bear the blaze of immortal glory, nor receive any adequate ideas of that boundless bliss, which the Lord will bestow on his people: For eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive what God hath prepared for those that love him.
As this doctrine of Christ's being appointed the universal Judge of heaven and earth, might seem incredible to the disciples; especially, as our Lord had but just before given them the humbling account of his sufferings and death; he proceeded to inform them, that some who heard him speak, should see so much of his glory and his kingdom while they lived, as should convince them, that his declaration was true: Verily, I say unto you, said he, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. Agreeable to this prediction, the disciples lived to see the transfiguration of their Master, and to be witnesses of his glorious resurrection, and his triumphant ascension into heaven; they lived to see the descent of the Holy Ghost, and the doctrines of the gospel propagated in various remote parts of the world, and some of them lived to see that awful and ample display of divine vengeance, manifested in the destruction of that unbelieving race, who were the professed enemies and murderers of the Lord of life, and that wicked city where he was crucified.
The first of these great events succeeded the declaration in about six days, when our great Redeemer being with the multitude in the country of CæsareaPhilippi, he left them in the plain, and, accompanied by Peter, James and John, ascended an exceeding high mountain. In this solitude, while our Lord was praying, he was transfigured; his face assumed a glorious radiance, and emitted a beamy brightness, not inferior to the sun shining in its strength ; his garment shone with a snowy whiteness, far beyond any thing which human art could produce, and, like the fair beams of the morning light, glowed with a sweet refulgence, not inferior to the brightness of his countenance. Thus, for a short time the Son of God appeared in his native glory, and the majestic brightness of his divinity shone through the veil of his human nature. To heighten the solemnity of the scene, Moses, the great lawgiver of Israel, and Elijah, the great prophet of the Lord, and supporter of the law, appeared in the beauties of immortality, and shone in those robes with which the inhabitants of the heavenly Jerusalem are adorned.
It appears that the disciples, being heavy with sleep at the time of prayer, did not see the beginning of this glorious scene ; they, however, awaked in the utmost surprise, to behold the place shining with heavenly glory; they had lost the first part of this bright display of our Redeemer's divinity, and of the conversation he held with the two great prophets who came down from heaven on this great occasion ; but they heard so much, as gave them to understand, that these glorious persons had been talking of those things which their Master had lately informed them of. His sufferings and death, which would soon be accomplished at Jerusalem, though they appeared to them of such an humbling nature, and contrary to the character of the Messiah, they found were not unworthy the contemplation of the greatest personages of the heavenly world; and though the mentioning them, had lately given such offence to Peter, he perceived that they were spoken of by persons of superior dignity and understanding, as highly honorable to the character of his Master. But the feeble nerves of the three disciples could not bear the blaze of heavenly glory ; they were amazed, confounded, and terrified, and scárce knew where they were, or how they ought to behave: but the forwardness of Peter's disposition prompted him to say something on the occasion, though he considered not the propriety or tendency of it : Master, said he, it is good for us to be here : and let us make three labernacles; one for thee, one for Moses, and one for Elias.
Peter having beheld such glory as never before darted on mortal sight, and seen his Master assume an appearance of grandeur and majesty, far beyond his most sanguine expectations, concluded, no doubt, that Jesus had now taken upon hiin his proper dignity, and that the temporal kingdom, which he had so ardently desired, and impatiently expected, was now actually begun ; especially as Elias, according to the prophecy of Malachi the prophet, had made his appearance ; he no doubt, concluded that he was come from heaven to assist in the rearing the Messiah's kingdom: Peter, therefore, thought it highly necessary to provide some accommodation for his Master, and his noble companions; perhaps he intended to bring the rest of the disciples, and the multitude, who were waiting below, to behold the peerless glory of their Master, and his august assistants; this he thought, would be much better, and more honorable for him, than being put to death at Jerusalem, or suffering those things which had been the subject of the late heavenly conversation ; the design of which, Peter, at this time, could not comprehend: but, while he yet spake, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and, behold, a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ; hear ye