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A Meditation on the coming of Christ to Judgement, and of the Rewards both of the Faithful and Unfaithful

O Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the ever-living God, by whom all things were made, are ruled, and governed, of thy love for our redemption thou did not disdain to be our Mediator, and to take upon thee our nature in the worst, of a virgin, purely and without sin, by the Operation of the Holy Spirit; that thou might in thine own person wonderfully, beautify and exalt our nature, and work the same in us also, first abolishing the guiltiness of sin by remission; then sin itself by death; and last of all, death, by raising up again these our bodies, that they may be like unto thine own glorious and immortal body, according to the power wherewith thou art able to subject all things unto thee. As of thy love, for our redemption thou became man, and that most poor and afflicted upon earth, by the space of thirty-four years at the least, in great humility, and did pay the price of our ransom by thy most bitter death and passion, for which I most heartily give thanks to thee: so of the same love towards us, in thy good time thou wilt come again in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, (Matt. xxv.,) with flaming fire, with thousands of saints, with angels of thy power, with a mighty cry, the shout of an archangel, and blast of a trump, suddenly as the lightning which shines from the east, when men think least of it, even as a thief in the night, when men are asleep. And thou wilt so come thus suddenly in the twinkling of an eye, and all men that ever have been, are, and shall be, with women and children, must appear before thy tribunal judgment-seat, to render an account of all things which they have thought, spoken, and done against thy law, openly and before all angels, saints, and devils; and to receive the just reward of thy vengeance, if they have not repented and obeyed the gospel; and to depart from thee to the devil and his angels, and all the wicked which ever have been, are, or shall be, into hell-fire, which is unquenchable and of pains intolerable, baseless, endless, hopeless, even from the face of thy glorious and mighty power. But if they have repented and believed thy gospel, if they are found watching with their lamps and oil in their hands, if they are found ready apparelled with the wedding-garment of innocence; if they have not hardened their hearts, and hoarded up their treasure of thy vengeance in the day of wrath to be revealed, but have used the time of grace, the acceptable time, the time of salvation, that is, the time of this life, in which thou stretches out thy hand and spreads thine arms, calling and crying unto us to come unto thee, who art meek in hearts and lowly; for thou wilt ease all that labour, and are heavy laden. And if they have visited the sick and prisoners, comforted the comfortless, fed the hungry, clothed the naked, lodged the harbourless. And if they have not loaded their hearts with gluttony and surfeiting and carefulness of this life; if they have not dug and hid their talent in the ground, doing no good therewith, but have been faithful to occupy thy gifts to thy glory, and have washed their garments in thy blood by hearty repentance. If they have done thus, then shall thy angels gather them together, not as the wicked, which shall be collected as fagots, and cast into the fire, but as the good wheat that is gathered into thy barn then shall they be caught up to meet thee in the clouds then shall their corruptible body put on incorruption then shall they be endued with immortality and glory then shall they be with thee, and go whither thou goes then shall they hear, "Come, blessed of my Father, possess the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning, &c." then shall they be set on seats of majesty, judging the whole world then shall they reign with thee for ever then shall God be all in all with them and to them then shall they enter and inherit the heavenly Jerusalem, and the glorious restful land of Canaan; where is always day and never night, where is no manner of weeping, tears, infirmity, hunger, cold, sickness, entry, malice, nor sin; but always joy without sorrow, mirth without measure, pleasure without pain, heavenly harmony, most pleasant melody, saying and singing, Holy, holy, holy Lord God of hosts, &c. A sum the eye has not seen, the ear has not heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man but which they shall then inherit and most surely enjoy although here they are tormented, prisoned, burned, solicited of Satan, tempted of the flesh, and entangled with the world, wherethrough they are enforced to cry, "Thy kingdom come, come Lord Jesus, &c. (Rev. xxii.) How amiable are thy tabernacles! Like as the hart desires the water-brooks, so pants my soul after thee, O God. (Psalm xiii.) Now let thy servant depart in peace; I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ. We mourn in ourselves, waiting for the deliverance of our bodies, &c." (Rom. viii.) Oh! gracious Lord, when shall I find such mercy with thee, that I may repent, believe, hope, and look for these blessings, with the full fruition of these heavenly joys, which thou hast prepared for all them that fear thee and so rest with thee for evermore?

 

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