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When the saints in glory shall see the wrath of God executed on ungodly men, it will be no occasion of grief to them, but of rejoicing.
It is not only the sight of God’s wrath executed on those wicked men who are of the antiChristian church, which will be occasion of rejoicing to the saints in glory; but also the sight of the destruction of all God’s enemies: whether they have been the followers of antichrist or not, that alters not the case, if they have been the enemies of God, and of Jesus Christ. All wicked men will at last be destroyed together, as being united in the same cause and interest, as being all of Satan’s army. They will all stand together at the day of judgment, as being all of the same company.
And if we understand the text to have respect only to a temporal execution of God’s wrath on his enemies; that will not alter the case. The thing they are called upon to rejoice at, is the execution of God’s wrath upon his and their enemies. And if it be matter of rejoicing to them to see justice executed in part upon them, or to see the beginning of the execution of it in this world; for the same reason will they rejoice with greater joy, in beholding it fully executed. For the thing here mentioned as the foundation of their joy, is the execution of just vengeance: Rejoice, for God hath avenged you on her.
Prop. I. The glorified saints will see the wrath of God executed upon ungodly men. This the Scriptures plainly teach us, that the righteous and the wicked in the other world see each other’s state. Thus the rich man in hell, and Lazarus and Abraham in heaven, are represented as seeing each other’s opposite states, in the 16th chap, of Luke The wicked in their misery will see the saints in the kingdom of heaven; Luke xiii. 28, 29. “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.’’
So the saints in glory will see the misery of the wicked under the wrath of God. Isa. lxvi. 24. “And they shall go forth and look on the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched.” And Rev. xiv. 9, 10. “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture, into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone, in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.” The saints are not here mentioned, being included in Christ, as his members. The church is the fulness of Christ, and is called Christ, 1 Cor. xii. 12. So in the 19th chapter, ver. 2, 3. the smoke of Babylon’s torment is represented as rising up for ever and ever, in the sight of the heavenly inhabitants.
At the day of judgment, the saints in glory at Christ’s right hand, will see the wicked at the left hand in their amazement and horror, will hear the judge pronounce sentence upon them, saying, 191191 Matt. xxv. 41. “Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels;” and will see them go away into everlasting punishment. But the Scripture seems to hold forth to us, that the saints will not only see the misery of the wicked at the day of judgment, but the fore-mentioned texts imply, that “the state of the damned in hell will be in the view of the heavenly inhabitants; that the two worlds of happiness and misery will be in view of each other. Though we know not by what means, nor after what manner, it will be; yet the Scriptures certainly lead us to think, that they will some way or other have a direct and immediate apprehension of each other’s state. The saints in glory will see how the damned are tormented; they will see God’s threatenings fulfilled, and his wrath executed upon them.
Prop. II. When they shall see it, it will be no occasion of grief to them. The miseries of the damned in hell will be inconceivably great. When they shall come to bear the wrath of the Almighty poured out upon them without mixture, and executed upon them without pity or restraint, or any mitigation; it will doubtless cause anguish, and horror, and amazement vastly beyond all the sufferings and torments that ever any man endured in this world; yea, beyond all extent of our words or thoughts. For God in executing wrath upon ungodly men will act like an Almighty God. The Scripture calls this wrath, God’s fury, and the fierceness of his wrath; and we are told that this is to show God’s wrath, and to make his power known; or to make known how dreadful his wrath is, and how great his power.
The saints in glory will see this, and be far more sensible of it than now we can possibly be. They will be far more sensible how dreadful the wrath of God is, and will better understand how terrible the sufferings of the damned are; yet this will be no occasion of grief to them. They will not be sorry for the damned; it will cause no uneasiness or dissatisfaction to them; but on the contrary, when they have this sight, it will excite them to joyful praises.?These two things are evidences of it:
1. That the seeing of the wrath of God executed upon the damned, should cause grief in the saints in glory, is inconsistent with that state of perfect happiness in which they are. There can no such thing as grief enter, to be an allay to the happiness and joy of that world of blessedness. Grief is an utter stranger in that world. God hath promised that he will wipe away all tears from their eyes and there shall be no more sorrow. Rev. xxi. 4. and chap. vii. 17.
2. The saints in heaven possess all things as their own, and therefore all things contribute to their joy and happiness. The Scriptures teach that the saints in glory inherit all things. This God said in John’s hearing, when he had the vision of the New Jerusalem; Rev. xxi. 7. And the Scriptures teach us to understand this absolutely of all the works of creation and providence. 1 Cor. iii. 21, 22. “All things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours.” Here the apostle teaches, that all things in the world to come, or in the future and eternal world, are the saints’; not only life but death; men, and angels, and devils, heaven and hell, are theirs, to contribute to their joy and happiness. Therefore the damned and their misery, their sufferings and the wrath of God poured out upon them, will be an occasion of joy to them. If there were any thing whatsoever that did not contribute to their joy, but caused grief, then there would be something which would not be theirs.
That the torments of the damned are no matter of grief, but of joy, to the inhabitants of heaven, is very clearly expressed in several passages of this book of Revelation; particularly by chap. xvi. 5-7. and chap. xix. at the beginning.
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