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you to prepare to meet your God? No. If they believe not Moses and the prophets, neither would they though one rose from the dead. How foolish, then, would it be for me to try to prove in any other manner what God has revealed or promised, than by the means which God has appointed. By his word you will be judged; and if this condemns you now, (unless you become reconciled,) it will condemn you hereafter. III. The object of his coming. 1st. He comes to raise and gather his saints to him in the air. “As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive; but every man in his own order—Christ the first fruit, afterwards they that are Christ's at his coming,” 1 Cor. xv. 22, 23. Again, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive, and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them that are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we, which 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,” I Thess. iv. 14–17. “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,” 2 Thess. ii. 1. “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death shall have no power,” Rev. xx. 6. In Psalms we have the same account of the gathering of his people. “Gather my saints together unto me, those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice,” Psalm l. 5. Again, see Isaiah lxvi. 18, “It shall come that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see my glory.”, “For thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I, even f will both search my sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day,” Ezekiel xxxiv. 11, 12.
And now I refer you to one more passage, and then pass on. “Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, (that is, die,) but we shall all 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this mortal shall put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” These texts, to which I have called your attention, will apply only to the people of God, or those who are in Christ Jesus. I have, therefore, only been proving to you the object of Christ's coming, as it respects his people. And I think I have plainly proved that when Christ shall appear in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, he will raise the righteous dead, change the righteous living, gather them from among all nations, where they have been scattered during the ages of persecution and trial, “in the dark and cloudy day,” and receive them unto himself in the air, when they will ever be with the Lord. — I will, 2dly, Show that the wicked will be destroyed from the earth by fire, and the world cleansed from the curse of sin by the same means, and prepared for the reception of the New Jerusalem state, or the glorious reign of Christ with his people. That the wicked will be destroyed by fire, at his appearing, we prove by the following texts: Deut. xxxii. 22, “For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth, with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.” 2 Samuel xxii. 9, 10, 13, “There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens and came down, and darkness was under his feet. Through the brightness before him were coals of fire kindled.” Psalm xcvii. 2, 3, “Clouds and darkness are round about him, righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. A fire goeth efore him, and burneth up his enemies round about.” Isa. lxvi. 15, 16, “For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh; and the slain of the Lord shall be many.” Dan. vii. 11, “I beheld then, because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake; I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.” Again, Nahum i. 5, “The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burnt at his presence; yea, the world and all that dwell therein.” Habakkuk iii. 3–5,” God came from Teman, (south) and the Holy One from Mount Paran, (from glory.) Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise: and his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand; and there was the hiding of his power. Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. He stood and measured the earth; he beheld and drove asunder the nations, and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting.” Also, Malachi iv. 1, “For, behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.” Matt. iii. 12, “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Matt. xiii. 30, “Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them ; but gather the wheat into my barn.” 40, “As therefore the tares are gathered and burnt, so shall it be in the end of the world.” 49th verse, “So shall it be in the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just.” Again, Paul to the church of the Thessalonians writes, “And to you who are troubled, rest with us; when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the pres
ence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” 2 Peter iii. 10, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up.” Rev. xviii. 8, “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day — death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire; for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.” These passages are but a part of the word of God which prove the destruction of the wicked.— of the anti-Christian beast—and the cleansing of the world by fire. Yet if Scripture proof can be sufficient, surely I have brought enough ; and where that can have no bearing on the mind of men, how vain should I be to search the archives of natural philosophy to give you more evidence! for He who hath all wisdom in heaven and in earth, and who knows what is in the mind of man, hath used the best arguments, the most persuasive means (l had like to have said) in the power of a God to use; and indeed he says, “What could I have done more than I have done for my vineyard.” He has taught us by his own word, by the mouth of his prophets, and by examples: witness his word on Mount Sinai, where the people heard his voice and saw the fire; witness all the declarations of the prophets which I have read; witness Jesus Christ himself, in the parable of the tares and wheat, and the harvest; witness, also, the destruction of the old world by water, and Sodom and Gomorrah by fire; Jerusalem by famine, sword, and fire. These are all set forth as samples to warn us of the approaching judgment. And yet who believes the report? Who is willing to examine the evidences— to reason candidly and to reflect seriously on these things? Who among us puts implicit confidence in the word of God, especially in that which is unfulfilled P Any may believe in so much as has been accomplished; but where is the virtue in such faith? Where is the blessedness of our hope in the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ? If we are “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ,” we shall examine the word of God faithfully; we shall compare scripture with scripture; we shall take notice of the signs which Christ has given us of his coming. That the day may not overtake us as a thief, we should live with a steady reference to that day, and rejoice more and more as we see the day approaching. 3d. I will now give some of the evidences concerning the glorious reign which must follow his coming. The earth, being cleansed by fire, will, like the phoenix, be revived from its own ashes. The destruction of the wicked, the end of death, sin banished, it will lighten the world of a load of crime which has made it reel to and fro like a drunkard; the internal fires will have spent their force on all combustible matter, and have gone out; volcanoes will cease; earthquakes, tornadoes, and whirlwinds can no more be experienced or needed, for the cause is gone; the earth or the heavens can no more be shaken, “that those things that cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and §". fear; for our God is a consuming fire,” Heb. xii. —29. Then, when this earth shall become new, by being cleansed and purified, the New Jerusalem will “come down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them and be their God,” Rev. xxi. 2, 3. “And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the Holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God,” 10th verse. “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it, for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” , “And I saw thrones and they that sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them; and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark