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enemy, so that he was greatly esteemed, and highly ad> vanced by him. The Lord supported, and comforted him under all his distressing trials: and also favoured him with many extraordinary visions, and glorious discoveries of his will, respecting what he intended to bring to pass in future: ages, even to the end of the world. One of these sacred visions we have an account of in the words of^be text. By which the Lord was pleased to shew to his fathful servant the awful manner of his proceedings at the last and general Judgment. "I beheld till the Thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of Days did sit." If there is any one passage in the whole book of God that may be said to be peculiarly awful, surely it is that which now lies before us: and as it contains a truth the most important, and interesting; a truth in which we are all equally concerned: it surely calls for our most serious and close attention. In speaking upon the words ; it may (by the blessing of the Lord) be profitable to consider the following particulars.
First. From thsse words we learn the infallible certainty of the last and general judgment.
Secondly. We 'have the person appointed to be our judge described. He is termed the Ancient of Days. Whose garments are said to be as white as snow, and the hair of his head as the pure wool.
Thirdly. We have the awful manner of his proceedings described. The thrones are cast down, and his own throne is erected, which fs said to be as the fiery flame, and his wheels of burning fire. A fiery stream issued, and came forth from before him. Thejudgment is set, and the books are opened.'
Lastly. We have the persons to be judged spoken of. Thousands, thousands ministered unto him, and ten thouand times ten thousand stood before him.
And 1. We learn the certaintv of the last and general judgment. For of what could Daniel be speaking in these awful words, but of that tremendous day when God will judge th? whole world in righteousness; and when he will himself, pronounce a sentence upon all mankind which shall never be reversed to the day of eternity. And of such importance to mankind has the Lord himself judged this truth to. be, that he revealed it to them well nigh from the foundation of the world: for we find St. Jude quoting a, prophecy of Enoch, who was the seventh from Adam, who in that very early period solemnly declared: "Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his Saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all ungodly men amon them of all the ungodly deeds which they have ungodl committed." And holy Job also, who no doubt lived before the time of Moses, has these remarkable words: "J know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the last day upon the earth, and though after my skin worms destroy this liody, yet in my flesh shall I see God, whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold and not another." But if we come to the new testament we shall find our Lord and his Apostles speaking in a much clearer manner, respecting this awful event. Our blessed Lord saith, "Then shall ye see the son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory, and all his Jioly angels with him. And then he shall sit upon the throne of his glory, and before him shall be gathered all nations." And the Apostle Paul, even when called to bear a public testimony for God before a congregation of Heathen Philosophers, makes this solemn declaration: •' God hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained, and in this he hath given testfmony to all in that lie hath riased him frorq the dead." And in another place he declares, "We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive according to the deeds done in the body whether they have been good or evil." And again, " The Lord shall be revealed from heaven, in flaming fire, to take vengeance on all those who know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." Once more the same Apostle hath these very remarkable words: "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." From all these Scriptures (and many more might be quoted \vcreitnecessary) it evidently appears that the awful day will surely come when we and all mankind must stand before the tribunal of that infinitely great and glorious God, before whose majestic presence heaven and earth shall flee away, and there shall no more place be found for them : and that he will pronounce a sentence upon every individual, which shall stand good through eternal ages. O how necessary then, for every one to prepare for that important hour, and to labour \viih unwearied diligence, to be found of God in peace, without spot and blameless. Happy, yea inconceivably happy will it be for those who shall then be found like the wise Virgins, with oil in their Vessels with their lamps, so Jhat they may sland in the presence of the judge with holyf bumble boldness, knowing their interest in their Redeemer, And their right and title to eternal life by him.
This brings us to the second particular, which is to ronsi~ der the Person appointed to be our judge. He is here termed the Ancient of Days. If the Lord Jesus Christ be the person appointed to be our judge, as he certainly is, are not these words remarkably expressive of his eternal power and Godhead. And do they not run parallel with the words of the Prophet Isaiah, where iie says: " Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be c;.lled Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Fa-? ther, The Prince of Peace." The Everlasting Father. The Father of the Ages. The God of Eternity. The Creator of angels and men. And here, by Daniel he is called the Ancient of Days. He who existed from eternitv. That Christ is appointed to be our judge, appears from his own words. "The Father judgeth no tnan^ but hath committed all judgment to the Son." Likewise the Apostle, "God hath appointed a dav in which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained, whereof he bath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead." It is evident that the Lord Jesus is the person spoken of by the Apostle. He therefore will judge the world in righteousness in that great day.
His garment is said to be white as snow. So lie appeared lo his Disciples upon mount Tabor. And so he appeared to his beloved Disciple when banished into the isle called PaN inos. "And I turned to see the voice which spake with me (saith the Apostle) and being turned I saw seven golden candlesticks, and in the midst of the candlesticks, one like unto the son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and girt about the breast with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were as a flame of fire. And his feet like unto, fine brass as if they burned in a furnace, and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven star.*, and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and his countenance was as the sun shining in his strength." It is hardly possible to find words, within the whole compass of human language, more expressive than these are, of the highest degree of grandeur and majesty! In what a different manner did our blessed Lord now appear to his beloved Pisciple, to what Ik- did when he was favoured tn lean upon his breast at supper! And how deeply was the Apostle affected with the sight, "And when I beheld him (saith he) I fell at his feet as dead." If one so highly favoured of God as St. John. If' one who had been so familiar with the holv Jesus as he had been, was so struck with his presence, that he fell down at his feet as if he had been dead: How then sh.ill the ungodly; how shall impenitent and rebellious sinners be able to stand in his presence at the last great day! Surely shame and confusion shall then cover their faces: And trembling and astonishment shall take hold of them.
John saj's that our Lord was clothed in a garment down to the feet. Perhaps something like that of the Jewish High-priest: and Daniel says, that it was as white as snow; exceeding bright ami shining. White is an emblem of innocence, and here no doubt denotes the unspotted purity and holiness of our Lord; and may teach us, that he will proceed according to the strictest rules of equitv, and that every one's conscience w ill bear witness to the justness of the sentence, which he will then pronounce. And the hair of his head is said to be like the pure wool. This is thought to be an emblem of his eternity. O how venerable! How astonishingly majestic will our Lord appear! Surely every knee shall bow before him, and every tongue shall confess that he is God. But O how will the ungodly tremble at the sightof him! While his Saints aVe filled with triumphant joy, as already feeling heaven opened in their peaceful breasts. Which brings us to ttie Third particular. To consider the awful manner in whicii he will proceed.
"I beheld till the Thrones were cast down." That is, all human power atvd government shall come 10 a final end. So the Apostle Paul speaks likewise. "Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God even the Father, when he shall have put down ail rule, and all authority and power. For he must reign till he hath put down all enemies under his ieet." Ail adverse power shall be for ever destroyed: and crowns and sceptres shall fall before him: Kings and conquerors shall own his sway. His own Throne shall be erected, which is said to be as the fiery flame. St. John speaks to the same purpose in the Revelation. "And I saw a great wh're throne, and Him that sat on if, from whose presence the earth and the heaven fled away, and there was no more place found for them. And I saw the dead small and great stand before God, and the books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and, the dead were judged cut of those things which Were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead that were in it." O what thousands and ten thousands of mankind will then arise out of that devouring gulphl Who can number the myriads which have been swallowed up in those mighty waters; but they shall now arise and appear before God. "And death and the grave gave up the dead which were in them ; and they were judged according to their works." St. John says, that it \vas a great white throne; and Daniel says, it was like the fiery flame. It was exceedingly glorious, bright, and shining; yea dreadful to look upon. "And his wheels were as burning fire." Perhaps here there may be an allusion to the wheels of the Cherubim, which Ezekiel saw in that astonishingvision with which he was favoured. And perhaps it may denote the suddenness of our Lord's appearing on this avvful occasion. "He rode upon a Cherub and did fly (saith David) yea he came flying upon the wings of the wind." "The day ol the Lord cometh as a thief in the night," when least of all expected. For it is well known that a thief will give no warning, but will come in the most secret manner that he can; so shall the coming of the son of man he. Hence saitb Dr. Young—At midnight, when mankind is wrapt in peace, And worldly fancy feeds on golden dreams; To give more dread to m.n's mosl dreadlul hour, At midnight, 'tis presunn'd, this pomp will burst From tenfold darkness; sudden, asihespark 'From smitten sleel; from nitrous grain the blaze. 1 ' Man, starting from lusconeh, shall sleep no more! The day is broke wbich never more shall close! Above, around, beneath, amazement all t Terror and glory join'd in their extremes! Our God in grandeur, and our world on lire!
O who shall live when the Lord doth this Not impenitent, unconverted sinners! O no; they. will rather be calling upon the rocks and mountains to fall upon them, and to hide them from the presence of that God, who will now be to his enemies a consuming fire. "A fiery stream (also) issued, and came forth from before him." Perhaps in these words there may be an allusion to that passage in Isaiah where he says, that "Tophet is ordained of old, the pile thereof is fire and much wood, and the breath of the Lord as a stream of brimstone doth kindle it." Or perhaps the words may denote that terrible sentence which the Lord will denounce against the wicked, and that fiery