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that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power." Let it be our concern, the subject of our anxiety, and let us be diligent to be found of Him in peace, without spot and blameless,38 that we may not be ashamed before Him at His coming.39 Let us think what great things He hath done for us, that we may give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; and praising Him for the blessings of redemption here on earth, may look forward in hope, with a good hope through grace, that we shall be admitted to see His face, and sing His praises throughout the countless ages of eternity.
Now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, Three Persons and One God, be ascribed, as is most justly due, all honour, glory, and praise, for evermore. Amen.
37 2 Thess. i. 7-9. 38 2 Peter iii. 14. 39 1 John ii. 28.
THE SECOND SUNDAY IN ADVENT.
CHRIST'S SECOND COMING.
Luke xxi. 28.
AND WHEN THESE THINGS BEGIN TO COME TO
PASS, THEN LOOK UP, AND LIFT UP YOUR HEADS, FOR YOUR REDEMPTION DRAWETH NIGH.
At the beginning of the chapter from which these words are taken, we find our blessed Saviour taking occasion, from the admiration which some of His disciples expressed at the magnificence of the temple at Jerusalem, to predict its entire destruction. As some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, He said, As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one
stone upon another that shall not be thrown down. There was no likelihood at that time that any thing of the kind would take place. They, therefore, asked Him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be, when these things shall come to pass? To these questions the Gospel for this day may be considered as affording an answer. In the appointment of this portion of Scripture for our meditation at this season, it was evidently designed by our church to lead the minds of her members to the consideration of the second advent of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us
First review the whole of the statement made by our blessed Saviour in the Gospel for this day. And then,
Secondly, consider more particularly the direction given to His disciples in the text.
And may the Spirit of God apply His word to our hearts, that we may derive from it that instruction and consolation which it is calculated to give.
First, with regard to the circumstances that should attend His second coming, our Saviour declared, There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring, men's hearts failing them for fear,
40 Luke xxi. 5—7.
and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven shall be shaken." The expressions, the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the powers of heaven, are usually supposed to describe the great ones, or rulers of the earth; the sea and the waves to denote the people of its various kingdoms and nations. The whole passage represents the distress and perplexity, the anxiety and terror, with which the minds of men will be filled at the time here spoken of.
This description was very applicable to the state of Europe some years ago. War and bloodshed visited its various countries in succession, and there were continual changes among the rulers of the nations, by the putting down of one, and the setting up of another. There was great distress, and perplexity, and fear; one calamity followed another; and for many years it seemed as if there would be no end to the ravages of the sword. The eastern part of Europe has since been visited in a somewhat similar manner, for a short period; and doubtless there has been great distress in the countries that were overrun by the conquering army: though the circumstances were very different; as only two powers (those of Russia and Turkey) were engaged in the conflict. In a time of distress and com
41 Luke xxi. 25, 26.
motion, such as Europe has experienced during the last forty years, the Son of man will appear. One warning of His approach may be said to have been given to us; how soon another 42 may come we cannot tell.
At such a season it is said, Then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud, with power and great glory. St. John remarks on the subject, Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him; and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him: even so, Amen.43 What an awful day will that be in which these words shall be fulfilled. In like manner as His disciples saw Him go into heaven, a cloud having opened, and received Him out. of their sight; so will He be seen to come again. The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God. The clouds will open, and make Him manifest suddenly to the astonished multitudes of mankind. They shall see the great white throne, and Him that sitteth upon it, from whose face the earth and the heaven shall flee away; and small and great shall stand before God. The sea shall give up the dead which be in it, and death and the grave shall deliver up the dead which be in them, to be judged every man according to their works.45 When the Son of man shall come in His
42 (Dec. 1829.) 43 Rev. i. 7. 441 Thess. iv. 16. 45 Rev. xx.11,12.