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most evident reluctance, to vindicate his character, and magnify his ministry, to the disaffected Corinthians ; that, by re-establishing his apostolical authority, he might recover them from the delusions into which they had been seduced. In attempting this, he warned them against exalting some and despising others, of those who had laboured among them. “Let a man,” says he, “so “ account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and “ stewards of the mysteries of God.” All Christians are servants of Christ, and the word rendered ministers denotes those servants who wait on any person, as ready at all times to execute his orders with unreserved assiduity.—But ministers are also “ stewards of the mysteries of God :" they are not mere teachers of morality, but they are entrusted with the great mysteries of revealed truth, that they may declare them to mankind as they have received them of the Lord. “ Moreover, it is re
quired in stewards that a man be found faithful.” It is not necessary for ministers to be orators, courtiers, philosophers, or even men of distinguished genius or learning; but integrity and faithfulness are indispensable. Any person of common prudence would prefer a down-right honest steward, though but moderately qualified, to the most accomplished man in the world, who, he was aware, would oppress his tenants and embezzle his property. Thus faithfulness is the grand requisite in a minister ; without which, talents, however they may recommend him to the applause of men, will not procure him deliverance from the wrath of God. “But,” says the apostle," with “me it is a very small thing that I should be "judged of you, or of man's judgment; yea, I
judge not mine own self: for I know nothing “ by myself, yet am I not hereby justified ; but he “that judgeth me is the Lord.”—It must not be expected, that every one who aims to be faithful should thus decidedly rise superior to the opinion of men, especially of those within the pale of the church. At the call of duty, a minister may be enabled to venture giving offence; yet, he may
do it reluctantly and be drawn into many reserves, under the notion of prudence, which may greatly impede his usefulness. Christians should therefore take heed that they do not inadvertantly tempt ministers to unfaithfulness, or render faithfulness uneasy to them.—The apostle no doubt did examine his own motives and conduct; but he knew that an appeal lay from his decision to that of his heart-searching Judge ; and that reflection gave rise to the caution and warning of the text; “ Therefore judge nothing before the time, until “the Lord come, who both will bring to light the “ hidden things of darkness, and will make mani“ fest the counsels of the hearts, and then shall every man have praise of God.” Let us
I. Meditate on the coming of the Lord, and the solemnities of that awful event:
II. Consider the discoveries which will then be made :
III. Advert to the consequences of those discoveries.
I. Let us contemplate the coming of the Lord, and the solemnities of that awful event.
The sacred scriptures continually lead our thoughts to this great crisis, when the important
and eternal interests of the whole human species will be finally determined. The servants of God from the beginning of the world looked forward to it: even “ Enoch the seventh from Adam prophe“ sied of these things ; saying, Behold the Lord “ cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to exe“ cute judgment upon all, and to convince all that
are ungodly among them, of all their ungodly “ deeds which they have committed, and of all “ the hard speeches which ungodly sinners have “ spoken against him.”] That profession which Job ardently wished might be “ graven with an “ iron pen and lead in the rock for ever," seems to have had as much respect to the second coming of the Lord, as to his first appearance in our nature; “ I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he “ shall stand at the latter day upon the earth ; and, “though after my skin worms destroy this body, “ yet in my flesh shall I see God; whom I shall “ see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and “not another; though my reins be consumed
within me." 2
In the fiftieth psalm, which is a most poetical as well as a prophetical description of a future judgment, we have this sublime language: “Our God “shall come, and shall not keep silence, a fire shall “ devour before him, and it shall be very tempest
uous round about him. He shall call to the “ heavens from above, and to the earth that he may - judge his people. And the heavens shall declare “ his righteousness, for God is judge himself. “ Selah.”3_-_The words of Solomon shall close these
Jude 14, 15.
? Job xix. 23-27.
3 Psalm 1. 3-6.
citations from the Old Testament. Rejoice, o
young man in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer “ thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the “ way of thine heart, and in the sight of thine
eyes : but know thou, that for all these things “ God will call thee into judgment.” “ For God “shall bring every work into judgment, with
every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether “ it be evil." 1
In the New Testament the same subject continually demands our attention. Christians are said “ to wait for the Lord from heaven, even Jesus
which delivered us from the wrath to come;" to “ look for the glorious appearing of the great God « and our Saviour Jesus Christ ;” and “ to love “ his appearing.” Thus the language of the Old Testament relative to the coming of Jehovah, and our preparing to meet God, who is “ judge
himself,” is applied to Christ by his apostles, without the least hesitation. And with a conscious dignity he spake of himself, in his lowest abasement, as the Judge of the world, and the arbiter of men's eternal state : "" When the Son of man shall come “ in his glory, and all his holy angels with him, “ then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory, “ and before him shall be gathered all nations.” 2
“ The coming of the Lord" signifies, therefore, the appearance of Christ in human nature to judge the world; when he shall exercise omnipotence, omniscience, and every divine perfection ; and so “come in his own glory,” as Mediator,
" and in “ the glory of the Father,” as sovereign Lord of
all. This revelation of Jesus Christ will be visible to the whole world. “ This same Jesus, which is
into heaven, shall so come in “like manner, as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye “shall see him, and they that have pierced him; “ and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because “ of him : even so, Amen.”] The man Jesus, in his glorified body, even that body which was crowned with thorns, scourged, spitted on, and nailed to the cross, will then be made visible to all men : to those who thus abused him, and to such as have in every age consented to this deed, by despising him, and his salvation. He will be seen by all “ who have crucified him," as it were, again and again ; as well as by them, for whom“ he “ once suffered, the just for the unjust, to bring “ them unto God.”
But how immensely will his appearance, as Judge of the world, differ from that of “ the man of sor« rows!”
The mount of transfiguration, when “ his countenance shone as the sun, and his raiment “ was like lightning ;” yea, the vision of his glory, which caused his beloved disciple, who had once reclined on his bosom in the familiarity of endeared friendship, to “ fall down at his feet as dead ;" can give us but a faint idea of that divine light and majesty, with which he will be arrayed when he shall ascend his awful tribunal. “He shall then “ be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels:” the angels of his power and authority; the ministers of his vengeance and his love." At the end
Acts i. 11. Rev. i. 7.