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The Resurrection of the Dead, and Eternal Judgment
by John Bunyan
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Thirdly, Here also will be a reward for all that hardness, and Christian enduring of affliction that thou hast met with for thy Lord, while thou wast in the world. Here now will Christ begin from the greatest suffering, even to the least, and bestow a reward on them all: from the blood of the suffering saint, to the loss of a hair: nothing shall go unrewarded (Heb 11:36-40; 2 Cor 8:8-14). "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Cor 4:17). Behold by the scriptures how God hath recorded the sufferings of his people, and also how he hath promised to reward them—"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you," and speak "all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice," leap for joy, "and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven" (Matt 5:11,12; Luke 6:22,23). "And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life" (Matt 19:29).

Fourthly, There is also a reward at this day, for all the more secret, and more retired works of Christianity. 1. There is not now one act of faith in thy soul, either upon Christ, or against the Devil, and Antichrist; but it shall in this day be found out, and praised, honoured and glorified, in the face of heaven (1 Peter 1:7). 2. There is not one groan to God in secret, against thy own lusts, and for more grace, light, spirit, sanctification, and strength to go through this world like a Christian: but it shall even at the coming of Christ be rewarded openly (Matt 6:6). 3. There hath not one tear dropped from thy tender eye against thy lusts, the love of this world, or for more communion with Jesus Christ, but as it is now in the bottle of God; so then it shall bring forth such plenty of reward, that it shall return upon thee with abundance of increase. "Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh" (Luke 6:21). "Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle; are they not in thy book?" (Psa 56:8). "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him" (Psa 126:5,6).

Having thus in brief shewed you something concerning the resurrection of the saints, and that they shall count with their Lord at his coming, both for the burning up what was not according to the truth, and rewarding them for all their good. It remains, that I now in few words,

FOURTH, Shew you something also of that with which they shall be rewarded.

THE REWARD OF THE JUST.

First then, those that shall be found in the day of their resurrection, when they shall have all their good things brought upon the stage; they I say, that then shall be found the people most laborious for God while here; they shall at that day enjoy the greatest portion of God, or shall be possessed with most of the glory of the Godhead then. For that is the portion of saints in general (Rom 8:17; Lam 3:24). And why shall he that doth most for God in this world, enjoy most of him in that which is to come? But because by doing and acting, the heart, and every faculty of the soul is enlarged, and more capacitated, whereby more room is made for glory. Every vessel of glory shall at that day be full of it; but every one will not be capable to contain a like measure; and so if they should have it communicated to them, would not be able to stand under it; for there is "an eternal weight in the glory that saints shall then enjoy" (2 Cor 4:17), and every vessel must be at that day filled—that is, have its heavenly load of it.

All Christians have not the same enjoyment of God in this life, neither indeed were they able to bear it if they had it (1 Cor 3:2). But those Christians that are most laborious for God in this world, they have already most of him in their souls, and that not only because diligence in God's ways, is the means whereby God communicates himself; but also because thereby the senses are made more strong, and able, by reason of use, to understand God, and to discern both good and evil (Heb 5:13,14). To him that hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance (Matt 13:11,12). He that laid out his pound for his master, and gained ten therewith, he was made ruler over ten cities; but he that by his pound gained but five, he was made ruler over but five (Luke 19:16-19). Often, he that is best bred in his youth, he is best able to manage most, when he is a man, touching things of this life (Dan 1:3,4); but always he that is best bred, and that is most in the bosom of God, and that so acts for him here; he is the man that will be best able to enjoy most of God in the kingdom of heaven. It is observable that Paul saith, "Our—affliction—worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Cor 4:17). Our afflictions do it, not only because there is laid up a reward for the afflicted, according to the measure of affliction; but because afflictions, and so every service of God, doth make the heart more deep, more experimental, more knowing and profound; and so more able to hold, contain, and bear more (Psa 119:71). "Every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labour" (1 Cor 3:8). And this is the reason of such sayings as these—Lay up for yourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that you may lay hold on eternal life (1 Tim 6:19), which eternal life, is not the matter of our justification from sin in the sight of God; for that is done freely by grace, through faith in Christ's blood; (but here the apostle speaks of giving of alms) but it is the same that in the other place he calls "the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." And hence it is that he in his stirring them up to be diligent in good works, doth tell them, that he doth not exhort them to it because he wanted, but because he would have "fruit that might abound to their account" (Phil 4:17); as he saith also in another place, "Beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Cor 15:58). Therefore I say, the reward that the saints shall have at this day for all the good they have done, it is the enjoyment of God, according to their works: though they shall be freely justified and glorified without works.

Second, As the enjoyment of God at that day, will be to the saints, according to their works and doings—I speak not now of justification from sin—so will their praise and commendations at that day, be according to the same, and both of them their degrees of glory; for I say, as God by communicating of himself unto us at that day, will thereby glorify us, so also he will for the adding all things that may furnish with glory every way, cause to be proclaimed in the face of heaven, and in the presence of all the holy angels; everything that hath for God, his ways, and people, been done by us while here we have been. "Whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops" (Luke 12:2,3). Again, He that "shall confess me," saith Christ, "before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven" (Matt 10:32).

Now as he of whom Christ is ashamed when he comes in his glory, and in the glory of the holy angels, will then lie under inconceivable disgrace, shame, dishonour, and contempt: so he whom Christ shall confess, own, commend, and praise at that day, must needs have very great dignity, honour, and renown, "for then shall every man have praise of God"—to wit, according to his works (1 Cor 4:5). Now will Christ proclaim before thee and all others what thou hast done, and what thou hast suffered, what thou hast owned, and what thou hast withstood for his name (Mark 8:38). This is he that forsook his goods, his relations, his country, and life for me: this is the man that overcame the flatteries and threats, allurements and enticings, of a whole world for me; behold him, he is an Israelite indeed (John 1:47), the top man in his generation, "none like him in all the earth" (Job 1:8). It is said, that when king Ahasuerus had understanding of how good service Mordecai the Jew had done to and for him, he commanded that the royal apparel and the crown, with the horse that the king did ride on, should be given to him, and that he should with that crown, apparel, and horse, be had through the city, in the presence of all his nobles, and that proclamation should be made before him, "Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour" (Esth 6:9-11).

Ahasuerus in this was a type to hold forth to the children of God, how kindly he will take all their labour and service of love, and how he will honour and dignify the same; as Christ saith, "Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them" (Luke 12:35-57). The meaning is, that those souls that shall make it their business to honour the Lord Jesus Christ, in the day of their temptation; he will make it his business to honour and glorify them in the day of his glorification (John 12:26). "Verily, I say unto you, that he will make them sit down to meat, and shall come forth and serve them. If any man will serve me," saith he, "him will my Father honour." It hath been God's way in this world to proclaim the acts and doings of his saints in his word before all in this world, and he will do it in that which is to come (Mark 14:9; Rev 3:4; 14:1-6).

Third, Another thing that shall be yet added to the glory of the saints, in the kingdom of their Saviour, at his coming is, they shall every one of them then have his throne and place of degree on Christ's right hand, and on his left, in his glorious kingdom, according to the relation they stand in to Christ, as the members of his body; for as Christ will have a special eye on us, and a tender and affectionate heart, to recompense to the full every good thing that any man doth for his name in this world: so also he will have as great regard, that there be to every member of his body, the place, and state that is comely for every such member. When the mother of Zebedee's children petitioned our Saviour that he would grant to her, that her two sons might sit, the one on his right hand, and the other on his left, in his kingdom: though he did not grant to her the request for her children, yet he affirmed that there would be places of degrees and honour in heaven, saying, "To sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father" (Matt 20:20-23). In the temple, there were chambers bigger and lesser, higher and lower, more inward and more outward: which chambers were types of the mansions that our Lord when he went away, told us he went to prepare for us. "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2,3). The foot here, shall not have the place prepared for the eye, nor yet the hand, that which is prepared for the ear, but every one shall have his own place in the body of Christ, and the glory also prepared for such a relation. Order, as it is comely in earth, so much more in the kingdom of the God of order, in heaven; where all things shall be done in their utmost perfections. Here shall Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, with the prophets, have every one his place, according to the degree of Old Testament saints. As God said to Daniel, "Go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days" (Dan 12:13). And here also shall Peter, Paul, Timothy, and all other the church officers have their place, and heavenly state, according as God hath set them in the church in the New Testament. As Paul saith of the deacons, "They that have used the office of a deacon well, purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus" (1 Tim 3:13). And so of all other saints, be they here of what rank, quality, or place in the church soever, they shall have every one his state, his heavenly state, according as he standeth in the body. As he saith, seeing those members that are most feeble are necessary, to them shall be given "more abundant honour" (1 Cor 12:22,23). Of this heavenly order in the kingdom of Christ, when his saints are risen from the dead, was Solomon a notable type in his family, and among his servants and officers, who kept such exactness in the famous order in which he had placed all about him, that it did amaze and confound beholders. For "when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built, and the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel; his cup-bearers also, and their apparel; and his ascent by which he went up into the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit in her" (2 Chron 9:3,4). "Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God" (Psa 87:3). Having gone thus far, I shall now come to

THE SECOND PART OF THE TEXT,

To wit, that there shall be a resurrection of the wicked. "There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust;" for as the just go before the unjust, in name and dignity, and honour, so they shall in the last day, go before them in the resurrection.

Now, then, when the saints have thus risen out of their graves, given up their accounts, received their glory, and are set upon the thrones, "for there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David" (Psa 122:5). When, I say, they are all of them in their royal apparel, with crowns of glory, every one presenting the person of a king, then come the unjust out of their graves, to receive their judgment for what they have done in the body. As Paul saith, "We must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one," both saints and sinners, "may receive the things done in the body, whether it be good, or whether it be bad."

But now, because I would prove by the word, whatever I would have others receive for a truth, therefore I shall in few particulars,

FIRST, prove the resurrection of the wicked.

THE RESURRECTION OF THE WICKED.

First, then, it is evident, that the wicked shall rise, from the very terms and names that the raised shall then go under, which are the very same names that they did go under when they lived in this world. They are called the heathen, the nations, the world, the wicked, and those that do iniquity; they are called men, women, [of] Sodom, Sidon, Bethsaida, Capernaum, and Tyre. The men of Nineveh shall rise up in judgment (Luke 10:12-14); the queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment (Matt 12:41,42); and it shall be more tolerable for Sodom in the day of judgment than for other sinners that have resisted more light (Matt 11:21-24). "The heavens and the earth, which are now,—are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men" (2 Peter 3:7; Joel 3:12-14). Now these terms, or names, are not given to the spirits of the wicked only, but to them as consisting of body and soul. Further, Christ tells his adversaries, when they had apprehended him, and shamefully entreated him, that yet they should see him sit on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven (Matt 25:31,32; 26:64; Jude 14,15), as John also doth testify, saying, "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" (Rev 1:7). Now none of these sayings are yet fulfilled, neither shall they, until his second coming; for though the Jews did many of them see him, when he did hang upon the cross, yet then he was not coming in the clouds of heaven, neither did then all kindreds of the earth wail because of him. No, this is reserved till he comes to judge the world; for then shall the ungodly be so put to it, that gladly they would creep into the most invincible rock or mountain under heaven, to hide themselves from his face, and the majesty of his heavenly presence (Rev 6:14-17). There shall therefore, that this may be brought to pass, be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. For though an opinion of no resurrection may now lull men asleep, in security and impiety, yet the Lord when he comes will rouse them, and cause them to awake; not only out of their security, but out of their graves, to their doom, that they may receive for their error, the recompense that is meet.

Second, The body of the ungodly must, at the last, arise out of the grave, because that body and their soul, while they lived in the world, were co-partners in their lusts and wickedness. "The Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed" (1 Sam 2:3). He will therefore bring every work into judgment, "with every secret thing" (Eccl 12:14). And as he will bring into judgment every work, so will he also the worker thereof, "even the dead, small and great" (Rev 20:12-14). It is not in God to lay the punishment where the fault is not, neither to punish a part of the damned for the whole. "With righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity" (Psa 98:9). "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen 18:25). As therefore the body was co-partner with the soul in sinning, so shall every man receive the things done in his body, according to what he hath done. Wherefore he saith in another place, "Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be" (Rev 22:12). There shall therefore be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

Third, The body of the wicked must rise again, because as the whole man of the just also that is the vessel of mercy and glory; so the whole man of the unjust is the vessel of wrath and destruction. There are, saith Paul, in a great house not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth, and some to honour and some to dishonour. Now, as he sheweth us, these vessels to honour, they are good men, and the vessels to dishonour are the bad (2 Tim 2:20,21). Now as these vessels to dishonour, are called the vessels of wrath: so it is said, that God with much long-suffering, doth suffer them to be fitted to destruction (Rom 9:22). How they are thus fitted he also further sheweth, where he saith, They do "after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasure up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God" (Rom 2:5), which treasures of wickedness, James saith, it is treasure up against the last days (which is the time of judgment), and observe it, he saith, that then it shall eat their flesh as it were fire (James 5:2,3). Now then, their bodies being the vessels of the wrath of God, and again, seeing with this wrath they must be possessed at the last day, that their flesh must with it be eaten, it is evident, that their body must rise again out of their graves, and before the judgment-seat appear; for it is from thence, that each of them must go with his full load to their long and eternal home, "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:47,48).

Fourth, The severity of the hand of God towards his children, with his forbearance of his enemies, doth clearly bespeak a resurrection of the ungodly, that they may receive the reward for their wickedness which they have committed in this world. We know, that while the eyes of the wicked start out with fatness, the godly are plagued all the day long, and chastened every morning (Psa 73:3-15), wherefore it is evident, that the place and time of the punishment of the ungodly, it is another world. If "judgment must begin at the house of God,—what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" (1 Peter 4:17,18). Alas, poor creatures! they now plot against the righteous, and gnash upon them with their teeth; but "the Lord shall laugh at him, for he seeth that his day is coming" (Psa 37:13); for as he saith, the wicked is reserved, or let alone in his wickedness, to the day of destruction, and shall then be brought forth to the day of wrath, though in the meantime, he may go to his grave in his banner, and rest within is tomb7 (Job 21:29-32). As Peter saith again, "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished" (2 Peter 2:9): And Jude saith, For them "is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever" (Jude 13). The punishment of the ungodly, it is reserved till the day of judgment, which will be the time of their resurrection. Observe,

1. The wicked must be punished.

2. The time of their punishment is not now, but at the day of judgment.

3. This day of judgment, must be the same with the resurrection of the dead, at the end of this world. "As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth" (Matt 13:40,41). There shall then be resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

4. The sovereignty of the Lord Jesus over all creatures, doth plainly foreshew a resurrection of the bad, as well as of the good. Indeed, the unjust shall not arise, by virtue of any relation they stand in to the Lord Jesus, as the saints shall; but yet, because all are delivered into his hand, and he made sovereign Lord over them; therefore by an act of his sovereign power, they that are ungodly, shall arise; this is Christ's own argument, "The Father judgeth no man," saith he, "but hath committed all judgment unto the Son"—that is, count him, and fall before him as their sovereign Lord, even as they honour the Father, and he hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. And then he adds, "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation" (John 5:22-29). From hence also Paul argueth, saying, "For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living," and then adds, "We shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ" (Rom 14:9,10).

Pray mind these words, Jesus Christ by his death and resurrection, did not only purchase grace, and remission of sins, for his elect, with their eternal glory; but did thereby also obtain of the Father to be Lord, and head over all things, whether they be things in heaven, or things on earth, or things under the earth. "All power," saith he, "is given unto me, in heaven and in earth, and I have the keys of hell and of death" (Matt 28:18; Rev 1:18), So that all things, I say, whether they be visible, or invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers; all things were created by him, and for him (Col 1:16). This being thus, "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,—and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil 2:10,11). Now, that this may be done, He hath his resolutions upon a judgment-day, in which he, to shew himself his people, his way, and word in their glory, will have all his enemies raised out of their graves, and brought before him, where he will sit upon them in the throne of his glory, and will shew them then, "who is the blessed and only potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords" (Matt 25:31,32; 1 Tim 6:14,15).

Behold, He comes, "with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him" (Jude 14,15).

Fifth, The great preparation that God hath made for the judgment of the wicked, doth clearly demonstrate their rising forth out of their graves. 1. He hath appointed the day of their rising. 2. He hath appointed their judge, to judge them. 3. He hath recorded all their acts and doings against that day. 4. He hath also already appointed the witnesses to come in against them. 5. The instruments of death and misery, are already prepared for them.

1. He hath appointed the day of their rising, which day John calleth the time of the dead, that they should be judged (Rev 11:18), which time, Paul saith, is a time fixed; "He hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world," &c. (Acts 17:31). This time and day Christ brings down to an hour, saying, "The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth;" &c. (John 5:28,29).

2. As he hath appointed the day, so he hath appointed the judge, "He hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath ordained, whereof he hath given assurance to all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead" (Acts 17:31). This man is Jesus Christ; for it is he that is "ordained of God to be the judge of quick an dead" (Acts 10:42).

3. All their deeds and works, to a word and thought, are every one already recorded and enrolled in the books of the laws of heaven against that day. "The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond:—upon the table of their heart" (Jer 17:1). And again saith God, "Write it—in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come, even for ever and ever, that this is a rebellious people," &c. (Isa 30:8,9).

4. God hath prepared his witnesses against this day (James 5:1-3; Job 20:27; Matt 24:14; Rom 2:14,15; Mal 3:5).

5. The instruments of death, and eternal misery, are already prepared. "He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors" (Psa 7:13; 21:12). Hell is of old prepared, he hath made it deep and large, the fire, the everlasting fire, is also now of a long time prepared (Isa 30:33; Matt 25:41); the heavy weights of God's curse are also ready (Deu 29:20) and their "damnation now of a long time slumbereth not" (2 Peter 2:3). But now I say, how ridiculous a business would all this be, if these things should be all prepared of the only wise God, and there should be none to be judged; or if he that is ordained judge, should not, either through want of power or will, command these rebels, and force them before his judgment-seat. Glad indeed, would the sinners be, if these things might be true; glad I say, at very heart, if they might be in their secret places of darkness, and the grave for ever; but it must not be; the day of their rising is set; the judge is appointed; their deeds are written; the deep dungeon is with open mouth ever waiting for them; wherefore at the day appointed, neither earth, nor death, nor hell can hinder: There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

Sixth and Lastly, Besides what hath been said, I cannot but believe, there shall be a resurrection of the wicked at the last day, because of the ungodly consequences, and errors that do most naturally follow the denial thereof. For,

1. He that taketh away the doctrine of the resurrection of the wicked; he taketh away one of the main arguments that God hath provided for to convince a sinner of the evil of his ways; for how shall a sinner be convinced of the evil of sin, if he be not convinced of the certainty of eternal judgment? and how shall he be convinced of eternal judgment, if you persuade him, that when he is dead, he shall not at all rise? especially seeing the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment must unavoidably be one the forerunner of the other (Heb 6:2). It was Paul's reasoning of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come that made Felix tremble (Acts 24:25). It is this also he calleth the argument of terror, wherewith he persuaded men (2 Cor 5:10,11). This was Solomon's argument (Eccl 11:9); and Christ's also, where he saith, "that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment" (Matt 12:36).

2. They that deny the resurrection of the wicked, they do both allow and maintain the chief doctrine of the ranters, with most of the debauched persons in the world. For the ranters deny it both in principle and practice, and the other in practice at least. Now to me it is very strange, that these men above all other, should both know and live8 in the doctrines of the kingdom of God: especially seeing the denial hereof is an evident token of one appointed to wrath and destruction (2 Tim 2:18). But to be plain; there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust: wherefore, whatever others may say or profess, being beguiled by Satan, and their own hearts, yet do thou fear him that can "destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matt 10:28).

There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them" (Rev 20:13).

Having in the first place shewed you, that the wicked must arise; I shall in the next place,

SECOND, Shew you the manner of their rising. And observe it, as the very title of the just and unjust, are opposites, so they are in all other matters, and in their resurrections.

MANNER OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE WICKED.

First then, as the just in their resurrection do come forth in incorruption: the unjust in their resurrection, shall come forth in their corruptions; for though the ungodly at their resurrection, shall for ever after, be incapable of having body and soul separate; or of their being annihilated into nothing, yet it shall be far from them to rise in incorruption; for if they arise in incorruption, they must arise to life, and also must have the conquest over sin and death (1 Cor 15:45), but that they shall not; for it is the righteous only, that put on incorruption, that are swallowed up of life. The wicked's resurrection, it is called the resurrection of damnation (John 5:28). These in their very resurrection, shall be hurt of the second death. They shall arise in death, and shall be under it, under the gnawings, and terrors of it, all the time of their arraignment. As it were, a living death shall feed upon them; they shall never be spiritually alive, nor yet absolutely dead; but much after that manner, that natural death, and hell, by reason of guilt, doth feed on him, that is going before the judge, to receive his condemnation to the gallows. You know, though a felon go forth of the jail, when he is going to the bar for his arraignment, yet he is not out of prison, or out of his irons for that; his fetters are still making a noise on his heels,9 and the thoughts of what he is to hear by and by from the judge, is still frighting and afflicting his heart; death, like some evil spirit or ghost, doth continually haunt him, and playeth the butcher continually in his soul and conscience, with frights and fears about the thoughts of the sudden, and insupportable after-clap, by and by he is to meet withal.

Thus I say, will the wicked come out of their graves, having yet the chains of eternal death hanging on them, and the talons of that dreadful ghost fastened in their souls; so that life will be far from them, even as far as heaven is from hell. This morning to them, is even as the shadow of death. They will then be in the very terrors of the shadow of death (Job 24:17). As Christ saith, "Their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:44). From death to eternity, it never shall be quenched, their bed is now among the flames; and when they rise, they will rise in flames; while they stand before the judge, it will be in flames, even in the flames of a guilty conscience; they will in their coming before the judge, be within the very jaws of death and destruction. Thus I say, the ungodly shall be far off from rising as the saints; for they will be even in the region and shadow of death. The first moment of their rising, death will be ever over them, ever feeding on their souls; and ever presenting to their hearts, the heights and depths, of the misery that now must seize them, and, like a bottomless gulf, must swallow them up. "They shall move out of their holes like worms of the earth: They shall be afraid of the Lord our God" (Micah 7:17).

Second, As the resurrection of the godly shall be a resurrection in glory: so the resurrection of the wicked, it will be a resurrection in dishonour. Yea, as the glory of saints, at the day of their rising, will be glory unspeakable; so the dishonour of the ungodly at that day, it will be dishonour beyond expression. As Daniel saith, the good shall rise to everlasting life, but the wicked to shame and everlasting contempt (Dan 12:2). And again, "O Lord, when thou awakest," that is, to judge them, "thou shalt despise their image" (Psa 73:20). Never was toad or serpent more loathsome to any, than these will be in the eyes of God, in their rising forth of their graves. When they go to their graves, saith Job, "His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust" (Job 20:11). And arise they shall, in the same noisome and stinking condition; for as death leaves, so judgment finds them. At the resurrection then of these ungodly, they will be in a very loathsome condition.

The ungodly at their death are like the thistle seed, but at their rising, they will be like the thistle grown; more noisome, offensive, and provoking to rejection abundance.10

Then such dishonour, shame, and contempt will appear in them, that neither God nor Christ, saints nor angels, will so much as once regard them, or vouchsafe once to come near them. "He beholdeth the wicked afar off;" because in the day of grace, they would not come to hand, and be saved, therefore now they shall, all as thorns, be thrust away, as with fences of iron (2 Sam 23:6,7), Their rising, is called the resurrection of the unjust, and so they at that day will appear, and will more stink in the nostrils of God, and all the heavenly hosts, than if they had the most irksome plague-sores in the world running on them. If a man at his birth, be counted as one cast forth to the loathing of his person; how loathsome, and irksome, dishonourable, and contemptible, will those be that shall arise Godless, Christless, Spiritless, and graceless, when the trumpet sounds to their judgment, they coming out of their graves, far more loathsome, and filthy, than if they should ascend out of the most filthy hole on earth.

Third, As the just shall arise in power, so the wicked and unjust, in weakness and astonishment. Sin and guilt bringeth weakness, and faintness in this life; how much more, when both with all their power and force, like a giant, fasten on them; as God saith, "Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee?" (Eze 22:14). Now will the ghastly jaws of despair gape upon thee, and now will condemnings of conscience, like thunder-claps, continually batter against thy weary spirit. It is the godly that have boldness in the day of judgment (1 John 4:17); but the wicked will be like the chaff which the wind driveth away (Psa 1:4). Oh the fear, and the heart-aching that will seize them in their rising! the frightful thoughts that then will fill their throbbing hearts! Now must that soul that hath been in hell-fire among the devils possess the body again. Possess it, I say, with the hot scalding stink of hell upon it. They shall not be able to lift up the head for ever; pangs shall take hold on them, all their hands shall faint, and every man's heart shall melt; "They shall be amazed one at another, their faces shall be as flames" (Isa 13:6-8). Everything they see, hear, or think of, shall tend to their discomfort. They must needs be weak, whom God hath left, whom guilt hath seized, and whom death is swallowing up for ever.

Fourth, As the just shall arise spiritual bodies, so the unjust shall arise only as mere and naked lumps of sinful nature; not having the least help from God, to bear them up under this condition. Wherefore, so soon as ever they are risen out of their graves; they will feel a continual sinking under every remembrance of every sin, and thoughts of judgment; in their rising they fall—fall, I say, from thenceforth, and for ever. And for this reason the dungeon into which they fall is called "bottomless" (Rev 20:1). Because, as there will be no end of their misery, so there will be no stay or prop to bear them up in it. Only, as I said before, they shall not now, as afore, be separate body from soul; but both together, be bound in the cords of sin and iniquity, in which they shall now tremble as thieves and murderers, &c., as they go before the Judge, to hear what he will say unto them.

[THIRD—The examination and judgment of the wicked.]—Now, when the wicked are thus raised out of their graves, they shall, together with all the angels of darkness, their fellow-prisoners, be brought up, being shackled in their sins, to the place of judgment; where there shall sit upon them Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Lord Chief Judge of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth. On whose right hand, and left, shall sit all the princes, and heavenly nobles; the saints and prophets, the apostles and witnesses of Jesus; every one in his kingly attire, upon the throne of his glory (Joel 3:11-14). Then shall be fulfilled that which is written, "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them" (Luke 19:27).

[THE JUDGMENT OF THE WICKED.]

When every one is thus set in his proper place, the Judge on his throne, with his attendants, and the prisoners coming up to judgment, forthwith there shall issue forth a mighty fire and tempest from before the throne, which shall compass it round about; which fire, shall be as bars and bounds to the wicked, to keep them at a certain distance from the heavenly Majesty. As David saith, "Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence; a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him" (Psa 50:3). And again, "His throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him;" &c. (Dan 7:9,10).

This preparation being made, to wit, the Judge with his attendants, on the throne; the bar for the prisoners, and the rebels all standing with ghastly jaws, to look of what comes after: presently the books are brought forth, to wit, the books both of death and life; and every one of them opened before the sinners, now to be judged and condemned. For after that he had said before, "A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him": he adds, "Thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the book was opened" (Dan 7:10). And again, "I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place 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 out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works" (Rev 20:11,12).

He doth not say, the book was opened, as of one, but the books, as of many. And indeed, they are more than one, two, or three, out of which the dead shall in the judgment be proceeded against.

First then, there is the book of the creatures to be opened. Second, The book of God's remembrance. Third, The book of the law. And fourth, the book of life. For by every one of these, that is, out of what is written in them, shall the world of the ungodly be judged.

"And the books were opened."

First, The book of the creatures shall be opened, and that first, it concerns man's nature; and next, as it relates to all other creatures.

I. He will shew in what the principles of nature were, as they were God's creation; and how contrary to these principles, the world have walked, acted, and done. The principles of nature are concluded under three general heads.

1. That man by his own natural reason and judgment may gather, that there is a God, a Deity, a chief, or first, or principal Being, who is over all, and supreme above all. This instinct, I say, man merely as he is a rational creature findeth in himself; and hence it is, that all heathens that mind their own natural reason, do conclude, that we are his offspring; that is, His creation and workmanship. That He made heaven and earth, and hath made of one blood, all nations of men; that "in him we live, and move, and have our being;" &c. (Acts 17:24-29).

It appears further, that man by his own nature, doth know that there is such a God.

(1.) By his being able to judge by nature, that there is such a thing as sin; as Christ saith, "Why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?" (Luke 12:57). As if he had said, You are degenerated even from the principles of nature, and right reason; as Paul saith in another place, "Doth not even nature itself teach you?" (1 Cor 11:14). Now he that can judge, that there is such a thing as sin, it must of necessity be, that he understandeth that there is a God, to whom sin is opposite; for if there be no God, there is no sin against him; and he that knows not the one, knows not the other.

(2.) It is evident further, that man by nature knows that there is a God, by those fits of fear, and dread that are often begotten in themselves, even in every man that breatheth in this world; for they are by their own consciences, and thoughts, convicted and reproved, judged and condemned, though they know neither Moses nor Christ—For the Gentiles which have not the law, these are a law to themselves, and shew the work of the law written in their hearts (Rom 2:14,15)—that is, by this very thing, they hold forth to all men, that God created them in that state and quality, that they might in and by their own nature, judge and know that there is a God. And it further sheweth itself, saith he, by those workings of heart, convictions of conscience, and accusations, that every thought maketh within them, together with the fear that is begotten in them, when they transgress, or do those things that are irrational, or contrary to what they see they shall do. I might add further, that the natural proneness that is in all men to devotion and religion, that is, of one kind or another, doth clearly tell us, that they by the book of nature, which book is themselves, do read that there is one great and eternal God.

2. The second principle of nature is, that this God should by man be sought after, that they might enjoy communion with him for ever. As I said before, the light of nature sheweth man, that there is a great God, even God that made the world; and the end of its shewing him this is, that "they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us" (Acts 17:27).

3. This light of nature teacheth, that men between themselves, should do that which is just and equal. As Moses said, and that long before the law was given, "Sirs, ye are brethren, why do ye wrong one another?" (Acts 7:26; Exo 2:13). as who should say, You are of equal creation, you are the same flesh; you both judge, that it is not equally done of any, to do you wrong, and therefore ought to judge by the same reason, that ye ought not to wrong one another.

Now against every one of these three principles, hath every man in the whole world transgressed; as Paul saith, "For both Jews and Gentiles—are all under sin" (Rom 3:9). For as touching the first, (1.) who is he that hath honoured, reverenced, worshipped, and adored the living God, to the height, both of what they saw in him, and also according to the goodness and mercy they have as men received from him? All have served and worshipped the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever (Rom 1:25), and so have walked contrary to, and have sinned against, this bond of nature, in this first principle of it.

(2.) Men, instead of minding their own future happiness, as nature teacheth, they have, through their giving way to sin and Satan, minded nothing less; for though reason teacheth all men to love that which is good and profitable, yet they, contrary to this, have loved that which is hurtful and destructive. Yea, though sense teacheth to avoid the danger that is manifest; yet man, contrary to reason and sense both, even all men, have both against light and feeling, rejected their own happiness; as Paul saith, "Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them" (Rom 1:31).

(3.) Man, instead of doing equity, and as he would be done by, which nature itself teacheth: he hath given up himself to vile affections, being filled, by refusing the dictates of nature, "with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful" (Rom 1:29-31).

And observe it, he doth not say, that all these things are by every man put into practice; but every man hath all these in his heart, which there defile the soul, and make it abominable in the sight of God. They are filled with all unrighteousness, which also appears, as occasion serveth, sometimes one of them, sometimes more. Now, man having sinned against that natural light, judgment, reason, and conscience, that God hath given him; therefore, though as I said before, he neither knew Moses nor Christ, yet he shall perish. "As many," saith Paul, "as have sinned without law, shall also perish without law" (Rom 2:12).

Yea, here will man be found not only a sinner against God, but an opposer of himself, a contradictor of his own nature, and one that will not do that which he judgeth even of himself to be right (2 Tim 2:25). Their sin is written upon the tables of their own heart (Jer 17:1), and their own wickedness and backsliding shall both correct and reprove them (Jer 2:19).

It is marvellous, if we consider, how curious a creature man was made of God; to behold how much below, besides, and against that state and place, man acts and does in this state of sin and degeneracy. Man in his creation was made in the image of God (Gen 1:26), but man, by reason of his yielding to the tempter, hath made himself the very figure and image of the devil. Man by creation was made upright and sinless; but man by sin, hath made himself crooked and sinful (Eccl 7:29). Man by creation had all the faculties of his soul at liberty to study God his creator, and his glorious attributes and being; but man by sin, hath so bound up his own senses and reason; and hath given way for blindness and ignorance of God, so to reign in his soul; that now he is captivated and held bound in alienation and estrangedness both from God, and all things truly spiritually good; "Because," saith he, "that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God,—but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened" (Rom 1:21). And again, "Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their hearts" (Eph 4:18).

Now, for this abuse of the workmanship of God, shall man be brought forth to the judgment, shall be convicted, cast, and condemned as a rebel, against both God and his own soul, as Paul affirmeth, and that when he reasoned but as a man (Rom 3:5,6).

When this part of the book touching man's nature is opened, and man convicted and cast by it, by reason of his sinning against the three general principles thereof:

II. Then forthwith is the second part of the book opened, which is the mystery of the creatures; for the whole creation, that is before thee, are not only made to shew the power of God in themselves; but also to teach thee, and to preach unto thee, both much of God and thyself; as also the righteousness, and justice of God against sin; "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Rom 1:18-20).

1. The creation then of the world, namely, of the heavens, earth, sun, moon, stars, with all other the creatures of God: they preach aloud to all men, the eternal power and Godhead of their Creator (Psa 8:3). In wisdom he hath made them all (Psa 104:24): to be teachable, and carrying instruction in them; and he that is wise, and will understand these things, even he shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord; for "the works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein" (Psa 107; 111:2).

2. As the creation in general preacheth to every man something of God; so they do hold forth, how man should behave himself both to God, and one to another; and will assuredly come in, in the judgment, against all those that shall be found crossers, and thwarters of what God by the creatures doth hold forth to us.

(1.) As First, The obedience of the creatures, both to God and thee. (a.) To God, they are all in subjection (set devils and men aside) even the very dragons, and all deeps, fire, hail, snow, and vapours (Psa 148:7,8), fulfilling his word. Yea, the winds and seas obey him (Mark 4:41). Thus, I say, by their obedience to God they teach thee obedience, and by their obedience shall thy disobedience be condemned in the judgment (Psa 147:15-18). (b.) Their obedience to thee, also teacheth thee obedience to all superiors; for every kind of beasts, and of birds, and serpents, and things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed, and brought into obedience by mankind. Man only remains untamed and unruly, and therefore by these is condemned (James 3:7,8).

(2.) The fruitfulness of all the creatures in their kind, doth teach and admonish thee to a fruitful life to Godward, and in the things of his holy word. God did but say in the beginning, Let the earth bring forth fruit, grass, herbs, trees, beasts, creeping things, and cattle after their kind; and it was so (Gen 1:24). But to man, he hath sent his prophets, rising early, and sending them, saying, "O do not this abominable thing that I hate" (Jer 44:4). but they will not obey. For if the Gentiles, which have not the law, do, by some acts of obedience, condemn the wickedness of those who do by the letter and circumcision, break the law: how much more shall the fruitfulness of all the creatures come in, in the judgment, against the whole world! As Job saith, By the obedience and fruitfulness of the creatures he judgeth, and so will judge, the people (Job 36:27-32).

(3.) The knowledge and wisdom of the creatures, do with a check, command thee to be wise, and do teach thee wisdom. The stork in the heaven, the swallow and the crane, by observing the time and season of their coming, do admonish thee to learn the time of grace, and of the mercy of God (Jer 8:7). The ox and the ass, by the knowledge they have of their master's crib, do admonish thee to know the bread and table of God, and both do and shall condemn thy ignorance of the food of heaven (Isa 1:3).

(4.) The labour and toil of the creatures doth convict thee of sloth and idleness. "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise;" for she provideth her food in the summer, and layeth up against the day of trial (Prov 6:6,7). But thou spendest the whole summer of thy life in wasting both time and soul. All things are full of labour, saith Solomon (Eccl 1:8), only man spendeth all the day idle (Matt 20:6), and his years like a tale that is told (Psa 90:9; Rom 10:21). The coney is but a feeble folk, yet laboureth for a house in the rock, to be safe from the rage of the hunter (Prov 30:26).

The spider also, taketh hold with her hands, and is in king's palaces (Prov 30:28). It is man only that turneth himself upon the bed of sloth, as the door doth itself upon the hinges. 'Tis man, I say, that will neither lay hold on the rock Christ, as the coney doth teach, nor lay hold on the kingdom of heaven, as the spider doth bid him (John 5:40).

(5.) The fear that is in all creatures, when they perceive that danger is near, it teacheth men to fly from the wrath to come, "In vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird" (Prov 1:17), but man, man only is the fool-hardy creature, that lieth wait for his own blood, and that lurketh privily for his own life. How I say, will every creature fly, run, strive, and struggle to escape the danger it is sensible of! 'Tis man only that delighteth to dance about the mouth of hell, and to be knowingly smitten with Satan's snare (Rom 1:32).

(6.) The dependence that all the creatures have upon God; they teach thee to depend on him that made thee; yea, and will in the judgment condemn thee for thy unlawful practices, and dealings for thy preservation. The young ravens seek their food from God (Psa 147:9; Job 38:41), and will condemn thy lying, cheating, overreaching, defrauding, and the like. They provide neither storehouse, nor barn (Luke 12:24); but thou art so greedy of these things, that thou for them shuttest thyself out of the kingdom of heaven (Prov 17:16).

(7.) The love and pity that is in their hearts to their young, and one another: will judge and condemn the hard-heartedness that is in thee to thy own soul. What shall I say? "The heaven shall reveal his iniquity; and the earth shall rise up against him" (Job 20:27). That is, all the creatures of God, they will, by their fruitfulness and subjection to the will of their Creator, judge and condemn thee for thy disobedience, and rebellion against him.

3. Now, as these creatures do every day call unto thee, and lay before thee these things: so he hath for thy awakening, in case thou be asleep, and senseless, creatures of another nature; as,

(1.) Thy bed, when thou liest down in it, preacheth to thee thy grave; thy sleep, thy death; and thy rising in the morning, thy resurrection to judgment (Job 14:12; 17:13; Isa 26:19).

(2.) The jail that thou seest with thine eyes, and the felons that look out at the grate, they put thee in mind of the prison of hell, and of the dreadful state of those that are there (Luke 12:58,59).

(3.) The fire that burns in thy chimney, it holds forth the fire of hell unto thee (Isa 10:16; Rev 20:14).

(4.) The ugly smell, stench, and steam, of the burning brimstone, it shews thee the loathsome, odious, and dreadful torments of hell (Rev 19:20).

(5.) The darkness of the night in solitary places, and the fears that do commonly haunt those that walk therein: it preacheth to thee the fears and frights, the scares and amazements, that will for ever attend all damned souls (Matt 8:12; Deu 28:65-67).

(6.) By thy delighting, when thou art cold, to lay sticks on the fire to warm thyself, not caring how fiercely they flame therein, so thou canst be warm and be refreshed thereby, by this, I say, God preacheth to thee, with what delight he will burn sinners in the flames of hell, for the easing of his mind, and the satisfaction of his justice. "Ah," saith he, "I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies" (Isa 1:24).

(4.) Yea, by thy blowing the fire, that it may fasten upon the wood the better; thou preachest to thyself how God will blow the fire of hell by the rigour of his law, to the end, it may by its flames, to purpose, kindle upon damned sinners (Isa 30:33).

All these things, as inconsiderable and unlikely as they may appear to you now, yet in the judgment will be found the items, and warning words of God to your souls. And know, that he who could overthrow the land of Egypt with frogs, lice, flies, locusts, &c., will overthrow the world, at the last day, by the book of the creatures; and that by the least and most inconsiderable of them, as well as by the rest. This book of the creatures, it is so excellent, and so full, so easy, and so suiting the capacity of all, that there is not one man in the world but is catched, convicted, and cast by it. This is the book, that he who knows no letters may read in; yea, and that he who neither saw New Testament, nor Old, may know both much of God, and himself by. 'Tis this book, out of which generally, both Job and his friends did so profoundly discourse of the judgments of God; and that out of which God himself did so convincingly answer Job. Job was as perfect in this book, as we are, many of us in the scriptures; yea, and could see further by it, than many now adays do see by the New Testament and Old. This is the book out of which, both Christ, the prophets, and apostles, do so frequently discourse by their similitudes, proverbs, and parables, as being the most easy way to convince the world, though by reason of their ignorance, nothing will work with them, but what is set on their heart by the Holy Ghost.

One word further, and I have done with this, and that is, God hath sealed the judgment of the world by the book of the creatures; even by man's own carriage unto such of them, which, through any impediment, have disappointed his expectations. As thus: if thou hast but a tree in thy orchard, that neither beareth fruit, nor aught else that is good; why, thou art for hewing it down, and for appointing it, as fuel for the fire. Now thou little thinkest that by thy thus judging thou shouldst pass sentence upon thy own fruitless soul; but it is so; "And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees, therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." For as truly as thou sayest of thy fruitless tree, Cut it down, why doth it cumber the ground? so truly doth thy voice cause heaven to echo again upon thy head, Cut him down; why doth he cumber the ground? (Matt 3:10; Luke 13:6-8; Eze 15:1-6).11

Further, the inclination of thy heart towards fruitless and unprofitable creatures, doth fore-preach to thee, the inclination of the heart of God towards thee in the judgment. If thou hast either cow, or any other beast, that is now unprofitable to thee, though thou mayst suffer them for some time to be with thee, as God suffereth sinners in the world, yet all this while thy heart is not with them, but thou wilt take thy time to clear thy hands of them. Why, just so shall thy judgment be, as God saith, "Though Moses and Samuel stood before me," that is, to pray me to spare this people, "yet my mind could not be towards this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth" (Jer 15:1; Eze 14:13,14).

Thus I say, will God judge the world at the last day; he will open before them, how they have degenerated and gone back from the principles of nature in which he created them. Also how they have slighted all the instructions that he hath given them, even by the obedience, fruitfulness, wisdom, labour, fear, and love of the creatures; and he will tell them, that as to their judgment, they themselves have decided it, both by their cutting down that which was fruitless, and by the withdrawing of their hearts from those things, which to them were unprofitable, "As therefore the tares are gathered, and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of the world." As men deal with weeds, and rotten wood: so will God deal with sinners in the day of judgment: and will bring in, I say, all the counsels and warnings he hath given men by these things, both to clear up and to aggravate their judgment to them.

Second. The second book that will be opened at this day, it will be the book of God's remembrance (Mal 3:16). For as God hath in his remembrance, recorded all and every particular good thing that his own people hath done to, and for his name while they were in this world: so he hath in his remembrance, recorded all the evil and sin of his adversaries, even everything (Eccl 12:14). Now God's remembrance is so perfect every way, that it is impossible that anything should be lost, that is committed to it to be kept, and brought forth to the judgment at the time appointed; for as a thousand years are but as yesterday, with his eternity: so the sins that have been committed thousands of years since, they are all so firmly fixed in the remembrance of the eternal God, that they are always as fresh and clear in his sight, as if they were but just now in committing. He calleth again the things that are past (Eccl 3:15), and hath set "our [most] secret sins in the light of his countenance" (Psa 90:8). As he also saith in another place, "Hell [itself] is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering" (Job 26:6), that is, the most secret, cunning, and hidden contrivances of the most subtle of the infernal spirits, which yet are far more slethy,12 than men, to hide their wickedness; yet, I say, all their ways, hearts, and most secret doings, are clear, to the very bottom of them, in the eyes of the great God. All things are open and bare before the eyes of him with whom we have to do; who will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the heart (Heb 4:13; 1 Cor 4:5).

"Ye that say, The Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it. Understand, [O] ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise? He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see? he that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know?" (Psa 94:8-10; Hosea 7:2; 8:13). "Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him?"—that is, when he is committing wickedness—"saith the Lord: Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord" (Jer 23:24).

Now to know and see things, it is the cause among men of their remembrance. Wherefore, God to shew us, that he will remember all our sins if we die out of Christ, he tells us, that he knoweth, and seeth them all, and therefore must needs remember them; for as is his sight and knowledge, so is his remembrance of all things.

When this book of his remembrance therefore is opened, as it shall be, in the judgment, then shall be brought forth of their hidden holes, all things, whatsoever hath been done since the world began, whether by kingdoms in general, or persons in particular. Now also shall be brought forth to open view, all the transactions of God and his Son, among the sons of men, and everything shall be applied to every particular person, in equity and justice, to whom they belong: the sins that thou hast committed shall be thy own, and thou thyself shalt bear them. "The Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed" (1 Sam 2:3).

It will be marvellous to behold how by thousands, and ten thousands, God will call from their secret places, those sins, that one would have thought, had been dead, and buried, and forgotten; yea, how he will shew before the sun, such things, so base and so horrid, that one would think, it was not in the hearts of any to commit; for all is recorded in the book of God's remembrance. While men are here, they have a thousand tricks to present themselves one to another, far more fair, and honest than they are, or ever were. As Christ said to the Pharisees, "Ye are they which justify yourselves before men: but God knoweth your hearts" (Luke 16:15): Ay, God knoweth, indeed, what a nest, what a heap, what swarms; yea, what legions of hellish wickednesses, there are with power lurking, like cockatrices, in those men, that one would swear a thousand times, are good and honest men. The way of men in their sins, it is like "an eagle in the air, the way of a serpent upon a rock, the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid," saith Solomon (Prov 30:19), that is, hiddenly, closely, covertly, burying all under fair pretences, wipeth their mouths in the close of their evil, saying, "I have done [no] wickedness" (Prov 30:20).

But this, though it may serve for the time present, and no longer, God will not be deluded, nor blinded, nor mocked, nor put off (Gal 6:7). "They consider not—that I remember all their wickedness" (Hosea 7:2); saith he, "but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes" (Psa 50:21). Here will be laid open the very heart of Cain the murderer, of Judas the traitor, of Saul the adversary of David, and of those that under pretences of holiness have persecuted Christ, his word, and people. Now shall every drunkard, whoremaster, thief, and other wicked person, be turned their inside outward; their hearts right open, and every sin, with every circumstance of place, time, person with whom, with the causes also that drew them to the commission of every evil, be discovered to all. Here will be no hiding yourselves behind curtains, nor no covering yourselves with the black and dark night. "If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me: Yea," O God, "darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee" (Psa 139:11,12).

The piercing eye of God, beholds all places, persons, and things; the holy hand of his justice writeth them down in the book of his remembrance; and by his power and wisdom, will he open and read to all men exactly, distinctly, and convincingly, whatever hath passed from them, or been done by them, in their whole life; for, "For all these things God will bring thee into judgment" (Eccl 11:9). Again, as God will bring out of the book of his remembrance, whatever hath passed from thee against him; so also will he then bring forth by the same book, all things and carriages of his towards thee.

Here will he bring to thy mind, every sermon thou hast heard, every chapter thou hast read; every conviction thou hast had on thy conscience; and every admonition that hath been given thee in all thy life, when thou wast in the land of the living.

Now will God lay open before thee, what patience he extended to thee, how he let thee live one year, two years, ten, yea, twenty and twenty years, 13 and all to try thee. Yea, now also will he bring to thy view, how many times he warned, rebuked, threatened, and chastised thee for thy wickedness; how many awakening providences and judgments he continually laid before thy face; yea, how many a time thou didst, like Balaam, run upon the point of the sword of justice, and how he gave back, as being loath to kill thee (Num 22:23-34).

Now also again, shall be brought before thee and all men, how many strugglings God had with thy heart, on thy sick-bed, to do thee good; yea, and at such times, how many vows, promises, engagements, and resolutions thou madest before God, to turn, if he would release thee from thy affliction, and take off his rod from thy back; and yet, how thou didst, like the man possessed (Mark 5:1-5), break and snap in twain all these chains of iron, with which thou hadst bound thy soul, and that for a very lust and sin. Here also, will be opened before thee, how often thou hath sinned against thy light and knowledge; how often thou hast laid violent hands on thy own conscience; how often thou hast laboured to put out that light that hath stood in thy way to hinder thee from sinning against thy soul. Ah, Lord, what a condition will the Christless soul be in at this day! how will every one of these things afflict the damned soul! They will pierce like arrows, and bite like serpents, and sting like an adder. With what shame, will that man stand before the judgment-seat of Christ who must have all things he hath done against God, to provoke the eyes of his glory to jealousy, laid open before the whole host of the heavenly train! It would make a man blush to have his pockets searched, for things that are stolen in the midst of a market, especially, if he stand upon his reputation and honour. But thou must have thy heart searched, the bottom of thy heart searched; and that, I say, before thy neighbour whom thou hast wronged, and before the devils whom thou hast served; yea, before God, whom thou hast despised, and before the angels, those holy and delicate creatures, whose holy and chaste faces will scarce forbear blushing, while God is making thee vomit up, all thou hast swallowed; for God shall bring it out of thy belly (Job 20:12-15).

For as for God to forget iniquity, is one of the chief heads of the covenant of grace, and is an argument of the highest nature, to beget and to continue consolation in the godly: so the remembrance of iniquity, by the Lord, it is one of the heaviest loads and judgments, that can befall any poor creature. "Lord," saith the prophet, "remember not against us former iniquities." And again, "If thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?" (Psa 130:3). And the reason is, because, that which the Lord forgetteth, is forgiven for ever (Heb 8:12; Rom 4:6-8); but that which he remembereth, it is charged for ever, and nothing can take it away—"Though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord God" (Jer 2:22).

Third. The third book that will at this day be opened, and out of which God will judge the world: it is the book of the law, or ten words given forth on the Mount Sinai. But this book will more specially concern those that have received it, or that have had knowledge thereof. Every one shall not be judged by this book, as there delivered, though they shall be judged by the works of it, which are written in their hearts. "As many as have sinned without law, shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law, shall be judged by the law" (Rom 2:12). That is, the heathens that never knew the law, as delivered on Sinai, they shall be judged by the law, as it was written in man's heart in his creation, which is comprised within the book of the creatures, but those that have knowledge of the law, as delivered on Sinai: they shall be judged by the law as there given.

Now then, this book when it is opened at the day of judgment, it will to those to whom it especially relates, be a most terrible law, far surpassing the two afore-mentioned. This law, as I may so say, it is the chief and most pure resemblance of the justice and holiness of the heavenly majesty, and doth hold forth to all men the sharpness and keenness of his wrath above the other two that I have before mentioned. I say, both because it hath been delivered more plain and open, both as to the duty enjoined, and the sin prohibited; and therefore must of necessity, fall with the more violence upon the head of all that shall be found within the compass of it. This law, it hath in it to be opened at this day, these two general heads:

1. A discovery of the evil of sin, that is so, against plain light and truth; and, secondly, a discovery of the vanity of all things, that will at this day be brought by sinners for their help and plea at the judgment. Alas, who can but imagine, that the poor world, at the day of their arraignment, should muster up all that ever they can think of, as arguments to shelter them from the execution of that fierce wrath, that then, with sinking souls, they will see prepared for them.

As to the first of these, the apostle tells us that "the law entered, that the offence might abound" (Rom 5:20), or be discovered what it is. As he saith again, "I had not known sin, but by the law" (Rom 7:7,13). Thus it is in this life, and thus it will be in the day of judgment, that is, those that see sin, and that in its abounding nature, and in its exceeding sinfulness, they must see it by the law, for that is indeed the glass by which God discovereth sin, and the filthy spots of leprosy, that are in the soul (James 1:22-25). Now those that have not the happiness to see their sin by the law in this life, while there is a fountain of grace to wash in, and be clean; they must have the misery to see it at the judgment, when nothing is left but misery and pain, as the punishment for the same. At which day, those little tittles of this holy law, that now men so easily look over, and sin against with ease, they will every one of them appear with such dread, and with such flaming justice against every offence committed; that if heaven and earth itself, should step in to shelter the sinner from the justice and wrath due to sin, it would turn them up by the roots. "It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail" (Luke 16:17). If there appeared such flames, such thunderings, and tempests, as there were at the giving of the law; what flames and blackness will there appear at the execution thereof! And if at the giving of the law there appeared so much holiness and justice, that it made all Israel fly; yea, holy Moses "exceedingly fear and quake," what will become of these that God shall judge by the rigour of this law in the day of judgment? (Exo 19:16; Heb 12:21).

O what thunderings and lightnings, what earthquakes and tempests, will there be in every damned soul, at the opening of this book? Then, indeed, will God visit them "with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire" (Isa 29:6). "For behold," saith the prophet, "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" (Isa 66:15).

The Lord will come with fire, that is, in the flaming heat of his justice and holiness against sin, and sinners, to execute the rigour of his threatenings upon their perishing souls.

2. The second general head, that is contained in this law, to be opened at this day is, its exactness, and purity, and strictness as to all acts of good that any poor creature hath done in this life, whereby he in the judgment will think to shelter, or secure himself from the wrath of God. This is the rule, and line, and plummet, whereby every act of every man shall be measured (Rom 3:21,22); and he whose righteousness is not found every way answerable to this law, which all will fall short of, but they that have the righteousness of God by faith in Jesus Christ: he must perish, as he saith, "Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place" (Isa 28:17). That is, though men may not shelter themselves under legal repentance, cold profession, good meaning, thinkings, and doings: yet all these things must be measured, and weighed in the balance of God's most righteous law: and, as I said, whatever in that day is not found the righteousness of God, it will be found a refuge of lies, and will be drowned by the overflowing of the wrath of God, as the waters of Noah overflowed the world. And hence it is that all the ungodly will at this day, be found as stubble, and the law as fire (Mal 4:1). As it saith, "From his right hand went a fiery law" (Deu 33:2). And again, "His lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire" (Isa 30:27). For as fire, where it seizeth, doth burn, eat, destroy, devour and consume: so will the law, all those that at this day, shall be found under the transgression of the least tittle of it. It will be with these souls at the day of judgment, as it is with those countries that are overrun with most merciless conquerors, who leave not anything behind them, but swallow up all with fire and sword. "For by fire, and by his sword, will the Lord plead with all flesh: and the slain of the Lord shall be many" (Isa 66:16). There are two things at the day of judgment, will meet in their height and utmost strength, and they are sin and the law; for the judgment will not be, till the iniquity of the world be full ripe (Joel 3:13; Rev 14:15-20).

Now then, when sin is come to its full, having played all its pranks, and done all the mischief it can against the Lord of glory: then God brings forth the law, his holy and righteous law, one of which will now reign for ever, that is, either the law or sin: wherefore sin and sinners, they must tremble, with all that help, and hold them up; for God "will magnify the law, and make it honourable" (Isa 42:21). That is, will give it the victory over the world for ever; for that is holy, just, and good; they are unholy, unjust, and bad. Therefore by this law "the Lord shall rain snares, fire, and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup" (Psa 11:6). Let no man say then, that because God is so famous in his mercy and patience, in this day of his grace, that therefore he will not be fierce, and dreadful in his justice, in the day of judgment; for judgment and justice, are the last things that God intends to bring upon the stage, which will then be to the full, as terrible, as now his goodness and patience, and long-sufferance are admirable. Lord, "who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath" (Psa 90:11).

You may see, if you will, a few of the sparks of the justice of God against sin and sinners. By his casting off angels for sin, from heaven to hell; by his drowning the old world; by his burning of Sodom and Gomorrah, to ashes; condemning them with an overthrow, making them an example to those that after should live ungodly (2 Peter 2:4-6; Jude 6,7).

For "what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God" (Rom 3:19).

Moses seems to wonder, that the children of Israel could continue to live, when they did but hear the law delivered on the mountain—"Did ever people," saith he, "hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live?" (Deu 4:33). O that ye did but know the law, and the wondrous things that are written therein, before the Lord cause that fearful voice to be heard—"Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them" (Gal 3:10); which curse must fall on all that walk not in all the commandments of God without iniquity (Eze 33:15); which none do, I say, but they that walk in Christ, who hath alone fulfilled them all (Col 2:10).

The law is that which standeth at the entrance of the paradise of God, as a flaming sword, turning every way to keep out those that are not righteous with the righteousness of God (Gen 3:24); that have not skill to come to the throne of grace by that new and living way which he hath consecrated for us through the veil; that is to say, his flesh (Heb 10:20), for though this law, I say, be taken away by Christ Jesus, for all that truly and savingly believe (Col 2:14); yet it remains in full force and power, in every tittle of it, against every soul of man, that now shall be found in his tabernacle, that is, in himself, and out of the Lord Jesus (Rom 3:19); it lieth, I say, like a lion rampant at the gates of heaven, and will roar upon every unconverted soul, fiercely accusing every one that now would gladly enter in through the gates into this city (Job 18:14; John 5:45). So, then, he that can answer all its most perfect and legal commands, and that can live in the midst of devouring fire, and there enjoy God and solace himself, he shall dwell on high, and shall not be hurt by this law—"His place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off" (Isa 33:16,17). Blessed then is he whose righteousness doth answer every point of the law of God, according to 1 Corinthians 1:30 he shall be able to escape all those things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man; for in himself, our God is a consuming fire, and man out of Christ, is but as stubble, chaff, thorns, briars, and fuel for the wrath of this holy and sinner-consuming God to seize upon for ever (Heb 12:29; Mal 4:1; Matt 3:12; Heb 6:8; Isa 27:4; 2 Sam 23:6,7). "Who can stand before his indignation? And who can abide the fierceness of his anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him" (Nahum 1:6).

Now when these three books are thus opened, there will without doubt, be sad throbbing and pricking, in every heart that now stands for his life, before the judgment-seat of Christ, the righteous Judge; and without all question, they will be studying a thousand ways to evade and shift the stroke, that by the sin that these three books do charge them with, will immediately fall upon them.

But now to cut off all these at a blow, forthwith appear the witnesses, who are ready to evince, and make full and soul-killing proof of every particular charged against them.

[First Witness.]—and the first is God himself. "I," saith he, "will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts" (Mal 3:5).

This must needs be of great sway with every soul, that God should now come in. I will witness, saith God, that these things of which you are accused before the Judge are true. I have seen all, know all, and write down all. There hath not been a thought in your heart, nor a word in your tongue, but I have known it altogether; all things have always been open and naked to mine eye (Heb 4:13). Yea, my eyelids try the children of men (Psa 11:4). I have known your down-sitting, and your up-rising; and have understood your thoughts afar off. I have compassed your path, and am well acquainted with all your ways (Psa 139:1-3).

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