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The Judgment

The Judgment

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Matthew xxv. 31-^3.

When the Son of Man shall come in liis glory, and all the holy angels with hiiDy
then shall he sit upon the throne of his gloir: and before him shsdl be gathered
all nations; and he shall separate them one from another as a shepherd divideth
his sheep from the goats; and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, and
the goats on the left

Matthew xxv. 31-^3.

When the Son of Man shall come in liis glory, and all the holy angels with hiiDy
then shall he sit upon the throne of his gloir: and before him shsdl be gathered
all nations; and he shall separate them one from another as a shepherd divideth
his sheep from the goats; and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, and
the goats on the left

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Aug 07, 2014
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Matthew xxv. 31-^3.
When the Son of Man shall come in liis glory, and all the holy angels with hiiDy
then shall he sit upon the throne of his gloir: and before him shsdl be gathered
all nations; and he shall separate them one from another as a shepherd divideth
his sheep from the goats; and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, and
the goats on the left
Many have undertaken to prove the reasonableness of a future
judgment from natural religion — and have well done in so
doing; for these proofs leave the infidel without excuse; — but when
we would use the argument which ought most to impress the mind,
we would draw it simply from the word of God: that " God in
these last days has spoken to us by his Son;'' and that he, who
proved that he was the Son of God, by his resurrection from the
dead, has in the clearest and plainest language declared to us that
there is a day coming when he will judge the world. We know
not a higher style of argument than this, That God has spoken it.
If this be not accredited, nothing will be. As our Lord declared,
" If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be
persuaded though one rose from the dead." If a man will not
receive the testimony of God, who can expect that human reason*
ing will succeed? I will not, therefore, occupy your time with
proving the truth which the Son of God has made as clear as the
day; but proceed to consider some of the points revealed to us in
the description of the day of judgment, of which my texts forms
a part.
We may notice first, thb marked separation of persons which
there will be in that day. ^^ When the Son of Man shall come
in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit
upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered
all nations; and he shall separate them one from another as a
shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the
sheep on his right hand, and the goats on the left.*^
It is observable here that everj individual comes under the eye
of the Judge, who, as the Omniscient God, is acquainted with eveij
thought of our minds, everj word of our lips, and every action of our
lives. othing is hidden from him. He searches the reigns and
tries the heart; sees through the thickest covering, and brings to light
the most secret councils. ^^ The darkness hidcth not from thee, but
the night shineth as the day : the darkness and the light are both alike
to thee." All past events arc equally present to him: he has his
book of remembrance. His eye looks through eternity past as
well as eternity to come. He distinguishes each character before
him, with the same facility that a shepherd divides his flock; and
thus knowing them, he separates them one from the other. At
present, for wi9e and important reasons, all arc mixed in one gen-
eral mass. ot only in the same city, or in the same Church, but
even in the same family, there will be persons of the most opposite
principles. But this is only during the present season: '^ When
the Son of Man comes in his glory, he will divide the sheep from
the goats." We, my friends, who arc sitting in one mixed assem-
bly, will each take his own place.
. In this separation, there is this remarkable circumstance, that
there are only two classes, and that each individual falls under one
or other of these divisions. There is no neutral character in
that day. At present, there are some persons who desire to steer
a middle course: to take as much of religion as will drown the
accusing voice of conscience, and as much of the world as will,
in their opinion, promote their present enjoyment. They are like
the Laodiceans: " they are neither hot nor cold." They are not
the advocates of religion. They arc for composing ihe minds of
men; lulling them into indifference, under the idea that all
religions are alike: or, if they are convinced of the leading truths
of the Gospel, they profess tlicm not, " for they love the praise of
men more than the praise of God." Hence they are always com-
promising with the world; always wishing to avoid every state-
ment that may be unpleasant to the earthly mind. But in tiiat
day, none of these middle characters are to be found: those who
are not on the right hand, are placed on the Icfl.
How important is this separation, when we connect it with the
declaration of our Lord ! " Whosoever, therefore, shall be ashamed
of me, and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation,
of him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when he cometh
in the glory of his Father, with the holy angels." If we now
decline to take our station among the followers of Christ, we
cannot expect to be placed among them at that day.
How important, also, in another view! that this two-fold sepa-
ration will unite in one society those who, whilst they are similar
in their ruling principle — self-love, as opposed to the love of God —
are quite different in their peculiar dispositions. This will be a
source of overwhelming misery to those on the left hand. To
illustrate this, you may recollect that some of those unhappy
persons who were tried for blasphemy, or circulating blasphemous
publications, grievously complained of their having been confined
with common felons: they considered themselves as men of a
liberal mind, and thought they were much degraded by being
associated with robbers and otiicr similar offenders. If this was
a distress what will it be for the iiigh-minded infidel, the man who
cannot brook to bow his knee to the Son of God; or for the man
of honor, as he is called, wlio is too proud to suffer the slightest
indignity — what will it be for such personages (o be classed in one
company with the profligate, or the covetous, and other characters
equally low in their pursuits? Or, what will it be for her who,
^^ living without God in llie world," has been habituated to all the
refinements of fashionable life, to be associated with those who, if
not grossly immoral, are quite devoid of every thing like taste or
propriety of conduct? And yel such will be the case in this great
day. There are only two divisions: the sheep are placed on the
right hand, the goats on the left.
A second point, which merits particular observation, is the
RULE OF judgment, or the principle upon which the sentence is
pronounced; which is this, Faith showing itself by love to the
Lord Jesus Christ. Mark the words: "Then shall the king say
to them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit
the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
for I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and
ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in, — naked,
and ye clothed mo; I wjis sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison,
and ye came unto me Then shall he say to them on the left
hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared
for the devil and his angels: for I was an hungered, and ye gave
me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink,'^ &c.
Here you notice, that the judgment is pronounced upon acts
of love, said to be shown to the Lord Jesus Christ: ^^I was sick,
and ye visited me,^' &c. To understand the principle of this
decision, it is essential to bear in mind the state of man; which is
this: God has placed all mankind under his holy and just law,
saying, ^^Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy mind,
with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength; and
thy neighbor as thyself." Do this, and live; transgress, and die.
This law, either in thought, word, or deed, every one has broken:
80 that, should our works, abstractly considered, be the rule of ^
judgment; or if the issue to be tried was, whether we had kept
the law or broken the law; not one would escape condemnation;
since though in different degrees, ^' all have sinned and come short
of the glory of God." When we were in this helpless state, our
heavenly Father, in the riches of his grace and free mercy, sent
his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, into the world! that, through the
merits of his atoning sacrifice and perfect righteousness, we might
be saved, declaring that ^^ God so loved the world as to give his
only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not
perish, but have everlasting life." The trial, therefore, at the
great day, is, whether faith has existed; since this, according to
the plan of mercy revealed in the Gospel, secures salvation.
" Go, and preach the Gospel to every creature: he that believeth,
and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be
damned." ^ What shall I do to be saved ?....£e/tei'e on the Lord
Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."
The existence of the principle* of faith is proved by love to the
Saviour. ot for the merit of love; for, in the article of justi-
fication, faith alone is needful; but to show that it is genuine, for
in this way it manifests itself. For faith is not a name; it is a
reality : it is an operative principle, the most powerful in its opera-
tion of any principle which enters the human heart. As well
may you suppose that a man of an active mind can live without
thought, as a man of real faith, live without a demonstration of
it* It will be visible in the life, like fruit on a tree in its proper
season. The judge therefore mentions a variety of acts, which show
this Divine principle: "For I was sick, and ye visited me," &c.
It is essentially necessary to bear in mind our state, as placed
under the Law and under the Gospel, in order to understand
this rule upon which sentence is pronounced; for it refers ta
this. Jesus is the centre of the Gospel. He is like the ark in
which oah was preserved in the deluge. As there was then
only one fact to be tried — namely, whether oah was in the ark
or not — so at the great day of the Lord, the only fact to be proved
is. Have you believed in the Lord Jesus Christ? And this is to
be proved, when opportunities have oifered, by acts of love.
My friends, we trust we have made this plain, for it is the
essential point. Those who are in Christ are blessed. And
who are they? those who believe in him. And who are they?
those who demonstrate it, when opportunity offers, by acts of
love to him. It is for this reason that the judgment is not pro-
nounced either upon acts of love to God or of love to man; for
this would be a trial by the Law. o notice is taken of these
acts, but of love to the Saviour; ^ I was sick and ye visited me;"
which is a trial by the Gospel. He, indeed, speaks of these acts
of love as performed to his disciples; but, then, they are done to
^ HIS little ones," whom he considers as himself: ^Inasmuch as
ye did it to the least of these my brethren, ye did it unto me."
This, then, is the point on which your case turns. Do you believe
on the Lord Jesus Christ? What demonstration do you give of
this? It is easy to repeat the creed, confessing your belief; but
what is the reality? does it work by love?
It is the more needful to consider these things, since many quite
misunderstand the principle upon which the sentence is pronoun-
ced. Whilst some pervert the truth, by saying that a mere no-
minal faith, or assent to the doctrines of the Gospel, is sufficient;
many suppose, because certain acts of kindness are mentioned,
that general benevolence, unaccompanied by this resting upon
the Saviour, will suffice. There cannot be a greater mistake.
These outward acts are noticed as proofs of the inward principle;
but where that is wanting, all is wanting. Whilst those acts of
benevolence have their use amongst men, and therefore it is very
pleasing to observe them; yet, standing alone, they will never
bring us to the right hand of the Judge: for this plain reason,
that, by trusting to these acts, we put ourselves under the Law;
and ^by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified;"
for ^ whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one
point, he is guilty of all." We must have, first, the principle,
Faith; and then, where there is opportunity, the demonstration of
it by acts of love to the Saviour.
A third point of interest in this description is, the particular
EVIDECE by which this love to Christ is iried; and that is, love to
his people: "And the King shall answer and say, Verily I say
unto you, inasmuch as yc have done it unto one of the leas^t of
these my brethren, ye have done it unto me/'
This it is essential to remember; for it is one of the great proofs
of the wisdom of God displayed in the Gospel; for by this simple
mode very great effects are produced. — In the first place, those
who had lived according to the spirit of the world are thus brought
to an open and public profession of their faith; for these acts of
love performed to the disciples must be visible. If a Christian is
in prison, a visit to him must be known: if he is a destitute stran-
ger, the receiving of him into your house is a matter of notoriety.
Thus those who, from fear of man, might but for this test be dis-
posed to conceal their principles, are constrained to manifest them:
and thus the disciples of Christ stand out in the face of the world.
In the next place, it gives a convincing proof of the excellency of
the religion of Christ. For, by making these acts of love to his
disciples the test of love to himself, he shows that his religion
breathes universal good-will ; that if men only followed the rule
laid down by the Lord Jesus, the words used by the heathen in
the first ages would be repeated by the angels in heaven, " See
how these Christians love !" for this earth would be as one family :
like a garden of the sweetest flowers, filling the air with tlie fra-
grance of universal love.
So this mode justifies God in the great day. For what will
that day manifest? that God has from the beginning had this
blessed object in view, to make his creatures happy. For this is
the evidence adduced in that day of love to the Saviour, that his
disciples have attempted to lessen the varied evils and calamities
of life by the exercise of brotherly affection and universal sym-
pathy. o one in that day can charge the Lord with giving us
a bigoted, monastic, unsocial religion: on the contrary, it is one
which shows, that, overflowing with loving kindness himself, his
will is, that his disciples also should be full of active goodness.
This mode also encourages, in the higliest possible manner, the
spirit of brotherly love. For what greater encouragement can
there be, than that, ii^ that great day, nothing done from love to
the Lord Jesus Christ will be overlooked; that a poor Christian
man visiting his neighbor, administering to him a cup of cold
water, or, less than this, giving to him a little kind advice, or
brotherly service, is not disregarded by the Saviour; but, when .
all are assembled before him, the King shall acknowledge and
graciously reward this work and labor of love? Oh! infinite con-
descension and boundless love!
It is therefore one of the marks of the wisdom of God displayed
in the Gospel, that* whilst it places our salvation solely upon the
merits of his Son, it promotes the active charities of men, by
making il the particular evidence of love to the Saviour that we
have been engaged, as opportunity has allowed, in active benevo-
lence for his sake.
The fourth, and last point remaining to be noticed, is, the
Their language is, ^' Lord, when saw we thee an hungered,
and fed thee; or thirsty, and gave thee drink?'' &c. You observe
the expression; " JFAcn saw we thee?" &c. How clearly it
denotes surprise! as if that which they had done was, in their
opinion, so unworthy of notice, that, so far from trusting in any
degree to these acts of kindness, they had passed from their
This is a part of the description of the great day which should
be well remembered; for it strikingly displays the spirit of a true
disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, — the spirit which the world
cannot comprehend. It is a mystery to them how a Christian
can be so desirous of showing his love to hid Saviour, and yet
place no dependence upon what he does. The reason is, that a
Christian, with an enlightened mind, knows bis own character;
that he is ** a sinner saved by grace;" — ^that, if he were to attempt
to reckon upon his works, he would, in bringing himself under
the law, fall infinitely below the Divine requirement; the law
demanding perfect obedience at all times, and extending to the
inward thoughts of the heart, as well as to the outward actions.
If, on the other hand, he attempts to reckon those things under
the Gospel, then the Christian considers that his blessed Lord has
done so much for him, that any acts of love he may have shown to
his disciples, are so infinitely below what the love of his Saviour
Vol. II.— 7
merits, that he can only charge himself with his sins, instead of
seeking any praise for the trifling services he has performed* Be-
sides, he knows, that, whatever he has performed, it has been by
the grace of God: it has not proceeded from his own natural
inclination, but from the Divine influence of the Holy Spirit.
Hence, he does not consider these acts of love as properly his
own: '• ot I, but the grace of God which was with me." When,
therefore, his blessed and ever to be adored Lord and Saviour is
pleased, in his great kindness, to notice these acts, so far from
having depended upon them, he is surprised at his condescension:
" Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee?" &c. As
if he should say, ^ Had I sounded thy praises to the ends of the
earth; had 1 visited the distant isles, and there spent my strength,
my life, my all; it would have been as nothing to that which thou
hast done for me; but as to my poor services, so far from placing
the least dependence upon them, my great regret is, that I have
lost so many opportunities of magnifying thy name, and, in reality,
have shown such little love to thy disciples.' This is his acknowl-
edgment: not in the least trusting to his own merits, but looking
only to the merits of his Saviour; desiring to be found in him, not
having his own righteousness^ which is of the law, but the righ-
teousness which is of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
And now, bearing in mind these particulars, let us pass from
the detail of circumstances to the event itself. Let us realize
the Son of Man coming in his glory, and gathering all nations
before him, and we ourselves placed at his bar. For this is not
an imaginafy event; neither is his Advent a distant event: "Be-
hold, the Judge staudeth at the door:" " He that shall come will
come and will not tarry."
How then do you stand at liis appearance? Which is the place
that will be assigned to you? I have mentioned that there will be
but two great divisions, — those on the right hand, and those on
the left; that these places will be assigned to those who have or
have not with their hearts believed on the Lord Jesus, and given
proofs of that faith, as opportunity has offered, by acts of love to
the Saviour. How, then, my friends, is it \\4th you? Can you
say, ' God, who knows my heart, knows that all my dependence
is upon the Lord Jesus Christ? He sees, amidst the infirmities
which surround me, that this is my aim and great desire, to show
that this dependence is an active principle.' Do you indeed
make a common cause with the people of Christ? Are his people
year people, and their God your God?
Perhaps I may address some who, whilst this is their real state
from a peculiar tenderness of conscience, feel douhts upon the
subject. My beloved friends, let mc recommend you, in determin-
ing this question, first to try this point, Do you believe on the
Lord Jesus Christ? — that is to say, renouncing all other hopes, do
you entirely rest your soul upon his merits? Are you conscious of
this? Let this, then, be your consolation, that the Lord has
declared, that "he that bclicvelh in him shall not be confounded."
ext try your love; and if this docs not reach the standard you
desire — for this it never will — come nearer to the Saviour, that
you may receive from him more grace to produce this love. This
is the remedy for want of love to his name, to draw from this foun-
tain, which will fill your heart with the principle. And then, in the
strength of the Lord, the more you seek to abound in those acts of
love, the more steadfast will your consolation be. Though a single
flower will show that there is life in a plant; yet if it bud with roses
on every side, no one can doubt its state. This is the most effec-
tual mode to anticipate the judgment without fear: first, to obtain
&ith in Christ ; and then to exhibit that faith by love to the Saviour.
I may be speaking to some who have a fear of a different kind;
a fear not of themselves, but of the world. Consider yourselves
as placed at the bar of the Judge. What will you say, when it
is asked. Was this your love to the Saviour, which would not
show itself for fear of man ? You know that his cause was hated by
the world ; and that his true disciples were despised, and frequently
persecuted; that, whilst no offence could be justly taken with
them, but that, " concerning the law of their God," still their
names were cast out as evil : why did you not come to their assis-
tance, and unite yourself fully with them? Think what overwhelm-
ing self-reproach will fill your heart, that, whilst you approved
their principles, and were fully convinced they were right, a fear
of being ridiculed, or a fear of not providing for your family, or
some equally base and selfish fear, has brought you to the left
hand of the Judge: for there il is " the fearful (that is to say, those
who have the fear of man,) and the unbelieving will be." Oh,
then, to-day renounce your unmanly fears. Let timidity be swal-
lowed up in love. Or, if you must have fear, " fear Him who,
after he has killed the body, has power to cast the soul into hell:
yea, I say unto you. Fear him."
Finally, I maj be addr»:««iDZ iho^e: vbo Live hidierro h«t hctk^
if at all, considered the awibl r'raL:i'=s ct' ihis zreat ereac. Let
me entreat joa to begin uxlar. Ic Ls a object, the ^ablioiUT of
which, makes it worthy the cooicmf latioo ot the hiefaesc aafieL
What a scene will be anibided. when ail nadons are assembled
before tiic Judge, and when each id dividual in mate expeccadoo
waits his sentence* — the sentence whi< h i« to make him bappj or
miserable for ever! Sarelv a solemn «nl]nese will be hushed, everj
breath drawn in: aniTersal siknce will prevaiL Oh. then, do
you now, in the silence of roar chamber, meditate apon hb
appearance; that, influenced by the^e meditation?, yoa may, bj
IMvine grace, have a place at hi:* ri srht hand. Think of the
misery of being condemned in that great day I
We have said that his Advent will be viewed with terror by his
enemies. How drcadlul. then, will hi^ sentence be! ** Depart from
me, ye cursed, into everlasting Dre. prepared for the devil and his
angels.'' Every word seems to increase the horror of the judg-
mens. ^Depart!*' You would not that he should reign over
you; now you have your desire: you are sent to the remotest
distance. ^Depart /rom xe:" from Me, the fountain of light,
and life, and joy; from Me, in whom all the rays of Divine glory
centre, and by whom th.it glory is imparted to all who love my
name! from Me, the joy of saints, the delight of angels, the
beloved of God: depart from xe! And depart from Me ^t?ito
tttrloitinir JirtJ''^ You arc not driven into a land of forgctfulness,
or into the regions of eternal sleep: you arc dismissed from hea-
ven, to abide in hell: to abide in that place ^ where their worm
dieth not, and where the (ire never is extinguished.'' Depart from
Me into everlasting fire, ^pnpnrtd for the dezil and his angehJ*^
It w;s4 not pTf:pSLrf:d for yon: mansions of everlasting bliss were
designed by the God of ail grace for your habitation; but you
have chosen the lot of evil spirits, for you have partaken of their
iUiH^ — *itirpH?Aed them, indeed, in wickedness; for they never
rejected the offers of mercy, or despised the riches of the grace of
Gr^,as you have done — ^your future lesidcnce, therefore, is to be
with them: that dread abode, which Divine justice prepared for
thrrte evil spirits who were cast out from heaven, is to be your
dwelling; there you arc to reside forever and ever: "For these
thall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into
life eternal."
Oh, my friend^ it ^pals the spirits even to think of such a sen-
tence. What will it be to have it executed! To be forced, bj
an irresistable power, to turn away from the joys of heaven, from
the society of the righteous, the songs of angels, the sight of the
Saviour, the unclouded presence of the ever blessed God, — to turn
away from these everlasting joys, and to plunge into an abyss of
eternal woe! Oh thou merciful God, who wouldest not the death
of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live, look
down in compassion upon every thoughtless reader who may cast
his eyes upon this page, and, ere the sentence be pronounced, turn
his heart from sin. Grant him repentance unto life, and free for-
giveness through the merits of thy Son.
And you, my beloved friend, my kinsman, my brother, my
fellow-sinner, think of these things. I write them, not that I have
any pleasure in declaring the terrors of the Lord; but I write
them in love to your soul. It may be that it was expressly for
your benefit that the God of love and mercy instructed me to
write these truths. By all the terrors, then, of that awful day,
now " prepare to meet your God." Think not that what has
been written is an idle tale; it is the Son of God sent down from
heaven, it is the Saviour of sinners, the Judge of quick and dead —
yes, the very Person before whose bar you must stand — who gives
you the warning. He says of his first coming, ^^I came not to
judge the world, but to save the world." He says of his second
Advent, that, ^^He shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels
with him; then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory, and
before him shall be gathered all nations; and he shall separate
them one from another, as a shepherd divideth the sheep from
the goats: and these shall go away into everlasting punishment,
but the righteous into life eternal." Receive him, then, as a
Saviour, ere he comes as a Judge. Fall before the footstool of
the Divine Majesty; and, pleading the name and the merits of
his only begotten Son, say unto the Lord, " Have mercy upon
me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according to the
multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions: cre-
ate in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within
me: take away the stony heart, and give me a heart of flesh: O
God, be merciful to me, a sinner!"
May the Lord incline you thus to seek his face, and evermore
bless you, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.

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