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Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Trinity (1880)

Matthew 25:31-46 Reason and conscience already preaches to every person that someday all mankind will be judged by God, "so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil."1 His reason says to everyone, God's righteousness demands that good does good, but evil does evil, but now it often happens in this life that precisely everything evil goes according to plan, while on the other hand good encounters everything evil; therefore it is not possible that as surely as God is a just God, all mankind expects a day of vengeance. Thus even the Apostle Paul calls the day of judgment,"the day of wrath of God's righteous judgment."2 But his conscience, as said, on the other hand, also testifies to this. For mankind proposes this and inwardly accuses him as often as he does something that he knows that it is wrong, even if no one else knows his evil deed and therefore that is why no man accuses him, while on the other hand the conscience of mankind is calm and "excuses" him when he is unjustly accused by other men. (The heathen Cicero writes: "The power of conscience is very great and is of great weight on both sides; so that they fear nothing who have done wrong, and they, on the other hand, who have done wrong think that punishment is always hanging over them"3; indeed the history of the world tells us that even blind heathens have sometimes felt such an unbearable torment of conscience because of their secret crimes that they, in order to be freed from their remorse, even attempted suicide.) The internal court of conscience, that every person carries within him, therefore, is an undisputed testimony of the external court, of the great God, before Whom every man will have to appear once on the Last Day. For the holy apostle Paul, confirming all these things, writes: "For when Gentiles, who do not have the law... and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus." However, countless people seek to persuade, especially in this our atheistic time, that the fear of an erstwhile external judgment that reason and conscience preaches to them is only a consequence of education, a priestly ode, a mere imagination, an empty specter. Therefore God has testified to us clearly and distinctly in His holy Word, in both Old and New Testament, not only the certainty of a general judgment of the world, but also has painted before our eyes as in a picture with bright colors even the nature and all circumstances of such a judgment. This and other things happen in our Sunday Gospel. We use the opportunity offered us on the last Sunday of the Church Year to resolve that all-important subject with reverent consideration. Let me therefore now speak to you:

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2 Corinthians 5:10. Romans 2:5. 3 Speech in Defense of Titus Annius Milo.

On the nature of judgment; namely 1. what preparations will be made for it a. regarding the choice of the Judge: . Who He will be, namely Christ . according to His divine nature in unity with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and . according to His human nature, and namely the latter the believers, as His brethren, for consolation, but the unbelievers, as His enemies, for horror4, . what kind of preparations are to be made on the part of the judge; He will namely . come visibly in His glory, . appear with all His holy angels and . sit on the throne of His glory5; b. regarding His judging: who will be judged by Him, namely . all good and . all evil6, . what kind of preparations are to be made regarding it; namely they are . all gathered before Him and thereupon . separated as sheep from goats, aa. the sheep at Christ's right hand and bb. the goats are placed on His left; 2. how the judgment will be held, a. regarding the righteous: . Christ will speak a judgment of grace upon them on the basis of the Gospel and . this judgment is justified by works of love, as a witness of their faith; b. regarding the unrighteous: . Christ will speak a judgment of condemnation upon them on the basis enlightened Law by the Gospel, and . this is justified by the works of the lack of love, as a witness of unbelief; 3. how it will be carried out; a. the godless will go hereupon immediately into eternal punishment, b. the righteous go hereupon immediately into eternal life.

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Zechariah 12:10; John 5:22; Acts 17:31. Matthew 26:64 ("in the clouds of heaven"). 6 Daniel 12:2; John 5:28-29.