Such is the significance of Christ’s words in their relation to Himself. It is, however, with their relation to ourselves that we are primarily concerned now. Of the wholly unimaginable circumstances of that day when the Son of Man shall come in His glory and all the nations be gathered before Him I shall not attempt to speak. As Dean Church has well said, no vision framed with the materials of our present experience could adequately represent the truth, and, indeed, it is well that our minds should be diverted from matters which lie wholly beyond our reach, that they may dwell upon the solemn certainties which Christ has revealed. Let us think, first of the fact, and secondly of the issues, of Judgment.
The persistent definiteness with which the fact of judgment is affirmed by the New Testament we have already seen. Nor is the New Testament our only witness. The belief in a higher tribunal before which the judgments of time are to be revised, and in many cases reversed, may be said to be part of the creed of the race. Plato had his vision of judgment as well as Jesus. And in the Old Testament, and especially in the Book of Psalms, the same faith finds repeated and magnificent utterance: “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence; a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him. He shall call to the heavens above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people;” and again, “For He cometh, for He cometh to judge the earth: He shall judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with His truth.”
Here, then, is the fact which demands a place in the thoughts of each of us—we are all to be judged. Life is not to be folded up, like a piece of finished work, and then laid aside and forgotten; it is to be gone over again and examined by the hand and eyes of Perfect Wisdom and Perfect Love. Each day we are writing, and often when the leaf is turned that which has been written passes from our mind and is remembered no more; but it is there, and one day the books—the Book of Life, of our life—will be opened, and the true meaning of the record revealed. Life brings to us many gifts of many kinds, and as it lays them in our hands, for our use and for our blessing, it is always, had we but ears to hear, with the warning word, “Know thou, that for all these things, God will bring thee into judgment.”
It is, indeed, a tremendous thought. When Daniel Webster was once asked what was the greatest thought that had ever occupied his mind, he answered, “the fact of my personal accountability to God.” And no man can give to such a fact its due place without feeling its steadying, sobering influence through all his life. Lament is often made to-day, and not without reason, of our failing sense of the seriousness of life. A plague of frivolity, more deadly than the locusts of Egypt, has fallen upon us, and is smiting