With this absolute certainty before us, then, of a judgment for all mankind, it would be unnatural—it would betray awful insensibility to eternal concerns, not to inquire with all seriousness—When will this universal judgment take place? What objects is it designed to accomplish? What connexion will it have with our future and eternal condition? We inquire then,
I. When will the universal Judgment take place?
The precise time, God has wisely concealed from every intelligent creature. “Of that day and that hour knoweth no man. No; not the angels that are in heaven.” But the text speaks of it, in general terms, as that which is to take place after our death. Other passages are somewhat more explicit, as to the time. The apostle Peter declares, “The heavens and the earth which now are, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire, against the day of judgment, and perdition of ungodly men.” According to this account of the judgment, it will occur at the same time with the destruction of the world; “when,” as the same apostle declares, “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth, also, and the works that are therein shall be burnt up.” Paul gives a similar account of the time, as he comforts the church at Thessalonica, under persecution, with the prospect of the judgment, “when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Indeed, if God is to “judge the whole world in righteousness,” what other occasion would seem so proper, as when the last of our race have finished their work on the earth, and the world itself is about to be destroyed? Would it not appear most suitable, that the public and final decision of our destiny, should immediately succeed the winding up of this world’s drama?—the termination of all earthly allotments? When, if not at that deeply interesting crisis, will all things be ready for the great trial? The final judgment, then, will take place after our death, and at the end of the world. We next inquire,
On this point, it becomes creatures of yesterday to speak with profound humility, and especially to beware of contradicting what is revealed. The objects which Jehovah will accomplish by the universal judgment, are unquestionably vast and momentous, beyond all conception. Yet some of them are obvious to reason, or are plainly revealed.