Every person has experienced inconvenience and perplexity from the circumstance, that the real characters of men, in the present life, are but partially disclosed. Much the larger portion of human actions pass unobserved by the world; or the motives which prompt them are concealed. One design of the judgment, then, is to uncover these hidden springs, and lay open every dark retreat of human conduct. We are told, “there is nothing hid which shall not be revealed;” that “God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil;” that he “will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels the heart.”
Another design of the judgment, is publicly to assign to men their proper deserts. This, we have before suggested, is not done on the earth. “All things here come alike to all.” “There is one event to the righteous and to the wicked.” But the future judgment is characterized, as the day of “revelation of the righteous judgment of God;” “in the which he will judge the world in righteousness;” and will “render to every man according to his deeds.” The mystery involved in the prosperity of the wicked, and in the unequal allotments, which have here marked the dispensations of Providence, will then cease for ever; and it will then be seen and felt, that every one is treated according to the strictest principles of wisdom and justice.
Another special design of the judgment, is to manifest and gloriously exalt the perfections of Jehovah. Revelation has indeed proclaimed his perfections, in language which need not be misunderstood. But his providence has often interposed a cloud between them and the eyes of men. We do not comprehend the wisdom of present occurrences. We see not the end from the beginning. A complete disclosure of both, will show to the universe the deep counsels of God, and the consistent and benevolent character of all his operations. He will then appear in the greatness of his power, and majesty—as he summons the dead from their graves, and folds up the earth and the heavens, like a decayed garment, to be laid aside. He will then appear in the glory of his justice, his holiness, and his truth,—while he examines, before his dread tribunal, the risen and assembled millions of our race, and renders to every one according to his works. All his perfections will then be illustriously displayed; for, says the apostle, “He shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe.”
But this glory of the Divinity is specially to shine forth in the person of the Son. He it was, that “being found in fashion as a man, humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name, which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth, and things under