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Rev. Vz, 17. For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be
able to stand.
This is the language of the enemies of Christ, uttered under the most fearful apprehensions of the effects of his displeasure. They are represented, at the period when his wrath is kindled into a flame, as hiding themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains, and saying to these former objects of dread, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of bin that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb." Though the time, at which this is described as taking place, is not at the end of the world, still, it is by no means improbable that the unhappy sufferers might have supposed that the tiine of Christ's second corning was indeed at hand. However this may be, their language so exactly corresponds with the representations of the Scriptures in relation to this period, that they will be considered in this discourse with exclusive reference to it. I propose to attempt their illustration, considered in this light, under the following divisions.
1. There will be a day of Christ's wrath.
II. I shall inquire, why this is called the great day of his wrath? And,
n. We may attend to the import of the question, Who shall be able to stand?
1. We learn from these words that there will be a day of Christ's wrath,
There has been a day of his mercy, a day in which he has been extending his grace to the humble and penitent. During this period, he has been ready to bestow the blessings of forgiveness and eternal life upon those who sincerely and earnestly sought them. All who would, lave been invited to take of the water of life freely. "Come unto me all ye that are weary and beavy laden," has been his language, "aud ! will give you rest." He has hitherto been known chiefly, as a kind and compassionate Savior, touched with the feelings of our infirmities, and ready to save to the uttermost all who, through faith in bim, should approach unto the Father. To reveal him in this character, the Gospel has been preached, and men of every shade of moral turpitude have been directed to behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of VOL. XIV.
the world." But there will also be a day of his wrath; a day in which his anger will wax hot against the workers of iniquity. He can put on the character of the Lion, as well as that of the Lamb. He is mighty to save. He will show himself to be no less mighty to destroy. It is true, the word of prophecy teaches us, that in the last days scoffers shall come, who will affect to disbelieve in the second appearing of Christ, and will exultingly say, Where is the promise of his coming? Sinners are disposed to flatter themselves that he will never display his wra''; that they shall have peace, though they walk in the imagination of their own hearts. But whatever may be the feelings of wicked men on't
this slibject, the apostle Peter declares, and the issue will affix the seal of truth to the declaration, that the Lord is not slack concerning his promise, but is long-suffering.” The day of the Lord,” he adds, “will come as a thiet in the night.”.. Another apostle comforts his brethren with the expectation of rest from their troubles, in that day “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: “Who,” says he,"shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power." Sinners may disbelieve and talk proudly, because Cbrist delayeth his coming. So did the slothful servant, and so, probably, did the foolish yirgins. But as in these cases, they will find to their infinite cost, that he is not slack concerning bis promise, His readiness to save them may produce forbearance. But he will come in the appointed time, will cut them in sunder, and appoint them a portion withi bypocrites and unbelievers. The verity of God's word was tested by the inhabitants of the old world, When Noah warned them of the near approach of a flood of water, which would utterly destroy the guilty tenants of the eartlı, they gave no credit to his testi. mony. But did their unbelief avert the threatened judgment? «They knew not," says the Savior, that is, they believed hot, "until the flood came, and swept them all away.” In the appointed time the divine word received its accomplishment. All the inliabitants, except Noah and his family, were involved in the general ruin.
The warnings of Lot also appeared to the inhabitants of Sodont like mockery. They indulged no fears of a deluge of fire. But behold while they scoffed, God fulfilled the words of his servant. Suddenly a rain of fire and brimstone descended from heaven, and destroyed them all. Equally certain is it that the day of Christ's wrath will burst upon a guilty world. , Yet a little while, and he that should come, will come, and will not tarry. When sinners look mot for it, nay, when they are flattering themselves that it will never arrive, the Son of man will make his appearance in the clouds of heaven. Then will the day of his wrath have come; a day against which the apostle to the Romans represents sinners as treasuring up wrath.
II. We are next to inquire why this is called the great day of Christ's wrath,
1. Because it is a day long threatened. Sentence against an evil work has not been executed speedily. God has, in some instances, visNed flagrant transgressors with inmediate retribution But he has inore frequently reserved the wicked unto the day of judgment, and
perdition of ungodly men. Of the approach of this day he has given frequent intimation. A. day is already appointed, in which God has given assurance to all men, that he will judge the world in righteousness. To this day both saints and sinners have been directed to look forward. To the one, it has been revealed as the day of redemption, a day of deliverance from all enemies; and to the other, as a day when they will begin to receive the proper wages of sin, and to sink under: the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God. Then will arrive the consummation of all the schemes of Divine Providence in relation to the present world; the final adjustment of the concerns of this probationary state. In the present world, the wicked have been suffered to sin with comparative impunity. All things bave happened alike to all. Hence the wicked have triumphed in their wickedness, and have flattered themselves, either that the Most High does not notice the conduct of men, or that holiness and sin are equally objects of his regard. But the Scriptures bave left no room for such presumptuous self-flatteries. They have plainly revealed a day of retribution, and referred all to the last day. In the mean time, they teach that sinners are treasuring up wrath against this day of wrath, and the revelation of the righteous judgment of God; that their calamities are at hand, and that the evils that are coming upon them, make haste. With the greatest propriety is the day, to which the threatenings of the Scriptures have so long di. rected their attention, and on which so much is depending, called the great day of Christ's wrath.
2. It may be so denominated to distinguish it from other seasons of the wrath of the Lamb.
The time when Jerusalem was destroyed, is noticed as a day of Christ's coming. As a nation, the Jews had rejected the Savior; and in the destruction of their temple and city by an infuriated Roman army, Christ came out in judgment against them. This was a day of his wrath. The calamities, which were then experienced, were perhaps superior to any with which the nations of the earth have been visited. Before the full glory of the millennium, is to be fought the great battle of God Almighty. The whole antichristian host, it is supposed, will then be engaged in a desperate effort against the church of Christ. At this period the Savior will come quickly," and utterly destroy his enemies that have combined against him. These will be days of Christ's wrath; and so are all those seasons when he comes out in judgment against his infatuated foes. But these are not the great day of his wrath. They are indeed terrible. The destruction of Jerusalem presented a scene of anguish which surpasses description. The battle at Armageddon will probably be still more awful. But what are these compared with the day of Christ's vengeance upon the finally impenitent. The severest judgments, of which even sinners are the subjects in the present world, are mingled with mercy. They are attended with alleviating circumstances. But the day of Christ's coming to judgment will be to the wicked a day of wrath without mixture; a day of overwhelming calamity. When his hand takes hold on judgment, he will render fury to his adversaries, and reward them that isate bim. Then, we are assured, he will neither pity nor sparc. His wrath, long deferred, will be kindled into a flame. The things which are now com.
ing upon them will not merely make haste, but will overtake them with
II). Thing proposed.
By the unhappy sufferers who uttered this question, the great day of
Could they hope to escape? How could they expect to tice from him
himself. Reconciliation was then to be obtained. Sinners were invited
To expect to resist was equally vain.
Who were they, that they could think of resisting him who had CON-