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Annie Oakley
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Annie Oakley
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IX. When will this judgment take place?

The future judgment will take place at the end of time, or at the end of the world. The duration of the world consists of three periods; that before the law; that under the law; and that under Christ. The period which is under Christ is called the end of the world, the end of days, the last time, and the last hour, and comprehends that portion of the world’s history included between the first and second coming of Christ. This period will not be as long as that from the beginning of the world to the first coming of Christ; for we are in the last times, and daily see the signs which were foretold in relation to the judgment. “Little children, it is the last time; and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists, whereby we know that it is the last time.” (1 John 2:18.) But the year, the month, the day, the hour, in which the final judgment will take is known by no one, not even the angels. Christ himself is ignorant of it as it respects his humanity, and his office as mediator, which does not require that he should declare unto us the time of the judgment. “Of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no not the an gels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” (Mark 13:32.)

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Annie Oakley
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Annie Oakley
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X. The reasons why we should certainly look for the judgment.

Although we are ignorant of the precise time of the judgment, yet God will have us assured of the certainty of it,

First, on account of his glory, that we may be able to refute all those who regard the doctrine of a future judgment as a mere fable, and who infer from the apparent confusion which there is in the world, that God has no concern for it, or if he has, that he is unjust; for, say they, it ought to be well with the righteous, but it is not; therefore God is either not able to effect this, or he is not as good as his promise; or there is no providence. We reply to this cavil, that in the life to come a different state of things will succeed that which we now see in this life; for since it is not here well with the righteous it shall be well with them hereafter.

Secondly, God will have us know the certainty of a future judgment for our comfort, that we may be assured that hereafter we shall obtain a deliverance from the miseries of this life.

Thirdly, that we may keep ourselves in the fear of God, and in the proper discharge of our duties, so that we may be able to stand in the judgment. “Watch ye, therefore, and pray always that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation.” (Luke 21:36. 2 Pet. 3:11.)

Fourthly, that the wicked may be stripped of every excuse, in that they have been so frequently admonished of the importance of being constantly prepared for the coming of the Son of man, so that they cannot say that they have been taken on surprise.

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Annie Oakley
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Annie Oakley
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XI. The reasons why God will have us ignorant of the precise time of the judgment.

Certain as it is that there will be a future judgment, the precise time of it is altogether unknown. “Of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” (Mark 13:32.) The reasons why God will have the time of the judgment unknown to us are:

1. That he may exercise our faith, hope an patience, and that we may believe in him, and persevere in the expectation o* the fulfillment of his promise, although we are ignorant of the time when our deliverance shall take place.

2. That he might restrain our curiosity.

3. That he might keep us in his fear, and in the observance of our Christian duties, that so we may not fall into a state of carnal security, but always be ready inasmuch as we know not when the Lord will come.

4. That the ungodly may not defer repentence, seeing they are ignorant of the hour, that so this day may not come upon them unprepared. “But know this, that if the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched.” “Watch, therefore., for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” Occupy till I come.” (Matt. 24:43; 25:13. Luke 19:13.)

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Annie Oakley
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Annie Oakley
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XII. Why this judgment is deferred.

The Lord defers his coming:

1. That he may exercise the godly in faith, hope, patience, and prayer.

2. That all the elect may be gathered into the church; for it is on their account, and not on account of the wicked, that the world is permitted to stand. The lower orders of creation were made for the children of God. The wicked use them as thieves and robbers. But when the whole number of God’s people shall once have been gathered into the church, then will the end be. God, too, will have his people brought in by ordinary means; he will have them hear his word, and through this be converted and born again, the accomplishment of which will require time.

3. That he may afford all time for repentence, as in the days of Noah, and that this his delay may render the wicked and disobedient without excuse. “God endured with much long suffering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction.” “Not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.” (Rom. 9:22; 2:4.)

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Annie Oakley
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Annie Oakley
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XIII. Whether the last judgment may be desired.

The final judgment should be anxiously looked for, because there will then be a separation between the righteous and the wicked, which the godly earnestly desire: for they continually exclaim with Paul, “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death.” “I desire to depart and to be with Christ.” (Rom. 7:24. Phil. 1:23.) The Holy Spirit works this desire in their hearts, so that they say with the Spirit and the bride, come Lord Jesus; and let him that heareth say come. The wicked, on the other hand, fear and tremble at the mention of this judgment. Denn es bienet ibnen nicht in ihrer Ruhe, This is a certain sign of ungodliness; for how can any one say, Come, if he is not a member of the church and has not the Spirit of Christ, who inspires this language in the godly.

What then does this article mean; believe in Christ who shall come to judge the quick and the dead? It means, I believe:

1. That Christ shall certainly come, and that at his second coming there will be a renewing of heaven and earth.

2. That the very same Christ shall come who suffered, died, and rose again for us.

3. That he shall come visibly and gloriously to deliver his church, of which I am a member.

4. That he shall come to cast the wicked into everlasting punishment. From these considerations we obtain strong and solid comfort; for seeing that heaven and earth shall be made new, we have this confidence that our condition will hereafter be different and better than it now is: seeing that Christ shall come, we have the assurance that our judge will be gracious; for it will be the very same person who has merited for us righteousness, and who is our brother, redeemer and defender: seeing that he shall come gloriously we believe that he will pass a righteous sentence, and will have sufficient power to deliver us: seeing that he shall come to liberate his church we look for him with joy: seeing that he shall come to cast the wicked into everlasting punishment, we patiently bear with their opposition and tyranny; and finally, seeing that he will deliver the righteous and reject the wicked, he will also either deliver or reject us; and hence there is a necessity that we should repent, be thankful, and avoid carnal security, that we may be included in the number of those whom he will deliver.

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