Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.—Rom. 8.33




Day of Judgment,



For the awakening of the Un-

godly, and the Comfort of

Saints, eſpecially thoſe of

them that are afflicted

and oppreſſed.

Preached at St Pauls, May 11. 1656.

By Anthony Burgeſſe Pastor of the

Church of Sutton-Coldfield

in Warwickshire.


Printed for T. Underhill at the Anchor and

Bible in Pauls Church-yard, 1657.


Dethick Maior.

Tueſday 20th of May, 1656.

IT is Ordered, that Mr Anthony Bur­geſſe be deſired from this Court to Print his late Sermon at Pauls.





Sir John Dethick

Lord Maior of the

City of London,


The rest of the Aldermen.


THIS Sermon formerly preached before you, and entertained with your good approbation, is now in obedience to your order made {} more publick; whereunto I was more willingly induced, because of the special usefulness of the Subject.  The Doctrine of the Day of Judgment, with the practical improvement thereof, being much insisted upon both by our Saviour and the Apostles, yea the Duties in reference to this Day, are so importunately urged, as that, Whether we eat or drink, whether we walk or sit still, our thoughts and meditations should be fervent and affectionate about it; and which is the more to be observed, this Truth is a fountain from which cometh bitter and sweet; In it is both a sting and honey; from the same root springs the Rose and the prickles; {} Would we raise up our dejected and disconsolate hearts? the thoughts of this Day, like David’s Harp, would expel all such evil apprehensions; Would we awaken our dead and dull spirits? Would we curb and bridle our immoderate affections? the meditations upon this Day would be like a fiery Sword to keep from them.  Hence it is that the Scripture maketh this two-fold Use thereof, for Comfort (to the Godly, I mean) Therefore (Luk. 21.28.) they are commanded upon the approach of that Day, To lift up their heads, for their Redemption draweth near.  It is a Day of Redemption to thee {} who are kept a prisoner in this Ægypt of the world; A mighty Deliverance will then be wrought for thee from sin and misery; How blessed then and comfortable must the thoughts of this time be to thee? Luther’s expression was (Sermon de Signis præ. extr. Jud.) That he had rather never have been born, than not to be in hope of this Day.  Hence it is that God exerciseth his children in this Wilderness, that Canaan their rest in Heaven may be more desired.  Luther (ibidem) saith of himself, That once he was very angry, and could not endure the matter of the Lord’s Prayer, {} wherein Christ’s Kingdom is prayed for, but after that God had tossed him up and down with the waves and tempests that he met with in this world, then no Petition could be more welcome to him. He that doth not look for, and hasten Christ’s coming, is not yet weaned enough from the world, his corrupt heart is not burden enough to him.  The things of this world have too much interest in his soul, and therefore with the children of Reuben they had rather take up their habitation on this side Canaan, because the Land was fruitful and advantageous: But where the {} heart is raised up to a spiritual frame, there their hopes, desires, and ardent affections are breaking and longing for his coming, even as Sisera his mother, Judges 5.28, looked out at the window, expecting his triumphing return, and crying, Why is his Chariot so long in coming? Why tarry the wheels of his Chariot?

The second Use, which is of Terrour, and thereby to keep back from sin, to preserve in a constant watching and praying, which the Scripture likewise frequently commendeth, is diligently to be heeded by every one, especially (Right Honourable and Right Worshipfull) {} by you who are called to the Publick Government of that famous City,—the meditation on that Day should be as powerful to awaken your souls for Zeal to the glory of God, and righteousness in all your administrations; As the sound of the Trumpet, and the voice of the Archangel will be effectual to raise your bodies.  And the rather attend hereunto, because that Day among other ends is especially Judicare non judicata, & malè judicata, The sins not judged and not punished, and the things falsely and unrighteously judged; God will at that Day have a review of them, so that the {} crooked things which are in this world will then be made straight.  At that Day, riches, honours, and the pomp of the world will be in no request, but an interest in Christ, to have him our Mediatour and Friend, who is the Judge, will be the only happiness, of which the Lord grant you to be partakers, so as to find mercy in that Day, is the prayer of

Your humble Servant

in the work of the Ministry





of the

Day of Judgment.

ACTS 17.31.

Because he hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained

WHat hath Athens and Jerusalem to do with each other?  What the {2} Gentiles’ Academy, and the Christian Church? said Tertullian, speaking of God’s providence concerning this passage of Paul’s being at Athens; yet here we see him like a little David going in the name of the Lord with a few Stones from the brook, some Arguments from the Scripture against the great Goliahs of the world: And in this Historical Narration we may see Paul performing a double service for God, as a Disputant, and as an Oratour; As a Disputant with the many Sects of Philosophers then reigning in Athens, especially the Epicureans, (whose opinions were {3} called δογματικαι σειρηνες, being suitable baits to draw out the flesh of man) and the Stoicks.  Now though both these were extremely contrary, yet they agreed in opposing of Paul, and therefore called him for his Doctrine σπερμολογος, a trifling babbler, a word much vext by Criticks; and Austin [Augustine] saith, though of deriders Paul was called, Seminator verberum, yet of believers he may in a good sense be acknowledged to be so, because of the good seed of the Word he did abundantly sow, from which came a great crop.

But Paul doth not only encounter {4} with Philosophers, he is brought to Areopagus, that famous place with Heathen Writers, where he makes a grave and admirable Oration, of which my Text is part.  In which we may consider the place where, the general is Athens, the bright luminary of the world for Learning, Linguata Civitas, as Tertullian calleth it, a City of the tongue, whose manners are said to be exercised in enquiring after, καινοτερον, [new things,] a disease many times in the Christian Church, many being weary of solid and known Doctrines, desiring of that which is unheard and unknown, and loving {5} to be in the Terrâ incognitâ, or uninhabitable part of Divinity:  The proper place is Areopagus, Mars-hill, called so, either because Mars was here accused for his impiety, or else because it was a severe Court of Justice against all unjust, violent, murderous actions.  This Areopagite Judicature is famous,—they did excel so much in Authority, that Kings laid down their Crowns when they came to sit with them; they were of such integrity that they kept their Court, and gave Judgment in the night, and in the dark, that they might not behold the persons who did {6} speak, lest they should be moved thereby, they only did hear what was said; here it was that the pleader must not use any Proemium, nor make any rhetorical expression to move the affections; Hence it was that they did bear as much reverence to the Sentences and Decrees promulged there, as they did to their sacred Oracles, and here Paul is placed.  Grotius thinks not, as to the Court there, in a juridical manner, but others judge contrary;—however Paul is undaunted, and being an earthly Angel, as Chrysostom calleth him, feareth not the power of man. {7}

In his Oration we may consider the crime he chargeth upon them, and that is Superstition in the universal extent of it in all things ως δεισιδαιμονεστερους, where ως doth παρελχει, is redundant, as some think, or else it is emphatical, for there is ως veritatis, and ως similitudinis, which may explain that place against the Socinians, John 1.14.

Some learned men think the word Superstition is used in an indifferent and middle sense, as the word Heresy is sometimes, yea some say Paul speaks here in their commendation, and therefore useth the comparative more superstitious {8} or religious, and indeed they were excessively devout in their Religion, as among other things is plain concerning Anaxagoras, whom they adjudged to death, because he held the Sun, which they worshipped as god, to be but Saxum ignitum a white fiery stone;—but this [interpretation] is not probable, because afterwards he calleth it an ignorant Worship, therefore the word is not here used in an indifferent sense, much less a laudable one.  The instance by which he proveth their superstition, is an Altar with this Inscription, αγνωστω θεω, as the Romans had their {9} Incerti Dii, and therefore sacrificed sine Deo, sine Dea; so the Grecians not knowing which was according to their blind Idolatry προσηκον θεος, the proper god, to repel such an evil, made there Inscription, To the Unknown God; The Apostle to inform them herein instructs them both about the true God, who he is, and the true manner of Worship; After which he comes to the Exhortatory part of his Oration, which is grounded upon God’s dispensation to those times of Ignorance he winked at υπεριδων; here may be much dispute about the salvation of Heathens, because it is said, {10} God winked at it, and so indeed generally it is interpreted, but the Septuagint use the word for to despise and be angry, Deut. 3.26, Psalm 78, and so to punish, and in this sense it seems to be used here.  Those times of ignorance in Idolatry God was angry with, punishing of them with temporal and spiritual judgments, but now the grace of the Gospel, and the love of God hath appeared in commanding every one to repent: And my Text is the reason and forcible ground of repentance, Because he hath appointed a day.  And

In the words, Consider {11} The Author or Efficient Cause, God hath appointed a day; God that is Just, Omniscient, Omnipotent, He hath appointed a day, εστησεν, he hath settled it so that there is no repealing of it, there cannot be any reversing of it, though ungodly men would give worlds to have it cancelled.

2. There is the Matter itself:—A Day.  Here is much dispute about the length; Some say this Day is a thousand years, wherein God will be judging of the world; It is certain, that there will be no proper Natural, or Artificial Day, as we account; but seeing {12} the Scripture hath not determined the duration, who can define it?

3. The End why such a Day is appointed, and that is to judge.  Now God seemeth to take no notice of the impieties and ungodliness of wicked men, for they at present eat, drink, and rejoice in their iniquities, but there is a Day wherein God will judge the world.

4. The Object, The World;—None is exempted, great as well as small, rich as well as poor, the mighty as well as the weak, whosoever is of the world shall be judged, the godly as well as the wicked; But {13} differently: The godly with a judgment of Discussion and Approbation, the wicked with a judgment of Discussion and Condemnation.

5. The Manner how, in righteousness.—Righteousness is here put partly for Truth, and partly for Justice, whereby he hateth sin, and will punish it: so that the opinion of the Socinians, which saith, there is no such thing as vindicative Justice, essentially appertaining unto God, as it maketh Christ’s Satisfaction needless, so it openeth a wide door to all impieties.

Lastly, There is the Judge, By whom, εν ανδρι, an Hebraism {14} for δι ανδρος and ω ωρισεν for εκεινω ον a Grecism; Now in that Christ is called here a man and a Judge only appointed, a constituted Judge, Hence those blasphemous Socinians deny the Essential Deity of Christ, and make him only a constituted God, but therefore is he called a man here, not exclusively to God, but because he shall judge the world in an external and visible manner, which cannot be done by him as God, for so he is invisible; and whereas he is said to be appointed a Judge, and this Judiciary Power is given him, you must know that many things are said to be given unto {15} Christ as Mediatour, which doth not diminish his Deity, but necessarily presuppose it, as to be made a Judge of the whole world; None can be so but he who is God as well as man, for he must be Omniscient and Omnipotent, who is this Judge, whether indeed he be a Judge in both Natures, as well in the Divine as Human; As also how the Human Nature of Christ cometh to know all the secret things of man’s heart, is disputed between us and the Lutherans, but I wave it; only you must know, Christ is not an inferiour or delegate Judge, but supreme and {16} chief, being God as well as man.

The Text being thus divided and opened, this Doctrine or Corollary naturally floweth from it, viz.

[ DOCTRINE: ] That God hath appointed a Day to judge all mankind by Christ.

This truth is an Article of Faith, and having such powerfull influence upon our lives, it is good to possess our minds with the truth of it, and our hearts with the terrour of it, for both corrupt minds and profane hearts have withstood this main Fundamental point: As the fool hath said in his heart (by wish and affection) {17} that there is no God, [Psalm 14.1]:  So they say in their hearts, there is no Day of Judgment; And as that King of France strictly forbad any so much as to mention death in his hearing, he did so abhor the thoughts of it; so do many about the name of this Day.  The Devil cannot hurry men into hell, as he did the Swine into the Sea, until the thoughts of this Day are wholly obliterated; Therefore before Christ’s time, and since, there have been Doctrinal and Practical opposers of it: Doctrinal, so the Sadducees, who denied the Resurrection and Immortality of the soul, were {18} necessitated also to deny the Day of Judgment: And as Josephus observes, The Sadducees, though they were not so many as the Pharisees, nor so reputed of for Religion, yet they were the most potent, the greatest in wealth and honour; So that the denial of a Resurrection, and the Day of Judgment was very suitable to their interest.  After Christ’s time, though this Article be so plainly affirmed in the New Testament, that no words can speak it more clearly, yet there is a large Catalogue given by learned men of blasphemous and damnable Hereticks, who do deny it; and {19} the Socinians in that they hold eternal torment to be the annihilation of the whole man, do in effect also renounce this necessary Truth.  And as for Practical Opposers of it, the Apostle Peter doth signally decipher some even in his days, that were but scoffers and deriders at that truth which should have struck them into fear and trembling, 2 Pet. 3.3,4, There shall in the last days come scoffers, saying, Where is the promise of his coming? No doubt all profane, secure, and atheistical sinners, who say, Let us eat and drink, and tomorrow shall be as this day, though they {20} do not expressly, yet do really deny this Day, or put it far from them.  It is therefore God’s great mercy, that whereas some main points in Divinity are not directly in Scripture, but by consequence, though the sense and matter be in Scripture, yet not the words; But for this Article, we have in Scripture both the truth and the words; For if there had been any evasion, the corrupt heart of man would have sought out plausible inventions to have denied it.

This truth is clearly asserted both in the Old and New Testament, so that the Scribe {21} of the Kingdom of Heaven, may bring out of his Treasure old and new, [Matt. 13.52]; and this is the more remarkable to have it in the Old, where the truths of Heaven and Hell are more obscurely delivered; Yea the Socinians look upon the Jews under that Legal Administration, but as so many Swine, desiring husks only, and not knowing of the Manna of the Gospel.

That this Doctrine was believed of old, yea presently after the fall, appeareth by what Jude relateth in his Epistle, verse 14, Enoch the seventh from Adam prophesied, saying, Behold the Lord cometh {22} with ten thousands of his Saints to render vengeance; And whether this was a real or verbal Prophecy is disputed; if verbal, where is that Prophecy? if it be lost, May any part of the Canonical Scripture be lost? And how did Jude come to know this was in Enoch’s Prophecy? These are Disputes which the practical matter I intend will not suffer me to treat of: Here we have a plain Prophecy, and that almost from the beginning, That the Lord will come with ten thousand of his Saints to execute Judgment.

That it is a Doctrine of {23} great Antiquity, Solomon likewise, the wisest of men, (even in that Book, where to outward appearance, we would think too much liberty given to carnal opinions, therefore some Expositors make him often speak in the person of a profane Epicure, and sensual man,) he giveth a two-fold testimony to this truth.

Eccles. 11.9, 12.14, God will bring every work into Judgment; And this is brought as a bridle to impiety, and a spur to all godliness.

The last Text I shall pitch on, is that famous Text, Dan. 7.9, 10, 13-26, so much agitated in the Chiliastical {24} Controversy; From hence, saith Mr. Mede, the Jews took the name of the Day of Judgment, and Christ used the expression as a known thing, even as the title of the Kingdom of Heaven was a Jewish phrase.  It is true, some learned and pious men comparing this with Revel. 20, do improve [make use of] it not only for a Day of Judgment, but that it shall continue a thousand years, wherein the Martyrs, as some; or all the godly, as others, shall be raised and reign in glory in the Earth a thousand years, after which time the wicked also shall rise to be judged, and this {25} they call the first Resurrection.

But as in the Doctrine of the Trinity, and Christ’s Incarnation, we must distinguish between Fundamental Truths, and Problematical; so in this Article the Fundamental is, That there shall be a Day of Judgment; The Problematical are such which Learned and pious men may dispute and differ in, without breach of Charity, Although for this opinion of a thousand years, I can sooner admire it for the wonderful things asserted by it, than approve of it.[1]

I come to the New Testament. {26}  And here it would be useless to accumulate many places, only two or three Texts shall be mentioned, that so our hearts may be as sensibly awed with it, as if with Hierom [Jerome] we did always hear that noise in our ears, Arise ye dead and come to Judgment, Matth. 25.31.  We have there a lively Description of the Day of Judgment, with the form of Christ’s judicial process, as also the event of it, which is to divide between Goats and Sheep, the one adjudged to eternal punishment, the other received into eternal life; Let Faith realize this Text upon {27} thy soul, set thyself at God's Bar, think as God called to Adam, Adam, Where art thou? and he was filled with so much fear that he hid himself; Thus God is calling, thou such a sinner, such an unjust profane wretch, where art thou?  To what mountains and hills wilt thou call to be covered from the sight of this Judge?

A second Text is, 2 Peter 3.7,8,9: there is the antecedent to this Day, All the world shall be on fire like a Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Heavens and the Earth shall pass away like a noise: As before an house falleth this beam {28} crackleth, and that pillar maketh a noise: Thus it will be in the end of the world; I do not dispute, Whether it will be an essential abolition, or a qualitative one, but this will be such a terrible change and alteration, that the Apostle maketh this use, verse 11, Seeing all these things shall be dissolved, What manner of persons ought we to be, ποταποι not ποιοι to admiration: How is it possible to believe such a day as this, and live in ungodliness? Thou profane and unrighteous man, either thou art an Atheist, and dost not believe any such thing, and if so, What dost thou in the {29} Church of God? Or if thou believest this day, thou art a fool and mad man, that fittest thyself for destruction against that Day: Have men faith, reason, conscience, whose thoughts are not more constant about it? 1 Thess. 4.16. There is Christ’s coming also described with a shout, the voice of the Archangel, and a trump of God;  We will not dispute the Explication of those things, this is to shew that Christ will come with all the Majesty, terrour, and glory that possibly can be imagined; and that this is certainly so, consider Heb. 9.27, It is appointed for man once to die, {30} and after death comes Judgment; It is appointed, αποκειται, treasured up in God’s Decrees, and therefore it is as sure as death; so that thou maist no more question such a day than that thou shalt die.  Besides Scripture, let us consider from rational demonstrations of it.  And

First, It must be so from the verity and Truth of God.  God you see hath foretold in so many places of such a day, so that although if may seem impossible and incredible to men, yet God’s word will stand when Heaven and Earth shall pass away.  Now consider with thyself, whatsoever {31} the Scripture hath foretold we see it comes to pass in it’s time; Christ did come in the flesh according to the Prophecies, which went before; The world was drowned as Noah prophesied, while they were eating and drinking; Now shall all things come to pass but this?  Set Scripture, the Word of God against thy carnal reasonings, and say, Every thing will prove a lie, but God’s word, thou wilt find thy lusts, thy sins, the Devil to be a liar to thee, only God’s Word will be faithful and true.

Secondly, The righteousness of God his punishing Justice {32} doth require it, therefore it is called ημερα δικαιοκρισιας, the day of God’s righteous Judgment and in the Text, He shall judge the world in righteousness.  The Socinians (as you heard) who deny any essential Justice in God, whereby he is enclined to punish sin, as they take away the Satisfaction of Christ thereby, so also they weaken the necessity of such a Day of Judgment, wherein the holy Majesty of God will be avenged upon all the ungodly. Should sin ever go unpunished, this would seem as if God were not a God hating iniquity; the Justice of God calleth for such a day. {33}

Thirdly, The goodness and mercy of God likewise requireth such a Day; For if the godly had only hope in this life, they were more foolish and miserable than any, [1 Cor. 15.19]; They only were wise, who say, Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we shall die.  A man would keep a good conscience in vain, and foolishly abstain from the excessive riot of the world, especially the Martyrs would be the greatest fools of all; let them put off the crown of Glory, if this day be not;  If there be no Day of Judgment, they were imprisoned in vain, and died in vain; but it is called a Day of Redemption, {34} and the godly are commanded to lift up their heads with joy; then their Summer cometh, they are to look for and hasten it, for here they are sighing, groaning, here also they are conflicting with proud, earthly, vain hearts, but this day will put a period to all, there will be no sin or sorrow any more.

Fourthly, The providence of God, as it disposeth things in this life, doth plainly declare a Day of Judgment; For here in this world, Solomon observes, All things fall alike to all, to him who feareth God, and him who feareth him not; The prosperity of the wicked, {35} and the adversity of the godly hath been such a perplexing subject to the wisest of the godly Heathens, Seneca and Plutarch, that they have spent many thoughts about it, yea this Providence of God was such a riddle to David and Jeremiah, that without much prayer and recourse to God, they were not able to answer it.  Now to this Objection, which hath staggered so many, there is no such satisfying and complete answer, as that there is a Day of Judgment, when God will set every thing in its proper place, when all the world shall discern between him who is righteous, and {36} him that is not; therefore silence all such murmurings and disputes with expectation of that Day, you should not judge too soon before the last act be past; and as in the Word of God a man would make blasphemy, if he should make a period at a comma or a colon, as in this place, Thou art not a God that lovest iniquity, if he should stop at that, Thou art not a God, and go no farther, this would be blasphemy: So it would be highly derogatory to the Justice, Wisdom and honour of God, if thou shouldst conclude what is just, and what is unjust, completely and finally {37} by passages in this world, seeing the day of consummation of all things is not yet come.

Lastly, That there is such a Day, appeareth by the very implanted principles in a natural conscience; For why is it that a man dying, whose conscience is not benummed in that hour, terrours and agonies should surprize him?  And why then, and it may be never before, should horrour and trouble take hold of him? Animula vagula quæ nunc abibis in loca, Oh wretched soul, Whither art thou now going? What will become of thee? Live I cannot, Die I dare not;—{38} Why, I say, should such anguish of spirit fall upon a man going out of the world, if not for some implanted sense about a future judgment? For we might think a man though never so vile, might then be least troubled about his sins, he then feareth no Law to convince him, no Judge to condemn him, no Neighbours to shame him, and yet for all this he trembleth and quaketh in his soul, not knowing what to do.  To bring this coal yet nearer into your bosoms to inflame there, I shall lay down some Propositions about the day of Judgment.  As {39}

First, It will be the last day of God’s great working, as to the world, God will then make to cease all that kind of government in Church and State, as is now upon the earth administered; So that it being the last Day of God’s Power, Majesty, Glory, in reference to mankind, we must think that that day will be answerable to the greatness of the Judge, hence he is to come in the Clouds, as so many bright Thrones of Glory, with an innumerable company of Angels: So that God, though he hath in many particular and publick judgments shewed forth his glorious {40} power, yet never like what will be at that Day; it is the last day, and all days empty into it; All our words, works, and thoughts have an influence into that Day, so that in this sense we may say, Every thought is Eternal, every word is Eternal, every action is Eternal, these die not, but all live till the Day of Judgment; What holy care and diligence should this put us upon in all things? It is said of Apelles, that being demanded, why he was so deliberate and curious in drawing his pictures? answered, he did pingere æternitati, he painted for Eternity, not the {41} present Age only, but many successive Ages were to judge of his work: Thus all we do, we do to Eternity, at the Day of Judgment it will be all revived: thy sins die not, thy good works die not, all these will then be mentioned, as if done but today; So that this is the last Day, wherein all days with the works therein are involved, after this there is no more day of grace, no more Manna will fall, no Angel will descend into the pool; the world is then as to this kind of administration put to an end.

Secondly, As it is the last Day, so it is a terrible and dreadful Day, the very name {42} a Day of Judgment, Dooms-day, is enough to strike terrour into us. Romans 2, it is called the day of wrath, and the revelation of the righteous Judgment of God; it is terrible in the antecedent signs as Matth. 24, in the concomitant, in the nature of it, all the secret and evil ways of mankind being to be judged, in the consequent of it, as appears in that sentence, Depart ye cursed [Matt. 25.41]; and it must needs be terrible, because the Judge will then set himself to appear terribly, so that all the terrour and dread God can put forth, will then be manifested; and this maketh the Scripture represent it by all those expressions, {43} which may make it formidable; And certainly, if the report of it be so dreadful, what will the Day itself be? Then every wicked man will say, as the Queen of Sheba, concerning Solomon, That she had heard was nothing [compared] to what she did see; Hence also the wicked are brought in, gnashing of their teeth, and crying to mountains and to hills for to cover them, [Rev. 6.15-17]; This will be the more terrible, not only because all external objects will be horrid and doleful sights, viz. The world on fire, the wicked roaring and yelling, but because God will then fill the hearts of men {44} with terrour and trembling, their spirits will be prepared for it; What is the reason that now the thought of this Day doth not astonish thee, doth not make thee a Magor-missabib, fear and terrour round about? but because thy heart is a stone, God doth not make it sensible and apprehensive; but at that Day, as the spirits of the just shall be perfected and raised up to love God, and to delight in him more than ever: So the spirits of wicked men will be more enlarged to receive horrour, they will be made more capacious of terrour than now they are; though now under these {45} truths, thou art like Jobs Leviathan, that dost laugh at the spear, and we seem but as bablers, telling you the Poets’ fables of the Stygian lake, and the hellish furies, yet when this Day cometh indeed, madness and horrour will fill thy heart whether it will or no; Above is horrour, if thou lookest to Christ the Judge; About thee is terrour, the Devils ready to take thee to an eternal prison; Below is horrour, hell opening its mouth to swallow thee up in those flames; and within thee is the greatest horrour, there is the gnawing worm which never dieth.  Think then of sin, {46} look upon thy lusts, as thou wouldst then at that Day; Would I do as I do, if I were at God’s Tribunal, if I were arraigned at that dreadful Day?

Thirdly, It is a wonderful Day, a Day wherein there are nothing but miracles upon miracles, and wonders upon wonders: Insomuch that we need a divine faith in this Article, as well as in any other, Prorsus incredibile quia impossibile, as Tertullian of Christ’s Incarnation;  The Scripture tells us, such a Day will be, and we must not be curious Quomodists, saying, Quomodo, How can it be?  There is a {47} Quomodo essentiale, and a Quomodo accidentale in every main point of Divinity. The essential Quomodo we are to enquire after, that is, Whether the thing be or no? But for the accidental, it is good to satisfy ourselves with that of Gregory, He that in God’s doings doth not invenire rationem facti, may easily in seipso invenire rationem cur non inveniat; yet let us instance in some of those miracles at that wonderful Day:  What a wonder is it that all the persons, who ever were in the world, though their bodies have consumed [decayed] so many ways, yea eaten it may be by other creatures, yea it {48} may be by some Cannibals or savage men, yet all those very bodies rise again, and the same individual persons appear before God? This corruptible, (saith Paul) cutem tangens, as Tertullian.  This is so great a miracle, that the Philosophers derided it.  Another wonder is, that all the millions and infinite millions of persons should be gathered into one place; As for those who say, it will be the valley of Jehosaphat, with their conceits thereupon, we leave it as a curiosity.  This is wonderful, that all the persons which ever lived in all Ages (Infants not excepted, for they must rise {49} up to be judged) should all be convened together.  A third wonder is, Christ’s audible voice to speak in the ears of all the world, and in such a bodily manner to pronounce his Sentence of condemnation: Some indeed have thought there will be no audible pronunciation by Christ, but that shall only be mental in every man’s conscience; but we must not depart from the Letter of the Scripture, unless necessity compel; As for the Dispute about the Trump, whether it be a material one, as also the fire, yea, and hell itself be a place and material, these are here impertinent.  Lastly, what {50} a wonder is this, that upon the pronunciation of departing to hell, every one shall obey, the conscience of every one shall yield to it, that they cannot withstand the sentence of God? you would think they would rather be torn in pieces, than depart into fire, but they must do it.

Fourthly, It is an uncertain Day in respect of our knowledge, though certain that it shall be.  That this Day and hour cannot be known by any man, is plain from what our Saviour speaks, who saith, Neither men, nor Angels, nor the Son of man, as man, knoweth it: Therefore the opinion of some is very absurd, {51} who have concluded the time of this Day may be known, but the event hath to some proved their opinion a lie.[2]  In the Apostles’ days, some pretended Revelations from the Spirit about the Day, and in these later days, some deluded persons have in some places run up and down making an horrid and doleful noise, crying out, Repent, Repent, because the Day of Judgment is come; Yea, some vain and ridiculous Astrologers, who use to foretell other mens conditions, and yet never know what shall befall themselves, as they have thoughts that Noah’s flood, and Christ’s birth might {52} have been foretold by the Stars,  Nay some have blasphemously said, That Christ wrought such miracles, because he was born under such a Constellation: So these do conclude, that by the Stars we may know the time of the Day of Judgment;[3] but the Scripture compareth it to a Thief coming in the night, [1 Thess. 5.2,] and to a snare for the bird, it will come upon all all unexpected and unlooked for.  It is true, many sober Divines, though they say the time cannot exactly be determined, yet think it is not far off, yea from this year and forwards, they look for mighty alterations in the world; so that {53} they think it not improbable, that some now living may not die till these things be.  But these seem only conjectures, Let us content ourselves with this, that it is certain, and the time uncertain, that we should not have oil to provide for, when the Bridegroom is come, that we should not cry out with him, Inducias usque ad mane, Let me alone longer, I am not yet ready for that Day.

The Doctrinals thus dispatcht, let us proceed to the practicals; for if any Article in Religion hath that blessing upon it, Increase and multiply, I know none more useful and {54} profitable than this.  And

The first Use shall be of Exhortation in general to all. God commandeth every one to Repent, in that he hath appointed a Day wherein he will judge the world. [Acts 17.31.]  I shall not encounter with those Heterodox opinionists, who think it is too legal, and not becoming a Gospel-Ministry to preach of this dreadful subject, as if these Arguments did not belong to an Evangelical spirit, for Christ was then [in that case] a Legal preacher, and Paul, who doth so often treat on this subject.  Indeed we may see the goodness and love of God in this, that he doth threaten with Hell, with the {55} Day of Judgment; For why doth he thus foretell about it, but to have thee provide for it?  Once he set a flaming Sword in anger to keep Adam out of Paradise, but now he lifts up this fiery Sword in mercy to keep thee out of hell, he threatens thee with the Day of Judgment, that it may be a Day of Redemption to thee; How inexcusable then art thou (oh sinful man) who believest such a Day, and yet dost not repent before it be too late? What pleasure or sweetness wilt thou then find in thy lusts, when thou shalt say with Jonathan, I have tasted a little honey, and I must die, I have had a little {56} pleasure of sin, and now I must for ever be damned? Nebuchadnezzar errected a golden Image with this terrible Commination, That whosoever would not fall down and worship it, should be cast into the fiery furnace. Now this was so terrible to every one, that unless it were three or four, there were none that did resist, the fear of a fiery furnace made them do any thing: Shall not then the fear of those eternal flames, the fear of this Day, wherein God will reveal all wrath without any mercy to the wicked man, Shall not this turn thee out of thy ways? Shall not this make thee with bitterness bewail {57} thy former lusts? Descendamus in infernum viventes, ne descendamus morientes, Be not so enslaved to the Devil, as to say, Give me my pleasures, my profits today, though tomorrow I be in the grave, I be in hell. Δος μοι το γλυκυ και ητω πνιξατω, was a wicked speech in Chrysostom’s time, which he zealously inveighed against; yet is it not still the voice of every profane man, Give me that which is sweet or pleasant, though it choke me? But more (particularly) because of this Day of Judgment, take heed in these respects:

1. Beware of living in secret sins, secret uncleanness, {58} secret lying, bribing, or unjust ways, for this will be the eminent work of the Day of Judgment, to bring all secret things to light; The Day of Judgment is Judicare malè judicata, & non judicata, those sins which for the secretness the Magistrate cannot judge, at the Day of Judgment will then be most eminently and signally judged by God: That will be the Day when those sins, which no neighbour, no wife, no friend in the world knows, shall be discovered and judged; Whatsoever is said, or done, in secret, shall be preacht upon the house-top. [Luke 12.3.] Whoremongers and adulterers {59} God will judge. [Heb. 13.4.]  Why will God judge them? Because such sins are so secretly committed, that the Magistrate cannot punish them.  Flatter not thyself with secretness, seeing there will be a Day of Judgment, but live so uprightly and sincerely, that if thou hadst Gyges ring, which they fable would make a man invisible, yet thou wouldst with Joseph say, How can I do this and sin against God? The more craft, subtilty and secrecy there is in a sin, the greater is thy wickedness, as appeareth [from] Joshua 7.9. That wedge of gold was a tongue indeed, as the word signifieth.  Sometimes even in {60} this life, God judgeth secret sins to make them confess them, and bring them to light,—how much rather at that great Day.  Prov. 5.14.

2. Because of this Day of Judgment, take heed of accounting any sins little, as if they were venial, for at this great Day, even those shall be judged, as well as the greatest, Matth. 12.36, We must give an account of every idle word at the Day of Judgment.  It is true, Some learned men, because of the Context, do positively determine, That the idle word is no less than the sin against the holy Ghost; but more probably our Saviour {61} argueth from the less to the greater: If of an idle word a man shall give account, how much more of that blasphemy against the holy Ghost? Do not then charge men as too strict or precise, when they endeavour to abstain from idle thoughts and idle words, that they dare not give themselves that license which others take, for these are indictable as well as great sins; an idle word will damn thee as well as sinful actions, if not repented of; For what are the apostate Angels adjudged to eternal torments, and reserved in those chains of darkness? Was it for any more than proud {62} thoughts, and the very first also?  There cannot be any little sin, no more than a little God, or a little hell, or a little damnation, in some sense; Futurum Judicium est, & trucides, said a devout Ancient, to one whom he saw laughing; If a man should have no other sin, but an idle word, or an idle thought, yet at the Day of Judgment this would eternally cast him, for this needeth the blood of Christ to wash it away, as well as other sins: But woe, and a thousand times woe to us, because of this Day; For what are all our Feastings? What are all our meals, but {63} so many idle words?  What are all our meetings, our companyings together, but so many idle words?

3. Because of this Day of Judgment, therefore in a particular manner take heed of sins of omission; Do not bless thyself with a privative Righteousness, Lord, I bless thee I am no drunkard, no extortioner, nor like this Publican; It is not a Negative, but a Positive Holiness which this Day will enquire after.  Thus you may read of that solemn process at the Day of Judgment, Matth. 25.42,43, I was in prison, and ye visited me not, &c. {64} all is for omission; It’s not for sins committed, you robbed me, defrauded me, you persecuted me, you put me into prison, but the omission of what they should have done, was that which did condemn them.  Now how dreadful will the Day of Judgment be, even in this respect to most men? How little do they consider their Negative, their Privative sins? thou comfortest thyself, because thou art none of the gross positive sinners in the world; but what confusion will fall upon thee, when God shall enquire about thy omissions?  Thou dost {65} not curse or swear, but thou prayest not, thou callest not upon God privately, or in thy Family, thou dost not oppose all such who are maliciously set against those who fear God, thou art but a mere Negative Christian, thou dost not reprove sin, thou dost not punish sin, thou art not zealous for the holy ways of God: Oh consider, this not doing will damn thee, as well as sinful doing, and in this God will make special enquiry; How many Talents hath God given thee, and thou hast not improved them? How many blessed advantages for {66} good have been vouchsafed, and thou hast omitted them? as Divines say, Plures sunt gratiæ privativa, quam positivæ, so Plura sunt peccata privativa quam positivæ.

4. Because there is a Day of Judgment, take heed of Hypocrisy, of carnal and corrupt Ends in the professing of Christ’s way, for that Day will especially bring the Jehus, and the Judasses to light, who though they may for a season do the will of God, yet because not for God’s sake, not upon pure and righteous motives, therefore the great work of that Day will be to unmask such, {67} and make them naked, 2 Cor. 5.9,10.  This made Paul walk with such integrity, not seeking himself in the Ministry of the Word, because we must all appear before the Judgment seat of Christ φανερωθηναι, we must be thoroughly made manifest and transparent;  Now it is hardly known who is an hypocrite, and who is sincere, who is truly for God, and who in pretence only, who is χριστιανος, and who is χριστεμτορος, but then the counsels and thoughts of the heart will be disclosed.  That is remarkable, 1 Cor. 4.5: Paul did not matter other men’s judgments, yea he did not {68} judge himself, because the Day of Judgment will find out more evil, more hypocrisy, more sinfulness than ever we thought of. Isa. 33.14.  The hypocrites are surprized with fearfulness, Who among us shall dwell with devouring fire? A man that is carried by false motives in Religion, hath hell heated seven times hotter for him; Hence the expression for an heavy damnation, is to have a portion with the hypocrites, Matth. 24.51.  It was the speech of that famous Oratour for the Heathens, Symachus, pleading for the Liberty of the Heathenish Idolatry, {69} when urged to become a Christian, in a scoffing manner, Fac me Episcopum Romanum, & ero Christianus, Are not many too real, what this Heathen was in pretence? Help me to profit, to preferment, and I will turn religious;—but pray thou for truth in the inward parts.

5. Lastly, Let the thoughts of this Day moderate thy appetite to the great things of this world, to wealth, honours, places of trust and charge, for as these things do increase, so their account will be greater at that Day: Oh that I had never been a Magistrate, will one say! Oh that I had never been {70} a Minister, will another say!  We shall be then as ready to shake off those burdens, as now we are to put them on.

Let this therefore satisfy thee,

if I have less, my account

will be less at that

great Day.

*   *




1. Although it is possible that our author here, has Pre-millenialism specifically in mind, it must be admitted that his words seem to suggest he cannot approve of any doctrine of a 1000-year Millenium as what is well demonstrated from Scripture. While we may agree with him in distinguishing such questions and topics between Fundamentals, like the Day of Judgment, and disputed truths, yet it should be noted that there are good reasons for affirming a Millenium, as may be seen in the writings of various Presbyterian ministers of his own and later times.

2. In the many years since the time of our author, there have yet been others likewise proven to be believers of lies by their failed predictions about the day of Judgment.  Some of these are well known; and to demonstrate the invincible stubbornness of man’s rebellion against truth, and unwillingness to be delivered from false religion, they have many followers to this day. We may instance (1) the Seventh Day Adventists who have explained-away the failed predictions of William Miller concerning the year 1844; and (2) the “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” who follow the teachings of Charles Russell, despite his failed predictions concerning the year 1914; as also (3) the present Family Radio network, which adheres to the ministry of Harold Camping, whose first predictions for the year 2011 have failed, while others are still scheduled.

3. At our own time, the idea has been popularized that the ancient Mayans had predicted Judgment Day to occur in 2012, based on their astronomical observations. It is true, they have made astronomical observations and devised a calendar which places astronomical significance in the year 2012.  Sadly, it is only modern irreligion, and willingness to believe false reports, that makes the association between the Mayan computations concerning 2012, and a consequent Doomsday.