AT THE APPEARING OF CHRIST.
time is," says Peter, "that judgment must begin at the House of the Deity; and if first at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of the Deity? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and sinner appear? " (1 Pet. iv. 17–18). This judgment begins with the judgment of the saints in the presence of Christ; and as they are now exhorted to "work out their salvation with fear and trembling"; and however excellent their Christian character, are not judges in their own case; for even Paul said, "I judge not myself": so they appear at his tribunal with more or less of the feeling of misgiving Daniel had before he was strengthened, consequent upon peace being pronounced upon him. Because of the certainty of this state of mind being that of the most excellent of the saints in the Divine Presence, the beloved apostle exhorts the faithful to a certain course of spiritual life in the present world; that "when he shall appear, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before him at his coming" (1 Jno. ii. 28). "By loving in deed and in truth," says he, "we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, the Deity is greater than our hearts, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence towards Deity" (1 Jno. iii. 19–21). The only way, then, for the righteous to approach the dread tribunal in the spirit evinced by Paul in 2 Tim. iv. 7–8, is to "walk so as we have Him for an example"; and he walked "in the steps of Abraham's faith," and after the example of Jesus Christ. In this way we may attain to the degree of excellence which will give us "boldness in the day of judgment" (1 John iv. 17); otherwise, not only timidity, but a vivid apprehension of being put to shame before Him and the angelic apparitors of His court, will be the enervating feeling attendant upon us, when we report ourselves in the presence of the Judge.
Now, this judgment, which begins at the House of the Deity, is styled by Paul, in Heb. vi. 2, κριμα αιωνιον, aionian judicial trial. It is termed aionian, because the great spiritual assize is opened for the examination of cases aspiring to the glory, honour, and immortality of the kingdom "in the last day." This last day is "the Day of Christ," which succeeds the day of his predecessor and rival, the Antichrist; whose judgment-seat is now about being abolished by French and Italian policy (2 Thess. ii. 2, 8). Christ's day is judicially inaugurated, and styled in Rev. 1. 6, the æons of the æons. Whatever, therefore, pertains to his day in its inception or continuance, is æonian. The judicial period is a transition period, termed "the Hour of Deity's judgment" in Rev. xiv. 7; a period intervening between the advent of Christ and the consummation of the destruction of