The conflagration of the world!
(Samuel Davies, "The Universal Judgment!")
"The present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. The day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare!" 2 Peter 3:7, 10
The present state is but the infancy of the world. All the events of time, even those which make such great noise to us, and determine the fate of kingdoms—are but as the trivial games of little children. But if we look forward and trace events to maturity, we meet with vast, significant and majestic events! To one of those scenes I would direct your attention this day; I mean the solemn, tremendous, and glorious scene of the universal judgment!
You have sometimes seen a stately building in ruins; come now, and view the ruins of a demolished world! Come now, and view the whole universe severely laboring and agonizing in her last convulsions, and her well-ordered system dissolved!
You have heard of earthquakes here and there which have laid huge cities in ruins; come now, and feel the tremors and convulsions of the whole globe, which blend cities and countries, oceans and continents, mountains, plains and valleys—in one giant heap!
You have a thousand times beheld the moon walking in brightness, and the sun shining in its strength; come now, look and see the sun turned into darkness, and the moon into blood!
It is our lot to live in an age of war, blood, and slaughter; an age in which our attention is engaged by the dubious fate of kingdoms. Draw off your thoughts from these trifling objects for an hour, and fix them on more solemn and vital objects. Come view this dread scene!
"The world alarmed, both earth and heaven o'erthrown,
And gasping nature's last tremendous groan;
Death's ancient scepter broke, the teeming tomb,
The Righteous Judge, and man's eternal doom!"
Let us now enter upon the majestic scene! But alas! what images shall I use to represent it? Nothing that we have ever seen, nothing that we have ever heard, nothing that has ever happened on the stage of time—can furnish us with proper illustrations. All here is low and groveling—when compared with the grand phenomena of that day!
We are so accustomed to trifling earthly objects, that it is impossible that we should ever raise our thoughts to a suitable pitch of elevation. But before long, we shall be amazed spectators of these majestic wonders—and our eyes and our ears will be our instructors!
But it is now necessary we should have such ideas of them—as may affect our hearts, and prepare us for them. Let us therefore present to our view, those representations which divine revelation—our only guide in this case—give us . . .
of the person of the Judge, and the manner of His appearance;
of the resurrection of the dead, and the transformation of the living;
of the universal gathering of all men before the supreme tribunal;
of their separation to the right and left hand of the Judge, according to their characters;
of the judicial process itself;
of the decisive sentence;
of its execution,
and of the conflagration of the world!