, ,


The important concerns of Ministers, and the
People of their charge, at the day
of Judgment


Illustrated in a

delivered at Rutland,
August 22d, 1797, at the interment of the
Rev. Abraham Carpenter


Pastor of a Church in Rutland, Vermont



1 Thessalonians II.19
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? are not even ye in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ at his Coming?

The second coming of Christ is the source of peculiar joy and consolation to the people of God: it is a day in which their hopes and expectations will be fully answered. Tribulation attends the good men while in this life; the scenes of divine providence are mysterious, and many things unaccountable and insignificant without a day of judgment; they will then be explained and adjusted to the joy and admiration of all who love Christ appearing. Many of the events that take place in this life, stand in a solemn relation to the Judgment Day, unknown more so than the gospel ministry; hence it is that the attention of the true servants of Christ is so much taken up with a future state. St. Paul being detained from the church of Thessalonica, since this epistle as a token of his love and respect to them; in which he anticipates that blessed., when he should meet them at the bar of Christ, which would afford such joy and satisfaction asked you more than compensate for all their sorrow, more especially for his being prevented a personal interview with those to whom he wrote.

For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? are not even ye in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ at his Coming?

We have two very important ideas suggested in the words. One is, that ministers and their people must meet each other at the day of judgment.—The second is, that although ministers are often separated from their hearers in this life, Get the people of God among whom a pious creature finishes his work, will be a cause or crown of peculiar joy and satisfaction at the second coming of Christ.

With respect to the first point we may observe, to give us a striking contrast between this in the coming world, we are in the present state subject to many vicissitudes.

What changes are taking place in the empires, states, societies, and families? In nothing is this more observable been in matters relating to ministers and the people of their charge. A persecuting spirit, that prevailed in the apostolic age, was often the mean of parting friends, and especially of driving preachers from their churches: the same causes had influence in every age at the church; but if religious societies are so happy is to escape such a calamity, yet it pleases the great head of the church in his sovereign wisdom, to separate ministers and their people by death; this gets feeling to a pious preacher, And in some degree has influence and every sermon he delivers. That all mankind will be collected before the bar of Christ, to see the great and intricate affairs of the universe adjusted, is a plane dictate I’ve reason and scripture; but that many we’ll meet there as having mutual concerns with each other as evident.

—More especially, ministers and the people one committed to their charge, doubtless will appear in some sense as distinct societies, as having particular and personal matters to attend to. —This supposes that they will have a knowledge of each other: for without this the purposes of their meeting in such a manner could not be answered. How far this will extend, or by what means it will be conveyed, is too curious to inquire.

It seems, unless we are able by some means to distinguish those from others with whom we have been intimate in this life, the designs of the future judgment once some measure be frustrated. The great end of that day is to illustrate divine truth, or make that appear conspicuous to creative intelligence; to affect this, god will make use of mankind is instruments; this is the method he takes in this life, and doubtless it will be most eligible in the world come. For our acquaintance to be summoned as witnesses for or against us at this court, we’ll perhaps be the best means to administer conviction. In this way the great God can speak in language easy for finite creatures to understand.

One design of the world, being divided into distinct societies and communities, without was to prepare matters for the day of judgment. The relation between ministers and people is such as renders them capable of saying much about each other; in this way the justice and mercy of God will be illustrated, divine proceedings vindicated and every mouth stopped. It is our conduct in this life that will direct divine proceeding towards us at the final judgment; that the equity of God’s administrations may appear, ’tis the salvation in damnation of many souls will be through the instrumentality of faithful and unfaithful watchmen: this is an idea contained in the charge God gave to Ezekiel, 32d chapter. It will be necessary that the motives by which ministers have been influenced in their work, be brought out to view: for without sincerity of heart they can never execute their office with any degree of truth faithfulness, and are a high affront to God, and a vile imposition on the people.

At the day of judgment the doctrines with which a minister has entertained his hearers must be examined. However, doctrinal preaching must be discarded by many in such words as metaphysical, abstruse, and etc., are often made use of to obstruct free and candid inquiry. Yeah it is evident that one great end of the gospel ministry is to disseminate right sentiments; hence it is that Paul’s so often exhorts Timothy to take heed of his doctrine. Sound doctrine, as well as could practice, is necessary to constitute the Christian character. Whoever transgresseth and abideth not in doctrine of Christ hath not God, 2 John 9.

A careful inquiry will be made whether an empty parade of learning, elegancy of style, etc., have been the main things with which I people have been entertained; tending only to gratify vain curiosity, and to fix the attention of the hearers on the speaker. This made the St. Paul condemn such a mode of preaching, and determined not to know anything say Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Cor. 2:2.

Whether vague equivocal expressions have been used to convey, or whether to obscure the truths of the gospel; by which anything, and almost everything maybe understood. This is causing the trumpet to give an uncertain sound; and has no tendency to impress or give feeling to the mind, as is the case with the words of the wise, being as goads and nails, Ecclesiastes 12:11.

Whether to please man has had greater influence on our composing and delivering our sermons or the glory of God and the good of souls. People will be examined at the bar of Christ, whether they have not dealt plainly with —

[Whether they had] been told their characters and danger–that they are wholly opposed to God, destitute of everything that is holy, or morally good–

That they are by nature under the curse of God’s law, exposed every moment endless well –that they are hopeless and helpless in themselves–

The necessity of the renewing influence of the Spirit–

The nature of their impudency, that it consists of an evil heart;

That they are therefore altogether inexcusable, and are criminal in proportion to the degree of their inability–

Nothing short of repentance toward God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the immediate duty of all that hear the gospel.

Ministers and their people must meet before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account whether the true character of God has in any good measure been investigated–

As a sin hating in sin and sin revenging God —

As one who in his sovereign wisdom and goodness has elected some to everlasting life, and others for the display of his power injustice to internal death–

That he governs all things by a fixed on alterable plan.

That of him, and to him, and through are all things.

Without this, the character of God is kept out of sight, people left in the dark, and I’m not able to determine whether they love or hate the true God.

It must be known whether people have had the character and work of the Redeemer set before them —

The design of his sufferings;
the efficacy of his blood,
and the necessity of our union to him.

The manner in which divine truth has been delivered, will be a matter of serious examination at that day; whether with that earnestness and fervor becoming the vast importance celebrity of gospel truth, tending to effect the mind.

The deportment, or examples of ministers among their people will be closely attended to:
their private visits, exhortations and reproof,
holy desires and wrestlings for the souls of their hearers, we’ll not escape notice;
the improvement that people have made of such advantages will be brought into public view.

How often people attended on the ministration of the word, and the manner how, will be matters of serious concern at the Judgment Day. Those excuses that men make for neglecting public worship, will be weighed in at just scale.

Whether people have so far contributed to the temporal support of their ministers as to enable them to devote themselves to the service of Christ: or by to great neglect, have not obstructed the gospel, robbed God, wounded their own souls.

It will be useful that the time of the minister’s continuance among the people be known, as it will serve to set the character of the gospel despisers in a true point of light. That ministers and the people of their charge will meet each other at the bar of Christ as suggested in my text and other parts of the sacred writings.—It has already been observed, that in this way truth will appear a conspicuous, and the conduct of God believe vindicated, and the designs of the Judgment Day in the best manner answered.

It may be further observed, the two matters relating to the gospel ministry are of such magnitude it appears important that it will be attended to; they concern a Judgment Day an eternal state. On ministers and people meet in the house of God it is an acknowledgment that they believe in the future state of retribution, And as a sort appeals to the day of judgment. The influence of a faithful or unfaithful minister is such as to the fact unborn ages; April commonly determine the sentiments and characters of their successors; and in this way they maybe doing good or evil after they are dead and even to the second coming of Christ.

That God’s hatred towards false teachers and against those who choose them, together with their criminality may appear, it will be necessary that these matters I laid open at the tribunal of Christ—. As a proof of the matter under consideration I may only add: that there always has been an important controversy and a greater or lesser degree between ministers and part of their people; it is so with faithful preachers and some of their hearers; wicked man oppose the doctrines they preach, and will not be convinced. Unfaithful preachers, they have advocates and opposers; the dispute involved the character of Christ, it cannot be settled in this world: how necessary that ministers and their people meet at the great day to have the matter decided, the doctrines of Christ vindicated, and the characters of ministers or people exonerated.