“We shall all stand before the judgement-seat of Christ.”
What is interesting in this sermon, apart from the content which is standard Judgement Day stuff – lots of scripture all jumbled up to form a coherent group but taken entirely out of context, is the footnotes. Wesley was a royalist, as in he was loyal to George II, this was a surprise to me considering the arguments across the table as he was growing up, but that was a different monarch. He also put his robes on to do his bible study and when he stopped to preach in the open air. He possibly wouldn’t approve of the careless way I turned up to lead Bible study on Tuesday night.
Many of the concepts in this sermon show that Wesley was living in a time when people studied the Scriptures in relation to their present condition. So imagining gates and a whole bunch of humans going to the right or left, in that age, the timing would have been worked out. How long would it take all these people to be processed? And many of these thought provoking ideas, and Wesley felt compelled to address them. But why?
In the background of Wesley’s preaching were people who picked up on every little detail, so I can understand why he crossed his ‘t’ and dotted his ‘i’ but I think that when he didn’t have full revelation he rationalised. It is something we all do.
The thing that is weird about this sermon is where it was preached in relation to all the long words, lengthy Latin quotes and difficult concepts. It was preached in Bedford before judges and officers of the court. I thought at first it was preached in a prison and imagined all the inmates sitting quietly for an hour or more and wondered how much would have been retained. I think the judges, as they were back then possibly snoozed a little. It is a tough read.