Sunday, December 9, 2012

He Shall Come Again

From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe, O glorified love, that from thy throne at God’s right hand, where thou now sittest, thou wilt come again, to judge the world, attended with thy holy angels. All glory be to thee.
I believe, O thou adorable Judge, that all mankind shall be summoned before thy awful tribunal. All the dead, who shall be waked out of their graves when the angel shall blow the last trump, and all that are then quick, and alive, shall then appear before thee. All glory be to thee.
I believe, Lord, that I and all the world shall give a strict account of all our thoughts, and words, and actions; that the books will then be opened; that out of those dreadful registers we shall be judged; that Satan and our own consciences will be our accusers. O let the last trump be ever sounding in my ears, that I may ever be mindful of my great accounts, and that I may neither speak, nor do, nor think anything that may wound my own conscience, or provoke thy anger, or make me tremble at the awful day.
I know, O thou adorable Judge, that love only shall then endure that terrible test, that love only shall be acquitted, that love only shall be eternally blest; and therefore I will ever praise and love thee.
Glory be to thee, O thou beloved Son of God, to whom the Father has committed all judgment.
How can they that love thee, O Jesu, ever despond, though their love in this life is always imperfect, when at last they shall have love for their judge, love that hath felt and will compassionate all their infirmities? and therefore all love, all glory be to thee.
— Thomas Ken's Devotions on the Apostles' Creed, entitled "The Motives of  Love"

Upon consulting my copy of Nelson's Festivals and Fasts (1841 reprint of his original, dated 1703), I find that its Chapter II concerns Advent Sundays, and is almost wholly given over to a consideration of Christ's Second Coming to judge the living and the dead, and the world by fire. He concludes his reflections with four prayers, three from the BCP and the last from Bp Ken, with the title For preparation for judgement. As I have a copy to hand of Ken's Devotions on the Apostles' Creed, I have given it above from that source. 

(Nelson gives the text with a few minor differences, presumably to turn this excerpt from Ken's long confession into a prayer – he omits "All glory be to thee" in the first and second paragraphs, and "I believe, Lord" in the third, while substituting "blessed Jesus" for glorified love" in the first, and "Lord" for "thou adorable Judge" in the fourth; he has "awaked" for "waked" and "be then" for "then be" in the second and third, and omits "and" before "words" in the third, but such variants are of no matter.)

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