For we must all appear
This is a reason why the saints are so diligent and laborious, so earnest and intent upon it, to be accepted of the Lord, because they must stand
before the judgment seat of Christ;
who is appointed Judge of the whole earth, who is every way qualified for it, being God omnipotent and omniscient; and when he comes a second time will sit upon his great white throne, a symbol of purity and integrity, and will enter on this work, and finish it with the strictest justice and equity: and before him "we must all appear"; all the saints as well as others, ministers and people, persons of all ranks and conditions, of every nation, age, and sex; there will be no avoiding this judgment, all "must appear", or "be made manifest"; they will be set in open view, before angels and men; their persons, characters, and actions, even the most secret will be:
that everyone may receive the things done in his body;
which he has performed by the members of the body as instruments thereof, or whatsoever he has done whilst in the body; and so this not only reaches to words and actions, but includes all the secret thoughts of the mind, and counsels of the heart, which will be made manifest: and when it is said, that "everyone shall receive" these; the meaning is, that he shall receive the reward of them,
according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad;
the reward of good works will be of grace, and not of merit: good works will be considered at the last judgment, not as causes of eternal life and happiness, to which the saints will be adjudged; but will be produced in open court as fruits of grace, and as evidences of the truth of faith, which will justify the Judge in proceeding according to what he himself, as a Saviour, has said,
he that believeth shall be saved, he that believeth not shall be
The reward of bad works will be in strict and just proportion, according to the nature and demerit of them. The Jews say F6, that
``all the works which a man does in this world, (apwgb) , "in the body", and spirit, he must give an account of in body and spirit before he goes out of the world.''And again F7, all the works of men are written in a book, (vyb Nh) (bwj Nh) , "whether good or evil", and for them all they must give account.
F6 Zohar in Gen. fol. 57. 3.
F7 Midrash Hanneelim in Zohar in Gen. fol. 75. 4.