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justice; and temperance; the duties we owe to others, and to ourselves; and of the judgment to come; until he made Felix to tremble. Whereby it appears, that
temperance and justice” were fundamental parts of the religion that Paul professed, and were contained in the faith which he preached. And if we find the duties of the moral law not pressed by him every-where, we must remember, that most of his sermons left upon record, were preached in their synagogues to the jews, who acknowledged their obedience due to all the precepts of the law; and would have taken it amiss to have been suspected not to have been more zealous for the law than he. And therefore it was with reason that his discourses were directed chiefly to what they yet wanted, and were averse to, the knowledge and embracing of Jesus, their promised Messiah. But what his preaching generally was, if we will believe him himself, we may see, Acts xxvi. where giving an account to king Agrippa, of his life and doctrine, he tells him, ver. 20, “I “ showed unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, $6 and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to “ the gentiles, that they should repent and turn to
God, and do works meet for repentance.”
Thus we see, by the preaching of our Saviour and his apostles, that he required of those who believed him to be the Messiah, and received him for their Lord and Deliverer, that they should live by his laws : and that (though in consideration of their becoming his subjects, by faith in him, whereby they believed and took him to be the Messiah, their former sins should be forgiven, yet) he would own none to be his, nor receive them as true denizens of the new Jerusalem, into the inheritance of eternal life; but leave them to the condemnation of the unrighteous; who renounced not their former miscarriages, and lived in a sincere obedience to his commands. What he expects from his followers, he has sufficiently declared as a legislator: and that they may not be deceived, by mistaking the doctrine of faith, grace, free-grace, and the pardon and forgiveness of sins, and salvation by him, (which was the great end of
his coming,) he more than once declares to them, for what omissions and miscarriages he shall judge and condemn to death, even those who have owned him, and done miracles in his name: when he comes at last to render to every one according to what he had DONE in the flesh, sitting upon his great and glorious tribunal, at the end of the world.
The first place where we find our Saviour to have mentioned the day of judgment, is John v. 28, 29, in these words : “the hour is coming, in which all that “ are in their grave shall hear his [i. e. the Son of
God's] voice, and shall come forth; they that have
DONE GOOD, unto the resurrection of life; and they “ that have DONE EVIL, unto the resurrection of dam“ nation.” That which puts the distinction, if we will believe our Saviour, is the having done good or evil. And he gives a reason of the necessity of his judging or condemning those“ who have done evil,” in the following words, ver. 30, “I can of myself do nothing. “ As I hear I judge; and my judgment is just; be“ cause I seek not my own will, but the will of my Fa“ ther who hath sent me." He could not judge of himself; he had but a delegated power of judging from the Father, whose will he obeyed in it; and who was of purer eyes than to admit any unjust person into the kingdom of heaven.
Matt. vii. 22, 23, speaking again of that day, he tells what his sentence will be, “ Depart from me, ye WORK
ERS of iniquity.” Faith in the penitent and sincerely obedient, supplies the defect of their performances; and so by grace they are made just. But we may observe, none are sentenced or punished for unbelief, but only for their misdeeds. “ They are workers of iniquity” on whom the sentence is pronounced.
Matt. xiii. 41, “ At the end of the world, the Son of “ man shall send forth his angels; and they shall ga“ ther out of his kingdom all scandals, and them which
DO INIQUITY; and cast them into a furnace of fire; “ there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” And again, ver. 49, “ The angels shall sever the WICKED
66 and ye
“ from among the JUST ; and shall cast them into the o furnace of fire."
Matt. xvi. 24, “ For the Son of man shall come in " the glory of his Father, with his angels : and then he “ shall reward every man according to his WORKS.”
Luke xiii. 26, “ Then shall ye begin to say, We have
eaten and drank in thy presence, and thou hast taught « in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know
you not; depart from me, ye workers of iniquity.”
Matt. xxv. 31-46, “ When the Son of man shall “ come in his glory; and before him shall be gathered « all nations; he shall set the sheep on his right hand, " and the goats on his left. Then shall the king say “ to them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my “ Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from " the foundation of the world; for I was an hungered, “ and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me 6 drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in ; naked, clothed me; I was sick, and
I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the
righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we “ thee an hungered, and fed thee? &c. And the King “ shall answer and say unto them, Verily, I say unto “ you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the “ least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. “ Then shall he say unto them on the left hand, Depart “ from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for “ the devil and his angels: for I was an hungered, and
ye gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me “ no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; “ naked, and ye clothed me not ; sick, and in prison,
visited me not. Insomuch that ye did it not “ to one of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall
go into everlasting punishment; but the righteous “ into life eternal."
These, I think, are all the places where our Saviour mentions the last judgment, or describes his way of proceeding in that great day; wherein, as we have observed, it is remarkable, that every-where the sentence follows doing or not doing, without any mention of believing or not believing. Not that any, to whom the
gospel hath been preached, shall be saved, without believing Jesus to be the Messiah : for all being sinners, and transgressors of the law, and so unjust; are all liable to condemnation; unless they believe, and so through grace are justified by God, for this faith, which shall be accounted to them for righteousness. But the rest wanting this cover, this allowance for their transgressions, must answer for all their actions ; and being found transgressors of the law, shall, by the letter and sanction of that law, be condemned for not having paid a full obedience to that law; and not for want of faith. That is not the guilt on which the punishment is laid ; though it be the want of faith, which lays open their guilt uncovered; and exposes them to the sentence of the law, against all that are unrighteous.
The common objection here, is, If all sinners shall be condemned, but such as have a gracious allowance made them; and so are justified by God, for believing Jesus to be the Messiah, and so taking him for their King, whom they are resolved to obey to the utmost of their power; “ What shall become of all mankind, wlio “ lived before our Saviour's time, who never heard of “ his name, and consequently could not believe in “ him?” To this the answer is so obvious and natural, that one would wonder how any reasonable man should think it worth the urging. No-body was, or can be required to believe, what was never proposed to him to believe. Before the fulness of time, which God from the counsel of his own wisdom had appointed to send his Son in, he had, at several times, and in different manners, promised to the people of Israel, an extraordinary person to come; who, raised from amongst themselves, should be their Ruler and Deliverer. The time, and other circumstances of his birth, life, and person, he had in sundry prophecies so particularly described, and so plainly foretold, that he was well known, and expected by the jews, under the name of the Messiah, or Anointed, given him in some of these prophecies. All then that was required, before his appearing in the world, was to believe what God had revealed, and to rely with a full assurance on God, for the performance
of his promise; and to believe, that in due time he would send them the Messiah, this anointed King, this promised Saviour and Deliverer, according to his word. This faith in the promises of God, this relying and acquiescing in his word and faithfulness, the Almighty takes well at our hands, as a great mark of homage, paid by us poor frail creatures, to his goodness and truth, as well as to his power and wisdom: and accepts it as an acknowledgment of his peculiar providence, and benignity to us. And therefore our Saviour tells us,
John xii. 44,“ He that believes on me, believes not on me, " but on him that sent me." The works of nature show his wisdom and power; but it is his peculiar care of mankind most eminently discovered in his promises to them, that shows his bounty and goodness; and consequently engages their hearts in love and affection to him. This oblation of an heart, fixed with dependence on, and affection to him, is the most acceptable tribute we can pay him, the foundation of true devotion, and life of all religion. What a value he puts on this depending on his word, and resting satisfied in his promises, we have an example in Abraham; whose faith " was counted to him for righteousness," as we have before remarked out of Rom. iv. And his relying firmly on the promise of God, without any doubt of its performance, gave him the name of the father of the faithful; and gained him so much favour with the Almighty, that he was called the “ friend of God;" the highest and most glorious title that can be bestowed on a creature. The thing promised was no more but a son by his wife Sarah ; and a numerous posterity by him, which should possess the land of Canaan. These were but temporal blessings, and (except the birth of a son) very remote, such as he should never live to see, nor in his own person have the benefit of. But because he questioned not the performance of it; but rested fully satisfied in the goodness, truth, and faithfulness of God, who had promised, it was counted to him for righteousness. Let us see how St. Paul expresses it, Rom. iv. 18—22, “ Who, against hope, believed in hope, that “ he might become the father of many nations ; ac