« ForrigeFortsæt »
own minds, brethren, to form some conception of the opposite sensations which will delight or agonize every heart, when the wicked "shall go away " into everlasting punishment, and the righteous "into life eternal."
"And then shall every man have praise of God." Then every humble believer, according to his measure of faith and grace, will be honoured with the commendation of his condescending Lord, for those services which the world condemned, and which perhaps his brethren undervalued or censured. To be accosted by the Judge of the world, in these most gracious terms, "Well done, good "and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord," will form an adequate gratification to the noblest ambition of which the rational nature is capable. Seeking for this "glory, honour, and "immortality," let us here be indifferent to all human applauses or contemptuous reproaches. This is "the honour that cometh from God only," and is reserved for "all his saints;" when no more danger shall remain of their being "exalted above "measure," or sacrilegiously ascribing any thing to themselves: but when, on the contrary, "they "will cast their crowns before the throne," and return all to the bounteous giver, in endless songs of adoring praise. Let us not faint then, on account of our trials and difficulties; "for our light "afflictions which are but for a moment are work"ing for us, a far more exceeding and eternal "weight of glory."
Let us also remember the caution, "Judge
"nothing before the time." Our duty often requires us to form some judgment of men's characters and actions: but in all other respects our business is with ourselves and the Lord, and not with our fellow servants. And the more diligent we are, "to be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless;" the less time and thought we shall have to spare, for censuring and condemning the conduct, or suspecting the motives, of other men.
But do you, my friends, really believe these things? and are you preparing to meet your Judge? I fear, the actions, conversation, and spirit of numbers awfully prove the contrary. Still, however, the Lord waits to be gracious: flee then to him as a Saviour, without longer delay, who will speedily come to be your Judge.-You who profess the gospel, be advised and persuaded to "ex"amine yourselves whether ye be in the faith :" look well to it that your evidences of conversion are clear and decisive; for that day, of which we speak, will detect multitudes of self-deceivers, as well as unmask many artful hypocrites. And, if you are conscious of following the Lord with an upright heart, take heed that you do not slacken your diligence, or yield to unwatchfulness: "Let
your loins be girded and your lights burning, "and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for "their Lord:" for blessed are those servants whom "the Lord when he cometh shall find watching; " verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, "and make them to sit down to meat, and will come
"forth and serve them."
"Therefore, my be
"loved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; for"asmuch as ye know that your labour is not in "vain in the Lord."
'Luke xii. 35-38.
ROMANS II. 6-9.
Who will render to every man according to his deeds to them who, by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, and honour, and immortality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath; tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil.
In meditating on the solemnities, discoveries, and consequences of that great decisive day, when the Lord shall come to be our Judge; we were obliged to pass over, in a general manner, several important particulars relative to the subject, and especially we reserved, for a separate discourse, the consideration of the manner in which all men will be "judged according to their works," and "receive according to what they have done, "whether it be good or evil." The present will therefore be an appendix to the preceding discourse, as intended to illustrate its interesting truths, and to render them more perspicuous and impressive. In the passage before us, the apostle does not undertake to decide a controverted point of doctrine, to state the method of a sinner's justification, or to account for that difference of character which actually subsists among the descendants of fallen
Adam. These subjects he has fully discussed in other parts of his writings: but here he takes occasion from his subject to shew, that the opposite conduct of the righteous and the wicked will terminate in future happiness or misery. He considers some persons as being more favoured by providence than others, as the Jews had every way the advantage of the gentiles: but he intimates that they generally abused those advantages to their deeper condemnation. "Despisest thou the "riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness "of God leadeth thee to repentance?" The more kind, patient, and merciful the Lord is, the baser our rebellion and ingratitude must appear, the greater cause have we to repent, and the more abundant motives and encouragements. But if men presume on his lenity, supposing that he will not or cannot punish, and so encourage themselves in sin, they "despise the riches of his "goodness and mercy;" and, "after their hard
ness and impenitent heart, treasure up to them"selves wrath, against the day of wrath and "revelation of the righteous judgment of God, "who will render to every man according to his "deeds." The treasures which they perhaps covetously and dishonestly accumulate on earth, must be left to their survivors: but the vast accessions which they daily make to their load of guilt, and the heavy wrath of God against them, are laid up for themselves, to be their future and eternal portion. For, at the great day of righteous retribution, God "will render unto every man ac"cording to his deeds: to them who by patient