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they are fallen from grace, and become debtors to "do the whole law." The advantages such men enjoy, the crimes they commit, their proud aversion to the humbling salvation of the gospel, and the degree of their enmity and opposition to the truth, will determine the measure of their guilt and punishment, according to the decision of unerring wisdom, and infinite justice.
Some observations have already been made on the case of those, who allow the doctrines of Christianity, renounce dependence on their own works, and profess to expect pardon, righteousness, and eternal life, "as "the gift of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord." Such persons, when the Lord shall come, will be judged according to this profession; and if their faith be shewn to have been living and genuine, by its holy fruits, according to the discoveries which have been mentioned, they will as justified believers receive the reward of righteousness; and their future glory and felicity will be proportioned to the degree of their grace and obedience of faith. But if their conduct and dispositions have proved, that they were not true believers; they will remain under the condemnation of the law, aggravated by their abuse of the gospel; and so have their portion with hypocrites and unbelievers.
IV. Then let us make some particular application of the subject.
It has been before remarked, that "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ;" and let
* Gal. v. 1-6,
this reflection sink deep into every heart. Men voluntarily break the laws of their country, but dire compulsion takes place, when they are convicted and executed for their crimes. The young man, rejoicing in his vigour and flow of spirits, may give a loose to his passions; but let him remember that "for all "these things God will bring him into judgment."---You may now forget God; but he will not forget you, or any of your works. You may affront his justice, and despise his mercy: but he will shortly say, "It is a "people of no understanding; therefore he that made "them will have no mercy on them.”* Now is the day of the Lord's patience; but the day of wrath and perdition of ungodly men approacheth: now he invites you to draw near to his throne of grace; shortly he will summon you to his awful tribunal. "Seek ye "the Lord while he may be found; call ye upon him, "while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, " and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him "return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy on "him, and to our God, for he will abundantly par"don." "Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for
many-shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able. "When once the master of the house is risen up, "and hath shut to the door;" it will be for ever in vain for those that stand without, to cry, "Lord, Lord,
open to us." Now the Saviour pleads with you, in accents of tenderest love; " how long ye simple "ones will ye love simplicity, and scorners delight in "their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn ye
* Is. xxvii. 11.
"at my reproof, I will pour out my Spirit unto you, "I will make known my words unto you." But, ere long, he will frown on the impenitent and unbelieving, and say, "Because I called and ye refused, I "stretched out my hands and no man regarded;— "therefore shall ye eat the fruit of your own ways, " and be filled with your own devices.”—“ Oh that "men were wise, that they understood these things, "that they would consider their latter end!"*
But will any of you, with this solemn season of discovery and decision before your eyes, deliberately put the event of it upon the goodness of your hearts and lives? Is there not in your very soul an involuntary shrinking from so strict and awful a scrutiny? Do you not feel a disposition to say, "Enter not into judg "ment with thy servant, O Lord? "If thou, Lord, "shouldst mark iniquity, O Lord, who may stand?" As you value your immortal souls, do not now insist on any plea, which you feel to be inadmissible in the great day of righteous retribution. Stand not on any distinction between your case and that of your fellow sinners. Seek above all things an interest in the atonement and righteousness of Christ; and count all but loss, that you may win him, and be found in him. Disregard the scorn and reproach of an unbelieving world; anticipating that day, when every eye shall see the despised Redeemer, and his favour be universally allowed of more value than ten thousand worlds. "Let every one," however," that nameth the name "of Christ depart from all iniquity." "If we say
* Prov. 1. 19-31. Deut. xxxii, 29.
"that we have faith, and have not works, will faith "save us," in the day "when the Lord shall render "unto every man according to his deeds?"-Alas! a dead faith, a presumptuous hope, and an unsound profession, will only increase the anguish and shame of final condemnation.
Even if we be true believers, negligence and loose walking will cloud our evidence, and weaken our warranted confidence: while the greatest possible encouragement is given to all genuine good works, by that very system, which excludes boasting, and allows none of our services the least share in our justification before God. "Not a cup of cold water given "to a disciple, from love to Christ, shall lose its re"ward." He will accept every kindness to those whom we look upon as his brethren, even as if we had done it to him in person: and while we forgive injuries, love enemies, deny ourselves, endure hardships, or bear any cross, from love to his name, and desire to adorn and recommend his gospel; he notices our poor services, and will applaud and reward them before men and angels.-Nay, if he observe, that we form plans and make attempts to promote his cause and be serviceable to his people; even though he see good to disappoint our endeavours; he will kindly accept the zealous intention, and openly say, "Thou didst well "that it was in thine heart." "Let us not therefore "be weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall 66 reap, if we faint not:" and "may we all find mercy "of the Lord in that day of retribution," and have an abundant entrance into his kingdom of everlasting glory and felicity.
1 TIMOTHY vi. 6.
Godliness with contentment is great gain.
THE desire of gain, in one form or another, is universal: for though no one can seek the true riches for himself, without disinterested love to God and his neighbour; yet love to himself and thirst after happiness cannot be extinguished; being essential to our nature as God originally constituted it, and not superinduced by the entrance of sin. If, however, the apostle's compendious maxim were generally believ ed, how many vain projects would be superseded! What fatigues, dangers, anxieties, envies, contentions, frauds, oppressions, wars, murders, and mischiefs might be prevented!
The context is worthy of our peculiar attention. The servants in those days were generally slaves; and it frequently happened that Christians were the property of pagans. Such a condition is commonly thought very wretched, and slaves have seldom escaped cruel usage: yet the apostle elsewhere says, "Art "thou called being a servant? care not for it." The