Imágenes de páginas

godly Man. The Grace of God cannot change the Natures of Things; Righteousness and Justice is the fame thing under the Gospel, that it was under the Law and therefore to judge righteously is the fame thing too, and that always did, and always will lignifie to judge Men according to their Works; to judge those righteous Men, who do Righteousness; and thole wicked Men, who do Wickedness; and to reward the Righteous, and punish the Wicked. . .

2.dly. The Righteousness of the Future Judgment consists in the equality of it, to deal equally by all Men; now there is no other equal Rule of Judgment, but to judge Men by their Works; for there is nothing- else for' which all mankind can be judged: and if some Men must be judged for the Good "or' Evil of their Actions, and equal Justice requires that all Men be judged by the fame Rule, Men must either be judged by their Works, or by their Knowledge, or their Faith: As for Knowledge and Faith, it is evident that Me-ns: natural Capacities, and the Circumstances of their Lives, and Fortunes, and Educations, which are not of their own choosing, and. therefore cannot be imputed to them, make a very great difference. One Man has naturally a better understanding, a quicker Apprehension, a more piercing Judgment than andther; or if their natural Abilities be equal, yet the Circumstances of their Fortunes and Education make a difference: One is better instructed, trained up in the Art of Thinking, and

ReasonReasoning, and Judging, and has leisure and opportunity to improve his Knowledge by Study; while another as capable as he, is either ill taught, or not taught at all; or only taught the Art of Living in the World by Labour and Industry: That. God might as well judge Men for being Rich or Poor, when their Fortune is not at their own disposal,. but owing to their Birth, or to prosperous or adverse Events of Providence, as to judge Men by the different Degrees and Improvements of Knowledge.

Thus as for Faith, some never heard of Christ at all; or if they did, it was only, under the Character of an Impostor, or of a Fable, but never had the true Reasons of Faith explained to them; others have been very ill instructed in the Faith pf Christ, and never had opportunity to rectify their Mistakes; and yet as no Man isbound to know, what Nature does not reach, unless it be revealed to him; so no Man is bound to believe, what he has not so much as heard of, nor to believe every thing he does hear, without sufficient Evidence; nor to receive the true Faith of Christ, which he was never taught: So that mould God divide the World at the last Day, only into Believers and Insidelsj this would be a very unequal distribution, , because great part of the World .never had .die. Faith of Christ preached to them; and though Infidelity will condemn ..those,.Men, who have been instructed in the Faith of Christ, and would not believe,, yet.'it;icannot in Reason and Justice be imputed to those Men, whonever heard of Christ. .. Uwrhv

.'But now the Being and Providence of God, and the Differences of Good and Evil, are known to all Mankind; Nature teaches this, and therefore all Mankind are bound1 to knew it, and all Mankind may be judgqd'by this Rule, whether they know God, and, worship. him as God, and take care to do that which is good, and to avoid the evil. This account St. Paul gives US of it. For the Wrath cf God . is" revealed from Heaven againfi all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the Truth in unrighteousness. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible Things of God from the Creation of the world, are clearly seen, being under-' stood by the Things that are made, even fyis eternal Tower and Godhead, so that they ire without' excuse. Because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, .neither were thankful, but becanie vain in their Imaginations, and their foolifli heart was darkned, 1 Rom. i8, 19, 20, 21. . And the fame Apostle tells us, That the Gentiles -which have not the Law, (no Divine written Law) do by nature the Things contained in the Law, these having net the Law, are a Law unto themselves, which flew the Work of the Law written in their Hearts, their Consciences also bearing .witness, and their Thoughts the mean while accusing) w elfe excusing one'' another, 2 Rom. 14.

if? t6. . .

So that all Mankind, even Heathens themselves, have a natural Knowledge of GOD, and of Good and Evil, and therefore may be ;udged for what they know, and condemned by God for transgressing those Laws of Righte

A a ousneft ousness, for which their own Consciences condemn them, for this leaves them without excuse. And if God will judge the Heathens by their Works, and condemn them for those fins they commit against the Light of Nature, an equal Justice requires, that Christians mall be judged by their Works also: For is it equal to damn a Heathen for those Sins, which a Christian may commit and be saved? Will equal and impartial Justice allow, that when a Heathen and a Christian are equally wicked , the Christian mall be saved, and the Heathen damned? Is not this to accept the Persons of Men in Judgment? To make a difference between the Men, when there is no difference in their Actions? And yet the fame Apostle tells US, There is no r ess eel os persons with God $ for as many as have firmed "without Law , shall also perish without Law, and as many as have finned in the Law, shall be judged by the Law, 2 Rom. ii, iz. And that this is the Rule of Judgment, in the Day when God Jhall judge the Secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to the Gospel, terse i6.

There is no other common and general Rule, whereby all Mankind can be judged, but only this, to render to every Man according to his Works; for there is nothing else, for which Men must be judged, that is common to all Men, but the natural Knowledge of God, and the Differences of Good and Evil; Christians indeed know more than the Light of Nature taught Heathens, and therefore have more to account for, than Heathens have; but if Heathens Jhall be condemned for their fins against the Light of Nature, if they shall be judged according to their 'Works, Christi-. ans have more reason to expect this: For if God be a righteous and impartial Judge, he cannot condemn one Sinner for his Sins, and save another as wicked as he. The nature of Vertue and Vice is the fame in all. Mankind, whether Heathens, Jews, or Christians, and deserves in its self the same Rewards and Punishments; if it be righteous in God to punish the Sins of Heathens, it is righteous in God to punish the fame Sins of Christians) to render to all Men, whoever they be, according to their Works; for this is to deal equally with all Men.'

3<//y. I add farther, that nothing else is the proper Object of Judgment, but the Good or Evil of our Actions, and therefore if we be judged at all, we must be judged for the Good or Evil we have done.

For does Judging signifie any thing else, but Examining what Good or Evil such a Man hath done, and rewarding or punishing him according to the Good or Evil he has done? And therefore a righteous Judge cannot judge Men, cannot reward or punish them for that, which is neither Good nor Evil.

Now is there any thing Good or Evil, hut Vertue or Vice? What is Knowledge good for,. which does not direct and govern our Lives? What is Faith good for, which does not renew and sanctifie us? Are there not very knowing and believing Devils? Does not Faith and Knowledge make every fin we com

A a 2 mk

« AnteriorContinuar »