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and that not of yourselves; it is the sentations of sacred scripture are : gift of God: not of works, lest any thought to favour this idea. We
man should boast.” Do not these read, that wrath will come upon passages teach us, that the salva- the wicked to the uitermost-that tion and reward of believers is whol- God will show his wrath and make ly of grace? And if so, how can his
them.' And, they be rewarded according to their on the other hand, the righteous are works, in the sense explained? If called “ vessels of mercy;" which their future reward is to be greater seems to imply that they will be or less, according to the number filled from those rivers of holy and magnitude of their good works pleasure, which flow from the dore in the body, is not their re- throne of Divine grace above. And ward of works, instead of being of this corresponds with what our Lord grace, as Paul teaches:
said on the mount—" Blessed are Ans. Believers, after they shall they that hunger and thirst after be completely justified, and pro- righteousness ; for they shall be nounced free from the condemning FILLED." sentence of the law, as they all will It would seem, from these passabe, at the last day, will be as prop- ges of scripture, that the capacities er objects of reward for all their of saints and sinners, and not the good works, as the angels, who have number or greatness of their god never sinned. They will be unde- or evil works, are to be the measure serving of reward, it is true; and of their happiness or misery. so are the elect angels. But, after Ans. It is admitted, that scripsaints are justified, the law has no ture favours the sentiment, that more dominion over them, than it the righteous will be happy and the has over the angels of light. “There wicked miserable, in the world to is now no more condemnation to come, according to their various them who are in Christ Jesus;" capacities for enjoyment and sufthey are pardoned through his blood, fering. As the wicked, in this and may, as consistently, be re- world, •do evil things as they can,' warded for whatever good they have and the righteous, when they love done, as if they had not sinned at God at all, love him with all the all. But, still, their reward is of heart, soul, mind and strength; so grace; because their justification every vessel of mercy in heaven, is of grace.
It will forever be ow- and every vessel of wrath in hell, ing to Divine grace in Christ Jesus, will be füll to the brim. But, how that they are proper objects of re- this militates against the doctrine ward, and not fit subjects of punish- advanced in this discourse, is not ment; for, having sinned and trans- It may be true, that the gressed, and remaining as guilty, righteous and the wicked will hereas if they had not been pardoned, after be rewarded according to they will forever deserve to be pun their works, in the sense explained; ished for all their sins, and will for- while, at the same time, the rightever be deeply sensible, that it is eous shall be made as happy, and of the Lord's mercies, that they the wicked as miserable, as their are not consumed.'
capacities will admit: For, it is OBJ. IV. It has generally been thought reasonable to suppose, that supposed, by orthodox Christians, the capacities of the wicked to sufthat the wicked will be made mis- | fer misery hereafter, will be in proerable and the righteous happy, in portion to the number and magnithe coming orld, to the fill extent udle of their evil works, done here of their capacity. And the repre- in the fiesh; and that the capaci
ties of the righteous to enjoy hap-, good, in which we did not aim piness in heaven, will be in propor-supremely at the glory of God, tion to the number and magnitude and feel willing to part with our of their good works, performed own interest, to secure the greathere upon earth.
er good of our fellow-creatIMPROVEMENT. 1. Will Christ reward every 2. Will Christ, at the last day, man according to his works? Will reward every one of mankind acthey, who have done good in this cording to his works done here life, come forth, at the last day, in the body? Then the time of unto the resurrection of life; and this life, is exceedingly importhey, who have done evil works tant. This life is our term of only, unto the resurrection of dam- probation, and the only one, we nation? Then it is very important, shall ever enjoy: We are formthat we should all know, now, in ing characters here, in which we this our probationary state, what shall appear at the day of judg. works are good, and what are evil. I ment, and according to which, A mistake on this subject may prove will be our everlasting portion.fatal to our souls.
Hor important, then, is the time All mankind are busily at work, of this short life! The actions of doing good or evil. It is, indeed, every day, and every hour, have impossible, that any one should a bearing upon our eternal destiremain dormant and inactive, for ny. How weighty, then, the esa day, or an hour, while in the hortation of the apostle, “Be not possession of reason. Not only slothful in business but fervent in our external actions and words, spirit, serving the Lord. Redeembut our internal desires, inten- ing the time, because the days are tions and designs, are included in evil,” the nomber of our works. For 3. The gospel sets before manall these, we must give account to kind, powerful motives to do good Him, who searches our hearts and works, and abstain from evil ones. tries our reins. He has been While it teaches us, that justifipleased kindly to inform us, be- cation is of grace, and that good fore hand, what he will approve as works have no merit; at the same good works, and what He will con- time, it inforins us, that those, who demn, as evil. He has informed' do good works, shall be rewarded us, in his word, that good works, for them, and that those who do are such as flow from a good heari, evil works, shall be punished for and evil works, such as flow from them; and that neither the reward an evil heart.
“A good man, out of the one, nor the punishinent of of the good treasure of the heart, the other, will ever have an end. bringeth forth good things; and an Truly, then, the grace of God, evil man, out of the evil treasure which bringeth salvation, and of the heart, bringeth forth evil 1 bath appeared to all men, teaches things.” A good heart consists in us, that denying ungodliness and disinterested love; for love is the worldly lusts, we should live sofulfilling of the law:" and an evil berly, righteously, and godly, in heart consists in selfishness, for this evil world.' *. Be not deceiv“ sin is the transgression of the ed, God is not mocked: for what. law.” We ought to consider all soever a inan soweth, that shall he our works, done with selfish mo- also reap; he that sowe:h to the tives, as evil; and should never flesh,shall of the flesh reap corrupthink we have done any thing tion; but he that soweth to the
spirit, shall of the spirit, reap life Secondly. I would exhort saints everlasting."
to abound in good works. Such 4. Will Christ, hereafter, re- works will all be rewarded in the ward all mankind according to coming world. They are their works? Then how fast im- pleasant in the performance; and penitent sinners treasure up urath! are followed by an exceeding and
They are always at work; and all eternal weight of glory. Surely their works are evil; because their in • keeping the commands of God, • hearts are full of evil,' and they there is great reward. It is true that are in the flesh cannot please a strict and conscientious adherGod.' “ There is none that doeth ance to the rule of duty, regood; no, not one." Impenitent quires self-denial, and may expose sinners are always doing evil you, here, to want, reproach and works; and for all their works suffering: but the sufferings of Christ will call them to account, this present time, are not worthy and unless timely repentance pre to be compared with the glory, vent, puvish them forever. ilow which shall hereafter be revealed fast, then, they treasure up wrath in the saints.' Though you can. Upon supposition they die in their not do good works from selfish sins, every thing they now do, molives; yet, like Moses, you makes an inconceivable addition ought to have respect unto the to their future, endless punish- recompence of the reward.? And ment: every sin they now commit be assured, that every good work, will cause them more misery, than which you here perform, will yield has been suffered, or will be suf-you more happiness, than has ever fered, in this world, by all man- been enjoyed by mortals. What kind, from the creation to the an inconceivable loss you sustain "great burning day.”
by every neglect of duty, by the I close with a word of Exhor- least imperfection in holiness! Be tation: And,
persuaded, continually to seek First, I would exhort such, as for glory, and honour, and immorentertain a hope, that they are in tality; that you may obtain eterfavour with God, to examine the nal life.' nature of their works. Unless Finally. Let me exhort sinners, you have done some good works, to cease to do evil, and learn to you have no reason to think you do well.' You have hitherto done have ever been accepted. If you nothing but evil works. It is have faith without works, it is high time for you to begin to do only a dead faith, which will not something good and pleasing to save a man. By works a man is God. Let the past time of your justified, i. e. good works are the lives suffice you, to bave wrought unfailing fruit of a living faith, and the deeds of the carnal mind.the only proper evidence of justi- God now requires you to cast cation. Therefore examine the away your transgressions, to give nature of your works. Have you Him your hearts, and to receive ever done any works meet for re- and obey his Son. The requirepentance? Any works from su- ment is reasonable; and it is your preme love to God? Any works life. If you persist in doing evil, which could not have proceeded a little longer, your punishment from selfish motives? What do is certain and endless. And flatye, more than others? More than ter not yourselves, that your sins Scribes and Pharisees? More than are small, and that your stripes Publicans and sinners:
will be few. You have known
your Master's will; the light of You have piled your sins up to the gospel shines upon you, and heaven, and the mountain of your its invitations and warnings sound guilt is pressing your souls down in your ears. Most of you have, to the bottomless pit. Be entreatprobably, experienced and resisted ed to turn unto the Lord, that he the strivings of the Holy Spirit. may bave mercy upon you. «Turn Your crimes are great. You have , ye, turn ye, for why will you abused light, and refused mercy. I die?' AMEN.
ON THE NINETEENTH VERSE OF
To ascertain the true import of this objection, let us look back to
the connexion in which it is introsay then unto me, Why duced. The apostle had been doth he yet find fault? for who speaking of God's conduct in callhath resisted his will?
ing in the Gentiles and rejecting This is the most plausible and the Jews; and had represented most common objection, that ever him as bringing about this event, has been made against the divine by softening the hearts of belies. agency in the production of mor- ers, and hardening the hearts of al exercises in the human heart. unbelievers. To illustrate this Those who deny that God operates! point, he mentions the instance of innmediately upon the hearts of ei-Pharaoh. “What shall we say, ther saints or sinners, rely upon then? Is there unrighteousness this objection to support their opin with God? God forbid. For he ion. Those who allow that God saith to Moses, I will have mercy softens the hearts of some, and on whom I will have mercy, and hardens the hearts of others, in- I will have compassion on whom stantly fly to this objection, to I will have compassion. So then excuse them for not loving, and it is not of him that willeth, nor even for actually hating God. of him that runneth, but of God The careless and secure urge that sheweth mercy. For the this objection to excuse their scripture saith unto Pharaoh, eve
ven carelessness and security ;- for this same purpose have I raised and the awakened and impres- thee up, that I might shew my sed urge this objection to power in thee, and that my name cuse their obstinacy and unbe- might be declared throughout all lief. All classes of singers con- the earth. Therefore bath he sider this objection as their strong mercy on whom he will have merhold, to which they can always re- cy, and whom he will be hardentreat, as their last and safe resort. eth.” Having thus plainly assertIt is of great importance, there-ed God's immediate agency in fure, fairly and fully to remove softening the hearts of saints, and this objection against the doctrine in hardening the hearts of sinners, of divine efficiency, which is so he introduced the strongest objecreproachful to God, and so injuri. tion, which he supposed any one ous to those who make it. But could possibly make against the since the whole force of this ob- doctrine he had taught. “Thou jection lies in its ambiguity, it is wilt say then unto me, why doth necessary, in the first place, to he yet find fault? for who hath explain it with accuracy and pre- resisted his will:” cision.
This is as much as to say, that
if God does indeed harden the day, mean the same thing by it? hearts of sinners, then he compels When they ask, how can we be to thein to be hardened, and they blame, if God hardens our hear ts? cannot help being what they are; Do they not mean to ask, how can which is totally inconsistent with we be to blame for the hardness any criminality on their part.- of our hearts, if God compels us to Here it is necessary to form a be hardened contrary to our will? clear and just idea of compulsion. Do they not mean to say, that the This implies two things, constraint act of God in hardening their and restraint. A mau is compelled hearts must be an act of compulto act, when he is consirained to sion, by which he either restrains act contrary to his will. Daniel them from being what they wish was compelled to go into the den to be, or constrains them to be of lions, because he was constrain- what they do not wish to bei It ed to go in, contrary to his will; is undoubtedly true, that every and Joseph was compelled to go into person, who objects against God's Egypt, because he was constrained hardening the hearts of sinners, to go there, contrary to his will. objects against it as implying the In all cases of constraint, there is exercise of compulsion on God's compulsion; because the will of the part. He must mean to complain person constrained is opposed to of compulsion in this case, bethe power that constrains him.- cause this is the only ground of But a man may be compelled by objection, and a solid ground if it restraint, as well as by constraint. be true. Who ever felt himself Thus Jeroboam was compelled to to blame for doing what he was let the prophet go, when his with constrained to do, contrary to his ered hand effectually restrained him will? Or who ever felt himself froin acting agreeably to his will. to blame for not doing what he Paul and Silas were likewise com- was restrained from doing contrary pelled to stay in the prison, so long to his will? Did a good man ever as their feet were made fast in the blame himself for not attending stocks, which, contrary to their public worship, when he was rewill, restrained them from walking, strained from attending contrary In every instance of restraint, to his will? Or did a martyr ever there is compulsion; because the blame hiinself for going to the stake will of the person restrained is op- when be was constrained to go, posed to the power that restrains contrary to his will? No such him. It is now easy to see, that case ever happened. Compulsion no man can be said to be compell- is always inconsistent with blame. ed in any case, unless he is either Those, who object against God's constrained, or restrained, contrary hardening the hearts of men, mean to his will. This is the only prop- to make a reasonable, solid, uner meaning of COMPULSION; and answerable objection; and, therethis is precisely what the objector fore, they mean to say, that, if means by asklng, “Who hath re-God does harden their hearts, he sisted his will." He supposes, compels them to be hardened.that sinners may endeavour to re- This is saying something pertinent sist the will of God, while he is and forcible; for if it be true, that hardening their hearts, but not. God does exercise compulsion in withstanding all their endeav- hardening the heart, then there is ours, they are compelled to be har- good reason to ask, “Why doth dened. And do not those, who he yet find fault? For who hath make this objection at the present resisted his will;"