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tinct in its operation from the common course of things in the world. This is God's spiritual and gracious government, in which all things, necessary for life and godliness, are provided in that new constitution, or kingdom, and are carried into effect by the special operation of the Holy Spirit. Thus, the purposes of holiness are most fully secured, and secured too upon infinitely stronger grounds than they possibly could be by the poor energies of the natural man; even supposing that he had a heart so to employ them, which he certainly has
But some have objected,
66 How then is God to judge the world at the last day, 'when every secret thing shall be brought to light, and every man rewarded according to his deeds ?"It
may be answered, in the first place, that, at this final judgement, no man will receive heaven as a reward for
his moral obedience ; for, that is impossible; all men being sinners, not only in their nature, but in every act of their lives, not excepting their holiest duties. In no point is the Scrip. ture more express than in this, that man can never be justified by his own defective works, or escape punishment for his sins, by a partial conformity to the divine 'law. If, therefore, any man is rectus in curiâ, or righteous before God, it must be by God's own deed of free grace, conveyed upon the plan of his own revelation, in which it is maintained, that he hath so declared his righteousness, that he can at once be just, and yet the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus. Rom. iii. 24-26.
In this view, there is no title of right in ruined sinners, such as all men are; but the whole of salvation rests upon that sure covenant, wherein God hath mercy on whom he will have mercy.-
Farther; it may be said, that there will indeed be a reward hereafter, though not of debt, but of grace. The redeemed will be approved, (Matth. xxv. 21,) not for their works, as being their own, for without talents given they could have done nothing; but according to their works, as being the fruits of faith, which the Holy Spirit effected in and by them; and therefore these are said to be wrought in God.
The same kind of blessing or reward* was given
* The Hebrew word implies, not merely remuneration, but that refreshment and vigour of soul, that comfort and satiety, which are sym- : bolized by what the body feels from drinking, when athirst, the most exhilarating liquor. The text itself shows, that merit was out of the case ; for, Jehovah himself could not be deserved by Abraham as a reward or portion for any thing whatever, since neither he nor any one else could act for God but by his own gift ; and it would be
to the great archetype of faith, the patriarch Abraham, in Gen. xv. 1, not for his working and deserving, there being no hint of the kind in the text, but as the joy and crown of the gratuitous mercy of God, which enabled him to stand forth as a pattern of firin and steady believing.
In the next place ; judgement will be brought forward upon the unbelieving and the ungodly, according to their deeds, -upon those, wlio would not have Christ to reign over them, nor accede to his plan of salvation ; and upon those, who, under the ty
strange to say, thai he merited a reward for receiving a gift, or for enjoying the gilt received. The Lord hath, indeed, giren umself to be the portion of his people, or (as the word in the above text signifies) their full consolation, tlreir satisfying possession, their strong support; but, in every point of view, it is wholly according to his abundant mercy. So Psalm xvi. 5; lxxiii. 26, et al.
ranny of the devil, followed the pride, the lusts, the gratifications, of their own hearts, with little or no concern about God in the inatter. In that awful day, the great separation will be made. The sheep will be parted off eternally from the goats, among whom they were formerly mixed ; and notwithstanding the colours, the pretences, the outward appearances or the inwari deceits, which rendered in many cases the latter scarcely distinguishable by men from the former ; all shall then be exposed to the open view of men and of angels. The specious hypocrite, the fair formalist, the false and unrenewed professor, shall in that eventful hour appear in their true shape, beyond all possibility of disguise; while the humble children of God, obscure and unknown in thousands of instances by the world, and rejected of it when discerned ; yet living in the spirit of faith, and,